The Captain Marvel controversy, just a couple of weeks ahead of the film’s release tell us how misunderstood the concept of inclusion is. Earlier this month, Brie Larson, who plays the titular role in this Marvel movie, said in an interview with Marie Claire that she noticed the press junkets for her films were “overwhelmingly white male.” So she decided to make sure her press days were more inclusive. This somehow ended up rubbing some white men the wrong way and as a result they are posting negative reviews of Captain Marvel on Rotten Tomatoes, without even watching it.
- When Brie Larson said that she wanted her press junkets to be more inclusive, it triggered a backlash from white men.
- Many such men are posting negative reviews for her latest film Captain Marvel before it releases on March 8.
- This shows how many men still see inclusion as a threat.
- They often confuse their privileges as their rights. Thus they see inclusion as an encroachment of space which belongs to them.
Larson has clarified her statement, saying, “What I am looking for is to bring more seats up to the table. No one is getting their chair taken away.”
The outrage over her statement from privileged men, who see themselves as victims of sexism and racism, tells how little they still understand the concept of inclusion. Larson never said that she wanted to ban white men from press junkets. Nor did she say that she was exclusively seeking the opinion of women or people of colour. Yet somehow, the fact that she wanted to bring in more diversity triggered insecurity among white men. The feeling of alienation stems from confusing male entitlement as their right.
So often we see men taking a stand against gender equality, thinking that it will take away their rights. Though what they are standing up for aren’t their rights, but a privilege which comes from favouritism. Who said that inclusion of women must come at the cost of alienation of men? The problem is that men often assume that privilege they incur due to skin colour or patriarchy is their birthright. It is a discomfort when others call it out and demand that other people be given equal footing. Men often end up seeing this as an encroachment of the space they occupy, when actually that space belongs to everyone.
Retaliating hatred with more hatred will only enable them to claim more victimhood. So let’s kill their ignorance by refreshing their definition of inclusion instead.
They retaliate by playing victims. In the case of Captain Marvel, they are posting bad reviews for the film saying that Larson doesn’t want them to see her film. In other cases, men reject virtues like equality with toxic aggression. They resort to violence or trolling on social media. What it tells us is that they are scared of a concept they haven’t fully understood. So instead of being angry with them, we who do who believe in equality and inclusion should sit them down and explain it to them properly. Retaliating hatred with more hatred will only enable them to claim more victimhood. So let’s kill their ignorance by refreshing their definition of inclusion instead.
Captain Marvel is already on the path of success even before its release. The initial reviews have been positive and hopefully, it will live up to all the expectations we have from the first Marvel movie ever to have a female superhero lead. In two weeks, the din that a chunk of insecure half-informed men are creating will cease to be relevant. But we shouldn’t forget it. Because it indicates how much work we have cut out in front of us to make inclusion acceptable to all.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.