I want to be real for a moment, so gather around. I want to talk about a real serious subject for a moment.
Lately Joss Whedon and Anthony Stark have been getting a lot of flack. If it’s not Black Widow referring to herself as a monster because she can’t have children (can we say out of context?) then it’s someone’s idea of a rape joke being slipped into Age of Ultron.
It’s been apparent that Age of Ultron has a rather off-color rape comment. I’ve seen this film twice in theaters and even own a copy and I still don’t see it. So, I did what any curious individual would do, I googled “Avengers age of Ultron Rape Joke” and you want to know what I found? I’ll tell you:
“I will be re-instituting Prima Nocta.”
For those who missed it, it all takes place at the after party when everyone wants to try to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. Which, mind you, is not a male testosterone scene. It is not secret code for “The hammer is my penis.” No, it’s a scene where some people don’t believe the Odin Enchantment on the hammer to begin with. This is a question of science over magic. These people are having fun with something they know deep down IS NOT HAPPENING! These people are having fun. Some are probably even a bit lit. The idea that some people need to read into everything as being something sexist or misogynistic just to ruin a fun thing. Not every scene or word is written with an ulterior motive in mind.
Now when Stark steps up, he comments when he finds that if he can lift the hammer, he’ll be ruler of all of Asgard; “I will be fair but firmly cruel.” and “I will be re-instituting Prima Nocta.” Now for those of you not well versed in Latin, Prima Nocta is the act of the King taking the virginity of a peasant villager before marriage. Now if you know your history, it’s believed Prima Nocta was a law enforced by Edward I of England in an attempt to breed the Scots out instead of fighting them out. Which now takes it from an ancient almost mythological right to a conspiracy of extermination. Either way I don’t see where this even comes close to a rape joke? If anything, Stark is making a joke based on history while attempting to do something which in itself is also a joke. He even says he’d be a cruel ruler as if Iron Man would be cruel? Once again, it’s Stark trying to come across snarky.
Anyone who knows Anthony Stark’s character knows this is a joke. Is it an off-color joke? That can be debated. We’re talking about something fresh here, we’re talking the 1700s and something which history itself has debated even exists. It makes me wonder, if Stark made an alien anal probing joke would people look at that as rape too? Aliens don’t exist in our world (that we know of) but they do exist in the MCU. But it would be so preposterous that we would laugh and
think nothing of it. If you think this was a rape joke, then you really don’t know this character and should probably get out more. If you were offended by this then I got nothing because I fail to see how something almost mythological can be offensive?
People have been comparing it to the first Avengers “Mewling Quim” comment. Some people have also blamed Joss Whedon for reintroducing the term Mewling Quim into the modern language. These same people feel that using the term Prima Nocta is adding to Rape Culture. Next you’ll be telling me we can’t have the Red Skull be a Nazi because Nazis were evil and wrong. I hate to break it to you but Loki is a bad guy, he says and does bad things. Since when do bad guys have
a filter? The same as Tony Stark, he makes off-color comments, the same man who took pride in sleeping with twin playmates in the first Iron Man.
If you have to read into this comment, this would-be joke, if you feel it’s going to bring this supposedly one-time law back into the spotlight then perhaps you have deeper problems that have nothing to do with the characterization and lack of taste which Tony Stark sometimes exhibits.
And yes maybe it could be debated in poor taste but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
No one is debating whether it was funny or not. I won’t argue that. Some people found it funny, some didn’t. That’s fine but to cry foul play because of one line and the scene in which it was delivered and by whom it was delivered… well if you look around, some of these would-be saviors come to save us from ourselves have no idea about the character in question. Stark loved the medieval time period as a child. It was certainly a bit more educated and wittier then say a sword in the stone joke.
Rape is not funny. Rape is not anything someone deserves. Rape is not something we joke about. However those points only matter if the whole context of rape is there to begin with. Internet loves to take things way out of context and not worry about recourse to the true feeling of the artists.