The Boys Skewers the Mainstreaming of White Supremacy With Stormfront
Aya Cash plays a genderswapped version of the comic book character.
SPOILER ALERT: This post reveals plot points from the first three episodes of S2 of The Boys.
The Boys is back for a second season, bringing more blood, guts, and mayhem to the small screen. The smash hit Amazon series follows a ragtag group of vigilantes trying to take down The Seven, a knock-off Justice League of superheroes serving mega-corporation Vought International. In this world, superheroes aren’t just heroes: they’re movie stars, recording artists, and brand ambassadors. But behind closed doors, the supes are rife with addiction, sexual harassers, and megalomaniacs.
The first season delved into stan culture and superhero worship, delivering a powerful analogy for the way our society revers and upholds celebrity. Season two expands on that theme with the latest member of the Seven, Stormfront (Aya Cash). Stormfront joins the Seven, where she immediately ruffles feathers with her honest candor and her ever present live-streaming. Unlike the rest of the Seven, who are heavily coached and scripted, Stormfront is off-the-cuff and knows how to use social media to enhance her image.
But Stormfront’s electric powers and her authentic social media presence belie the core of her character: she’s a Nazi. Like her comic book counterpart, Stormfront is a white supremacist, though the character has been gender-flipped in the series. But Stormfront isn’t a Red Skull-style movie villain Nazi. Instead, she represents something all too familiar: the modern and extremely online new face of white supremacy.
The election of Donald Trump in 2016 was seen as a win among white supremacy circles, emboldening the alt-right to come out of the shadows. But unlike their white hood-wearing, goose-stepping predecessors, the modern Nazi emerged in a slicked-back haircut and suit, sporting an ironic mustache. Even liberal sites like Mother Jones described alt-right leader Richard Spencer as “dapper,” while white supremacists flooded the capitol for Trump’s inauguration.
These hipster Nazis were invited on as pundits by several news networks, a move that lent them legitimacy and a larger audience. But their televised appearances paled in comparison to their online presence, where they have steadily recruited and brainwashed young people to join the alt-right. Much like Stormfront (who sports her own trendy haircut), they wrap their message of hate in anti-immigrant sentiment, vilifying other cultures and races. It’s hate speech under the guise of being politically incorrect or “telling it like it is.”
The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke described Stormfront by saying, “A lot of hate and negative thought these days, if you look online, is packaged in really slick, social media-attractive ways … It’s not like the old dudes with crew cuts in the 1960s newsreels anymore.” Kripke added that Stormfront, like modern Nazis, is looking to recruit “young people, who are trying to hook in a new generation and we sort of wanted to reflect how insidious that is.”
Stormfront quickly rises in popularity as the public rallies behind her. And as the season goes on, her relationship with Homelander (an Aryan “ideal” if there ever was one) changes and deepens. Unlike the Stormfront of the comic books, who speaks German and openly disdains other races, Cash’s Stormfront epitomizes the modern-day Nazi: a deeply dangerous, social media savvy villain.
(image: Amazon Prime Video)
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