Disney (and Marvel) hate your mom

So I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and while it was a lot of fun, and I am not discouraging you from seeing it if you enjoy space action adventure, I do however have one eye- rolling complaint.
Guess who dies in the first ten minutes of the movie?
My question is (and I’m not the first person to ask this): why does a woman have to die in order to make the male protagonist sympathetic, give them purpose and, well, character? Can’t they just make the choice to be noble, brave and decent without the death of a woman? (This is actually such a phenomenon in comics that it’s been given a name – it’s called the Women in Refrigerators plot device. Because of an instance where Green Lantern’s girlfriend was literally killed and put in the refrigerator, thus giving him motivation to fight evil. Sick fucking shit, right?)
At best this is just lazy writing, and emotionally manipulative. At worst it’s out-right misogynistic.
Like I said I’m not the only person or the first person to have said this. But I will continue to say it.
Until society stops using women to sell products, to be sex objects, and to be killed off as plot devices to motivate men to be superheroes, we will never be respected. And millions of us standby, shrug and let it happen.
Fuck Disney. Fuck them up their stupid asses.
(I am nothing if not eloquent, darlings).

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20 responses to “Disney (and Marvel) hate your mom

  1. Dude, really? I saw it yesterday and thought it was okay but how many other movies do you specifically remember where this plot device has been used in this way? I mean it’s a general plot device, no? Kill off some father/mother/kid to give the protagonist some motivation. I think it’s pretty much shamelessly manipulative as a technique no matter who the expendable loved one is. Lazy lazy writing.

    Movie made me laugh though.

    • Excluding the fairytale adaptions which are based on stories that are hundreds of years old, finding Nemo the Fox and the hound and Bambi just off the top of my head. As for Comics, Gwen Stacey In Spider-man, Karen Page in Daredevil are the two big ones that come to mind. If you are interested in reading more, check out a website called women in refrigerators.
      I agree with you that the death of the loss of somebody can be an important plot factor, but too often it’s used as a can of instant sympathy/character development. “just kill off his mom everybody will feel sorry for him”.

      • No. I mean that the plot device of killing off or threatening a character, no matter who it is, is a lazy manipulative plot device and I don’t much care for it. Personally, I think the device of putting a child in peril is despicable and low if it’s used just to evoke sympathy for another character. My personal beef, I guess.

      • Ah, well I write horror, so I’ve killed my share of fictional characters. I would like to think that I treat each death with horror rather than triviality. I may have failed in this, of course, but I do keep it in mind.

      • You’ve killed kids in your fiction? Just curious. I’m sure there’s a place for that, but it has to be done really well for it to work for me.

      • I have one story focused around a mother and her daughter, trying to escape a plague, and neither of them make it out alive. In CHUK, the serial novel I’m writing, there is a child murderer. It’s not pretty. There is also an actual supernatural monster in the story, but it was important to me to have the human villains be more monstrous than the actual monster.

  2. Pingback: Disney (and Marvel) hate your mom | Being MG·

  3. Thanks for pointing this out, Helena. I don’t know that it’s always lazy writing to use this technique, but it is certainly lazy writing to always use this technique. So, I’ve reblogged you. Let the crusade continue.

    Kindest regards,
    Marie Gail

    • I love the way you phrased that. As I think about it, death as a plot device is incredibly powerful, which is why I think it shouldn’t be trivialized or over-used. Hamlet begins with the death if his father, and the whole play hinges on that.

  4. Is this a chicken and egg thing though, H? Is the device lazy or is it catering to lazy? Does it create a demand or supply to the demand that ispre-existingn? What, if anything, as an alternative would switch on a largely asinine, mouth-breathing, spoon fed, entitled, just-give-me-what-I-want audience? Not that I disagree with you in theory but my observation of real life is that there is little that motivates people towards great acts anymore…even the grisly loss of someone close.

    • I like the way you think — death should be full of complex emotions, and yet it’s being used as a common, cliche plot device that everyone understands. “His parents were killed by a villain, of course he’s going to make a costume and fight crime — it’s the only logical thing to do!”

      • Exactly! The very fact that we somehow accept as “logical” and worse still, noble, a person who fabricates an entire clandestine persona, intent on revenge begs the question as to why we don’t let criminals kill each other with impunity? It’d be a lot cheaper. It’s not easy to discern anymore whether such a “cliched plot device” as you rightly put it is art, art imitating life, or life imitating art imitating life. It does make me wonder whether or not guys like me and your late brother-in-law shouldn’t get around in masks and capes though…hmm…

      • Absolutely! And when the situation called for it you’d both unleash your alter-egos, Jessica & the Urchin, and take care of business. Of course, such distressing elegance should not have to drive, let me know if you ever need a Kato like chauffeur.

      • Only if you’ve got moves like Bruce Lee, darling. Does Australia have its own martial arts? Or is it mostly just headbutting and kicking people when they’re on the ground?

      • Hmm, I see your point. No, no nation defining fighting style here, but nevertheless we should be approached with caution, after all, we ARE the only the only nation that shoots and eats the animals on it’s Coat of Arms

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