And I don’t care who hears me say it.
This post was meant to sing the praises of the new Captain Marvel comic, but instead I find myself burdened with the glorious purpose of tearing a rich white guy I don’t know a new asshole on the internet.
James Gunn, if you don’t know who he is, is the director who has been tapped to helm the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, due in 2014. He is also the author of this post, The 50 Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With. [trigger warning for that link: sexism, homophobia, general rage-inducing assholery] [Edit: He seems to have taken down the original post but you can still see a cached version here, thanks to nothing ever really going away on the internet.]
There is nothing wrong with being attracted to a superhero character. There is nothing wrong with wanting to screw a superhero. (I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t sleep with Batwoman, for example.)
But the way Gunn comments on the entries in his list makes him sound less like a respected director and more like an unwashed neckbeard who has never seen a woman outside of bad porn. Here’s a highlights reel of the commentary, care of tumblr’s othothegreat and buckycaps:
the art he chose in general, especially for the female heroes, is really gross and terrible, but here are a few more sexist, misogynistic, sex-shaming gems:
- “for those men that love rude bitches, [emma frost] the white queen is the way”
- [on natasha romanoff, the highest ~debut] “considering she’s fucked half the guys in the marvel universe, that’s quite a feat”
- [on elektra] she’ll “give you a nice, ninja-trained blow job”
- [on black canary] “i used to think she was the hottest chick in the dcu, but then i remembered that she fucks green arrow”
- [on dazzler] “a friggin’ great vagina”
- [on kitty pryde] “i want to anally do her”
- [on choice of art for jade] “i picked the one with the big tits”
- [on batwoman] “i’m hoping for a dc-marvel crossover so that tony stark can turn her; she could also have sex with nightwing and still be a lesbian”
- calls tigra ‘easy’ for no discernible reason along with calling stephanie brown that because she’s a single mother
- says that he’ll blow a load onto jessica jones'[sic: drew’s] face so he doesn’t have to look at her
This same article also includes such charmingly puerile humor as calling Gambit a “Cajun fruit” and sharing his vivid imaginings of “my balls slapping against Gambit’s” which, he immediately points out, “makes me sick to my stomach,” just so you don’t get the wrong idea.
He goes on to make fun of Dr. Manhattan’s penis size, and then, ”Many of the people who voted for the Flash were gay men. I have no idea why this is. But I do know if I was going to get fucked in the butt I too would want it to be by someone who would get it over with quick.”
And he STILL manages to treat the male characters with more respect in general than the female ones.
Only a few months ago Joss himself was singing this guy’s praises when the news that Gunn would be directing Guardians of the Galaxy hit. Seeing how this is the way he thinks of the superheroes I know and love, and the way he denigrates and objectifies female heroes, mocks and demonizes queer attraction, and motherfucking SUGGESTS SOMEONE FUCK KATE KANE STRAIGHT EXCUSE ME WHAT? None of this is okay. I do not want to see any movies he is responsible for.
This movie isn’t coming out until 2014 so I think there’s still plenty of time for a turnover in the director’s seat. Let Marvel know your displeasure by tweeting #boycottgunn at their official account (@Marvel). I know that if Gunn stays in creative control, I’ll be taking my money elsewhere at the very least.
#boycottgunn #boycottgunn #boycottgunn #boycottgunn #boycottgunn #boycottgunn
(Update: James Gunn apologizes. Read our article about it here.)
I was excited for Guardians of the Galaxy, then I heard about this. Shameless. Ugh. The worst bit is thinking about how he’ll handle the character of Gamora, seeing as she’s the only female in the group.
This is unacceptable, especially for me as a Marvel fan. I felt particularly offended on his comment about Dazzler (I just love her okay???) and appalling homophobia. Good thing lesbians like Karolina Dean and Julie Power didn’t get on the list because I can’t take any crap directed at them.
There’s still time to shove him off the director’s seat and have someone else helm GOTG. Help protect the ladies of the Marvel (and, okay, fine, DC) universe.
(also love your opening sentence. ‘Burdened with glorious purpose’…I see what you did there 🙂 dang, now I felt cheated of a Captain Marvel-themed post. Love Carol! Now Gunn didn’t say anything about her did he?)
Out of all the recently announced movies, I was most unsure about Guardians of the Galaxy just because it seemed out of place among all the big-name hero movies, but I was tentatively hopeful. This has just shat on that hope. This was really upsetting to read, and the worst thing is that the post is over a year old, so this was a thing that existed already when Gunn was chosen as the director.
Oh, Carol wasn’t spared; his comments about her were just nowhere near as offensive as those about other characters. And don’t worry, my actual Carol post should be up tomorrow. 😉
Yay, I’m excited 🙂 At least someone seems to have taken it down because when I hit the jump, the page on his website could not be found. I agree, suddenly putting in a huge cosmic-galactic story– and about a rather obscure, less-known team too–was a bit strange compared to the previous Marvel movies. Still, I’ll take anything with Rocket Raccoon.
This is just UNBELIEVABLY offensive stuff.
it fills me with intense rage, if you hadn’t noticed. 😡
I am not a big fan of the Marvel movie universe so it isn’t hard for me to completely not support his film when it comes out. These comments are problematic, As much as I have enjoyed Whedon’s work in the past he had some problematic depictions so an endorsement from him doesn’t mean too much for me.
I certainly agree that Joss is not the perfect bastion of feminism that some people make him out to be. That’s why I pointed it out – to highlight that the one director geeks usually trust blindly to deliver strong women has nothing bad to say about this guy.
Gimme a break, guys. You are overreacting, You obviously are unfamiliar with James’ sense of humor. Everything doesn’t have to be all politically correct these days, does it? lol.
I don’t consider it an overreaction; I consider it a justifiably angry reaction to the perpetuation of the idea that women in comics are sexual objects. I think people who thought this post was a funny lampooning of horny sexist comic book fans have never been on the receiving end of sexism or objectification. I’m all for talking about sex, and even for talking about sex in a funny or sarcastic way, but the way he did it (and I still don’t think he was joking, but you’re welcome to your opinion) made every single kickass woman on that list seem like nothing more than a semen receptacle.
You’re right, I’m not familiar with his brand of humor. But if his brand of humor regularly involves prison rape ‘jokes’, slut-shaming, and homophobia the way this post did, then I have no desire to become more familiar with it.
I am one of the least politically correct people on the planet, but suggesting that a lesbian simply needs the right man to screw her straight goes far past acceptably offensive humor and straight back to the 1950’s. That type of archaic thinking is dangerous.
Yes, he meant it humorously, most likely suggesting that Tony Start could seduce anyone (fact), but this is the light version of the same type of thinking that causes men in Africa to gang-rape lesbians to “cure” them. This certainly is not what he meant, but it’s a slippery slope to play with that rhetoric.
I am with you on that it was a joke, and he’s sense of humor is like that. Only because he is now in the lime light do people care.
Implying that a lesbian should just be screwed straight is ignorant and insulting, not to mention dangerous as its the light version of the same rhetoric that convinces men in Africa to rape lesbians to “cure” them. You can’t just cry: “But it was a joke!!!!11!” and expect that kind of rhetoric to suddenly be okay.
I look forward with interest to your reply to Matt’s comment.
Clearly, Mr. Gunn understood the ludicrousness of the article, and wrote a satire piece. I look forward to your blog post about how awful the animals were treated in Animal Farm.
In the unlikely event that Gunn was being ironic, then I would direct him to various resources about how being ironic about a topic (the constant objectification of women and disgust with the sexual choices of female and queer fans) that is still a serious problem does not translate as irony or sarcasm on the internet and is not funny to those who are being objectified or demonized, such as this video on retro sexism by Anita Sarkeesian: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD0Faha2gow
However, as this sort of rampant sexism is still common fodder for male comic book fans and creators (see: Tony Harris, just last week, among others), I’m going to err on the side of pessimism and guess that he wasn’t joking.
Well, perhaps if the reader was familiar with James Gunn’s brand of crass humor and satire, you would be very aware that it WAS ironic. Perhaps rather than cherry-picking an article from a year ago, you could go out and actually watch/read his other work. You might find that you like it, and its probably going to give you a better idea of what to expect from a GotG directed/written by Gunn than some silly satire article he wrote for his website.
Okay, here’s the thing. I shouldn’t have to be an expert on James Gunn’s entire oeuvre to be able to tell that something is meant ironically. Despite the difficulty of conveying sarcasm on the internet, there are ways of writing about a topic that will clearly indicate that something is meant in good fun, or to skewer a topic rather than glorifying it, and all I saw in that post was bad writing and a ridiculous number of mentions of his penis. There are ways of writing about sex, sexuality, and sexism that are funny and ironic without being horrifically offensive, and this post contained approximately none of them.
And if it was intended ironically, why has he taken it down rather than stepping up and saying so? It seems more like he is running from the bad press than defending his so-called ‘humorous’ writing choices.
Well, I have to disagree with you there. I find it quite obvious that he is not being serious, and that it falls right in with his usual sense of humor. Yes, there’s lots of offensive stuff in there, and if you do believe that things like that shouldn’t even be said as a joke, then I guess that’s perfectly valid. But I do think that claiming he is a bigot because of a piece of satire (however funny or stupid), is going a bit far.
If you want to know what he sounds like when he has a serious conversation about sexism in the media (particularily video games in this case) give this a read:
I’m not sure I agree with everything he says in this, but I find his views on how a character should be approached really quite sensible and a lot more respectful than some of the attempts to counteract sexism in games.
As I said, if you think these comments are never funny, regardless of context or intention, that’s fine, this kind of humor certainly isn’t for everyone, but it might not be such a bad idea to judge him on his actual beliefs, rather than a bunch of silly jokes you found in bad taste.
The thing about satire is that calling it ‘satire’ does not automatically make it non-problematic. Satire making fun of sexism, racism, or other problems can still be sexist or racist. Although he does lean a little more toward reasonable opinions in that article, I do have to disagree with him still – the representation of female creators in geek industries and the positive representation of female characters in geek products are equally important, because although female voices are more likely to give female characters more agency and character, the whole onus of doing so should not be on female creators. Men have the same responsibility to create well-rounded characters.
As I’ve said in other comments on this post, there are certainly ways of talking about sex, sexual desire, and sexism that are funny, clever, and sarcastic. But his post didn’t come off that way to me; and, if it was intended to be funny, I shouldn’t need the context of his entire body of work to realize that that was the intent.
Concerning the article, he didn’t say that fixing sexism was solely women’s responsibility, but that we shouldn’t just focus on how women are treated in fiction, but also – and more importantly so – how they are treated in the real world. He adds that that of course would also have an impact on how they are portrayed, but to me the comment was mostly about equality in the business, and his following statement, that developers should “create women as more full characters” seemed to be aimed at everyone.
But you are right, there are less juvenile and a lot less stupid ways to be funny, and slapping the label ‘comedy’ on it doesn’t necessarily mean something isn’t hateful. But with this I just don’t think that’s the case, and not because I know his works (which I don’t even think helps that much with “getting it”), but because it already starts off being silly, as it was a “Which Superhero Would You Like to Fuck” poll. Following that, I wouldn’t really expect anything other than a bunch of fratboyish remarks, least of all something to be taken seriously.
In the end it’s a difficult topic, because I agree, joke or not, words have an effect and intention is hard to tell in writing, especially if you’ve never heard of the person in question and have no choice but to take a guess based on your experiences with other people. But I also think that condemning people on what is essentially a whim isn’t the way to go either. After all, one could argue that he writes his blog for the people who like him, like his work, or like his sense of humor in general, and thus explanations for everyone who’s randomly dropping by aren’t necessary. Sure, the internet is open for everyone, so you can’t make it available for your target audience only, but it might not be unreasonable to ask that if someone does drop in on what can basically be equated to the middle of a conversation, that they also take a look around and get a feel for what it is they’re looking at, because context does matter. (Regarding that, I’m not crazy about changing the context or misquoting what was said, as is the case with some of the points above. That shouldn’t be necessary to convey how bad something is, should it?)
I guess what I’m trying to say is, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. are all things that should be addressed and fought hard to be extinguished (as far as humanly possible), but in this case you’ve got the wrong guy. Maybe this kind of humor is something that we should be more careful about, as it does hurt people anyway, but that doesn’t automatically put him on the same level as truly hateful people, and I wish there was a better way to differentiate and address what we’re dealing with. (To quote some random commenter on some random site, “it’d be nice if the instant reaction was ‘let’s investigate’ and not ‘let’s outrage’,” but I’m sure if I was unfamiliar with that branch of comedy, I would’ve been instantly outraged aswell.)
I don’t think a “which superhero would you like to fuck” poll necessarily has to descend into fratboy remarks; there are ways to talk about how sexy you think a character is without devolving into ‘hurr hurr I picked this picture because her tits were biggest in this one’.
The thing about that article, though, is that the way we treat women in fiction is a reflection of the way we treat women in the real world. I just think that it’s obvious that anyone who thinks this is funny or was meant to be funny or who tells me that I’m just looking into it too hard has never had to worry about things like sexism or objectification. When I get catcalled, I don’t feel attractive or empowered, I feel like less of a person, because a stranger has reduced me to ‘legs in a skirt’ instead of a complete human being. So, even if the original ’50 superheroes’ post was meant to be was joking, which I still don’t believe but for a second let’s pretend I do, instead of me being amused by it all it does is depress and disgust me because here are a bunch of insanely powerful women, superheroes, and they still can’t escape being objectified by a horny guy who makes their bodies fodder for his fantasies. If these women, who are far stronger than I am in pretty much every way, can’t get respect, what are my chances? So where a guy might agree with the commentary or at least be amused by it, to me it is just another depressing reminder that no matter how good I am at anything, my first and most important asset is my looks and that is how society measures my worth.
I do want to point something out about your last point, though. Being a ‘nice person’ does not automatically mean you can’t be racist or homophobic or sexist. Not all homophobes are card-carrying Westboro Baptist members; pretty much everyone thinks that those guys’re wrong. It’s casual homophobia like calling something stupid ‘gay’ or qualifying something as ‘no homo’ (because if it were ‘homo’ it’d be bad) that really perpetuates negative attitudes in society, because the people who do it are ‘nice’. So you hear stuff like “He can’t be racist, he’s a nice guy, not a Klansman”. That’s not how it works. Nice people can perpetuate harmful ‘ism’s much more effectively than zealots can.
Of course it doesn’t have to, but I felt that was the most obvious thing about the post, that it was supposed to be just that. He asked people (his fans, no less, as apparently nobody else really knew about him or his blog before he was announced as director of GotG, so it’s safe to assume that the people who were reading his post knew exactly what they were looking at and how to classify the remarks) to vote for who they’d like to fuck, and then he commented on their choices, poking fun at them, at himself, and the comics the characters came from. I mean, it might not be that obvious for the most part, but for example that comment about Flash was due to the fact that mostly guys voted for him; Tigris he called easy because of shitty writing, which I guess is supposed to be a quip about how her authors couldn’t write a full-fledged woman to save their lives (I’m guessing, I am not that familiar with her); that thing about Elektra was about a fan that made her costume flutter in the wind which was supposed to give a good blowjob, not her (I mean, fan, blowjob, that’s pretty funny); that bit about Peter Parker, which was pretty hilarious in my opinion, was a comment on how people in comics don’t recognize the superheros; he called people who voted for that 15 year old on essentially being pedophiles, or her creators on sexualizing a child too much; that all adds up to this whole thing being a satirical look at how fans, writers, and he himself, no doubt, sometimes look at these women as mere objects rather than characters. I even think that there is a way to look at that remark about batwoman that would make it not *quite* as horrible, as it was a reaction to mostly men voting for a gay character, but that requires so many ifs and buts that I’m just going to agree with you there, that that was in pretty poor taste.
Regarding your personal feelings towards this topic, may I ask why you would even try to measure yourself against these characters? I mean, though it seems they are trying to better themselves in that regard, they are pretty much designed to be objectified, are they not? Ridiculously large breasts and impossible poses to show off both ass and cleavage at the same time are pretty omnipresent in comics to give the straight white male reader something to fantasize about, so I don’t think they had much of a chance to begin with. You on the other hand are a real person, who wasn’t conceived to cater to anybody’s desires and isn’t operated by a puppeteer, so I’d at least like to think that you have much more power and a much better chance to be treated respectfully.
That catcalling thing I really can’t comment on, since I’m not a woman and probably nobody would want to objectify me either way, but let me ask you this (not trying to make a point, just out of curiosity):
When you meet someone on the street, in a bar, or wherever, you don’t have anything to go on but a person’s looks, since it’s hard (though not entirely impossible) to see someone’s personality, so I’d think that you can’t really reduce someone to their appearance at that point, just choose not to get to know them beyond that after you get the chance to. Is the problem there really that it’s a response to your looks, or that it comes with the assumption that all they had to do was make their presence known for you to be all over them?
Wrapping up, I didn’t actually say that he was absolved because he was a nice person. He seems like one to me, but it’s mostly the opinions he voices when he’s not being silly for a moment that lead me to the conclusion that he isn’t a bigot but actually a rather sensible guy with what seems to be a questionable sense of humor. I actually think that his attitude towards women, both real and fictional, is a pretty healthy one, and I don’t think he should be written off because of a couple of tasteless jokes. And though I agree that just because something is supposed to be a joke doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful, I think that makes him careless at best and not immeditely a sexist or a homophobe.
I’m not going to go in depth on your qualification of his comments, and thank you for not trying to justify the Batwoman comment, but the thing about the Flash made me angry because it suggested that, because Gunn wouldn’t enjoy it, even gay guys don’t actually like having gross icky gay sex.
The reason I want to look up to these characters? Well, I want a hero who is like me, and so I hope against hope that they will be portrayed as actual people and not as cheesecake sex objects for straight guys. I enjoy reading about superheroes punching each other, which is a gender-neutral hobby, and so I am frustrated when characters I want to love are twisted into spine-snapping Escher Girl poses or made into Women in Refrigerators. The problem with this sort of portrayal is that the guys who are reading these books are not as open to admitting it’s a problem, and when real girls want to get into comics, geek guys treat them the way they’ve learned to from comics: by reviling them, accusing them of being there only for sex, objectifying them, etc. Again, this is something I have real-life experience with; I’m not just spewing hypotheticals about some mythological geek guy stereotype.
There is a difference between judging someone on their appearance at first glance (from which you can tell, They look tired, they are a goth from their clothes, they seem snooty or friendly, etc.) and looking at someone and thinking “Wow, that stranger has great tits, let me inform her from my car as I pass on the street!” It’s not about judging based on impressions, it’s about feeling owed something based on your appraisal of a person’s physical features.
It seems like we’re going to have to agree to disagree about Gunn in the end, but I would like to thank you for having a reasonable, intelligent discussion about this instead of just telling me that I was wrong and should get over it.
Seems like it. Let me just point out real quick, that what you said in the second paragraph is something that I believe he also feels strongly about, and that he is trying to do his part to better. I cannot argue that some of the ways he chooses to express that might in the end do more harm than good, but I do think his heart is in the right place, and I do prefer someone who just needs to figure out how to better express what he wants to say over someone who thinks everything is right and should stay the way it is. But that is something you’d have to make up your own mind about, should you ever feel like giving him a closer look. Either way, I can’t and won’t blame you for being upset, so… yeah, likewise and ta ta.
This is apparently a very controversial topic. The heated debates are very entertaining tho. I am against sexism and homophobia being that I’m usually at the end of those two acts but I also find them humorous. I mean some of what Gunn says in that article is unbelievably crass but that’s his right. A lot of what he says is unbelievably funny. However, he can totally be using his variety of humor to mask his true feelings. We’ve all done that, say something we mean but with levity in our tones. If he meant it as a joke or was completely serious about it but having it come off as a joke, I don’t think it should be taken against his directing/writing abilities. I mean plenty of our idols are homophobic, sexist, and downright “redneck” pieces of shit but it doesn’t make their work, of which made us fall in love with them to begin with, any less amazing. I was never going to see GotG in theaters but that’s because Marvel films can be heartbreakingly disappointing. As for boycotting the film to show how against Gunn you are, I say you should. If you feel that strongly about it, I say let your voice be heard. There are plenty of other amazing directors out there. I don’t think anyone will be missing out if Gunn was replaced. Besides, this early in the film I’m sure they’re going to switch out the director at least a couple of times. Maybe even ditch Gunn, go with Favreau (just an example), then last minute go back to Gunn. It’s a possibility.
I think that the danger of assuming this post was entirely meant in jest is that it lets Gunn off the hook for what he’s said. I mean, usually finding out that an artist I love has misogynist/homophobic/racist viewpoints tends to taint his or her work for me. I would love to see this movie because I am an eternal optimist when it comes to the MCU, so I’m really hoping that he gets the boot. If not, this’ll just have to be the Marvel movie I miss out on, and I won’t be too sad about it.
The problem I have with the “It was a joke” defense is that even if comments like Gunn’s are not meant to be taken completely seriously, they are still indicative of a cultural mindset that routinely accepts and even promotes sexism, homophobia, racism, etc. These things might be funny if there was no actual bigotry left in the world for their sheer absurdity, but many of us clearly couldn’t even tell that this was meant “in jest” because it simply seems to be on par with the rest of the cultural milieu that we currently live in.
This, exactly. If this post was meant in jest, which I still doubt, I still can’t condone it or find it funny because it hits too close to home for the abusive way people who are part of these minority groups are actually treated every day.
You don’t have to find it funny just because its humor, in fact I’m fairly sure the post was intended to be funny but turned out to be pathetically stupid. You are however accusing him of using some kind of dangerous language, which he seems to be doing for some kind of… I don’t know, brashness, but then you claim he could engage with the same brashness without having the dangerous language. I think if you read an article containing any form of the word “fuck” in the title you should expect to hear about boners, jacking off, and all manner of coarse sexual terms, and coarse sexuality as well. It seems your only valid complaint is that he was not equitable in his disgusting, juvenile humor, and if I were you I would abandon that. He’s gross, and he’s stupid, but he’s far from the ultra-misogynist, and honestly I have no interest whatsoever in hearing him as an equitable gross bastard. I don’t think ill will was in his heart, I think stupid was busy infesting his head, and to confuse the two turns a lot of people off who are far from stupid or misogynist.
Ill will doesn’t have to be intended in order to be done. Whether he consciously thought ‘I’m gonna hurt women and homosexuals by belittling their value as human beings’ or not doesn’t change the fact that that’s exactly what he did.
I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. I know that all kinds of humor don’t have to make me laugh. But I still don’t believe his post was intended as humor, no matter how many upset James Gunn fanboys try to tell me otherwise. And as far as ‘brashness’ is concerned, it’s one thing to say “I find this person attractive, and would be totally open to sex with them” and a total other thing to totally demean their character. For Steph Brown he could have said, idk, “She’s athletic so I bet she’d be really flexible in bed” or literally anything besides “she’s a teen mom so we know she’s easy”.
I’m not some sort of fainting damsel, nor am I the sex police; I have encountered ‘coarse’ sexual terms on the internet before, and even used them in my own writing, both creative and analytical. So I know it’s possible to use them, and even do it humorously, without being horrible about it.
My complaint is not that he was unequal in being disgusting, but that his disgustingness enforced and perpetuated any number of terrible stereotypes, myths, and habits in the comics community and the wider world (i.e. lesbians can be ‘cured’ with a good dicking, shaming sexually active women, exotifying women of color, women are only good as sex objects, being gay is gross and something to be made fun of, etc.). By no means do I want him to do the same thing to the straight men on the list. I want him to step back and realize that he is being disgusting and that there are ways to employ coarse humor without demeaning half the population, or at least for him to be punished for being disgusting by losing his director’s seat for GotG.
Okay, no need to attack me personally, I neither know James Gunn nor do I think I at all like him after reading that poll, I read it only because of this post indicating its horrible nature, and I needed to see for myself. My point was you are overreacting in such a way as will alienate intelligent people who would otherwise support the gender egalitarian movement (ie. Feminism), a practice that seriously threatens to derail the efforts of far more important things than your offended sensibility. Now perhaps Gunn stepped over a proverbial line, but most of what he had to say was only a crude expression of heterosexual male desire. You have no right to shame him for saying he wants a ninja to give him a fancy blowjob, no more than he has the right to shame a woman for wanting Gambit to eat her out. If he is dumb enough to provide only his commentary on a list that includes heroes on it that are not heterosexual females, then one would have to be more painfully stupid than he to NOT expect a complete non-comprehension of the other sexualities. If he doesn’t want to have anal sex with the Flash and he expresses that, you have no right to shame him for it, just as he has no right to shame women who don’t want to have anal sex with him. The poll itself was clearly meant to show what many peoples sexual desires were towards comic book heroes, however his commentary was an expression of only his sexual desires. Should he have tried to express sexually about men and homosexual women? No. Does that make him a sexist homophobic jerk? No, providing his intentions were not evil. Do you know what his intentions were? God no. There are real misogynists in this world, who are really doing horrible things to women, James Gunn isn’t one of them.
Oh and by the way, I saw that you called some innocent people “butthurt” before you edited it. Classy.
I have been swamped with commenters reviling my opinions and calling me an idiot since this post went up. I wasn’t referring to you specifically as butthurt, but I do feel like some of the responses I’ve gotten qualify. I’m sorry if you were personally offended.
I still hold that there is a way to discuss characters you are not attracted to personally without being offensive about it. And I think perpetuating the idea that women are sperm receptacles and nothing more, and that being gay is either gross or curable, is damaging regardless of his intentions. It looks like we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: his intention was/is irrelevant. Whether he set out with the deliberate choice to devalue his fellow human beings or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s exactly what he did. If he felt no sexual attraction to the men on this list he could have left no commentary on their inclusion, as he did for several of the entries, and avoided affronting homosexual males at the very least. Instead he went out of his way to attack his fans who voted for The Flash by saying that they must want the sex done as fast as possible because clearly no one can enjoy any sex that isn’t between one man and one or more women.
This complete flippancy and arrogance with regard to anyone’s sexual desires but his own is what gives the careful reader a clue into the probability that this is not a joke, this is not satire, and this is not harmless exaggeration. It indicates that his stance is not merely “I enjoy sex and crude humor” which is indeed nothing to complain about, but rather “I don’t think anyone but big-titted heterosexual females need to be having sex and I’m going to say so in the most vile ways possible” This man’s commentary is offensive not only because it is selfish and makes sex into an act where only one person matters (which is enough reason to raise a complaint), but because it goes the extra mile to insult anyone who doesn’t fit into his world where people are only attracted to the opposite sex by insinuating that gay men don’t actually enjoy sex with each other and all a gay woman needs is a man to fuck her and teach her what she really wants.
It’s really strange how people have just now googled James Gunn. Did anyone see PG PORN? Or SUPER? Or SLITHER? You have every right to be offended, but he’s established a body of work that’s not to be taken seriously. It’s very juvenile and edgy in an obvious way, but it’s all bad jokes.
I feel like there’s a line between edgy and just plain bad. I will readily admit that I’m not familiar with Gunn’s other work, but if his output is juvenile, ‘edgy’, and full of bad jokes, is it really something that Disney is going to want to endorse? Is it something that belongs in the MCU (granted, the Hulk movie wasn’t great, but Avengers set the standard pretty damn high for future movies)? Although this ’50 Superheroes’ business has made me want to see him taken out of the GotG directing chair, learning more about him/his work makes me wonder how he got in the chair to begin with.
Humor should not be at the cost to someone else, if it’s offensive, it is not funny. Also, satire has to be so over the top that it can be nothing else but satire (see Jonathon Swift’s A Modest Proposal). This, however, is extremely crass but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) it’s not being crass enough to be satire. It is also too sensitive a topic (in case you have not noticed) to be satirized.
If a female director, writer, or comic book artist made a similar post full of comments about Captain America’s ass and wanting some Tony Stark/Bruce Banner Science Bro love, there would be so much outrage over how she’s a “fake” and exploiting beloved characters. The double standard is probably what pisses me off the most, next to the excuses we make for those who promote racism, misogyny, rape, and homophobia even in jest.
This. Well said.
Ok so James Gunn is a sophomoric sexist jerk… So what. It’s not like you have to hang out with him. Should I burn all my Lovecraft books because I found out he was a racist? Should I never watch Mad Max or Braveheart again because Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite? Should we boycott the Ender’s Game movie because we disagree with Orson Scott Card’s views on homosexuality?
It would be a wonderful world if everyone who created something we liked was a paragon of virtue whose views and actions we could laud and aspire to, but the world doesn’t work that way.
I’m not saying the movie will be good, or that it will be bad. The movie will be the movie. And if Gunn is a jerk fine I won’t buy him a beer if I ever meet him. and really that’s all the effort that needs to be spent in this regard.
Basically, yes, If a creator is a bigot and still getting support from his works, (so not Lovecraft because he’s dead) then it can make a statement to refuse to support them financially. I won’t be seeing the Ender’s Game movie for that very reason, although I enjoyed the series. Knowing that a writer whose books encourage peace and acceptance of other unlike people is a raging homophobe very much ruined that series for me.
The reason I am calling Gunn out on his behavior is because this sort of attitude toward female characters/queer people is not something we need to perpetuate in the MCU where there are proportionally few ladies and no gay characters. If this is how he feels about women/LGBT people, or in the unlikely case that this is just intended to be funny and not serious, how will that show in a movie that only has one female hero in it already? Superhero movies don’t need more of the same stereotypical tripe directed at female characters.
see I’m cool with not going to the movie because it’s bad or it doesn’t provide you with the content you want. that’s a fair cop.
I just don’t think you can’t make a jerk not an jerk by pointing at them and saying “your’re a jerk and I don’t want to give you money” at best you get an jerk who acts like they’re not an jerk as long as someone is looking at them.
You want to make the world a better place the only thing you can really do is be a better person yourself. anything else is just so much fluff.
I mean, it worked with Chik-Fil-A? They may not have actually stopped thinking homophobic things, but the massive public outcry brought about by ‘enough people pointing at them and calling them jerks’ did stop them donating to anti-gay groups. If we don’t hold public figures accountable for their jerkiness, how can we expect them to get better or set an example for what we will and won’t accept?
It may have stopped the owner of Chick-fil-a from donating to those causes through the company but I doubt it’s changed his mind on the matter at all. If anything he’s just moved into the shadows. and I don’t really see that as change.
At the end of the day you can’t make people “get better”, if they’re not committing a crime then you don’t get to have a say in who they are or how they act. All you can do is live your life as you will. Me I just try to not piss in the other guy’s cornflakes
Well, call me an optimist but I just don’t think that way, it seems kind of hopeless. I’d rather make waves and try to encourage people to change for the better even if they probably won’t, because otherwise I’m letting them perpetuate the badness in society that actively discriminates against me. But you’re welcome to your opinion. Thanks for commenting.
I see your point. What I said probably does come off as defeatist. I guess to clarify what I mean. I can’t make someone be not sexist. But I can try to be not sexist myself and in my actions and be happy in my choices.
And hopefully my example will inspire others to act as I do. and if they do not I can’t waste my time trying to force them to see what I think is the error of their ways. Is it still good if they’re only acting good to keep from offending me.
at the end of the day though I do agree that James Gunn can be an abrasive idiot.
This quote from a review of Gunn’s game “Lollipop Chainsaw” (at the noted Humorless Feminist website, Gamespot.com) kinda gets at why saying “it’s obviously just satire” doesn’t get the job done as an explanation:
“the game makes a clear attempt to take the pure pandering of Onechanbara (another game about scantily clad zombie killers) and twist it into something cheeky rather than downright crude. The first hour, however, takes these themes to the limits without doing much to outright parody them, which can be mightily uncomfortable. Eye-opening remarks about Juliet’s breasts and anorexia references have shock value, but many of these early “jokes” are hardly clever. ”
I should note the review does credit Gunn with achieving a better balance later in the game, but that’s the point: sometimes satire works and sometimes it doesn’t, and simply adding a wink and a nod that says “hey guys I don’t really mean it!” is not enough to make effective satire. And when it fails, it can easily wind up just reinforcing the crap you’re supposedly satirizing.
So, yeah. No. If Gunn’s list was an attempt at satire, it was a failed one.
Thanks for commenting! I totally agree about satire. A ham-handed attempt at satire can turn out worse/more insulting than just saying a bunch of offensive things non-tongue-in-cheek.
I’m getting real sick of this “ironic” and “satire” and “overreaction” crap! Why can’t people just drop all these ridiculous pretenses and just accept that this is inexcusably and honestly a load of sexist shit and that this guy is fucking disgusting?
I feel like if Gunn thought it was ‘ironic’ or satirical he would have stood by it rather than taking the post down. That smacks of being embarrassed to me.
I absolutely agree with you both. There are a lot of accusations by commenters on the topic that people are ‘cherry-picking’ Gunn’s statements out of context, and that we’re all overreacting as a result. What I’m finding, though, is that this is not an isolated incident on his behalf. By which I mean that Gunn didn’t just get carried away on one post about comicbook characters because the topic was sex and he was trying to be funny. There was Gunn’s dismissal of critics who protested Lara Croft’s reboot as a rape victim over at destructoid (he said they were being silly and overreacting – seems a common theme aorund here), and many people have questioned Gunn’s portrayal of women in Lollipop Chainsaw. But in truth, you only have to go over to his most recent blog post to find another gem: http://www.jamesgunn.com/2012/06/26/the-beezel-letters
In this blog, Gunn has posted screenshots of some emails between him and a music-industry woman. The woman, Jessica, wrote him to say that her department didn’t want the title of a song (for the film they were all working on) to include the use of ‘gay’ as an insult. He replies with suggestions for alternate titles that include:
‘Rape is the New Black,’ ‘Faggots’ and ‘Chickety Chickety Chopsticks (That’s Chinese For I Love You)’.
I KNOW he thought he was being funny, and just using further slurs for shock value. But, by using nasty humour filled with slurs like this, what he was really doing was trying to ridicule Jessica (and/or her department) for her ‘humorless tone’ and for daring to find the original title to be unacceptable.
I don’t care if the song they’re referring to was just about a ridiculous cat, or that the poll that’s stirring up controversy was just about comic book characters he and his fans like to imagine having sex with, or that Gunn might have intended for it all to have been funny. What concerns me is his use of sexist, homophobic, and other derogatory language, and the fact he doesn’t seem to see the problem. If James Gunn is going to be in control of a franchise as huge as Guardians of the Galaxy – and in control of the portrayal of characters (especially female ones) that are bound to have a huge impact on our popular culture – then I think it is vital that we are having this discussion. We need to make it very clear to him and everyone else that there is definitely a f***in problem.
Although I appreciate a female fan who identifies as feminist weighing in, I honestly can’t look at Gunn’s original post as satire. For something to be satire, it needs to go above and beyond what it’s making fun of and be transformative. Dark Horse Comics editor Rachel Edidin commented about this and said, “There’s a significant slice of the comics community that is that misogynist and homophobic, and says so loudly and frequently. It’s telling, I think, that so many people took what Gunn wrote at face value: this is material we’ve seen before, again and again, presented seriously.” She added: “An over-the-top parody of misogyny falls pretty flat when you’re doing it in a context where a lot of the people in positions of relative power and visibility, as well as significant vocal blocs, are actually that misogynist.”
Anyway, thanks for bringing that link to my attention.
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Well said, Lady Saika. I don’t think there’s much more I can add to all these comments except for, on the point that he was supposedly joking, why don’t we just look at how many of his readers took it? In the comments, you can see many fellow neck-beards agreeing with him, or adding their own similar commentary. Clearly they did not take it as satire.
Thank you, and thanks for commenting! 😉 That’s a really valid point. If it’s so, ah, ‘well-disguised’ as to be undifferentiable from actual misogynistic assholery, then it’s sort of undefensible as ‘satire’.
How do you feel about his apology?
Lady Saika has written an article about his apology here: https://ladygeekgirl.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/james-gunn-apology/
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