Joss Whedon Discusses Online Misogyny And Gives Advice To Feminist Men

And just a pinch of yelling at Idris Elba.
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If you’re Joss Whedon, you’re likely to be asked about two things in interviews these days—Marvel movies and feminism. Find out what the director had to say about some of the misogyny he witnesses online.

Speaking with Vulture on the red carpet at an Equality Now event recently, Whedon discussed his reaction to seeing people attacked based on their gender. You may remember he stepped into the swamp that is Gamergate on Twitter and supported the work of Anita Sarkeesian. Here’s what he had to say:

You know, it’s one of those things that’s always surprising. I was raised by a very strong woman, I didn’t know feminism was actually a thing until I left home and found out the country didn’t run the way my mom’s house did. So I have this goldfish, idiot, forgetful thing in that every time I’m confronted with true misogyny, I’m stunned. I’m like, Really? That’s like, I don’t believe in airplanes. It’s like, What century are you from? I don’t get it. So usually I’m shocked, then occasionally amused, then occasionally extremely not amused, but once I get over the shock, it’s very clear that misogyny in our own culture — and not just where they perform genital mutilation and marry off 10-year-olds — runs so deep. When I see this hate bubbling up towards any kind of progress, my reaction is twofold: First, it’s horror, and then, it’s delight, because you don’t get this kind of anger unless real change is actually happening. It is a chaotic time. It’s an ugly time because change is happening. It would be lovely to be living after the change has happened.

I agree with Whedon here—change is happening. They also asked if he had any advice for men who may be uncomfortable calling themselves feminists:

Action is the best way to say anything. A guy who goes around saying “I’m a feminist” usually has an agenda that is not feminist. A guy who behaves like one, who actually becomes involved in the movement, generally speaking, you can trust that. And it doesn’t just apply to the action that is activist. It applies to the way they treat the women they work with and they live with and they see on the street.

Sadly we’ve seen both the street and online harassment combine for one nasty result.

Vulture also managed to ask about that Heimdall/Loki Avengers: Age of Ultron leak:

Did you have to send a scolding “Tsk, tsk” email to Mr. Elba?

Um, should he receive an email from me, there might be an attitude of scold.

I’m going to keep “attitude of scold” in my back pocket for the next time I need to send a stern email.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image via Helga Esteb /

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Jill Pantozzi
Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."