Ever since "Captain Marvel" has been released in theaters, I have seen a disgusting amount of sexist comments being made towards Brie Larson from white men. When the news was first released that Larson would be playing Captain Marvel, I figured she would face some hate from white men because superhero films and comic books are seen as an exclusively white male interest. The concept of having a film centered around a female superhero was already going to be unbearable for them unless Larson's character was created entirely for the male gaze. I was already prepared to defend her because I am not only a huge fan of her as an actor and a person, but I also believe it is important to support films that empower women (especially since I am a film major).
The "controversial statements" that caused Larson to become targeted by the white male population was that she wanted there to be more diversity in her press tour for "Captain Marvel" and in film criticism. Her statements specifically addressed that white males dominate the film industry and that she wanted to do her part in making sure she was promoting inclusivity. When accepting the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, Larson spoke about a study done by USC Annenberg that found that the majority of film critics on Rotten Tomatoes are white males. The part of her speech that caused the hatred for her was:
"Am I saying that I hate white dudes? No, I'm not. What I am saying is if you make a movie that is a love letter to a woman of color, there is an insanely low chance that a woman of color will have a chance to see your movie and review your movie. It really sucks that reviews matter, but reviews matter. We are expanding to make films that reflect the people who buy movie tickets . . . I do not need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn't work for him about A Wrinkle in Time. It wasn't made for him."
It is frustrating that white males interpreted Larson's speech as her saying they are not welcome at Captain Marvel (or any other film) because that was not the point she was making. The whole point was that white men need to stop making every single film about them and whether or not it satisfied their desires when the film's intended audience was not them. Did Larson ever say white men could not go see Captain Marvel? No, she did not. She simply wanted to make white males realize that they needed to stop speaking over women, especially women of color, that critique films.
Larson even addressed the controversy in a recent interview and explained,
"What I'm looking for is to bring more seats up to the table. No one is getting their chair taken away. There's not less seats at the table, there's just more seats at the table."
Honestly, I am sure that many of the white men that were offended by Larson's speech purposefully tried to twist her words because they never wanted Captain Marvel to succeed at all. They already were prejudiced against it because it is "social justice warrior propaganda" and needed an excuse to encourage the public to boycott the film. When they heard Larson's speech, they immediately took to Twitter to claim that she is racist and sexist against white men. These claims are ridiculous because white men cannot experience racism or sexism since they are in the position of power in our society. White men are given privileges that people of other races and genders have less access to, which continues the cycle of systemic racism and sexism.
Just because white men got their feelings hurt over Larson's speech does not mean they suddenly became victims of racism and sexism. There was no reason for them to have even been offended by her speech because she did not say anything negative about white men. The only thing she did was point out that there is a severe lack of diversity in film criticism. The only reason white men were offended by her bringing light to this issue was that they do not want to relinquish the control they have over the entire industry. They want to continue to reap the benefits of racism and sexism because they do not care about the negative effects it has on women, especially women of color.
The hate towards "Captain Marvel" did not end with calling Larson racist and sexist because white males then banded together and created the #AlitaChallenge in response to Larson's speech. The challenge was to go see "Alita: Battle Angel" in theaters on "Captain Marvel's" release date in order to boycott the film and its "SJW" content. These same white males also flooded Rotten Tomatoes with negative user reviews about "Captain Marvel" before the film was even released. All of those "reviews" claimed that Larson's performance was poor and that the film, in general, was not good. This is not only impossible for them to know since it had not yet been released but also unjustified since the reason they wanted to leave bad reviews was because of Larson's speech. Ultimately, their boycott failed because Captain Marvel has just recently passed the $800 million global box office mark and will likely reach the billion dollar mark.In case any angry, white male reads this article, how about instead of review-bombing female-led films, you use that energy to reflect on why you feel such a strong desire to prevent women from being empowered. I'll give you a hint: the reason is that you are sexist.