He brought us such kick-ass heroines as Hit-Girl and J. Law’s Mystique. But Matthew Vaughn proved brogressive when asked about a sexist joke at the end of his latest Kingsman: Secret Service. And his defense boils down to “bloody feminists” confuse what’s sexist with what’s empowering. You know, just like how us feminists confused a sexually abused, mentally ill girl dreaming of herself as a magical stripper as misogynistic, when all Zack Snyder wanted to do was give us a girl power action movie with Sucker Punch.
Even if you’ve seen Kingsman: Secret Service, you might be scratching your head over what joke has spurred Vaughn to such a bone-headed defense. It’s a scene where a spy teases a captive princess, asking if he can get a kiss for rescuing her. Despite the fact that she’s been a prisoner for days with no hope of escape, she quickly switches from scared to sultry and promises him anal sex instead. It’s the kind of joke that’s meant to play on that old espionage convention, the perks of saving the world include wild sex with insanely gorgeous women. It’s the kind of subtle sexism that might earn an eyeroll, but not too much outcry. But then Vaughn spoke up.
Here’s what he told EW:
I just thought it would be great to turn it on its head by having the woman say it. I actually think it’s empowering. Some bloody feminists are accusing me of being a misogynist. I’m like, “It couldn’t be further from the truth.” It’s a celebration of women and the woman being empowered in a weird way in my mind, which will cause a big argument again I’m sure. It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek and crazy.
H/T to Slashfilm’s Angie Han for bringing this to our attention, and for summing up Vaughn’s response so neatly:
I guess it's my bad, as a feminist, for not understanding that having a female character act as a trophy is "actually empowering."— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) February 19, 2015
I wasn't even that upset when I saw the joke in the movie. I'm way more annoyed now that he's mansplaining how "empowering" it is.— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) February 19, 2015
Kristy Puchko’s shaking her head, but not her martini.