In episode 3 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jen Walters ends up twerking with Megan Thee Stallion. This has made some people irrationally angry.
The end credit scene featuring Jen Walters and Megan Thee Stallion was largely a throwaway scene that was born of Tatiana Maslany’s love of the singer. I’m not particularly a fan – the only song of hers I have is her collaboration with Lil Nas X – but I was happy for Maslany. She got to do something fun with someone she admires. How cool! Must have been a fun day on that set.
Much of the Internet, however, did not find it so cool. Apparently, it’s sexist, degrading, sloppy, and offensive. I wish I was kidding, but I’ve seen more than one person say this signals the end of the MCU. Don’t believe me? Just type in “She-Hulk twerk” or “She-Hulk twerking” into Twitter or Reddit’s search tools and start scrolling. The rage is endless.
Ironically, the rage looks a lot like the rage that was directly called out in the show itself. The fact that these two things are in the same episode is, quite frankly, amazing. It’s almost like the writers saw this coming.
It’s Mostly Men Complaining
Based on what I’m seeing on Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube, it largely seems like it’s men who are complaining about this scene. They’ve gone so far as to say that it’s ‘disrespectful to women,’ despite tons of women coming in and informing them that they are massively incorrect. But who are these women to judge what is and isn’t disrespectful to their own bodies? The impression I get is that these dudebros prefer the womenfolk just shut up and listen to them. Clearly, the men are the experts on what is and isn’t sexist. (For those who can’t pick up on it, this is, in fact, sarcasm).
Being told what is and isn’t appropriate with their own bodies isn’t at all a new phenomenon for women or other AFAB people. Hell, you just have to look at recent political headlines in the United States to see that men are still trying to regulate our bodies. Telling us what’s best for ourselves is a long-standing tradition.
The Conversation Among Women is a Bit More Nuanced
The debate among women about whether twerking is exploitative or feminist has been going on for years. Some feel that it’s an empowering way of reclaiming their sexuality, while others feel it invites overtly sexualized attention. But we also can’t ignore the role race plays in this discussion. Twerking is a dance style popularized primarily by Black women. A lot of the complaints about it from women are largely from white women.
Twerking, along with all sexual performances, can be both empowering and exploitive and are widely acknowledged as not mutually exclusive. In fact, the ways in which women present their sexuality and take it back from the male gaze is a popular topic with young feminists.
White feminists (and white people in general) have been policing the lives and bodies of people of color for years, telling them what they can and can’t find liberating or empowering, and then being offended when told they are wrong. The controversy surrounding twerking […]), mostly has to do with the fact that a great number of white women really can’t do it, and therefore can’t adapt and apprehend the sexuality of it.
The Show is Age-Restricted
One of the chief complaints I’m seeing is that twerking is sexual and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is meant to be family-friendly. This is wrong. I can’t even believe I’m about to spend a couple of paragraphs arguing this point because it’s so obvious, but here we are.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, along with a few other Disney+ shows, such as Moon Knight, are rated TV-14. They are locked behind a pin code that the subscriber to the policy sets up. The show already discussed sexuality starting with the very first episode. Jen Walters talks about Captain America’s sex life at length at least twice in that episode, so this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Parents can easily keep their children away from the dastardly twerking if they choose to do so. Just don’t give them the pin code.
Additionally, now that Marvel Studios has brought Fox properties into the MCU, there are R-rated films in the lineup. Deadpool, for example, is definitely not for children. And yes, that’s canonically part of the MCU now. Don’t forget he’s chilled with Korg. And if that doesn’t seal the deal for you, Deadpool 3 is coming. Yes, that Deadpool. The one with sex jokes and graphic violence. He’s canon now, guys.
There Are Actual Sexist Issues in the MCU
While men are raging at She-Hulk twerking and decrying it as sexist, there are actual sexist issues in the MCU that they could be complaining about. Avengers: Age of Ultron had both the Prima Nocturna joke, and that whole messy issue about Natasha’s reproductive system. The single woman on the original Avengers team, Black Widow, has endured years of toxic sexism, in fact.
Also, there was that whole thing where Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter sent out a now infamous email laying out the reasons why they shouldn’t have a woman-led superhero film:
“1. Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad. 2. Catwoman (WB/DC) – Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batmanfranchise. This film was a disaster. 3. Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million. Again, another disaster.Best,Ike.”
It took eleven years for a woman to lead an MCU film. The sexism was baked in from the start. But are these people complaining about that? No. They’re mad about twerking.
Don’t pretend your argument is feminist if you are ignoring all these long-standing feminist issues within the franchise. You only care about feminist issues when you can twist it to belittle women, which is actually quite sexist. Though I’m sure they don’t see it that way. They will, once again, tell women what is and isn’t sexist. Because they think they’re the authority on all things.
Time to Get Over It
At the end of the day, this scene is easily skippable for those who are bothered by it. The end-credit scene has no bearing on the plot, so you can just turn off the episode before you get to it. You don’t have to suffer through a decade of sexism permeating the franchise, including important plot points, like the rest of us have. If we could deal with all of that mess and still be fans of the MCU, you can power through this one skippable scene.
Honestly, how long can one complain about a big green lady shaking her butt? Even one day has been too long. It’s time to get over it and move on with your life. There are more important things to worry about. I promise.
Stay tuned for our weekly reviews of the series here.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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