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‘The Boys’: Erin Moriarty Calls Out Sexist Fans Who Miss the Point

Erin Moriarty as Annie January in The Boys

Erin Moriary has been bringing Starlight/Annie to life on Prime Video’s The Boys since season 1, and her journey hasn’t always been an easy one. Annie dreamt of being a part of corporate superhero team the Seven, and when she finally gets there, she sees the sexist, horrific acts that this team engages in and just how horrible many of her “teammates” are—all part of the show’s larger commentary on the toxicity of superhero standom and those who misunderstand the lessons that comics are teaching them. So, it sadly isn’t shocking that there are fans of The Boys who miss the point completely and hate Annie in a way that just reeks of misogyny and sexism.

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That leads us to the next sad point: Moriarty sees this hatred of her character and feels the pain that the “misogynistic trolling,” as she puts it, has inflicted on the fandom surrounding The Boys and those of us who love Annie, which brings us to an absolutely incredible Medium opinion piece written by a fan of the series calling out the trolls and their hatred of Starlight.

This fan, who uses the username @butcherscanar, wrote a beautiful piece about how Annie has been sexualized by supposed fans of the series, and they go on to talk about the character and the public reception on social media, and how it is disheartening to see. Moriarty reposted it, sharing her thoughts on the response to Annie/Starlight as well as her appreciation for @butchercanary’s words.

“I do feel paralyzed. I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into this role (over & over & over again), I’ve grown UP in this character’s shoes (*emphasis on grown up — we change & evolve mentally AND physically),” Moriarty wrote. “So with that I say: a) thank you to @butcherscanary b) this does break my heart — I’ve opened up a vein for this role and the misogynistic trolling is exactly what this role (Annie) would speak out against and c) everyone’s going through their own battle(s); let’s not add to that. I will never intentionally (and ESPECIALLY) publicly, add to yours.”

Moriarty finished the caption with: “This has only strengthened my empathy muscle and to anyone who comes at me: I see you, I don’t hate you, I only empathize and forgive.”

Loving Starlight/Annie is cool actually

Annie, to me, is a fascinating character. In season 3, she spent her time constantly trying to prove to everyone around her that she was right, and guess what? She was right! No one would listen to her warnings or help her, so she went and did it herself. She broke down the sexist barriers of the Seven with the help of Queen Maeve, and the two represent the power that these women can have in the face of a team that doesn’t care to uphold the values they project out into the world.

It’s a great commentary on society as a whole, and especially supposed fans of the superhero genre. So, to see fans (particularly male fans) watch The Boys and have all of the commentary go completely over their heads—or, worse, understand the message and object to it—is disheartening. It makes it so anyone using Homelander as a meme is questionable. Anyone online with a user icon from The Boys has me raising my eyebrows. It makes the show and the fandom at large feel daunting to me, a female fan, in a way that it shouldn’t.

So, I feel for Moriarty going through this, and I applaud fans like @butcherscanary for pointing out how horrible the fandom can be. This isn’t to say that everyone has to love every single female character in the media they enjoy, but it is telling when the characters these “fans” tend to hate on are female leads who challenge their worldview.

They might think their sexism isn’t showing, but trust me, we can see it and it hurts. Moriarty shouldn’t have to fight back against the trolls, but she’s right. This is what Annie would do, too, and for those of us who love Annie/Starlight, I would gladly join Moriarty in this fight.

(via Variety, featured image: Prime Video)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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