"If you haven’t heard of the Bechdel Test, it’s a test of gender representation in the media. It has three criteria: a) there must be at least two women, who b) talk to each other, c) about something other than a man. Only half of all movies pass this test, most often because the female characters never talk to each other; they are defined by their relationships with men. By contrast, female characters and their relationships with each other are so central to the story of Orphan Black that [it] not only passes the Bechdel Test, but fails the reverse of the [it]." (x)
A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
Erada (via recoveryisbeautiful)
i need this tattooed on me
“When her body first hit the net, all I registered was a gray blur. I pulled her across it and her hand was small, but warm, and then she stood before me, short and thin and plain and in all ways unremarkable- except that she had jumped first. The stiff had jumped first.
Even I didn’t jump first. Her eyes were so stern, so insistent.
Natasha Romanoff to Steve Rogers (about working for SHIELD)
What gets me is this - she absolutely doesn’t idealize her job. Her work is still saying lies. She says it, she spells it out. She doesn’t paint herself a hero, she knows exactly who she is and what she does. She thought she had a choice in whose lies she’d be saying (choosing the lesser evil, does that tactic sound familiar to you? “The hard calls I had to make. Some day you’ll understand” - because that quote was about surviving abuse but also about being a spy and making shady choices all the time. THAT is the job. That’s SHIELD’s job. Not heroism. But shady business of choosing lesser evil.) The thing is, Natasha is aware that things she’s doing are not good things. They’re not the right thing. They’re the lesser evil. (Turns out they probably were not. She can wonder now how many times she actually did Hydra’s bidding and went against someone who was innocent or simply in Hydra’s way).
Natasha was used. And betrayed. Like every SHIELD operative she was taught to trust the system, and amazingly, she did. She of all people - if she hadn’t she wouldn’t feel betrayed like she does. She was used by both SHIELD and Hydra - much like Bucky was used and like Ward was used. She was given the orders and she carried them through and she believed she played for the good guys.
This is why showrunners, not just fans, keep finding parallels between these characters. MCU is build around parallels.
In this same scene Steve says he doesn’t know whom to fight against - when you take away the black and white distinctions, the world becomes a murky place made of shades of grey, and this is something Team Ward has been repeating for two months and more. Natasha in this movie is aware SHIELD doesn’t stand for good any more. Steve does too, that’s why he wants it shut down, heck he tells to Nick Fury that everything happened under his nose. Steve outright asks how many more people got hurt? And the answer is many. Those that hydra crossed off, those that SHIELD didn’t protect because it was too busy doing something else to notice things were getting out of control; those Hydra managed to indoctrinate and pull among their ranks. Guys like John Garrett had free reign and did what they wanted and young men like Grant Ward ended up in their claws.
All under SHIELD’s nose.
You know, I ran into a post saying that Peggy named SHIELD after Steve’s shield. The key function of a shield is to protect you. That’s how the purpose of SHIELD was defined - to be the last line of defense, when all else fails.
But SHIELD failed, it failed its own people, it failed to protect them, to notice they vere vicitms of predators, it failed to evacuate them, to provide post traumatic treatment, to respect their dying wishes. SHIELD as an organization failed on all human accounts and that is why it ended up compromised. For an organization swearing that all mankind or one man, all are worth saving, it sure FAILED spectacularly. The organization commited evil against its own people by doing nothing to protect them - and that is, you know, a way of commiting evil — by not stoping evil to happen. (It happened under your nose, says Steve to Fury, and Steve is right). And in such condition SHIELD failed everythign else. Individuals like Phil Coulson or Agent Avery were not the rule.
We often discuss redemption story lines and one thing occured to me regarding Natasha. She says herself she thought she was going straight when she joined SHIELD. she thought she’d play for the good gyus and by doing so, she’d atone for her bad deeds. But that’s not the case. Not from Natasha’s point of view. The moment that is atonement for her is when she puts all those things on internet and makes the truth accesible to everyone - truth about herself included. THAT is, if you will call it, Natasha’s defining moment. That. By her own opinion and standards. That is the choice she made for herself instead of Hydra dishuised as SHIELD.
What does this have to do with Ward? Well, firstly here you have a parallel of someone who thinks they’re doing good, for the right reasons. Ward believed that - he believed in helping the man he saw as a father figure, as the only person who showed him some kind of care (and he is still unable to comprehend that the care he got from John Garrett is unhealthy, toxic and damaging). Ward thinks he knows what game he’s playing (just as Natasha thinks she knows whose lies she’s saying) - until Garrett goes oh I don’t need you now you can go at him. At that moment Ward is betrayed and his world shatters and you can see that in his reaction - he panics and asks, desperately demands orders. Or to use Steve’s words he wants to know whom to fight against. (Steve’s and Natasha’s reactions are not this dramatic, but they’re in the same vein. However, natasha and Steve are not as damaged as Ward is.)
All of those characters - Steve, Natasha, Bucky, Ward, Coulson — have lost their frame of reference. Their very definition of the world has been shattered. Steve isn’t sure what’s the right thing to do. Natasha realizes she doesn’t know whom she’s working for. Ward doesn’t know who he is supposed to be without Garrett’s orders, and Coulson doesn’t know who he is without the organization he gave his life to, and for, and in turn that organization did to him the exact thing he asked and demanded not to.
There’s no simple answer on what to do now or even whom to fight for. Except. The only thing that remains aren’t the organizations or higher goals. The thing (things) that remain are human qualities like love and trust and compassion and loyalty. Bucky manages to break through his conditioning to jump after Steve (after he almost shot Steve to death) because Steve refused to give up. (And switcing to Ward - he still needs that one person who won’t give up on him, no matter what. So far everyone has failed him.) Humanity or entire man, they’re all worth saving. Not only that. Steve says, when I didn’t have anything, I still had Bucky; and that is the only thing that can save you. That. A human bond. Because there are no more truths to pursue, when everything around you are lies.
Or like Leo Fitz says, you stick with the guy you believe in.
When you take into account the moral greyness of the entire setting, entire SHIELD and various MCU characters, shitting all over Grant Ward is like bitching about that one tree you can’t find in a forrest. Pointless.