Hey, you know that new movie Captain Marvel? The one that made a gazillion dollars over the weekend? Man, that was a good movie, depending on who you ask. Some people liked it a lot. Some people didn’t. And then some people saw it for what it really was: a subversive Trojan Horse meant to poison the minds of young girls into thinking that they are just as powerful as boys.
Well, that last one is a bit more of a unique take and it comes to us from Greg Morse, a staff writer for John Piper’s Desiring God website. Morse has a lot of feelings about Captain Marvel, though none of them feel like they came from this century. Get a load of this:
As I consider Disney’s new depiction of femininity in Captain Marvel, I cannot help but mourn. How far we’ve come since the days of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
The great drumroll of the previous Avenger movies led to this: a woman protecting men and saving the world. The mightiest of all the Avengers — indeed, after whom they are named — is the armed princess turned feminist queen, who comes down from the tower to do what Prince Charming could not.
So, for those who haven’t seen Captain Marvel yet, this actually serves as a good plot summary. In the movie, our heroine, Carol Danvers, is a bit different from Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. For one thing, she is not asleep during the movie’s climax. But more significantly, she doesn’t need any rescuing and actually does a fair amount of rescuing of her own, and this seems to be what has Morse down in the dumps. Marvel has the audacity to make it seem like women can be superheroes.
I do not blame Marvel for inserting the trending feminist agenda into its universe. Where else can this lucrative ideology — which contrasts so unapologetically with reality — go to be sustained, if not to an alternative universe? Verse after verse, story after story, fact after fact, study after study, example after example dispels the myth of sameness between the sexes …Am I nitpicking? It is a movie after all. I wish it were. Instead of engaging the movie’s ideology as mere fiction, a fun escape to another world, we have allowed it to bear deadly fruit on earth. Along with Disney, we abandon the traditional princess vibe, and seek to empower little girls everywhere to be strong like men. Cinderella trades her glass slipper for combat boots; Belle, her books for a bazooka. Does the insanity bother us anymore?
Yes, Morse is concerned that Captain Marvel may put fanciful ideas into young women’s heads about their physical capabilities. As opposed to superhero movies starring men, in which their strength is always realistic and true to life, apparently. But no matter — Morse worries this movie will “empower little girls everywhere to be strong like men” and that is something he just cannot abide.
It is exceedingly odd that Morse is criticizing Disney for kowtowing to this new “feminist agenda” of women’s equality instead of abiding by the “traditional princess vibe” by which he apparently means Disney movies that came out twenty years ago. To him hear tell it, Beauty and the Beast represents a halcyon gold standard of the ideal amount of women’s liberation, and the past few years of Disney movies have gotten the balance all out of whack.
This, according to him, has resulted in too many women getting drafted into combat. “We ought to lament that feminist lust cannot be appeased, even with blood,” he says. “Unquestionably, men ought to support women’s desires to be affirmed, respected, and honored. But indeed, few actions display our resolve to honor our women more than excluding them from the carnage of the battlefield. Where can we more clearly display our ultimate resolve to love our women as queens than to step into hell on earth as sacrificial pawns in their defense?”
This seems to be the heart of Morse’s critique: Captain Marvel might convince women to enlist in the military, and this is a bad thing. But let us turn to the Bible itself — something, notably, Morse’s article does not do — and see if this holds up. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible actually sends women out fighting a number of times. There is the prophet Deborah (Judges 4), who was so fierce her commander refused to go into combat without her. There’s Jale, in the same chapter, who assassinated one of Israel’s enemies with a tent peg through the dome while he slept. If these stories weren’t already in the Bible, it’d be very hard to imagine Morse approving of their depictions of strong women.
Now, not liking Captain Marvel doesn’t automatically mean you’re opposed to women’s equality. Plenty of people didn’t care for the movie. And liking it doesn’t automatically make you a feminist ally. But with all the men who tried to sabotage the movie on Rotten Tomatoes before it came out, threatened the star Brie Larson on social media and now, in this case, criticized it for making women too equal, it’s hard to not at least appreciate the moment a little, whatever your feelings on the movie itself. It’s continuing a long overdue push of outdated ideas about women further into the margins and confirming something generations of women have always known: They’re heroes, too.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's executive editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.