Please stop talking, Jeremy Renner

Sarah Posted by Sarah at May 6, 2015 13:58:46 May 6, 2015 13:58:46

I’ve always said Jeremy Renner is good for gossip, and he is certainly giving us something to talk about recently. The Avengers: Age of Ultron press tour was famously peppy, and during an interview Renner and Chris Evans stepped in a pile of internet dog sh*t when they called Black Widow a “slut” because she’s been linked to several different Avengers over the years. They offered apologies, and Renner’s was especially half-assed. She’s a fictional character, he says, so it doesn’t really matter what I say about her. Now he’s doubling down on that sentiment, discussing the kerfuffle on Conan and reiterating that she’s fictional and these romantic scenarios are fictional, so who gives a f*ck, really?

There is a part of me that sees his point. I think what he’s getting at is that he wouldn’t call an actual person that—I hope—but he has no such boundary for a person who doesn’t really exist. Well, okay, but here’s the problem: Marvel movies and the superheroes in them are beloved by kids all over the world. The brand Renner is representing is a family brand. Grown up adults can have a conversation about a fictional character’s fictional sexuality, but kids don’t make that distinction. To them, Hawkeye is saying Black Widow is a slut, and that reinforces a latent misogyny in our culture. I always go back to this excellent essay that Duana turned me onto about why we shouldn’t use the word slut, about how it’s more corrosive and damaging than many other pejoratives aimed at women. Someone should pass Renner this essay and remind him he has a daughter.

The excuse is always that it’s “just a joke”, and my response remains the same—anything can be funny, in the right hands. Jeremy Renner’s are not the right hands. You want to hear a good joke about an Avenger’s sex life? Check out Conan’s joke at the end. “It’s a quick evening with Quicksilver. ‘That’s it?’ – ‘That’s what I do!’” Now THAT is a great blue joke about an Avenger.

Photos:
AKM-GSI/ Splash News

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