you could have made me care about loki more by not having him use slang for vagina (“quim”) to insult black widow, not to mention the connotations of “mewling”
because i really don’t have the capacity to give a shit about characters who think genital-based and misogynistic insults make them superior
and it’s definitely not what i’m looking for in a tortured, multi-faceted, compelling villain
Slight trigger warning for rape (admittedly I don’t touch on it as much as I probably should in this).
It’s interesting to me that the word ‘quim’ caused more of an issue with watchers than the very, very overt (double)-rape-threat Loki used against Natasha (and Clint by extension). That fact seems to have completely flown under the radar, which is disturbing. I understand the significance of how vile and misogynistic Loki’s insult was but, to be honest, it paled in comparison to what he had just threatened to make Clint do to Natasha. And yet nobody is talking about that or seeing it as evidence to how truly awful Loki has devolved.
I know some people are saying “Well this word makes me hate Loki” or similar sentiments. Good. I agree. Wasn’t that the point? Loki is a complex character but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a horribly misogynistic piece of slime. We aren’t supposed to be rooting for him. He isn’t the woobie. He isn’t “poor, misunderstood Loki.” He’s absolutely despicable and this scene was pretty much designed to emphasize that point (and, yes, drive the plot forward).
I’m not sure how else this is being read, or why we’re saying (in various places throughout the internet) a writer is automatically a misogynist if he writes a misogynistic character…That isn’t how it works. Whedon’s a far cry from perfect. That’s a given but he writes well and he tends to have a point when he does a scene like this. I don’t want to debate Whedon’s feminism in and of itself. Depending on the lens, he could fall to either side of that spectrum to varying degrees and it isn’t really the point in regards to this specific piece of cinema. He is not the ideal image of a feminist, but he’s certainly not part of the He-Man-Woman-Hater’s Club either.
Loki is despicable. He’s an asshole. He’s a misogynist.* He’s complex. He’s a million other traits and, yes, some people (even feminists) are going to be drawn to his character for a million different reasons. At the very least, look at the discussions that have sprung up thanks to his character?
To be fair, I think a lot of people are viewing Loki as the Woobie, or “misunderstood” for no other reason than the fact that Tom Hiddleston is A)adorable and B)an amazingly talented actor. Loki could have sat through the movie stabbing puppies and he’d still have a fanbase thanks to those facts.
The bottom line is that Loki’s insult (and again I’m going to point out the rape-threat as well) is unforgivable, and that’s the point of it.
But what about Widow? One could argue that she’s irrelevant to this discussion. We’re talking about Loki and how vile he and his actions are. That said, it can’t hurt to look at Natasha’s reactions and how she handles Loki’s attack.
The entire discussion is held between two master manipulators. Loki’s the god of lies and Natasha is Black Widow, one of the best spies in existence. She’s known for using people’s assumptions about her in order to get what she needs from them.
When Loki goes in for the kill, he thinks he’s breaking Natasha. And to an extent, he gets his desired effect. As she says later, she’s been compromised. That said, she still comes out on top. She gets the information she was after and makes Loki look and feel like an idiot. As brutal as he is to her, she’s playing him the entire time. The moment she gets the information she wanted, she comes out of her “Oh god, you’re a monster and I’m a frail woman” act and is back to business-mode 100%. She was effected, yes, but not nearly to the extent that Loki expected and she used that against him. Put bluntly, she used his misogynistic expectations and smacked him down with them. Beautifully, I might add.
So to sum up what this scene does: Loki is cemented as a complete monster and his misogynistic expectations prove, at least in this moment, to be his undoing. Also, Black Widow is a BAMF. But we already knew that.
*: Maybe. Someone’s said he may just be using misogyny as a weapon, rather than it being part of his actual beliefs….not seeing that as being significantly better though.