In a recent publication by John Piper’s website “Desiring God”, staff writer Greg Morse breaks down what he views as the flaws with Marvel’s newest addition to the Marvel Universe in “Captain Marvel”. You can read his thoughts for yourself here, but ultimately his argument is a blast on Disney’s attempt to join the “feminist agenda” by moving away from the princesses of the 60s (see Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) and toward today’s effort to “empower little girls everywhere to be strong like men”. That Disney would make a film where “the armed princess turned feminist queen, who comes down from the tower to do what Prince Charming could not” is, according to Morse, a breakdown of society’s moral obligation to “protect and cherish our women”.
Relevant Magazine had their own thoughts about Morse’s perspective. While I appreciated their view, I felt a female voice should be heard amongst the clamoring men. Here are four reasons why Captain Marvel is an accurate commentary on the power of women.
1. What made Captain Marvel powerful was her use of emotions. While man sought to temper her emotions and warned her against their use, she knew what all women know – our emotions don’t weaken us but make us stronger. Boys are taught to stuff and bury what could make them stronger when emitted appropriately. Girls are dismissed for the way their emotions “rule” them. But the reality of emotional intelligence informs us that when men and women are attuned to their emotions they have healthier relationships, better work performance, and overall better quality of life.
2. What made Captain Marvel strong was her care for others. Women are often the mental caretakers of life’s little details. We’re the keepers of schedules, household responsibilities, social events, and those little details that mean so much – such as when Captain Marvel remembers Monica’s nickname was “Lieutenant Trouble”. It’s our care for others – our ability to show up, be present, and offer ourselves – that is our strength.
3. What made Captain Marvel a hero was her ability to consider another’s side. While men are applauded for their bravado and impulsive actions, it’s Captain Marvel’s pause that makes her the true hero. The film’s context show the Kree at war with the Skrull. In battle it’s the quick-thinking actions of men that are amplified and celebrated, but in Captain Marvel we see her internal struggle as she considers the perspective of the Skrull. Her decision is calculated and intentional. She isn’t quick to abandon what she knows, but she isn’t quick to stay solely because she doesn’t know otherwise. It’s her intelligence and her intentional deliberation that leads to her purposeful and empathetic choice.
4. What made Captain Marvel woman was her ability and tenacity to fight. Women are and always have been fighters. Morse’s biggest argument with the film is its use of women in combat and how it encourages women to enlist in the military. But history (biblical and cultural) has shown us time and again that women warriors are a forced to be reckoned with. In our dogged determination to protect those we love, we are fierce fighters who know how to with shrewdness and passion.
What Morse gets wrong about women is what Marvel gets right: Captain Marvel is a cinematic display of the power of women.