'She-Hulk' Aims For Female Empowerment, But Is It Working?
This show is unleashing the Hulk anger at everyone who doubts girl power. But does it promote girl power itself, truly?
'She-Hulk: Attorney at Law' is surely a part of Marvel's big endeavor to make the superhero universe more progressive and welcoming for all – an initiative that few people can criticize. The show about Jennifer Walters – Marvel's first-ever character to break the fourth wall, and a female version of Hulk, – has been long overdue, given that many fans consider She-Hulk to be one of their favorite superheroines.
So, alongside Carol Danvers, Kamala Khan, Wanda Maximoff, Jane Foster, Natasha Romanoff (as well as multiple other prominent female characters already featured in the MCU ), Jennifer Walters steps in. She has landed a solo TV show on Disney Plus that will consist of nine episodes; and she doesn't bother to fit the traditional narratives or to make herself convenient for patriarchy.
Three episodes into the show, we get to not only observe a female superhero who couldn't care less about fragile masculinity but we also have to weather some sort of slight attacks from the show itself. Many fans have already noted how 'She-Hulk' delves into self-deprecation; aside from dropping Easter eggs and hints at other parts of the Marvel universe, the show also famously breaks the fourth wall and basically addresses some issues from the real world.
For instance, this is not the first time when Marvel shows are being criticized for being overly progressive – or, as some put it, "woke" – but this is definitely the first time when the studio… decides to fire back.
Now everyone who's been bombarding social media threads with outraged comments when something in the show did not sit well with them gets some representation. However, this representation is surely less than flattering.
It would seem that 'She-Hulk' is fearlessly challenging the stereotypes and making Marvel more progressive… right? However, a lot of people are starting to carefully note that there has to be something else to the story except for just a progressive message.
We get it: twerking with Megan Thee Stallion is fun, as is addressing some of the acute issues that women face every day in real life that sometimes lacks superheroes. However, it's been three episodes, and 'She-Hulk' seems to consist of nothing but fun post-credit scenes, Easter eggs, cameos (or hints at them), and witty punchlines about this and that.
There were people already who blamed 'She-Hulk' for promoting "toxic feminism", but many fans who are perfectly fine with female empowerment and women representation seem to agree that the show is simply over-the-top. While leaning too hard on feminism and trying to be progressive, it fails to make the story and characters themselves catch up.
"She-hulk feels like a man trying to mansplain feminism," Twitter user @IAmMahduy added.
Moreover, even the feminism aspect seems to be frustrating for some people.
"She-Hulk white girl twerking, is this the feminism our foremothers fought for?" a fan wondered on Twitter.
It's almost like 'She-Hulk' seems to have concentrated way too much on one task instead of simply pursuing a good story about a compelling female character. As of now, Jennifer spends most of her screen time as a comedic relief: an undoubtedly charismatic performance by Tatiana Maslany certainly makes it fun to watch, but as the show goes on, one would expect character and story development.
But the only thing one receives is yet another hilarious post-credit scene with the female superheroine being "relatable" and twerking with Megan Thee Stallion, because… same, right?..