About a week ago I came across a headline on Twitter that made me do a little bit of a double-take: “Thor is Now a Woman!” I didn’t click on it at the time because I was on a bus that was driving into a cell service dead zone, but I assumed that the claim was one of two things: either a new storyline where trickster god, Loki, casts a gender-bending spell on his hero half-brother…or a joke. Imagine my surprise when my husband texted me the following day to say, “So…Thor is a girl now,” and, “Also I think Cap might be going black.”
I’ll admit right now, at this point I still thought that it was some kind of joke. And then I actually took a moment to look it up online.
Let me go ahead right now and say that it’s perfectly fine – awesome, even – that Marvel wants to be more diverse. But I really, really don’t think this is the way to go about it. Taking existing, well-established, well-loved characters and changing their gender or skin color does not feel like a progressive move to me. By making these changes I do not feel that Marvel really gets the point behind equal opportunity and diversity. I feel like, instead of putting in the time and effort to make great female and multi-cultural characters that we grow to love, they’re taking the cheap and easy way out. I feel that instead of genuinely trying to convince me that woman and minority superheroes are awesome, they’re trying to force the idea on me by screwing with characters that I’m already invested in.
Let’s get one thing straight. I do not think that making these changes in any way diminishes the core of the character. A black Cap isn’t any less American, and a female Thor is not any less a kickass warrior. What I’m getting at is that it’s unnecessary, backward, and quite a little bit confounding. This move feels to me like an employee firing two perfectly qualified white guys and replacing them with an equally (no more, no less) qualified woman and black man, just to be able to say that their workplace is diversified. The woman and the black guy might be pretty happy with the arrangement, but it’s a hell of a crappy deal for the two white guys and their families.
I’m having a hard time expressing myself on this one because it’s such a baffling concept to me. But I guess what I’m really getting down to is that sure, more women superheroes would be awesome, and sure, more racial diversity in comics would be awesome, but I feel the need to point out that there is also nothing wrong with being a white, male superhero. Does anyone get what I’m saying?
Plus, Thor Odinsdaughter doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I’m just sayin’.