Comic Book Movie Sexism: Food
It's July 2021.
The MCU has been churning out movies for 13 years at this point. Black Widow finally got her first solo movie (er, despite technically being dead but let's not get into that...) and I watched the movie eager to see if Natasha would finally be shown to EAT something substantial, and with joy.
The depression sandwich (with out of date peanut butter) delicately nibbled on while crying does NOT count.
Minor spoiler, Natasha does not eat much in the entire movie.
I counted: a delicate spoon of a confectionery (ice cream? Yoghurt? Either way it's insubstantial food) where the spoon is more visible than what's on the spoon, and only a delicate lick happens.
And, she chews gum.
Oh, side note, Yelena helps herself to one of Natasha's 5 years out of date bar (candy? Protein? We will never know), unwraps it to take a bite yet it is obscured by her hands, and as she chews she is definitely not enjoying it.
I have to say, I'm disappointed.
Disappointed, but not surprised. Because the script isn't written by women, it's written by men. In fact nearly all the comic book movies are written by men, and directed by men.
Women never eat onscreen.
Let me be more specific: the women protagonists in superhero movies never eat substantial food joyfully.
I've already said that depression sandwich doesn't count.
Neither does the Shawarma scene in Avengers Assemble, because we never see the food enter Natasha's mouth, and the mood isn't what I'd call joyful (but if it had visibly been a good bite I would have allowed it).
By all means go watch the clip and see for yourself, we get the usual trick of jaw movement to pretend the actor is eating, then at the very last moment Natasha does LIFT a piece of food... only for the scene to cut out before it reaches her mouth.
Meanwhile three separate men at the table have no problem shoving food into their mouths.
Tony Stark has eaten a fair amount over the course of the MCU...
Sure, you could argue that Tony's hamburgers and donuts are on the same level as Natasha's depression sandwich. Heroes only eat when they're depressed? Great job, Disney.
But there's still the sexism of how the food is eaten. In that it's acceptable to watch a man shove food in his mouth, but not acceptable to watch a woman doing it.
Which is likely why the latter is rarely shown across all of Marvel/Disney, or DC/WB.
Wonder Woman licked an ice cream once? (Doesn't count. Dainty licks of a confectionery is not substantial food.)
Gamora sexily licked a piece of fruit once?
I've watched this scene again and again, and I've discounted it for multiple reasons. Gamora is pretending to appear at ease, by licking a small piece of fruit and being performative about it.
One could argue she isn't really eating at all, just licking, to distract Peter before she steals from him.
Also, she obscures her mouth so we the audience see nothing go in.
This is all really sad, if I'm going to be honest.
And it's not like women can't eat onscreen in Hollywood, period. Keira Knightley ate in Pirates of the Caribbean. Darryl Hannah ate a specially made vegetarian 'lobster' for Disney's Touchstone pictures.
So why aren't women superheros eating anything decent?
The only women in comic book movies taking a proper BITE of food or eating substantial food joyfully, are the villains/antagonists.
Nebula and the it's not ripe gag in Guardians volume 2.
Does it even count if she spits out the food right after the bite? Sigh.
Next, Amanda Waller eating a fine steak in Suicide Squad (2016).
Arguably, showing Amanda cutting up and eating meat is purposeful because in the scene she's also discussing her new team of disposable soldiers.
It's symbolic to show her devour meat, and Amanda is the antagonist of the movie not the protagonist.
This leads me onto the only woman protagonist in a comic book movie (that some would still call the villain/antagonist) to have broken the glass ceiling of eating food onscreen.
We all remember how enamoured the character was to have her breakfast in Birds of Prey (2020). In fact, "Harley x Egg sandwich" was practically a ship.
Is this surprising, given that the movie Birds of Prey is unique in having women in creative control from script, to director, to producer?
That has to be the difference.
Harley's relationship to food seems natural in the movie, and she is shown to eat more than once, and talks about food multiple times.
The scene at the end where Harley finally gets to eat her egg sandwich is clearly a joyful moment.
And so rare to watch in this genre.
Look at that decent bite actress Margot Robbie takes, and ask yourself when did you last see any woman in a superhero movie enjoy food like this?
This may seem insignificant to some, but it's become something that really irks me.
I was disappointed that Black Widow never got to eat anything except a sad flat expired sandwich in her MCU career.
Meanwhile, back with Harley Quinn again, she's taking a good bite of apple in the trailer for The Suicide Squad (2021).
She also talks about "going number two", and it seems that only antagonists or villains in these movies are permitted to speak about bodily needs or functions (we all remember Iron Man peeing in his suit, and even actor Robert Downey Junior described the character as "his own antagonist"), while the women protagonists get to... chew gum or delicately lick confectionery.
EDIT TO ADD:
T*RFS, R@DF*MS, BIGOTS, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE!
TRANS EXLC*SI0NARY R@DICAL F3MINISM IS NOT F3MINISM.
FEMINISM INCLUDES ALL WOMEN.
TRANS WOMEN ARE WOMEN.
FEMINISM IS INTERSECTIONAL.
BIGOTS ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.
TAKE YOUR T*RFY BS OUTTA HERE.
R@DF3MS ARE BIGOTS.
Everyone who isn't a moron r@df3m t3rf, have a nice day. 😊
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