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What Heroes Do: Queer-Coding, Slut-Shaming, and Heroism on a Trash Planet

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So, well, that’s about the shape of it.

Ragnarok gives us a narrative that depicts heroism in, honestly, a pretty outdated, sexist, and homophobic way, involving slut-shaming Loki for (apparently) consenting to some vaguely implied gay sex to avoid pain or death and gain advantages and perks. It gives us no real queer representation—it’s not representation if it’s nothing but subtext, Marvel ain't actually given us shit—and it allows the pull of this narrative to distort the established characterization of both Loki and Thor, and especially their relationship to each other, like a black hole warping space and time around it, and just as destructive.

Yet it has been hailed as different, refreshing, feminist, progressive. And many fans who enjoyed it have bent over backwards to explain away the aspects of it that are anything but.

We’re not writing this to tell people they can’t or shouldn’t like it. We’re not judging those who do—y’all do you, and don’t let anyone stop you. We’re not trying to tell anyone how to interpret the movie, either. The wonderful thing about fandom is that we all come to these stories from our own perspective and we can all have our own interpretations; we can write fix-it fics that change the things that hurt or patch up the flaws of the original, or we can just ignore the things we don’t like and embrace the parts we do. We can write meta from a thousand different angles. We can love the source material exactly as it is or alter it in any way we desire. All of that is a completely legit way to do fandom. We’re not writing to interfere with any of that.

We are writing for anyone who may have felt uncomfortable with certain parts of Ragnarok, in the hopes that this interpretation might help elucidate why it felt that way. And we’re writing for those who maybe want to understand why somebody else is taking issue with it, when to them it seems like just a barrel of laughs. And also we’re writing because somebody told us to shut up and stop critiquing the movie (spite is a great motivator lol).

Thank you for your time in reading this huge thing. We hope you got something good out of it.