A bit over a year ago, the first set photos of Shailene Woodley as Mary-Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit the web. And the fanboys reacted the only way they know how: they complained that she was too fat and not pretty enough for the part.
Believe me, I wish I were joking. And I wish it were just a small subsection of fandom in some obscure forum. But no, the response was vocal, even warranting several articles to be written in response. This satirical post may have been written in jest, but it’s actually an alarmingly accurate depiction of very real reactions.
Remember, this is one of the most talented actresses of her generation. But who cares about skill, right? As long as she looks like a supermodel. Maybe Michael Bay is smarter than we give him credit for. But even then, since when is this considered unattractive? How high are these people’s standards, exactly? Oh, right, I forgot.
If it’s been over a year, why am I bringing this up again? Because since then, Shailene Woodley was cast in the film adaptations of Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, entered the public eye in a big way, and has quickly risen to superstardom. Here’s an article calling her the next Jennifer Lawrence. And here’s another. And another. And yet another. And here’s a fun fact: around late 2011 and early 2012, Jennifer Lawrence was considered not skinny enough to play either Mystique or Katniss, but now she’s one of the most likable and desirable actresses in the world. My pattern-sense is tingling!
This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken of geek culture’s mistreatment of women, and I doubt it’ll be the last. But with the recent release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (in which MJ’s role was cut, by the way), as well as Shailene Woodley’s rise to popularity, it’s more important than ever to remember just how bad things are, and how desperately they need to change.
P.S. Yes, I went there with the “geek living in his mom’s basement” stereotype. Believe me, I love being a geek, but in this case I’m so frustrated that I feel justified in reminding these sorts of fanboys of their place in the world and just how pathetic they really are.