January 14, 2015

Agent Carter's Battles Against Sexism

I'm learning plenty from ABC's Agent Carter. Maybe the hardest hitting lesson is that sexism was rampant in the 1940s. I was aware of that fact, of course, but seeing it on the screen (even if it's a touch dramatized) is something else. This animated vieo by Leigh Lahav and Oren Mendez emphasizes the battle Peggy has to fight within the SSR:

The official Agent Carter Twitter account posted a gif last night that addresses one of those remarks and it made me want to hug them:

Who else is watching Agent Carter? If you're interested, I'm reviewing the series for Nerdist!


  1. As usual, they butcher and take liberties with established albiet fictional character histories from the comics.

    Which is fine, I came to grips long ago that writers of movie and tv shows were going to have Carte Blanche to (IMO) screw up characters and their origins and so I seperate the two (movie and comic book) universes.

    But with Agent Carter, they seem to be screwing up their own universe origins now.

    In the first Captain America, she was a queen bee, authoritative, everyone listened to her, she's billed as a founding member of shield.

    But now all of a sudden, she's Peggy Carter: door mat at the good ole boys club?

    The show seems alright so far, and perhaps it'll change, but the lack of consistently that writers show these days is frustrating at best.

    1. Well, that's kind of the point. This is a reflection of the problems women faced after war time. They stepped in during the war and took on roles that society viewed as male roles because bodies were needed. Gender was put aside.

      But, once the war was over, society slipped back into place and pushed women back into the roles they had before the war. Women weren't taken as seriously; their opinions weren't valued. It's a very real problem that any women in the workplace dealt with then so Peggy's facing the same issues. These men, her co-workers at the SSR, don't care what she did in the war and don't believe she's their equal.

      And though their sexism is frustrating, Peggy is dealing with it in her own way.

  2. Yeah, I get that they are utilizing that piece of American history to their benefit to "enhance" their story line. But it still doesn't make sense to this viewer.

    Peggy wasn't Rosie the riveter, putting together B-52's one week and then V-day hits and it's back to the kitchen for her. She was in the thick of it, overseas and on the front lines.

    She wasn't in a traditionally male filled role because the men were all gone, she was where the men were, and in a position of authority.

    So to take the easy out, and exploit a cliche was to me, a cop out. They could have continued the strong female lead story, and really made her a strong woman in charge of things with people that respected her and her accomplishments.

    But instead they had to take the easy and predictable way out and give here the downtrodden and strong despite the chauvinist pigs around her.

    I just feel like they could have been smarter instead of pandering to cliches and stereotypes.

    Personal opinion of course.

  3. In contrast to normendiaz above, this is where I think the show really gets things right; sexism is shown not as some 2-dimensional meat-head guys, incompetently going around being jerks. That would make those characters totally uninteresting, unrelatable, and what most people would be totally uncomfortable being associated with. *That* would be reinforcing the cliche, and doing so at the expense of being realistic.

    What the show *does* highlight are the micro-aggressions from otherwise average people. Agent Carter's co-workers are dedicated, smart, and talented people; some more than others, of course, but they're relatable and you're not meant to dislike them *as characters*. You're not supposed to like how they treat Carter, but that's the beauty - they're not perfect people, but they represent the environment which Carter is in: she's the "other" in their workplace, which is unfriendly to her - but for the guys, eh, it doesn't bother them a lick.

    And I can identify these micro-aggressions and find them in modern day examples, which is heartening, because I believe others may start being able to do so too.

    For my viewing experience, as a non-comic-book-geek, if it's not fitting canon or messing up an origin story, okay - sure, I can see why others may be unhappy, that's totally valid. From my standpoint, though, the rest of the show's doing a great job. Also makes me a bit proud to be a grandson of a WAVE!


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