A Sticky Spider Web of a Double Standard
I was watching the hit cinematic blockbuster Spider-Man: Far From Home the other day and stumbled across this scene.
Also, spoiler alert. Kind of. But not really. Besides, the movie has been out since 2019 and Endgame has been out for a while as well. So I don’t think this falls into the spoiler category. And more to that point, we here at Let’s Digress thrive on spoilers.
Anyway, I was watching Far From Home and this scene happened. The greater context of the scene is that Peter needed a new suit, so this SHIELD lady made him one and surprised him with it in this secluded room. Peter’s awkwardness is mildly amusing, but there are two underlying problems with this scene in the first place.
1) It’s not needed to further the plot in any substantial way.
2) There’s a kerfuffle with a London Bridge-sized double standard.
I shall elaborate.
Firstly, I don’t think this scene is needed. If these 80 seconds would happen to have been removed, I don’t think it would’ve hurt the movie in any significant way.
Secondly, if I understand things correctly, Peter is supposed to be 16 or 17ish years old. There’s some debate about the age-change due to the Thanos snap and everyone disappearing, but according to what I found on the interwebs (Get it? Webs? Spider…webs…), Peter should be 16 or 17 and definitely still a minor.
Thirdly, the blonde woman is definitely not a minor.
So, Peter walks into this private room and an adult authoritative female instructs him to close the door, take off his clothes, and put on the new suit in front of her.
Most people aren’t aware of it, but I also have a spidey sense. However, it only works with double standards. Just ask my wife, she’ll confirm it and imply that isn’t one of my more admirable qualities. At least not when it’s directed at her, which it usually isn’t since she’s the best wife of all wives. But I digress.
Thought experiment: Let’s pretend Peter is a 16 or 17-year-old girl and the blonde woman is a 30-something-year-old male. Would it be problematic for the girl to be instructed to close the door of this private and secluded room with just her and the older gentleman and to then be told twice, forcefully, to remove her clothing in front of him? Absolutely.
I would even wager that this sort of scene would provoke some kind of mass outrage at the sexism and predatory implications of it all.
Do you recall any such outrage or even mild disgruntlement at this scene after the movie was released? Nope. None that I’m aware of, other than this post and a handful from other people. But certainly not of the same caliber that it would’ve been had the genders been reversed.
But what about the Thanos snap and the age offset? If Peter is actually 21 or 22 years old and somehow not a minor anymore but still in high school, then this is still problematic and a double standard.
If Peter was a 21 or 22-year-old female and an older male in an authoritative position instructed her to close a door, leaving just the two of them in a dimly-lit private room, and then forcefully told her to remove her clothes in front of him, would this scene be questionable and have sexist and predatory implications? Absolutely.
Is this treated completely differently because Peter is a young male and the “aggressor” is an older, attractive female in a position of authority? I think so.
Was there petition signing and banning and outrage and boycotting and other such behavior? Nope.