Why Holland’s Spider-Man is the Hero We Need

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With our current political crisis, it is no wonder why superhero movies have been performing exceptionally at the box office. We seek an escape that provides us with the feeling that justice will prevail. As that feeling only lasts approximately 1 and 1/2 hours, we wait until another film comes out to fill that void. But when a film hits so close to home that the feeling exceeds its typical shell life, you find yourself sitting in front of the computer writing about Spider-Man: Homecoming.

True to its name, Homecoming is the return of Spider-Man. Packaged in all his quirkiness, Holland’s Spider-Man is the hero that we never knew we needed:

  1. Homecoming does not dwell in Spider-Man’s overplayed origin story.  This Peter Parker already has his powers and it is not until about halfway in the film that Peter briefly discusses the spider bite. And let’s face it, in our current society, we seem more concerned with the questions Who are you going to be? and What can you do? rather than Where did you come from? We value the effect more than the cause. Just ask anyone fresh out of college – no employer cares about the degree, they want experience.giphy1
  2. This Spider-Man is very familiar with the above scenario. Unlike Maguire’s Peter Parker who constantly underwent an identity crisis, Holland’s Spider-Man knows who he is and what he wants to do – however, he just has to prove himself to those who came before him. It is almost as if he is part of a generation that is doubted on the sole basis that they are born during their generation . . . Anyway, Holland’s Spider-Man wants to work with the Avengers yet he is never given a chance to prove himself while simultaneously being expected to prove himself (almost like being expected to get a job to gain experience while simultaneously being asked to have experience before getting a job).
  3. There is a scene in the film in which Parker’s friend, Ned, reveals that he has a connection to Spider-Man to impress Liz, the girl that Parker has been crushing on since the beginning of the film. Intrigued by this information, Liz invites Ned and Parker to her party. The two arrive, and after being antagonized by Manuel, Parker’s school rival, Parker suits up and plans to enter the party as Spider-Man to woo the crowd. But he never does. He does not risk his identity to win over the girl. In fact, he does not even end up with the girl. Whereas previous Spider-Man films have been dominated by the romantic Mary Jane arc, Homecoming provides us with a hero who must make sacrifices.
  4. Yet Parker, nor the audience, are upset over the loss of Liz because she isn’t what he chases after the entire film. Parker gets what he wants at the end, a full-time superhero gig. Surprisingly, Parker turns down Tony Stark’s offer to become an Avenger. Parker chooses to remain a “small-town” hero. The underdog has now become the hero for the rest of the underdogs.giphy2
  5. Despite being a superhero movie, the fighting scenes were not intense or noteworthy. Even the villain, the Vulture, seems insignificant compared to other candidates such as Green Goblin, Scorpion, etc. – villains that would have allowed for full utilization of special effects. There were no larger than life moments in the film, but that is because Holland’s Spider-Man is not a larger than life character.

Holland’s Spider-Man provides us with a hero who deals with external factors rather than an internal crisis. One that truly resembles its viewers, someone trying to make a name for themselves, without the glitz and glamour that is typically found among superheroes.

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A Letter to You Two

To the Girls at the Movie Theater,

After watching Get Out, my head was spinning because of all the potential posts that I could write. However, this moment was short-lived. When the credits appeared on screen and the lights began to brighten, I took a quick glance of the theater and realized that my boyfriend and I mirrored the dynamics of Rose and Chris. By dynamics, I do not mean that I am dating him because I want to lure him to my home so that my sadistic and racist family could exploit him – no, I simply mean that he is black and I am white. This should not qualify as a dynamic, but in reality this is an unfortunate “factor”of our relationship. There are moments when I do not think of this, but then there are moments when I am hyper aware – moments when strangers have stopped us while we are walking just to inform us that we are “a beautiful couple.” Yet the way that they say this phrase always suggests as if the speaker is applauding us for some noble act. As if our relationship is doing a service for the community. Lets face it, some individuals view interracial couples as the solution for racial tension. Interracial couples will lead to multiracial children, multiracial children will lead to a post-racial world. How can racism exist if we are all one race? Wrong. The answer to racism is not removing race and the prospect for a solution should certainly not be a burden bestowed upon a relationship. There is enough internal turmoil for a couple to face, they do not need added unnecessary, unrealistic, and fallacious external factors forced upon them.

The solution is awareness. We need to be aware of our racial differences and how these differences affect us. We need to expose our prejudices to prevent them from dictating our lives. Film has always been an excellent source of reflection, and that is why Get Out is extremely crucial during a time when racial tension has been drastically increasing. The audience of Get Out should experience a sense of horror, removed from the self, as they witness Chris’ encounters. Yet this horror should immediately become replaced with terror. Terror due to the political undertone of the film – terror that stems from the reality of the film.

My discomfort stemmed from the anticipation of leaving the theater and listening to someone make a snide remark. The remarks that I have seen circulating around social media since the film has been released. I tried to convince myself that no one would direct a comment towards me but you felt compelled to do otherwise. As we left, holding hands, you two began whispering, “Get Out” to my boyfriend while nudging your heads to his direction (as if you needed to clarify who you were speaking to). At first, I was slightly taken aback, but the more I thought about your remarks, the more bothered I became. I am troubled because I am worried that instead of using the film as a platform for open discussions concerning white privilege, racial tension, and much more, people will use this film to confirm some archetype of a white woman dating a black man. There is often hostility directed towards a black man for dating a white woman because the assumption is that he does not believe women of his own race are good enough while she is either experimenting or rebelling and using him to accomplish either. But I am here to tell you both this:

I am sorry that my relationship cannot be your fairy-tale and grant you a happily ever after – it cannot end racism.

I am sorry that my relationship cannot be your horror story and provide you with chills – there is no grander scheme to it.

Yet we can allow my relationship to be its own story by allowing it to flourish without pressuring it to succeed and certainly without praying for it to succeed.

Best,

The Girl that You Probably Did Not Mean to Hurt or Disregard.

 

#MarketHer

I have always been fascinated with advertisements because there is something seemingly magical about them. A commercial could make me, someone who has a deep hatred of oranges, invest in a lifetime supply of them, you know, just in case my ever-lasting hatred subsides. My interests in commercials is largely based upon its relation to gender. Whereas it is often discussed that women are sexualized and commodified, I feel as if there is another aspect concerning the gender politics of advertisements that requires more attention. This is not meant to discredit the incredibly valid claims regarding the objectification of women in commercials, I mean have you seen some of them?

After all, who could forget Paris Hilton’s role in the commercial for The Spicy BBQ Six Dollar Burger? The commercial begins with Paris removing her fur coat before walking over to a car. She lifts a sponge and you assume it is to wash the car, explaining her wardrobe choice of a bathing suit so her clothes will not become dirty. Also, bathing suits are able to absorb water, allowing her to avoid the unfortunate event of getting your clothes soaked. Yet Paris lifts the sponge and washes herself, perhaps to clean herself to prevent the car from becoming dirty. She then rubs her body on the car a few times, a mistake we have all made when we confuse our selves with our sponges. Instantly, a burger appears in her hand and she resumes her activities while munching on the delectable treat. Skip to different camera angles that result in Paris walking on all fours to clearly clean the floor so the tires will not become filthy. The commercial ends with Paris taking a bite into the burger and I assume with the car not being fully washed. It is safe to say that the commercial is problematic because of its overly sexual content.

While there is much to say on this (and much has been said), what about the commercials and products that attempt to make up for commercials like Paris Hilton’s? These products are often color-coded to make them accessible for women. Granted some products are released in pink for Breast Cancer awareness, but more often than not, these products are simply granted pink accents to appeal to women.

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When using a regular tool kit, women are unable to fix anything, yet a PINK tool kit transforms them into Bob the Builder!

 

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I cannot be seen eating Goldfish unless it comes from a princess bag that has pink Goldfish inside to remind me that I am a woman.

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How ever will I hang up posters made with my “Just for Girls” paper and markers?

 

Do the objects seem unnecessarily gender-coded? Well, that is because they are. These products are colored pink hiding through the intention that they are trying to make items that are for women, yet they are actually insulting. Are women that different from men that they need their own version of tape?

It is time to draw attention to the absurdity of these items and we can begin to do this through using the hashtag #MarketHer to document these instances as well as voice opinions and thoughts about the ways that marketers attempt to appeal towards the mythological Her, the fabricated woman who loves and needs all things pink to survive.

7:15 PM

What goes up, must come down, that is what gravity teaches us. If I were to jump in the air, I have the reassurance that my jump will conclude with me returning to the ground rather than remaining indefinitely in the air. Yet even though gravity teaches us this mantra, we find ourselves bewildered when we reach a low point in our lives. Do we, as human beings, find ourselves immune to the laws of the universe? Gravity is a force that applies to us in every way imaginable, so why not apply its philosophy to our emotional state? If we view happiness as an “up” and sadness as a “down,” then it all makes sense. Feelings are temporary, in fact, they are fickle. Sometimes we are able to regulate them, but often our feelings are out of our control. There is no such thing as being permanently happy, there will always be an “off-day.” Emotions are what make us humans, yet we tend to shun a majority of them. We seek eternal happiness, but even within happiness there are different feelings. Euphoria. Joy. I am happy joyful when I see a laughing baby, but I am also happy euphoric when he looks at me. If I were to be permanently happy, I would not be able to experience the complex states associated with being happy, rather I would simply be content. Just as there are different levels of happiness, there are various ways to experience sadness, and we unfortunately need to encounter them. Sadness allows us time for reflection, and appreciation. As the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. We need to live through our sadness to have a chance at having happiness again. Yet, we must also take note of what this saying fails to mention. For an object being to come up, it must have started from below, and that is the gravitational force of emotions. What goes up, must come down, but there is no mention as to how quickly something someone can rise again.

10:48 PM

Love supposedly has no boundaries, yet many people jump at the opportunity to tell you who to love and how to love them. Now, they may have good intentions, and believe that they have your best interests, but they should not criticize who you love. I understand that people look out for one another and that there are circumstances in which an unbiased eye is needed, but unfortunately, ignorance is often the culprit. What if your partner is everything in your wildest dreams and more? What if they treat you incredibly and make you feel emotions that you believed to have drowned out of your system? What if your partner is everything that YOU want and the reason for outside interference is simply ignorance? Even though that person is what you want, that person is not who the world envisioned you with. Yes, this might not be the life that you pictured for me, but I have news for you, the beautiful thing about life is that it is mercurial. Nothing goes as planned, you are asked to remain constantly on your toes. Ignorance is an enemy that destroys you before you can bat an eye. I am constantly being told by my eager advisers that I do not know as much as they do, which may be right, despite their ignorance in this particular area. Yet, there is one thing that I know for certain. Those with blind eyes feverishly attempt to recruit others to accompany them in their darkness, but the world is way too beautiful to lose its light.

Dear Society

I am not a muse for you, not an inspiration for your lyrical ballads or harmonious hymns.

I am not the Sun that will shine eternally bright for you.

I am not your sweetie, in fact the very name makes me quite sour.

I am not your Juliet,the thought of it makes me want to place a dagger in my chest.

I am not a damsel in distress, so you may retire your armor.

I am not “cool for a girl,” in fact, that comment is rather uncool.

I am not your sexual object, I object to the very notion.

I am not your golden trophy to be displayed because I have been placed in the rain and I find that I do rust.

I am not your princess because I am already a queen of my own territory, dear prince.

I am not restricted by society’s political agenda, so forgive me if I fail to affirm your stereotypes and ideals.