Movie Monday: Empowering Messages in Captain Marvel

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of superhero movies, but don’t judge me. I just never understood the point of it (STOP judging me). However, when I saw Captain Marvel I was very surprised and mind blown. I felt excited to see female representation in superhero films and with topics relatable and true to women. I mean, they didn’t make a heroine fit in a male dominated superhero world. Instead they made her stand out for everything she was, with her strengths, flaws, and womanhood. So, I want to share the empowering messages I saw in Captain Marvel. (Spoilers ahead!)

Be unapologetic about your emotions: they’re what makes you human.

Oh my gosh! I feel so strongly about this because we have been raised with the idea that strength means hiding emotions. Especially men! Men don’t cry because it shows weakness and they’re often told: “What are you? A woman? Man up!” I truly don’t get why emotions have to be considered something feminine and weak that we should suppress, as they are what makes us human. I think those who show emotions are the strongest people because they are unafraid to be vulnerable and because they break with society’s expectations and social constructs of what femininity and masculinity should look like. Many have lost human qualities like empathy, compassion, understanding, and sensibility, which I believe comes by being in touch with your emotions.

This is especially significant to women, since as soon as a woman shows the slightest of emotions, she’s considered hysterical. In the film, the act showing emotions, or not being able to control them, is portrayed as a huge issue. According to other characters,  especially Yon-Rogg, Carol Danver’s “weakness” was that she had trouble controlling her emotions which affected her decision-making process and how she fights. 

Truth of the matter is, she fought hardest and made the best decisions because she let her emotions guide her: from saving the man who rat her out, to betraying those who trained her to do the right thing for the greater good. I do agree that we should be able to control emotions and emotional intelligence is something we learn to develop, but, by viewing emotions as a flaw can lead others to suppress them, ultimately causing more harm than good.  

 

Allies, Not Rivals

Sometimes I think that some feminists bashes men and portrays them as enemies due to the patriarchal and sexist history we’ve had, when in fact, we are all part of the same world. It shouldn’t be about having bad blood between us, but about being allies, helping each other be better people and reach our full potential. That is why I loved how Carol Danvers was such a fireball and, because of that, she was supported and assisted throughout her missions by some of the men and women who were on her side at one point or the other. She was acknowledged for her strength, courage, confidence, good heart, and perseverance.

 

Looks are deceiving.

Usually, in films, we know who’s the bad guy because he (and yes, it tends to be male) is usually “ugly,” or let’s just say, difficult to look at.  Also, sometimes it’s evidenced through scenes where the “bad guys” are the ones causing harm. For example, early in the film, there’s an “ambush” where we’re lead to believe it was caused by the Krees. Later on, we learn that the Talos made it seem that way, when in fact, the Krees that were there, were only refugees.

What I liked was that the Skrulls were portrayed as the villains, and turned out to be the good guys. They just wanted to reunite with their people and have a stable and secure home. 

In real life, we tend to do that as well. We see people and judge them for their appearance and assume many things about them without getting to know them. We simply put a label based on our own misconceptions and stereotypes and are unwilling to give them a chance. Think twice before you start creating ideas about people because not everything is ever what it seems.

 

The power of friendship and of knowing who you are.

We can be as strong and independent as we want because we’re capable of it. Even then, it feels great to to have someone believe and support you in times and ways you feel you can’t. Family and a romantic partner are usually at the top of our list for that, but true friends do that as well. Carol was lucky to have Maria Rambeau.

Carol’s memory was blurry and Maria (despite believing Carol was dead for years) was there for her. Not only did she give Carol the push she needed to fight but she also reminded Carol of the life she had, the woman she was, and what she was capable of. Maria and her daughter, Monica, also encouraged Carol, believed in her, remained empathic, were understanding with her situation, and gave her a home. Carol needed that support and reminder or she wouldn’t have figured out who she was. And that’s a very powerful weapon, as it makes us have a purpose, an identity, and be a difficult target to be manipulated and used (which we see with Carol and Talos).

 

Being strong means…

FALLING AND PICKING YOURSELF BACK UP!

Strength can come in many different ways, shape, and form. It can mean something different for each and every one of us. One of this movie’s epic scene was towards the end when Carol’s battling to free herself from the Kree by battling with the Supreme Intelligence. She refused to be defeated and, through flashbacks, she remembered all the times she fell and failed and was told she wasn’t good enough. Then, she remembered that after those falls she ALWAYS stood back up and kept going. That part literally gave me chills and made me emotional because it inspired me since every time she did, she became stronger, wiser, more courageous, and confident.

So, remember, it doesn’t matter how hard or how many times you’ve failed. It doesn’t matter who tells you you’re not enough, or worthy, or important, or if you think it’s too late to do something, all it matters is that you get back up, stronger than ever, and fight for what you want. We fail only when we accept defeat by remaining down. 

 

“I don’t have to prove anything to you.”

YES! YES! YES! Probably one of my favorite scenes and lines from the movie. We’re constantly trying to prove ourselves to others, whether it’s our intelligence, ability, beauty, or worth. We let others do that to us as well just like our main character did at the beginning.

In the last fight Carol and Yon-Rogg had, he demanded that she proves herself and her capability to him without her powers. We tend to experience that in real life. People expect for us to prove ourselves to them as if we owed them something, but Carol Danvers, is here to remind us that no, honey, we don’t. She took a swing at him and ended with the mic-drop line: “I don’t have to prove anything to you” which got the whole theater room cheering and me saying “Yasssss, girl!”

 

We lead by example.

This was another epic scene in which Maria is debating on whether or not to help Carol with her mission. Her daughter, Monica is amazed and inspired by the two main women in her lives, Carol and Maria, so she encourages her mom to go out there and save the world. When Maria is doubting it, Monica says something along the lines of: “You have to think what kind of example you want to set out for your daughter.” That, for me, was another “Yaaasss!” moment. I loved it because it’s so true and sometimes we forget that we lead by example, and we do want to raise strong, independent, smart, kind-hearted, hardworking, and free thinking women, so we should start representing that. That way, we can also teach men to be the same. Whether we want to or not, we influence everyone around us, and we must think what kind of impact we want to have on them.

So, if we put into practice the messages I listed above, I think we can make a positive impact and. Thank you, Marvel for these beautiful lessons.