“As if it wasn’t obvious that this clip was pandering to the currently trendy brand of faux feminism, USA Today had to spell it out.”
In a “Captain Marvel” deleted scene, included in the digital and home versions set for release Tuesday, the feminist super-heroine can be seen striking a blow against “toxic masculinity” by savagely beating and robbing a man who asked her to smile.
The exclusive clip, obtained by USATODAY.com earlier this week, shows Brie Larson as Carol Danvers acting out a fever dream of women’s empowerment with additional footage not included in the theatrical version. Quoted retweets of the clip racked up tens of thousands of likes and comments. The clip has already been viewed more than 700,000 times since being unveiled Thursday.
In the scene, a boorish motorcycle rider approaches Danvers and immediately pulls a classic move straight out of the misogynist’s handbook: He asks her to smile.
Captain Marvel, a heroic being with superhuman strength and fantastic powers, responds in proportion to the egregiousness of the offense – by crushing the man’s hand, stealing his motorcycle and dashing off into oncoming traffic, narrowly avoiding a collision with an unsuspecting motorist.
Why my whole theater cheered when Thanos Punched her out of the movie
— GrievousError (@ErrorGrievous) May 25, 2019
“Captain Marvel,” the first female-led film in the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe, has been cheered in some corners as a crowning achievement for women’s empowerment. Larson, an outspoken advocate for feminism and diversity, has been held up as a sort of feminist icon.
USA Today’s Brian Truitt summed up the extended scene as Danvers punching “toxic masculinity in the mouth.” Meanwhile, reactions from commenters were mixed.
“Sorry I dont find the ‘hero’ of the film likable when she nearly rips off a person’s hand and steals his stuff because hes a jerkoff,” tweeted Joey Salads, a YouTube personality who’s now running for Congress.
Journalist Tim Pool had similar thoughts, tweeting that Captain Marvel is a “villain.”
“She straight hurts and robs a dude because he was a jerk to her. Thats a villain,” he wrote.
Reason contributor Cathy Young called out “Captain Marvel” for its purportedly superficial nod to feminism.
“As if it wasn’t obvious that this clip was pandering to the currently trendy brand of faux feminism, USA Today had to spell it out,” Young tweeted.
But feminists on social media were enthralled by the scene’s message:
marvel cutting off this scene from captain marvel is a violation of my second amendment rights…. "what, no smile?" the Power that this woman has pic.twitter.com/XtR9Ik7bcm
— gabi (@harleivy) May 24, 2019
A plethora of think-pieces have been written on the subject of the supposedly misogynistic undertones behind the practice of men requesting that women smile.
Erika Hardison’s op-ed in the Huffington Post from December of 2017 is one such example of the perspective. In it, she averred:
The sexualization behind telling women to smile is alarming. It makes women feel that we are only meant to be happy and pretty and it’s a passive way to engage into an unwanted conversation. Asking a woman to smile is a selfish act and it’s rarely in a caring tone; it’s condescending and it turns a simple gesture into something sexual. Instead of asking a woman how she actually feels or being open minded to the idea she might not be interested, there are men that will berate a woman into doing something that she isn’t comfortable doing. That is unacceptable.
Some critics of identity politics argue that a broadening out of the definition of so-called microaggressions is leading to an unintended consequence – instead of empowering its adherents, a focus on microaggressions is making them more fragile.
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