Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.She-Hulk: Lawyer, with a strong, independent woman as the protagonist and a literal female pronoun in the show’s title, hasn’t really been shy about campaigning for women’s empowerment and frequently pointing out the various gender issues that are otherwise swept under the rug far too much often. The second half of the season, with its repeated references to a great evil lurking in the shadows, takes it a step further to merge the A and B storylines in a shocking twist and flesh out such a notion of a gendered issue: misogyny – especially over the internet and especially masked under genuine concern, like Jennifer Walters’ (Tatyana Maslany) potential love interest Josh (Trevor Slater) is said to have been a ploy all along to get her Hulk blood. So how does it work She Hulk suggest that misogyny should be addressed? Well, it all starts with the first step: acknowledgment, the acceptance that there is indeed a systematic problem, which then morphs into the age-old mantra “ignorance is bliss” — at least until it’s possible.
The comedy series’ endeavor to inject a dark touch of realism, at least in terms of systematic misogyny, has been evident since the very first installment; as a stunned Bruce Banner (Markus Ruffalo) scratches his head at Jennifer Walters’ seemingly smooth transition. As the title character explains to her cousin that anger is a phenomenon she’s very used to as a woman (she has to be!), followed by the realization that dawns on the original Hulk’s face, the message of appreciation gets loud and plainly conveys to the intended audience: Being a woman—much alone a working, career-minded woman—in an openly misogynistic world is by no means a small achievement.
She-Hulk also happens to channel a fairly overt way of dealing with said misogyny, where a subsequent back alley fight over Walter’s blood with total disregard for physical anatomy and consent sees a whole bunch of asses and heads banged right into the concrete. Appropriately, Walters’ initial snide — not to mention far-fetched — accusations of “strutting around showing off her powers” morph into pleas for forgiveness once the superhero-turned-lawyer deals with their pathetic lot. They dare to take her lightly, and she makes light work of her already bruised egos. The show then seems open to some open confrontations with misogyny where necessary – complete with a “fuck around and find out” mantra – nonetheless.
Of course, when it comes to the MCU – and She Hulk is particularly known for his signature fourth wall breaks – going meta is nothing unusual but an exciting prospect, whether it’s in relation to Easter eggs or, in the case of the show’s third installment, a cameo of hate messages – highly gender biased – straight from the various social – Media platforms picked up by Marvel Studio spreading the news of a She-Hulk way back in 2019! When Walters googles her alter ego on the show, she is struck by the strongly negative opinions expressed mostly by the opposite sex, with the real basis of her hatred being… her gender.
“Why does everything have to be female now?” reads one such comment, while another quite typically brings in the #MeToo movement to dish out his share of highly disturbing grievances. Interestingly, these two messages, among many others, were typed for Jennifer Walters in real life by real people before being copied word for word by them She Hulk Team – which more strategically uses the opportunity to highlight and educate about the issue, only briefly pausing to directly name and shame its instigators – for now. Talk about making fun of your haters!
Now that the first season is coming to an end, She Hulk has repeatedly hinted at an antagonist keeping watch from afar – and their only motive isn’t the MCU’s typical destruction of the world, nor dire consequences for all mankind, but, quite fittingly, to ruin the reputation of the new superhero they are “cancel”. The Intelligencia website has an entire subsection dedicated to inciting hatred towards Walters, primarily instigated by this one user #HulkKing – possibly the said antagonist – who improperly exploits internet anonymity. So, in a way, it’s not a name and a face that is Walter’s worst enemy, it’s the very concept of misogyny.
And of course, not even her love life is safe. Walters is happy to meet the seemingly harmless and charming Josh while he fulfills bridesmaid duties, but it turns out – and quite predictably – that he, too, has ulterior motives and could possibly even be an ally of this #HulkKing while he goes to lawman to draw her blood. When the man then sends a nude pic of Jen as a confirmation of his success, which again suggests misogynistic undertones — where he has to wait days for his text — he becomes just another unfortunate addition to the list of people who want Jen’s body. However, by showing the lawyer gradually coming to terms with his radio silence and her own possible heartbreak, the show re-establishes the idea of a strong-willed woman who doesn’t substitute romantic setback for the end of the world. She doesn’t need a man to be accomplished yet, unlike her friend Lulu (Patti Harrison) very problematic beliefs.
Until now, She Hulk‘s approach to misogyny has been a mixture of overt attitudes, particularly when it comes to physical violence; with a “don’t feed the trolls” ideology for the cyberbullyers – both real and fictional. But the latest installment in the series, Ribbit and Rip It seems set to change that notion, as the Secret Service trolls begin their discriminatory operation at the worst possible awards ceremony. She “stole her powers” from the Hulk, they accuse before calling her a “bitch”; but it’s not until an NSFW video of Walters is shown to the audience that she really bolts – and in every way her cousin warned her about.
In Jennifer blowing her nostrils before smashing the monitor and running after a potential suspect, the tables turn and months, maybe years, worth of anger bubble to the surface when She Hulk notes how prejudice has the power to change not only a person’s reputation but also their outlook on life. Once confident in her ability to never let her anger cloud her judgment, Walters now wreaks havoc – much to the dismay of colleagues and admirers alike – when the attorney finally finds herself on the wrong side of things in an ironic turn of events Law. Gone are the days of subtle throwbacks to misogyny, and the rebel is coming to her own rescue loud and clear. A confrontation would most likely land you in the hottest waters, the series seems to suggest, but some days it might just be the only way to deal with a world so determined to tear down successful women.
She-Hulk: Lawyer His next episode premieres this Thursday on Disney+.
https://collider.com/she-hulk-confronts-misogyny/ How She-Hulk Confronts Misogyny