Hollywood paints a picture of the many facets of society, specifically the double-standards of men’s and women’s mental health in the area of grief.
I am, by no means, an outspoken proponent of men’s issues, but the instances of how public perception is being molded with regard to mental health – specifically in how grief is handled – by Hollywood, can’t be ignored. In the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), two specific characters – Wanda Maximoff and Thor – personify the public viewpoints on sympathy towards the two different genders, and how they handled their grief, & the unsettling double-standards that are approved by the present population. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the tragic lives of these two fictional characters, and see how their grief is handled by their respective peers in their fictional world, & how that message is transferred to the audience.
- She lost both of her parents at a young age.
- She was manipulated by Hydra to harness her power to become a weapon.
- Her brother was killed
- Her significant other was hurt and killed (Vision).
- She escaped into a fantasy world, so she could handle her loss.
Wanda is given help by those around her. She is not alienated, nor made fun of. The people that have watched “Wanda Vision” have “felt her pain” and understand that what she did – creating her new world – to escape her grief, is accepted.
- Thought that his brother (Loki) died – twice.
- Had his hammer destroyed, which would be seen as “a part of himself”.
- His father died.
- His brother and friend were killed in front of him by Thanos.
- His mother was killed in front of him.
- His home was destroyed — a sacrifice he made to save his people.
- Many of his people died at the hands of others.
- After being lied to, Thor found out that he had a sister, to which she tried to kill him.
- Lost his eye to his sister.
- Missed his chance to kill Thanos, and because of that, Thanos snapped his finger, killing trillions.
- Lost his girlfriend.
“Fat Thor”, who is made fun of. It is acceptable to laugh at him.
The double-standard between men and women
I could go into a long litany of how it is ok for women to do things, but when men do the exact same thing, it’s considered wrong, but I’ll consign my post to the mental state of grief. Hollywood and other forms of media, minimizes the grief felt in their male characters, all the while, taking time in their story to not only address grief felt in their female characters, but to make sure the audience understands that women’s grief is “valued”, while men’s grief is…not as important. I’m not suggesting starting an online petition or boycott movies/shows until this “injustice” is dealt with, butt what I am saying is that the message about the value of men to women is quite clear, especially to our young men in the audience. In this instance, grief, and the help from others within the fictional world, is reserved for the women, but for the men…well…you better toughen up your skin, because you won’t find too much sympathy.