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This was quite a journey! I spent the better part of a day going back and forth with a guy that I was not entirely sure was for real at first, then I absolutely got fooled, and then I realized I got fooled. It was fun. The guy said some LEGITIMATELY funny stuff when he was “in character.” And it all ended in a way that I felt good about.

It’s pretty much all laid out in the screencaps, But let me elaborate here:

HEY YOUNG MEN! I know it seems like women complain a lot about how they are represented in media, including fiction, and how it seems like they want entertainment tailored specifically to them, and how they seem to want ALL of pop culture to be politically correct or feminist-ized or whatever it is you think they want, but really, what’s happening is that women are tired of seeing garbage women characters in most of our entertainment. And they’re wondering, Would it really be so much trouble to make more realized female characters? You could still have all your CGI and action and science fiction and drama and swords and stuff, but the female characters could be a little more fleshed out and interesting. And the entertainment would still be good and would, in fact, be better.

Guys, instead of  thinking, “Hey, not everything has to be politicized,” try thinking, “I wonder what it would be like for me if the situation were reversed, and how I’d feel if in the vast majority of the entertainment I consumed, the male characters were few and far between and then mostly used as talking props & plot devices. I wonder if I’d get kinda tired of that and occasionally I’d say something, even a little joke, just to ease the annoyance a little.”

Fellows. Listen to the women in your lives. Ask them questions. It will change your perspective for the better. Years ago, I got into a brief argument with two female friends of mine about a movie— it does not even matter which movie— that they viewed as sexist and I did not. I couldn;t even fathom how they could see it that way. I tried to argue that it was not sexist. In recounting our discussion to another party, it was pointed out to me that they might have a different viewpoint based on their life experiences, and that it was not for me to tell them that their interpretation was incorrect. And that I was probably getting defensive about it because if the movie was sexist, it followed that my liking it would make me appear sexist. And that’s when I realized that none of this was about me, and maybe I should shut up and listen and try to understand. And also to be more aware of things like this and develop not just my sympathy, but my empathy.

I will only ever be able to empathize so much with women, because my experience as a white male in America is vastly different from that of anyone who is not that. But I can relate to:

  • not being taken seriously
  • not being listened to
  • being dismissed
  • being condescended to
  • having something explained to me that I already understand

And I having had those experiences, I am now more inclined to TRY to understand where someone is coming from if they are telling me they are having a similar experience with our culture.

So guys: just try. You don’t even really have to dig that deep. Think about your own experiences as a person, then apply that to someone else. It gets easier the more you do it, and it makes your life better.

Anyway, I hear Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is pretty good! 

Paul: No idea if you’ll ever read this, but I just want to say thanks for getting it. We just want to be heard.

p.s. You made me laugh out loud at work. My PA thinks I’m insane but I’m dating Tony Stark so my sanity’s up in the air to begin with.











I feel a little asinine making a statement as broad and obvious as this, but the War changed the US and American culture substantially. Like, the US in 1939 was a very different place from the US in 1946. There was a shift in cultural values and political doctrine after WWII spurred on by the Cold War, justified by the oodles of money the country made off of weapons production and bolstered by the emerging popularity of television, which was used quite effectively as a tool of propaganda. I mean, a belief in American Imperialism had always been around in the US - as had theocratic Puritanical social mores - but their prominence in the late 40’s through to the early 60’s was not a progression of pre-War culture, but a reaction to America’s sudden position as THE Global Military and Economic Superpower.

The problem Avengers movie fandom seems to run into is that they place the cultural experience of Steve Rogers on the wrong side of the war. I’m guessing this is because people are generally more familiar with the atmosphere of post-War/50’s America due to a number of factors, from something as simple as the continued cultural relevance of 50’s pop media to the fact that the common historical narrative of the 20th century tends to place the 1960’s as the “radical turning point” in American culture, which often manages to undermine the radical movements of the five decades preceding it.

Long story short: I have found that Avengers fandom tends to portray Captain America’s “culture shock” in really weird ways, with him acting more like a sheltered kid from our modern conception of the 1950’s rather than someone who lived through the Great Depression, the New Deal, the rise of fascism in Europe, the various civil protest movements revolving around just about everything in American culture, the vicious public backlash against President Hoover… I mean, additionally there is the possibility that movie!Steve shares his 616 counterpart’s backstory as an art student, or at the very least was interested in art professionally (which the Cap movie did sort of cutely underline) and I just… cannot buy that an orphaned fine arts student living in New York of all places in the late 30’s/early 40’s would be at all ~shocked and appalled~ by the vast majority of modern social mores and allowances?? Like “oh no people have sex all the time in 2012??” “wow it’s so strange that people just get angry at the president all the time??” Those things were not uncommon in the 1940s.

Which covers “socially and politically”. As for technologically… well, yeah, things HAVE changed a lot, but that rapid change began during the time period he lived in. I mean, computers are crazy sure, but it’s kind of silly to think that 2012’s technology would be completely brain breaking to someone from the recent past. A significant period of adjustment might be required, but he’d probably catch on to things like Microwaves and word processing programs p. quickly. Especially since we aren’t even talking about the real past, here. We are talking about COMIC BOOK HISTORY in which Captain America fought Nazis who had CRAZY ALIEN TECHNOLOGY that surpasses shit we have today.

There are a lot of interesting and creative ways to portray Steve as a “man out of time”. I actually think the “I got that reference” quip in the movie was a perfect example of this?

Like, by all means have him be surprised about where how society has gone. I just want peopled to…. do….. actual research on what the situation in the US actually was in the time he’s from….

I’ve already reblogged this this because I think it sums up perfectly the history issues surrounding Steve…

I just wanted to add a link to PBS’s American Experience: The 1930s Collection. Unfortunately you have to be in the US to watch these films, but if you can watch them I highly recommend it. They cover a lot of different subjects from popular culture to economics and in particular I think Riding the Rails would be the most interesting to watch since it’s about teenagers right at the same time Steve would have been a young teen.

These documentaries might be useful in understanding the differences between someone who was a teenager during the Great Depression and the post-War era. 

Okay so I really happen to love meta like this because I think that Captain America — when written well — is a fascinating commentary on American culture. For a character that’s held up on face value to be this All-American, Square-Jawed, White Christian Crusader of All Things Good, he doesn’t do a very good job of it. He has a liberal arts background, he’s been radically anti-government for many periods over the years, he’s been shown to be supportive and sensitive to gay rights, some of his strongest friendships have been with women and PoC, people refer to him as “the mother” of the Avengers, he’s dealt with body image and self-esteem issues, and by far his longest and most valued relationship has been with another man. A man, by the way, that when born in an alternate reality as a woman, Captain America married. So take that as you will.

To the casual reader/viewer, Captain America looks like a cardboard cut-out conservative symbol for Good Old-Fashioned White American Justice. In reality, one could argue he struggles to represent (as hamfisted as the delivery may be, since comic book writers aren’t always the most culturally sensitive bunch) everything liberal American culture tries to incorporate in modern society. For a kid from Brooklyn from the 1930s, that’s quite a lot.

I love all this Cap meta in general, but also: children, educate yourselves about the fact that liberalism/progressiveness and civil protest movements in America did not suddenly start in the 60s, because that is an important and cool thing to know.

During the WWII years, there was very little that was said against the war or the President, mainly because we’d been pretty unified by Pearl Harbor and one way to get Americans to unite is to attack us. It was seen as unpatriotic and possibly even traitorous to speak out against the war — tho I’m sure there were people doing so.

There was plenty of sex and violence back then, but it wasn’t so much out in the open. It wasn’t on screen at the movie and out in public. I think Steve would be doing some serious double takes at some of the clothing that women are wearing today compared to what they’re wearing now.


This was considered a very racy picture at that time, and check out the swimsuit she’s wearing! Seeing a woman in a thong had to make Steve’s jaw drop. Even if he’s seen a woman’s ass before, it wasn’t out on the beach.

The technology would have to also give him pause. Yes, he’s seen some advanced tech, but…. that was 70 years ago. The fact that he can hold a computer in his hand — what’s a computer would be his first question — that can make phone calls, send messages, get information — all the things our phones can do — is going to make him stop and probably say “holy crap” because it’s the stuff of science fiction for him.

I really think Steve would be disappointed at a lot of the changes in our society and world. Partly due to the shock of sudden change, but also from conversations from people I know that lived during the 40’s. My grandmother’s sister was in her 20’s at that time and she does admit that there’s a lot of things that are for the better, but there’s some things that are just disappointing to her.

I don’t think Steve would be the naive, innocent babe in the woods that a lot of fanfic makes him out to be. He grew up during the depression, he’s seen hunger and illness and desperation. And being in battle, he’s seen blood and guts, people doing horrible things to each other, torture — everything you can imagine — the scene in Iron Man where Tony is bailing from the “funvee” and things are exploding all around him and bullets are flying and soldiers are dying — Steve would have understood and fit right in there. Tho the woman in combat would have thrown him off a bit. Or a lot.

It’s up to the writer to interpret Steve’s characterization, and as a reader we can back button or read on.

I’m too drunk to get into the rest so I’m just going to address this one part:

"Tho the woman in combat would have thrown him off a bit. Or a lot."

Yes, he was obviously thrown off. 





I dunno, ‘thrown him off a bit’ might be a euphemism for ‘full-on patriotic boner’ there :P

I think a lot of people write Steve as if he has the attitude of your stereotypical 90 year old - ie YOU KIDS GET YOUR BALL OUT OF MY YARD, IN MY DAY ETC - as opposed to that just being the age on his birth certificate. 

That’s to a certain extent understandable if you’re writing 616!Steve, who’s now been a Man out of Time for twice as long as he spent in his own time, and who’s a senior citizen even if you only count the awake years (and even then huge swathes of comics canon would suggest that you’re still wrong). But as far as MCU!Steve’s concerned, he’s in his mid-20s. He’s young, he’s passionate, he’s committed. For him, the endless afternoons he spent in diners with fellow art students making one cup of coffee last for hours while they yakked about Dali and Communism and psychoanalysis and Brecht and freedom of expression and how grownups just don’t understaaaaand, man (all while Bucky rolled his eyes and looked at his watch all can we go find some girls now yes I know there are girls here Steve but they’re all smoking cheroots and wearing spats) is very recent history to him. 

And unlike most students, instead of having the sharp edges of his opinions rounded off by getting a 9-5 job, he went and got himself an eye-witness view of exactly how awful right-wing totalitarianism can get, which can only have reinforced his own political convictions. 

None of that changes when he goes into the ice, that’s the whole point - the world changes, Steve stays exactly the same. I agree that his instinctive reaction to most 21st century sights is going to be Holy cow, would you look at that; it’s just I think his second reaction would be That’s what we were fighting for :D

Tl;dr - your Steve is not my Steve and maybe your Steve is ok but I’ll stick to my Steve who if/when he does sneak into the Smithsonian to steal his old costume is going to find the battered copy of The Road To Wigan Pier he bought in his first week in London still stuffed into one of the pockets.

Re: that Betty Grable picture - porn existed in the 1930s and 40s, as did, you know, nude art. And the Hays Code wasn’t enforced until 1934, which means Steve is definitely old enough to remember movies with plenty of gratuitous violence and T&A. He could easily have seen a butt before.

Awesome commentary is awesome!

Also, I’m sure MCU Steve would have seen a Tijuana Bible at some point. Hell, Cap was probably a character in a few. :P

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