The Interview started with saying how Natasha/Black Widow was being ‘shipped with Hawkeye (Renner) or Captain America (Evans) and now she’s been written with The Hulk (Ruffalo). When asked what were their thoughts, Renner blurted out, “She’s a slut.” followed by Evans agreeing with boisterous laughter how it’s “something along those lines, she’s a complete whore.” It didn’t stop with “slut” and “whore”, Renner chimed in with “trick, man.”
Dibdin (interviewer) seemed unbothered by this revelation of Black Widow and hopped right in with, “Whatever the movie is, she’ll be the sidekick; she’ll be flirting.” Evans had more to say, “that’s right she’ll be flirting with everybody.” Then for some reason, Renner just felt like dropping, “she has a prosthetic leg anyways.” and Evans brings it home with, “leading everybody on.”
Let me start by saying that I'm not offended on the behalf of anyone else. It's not my place or my desire to stand up for women who are perfectly capable of standing up for themselves or even deciding that Evans and Renner were just joking and to let it go. That's not why I'm pissed.
I'm pissed because I'm a comic book fan and I feel like this kind of bro-ish misogyny sets the whole community back. We've been fighting this boy's club, you can say anything you want about women because they're just meat to us, attitude for decades. We were finally starting to make some progress and these dudes had to come out and make jokes about the one woman on their team being a whore? That's so far beyond unacceptable.
Comic fandom shouldn't be "a safe place for dudes to treat women like objects." I don't think any community should be that, but, if you're trying to make a community I'm a part of into a frat house? GTFO.
Additionally, it's hard not to hear Evans and Renner saying these things and not think that they're talking about Scarlett Johansson as much as they're talking about a character. (Very talented) comic book artist Jamie McKelvie put it well:
Yes, exactly that. Casually sexist talk, even casually sexist talk about a comic book character, reveals says something about their attitudes about women.
There's a war going on in comic book culture, just like there is in gaming. There are men who feel like it's their community and women aren't welcome, so they do everything in their power to make women feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. The good news is that this point of view is dying out. The bad news is that they're not going gracefully into that good night. Even if they had the best of intentions (and I think that's an extremely generous reading), Renner and Evans have sided with the MRAs and gamergaters and other dead-enders. It's the wrong message for them to be delivering. If they truly didn't mean it, then I expect to see a better retraction than "I'm sorry if you were offended." If they really don't feel like they did anything wrong? I want them out of my community, even if that means casting different actors in upcoming Marvel movies.. They can go be assholes somewhere else; those attitudes aren't welcome here.
P.S. If you want to read a really good Black Widow story, the kind that makes Evans' and Renner's comments look kinda stupid, pick up Secret Avengers #20 by Warren Ellis and Alex Maleev.