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Misogynists Already Bashing Birds of Prey Without Seeing It? Where Have I Seen This Before …?

The movie isn't even out yet!

Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Outrage has taken over the internet. Women, taking over a genre typically dominated by men? Ruining the childhoods of those fans who loved the male-dominated films? How dare we females take the throne for ourselves!?

Now, what year am I writing from? Is it from the 2016 Ghostbusters movie that was torn to shreds before it even came out? Or am I talking about 2017’s Wonder Woman? Maybe it’s 2019’s Captain Marvel? Or maybe I’m looking to the future of Black Widow or what’s happening right this second with Birds of Prey.

Time and time again, it’s hard to even have an honest critical conversation about these female-led movies because of men (and some women) on the internet trashing the movie in bad faith before we even get a chance to see it.

So, let’s take a moment, buckle in, and explore why men (and again, some women) on the internet continue to be the worst.

Time and time again, we are confronted with the knowledge that in order for women to succeed in any given format, we have to fight an uphill battle to get there. Let’s look at, for the sake of argument (and because it was the most recent movie to go through this), Captain Marvel.

Prior to release, it was dragged continually by men and some women who did not even see the movie yet. They just hated the idea of Marvel, which had previously been dominated by men, having their first female lead. Maybe it was because it wasn’t Natasha Romanoff, which is a whole other subject, but it’s probably more just the idea of a woman getting literally anything. (I’m waiting for the Black Widow attacks next.)

It’s exhausting, which is the easiest way of putting it. We live in a world where any “male nerd” movie that stars a woman is going to get attacked before it’s even on its feet. Birds of Prey is getting it in multiple ways, even saying that the female leads lack “sex appeal” because … why? The men watched the trailer and didn’t like that Harley Quinn said “f*ck off” to the Joker?

When it comes down to it, I guess I want to know: When will this end? How many successful movies need to come out with women as the leads before we finally just have an acceptance of these movies? Do women need to start our own franchise and just run with it from there, in hopes that the men of the internet don’t find us?

I’d like for one female-led movie to come out without having to listen to the angry men screaming about how it’s “bad” before they’ve even laid eyes on it. And yes, I know that Wonder Woman 1984 and the unnamed Captain Marvel sequel will do well because the first installments did, but that’s because both Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel had to be rallied behind by women everywhere because of said backlash.

I would have loved to critically look at both Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel without feeling like any criticism would open the door for men on the internet to tank it and ruin whatever hope I had for sequels. (Granted, there wasn’t much about either of these movies I would change, but that’s not particularly the point.)

I, like all the men who have come before me, want to look at a movie and go, “Eh,” without fear that no other female-led movie will happen in this genre as a result. I want to have that weight lifted off me so I can go into a movie and just enjoy it without having to feel like I have to scream about it for months to counteract the jerks on the internet who hate anything that isn’t filled with white men named Chris. (Birds of Prey does have a white man named Chris though, so …)

Basically … how many successful female-led “nerd” based movies have to happen before we can stop this, frankly, f*cking stupid trend of bashing a movie nonstop just because it isn’t filled with male heroes? When will the madness end?

harley quinn and that's the tea

(image: Warner Bros.)

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Rachel is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, and wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. At least she gets to live in New York City though!