The new X-Men poster has resulted in nothing short of a hot mess. The poster depicts Apocalypse strangling Mystique and is part of the promotion for the X-Men Apocalypse film. There are those who argue that the poster is a promotion of domestic violence and casual violence against women and Fox has since apologized for the poster.

Quick Disclaimer: I have not seen the movie, so I don’t know what happened.

                I understand how a man choking a woman on a poster with no context has raised eyebrows. But the overwhelming public reaction, in my opinion, is unwarranted. The poster did what it was supposed to do- it piqued interest in who the characters are and why they are doing what they are doing. The claim that this is an example of casual violence or domestic violence is simply untrue. Apocalypse is the “bad guy” and Mystique – who has been depicted as a villain in the past and has killed people in the past- is mid-fight trying to stop him from doing whatever he, as the bad guy, is going to do.

                Here’s a point that hasn’t been mentioned enough. Mystique is a warrior. Women are still fighting for equality. And for Mystique, this means the ability to fight alongside her male counterparts instead of sitting tucked away in some building to make sure she’s safe. This also gives her the right to get hurt in a fight. In our society, fighting is usually not a good thing. In the X-Men universe, it’s necessary to stop the bad guy and save the world – and this means that physical and metaphysical violence will ensue. Mystique is willing, and more then qualified to be in the think of the fight and this means that she will, at some point, get strangled, punched and maybe electrocuted just like any of her male compatriots.

                Mystique and other female super heroes and female fighters, face a double standard. They are under-represented as warriors, but are also put under heavy scrutiny if they happen to fight and get hurt. Domestic violence is a serious issue. But it isn’t the issue here. The critics essentially forced Mystique into the role of “victim” just because she’s a woman who is fighting a man. That sounds a little sexist to me.

                And to parents who are freaking out about how to explain this poster to the kids, it’s actually pretty simple. Mystique is one of the heroes, she’s fighting a villain in the movie, she’s a strong lady and she will probably be just find and defeat the bad guy. To that end, if you, as a parent, are relying on popular culture and the media to teach your child about equality, you will be sorely disappointed.

Published by Irina Yakubin