Dear Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner,
I get that you were joking about Black Widow being a “slut” and a “complete whore” and a “trick.” I get that you were just kidding about her “just flirting with everybody” and “leading everybody on.” I understand that these are jokes, but more importantly, I understand where these jokes comes from. These kinds of jokes come from a society that confines women (both real and fictional) in the virgin/whore complex. These kinds of jokes reinforce the idea that if a woman has any bit of sexual agency, she is automatically immoral and bad and just exercising her sexual agency to make men miserable.
These jokes were hurtful and harmful, even if you didn’t intend them to be. Because of who you are and the wide audience you have access to, the hurt and harm is given more power and visibility. It tells your male fans “hey, it’s okay to call women sluts because they flirt” and it tells your female fans, “hey, don’t be flirty in a way guys don’t like or you’ll be called a slut.”
Yeah, I’m a faceless nobody that masquerades as a blogging barn owl, but I hope that you’ll consider my words and the words of others who are speaking up about this. I know that you’re capable of being better.
– The Giddy Owl (though she’s feeling a bit hurt and bummed at the moment)
UPDATE: Evans gave a sincere apology while Renner gave your typical none apology. I am so happy that Evans is Captain America. Will link when I get home because my phone is being dumb.