Women are Preparing to Feel Unsafe for the Next Calendar Year
2019’s Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular Batman villain was a surprising commercial and critical success, being the first R-rated movie to gross over $1 billion as well as being nominated for 11 Academy Awards. The movie appealed to comic book and film fans alike, as Phillips claims he drew inspiration from Alan Moore’s graphic novel, The Killing Joke, as well as Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Young, straight white men everywhere rejoiced. Finally, a movie made for them. However, there was one demographic that “Joker” never appealed to: women. While men across the country were celebrating this psychological thriller adaptation of their favorite comic book character, women were beginning to notice a surprising amount of men in their circles start to identify themselves with the Joker.
This wouldn’t normally be a problem, as men forming their identities around movie protagonists is nothing new and women have grown accustomed to it. But Joker, much like the Scorsese films that inspired it, centers around a homicidal white man who takes revenge against the society he believes has wronged him. This, along with the rise of online misogynists and “incels” (involuntary celibates) made existing in the same space as nerdy white men a gamble many weren’t willing to take. Women everywhere were subjected to months upon months of Facebook posts by male friends with conservative slogans in front of images of the Joker, and these same men talking about how when they were a kid they idolized Batman, but now that they’re an adult the Joker makes more sense. This plague of thinly-veiled misogyny lasted for about a year, but eventually, the seemingly endless barrage of “nice guys” in their DMs dwindled.
However, with the new announcement of a sequel to 2019’s Joker, along with a possible Joker trilogy in the works, women are once again preparing to feel unsafe for the next calendar year. Little is known about this new film, but Phillips is already facing harsh criticism. When asked why the Joker seems to target primarily women, specifically his elderly mother and a neighbor he was infatuated with to the point where he hallucinated a fake relationship with her, Phillips wrote it off as a coincidence. Some women are now saying that the success of the previous Joker movie is further emboldening these men. “We thought it was finally over,” explains Katie McDonald, a college student who works part time at the local Regal Cinemas, “but not only do we have to increase our theater’s security AGAIN, I have to deal with my high-school boyfriend changing his Instagram bio to ‘we live in a society where honor is a distant memory’ and hitting me up every month to ask me if I know who Travis Bickle is. I can’t even go on Twitter anymore without seeing one of my male friends mention how ‘subversive’ and ‘twisted’ this new Joker movie will be. Some of them have even started wearing the makeup. There is nothing more terrifying to me than the thought of going to see that movie on opening night.” Geeky women are once again expected to take the brunt of this, as the mere mention of comics or video games around these men will inevitably result in a 30 minute long explanation on why they aren’t a “real fan,” and how they should stop trying to make these things “political.”
Even though the movie is still in the early stages of production, some women have already begun to prepare for the worst. Sales of pocket tasers and pepper spray are at an all-time high, and men who have Joker profile pictures on their Facebook pages are getting blocked en masse, although questions are being raised about the efficacy of this strategy. They’ve tried to mass-flag posts on social media with the “Joker” and “society” tags, but for every account they get suspended, three more seem to take its place. However, they’ve had some success with co-opting the new Harley Quinn movie to distract these sex-starved young men. When asked about her involvement in these efforts, McDonald explains: “The last Joker movie release, we were unprepared. But now, we stand united against straight, white men who say they’re dangerous because they’ve got ‘nothing left to lose.’ I swear to god, if we have to deal with this bullshit for another year, we’ll probably be in a closer mental state to the Joker than they are. All you Jokers out there be prepared, cuz we have an army of Harley Quinns ready to prove that the joke’s on you.”
Massey Williams is a fourth-year english major who definitely doesn’t have a disturbing amount of clown makeup hidden in their closet. You can reach them at [email protected]. Art by Art Editor Adam Dee.