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Friday, August 8, 2014

Rocket Raccoon Called Gamora a Whore Twice

This is a followup to my earlier post about whether it was ok to laugh when Drax called Gamora a "green whore" in Guardians of the Galaxy. In skimming over the IMDB quotes this morning, I was reminded of the following exchange:

Rocket Raccoon: There's a quarnex battery behind it. Purplish box. Green wires. To get into that watch tower, I definitely need it.
Gamora: How are we supposed to do that?
Rocket Raccoon: Well, supposedly, these bald bodies find you attractive, so maybe you could work out some sort of trade.
[Groot starts walking toward the panel]
Gamora: You must be joking.
Rocket Raccoon: No, I really heard they find you attractive.

And I remember laughing at the last line there too.  I wonder if that was ok?  At that point, we didn't know for sure what a good person Gamora really was.

There doesn't seem to be any feminist outcry about this line, but maybe that's just because it's not as memorable as the "green whore" line.  And maybe James Gunn gets a pass for this one, because Rocket is an a-hole.  Is it possible that putting an offensively sexist line in the mouth of a character who says all kinds of other offensive things is ok, whereas if it's put in the mouth of any other character, it needs to be analyzed?

I don't know, but that's not going to stop me from analyzing this line. Yes, he's not quite calling her a whore, but it's possibly even worse -- he suggests that she should trade sex for something, and then when she says he must be joking, he assures her that he is not.  In fact, he can't even conceive that she might think he's joking about her willingness to prostitute herself, that he thinks (or acts like he thinks) she is referring to something else. So really, he has called her a whore twice.

So again for the record, I thought it was hilarious.  I've heard that jokes structured like that before -- there's probably even a name for them -- where one person says one thing, the other person denies it, and the first person responds as if the denial was only as to a part of it, which then confirms that the first person really believes the main part. I'm struggling here -- if anyone can provide other examples of this kind of joke, I'd appreciate it.  

So my question is whether this is another offensive line, designed extract cheap laughs while demeaning women everywhere?  Even though Gamora has proven her ability as a resourceful and formidable fighter, Rocket thinks of her primary value as a sex object.  What lesson is that teaching our kids?  Even the punch line brings us back the notion that the only woman in the group is valued for her looks rather than anything else.  Is it more or less pardonable than the Drax green whore line?

I really don't know the answer to this, all I know is that I laughed, possibly because of the misdirecting structure of the joke.  Was it irresponsible of the James Gunn and Marvel to have that joke in there?



1 comment:

  1. The difference for me with this (as opposed to the Drax exchange) is that here Rocket is saying (whether jokingly or not) that Gamora COULD do that. He didn't imply it's something she's ever done (or would ever consider doing). And to me it also felt like it was meant to tease her/get her goat.

    My problem with the Drax line is (like with others) because he is presented as so literal, and because Gamora has at that point been 100% established as not promiscuous at all so there's not really any room for a literal interpretation.

    Honestly if they didn't make him such a literal character I wouldn't even have cared that he called her that. And if the prisoners in the jail were legit calling her a whore in previous scenes then I guess that's an explanation that makes me less irritated.

    I didn't notice that, but that doesn't mean they weren't saying it haha.

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