A few months ago 20th Century Fox Productions was advertising X Men Apocalypse. The following image was an ad for the billboard.
The image shows Apocalypse, a powerful villain, choking Mystique.
As we can expect of today’s politically correct leftist climate, feminists were offended.
Feminists found this image too “problematic” because:
- They interpreted it as a usage of violence against women to advertise a film
- A naked woman being choked by a man much larger than her has implications of male dominance and superiority
- Broadcasting violence against women through such popularized ways normalizes it and desensitizes the public to such an issue.
Over-Interpretation Of Modern Feminists
When one hears these views, it doesn’t become very difficult to be able to connect these interpretations to the image, making it seem valid. After all we are being given a belief, and are naturally inclined to connect the dots to that belief.
However, people who do not base their views on feminism/social justice would not come to these dramatic conclusions. In other words, many modern feminists have a tendency to interpret things through the lens of gender/race dynamics.
Side note: When The Avengers film was released, my social justice feminist friends’ circle discussed a “problematic” part of the film. Can you guess which part?
They thought it was “problematic” that when Thor and Iron Man were fighting, Captain American came to save the day and halt the fight; symbolizing “United States neocolonialist agenda to give aid to the Global South which is really a disguise for imperialism.”
This was not a commonly held interpretation at the time this discussion happened (that I’m aware of at least.) But this is simply one example of how in American/Western social justice/feminist culture there is an obsessive tendency to filter information through this paranoid lens looking out for subtle forms of symbolic oppression.
A Marvel Fan Interpretation Of The Poster
Going back to X Men. It is ironically sexist for feminists to see the poster through the lens of “man oppress woman”. This interpretation boxes Mystique into the identity of “oppressed woman,” ignoring her great feats and the significance of her character past her genitals. With all the challenges Mystique is able to overcome, she is subdued by the great villain Apocalypse. This ad shows that the villain is so great, even Mystique is helpless. In other words, you gotta see this movie because the villain is a real badass.
The Poster Can Be Feminist, Here’s How.
The following is commentary of the poster if interpretation reconciles feminism with being an X Men Fan. Warning: mental gymnastics:
Mystique is highly independent and skilled at combat. Her main ability is shape shifting. This means as far as combat goes, her skills allow her to employ deception/evasion through her shape shifting, and she is equipped with efficient martial arts.
In X Men other characters have more destructive powers. Storm is able to control the weather; Wolverine heals instantaneously and is equipped with unbreakable metal claws in his knuckles; and Cyclops shoots a large beam out of his eyes with enormous power. Martial arts pales in comparison to these abilities. Therefore Mystique is an underdog. She is not only a woman in combat constantly being underestimated by viewers and fellow characters, but she has no real destructive capabilities. Even with the odds against her, Mystique is still able to overcome other characters.
Apocalypse has been the embodiment of a deity throughout human history and he represents an ancient totalitarian. Some can consider Apocalypse and his need of total control as the embodiment of an entire human history as male dominated society and patriarchy. So when Apocalypse subdues Mystique and chokes her, what we’re really seeing is her ultimate battle as an oppressed woman against an ancient patriarchal totalitarian. While the poster has her subdued, it is still an ad which leaves more to the imagination. The question then remains: will the woman overcome the patriarchy?
In this commentary, the image becomes a representation of the epic struggle between oppressed woman and patriarchal oppression. This isn’t my personal interpretation of it. I no longer interpret everything in a feminist lens the way I used to unless it is obvious the author/director intended for it. But if you want to adopt it, the choice is yours.
It is commendable that our society has come so far in gender equality, feminists have little left to villainize within the United States, so movie posters and those who install them become noteworthy villains of apparent sexism. I call this #Firstworldproblems.
I do believe feminists should all focus their attention on Saudi Arabia and similarly repressive countries but that’s a discussion for another time.
If you’re a regular viewer of the X Men films, the “Marvel Fan Interpretation” from earlier isn’t very difficult to reach.
It’s safe to conclude the producers were not trying to reach out to men who abuse women in their lives but fans of Marvel Comics, superhero films etc. Films are entertainment products of large businesses seeking to make a profit. Intentionally promoting domestic violence through an advertisement for a film in American/Canadian/European Egalitarian-favored cultures is not good for business. Think straight.
Before applying your own interpretation to a given occurrence, first try to evaluate the intention behind the occurrence.
If you’re a feminist reading this, and you think the Apocalypse advertisement enables men to abuse women and that the executives behind these ads are innately negligent of domestic violence victims; show evidence. The burden of proof is on you.
Until then, just chill out. Focus on problems that are actually problems. We still have real oppression of women around the globe. X Men ads isn’t one of them.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to follow me at: