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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

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    Gwyneth Paltrow in “Iron Man”: Sexist?

    By Kyle | May 7, 2008

    Am keeping an eye out for extreme leftist haters of “Iron Man” on the basis that the Gwyneth Paltrow character is comfortable with being Tony Stark’s assistant instead of judo-chopping and blasting away at bad guys herself, in the somewhat silly manner of virtually every female lead in action movies these days. No, I don’t particularly buy Gwyneth Paltrow with an M-60 machine gun.

    One blogger says the film is racist and sexist, saying Terrence Howard is a stereotypical breezy black best friend.

    it’s getting good reviews is because male chauvinist yokels think tony stark’s privileged sexist playboy antics are hilarious (Blond girl in sultry voice: “Hey tony, remember me?” Tony as he is walking by breezily: “no.” Audience: hilarious!) and they believe his half-assed random nonsensical concern for other humans makes him just complex enough…do I even need to mention how stupid and racist it is to say that he was ok with his weapons being used to kill all those other non-americans? But I guess people love seeing middle-eastern stereotype terrorists explode, and of course people also love the token black guy saying sassy things. And if I were gwyneth paltrow and I just played the role of a stiletto-heel-wearing submissive secretary cleaning up after some rich white chauvinist a**hole, I’d send back my Oscar and cry for the lost days of Margot Tenenbaum.

    Topics: Movies, Politics | 16 Comments »

    16 Responses to “Gwyneth Paltrow in “Iron Man”: Sexist?”

    1. Katie Says:
      May 7th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

      People will always find SOMETHING to complain about. You wouldn’t believe the uproar from 21 claiming it was racist to cast a British actor in a real-life Asian’s role. *rolling eyes*

      It was not sexist to have a woman playing an assistant. Was it also homophobic to have the main character be straight? And please – obviously America’s greatest enemy is not on its own soil (…or is it?…) so I don’t see how it’s racist for the film maker’s to use an obvious mark to catch the audience’s attention. That blogger needs to grow up.

    2. kishke Says:
      May 7th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

      But I guess people love seeing middle-eastern stereotype terrorists explode,

      He’s right about that, except when they explode themselves in a crowd. He’s wrong, though, about Middle Easterns being stereotypical terrorists. Just plain typical, actually.

    3. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      May 7th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

      Paltrow was smart, efficient, intelligent and delivered the two best lines in the picture “…and taking out the trash” to the hack from Vanity Fair and one that upstaged the scene-stealing Downey “oh that night? Yes I remember that night? You said you would get me a drink and left me there alone.” She looked great, ran in heels and had herself some of the best reviews of her life. She should worry.

    4. jack Says:
      May 7th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

      Well maybe the sequel should be iron woman and all the lesbie fembots could cheer away and and the movie may top $100,000 in its opening weekend.

    5. K Says:
      May 7th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

      Kyle, you’ve just fingered one of my pet peeves. It’s the all too common “battle b*tch” character. She easily beats up 300lb thugs with her kickin kung fu moves, fancy swordplay or mighty tiny fist. First it was creative, then it was funny, and now it’s just cliche and sad.

      Ironically, the most obnoxious, castrating, humiliating versions of this character are in movies written and directed by men. Which tells me that it has nothing to do with breaking feminine stereotypes, and everything to do with some folks rather banal fetishes.

      Ironically, it’s quite straightforward to have both a believable and empowered women action heroine. Just give her a gun and the brains to cope. Of course, guns are verboten as story solutions so we’re back to those kickin kung fu moves.

    6. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 1:38 am

      Oh, American knows how to deal with tough, smart action heroines. They kick her to death with KOS and Drudge.

    7. jic Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 8:41 am

      “tough, smart action heroines”

      Yeah, dodging sniper fire at the airport…

    8. kishke Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 10:04 am

      Kos and Drudge are equal-opportunity kickers-to-death. They don’t single out women; in fact, Drudge made his bones on Hillary’s husband.

    9. Ilya Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 10:06 am

      If they’re Action Barbie figures like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider, then I too find cinematic heroines objectionable.

      But if they’re like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, that’s different. Everything her character did was perfectly believable, especially since she was protecting a child.

    10. thecobrasnose Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

      Paltrow was the worst thing about the movie, as unconvincing as she always is when playing a commoner. But the problem was with her and not the role as scripted.

      Was anybody else bothered that super-tycoon Tony Stark uses a Dell?

    11. Mark Says:
      May 8th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

      “But i guess all people like seeing stereotypical terrorists explode.” Uh. Yeah. They attack random places and target innocent people who have nothing to do with the policies of their leaders. They are the scum of the earth. So yes you naked mole-rat blogger, we like to see them die.

    12. Mo Says:
      May 9th, 2008 at 9:05 am

      Just more proof that conservatives are happier than liberals.

    13. aversa Says:
      May 11th, 2008 at 1:38 am

      Memo to myself: Never invite “Whining Liberal Blogger” to the movies. Unless it`s portrays U.S. Soldiers as Nazi like killers. One stereotype I`m sure he/she is ok with. What a downer.

    14. Joe Says:
      May 12th, 2008 at 11:28 am

      Uh, to the first commenter… wasn’t the protest against the film ’21’ *justified*?

      Asian Americans almost never get screen time in Hollywood. When Asian American film producers go to Hollywood for financing for movies that actually reflect an Asian American experience or use an Asian American actor/actress in a role other than ‘thug #3’ or ‘geisha girl’, they often hear back, “We’d love to finance your project… just so long as you make all the characters white instead of Asian.”

      , I’m white, and this concerns me. How races and ethnicities are reflected in the media DOES ACTUALLY MATTER… Ask any Asian American kid who grew up in the 80s and had to deal with Long Duc Dong stereotypes in school (from the mega-hit ‘Sixteen Candles’) because that was the image of Asians that everyone saw. Why on earth doesn’t any of this concern you? Are you that f***king blind?

    15. Lorin Says:
      July 26th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

      Mo: Just more proof that ignorance is bliss. This movie was sexist: every woman in it was either a dumb bimbo, a smart bimbo like the blonde reporter who immediately drops her panties when confronted face to face with Stark’s looks and money, or a wannabe bimbo like Pepper Potts who is secretly in love with her dipshit, warmongering boss. This movie sucked for many reasons; the sexism was just one of them.

    16. Bbzip Says:
      May 29th, 2011 at 1:41 am

      Yes, this movie was sexist. It used to women like furniture! The dancing stewardesses almost made me stop watching.