Fox was doing so well with the Deadpool marketing and then this happened.
Clearly, it seems like a no-brainer to capitalize on the film’s biggest stars for the last marketing push for X-Men: Apocalypse but this image is grossly problematic. Yes, you have a power struggle on display between Oscar Issac as the film’s villain Apocalypse and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique but it’s also an image of Lawrence at her most disempowered.
To most this poster might not seem like a problem but that is the problem. While we should know better, the truth is that we don’t. It’s perfectly plausible that it was ok’d simply because it showcases their most bankable stars and this shot in the film might be the only time they’re face to face. So no, my first reaction isn’t to raise a pitchfork and charge after Fox, I still want to see this movie but more than anger I felt embarrassment for them because they also didn’t see the problem.
In terms of advertising it just means the number of people’s eyes seeing it and thinking, “Cool, new X-Men movie”.
And that goes to show how much as a society we’ve been conditioned by advertising to be unconsciously misogynistic. On some level the image probably makes most women uncomfortable if not down right angry. It sends the message that the outdated use of violence against women is still very much seen as totally cool to use to sell a movie.
Out of context this still is cringe-worthy because it doesn’t show the complexities of how this goes down. By the looks of the latest X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, it seems like we are very much getting an X-Men team led by Mystique, the first time a woman is at the forefront of any Marvel team-up on film. That’s awesome and promising. The use of the scene in the trailer, which the image is taken from, in context makes sense. Mystique leads a charge against Apocalypse after he takes Charles Xavier (Who also gets his ass kicked in a scene too, why wasn’t that used?) and ends up in the position in question. Maybe right after it she kicks his ass or the young mutants work together to help her. We don’t know but the moment is more effective in the trailer to show Apocalypse’s cruelty and makes me want to see the movie. In a building sized ad without context it made me say, “What the fuck?” because it shows complete disregard and disrespect toward a female audience.
This powerful image of the villain choking out the heroine is selling the stakes on the sort of exploitative representation that women are tired of seeing. Frankly, it’s also inappropriate for kids to be exposed to the imagery in such a public way. The huge error on Fox’s part continues a practice that doesn’t reflect it’s whole movie going audience in the best light. They need to own up to it.
It’s not going to be silently and submissively accepted anymore. It should be known that we’re beyond that.
Its also tiring but necessary to explain to people who don’t see the problem why it’s a problem. And it’s generally guys who don’t think it’s a problem and can’t see why it is.
Simply put: it’s okay for women (your friends & relatives) to have a problem with this sorta thing because it shows us in a light that we don’t want to continue to be seen anymore in things we love to watch too. It isn’t meant to take those things away or to change them so it’s no longer what you love. And if this is meant to advertise to the sort of people who love to consume seeing women as weak in a power-play imagery, then that’s a huge encouraging misstep on the wrong side of history.
I’d like to think that continuing to talk about this will enlighten people who don’t see it that way to put themselves in the shoes of fellow fans who don’t want to be depicted as lesser to sell tickets or to stir up controversy and talk for the film to cause buzz. It’s just a reminder that the old status quo isn’t gonna fly anymore because audiences are getting smarter, more diverse and beginning to outnumber those who don’t want to recognize voices outside of their own.