The White Feminism of “Agent Carter”: A Preliminary Evaluation of Season Two’s Pros and Cons

I had a chance this past weekend to sit down and get caught up on the first four episodes of season two Agent Carter, and as with the first season, the writers are exploring some very intriguing themes. Where the first season focused on the question of what it was like for a (white) woman to try and make it in a (white) man’s world, the second season has begun to tackle the question of what it’s like to try and make it in a socially-prescribed woman’s world.

agent_carter_season_2_promo_07
Wynn Everett as Whitney Frost

Thus far, this new theme is centered on the character of Whitney Frost, who has quickly emerged as Peggy’s primary foil for this season (although Dottie Underwood is still, delightfully, somewhere in the mix). Whitney is an extraordinary villain. She is what you get when you take a brilliant woman and value her only for her looks. As we’ve seen through flashbacks and present-day sequences, Whitney’s struggles are born of the difficulties that come from being forced into the socially constructed world of what womanhood is supposed to be: feminine, fragile, domestic, demure. From childhood, she’s had it drilled into her head that she needs to smile (at men), to be nice (to men), to not waste her time on the ridiculous idea of getting an education (which is reserved for men). She’s got a brain the size of a planet, but all anyone has ever cared about is her pretty face. And that has worn away at her soul. The weight of society’s unfair expectations, of the burden of enforced conformity, has destroyed her, and by developing her in this way she has emerged as a deeply sympathetic villain. She’s mad as hell, and she isn’t going to take it anymore. She will no longer be denied—not by her husband, or by the shadowy group of men who control him, or even by society itself. And while it’s clear that she’s going to do an incredible amount of damage by the time this story ends, it’s going to be the kind of damage that you can’t help but admire, I think.

ba_06
Reggie Austin as Jason Wilkes

While the show is continuing to bat a thousand in the (white) feminist department, it’s still on shaky ground when it comes to the representation of minority characters. The major problem with season one Agent Carter was that there were almost no people of color in the cast, and the ones that appeared here and there mostly wound up dead pretty damn fast. This season they’ve added a major character of color—scientist Jason Wilkes—and have included more background PoCs, which is slight progress. There’s something of a snag with the Wilkes character, however. Wilkes is an extremely interesting character, whose courageous pursuit of a scientific career during this era is as worthy of exploration as Whitney Frost’s inability to pursue such a career for herself. Indeed, Wilkes and Frost make much better foils for one another than than Peggy and Frost do. And yet, by episode two Jason Wilkes had been exposed to a dangerous substance that caused him to slip into an incorporeal state. And that state is currently worsening at an accelerated rate. At this point, it’s unclear how his story line will be resolved, and the entire thing makes me incredibly nervous.

Though I suspect that the creators’ intentions are good, the reality is that Marvel television shows don’t have the greatest track record with their characters of color. There’s a tendency to dehumanize and/or ghost them (Akela Amador, Mike Petersen, Raina, Agent 33, Jiaying, Antoine Triplett, Ben Urich, Reva Conners, Oscar Clemmons, to name a few off the top of my head). When taken together, this tendency constitutes a pattern of representation that is deeply unsettling. Too often in the MCU, characters of color are metaphorically stripped of their humanity, often before being stripped of their lives. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., for example, Mike Petersen was forced into a surgical process that turned him into a cybernetic killing machine against his will and then disappeared from the narrative, while Raina—another character of color on the show—was exposed to terrigen mists that altered her physiology into that of a strange creature before being killed off. Now we have Jason Wilkes, who has literally been turned invisible. This may have been intended as a hat tip to Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, but it’s a very tricky proposition nonetheless, and honestly it feels like a dodge—with a cultural marker (Ellison’s Invisible Man) standing in for a fully-fleshed-out attempt to address the topic of racism that has yet to be forthcoming.

Regardless of what the creators think they’re doing, the only way this story line can avoid being grossly racist is if Jason Wilkes is saved, and I mean fully saved—brought completely back to himself and put in a position to win the girl. (Because if matters weren’t bad enough, Wilkes is also in a kind of love triangle with two white characters—Peggy and Agent Daniel Sousa—which is always a very dangerous place for a black man to be narratively speaking.) If Jason Wilkes dies tragically to resolve the “love triangle” in Sousa’s favor that will be the death knell for this show as far as I’m concerned. Such a resolution would be unoriginal; it would under-serve the characters; and it would tell you everything you need to know about the creators’ commitment to diversity.

I want to keep loving this show. I really, really do. Despite the lingering problematic aspects (where the hell are the women of color? working as maids and selling movie tickets? seriously?), despite these problems Agent Carter is exploring some very interesting concepts and growing the world of the MCU in innovative ways. But if they kill off Jason Wilkes—if they don’t play against this toxic trope that they’re currently working within—I will be fucking done.

People of color are not expendable. They do not exist to push the story arcs of white characters forward. Agent Carter can be better than this. I hope it will be.

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “The White Feminism of “Agent Carter”: A Preliminary Evaluation of Season Two’s Pros and Cons

  1. I think that whether you feel that the presentation of female POCs as maids and ticket sellers is problematic depends on whether you feel that historicity has value. In that time, options were severely limited for women and especially those of color. Is there not some value in showing this? History forgotten is history repeated.

    Like

    • This is a very interesting question, and one that’s worth addressing.

      Setting aside the fact that—while it was rare—women of color did work in positions other than that of maids and ticket sellers during this era (there were women of color who served as Rosie-the-Riveters, who ran independent newspapers, who acted in Hollywood, etc.). Yes, there absolutely is a value in showing the reality of life for women of color at this time. It is important to show the scarcity of opportunity at this time, but only if you also show how hard some had to work to overcome it. When I made the comment about maids and ticket sellers, it wasn’t a complaint about what can be read as a nod to historicity (an argument that, while not entirely without merit, can be hard to swallow in a world of superheroes, inhumans, and gods), but a criticism of the fact that that’s all we’ve seen—that such a reality has been presented (thus far) without comment.

      In order to responsibly present history to a modern audience, the inequalities of the past have to be pointed out and actively addressed. By merely showing women of color in stereotypical roles—in roles that are expected and therefore serve to make them invisible to a white audience—I feel that the show’s creators have effectively shoved the issue under the rug, and I’m hoping that they won’t continue to do so as the series progresses. I think Agent Carter is, in many ways, a very good show. Now I want to see it be a great show. 🙂

      Like

  2. I think when it comes to Marvel killing Characters of Colour, we should do the counter test – and then we realize that Agent of Shield is killing or ghosting pretty much everyone who doesn’t belong to the original six and hasn’t gone evil, with the exception of Mack, Bobbi and Hunter, who are new characters. In short, the high number of PoC which meet an undesirable fate in AoS just shows how many of them are actually there – because every character with a meaty story-line has to SUFFER in this show. (In fact, Mack is so far the one who had it the easiest – he is overdue for some deeply damaging storyline). If you talk about Mike, Trip, Akela Amador (who was a one-off character from the get go) and a bunch of villains, you also have to talk about Hands, Donnie Gill, Rosalind and a bunch of white villains.

    The downside is that the “core-team” is a little bit in the white side. The upside is that it does better than most TV shows do. Let’s take a look at the current core team: Of the eight characters, four are females (Daisy, May, Bobbi and Simmons), and three are PoCs (Daisy, May and Mack). Meaning unlike most shows, which have mostly white males and one of two females and minorities thrown into the main cast, this show has only Coulson, Hunter and Fitz who fall into the category, while Daisy, May, Bobbi, Simmons and Mack are either females, PoC’s or both.

    The Netflix shows are another matter, though. The tendency to kill off old black guys is strange, to say at least. Especially Daredevil is often close to being racists with its free use of stereotypes. Jessica Jones does a little bit better, though.

    Like

    • I’m not sure that doing the counter-test is appropriate to the discussion at hand, although the deaths of Victoria Hand, Rosalind Price, and Isabelle Hartley do count somewhat toward the mishandling of minority (female and lgbtq) representation. I actually have a post about the fridging of Isabelle Hartley—which pissed me off so much omg—if you’re interested in reading my take on that type of character death.

      The reason I see the counter-test as not necessarily appropriate here is that a) this post is specifically about minority representation, and b) no matter how many white characters suffer or die on a show, the sheer percentage of white characters to minority characters typically makes minority deaths weigh more overall. By which I mean that the loss of a minority character does more to the overall demographics of a show than the lose of white character does. (I do not mean that the death of white characters is immaterial or unimportant; please please do not let that be anyone’s take-away.)

      You’re absolutely right that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tends to do a better job with representation overall than many other Marvel shows (and shows in general). It’s an origin story for a female superhero of color, something no other Marvel property can boast, and there’s a good track record of including minority characters overall. Nevertheless, the handling of those characters has been questionable at times—particularly when the history of representation (the black guy always dies first, etc.) is taken into account. I stopped watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because I started to feel like I could predict who was going to die based on the color of their skin, and I didn’t like that feeling. I’m having a similar feeling with Agent Carter right now.

      Your comment speaks to a very interesting debate, and I’m glad you wrote in with it because it’s good to talk about. That’s the question of whether problematic representation is better than no representation, and that’s hard to say. I think it’s different for everyone. I’ve read meta from people who could live with problematic representation because it was representation of some kind. By contrast, I’ve read meta from people who couldn’t stand seeing minority characters being consistently dehumanized and/or killed off. Along similar lines, some people feel that erasure of the kind Agent Carter has employed is a worse form of violence than problematic representation, while others don’t see it that way. It’s a very personal thing, and everyone’s lines are different. I’m still trying to figure out where mine are, to be honest.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your feedback!

      Like

      • I think it does make a difference…as long as all characters life by the same rules, it is fair (And I wouldn’t count Hands and Hartley as minority aside from both being woman because their relationship never made it into the show – specifically because the show runners knew that in their story the characters wouldn’t survive long, and knew that this would send a negative message).
        I don’t think that Wilkes will survive the season, but not because he is black, but because Agent Carter has easily the highest death count of all the shows. In the last season it killed characters left and right, I don’t expect it to do different this time around.

        Like

      • Okay, well if it does make a difference, then let’s crunch some numbers. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there are nine main characters and twenty-three recurring characters (give or take—I’m going off Wikipedia’s list here and not counting guest appearances, which are too numerous to tackle). Of the nine main characters: six are white (67%), two are Asian (22%), and one is black (11%). There are no latinx characters and no lgbtq characters in the main cast. Of the recurring characters: eleven are white (48%), three are Asian (13%), five are black (22%), and four are latinx (17%). One of the recurring characters is also homosexual (4%).

        Breaking the recurring characters down further: six white characters have died (two of whom were women), while five are still alive (all of whom are men); two Asian characters have died, while one is still alive; two black characters have died, while three are still alive; three latinx characters have died, while one is still alive. Generally speaking, it’s a pretty even breakdown of death (six white characters to seven minority characters), but when you take into account the percentages of characters that leaves standing, what I said earlier about how minority deaths weigh more should be clear. Of the nineteen characters (main and recurring) who are still standing, eleven are white (58%), three are Asian (16%), four are black (21%), and one is latinx (5%). It’s a respectable mix when you consider how overwhelmingly white many television shows are, but there’s still a disproportate amount of damage being taken by minority characters, and I’m not just talking about death. I’m talking about damage. Look at Andrew Garner and Raina, both black characters who both just happened to get the monstrous inhuman transformations because the creators just happened to think that they already had plenty of normal-looking inhumans on the show. Look at how the torture of Agent 33 and Jiaying was graphically depicted on the show. This is a subtle pattern that reveals itself in various ways; for example, in the tendency to race-bend characters only to kill them off. Jasper Sitwell is an example of this; Ben Urich is another. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough to give me pause.

        Jason Wilkes has been racebent and put into a love triangle with two white faves (Peggy and Sousa); you can argue that Agent Carter has the highest death count of the Marvel shows, and that therefore his death is likely because of the nature of the show rather than because he’s bent race-bent to be black. But I think you’d be hard-pressed to back that claim up, to be honest. (Higher death count than Jessica Jones or Daredevil? I mean, there was a war sequence in Agent Carter but otherwise the death count was what you’d expect for a prime-time television program.) I also think making that claim deliberately ignores the fact that if, intending to kill the character in the end, the creators of Agent Carter made a choice to cast that marked-for-death character as a black man that they had a reason for doing so—one that cannot be separated from the racial dynamics of the society those choices are being made in.

        Like

      • Agent Carter had only eight episodes. In every episode at least one character died, and it is the only show so far which has offed what can be considered a regular character by killing Dooley. (Honestly, the death count in the theatre alone puts it above every other show, but even if you only count named characters, the number of deaths is very high especially if you consider the low number of episodes).

        Like

      • I’m sorry, but that is just not correct. Daredevil killed off a main character with the murder of Ben Urich (a race-bent black man). Jessica Jones killed off a main character with the death of Hope Shlottman (a female victim of sexual assault). I cried my eyes out when Chief Dooley died, but he is not the only example of a main character death in Marvel television shows. In terms of deaths-per-episode, Daredevil also featured a major character death (or multiple minor character deaths) for every episode that was broadcast. Jessica Jones may not have been quite as bloodthirsty; I’d have to watch it again to be sure. The fact that Agent Carter was only eight episodes has no bearing on the situation. Moreover, by focusing on the literal number of deaths, you skirt the second portion of my argument—which is that casting a marked-for-death character as a black man (something we know happened in the case of Ben Urich and which may well have happened in the case of Jason Wilkes) speaks to a larger racial issue permeating society and the representation of that society in mainstream media.

        I honestly don’t understand why you’re so hung up on this point; why you are so desperate to prove that racial inequality in media is not a thing (or not a thing in this case?), when it is so demonstrably a thing (and so demonstrably a thing in this case). (Seriously, go and google “racial inequality in media.” You will get a ton of reputable hits.) You argue that white deaths are equal to minority deaths in Marvel television shows; I give you the percentages that explain why base equality in this situation does not equate to equity in representation. You argue that a black character in the MCU is likely to die because of “reasons”; I give you a list of comparative examples that demonstrate the impact of race on character death in the MCU. You double-down; I’ve refuted that.

        What’s your next move?

        Like

      • First of all, I never said it was not a thing – I said that AoS actually does better than other shows in that regard. I also didn’t intend to discuss this further (I think it is better to agree to disagree at this point) I just insisted on Agent Carter’s death count being easily the highest because I honestly think that it is.

        I guess I mostly don’t get why shows which actually DO try to do better are the ones which also always get the most flak on the net for “not doing enough”. Shouldn’t we give those shows SOME credit for trying, and give those shows which do nothing in this direction at all the flak? To clarify, I am not talking about the Marvel Netflix shows. As I pointed out, those do have a whole bunch of issues (Daredevil more than Jessica Jones). But I don’t think that we can count what those show do against Agent Carter and AoS, since those are both ABC shows, have entirely different show runners and just happen to be in the same universe. I think that Agent Carter deserves a LOT of credit for addressing how women were treated back then without sugar-coating it, and for now doing the same for Wilkes. And AoS deserves a lot of credit for having a diverse cast without constantly mentioning that it is a diverse cast.

        And generally speaking, I don’t think that the right way to go is a media landscape in which every show has one character of every minority. Or, as I always like to say: I would never complain about the fact that there are no woman in Shawshank’s Redemption. But I will always complain that there are a ton of movies which show white guys being in prison, and none (at least none I know) which tells the story of a black woman in prison.

        Like

      • Okay.

        So your main issue is that you want it understood that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does a better job representing minority characters than other shows do. In a post that actually has nothing to do with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. except via a peripheral reference. No matter. You think that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has better representation than other shows on television. And the thing is: I agreed with you. Twice. Why you feel the need to belabor that point escapes me.

        I guess I can understand your being confused about why shows that have better representation still get critiqued, but I already explained why I think that happens in my first response (erasure vs problematic representation). I’m not going to explain it again. Suffice it to say that trying is all well and good, but succeeding is often another matter entirely, and people typically have the strongest reactions to the things they actually like. I like the MCU (whether that’s including the Netflix shows or no), and I want the MCU to be better because I like it and believe in it.

        This post was not about arguing over shows that have already aired. It was about speculating on future possibilities. Agent Carter does deserve a lot of credit for tackling what life was like for (white) women in the post-war period; I devoted the first half of this essay to giving them that credit. They don’t deserve credit for doing the same with Wilkes, however, because they haven’t actually tackled the reality of life for black men in the post-war period yet. Oh sure they alluded to it: a briefly sketched backstory and one rude gas station attendant. And then they made him invisible. Done properly, it could turn out to be a very clever and effective metaphor for the ways in which people of color were, and are, marginalized in American society. I’m not denying that possibility. But done ineffectively, and Jason Wilkes (and the issues of racism his character is a gateway to) will become invisible to the television audiences that are watching right now. Agent Carter is on dangerous ground with this plot thread. Period. And for you to laud their paper-thin depiction of Wilkes as a great example minority representation, in comparison with the incredibly nuanced representation the show has already given to white women, is laughable. It is the epitome of white feminism.

        Check out Stranger Inside if you want to see an excellent film about black women in prison.

        Like

      • And I didn’t necessarily disagreed with your points, I just added some thoughts to it, which I think should be taken into consideration for a complete picture. And I also think that if Wilkes dies (or something else happens to him) it doesn’t automatically mean that his story overall will be badly done. This guy is specifically in the situation he is in now because he was hired for one reason alone, because nobody would care what happened to a black guy in the case of a clean-up of the project.

        I have a last thought for you: You are talking about “white feminism” in a manner which sounds disparaging. As if the show is somehow “less” because it made the decision to tackle the issue from this particularly perspective and not from another one. But in the end, Agent Carter never claimed to be a show about racism, so everything the show does in this direction is in my eyes a bonus on top of the feminist themes (which are largely applying to all females in western societies, no matter what race) .

        For example, I expected Jessica Jones to address female issues. That it also made one or two remarks along the line of “everybody is a little bit racist” was a nice bonus. I expect Luke Cage to be largely about racial issues. If it will also have some well-written female characters, it will be a nice bonus. For me, the premise of the show does make a difference when it comes to the question what a show HAS to address and what is something it SHOULD address when it doesn’t distract from the main point of the story.

        Like

      • 1) If you think that the death of Jason Wilkes wouldn’t constitute a failure of representation, then yes, you are disagreeing with me. And that’s fine. Disagree all you like. But don’t act as if that is not what you’re doing.

        2) You did add thoughts that were worth taking into consideration (the question of whether erasure is better/worse than problematic representation; the comparative demographic breakdown of shows like AoS and how that impacts minority representation), and I did take them into consideration. You also added a number of red herrings, and I shot those down.

        3) White feminism is “prioritizing the experiences and voices of cisgender, straight, white women over women of color, queer women and those who fall outside this narrow identity.” Intersectional feminism seeks to take a plethora of identities (non-binary, queer, non-white) into consideration when examining both personal choice and media narratives. The feminist themes of Agent Carter do not apply to all women in western society regardless of race. They apply to white women. To be a truly feminist show, Agent Carte needs to be intersectional. That means it needs to show the reality of life for all women in an environment that isn’t 90% whitewashed. (And let me just say this now: do not attempt to throw historical accuracy into the mix at this juncture. I have plenty of sources about how people of color existed in the 1940s, and I’ve already responded to a question about historical accuracy above. My response there stands.)

        4) What is the main point of the story in Agent Carter? Isn’t it how amazingly ahead of her time Peggy Carter is? How tough and resourceful in the face of adversity? How much of trailblazer she is as a result? How do you tell that story without Peggy Carter being visibly and consistently anti-racist? Without showing her as being aware of the whitewashed world she’s been placed in? The courageous confrontation of inequality is, if not the main point of the story, at least the main theme of the series. But that confrontation is meaningless in a world where race is swept under the rug, as it has been here.

        Note: Format edited for ease of reading.

        Like

      • I honestly would feel it way more dishonest if there were a number of PoC in the circles Peggy usually have to deal with. (In the first season even more so, because in the 1940s New York WAS mostly white and the group which got the brunt of racism were the Irish). It makes sense to me that Peggy, who grew up as part of upper society in England (and consequently wouldn’t have much contact to the minorities – mostly from the colonies – there), then spend the war with Captain America’s one mixed troop (which is historical inaccurate, btw, but I let it slide because Steve is supposed to symbolize the ideals of what America should be, so naturally he would have a diverse team behind him) and then in mostly-white New York wouldn’t be the type of woman who even thinks of other people any differently unless she is confronted with the racism of other characters – which is addressed multiple times during this season btw. You might not have noticed it, but Peggy is not just fighting Whitney Frost, she basically fighting against a bunch of white old men who use their privileges for sinister purposes.
        I also think that feminism is in a lot of points universal. Yes, there are woman who have to deal with racism on top of sexism. Anna for example had to flee for her life because she happened to be Jewish. But the “smile for me”, being judged based on your looks, being considered unfit for certain jobs, that is not bound to race but gender.

        Like

      • If that is the way you interact with people who are actually interested in your point of view and want to discuss it, it might be better if you say nothing at all to anyone. Do you always play the racist card the moment someone doesn’t agree with you on everything you say? That is kind of sad…

        Like

  3. Oh-kay… so…

    If I can weigh in a little bit, swanpride, I have a serious issue with your comment… “This guy is specifically in the situation he is in now because he was hired for one reason alone, because nobody would care what happened to a black guy in the case of a clean-up of the project.”

    I’m just going to leave that there. Because that. Is. The. Problem.

    He’s there, as The Black Guy, to die. That’s the actual issue. That he was hired, specifically, because he’s black, so that he can die. That’s it, that is the problem. Particularly, SPECIFICALLY on this show.

    Bucky was not the only one to shape the century, Peggy Carter’s fingerprints are ALL OVER the MCU/MTVU. Her contributions can’t be boiled down to a single line about how ‘someone really wanted our initials to spell SHIELD’ – Peggy had a lasting impact on the Marvel Universe, both politically (in the founding of SHIELD) and in social arenas. SHIELD is presented in the current-day as a (mostly, problematically) diverse workplace where women and People of Color are CLEARLY valued much more than they were during Peggy’s time in service. That’s presumably due to the work that Peggy did, which is the ACTUAL PREMISE OF AGENT CARTER. The show promises to tell the story of how Peggy’s work changed the SSR – a minefield of misogyny (and racism) – into SHIELD.

    Peggy’s attraction to people who understand marginalization (as in, what attracted her to Steve Rogers in the first place) have been well-documented in this (MCU/MTVU) version of the character. I believe that that concept – Peggy’s emotional attraction to people who have keenly felt marginalization – is something that provides a reasonable expectation for fans. I’m going to pick up those goalposts you moved, from ABC-only Marvel shows, and move them back to the original placement with all Marvel-tv discussion. I’d like to argue the fact that race comes up JUST ONCE in Jessica Jones (as a throwaway joke) between Jess and Luke, partly because Peggy had normalized interracial relationships, decades prior. It’s canon that Peggy married Gabe Jones. I will fight for interracial-relationship Peggy Carter until the day I die. Wilkes offers the opportunity to showcase that (established) part of Peggy’s character, and if the showrunners decide to off him to clear a path for Sousa (who has already indirectly dumped Peggy) then I will, for one, write the whole damn thing off.

    I believe that fans have the right to say that we will no longer be able to follow a tv show that offered the opportunity to subvert tropes in an exciting and empowering way, but then chose not to subvert. Rather, the show seems to have settled into tired tropes. Wilkes, in the comics, is a white man, who is STILL ALIVE. Wilkes, in AC, has been racebent and marked for death. If he’s marked for death, why racebend? If he’s racebent, why mark for death? If this is a show that (presumably) takes a story set in a dreadfully misogynistic (and racist) culture like New York in the late ’40s and views it through a modern-day feminist lens, then that carries a responsibility to use a feminist lens that isn’t occluded by racism. As a modern-day feminist, I sincerely hope that this show lives up to the ethical promise that it hooked me with. If it fails to do so, I will turn my attention (and viewing time) elsewhere.

    As a last note, I’d also like to take a moment to address a few of the other comments you’ve made, swanpride. You can’t argue that the Howling Commandos were ‘historically inaccurate’ because THEY WERE A WORK OF FICTION. It’s a story about a genetically modified super-soldier. There is no serum, there is no teesseract, arc reactors aren’t a thing, and IF YOU CAN LOOK PAST ALL OF THAT FICTION THEN I HOPE YOU CAN IMAGINE A RACIALLY INTEGRATED PLATOON. As for Peggy being a ‘high born Brit’ or whatever that argument was… JFC. As problematic as the phrasing ‘the minorities’ is, let’s look past THAT WHOLE MESS and to Peggy’s life between whatever high-tea, lady-in-waiting headcanon you have going on to see what could have POSSIBLY put her in Camp Lehigh in 1943. Or perhaps to the fact that it’s clearly stated that Peggy’s closest friends represented in AC are all in service jobs, with the exception of Howard Stark. Let me ask you, for historical accuracy: who would have worked those service jobs in the late ’40s? TELL ME AGAIN THAT SHE WOULDN’T COME ACROSS PEOPLE OF COLOR. I guarantee you that absolutely every diner in every one of these shows and movies – modern times, or in the ’40s – has at least one person of color on the dishwashing or cooking staff. I have a hard time believing that Angie wouldn’t schmooze with all of her coworkers. Or that Peggy ‘I’m attracted intellectually to marginalized people’ Carter wouldn’t have actively thought about marginalization unless she encountered someone being marginalized. The whole character is based on her keen understanding of marginalization and her empathy for others in the same situation. Your argument is invalid.

    At the end of the day, this is really all just fiction. This can’t be historically accurate, because it’s FICTION. There are people, sitting around a desk, embellishing a story that has ALREADY GONE IN THE DIRECTION FANS ARE ASKING IT TO GO. If the writers so choose to turn from an exciting, subversive story and instead tell the same old tired tropes, then it’s on them, and none of us have any obligation to continue watching.

    Like

    • So, you think that it is wrong for the show to demonstrate the REALITY of black people who were smart and resourceful and yet had a worst chances simply because they had the wrong skin colour? In case you didn’t notice, yes, THAT is the whole point. On a meta level Agent Carter addresses some of the darker point of comic book history. Female writers who lost their job after the war? Comic book history. Female Superheroes who as a result suddenly got marginalized and made a secretary? Comic book history (Just look up the issue in which freaking Wonder Woman was turned into the secretary for the Justice league – literally). The overall lack of minority characters back then? Comic book history. By invoking the trope of the black guy who got hired because the bad guys thought that it was easy to get rid of him they address the topic instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist. And since Wilkes is still around and effective helping Peggy to take down the group of white guys who throw around their weight, destroying the society in the process, the show makes the point on which side of the issue it actually is, and who is a worthy part of society – and who definitely isn’t.

      On a larger level, there is a character in the MCU who helped to shape the century, who is actually the sole reason why the Avengers even exist. His name is Nick Fury. Sadly we will never get a show about him because he is played by Samuel L Jackson. If Agent Carter continues, we will have most likely eventually seen how Peggy created the most liberal of all Spy organisations during her lifetime. But that won’t happen. Sadly the ratings for the show indicate that this will be its last season. So watch it, watch it not, it doesn’t make a difference, those who pulled down the show at every opportunity have already won. It is just too bad that this was not just the work of the “who cares about the girlfriend of Captain America” group who did it, but also those who were constantly criticising the show for not addressing every social issue under the sun. That is the reason why we never get nice things. Because it honestly doesn’t pay off for networks to do shows which address social issues. They can put the most sexist and/or racist show possible on air, nobody will blink and eye – they might even praise it as “edgy”. But every show which actually does try to make a difference is immediately under fire for not being good enough, instead of getting the support which actually might help to change the media landscape on a long-term basis.

      Like

  4. I forgot!

    WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY MEAN BY THIS? “being judged based on your looks, being considered unfit for certain jobs, that is not bound to race but gender.”

    That makes no sense.

    Like

  5. Swanpride, are you replying to an entirely different thread, by mistake? Your comment has nothing to do with the price of beans in Norway. This will be my last comment on the issue (on this thread), because you’re clearly intent on having your own conversation that is only tangentially related to what everyone else is saying.

    To be clear: I’m not (and I don’t believe the OP was) claiming that Agent Carter address ‘every social issue under the sun’. What I, for one, am saying is that the show should not retcon in such a way that it creates a LESS SOCIALLY AWARE storyline than it’s original, especially when created (and marketed) under a guise of feminism. I would love for the show to continue for more than two seasons, but I would only support that if the showrunners made the effort to MAINTAIN the level of social awareness present in the source material. I have no problem with racebending – your dear example, Nick Fury, is one of my absolute favorite racebent characters. And I love that Nick Fury was allowed to live! The problem I have is racebending characters JUST TO KILL THEM OFF. That’s the point, that was the point of the original blog post, that was the point of my comment. Play with the race (or gender or whatever) of the characters all you want, but don’t code it in such a way that racebending someone into a Person of Color is effectively a sign over their heads stating in neon colors that they are NEXT TO DIE. That’s the point. There’s nothing more to be said.

    Like

    • Exactly! I felt that was particularly poorly handled. He wasn’t killed off, but his character was demeaned—by having him act in a highly out of character manner—in order to ensure that Peggy would end up with the show’s white love interest, Daniel Sousa, without having to compromise her standards. She didn’t end up with the white guy because he was white, but because the black guy did something “unforgivable.” Very bad writing.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s