I grew up watching Buffy and have always loved it, and loved the fact that it was girls who were the super heroes, exclusively. Only girls could be slayers. I love the character Buffy and her incredible strength and perfect snark. She will always be my favorite super hero.
And for a long time, I loved Joss Whedon for creating her. And later for calling himself a feminist.
My first raised eyebrow in his general direction was when I learned that Dawn, a character that I disliked for the fact that she was constantly portrayed as weak and frequently damseled until the end of the Evil Willow season, was created specifically because Joss thought a show needed a girl who could be damseled, and Willow was no longer weak enough to fulfill that role.
Then there was his weird speech on feminism and his assertion that it needed to be renamed, or something. That was like a slap in the face.
I haven't watched the Marvel movies much, but I understand that there is exactly one female Avenger, Black Widow. Joss Whedon's characterization of this token woman has drawn a lot of criticism from feminists (actual feminists, meaning women). His reaction exposes the true nature of so, so, so many self-proclaimed male allies who are faced with criticism. The ally facade crumbles to expose the core of just another selfish misogynist.
Do I think that Joss Whedon is more of a misogynist than most other men? No. Just as I believe that all white people, including myself, are at least subconsciously racist, I believe all men carry underlying misogynistic attitudes. Joss is misogynistic because he is a man, but if he wants to act as an ally, he needs to actively fight against his subconscious misogyny. The only way to do that is to listen to own up to it and listen to women when they call you out. Joss did the opposite.
He literally used the phrase "militant feminists," a term that has absolutely no meaning as there are no groups of armed, militarized feminists. Saying shit like that makes him indistinguishable from all the MRAs, anti-feminists, and run-of-the-mill blatant misogynists who have used that exact phrase to conjure an image of scary straw feminists out to steal your manhood. At gunpoint, apparently.
Do I think that Joss gets more criticism because he's in the public eye? Of course he does. He's making the shows and movies that contain representations of women. And with great power comes great responsibility, right Joss? You're privileged enough to be a writer/director of huge movie franchises that are making you millions to add to your pile of millions. Use that privilege to help people that you claim to want to help and stop fucking whining.
Do I think women, particularly feminists, are hyper-sensitive about portrayals of women in media? Of-fucking-course we are, and we damn well should be. There's one woman Avenger and therefore you get one shot at making a decent female representative. If there were an Avengers team with, say, 50% women, we wouldn't be making such a big deal about Black Widow. That just makes sense. Plus, we're hyper-sensitive because we've been through movie after movie after movie with misogynistic portrayals of women who are nothing but plot devices to drive men, whether as damsels or objects of desire, who have no real lives or ambitions of their own. And we're fucking sick to death of it. So yeah, we get really pissed when someone who claimed to be different pulls the same shit as every other shit male director out there. Wouldn't you?
For fuck's sake, put yourself in our shoes for two seconds. You get so upset when men are portrayed as bumbling doofuses in cleaning product commercials, but you don't get why we're mad about Black Widow? Typical.
Joss Whedon didn't quit Twitter because of feminists being mean to him. He said that himself. But his whining about "militant feminists" and "feminists attacking other feminists" (by "other feminists," I assume he means himself) exposes him as just another whiny fake ally who refuses to listen to the people he claims to be an ally of and wilts when he's called out, trying to make himself into a victim and going "why can't we all just get along!" when he means "why can't you just never criticize me ever!" He's no ally. And if he was only acting as an ally for praise, then he never was.
So bye, Joss, don't let the mean Twitter feminists kick you in the ass on the way out.