This blog argued on May 21st that modern feminism “is a congeries of contradictory rules and regulations, which allow elites to wallow in self-congratulation for behavior that would earn others condemnation.” Activist and actress Rose McGowan has lent credence to the claim less than two weeks later by accusing 20th Century Fox of encouraging “casual violence against women.” Her reasoning: An X-Men Apocalypse billboard showed the blue mutant villain choking the blue mutant hero tasked with stopping him from destroying civilization. Fox responded within days with an apology.
Here is what Ms. Mcgowan said June 2 to The Hollywood Reporter:
“There is a major problem when the men and women at 20th Century Fox think casual violence against women is the way to market a film. There is no context in the ad, just a woman getting strangled. The fact that no one flagged this is offensive and frankly, stupid. The geniuses behind this, and I use that term lightly, need to to take a long hard look at the mirror and see how they are contributing to society. Imagine if it were a black man being strangled by a white man, or a gay male being strangled by a hetero? The outcry would be enormous. So let’s right this wrong. 20th Century Fox, since you can’t manage to put any women directors on your slate for the next two years, how about you at least replace your ad?”
Activists like Rose McGowan demand “strong” women who literally knock out hulking men with a single elbow blow to the face — just like Jennifer Lawrence’s character in X-Men: Apocalypse. When they get exactly what they want, they still complain.
Jennifer Lawrence has punched and kicked her way through a gauntlet of evil men — often with a single well-placed shot — for three X-Men movies in a row.
Now, however, activists like Rose McGowan are upset because a mutant on the verge of a world-wide holocaust had the nerve to choke his adversary. In the mind of Rose McGowan, normal Americans walking down the street are inclined to look at X-Men: Apocalypse ads and think, “Next time my wife gets out of line, I’m going to go full-En Sabah Nur on her because … 20th Century Fox.”
Sadly, the studio gave those fishing for an apology exactly what they wanted:
“In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women.”
Reasonable people know that 20th Century Fox is not condoning violence against women, but activists like Rose McGowan are not reasonable. Hence, the apology was unnecessary and unproductive. The swarm of perpetually offended bees will now move on to another target with increased drive and motivation.
Tens-of-millions of people watched the various trailers for X-Men: Apocalypse. They witnessed female characters like Jean Grey, Storm, and Psylocke dish out plenty of punishment, and they watched a man like Charles Xavier get tossed around his own mansion like a rag doll.
Million of people saw the movie in theaters and watched Jean Grey deliver the death blow to Apocalypse. They saw Havok selflessly sacrifice himself for men and (gasp!) women.
The point is this: Activists like Rose McGowan claim to be strong, but their actions prove otherwise. Worse, they think people are so stupid that they will equate blue mutants fighting one another in a superhero movie to surreptitious approval of spousal abuse, etc.
Do not apologize to them. Do not placate them. Activists who find reasons to complain after all their demands are met (e.g., Make more action movies where 90-pound women knock out burly men with a single punch to the face) should not be taken seriously. Tell them to take a hike and they will move on to another target. To do otherwise only fuels their madness.