“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is racist and sexist,” says me, in the corner of the room to myself because I know this opinion is going to be wildly unpopular. Spoiler Warning.
Peter Quill’s father is a celestial being called Ego who appeared one day as a consciousness in the middle of the universe. Ego reconstructed himself to resemble his perception of “life form:” a human man. This was my first glaring red flag. Ego explained that he could manipulate molecules and make himself into anything imaginable, so why the hell would he make himself a human man? Especially since we know that creatures like Groot exist. The Sovereign species or even Thanos’ species would be a better choice because they’re way stronger than frail humans. It doesn’t make any sense to me that a celestial choose to look human, but moreover, the movie even had the audacity to suggest that Ego would want to be a white human man.
The climax of the movie is finding out that Ego has been visiting planets all throughout the galaxy, impregnating local female aliens and planting copies of himself. He hired Yondu to deliver his offspring to Ego once they were old enough so that Ego could use his offspring’s powers. His plan didn’t work because his offspring weren’t born with celestial powers. Yondu never delivered Quill to Ego, which is unfortunate for Ego since Quill was indeed the only offspring to have powers.
Here’s where I realized that the movies was suggesting that out of all of the aliens across the entire galaxy, the only species to produce a celestial offspring was human, meaning the only powerful offspring was a human man.
How egocentric do you have to be to create a movie that suggests that a) a celestial could be anything in the entire galaxy and would choose to be a white man, and b) that same celestial would procreate with thousands of other aliens, but the only powerful offspring would be a white man.
Also, realize that all of the members of Yondu’s Ravagers were men and the other ravager factions were also entirely male with only one group of women showing up near the end. Furthermore, Gomora and Nebula are the movie’s two strong female characters and their storyline is entirely centered on a man: their father Thanos. Lastly, it’s clear that there’s some internal hierarchy within the Guardians of the Galaxy team because Quill acts as the leader even though he’s not the strongest, smartest, or most skilled.
The Hetero- white- andro-centrism wasn’t obvious to me until I really started thinking about it, and now it’s all I see. How many other movies get away with veiled hetero- white- andro-centric ideals without being held accountable? Yes, I know there are many movies out there that deal with equality better, but Guardians of the Galaxy is a massively popular franchise. It’s not okay that current popular culture content isn’t even trying to represent equality.
There’s no reason or excuse for popular content to be so unabashedly un-inclusive. We’re ready for popular content to reflect our equality ideals. And don’t come at me saying that the movie was made that way to be true to the comic books because I sure as hell don’t value preserving the spirit of a sexist, racist comic book.
Marisa Benjamin, 5A, Arts and Business, Psychology Major, English Minor