So, recently it seems that Joss Whedon was chased off Twitter. Funny that this immediately follows my post about how I wasn't finding too much value from it lately. I guess there always is the possibility that he chose to leave for reasons entirely unrelated to the hate that was spewed at him over a movie he made, but even if he did, you have to imagine it affected him. I wouldn't handle people saying those kinds of things about/to me.
The trouble with accusing people of something is it doesn't often reflect the true nature of their intentions, but it regularly reveals ours. Just to use a pretty simple example, if I call someone a jerk, I'm being a jerk just by calling them that. That's a jerk thing to do, to call someone a jerk.
People called Mr. Whedon a sexist for his portrayal of Black Widow, the main female character in the second Avengers movie. We'll ignore the fact, for a moment, that in the movie studio system, even the writer and director (or in this case, the writer/director) don't get final say in a movie. Not always. Not usually. I'd imagine, especially, not in a movie studio building an entire world for a whole cast of characters. There's more than just "this movie" happening at any minute.
Like I said, we'll ignore that though and talk about just the facts. I'll try to keep this as free of spoilers as possible, but some stuff is going to come up, so consider yourself warned.
In the movie, Black Widow has a love interest. She talks about leaving the world of fighting behind to run away with him. She also talks to this love interest about how she'll never have kids.
That's, as best as I can figure, what's considered sexist about her portrayal. That she would think about those things. That a character who spent her entire life as weapon trained to take life would regret that she'd never create life of her own. And she talks about this, with another character, a man, who's also been used as a weapon more times than he prefers. He expresses similar regret.
So all these bloggers and tweeters see this and scream "Joss Whedon is anti-feminist." Because they believe that wanting a family, falling in love, etc. are lesser feminine traits. Or at least they seem to, the way they rail against it. As if what's necessary for something to be "feminist" is for a woman to be doing things they consider masculine.
Remember how I said if I call someone a jerk, I'm being a jerk? This reads that way to me. There are how many movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Black Widow is beating up bad guys, outsmarting everyone, even remaining mysterious to nearly a fault, but when one layer of a "feminine" trait (again, I put it in quotes because it's their assumption, not mine), suddenly she's just wanting to settle down and be a house wife?
I don't think these people watched the movie. I won't argue they saw it, but I doubt they really watched. Or if they did, they spent the whole time wondering why everything was rose-colored without checking the glasses they wore into the theatre.
It's fine to say that Black Widow wasn't written the way you want. It's fine to say that her character was taken in a different direction than you'd prefer. What isn't so cool is saying that because she's a woman, she can't do or want or think or say this or that.
Because, well, that's the definition of sexism.