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Village Voice Writer Calls Out Commenters For Gendered Insults Against Their Guardians of the Galaxy Reviewer

*angrily* I AM GROOT.

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Part of growing up is recognizing that, even when it’s a person’s job to write about their opinions, that said opinions might differ from yours doesn’t make what you think any less valid. So when Stephanie Zacharek wrote a less-than-positive review of Guardians of the Galaxy—a movie that hasn’t even been released, mind—the Internet calmly and collectively noted her critiques and then carried on living their liveHA JUST KIDDING! They called her a harlot.

The review, which went up on the site yesterday, called the upcoming Marvel film “just a little too self-aware, too pleased with itself, to work,” and suggested that its insistence on “Fun” (with a capital F) and lighthearted action felt too pandering at times. I won’t speak to whether or not she’s right on that, because I have not actually seen the movie yet. You know, because it comes out tomorrow. But of course, that didn’t stop a herd of angry fans from descending on the Village Voice’s comment section, calling Zacharek a bunch of names,  telling her that she’s too dour to appreciate that aforementioned lightheartedness.

(My favorite? A commenter who took another to task for telling Zacharek to kill herself because of a bad review, then added: “if you’re a fan of the Marvel universe, her opinion is 100% worthless, as is any woman’s for that matter… ” Aw man, you know what’s Fun with a Capital F? That bait-and-switch comment right there. Just oodles of it.)

Because these are the types of jerks who only respond to accusations of sexism when they’re being thrown about by a man, Village Voice film and TV critic Alan Scherstuhl decided to put together his own piece today, entitled “A Note to the Guardians of the Galaxy Fans Who Are Calling Our Critic a ‘Harlot.’” Among other things, he retaliates against some of the particularly onerous comments that you can still find on the original review and gently reminds his readers of a recent Vulture interview with Brian Michael Bendis, where the comic book writer publicly denounced those who “go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion.”

Scherstuhl stresses that this isn’t about not being allowed to criticize a reviewer, but how you choose to do so and why. He writes:

Please, assail us and our reviews as much as you want. We love a good dustup, especially with thoughtful folks. We can take it. (And, if you’re curious, you can hear Zacharek discuss Guardians of the Galaxy with critic Amy Nicholson and myself on the latest episode of our Voice Film Club podcast — but, be warned, she proves herself to be plenty fun, and she makes it through the full 45-minute show without once sneaking off to perform acts of harlotry.)

But remember that when you eschew argument and instead act like sexist pricks you not only encourage all of the lonely-dude stereotypes that comics creators and fans have been working to shake for decades — you make Steve Rogers cry.

Or, as Village Voice commenter lamontcranberries put in the section of Schertstuhl’s article:

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See, now that’s using the comments section for good!

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