As I try to grow as a woman and a feminist and a writer, one of the things that I’ve been trying to pay some attention to is gendered language. I read an essay a while back that talked about the way that we discuss women’s looks verse the way we talk about men’s. Words like “beautiful” as opposed to words like “handsome.” Because of this I’ve tried really hard to use specific words when it comes to describing someone’s attractiveness whenever possible.
And lately I’ve been thinking about men who I describe as beautiful.
Not all the men I find myself attracted to would fit this descriptor. I’d say even a traditionally attractive man, like say, George Clooney is still more handsome than beautiful. The Boston Boys, as I’ve called them many time (Wahlberg, Affleck and Damon) also fit that bill. But I do kind of have a thing for pretty boys.
Specifically here, I want to talk about The MCU, though and how those men, in particular are just, beautiful. It’s a specific brand of gorgeous, they just glow, and while they’re certainly representing a male power fantasy, as nearly all superheroes do, there’s something feminine in the fantasy of these men. One of my very first posts here was about how The Avengers presents archetypes for several different fantasies for those so inclined.
Obviously, “The Chrises” are the best example of this Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and later Chris Pratt are all beautiful, if in a simple specific, WASPY way, but when you place them as Captain America, Thor and Star Lord, you’re creating three specific types, The All American Good Boy, The God and The Roguish Man Child. They are specific fantasies.
What got me thinking about this recently was of course Civil War, but specifically Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther in Civil War. I knew from 42 that Boseman was a good looking guy, but as I watched him on the big screen as T’Challa, I grabbed Aless’s arm and gasped, “He’s just so beautiful!” (Her response, a nice little pat and “yeah, hon, I know, but…movie…” Aless is a much more rational human than I am.)
So what does this have to do with feminism? Well, allowing for female sexual fantasy is a big part feminism, and allowing men to be seen as aesthetically beautiful is also a good gender parity thing. But I’m not the first person to talk about the female gaze and the Marvel movies, but it’s an important aspect that I think doesn’t get talked about enough. But I talk about this a lot in my everyday life and now I want to talk about it here too.
Because I think talking about beautiful men is important. And also fun. So that’s, that. YAY!