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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s “Little Girl” Comment Is Sexist

Sam Wilson would never.

Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+.

Don’t get me wrong, the Super Bowl trailer for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier looks good. The story seems interesting, I’m down for the couples therapy between Sam and Bucky, and the action sequences look badass. What’s got me down and side-eyeing this trailer, and the property as a whole, is Sam teasing Bucky by saying, “That little girl kicked your ass.” It’s sexist nonsense that compares weakness with being a girl, and I’m not having any of it.

That “little girl” that Bucky was fighting in the trailer was Erin Kellyman’s character. She’s a 23-year-old British actress from Life, Don’t Forget the Driver, and Les Misérables. She’s also the badass from Solo: A Star Wars Story known as Enfys Nest. She’s not a “little girl.” She’s a woman—a grown ass woman who probably had to train for hours upon hours to meet the physical demands of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And she deserves respect.

Even I, having not read a single Marvel comic in years, know that whoever is going toe to toe with the Winter Soldier is trained. He’s a deadly weapon, and the only way to take down someone like him or challenge him is by training just as hard or more. So, when Kellyman’s character was taking on Bucky with two of her teammates/goons, I knew that she was trained to take on threats like him. And she proved herself by knocking him over the side of the truck.

Sam coming out of nowhere to tease Bucky about getting beat up by a “little girl” is disrespectful and sexist. It’s not even something Sam would say. He’s seen plenty of badass women fight Thanos’ forces, but all of a sudden he’s teasing Bucky for not winning a fight against a trained combatant? I really would like to see Sam say the same thing around any female Avenger, particularly Black Widow. She’d ask him to explain himself, make it awkward when he can’t, and then show him by example what a “little girl” can do.

It begs the question of who is in the writers’ room for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? *Checks IMDB.* Yup, there are three men under the series’ writing credits and no women. That’s what leads to oversights like this. Small they might be, but the impact is huge when you consider that young women will be watching this show and watching their favorite hero equating weakness with being a “little girl.” They are girls and they should never be made to feel like they are lesser for being so.

The joke about Bucky getting his ass kicked by a “little girl” is also contradictory. One second, you have Sharon Carter making me excited for her character for the first time in ever. (Seriously, I will forever stan that leather jacket/hoodie combo where she was defending herself like nothing I’ve seen before and that would make Peggy Carter proud.) And the next second you have Falcon making a joke about the Winter Soldier getting taken down by a “little girl”? Uhmmmm.

In the words of Oprah, “So what is the truth?” Because from where I’m standing, there is nothing wrong with being a girl or a woman. We’re badasses, through and through. What I do have a problem with is sending a contradictory message that one second uplift women and then make us seem like delicate flowers who can’t take on the Winter Soldier. We can. And if Kellyman’s character is any indication, she has.

(image: Disney/Marvel)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.