May 2, 2012

Oh, Moviefone and your Girl's Guide to The Avengers. Really?

So there’s this article on Moviefone about The Avengers. It’s a primer on who’s who and includes background information for folks new to the franchise. At least, that’s what it should have been.

Instead of just laying it out for newcomers, it takes a spin that the title of the article gives away: “Girl’s Guide to The Avengers: What You Need to Know If You Know Nothing.” Yeah. And with that title, it’s as full of sexist stereotyping as you would imagine. The article proceeds to point out that of course ladies only know about The Avengers because of their boyfriends and will be suffering through the torture of seeing it only for their man and for the love of all the superhero biceps on display. But the author – a woman, mind you – points out:

"(Of course, that's not a slight against the girls who actually do read comic books -- i.e. real fans, actual people with varied interests -- but for this, let's just go with the stock view of ladies, ladies!)"

Teehee, what a cute pat on the head. This attempt to not make ladies who read comic books angry has the opposite effect. This girl is feeling pretty Hulk Smash, and the phrase "stock view of ladies" isn't helping.

After that introduction, the author runs down the members of The Avengers and some terms used in the film. But again, it implies you would only want to use the information to awe your boyfriend. How insulting.

"Including cocktail introductions a la "Bridget Jones's Diary" and boyfriend impressing tidbits, below is everything you need to know about "The Avengers."

Yeah, why would you want to learn the information for the sake of curiosity?  Or to better enjoy the movie? Women are not driven to do every single thing for love, yet this article implies that romance is apparently the only impetus moving women forward. I.e. we’ll only watch a movie if there is a love story. We’ll only see a superhero flick for our boyfriend. We’ll only read this list because you inserted Bridget Jones.

Not too long after the article was published, the internet reacted with anger and rightfully so. This caveat was added as damage control:

[Editor's Note: As you can see, we've gotten a lot of heat for this article. It was meant to be a satirical piece, and obviously, it did not come across that way. There are plenty of female superhero fans, and our intent was not to make them feel marginalized. We've changed the headline to reflect the focus as we originally intended it (but did not communicate as well): One woman's perspective on the Avengers]


I actually felt marginalized not only as a female superhero fan but as a female in general. I like Star Wars, comics, and Firefly as well as Jane Austen and Hello Kitty. You know what? I like Bridget Jones' Diary, too. Captain America is my favorite superhero, and yeah, I think his biceps are amazing. All of those things are okay. Women like stuff. All kinds of stuff. And not just because our boyfriends like it.

The article is not satirical. It’s rude. If  you had to point out that it was meant to be satire after an avalanche of internet rage, 1) It was done poorly and 2) I don’t believe you.

And the title change makes no sense. It’s now "One Girl's Guide To 'The Avengers': What You Need To Know If You Know Nothing." As my friend Sarah pointed out, “It [the article] wasn't positioned as being written by a woman, it was positioned as being aimed at women. So now it's only aimed at one woman?”


Finally. The part that angers me the most is that at the end of the article, there's a list of things you should say after the movie if you want to impress your boyfriend. Here’s a crazy idea. Why don’t you actually tell him what you honestly thought of the movie? I hate hate hate the way this article implies we are ladybots here to pretend to like whatever our boyfriend likes. There’s a difference between being supportive about your stuff your partner digs and being mindless about it. A HUGE one.

Some of you will inevitably point out: if it’s such a blatantly offensive article, why give it more attention? Because I think if we don’t call out articles like this, idgits will keep writing them.

I’m not the only person to take offense. I recommend reading this response by The Discriminating Fangirl. I’ll add links as more pop up.


  1. They could have just made it "Non-Comic Book Fan's Guide to The Avengers". Although, the "guide" aspect of it isn't even that good or helpful.
    I can't believe it was written by a woman.
    So. Freaking. Offensive.

  2. Yep. Satire only works if it's funny. This whole thing smacks of "oops we got caught IT WAS JUST SATIRE YOU GUISE GOSH." Bleh. People say garbage like this in all earnestness every day; saying it "in jest" isn't amusing and doesn't help.

  3. "...let's just go with the stock view of ladies, ladies!"

    You know what? Let's not. Let's work to be better than this culture's stock view of ladies because once we can get consistently better than that view, that view will shift.

  4. Women have been ghettoizing the holy snot out of themselves for many years, oddly under the rubric of ...equality, or something. Finance, hiring, fitness, on and on, anything can be sold well if it caters to the only "niche" that includes the majority of humanity itself. Otherwise, some sane soul would have made use of Jessica's perfectly excellent title.

    In other words, why be startled that it was written by a woman? What man would ever have done that, seriously? When the self-separation ends, the idiocy will end. Guaranteed.

  5. I don't understand how they can claim it's satire. There is noting funny about it. I actually don't mind a good joke on stereotypes, but this doesn't read like that at all. It seems like she is seriously trying to write an article for girls who know nothing about The Avengers, but want their boyfriends to think they do. Where is the satire?

  6. Absolutely not satire. Just a standard response to being called out on something egregiously daft.

    Unless it was supposed to be satire somehow, and simply failed miserably to bring teh funni. It happens.

  7. Yay. I love chicks!

  8. I'll send the link to my boyfriend so he can try to impress ME with tidbits of insight.

    They could have just made it a guide if you know nothing, and how to impress your FRIENDS around the water cooler. After all, this is going to be one of those superhero movies that's big enough that everyone will be seeing it and talking about it. Putting a gender twist on the article is just asking for trouble.

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