April162014

I mean, there are plenty of people I can call up and have lunch with but I don’t have any friends that I talk to every day. It’s frustrating because it’s my fault for not reaching out and I know that. Something I miss about high school is just hanging out with my best friends for hours at their houses doing basically nothing.

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According to the Guardian’s early review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it’s the first time Black Widow has got to be an “actual character” rather than a “voluptuous female mascot.” Unfortunately, chief Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw’s follow-up was a little less sure of this, with Black Widow then being described as a “leather-clad… ass-kicking ex-Soviet adventuress whose auburn hairstyle is matched by her distinctive fake tan-type maquillage and restrained ochre lipstick.”

I’m glad he told us about her makeup routine, because otherwise that description would teach us next to nothing about her character.

In the Independent, Black Widow is a “sultry femme fatale,” although the Telegraph gives her the inaccurate but far more positive rating of “the most (the first?) complex female role in the Avengers franchise to date.” Apparently he failed to notice Pepper Potts (40-year-old tech company CEO), the four central female characters of the Thor movies, Peggy Carter (World War II intelligence agent), Maria Hill (deputy director of an international spy agency), and half the main cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This is just a casual look at some of the newspaper reviews in the UK, where Captain America: The Winter Soldier has already been out for a week. When the movie is released in the U.S. on April 4, you can expect more of the same from American reviewers. The general consensus so far is that Black Widow, a character who receives almost as much screentime as Captain America himself, is only worth describing in terms of her appearance, and then only for about one sentence in a multi-paragraph review.

Just for kicks, I took a look at the top reviews for The Avengers, to see what America’s most acclaimed and respected cinema critics thought of Black Widow back in 2012. Bear in mind that most of these quotes are the only description of Scarlett Johansson’s performance in the entire review.

[….]

The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips went for that old favorite, “leather-clad,” while Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir didn’t even bother to beat around the bush, describing, “Scarlett Johansson in a catsuit… cocking her head just so as if to acknowledge that she’s the idealized fetish object of the 11-year-old boy within every so-called adult male.” Idealized fetish object.

Time Out didn’t even bother referring to Black Widow by name, joking that Johansson’s superhero persona was “Distracting Catsuit.” By comparison, the comments from the Hollywood Reporter (“a sultry, scarlet-haired assassin”) and Village Voice (“ass-kicking all-purpose Girl Friday”) seem positively feminist.

If you feel like playing film critic misogyny bingo when America’s first round of Winter Soldier reviews are published this week, I recommend looking out for the phrases “leather-clad” and “ass-kicker.” These are an easy way to weed out any reviewers who weren’t paying attention to the movie, because neither phrase describes Black Widow’s actual role.

[…..]

Spider-Man’s spandex costume is probably more salacious, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t wind up being described as an homme fatale by anyone with a Pulitzer.

[….] Apparently the mere concept of Scarlett Johansson in a tight outfit is so dazzlingly erotic that it bypasses some male reviewers’ conscious minds and causes them to ignore everything she says and does for the rest of the movie. The result is a series of reviews from highly respected film critics who, given the opportunity to describe each Avenger in a single sentence, replace Black Widow’s summary with the announcement, “I AM A HETEROSEXUAL MAN AND SCARLETT JOHANSSON’S BOOBS ARE AWESOME.”

Captain America, Thor, and the Winter Soldier have all filmed shirtless scenes (in Thor’s case, purely for eye candy purposes on both occasions), and Cap’s everyday outfit of choice is a white T-shirt several sizes too small for his bulging torso. Yet oddly enough, reviewers somehow manage to discuss those characters on their own terms, rather than reducing them to their component body parts and costumes.

[….]

Sadly, there’s very little sign of this character in the most easily accessible reviews of both The Avengers and Winter Soldier. Judging by the Guardian, WSJ, or New Yorker, Black Widow is more like a blow-up doll with a black belt. By their logic, if she’s wearing a tight outfit, then she must be a sexy ass-kicker, meaning that she must be the token female character, and therefore is little more than eye candy.

With that thought process in mind, it must make perfect sense to relegate Black Widow to a single sniggering comment about her catsuit, because obviously Scarlett Johansson is just there for decoration. And if you’ve read in the New York Times that Black Widow is a token female character, then chances are you’ll have internalized that opinion before you even buy a ticket. The feedback loop of misogynist preconceptions continues on, and in the end, we all lose out.

[….]

Marvel has spent several years teasing fans with the possibility of a Black Widow solo movie, which Scarlett Johansson has already said she’d be very happy to do. Luckily, she’s already well prepared for the inevitable influx of reviews that will expend a paragraph describing her body and “leather” catsuit before moving onto the substance of the film.

In an interview with Esquire magazine in 2006, Johansson was already grimly amused by being awarded the dubious honor of being Sexiest Woman Alive. “You work hard making independent films for fourteen years and you get voted Best Breasts,” she said. “What about my brain? What about my heart? What about my kidneys and my gallbladder?”

The interviewer, apparently unaware of the irony, followed this up by writing, “There is, no doubt, a fetish Website devoted to Scarlett’s gallbladder — which, by the way, fellas, is all natural.”

You just can’t win.

Every review of Black Widow in ‘Captain America’ is wrong

(via samswilsons)

(Source: adathranduil, via kirk-complex)

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Forever feeling friendless.

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fartgallery:

that person you just called a nerd? they are a giant nerd. you made a good call on that one

(via catarangs)

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(Source: opiniatre, via schro3der)

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tattooedlibrariansandarchivists:

ala-con:

Wonderful Librarian Tattoos

Inspired by these tattoos? Can’t wait? Philadelphia Eddie’s Chinatown Tattoo is offering a librarian’s discount of $10 off tattoos costing $60–$100 and $20 off tattoos $100 and up (bring your badge) during Midwinter! If you add new ink to your body (especially of the literary or book-inspired variety) at the famous tattoo shop located near the Pennsylvania Convention Center and share it on social media, don’t forget to add both the ALA Midwinter hashtag (#alamw14) and the tattoo hashtag (#LibInk) to your picture and show it off to the Midwinter masses!

Look at you guys - you’re all over the internets!

Love the last one!

(via sea-sprite)

April152014

forever-river-song:

Portraits of Toddlers Eating Lemons for the First Time

(Source: pleated-jeans.com, via drinkinaboutyou)

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