An Avengers: Endgame theory literally objectifies Nebula, and this is not okay


Move over Carol Danvers because Nebula is the latest female character comic fans have objectified. Sorry, Nebula, you deserve better.

Unfortunately, objectifying women and women characters in the comic book media is a fandom-wide pastime. Now that comic book media has increasingly migrated to film and television, creators have started to treat women with more respect.

Although female heroes are becoming more prominent on the big and small screens, fan-led objectification and misogyny have become more noticeable. After all, as any fandom grows more popular, so does the toxic side of the fan culture. Male gaze and male opinions don’t live in a vacuum, despite the ongoing efforts by Marvel Studios and DC Entertainment to showcase empowering women heroes.

For once, Captain Marvel is getting a reprieve from fans who are somehow bothered by her upcoming on-screen debut. Instead, Nebula is the latest hero to be objectified by fans — literally being simplified to a mere object by certain fans.

After the ongoing spectacle about Captain Marvel’s less than smiley promotional material, when the only character in MCU history who’s smiled in a movie poster has been Loki (which should explain a lot), angry nerds have shifted their ire to a new target.

Some netizens have concocted a troubling fan theory that reduces Nebula to an inanimate technology mine for other characters to use, specifically for Tony Stark to use in order to get himself back to Earth.

Never mind the fact that Tony and Nebula are depicted as working together in the last Avengers: Endgame trailer or that they have a ship-sized amount of supplies, this “unpopular opinion” is just a gross excuse to objectify another female superhero. Sorry, Nebula, you deserve better — especially after the emotional and physical abuse you’ve endured from Thanos.

It is labeled as an unpopular opinion, but that doesn’t justify the fact that it objectifies Nebula. Literally, it diminishes her to her technologic prosthetics, and thus just her body parts.

This kind of objectification isn’t new to fandom, though. Sometimes this objectification is cloaked in revealing outfits or super suits or whatever reason most on-screen superwomen still wear high heels during combat. However, it’s most prevalent in seemingly harmless opinions and theories about how women can sacrifice a part of themselves to save or help the men in their lives. Often, this not-so-subtle objectification appears in the women in refrigerators trope because the women are withered down to a plot device that fuels a male protagonist somehow.

Aside from the fact that these fictional examples of objectification ripple into real-life misogyny because they reveal how people depict women in general, this theory insinuates that Nebula is only a productive member of the Avengers-Guardians crew for her technological body parts.

Reducing her to her body parts and how a male character can use them to advance their on-screen arc shows an insidious side of fan culture: That we’re often taught to see women only for their bodies or body parts. This ignores any value we may have unless it serves a purpose to men.

Plus, Tony Stark would never sacrifice someone else’s wellbeing or life to save himself. The canonically selfless hero would rather die in space. If he theoretically had enough resources to only save one of the people aboard the deserted ship, he’d rescue Nebula without hesitation. So, congrats, this theory is not Iron Man approved.

Next. Our Captain Marvel guide to everything Skrulls. dark

Objectifying and sexist pop culture commentary doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it reflects how many people view women or women-centered people. When threats and misogyny are still conflated and wielded as attacks against comic book creators and fans alike (even in the form of internalized misogyny), it’s clear that these unpopular opinions aren’t always just opinions.

Frankly, female characters and women in nerd culture deserve better, or at the very least, common decency.