Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now, here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I'm David Tian. In this special episode, I’ll be doing a kind of psychological analysis of the Disney+ hit TV show, She-Hulk.
Of course, the usual caveats and big spoiler warnings ahead. If you want to watch the show and you haven't watched it yet, please watch it before you listen to the rest of this episode. If you had never planned to watch She-Hulk and yet you're listening to this episode, thank you so much for trusting that this will be worth your time. I am going to proceed under the assumption that you weren't planning to watch it, and that, therefore, you won't be bothered by spoilers, and, hopefully, at the end of this episode you will be motivated enough to watch at least some of the series, so then the spoilers were worth it. [01:03.2]
So, why all these assumptions? I've noticed since my psychological analysis of the Thor: Love and Thunder movie that a lot of guys who follow this podcast hadn't actually watched that movie, even though most of them loved the early Avengers movies right up to Infinity War, or rather, more accurately, the Infinity War saga, which ends with Endgame and the second most recent Spider-Man movie Far From Home. After Endgame, it's what Marvel calls Phase Four. That's what we're currently in, I believe.
Phase Four has alienated a lot of the old male fan base, millennials and Gen X, and that's the vast majority of my current audience, and this is the first time I’ve ever taken the risk of analyzing an entire TV series. But I think it's worth the risk because I'm going to assume that you actually do like and want the Marvel movies to be enjoyable for you, but that you might be feeling alienated, like many of the audience reviews, the non-critic reviews have been, especially about the most recent TV series, especially She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. [02:15.8]
Now, the genius of what Marvel did in the season finale for season one of She-Hulk motivated me to devote an episode to it, and the promise is, if you feel alienated by any of these TV series in which the main character is a woman, if you watch them with the right approach, you can understand women in your life, and the women and attractive women that you want to meet, you will be able to understand women and attractive women better than the other guys that you know understand women. In case it's not obvious, understanding women and their psychology and their perspective and their point of view is required to be able to attract women naturally and effortlessly. [03:01.7]
In addition to giving you the big motivating big why, the motivator of attracting women, understanding women better is also morally good. It's required to be a morally-good human being in a world in which half of human beings are women. You might have heard the critique of pickup artists and of immature men or of toxic masculinity as dehumanizing women. What I cover in this episode will take you a long way to humanizing them and not falling into the trap of dehumanizing them by accident, because I know, for most guys, it's unconscious and it's not on purpose.
Most young men, and I would consider you young if you're under 35, and, really, the factor is maturity/immaturity, so all immature men suffer from a cognitive bias, which is a kind of ahistorical parochialism, which basically says, “The way I see it now is the only way it should be seen or maybe even can be seen, the only way it has ever been seen.” [04:06.8]
A lot of young people and immature people have not studied history in any meaningful or endearing way in which they have entered into using their historical imagination into the lives of people who lived in a completely different time and in a completely different culture or a completely different part of the world.
This is a really, really important, necessary skill to master, if you want to understand people including women, including attractive women, who are not like you and who are different from you in fundamental ways. I'm not talking about understanding fans of the opposing sports team, because you basically just swap out the teams and there's not much of a difference, and I'm not talking about understanding your friends or people from the neighboring state. I'm talking about, for many men, for many young men, the reality of what it's like to be a woman in the modern world, and, really, to be a woman at any time in history in any place in the world. [05:11.0]
It's already hard enough to understand what it might have been like to be a farmer, a farmer man, a male in 11th-century Japan, let alone what it would've been like to be a peasant woman in seventh-century China. Now I'm already moving into the first out of three points that I want to make. The first is recent TV shows, like She-Hulk, that have as their main character, a woman, and privileges her perspective in telling and framing the narrative are difficult for immature men to appreciate, because they're so jarring without giving him this background of what's actually happening and why it will feel foreign, and why it feels different from the movies that dominated the MCU in the earlier phases, Phases One to Three. [06:05.7]
I think it'll be easier to make this first point about how important it is to appreciate the woman's point of view, and how foreign it would feel for a man who his whole life obviously has been seeing life in the world through his own perspective, which happens to be male. It's even harder for those who are white men in Western countries, where they are the majority race, to fully enter into a perspective of the telling of a story that used to be owned by their perspective to now be told through the eyes of and privileging, the perspective of not just a woman, but a woman who is of a different race and culture.
Even though I, from the age of four, have been in a racial minority in every country I lived in, until I was 28, so from four to 28 I was in the small minority, not even the second most populous race, but a much smaller minority, and then at 28. [07:05.3]
I was still a minority because even though I moved at that time to China for my dissertation research, I was still clearly, as soon as I opened my mouth, I was identified as a foreigner and treated as such, though I was sort of a bridge, an immigrant foreigner, “huá qiáo” as they call it, like an overseas Chinese. I still was the other and was of a tiny minority, right?
The closest I’ve ever felt to being in a kind of majority race was Singapore, though my accent is so different from the local accent that, again, as soon as I opened my mouth, there would be that other foreignness that gets felt, if I'm any in any kind of place in Singapore that's not expat-dominated, especially when I first moved there. Now there's a lot more expats and a lot more services and places catering to expats. When I first moved there in 2008, it was a lot more what they call local there. [07:53.4]
All that to say I screwed it up, too. I am in my mid-forties now, only coming really to this enlightened perspective, especially when it comes to women, the women's perspective. Growing up, I was already a racial and cultural minority, so I was used to entering into and seeing the world through the lenses, the privileged perspective of the white person, generally, the white man, and I naturally took to things like Choose Your Own Adventure books. I had a lot of them, dozens of them, and as I look back on it now, every Choose Your Own Adventure book that I bought was from the man's perspective, even though it was from a different culture and time and history.
My favorite Choose Your Own Adventure one was I think No. 3 in the series, which just took me back to ancient or traditional Japan where I had to go and meet Miyamoto Musashi, and I loved imagining being or trying to become a samurai or a ninja, or a shaolin monk. As you can see, all of that, I loved action movies and action even back then. [08:58.4]
But I don't think I ever picked up Choose Your Own Adventure in which I had to enter into and play the part of a woman in the adventure and it never even occurred to me to want to do that. I was never encouraged to do that. Again, I don't think women were encouraged to enter into the male adventure, but I think the majority of the opportunities out there to enter into a perspective, whether you had a choice or not, was the white male perspective.
Even just looking at the first three phases of the MCU, again, we're looking at mostly, I mean, exclusively, except for Black Panther and Ms. Marvel, the main characters are white men and aliens, and there were only two aliens who were women and the stories were told still from the perspective of the white man.
Being raised in Canada and America from four to 28 years old, I didn't even notice that. It didn't even occur to me until I was thinking about this podcast and what I would say about She-Hulk and why it was so resonant for me and why I thought it would be so important to talk about that. Then I sat down and looked at the list of movies and realized the final fight in Endgame against Thanos, Thanos is clearly not white, but is still played by a white man, basically a white male perspective. [10:13.0]
But the main characters, you’ve got Tony Stark, Captain America, Thor, the three main big guys are obviously white males, though Thor is supposedly an alien, and then you got the Hulk and Ant-Mman and Star Lord and Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, and based on the reviews, it looked like it was a lot easier for the core MCU audience at the time, which were single white men and mostly millennials, to accept Black Panther rather than Captain Marvel. Part of that might have been animosity towards the sort of in-your-face feminism of Brie Larson and not so much the character Captain Marvel.
Then the one female character, the one woman who has been there since the beginning of the MCU, Black Widow, doesn't even get her own feature film until all of those phases are done and now she's in Phase Four, and that movie is set backwards in time, so it's almost like there's no future for it, though it does, of course, lead into Hawkeye again featuring-- I mean, this is the new phase that has alienated the old core audience. It leads into Hawkeye and then I heard we'll lead into Thunderbolts. [11:19.3]
But, anyway, it's like you got the one female character that starts at the beginning with us, and we have to kill her off first before she even gets her own feature film, and then, oh yeah, we ought to give her something and so here's a feature film with Black Widow.
Probably, if you are part of the core audience, a millennial or, in my case, a Gen X man—I'm not white, but I was raised in a white Western context from much of my life, four to 28—the male-dominated perspective probably never bothered you. In fact, you probably never noticed it. It took a while for me to notice it. I've become more sensitive or I have my radar attuned more to the privileging of male perspective as I'm writing a book. Hopefully, it will be out soon. I'm going to put it out there and say it as much as I can so that others will hold me accountable. [12:05.8]
I'm writing a book and I’ve discovered that in the writing of the book, some of the people who are helping me edit it, giving me feedback are pointing out, people who are older and more experienced in writing, that the description of the female characters is vague, in general, and as I reflected on why that was so part of it, it was that I didn't want to reveal, say too much, too specific to reveal and being afraid of revealing the identity of the women.
But the far bigger factor was that I had gotten used to writing about women in the dating context with an audience of men. I was used to describing them with just HB and then the number. If you're an old school pick-up artist who used to write journals and keep track of your, quote-unquote, “progress”, you would've gotten used to just saying she's an HB6 or an HB8 or something. That's what that stands for, Hot Babe and then the number, and that's just shorthand. [12:59.5]
It actually works because what it does is it allows in the imagination of the reader, of the other male reader, for him to fill in for him what an HB8 would be, and so he imagines that already. It's a very lazy and, obviously, disrespectful way, a dehumanizing way of describing the women in the reports, in your journals of what happened in your interactions and so on.
As a result, I discovered that I have very little experience writing descriptively about women, beyond, of course, the basics, beautiful, plain, hair color, height, that sort of thing that the average immature man tends to see as physical features of a woman.
The one thing that studying and training in pick-up does to you after you do hundreds if not thousands, really, you're aiming for thousands of approaches, is women just sort of blur into one thing, and so the metaphor of the game is partly to reduce your anxiety in approaching any one single woman, because it's like a game where, if you miss the shot or whatever it is, you can just put another quarter in and hit continue, and you just get another obstacle to overcome. [14:11.8]
This past year, I’ve been training my mind's eye to notice a lot more in how to write richer descriptions of women that appear in the stories and the challenge really is noticing the things I didn't notice or pay attention to before. Of course, I'm not talking about personality traits, that's something I’ve always noticed, but in a quick description in a story, when you introduce a woman, a female character, you're having to describe her physicality in ways that are not just sexual or not just the features that an immature male would most notice.
As I was watching Ms. Marvel and especially She-Hulk, and then it was confirmed in that final radical fourth wall breaking episode, and I was reading the summaries of reviews of these TV series and seeing this great disparity, this great polarization, great discrepancy between the critics’ reviews and the online audience's reviews. Of course, there probably is bot-style or troll-style review bombing. [15:15.8]
But when reading the negative reviews of the recent TV shows, including Hawkeye that featured the development of a woman character-- By the way, I forgot to mention, one of the First Phase main characters was Hawkeye, another white male. I was realizing that a lot of the negative reviews by men of these female-centric, women-centric TV shows were they were suffering from the same cognitive bias that I had been suffering that had led to superficial descriptions of women characters in my writing.
All this rage in the old core audience of the white millennial male about these TV series that were telling stories from the perspective of a new point of view, the woman's or the minority woman's point of view, it was coming from not appreciating how different that point of view is from the male, really, the white male millennial’s point of view. [16:15.8]
Guys like female characters that are basically like dudes, but with breasts and a vagina. They want female male characters and it's even better if she's eye candy, like the role that Scarlet Johansson’s ass played prominently in the first Avengers movie. It was like there's all of this online criticism about these TV shows and it seemed like Marvel not only didn't give a damn, but that they kept ratcheting up the stakes in each new episode that they released and each new show that they were putting out.
“Oh, you don't like this South-Asian perspective? The next episode is going to feature even more South Asian. It's going to be geographically located in South Asia for their story.”
“You don't like how their perspective is told from a teenage girl's perspective? This next episode is even going to be even more about the teenage. It will be going even deeper into the teenage girl’s point of view and her world.” [17:09.0]
Then it finally became obvious in She-Hulk, where they flat out not only trolled their more extreme sort of incel-like hater demographic, but also showed that they not only knew that this was happening, but that they predicted, and not only predicted that it was happening, but they counted on it happening, because it was written into the plot of the TV shows, and then they just owned them by making it a central plot point and joking about it.
What's so hard for the old core audience to appreciate now is that their perspective is no longer the privileged one in telling these stories, and I'm going to assume that there isn't active or conscious misogyny and that the bias—I’ll just call that bias instead of prejudice—is unconscious, just like among those who do philosophy professionally. That used to be my old career. [18:04.7]
When I first learned about how feminist philosophy is different from the way philosophy used to be done, because the way philosophy used to be done was through argumentation—taking your opponent down, cutting them down. It was argument, counter-argument, strengthening of your argument through resistance, through criticism, and that was the main way that philosophy was practiced and probably still is practiced in the universities and philosophy departments—and that the feminist alternative or their different way of doing it is a lot more caring and nurturing, and supportive and allowing more space, literal pausing and time to allow people who may not be as confident, may not be as sharp-witted or as fast on their feet to come up with their arguments, formulate them and then say them out loud, or even provide them a forum where they can submit the written form of it if they don't have the confidence to read it out.
That allowing a different way, a different style of going about doing the project or the practice of philosophy then gave the room for other perspectives that would've been pushed out in a more masculine and combative style of doing philosophy. [19:13.3]
But if all you've ever known is the combative style, it would probably really annoy you when the teacher or the moderator was preventing the combative style from taking dominance and was making room for or making space for, or holding the space for other approaches, other styles that might be at a very different pace, that might have a different order of the way things will go and how things will be conducted, to allow for more voices.
At the end of the season for She-Hulk, she rewrites, redacts the ending that had been going up to that point, which was, kind of in a really extreme way, throwing in all these different formulaic ways of saving the ending, like writers writing themselves into a corner and then putting some kind of mechanism in there that saves the day, like another the bad guy gets the soldier’s super-soldier serum, which has been done multiple times and all that. [20:10.8]
She actually not only dramatically breaks the fourth wall in a really entertaining way that the internet went crazy for it, and by the way, it actually took quite a bit of work to find the negative reviews, the sort of incel-like reviews of She-Hulk, because when I did a basic review or search, I mean, of She-Hulk reviews, people, not just the critics, loved it and appreciated the innovativeness, the creativity behind this fourth wall break, and showing how smart the writers were this whole time, not just in She-Hulk, but building up to this point in these newer phases of trolling their haters, and not only trolling them, but incorporating them, owning them, incorporating them into the plot as an essential plot device. [20:57.0]
Do you struggle in your interactions with women or in your intimate relationship? Are fear, shame, or neediness sabotaging your relationships or attractiveness? In my Platinum Partnership Program, you'll discover how to transform your psychological issues, improve your success with women, and uncover your true self.
Get access to all my current and future online courses by applying for the Platinum Partnership today at DavidTianPhD.com/Platinum.
Now when the Jen Walters’ character says she doesn't like this ending because it doesn't actually a revolve around her as the main character, it takes her female, her woman's perspective out of the picture and she ends up getting saved by her older cousin, Bruce Banner, and then it becomes Bruce Banner versus Abomination and it's all these different men fighting each other. Then, of course, there's Tatiana just thrown in there randomly to kind of make a mess of things and just make it even crazier and stupid. She's saying, “Hold on. This story this time will be about me as a woman and what I care about.” [22:13.0]
In many ways, it's like what I just mentioned about philosophy. A woman's or a feminist’s or a feminine approach to philosophy is one that is more nurturing and supportive, and by the way, is a much more effective way of doing philosophy in many other cultural contexts, like Asian contexts where you're not encouraged to raise your hand or to interrupt your interlocutor or to talk over them as you are encouraged to do that in a kind of Oxford Cambridge style of debate and that became the dominant way of doing philosophy in person in Western university departments.
It's exciting to watch that sort of verbal jousting happening, but there's also another way of doing it, which is more nurturing, more encouraging of, quieter voices or more thoughtful voices, or people who speak slower or people who are shyer and they need more time to work up their courage to contribute, and maybe they have something just as important, if not more important, to say than the loud mouth person who talks over others and cuts them off. [23:13.5]
As someone who grew up shy and is introverted, I had to learn how to verbally joust and that wasn't a natural way that I was taught in my culture, and it's definitely not the way that philosophy is done in China or Japan. Returning to the woman's point of view in She-Hulk are the things that a woman in her socioeconomic bracket at her age and being single cares about, and that's the story arc that's most important, like getting justice for her point of view, for her invasion of privacy, like winning the lawsuit at the end and getting the guy, or at least continuing the dating relationship.
Of course, fans of Daredevil who watched the Daredevil TV series was told from the perspective of the main character as a man, and it's jarring, right, when you see him as just the secondary character who's now sort of the boyfriend to the main woman character and he fulfills that role in her storyline, and that's what happens when the show is called She-Hulk. [24:18.2]
It's not just that the main character is female. It’s not like taking the Captain America movie and then just swapping out the main character for a woman, but keeping the story otherwise the same. That's what I meant by a female male character. Instead, what the TV series She-Hulk does is it fights to make the story be told from the perspective of a 30-something attorney, and a 30-something single attorney who is struggling with her dating life and struggling with self-esteem, so it's centered around the concerns of a 30-something-year-old woman.
It's not just a superhero movie or TV show that happens to be about a woman. The show is ordered around, written around a different set of priorities. It features a different set of values and has, as its background assumption, a different set of life experiences than what the old MCU core audience of white males, Gen X and millennials had before. [25:20.3]
It's a comedy show and it's already different from the action genre that almost all the MCU was before this and that's partly because of the female audience that they're aiming for. From what I could tell from my research, most of the writers, if not all of them, and most if not all the producers are women, so it's natural for them to tell the story and to produce the show from the perspective of a woman. The humor, the pop culture references, the deprioritization of action and fighting in She-Hulk flow out of taking seriously telling the story from the woman's point of view. [26:02.7]
This explains a lot of the backlash, because the old core audience just assumed and have always had the stories told from the point of view of the man of the core audience, back then which were white males, now older, 10 years older now. Actually, more accurately, Iron Man was in 2008, so it's been 14 years now. The fans that they grabbed with that Iron Man movie are now 14 years older. They need to go back and get the new audience, the younger audience, and that younger audience, a bigger proportion of them, have been used to taking different points of view, but the old core audience of white males, who are now 14 years older, are not used to taking the other points of view.
It's relatively easy to just have the same story and just swap the gender or the sex, and just, basically, take the same male character and put boobs and a vagina and just run the same story, and it's a lot easier to accept. Similarly, you can have a character and just change the skin color. It's like if you put a filter on the movie and it's just a new skin color, but the story stays the same. That is relatively easy for an audience to accept and then they sort of just check off the box of representation and they're comfortable with it. [27:19.3]
But in this new or these newer phases of MCU movies, including Shang-Chi, in which the first 20 minutes was all in Chinese and I was completely surprised by that. I saw it in Taiwan and I thought, Oh, did I walk into the Chinese version of this movie? When it finally dawned on me that this is the version of the movie that everyone in the world was going to see, I almost cried, of course, as a Chinese person taking pride in representation of my favorite movie franchise, but even more noticing all of the cultural resonances and references that were speaking to my experience, especially as an Asian immigrant who grew up speaking English, but also seeing the different layers of Chinese culture that are depicted, that were depicted in that movie. [28:09.7]
Black people might have experienced something similar when they watch Black Panther. I wouldn't know. I really enjoyed Black Panther and I can't wait for the sequel to come out, but I went, “No, because I'm not black, so I don't share that experience,” but it was easy for me to enjoy it because it was still an action movie and it was culturally rich and visually stunning.
But when we get to She-Hulk, as a male, it's a fundamentally-different experience of life right up to your thirties for a male versus a female. Just speaking to some of the reference, some of the many references, if we were to do a breakdown of each episode, this could easily be hours long, but of course, Jen Walters’ experience on Tinder, as any woman's experience would be, is very different from a lot of the guys who are making online review videos on YouTube. [28:57.3]
Even Tinder, these sort of swipe rights, swipe left, “make an immediate decision” type of dating apps are very much skewed against men and it's only the top 5 percent of men that actually do well on these apps, so a lot of men have a hard time relating to the online dating experience of She-Hulk and they just see her as this entitled, self-centered, narcissistic character, which she partly is. I'll get to that a little later.
But just recognizing and appreciating why this show might feel very different for you if you're watching it as a man, because it's actually being told from the perspective and is being told by and for women, and most young men have been unable to understand life in the world from the women's perspective.
That's one of the reasons why they have so much trouble in the dating world and attracting women, because they don't see how the woman sees life and him through her eyes. They just see her as an attractive target that they're trying to win over. But they don't understand from the inside how fundamentally different her life experiences are, and her background assumptions and values and priorities. [30:18.1]
That really comes to the fore in the final episode, the season finale of She-Hulk where she redacts or rewrites the ending, because the ending that she had ended up in was definitely much too male-centric and the elements that she changed made it so that it was, more to her liking, more from the woman's perspective with her priorities and values, and that couldn't be any more stark of a difference. For those who have been operating with the sensitivity towards the woman's perspective for a long time might think this is too much, that it's going too far, it's too heavy-handed. [30:56.7]
But for those of us men who are used to only seeing things through our own perspective and not being forced to see it from the other side, from the woman's point of view, it's a great side-by-side comparison to help us see how it would be different, how the story would be told differently if it was a woman in charge and really seeing it through her eyes, not seeing, for instance, Scarlet Johansson’s ass through a man's eyes and then putting that on the screen. Nothing wrong with that, obviously. Men enjoy that, but that's not taking seriously the telling of a story from the very different point of view of a woman.
Very quickly, just two more points. This shifting of perspectives, whether it's telling the story from the point of view of a Chinese person or from the point of view of a woman or a Muslim teenage girl, I see this as progress—and this is how history works. It drifts to the left. It naturally drifts towards liberalism. [32:00.4]
There are a lot of conservative men who went to conserve the way that things used to be in the past. That's a losing game. That's a losing proposition and history doesn't ever go that way, unless it's forced to, through communism, for instance. But so far in history, that has not persisted for very long. We'll see how it goes and the current communist regimes around the world. Maybe they will win the big world wars and the whole world will be communists, and then that would change drastically world history.
But so far, despite the excessive use of authoritarianism to institute, to keep history from drifting left, to force it to be conservative, to force it to stay to the right, absent a totalitarian external force artificially keeping things to the right, absent that external force history drifts to the left and this is an example of it. The world won't go back, for example, to institutionalized slavery or taking women's right to vote away. It's never going to go backwards that way. We're also not going to start criminalizing lesbians, gays and bisexuals, and so on, as it was around the world before. [33:13.7]
History drifts to the left. If you don't adapt, you will be evolved out. You will lose. So, if you don't like it because now your perspective is not front and center, because the Disney and Marvel people, business people, recognize that they need to go now and grab a new audience because they're old core audience is 14 years older now, and this new audience that they're trying to get incorporates and includes, and is used to and demands the story to be told from different perspectives with different sets of priorities and values.
You can get frustrated as an older white male that your perspective is not the one that they're catering to exclusively and solely, and front and center, anymore. You can get mad and boycott and all that, but it won't matter because history has already moved on. It's already changed and I think it's actually for the better, just as I'm quite happy that they've incorporated a Chinese point of view in the MCU, as minor as it is. [34:14.1]
It doesn't matter if you used to be the dinosaur. You will get evolved out and the cockroach will win and the cockroach will live on, because the cockroach can adapt. Can you adapt? More importantly, in your dating life, if you don't adapt, it will be even harder for you in the modern dating world, because now women are expecting you to be able to enter into the woman's point of view and see life through her eyes, a life that is marked by a period every month or so where they bleed from their vaginas. They bleed from their genitals.
I mean, just that one biological difference changes how you experience life, the hormones that get pumped into you at all these different cycles, just on that alone, and that was mentioned actually in the trailer for She-Hulk, but also in the first episode. But then there's so much more. [35:01.8]
Watching this show, it's fun, it's comedy, and it still fits within the MCU and it's got Daredevil in it, so there are a lot of things, as a male, to like in the She-Hulk, and along the way, you can also learn a little bit of what it's like to be able to see this life, the story of life, through the lenses of a woman instead of a man and how different it is, versus just simply switching out the male character for a female character, but keeping the story still the same. It's a male-centered, male-dominated, male-prioritized story with the priorities and values, and the wants of a man are what drive the show.
She-Hulk is not that. It is not a vehicle for just checking off representation, but pleasing the male audience. This is a show written for women and largely by women, produced by women, and if you are somebody who wants to understand women—and you really should do that, if you want to succeed and do well in dating and in your relationship, obviously—you should watch this TV series. [36:05.6]
If not just for the fact that it's fun and all that, it's actually going to be educational and it'll be enriching for you and help you to improve your dating life, because it'll start training you to be able to see the differences between the way that men and women approach life and see the stories of their lives, which aspects are more important than others and what they value.
Then, the final point is I'm noticing that a lot of the very critical reviews by men, mostly almost all by men, have a cognitive bias in common, which is that they're attacking her She-Hulk character, which is odd because this was actually written way before. I mean, it’s based on comic books, right? They could have just criticized that. But, anyway, now that the TV show is out there, now attacking Jen Walters as a character because they find he self-centered, narcissistic, blah-blah, just the same things that they dislike, the same things that these white male reviewers dislike about women in their thirties who are still single and dating around. [37:04.7]
Now I haven't read the She-Hulk comic books, so I don't really know where the story's going to go, but of course the MCU will do something different with it anyway. But I'm assuming that she will grow, because that's part of the whole point of the show. The character grows. It has to mature. The character starts off at the beginning of the movie, seeing life one way, and then goes through this journey of sorts and changes, as a result, and then has a story arc that changes over 10 years, different movies and TV series here. They have a lot more with the TV series. You have a lot more time to stretch out and really flesh out this character and you need to have flawed characters. That's what makes things interesting.
But a lot of these guys are already criticizing her because she's not perfect or, more accurately, what they would consider perfection, but either way, it doesn't really matter because they're still expecting some version of perfection, like she should be likable right off the bat to older white males. Of course, again, that's not what she was written for or they're not writing that for that audience. [38:06.4]
But, anyway, it doesn't matter because these men didn't criticize the fact that all of the characters, when they started off in their first movie and especially at the very beginning of their first movie, were all flawed characters. But I think it's because those characters were all men in the movies, it was a lot easier for them, the reviewers, the white, older white male reviewers, to relate to them, and as a result, they didn't see that as imperfection and they knew that they just gave room. They knew that there was going to be room to grow.
But they're not giving that to the She-Hulk character. They're criticizing her because she's self-centered and all of this other-- There's different values, obviously, like I was pointing out. Obviously, a big part of Jen Walters' story arc in She-Hulk is coming to terms with loving herself and not needing to compensate for her low self-esteem by relying on She-Hulk to do that for her, but to actually recognize that she as Jen Walters, and not she as She-Hulk, but she as Jen Walters, is worthy of love and is significant as a human being without having to be, needing to rely on, switching into She-Hulk. [39:11.8]
That was a big part of her journey in this first season and I'm sure they're setting it up so that she now will, at some point, mature enough to care about other people. I mean, that's a big thing, big lesson that she got from Daredevil where he kept hammering it in to her, pun intended, that now she has this power and she can help other people rather than just her trying to get ahead in her job or just make do with her dating life and all of that, like a typical 30-something, single-woman struggles in those priorities that they have, but that she can then step up into actually being a hero for others.
That hasn't happened yet, but it's just the first season and what these compensatory-narcissist reviewers are criticizing her for is something they didn't criticize when it came to other characters that were male. There's a deeper psychological point here and it's beautifully illustrated in the Disney movie Encanto. I wanted to do a review on it, but I don't think a big part of my core audience would have watched Encanto, but I highly recommend you watch Encanto, and it's got great music. [40:18.4]
At the end of the movie, the main character doesn't have any superpowers unlike the rest of her family, and that's part of the point that her superpower was just seeing the beauty in everyone else and bringing the family together. There was a reviewer, who was a male, who was definitely an achiever type and very likely a compensatory narcissist, who criticized the ending of the movie because he thought it would've been even better and he was like everyone was really rooting for the main character to get a super power, because that's part of the plot. [40:55.6]
All of her other family went through a ritual and got some kind of superpower out of it. She didn't, and he's like, it should have ended with her getting a power, and I realized this guy totally missed the point and he is probably going to be super hard on his kids and pass down his generational trauma of the achiever's curse to them, because he's not recognizing that part of the whole point of Encanto is you don't need any powers to be worthy of love and to love each other and keep the family together, and to see the power and virtue and love in others, and that was what she did for the family. She brought it together.
Of course, that is also the story, the theme of this first season of She-Hulk, which was that it was Jen Walters discovering for herself that she was worthy of love and connection and significance, just for being her, not needing to rely on She-Hulk as a kind of false self or persona to put out there to the world, and it was reinforced by her law firm and so on, but that she wanted to be loved for her, as Jen Walters, her human self, her little human self. [42:03.8]
That was a really beautiful theme, coming to terms with loving yourself and not needing to compensate for your insecurities and your low self-esteem by putting out the front or putting on a persona and making that your default. That would literally be if she was defaulting to always and only being She-Hulk because she was ashamed to be Jen Walters, then She-Hulk would be her false self.
From a psychotherapeutic point of view, that would be a false self and that would also be death inside and it would be torture, and she fought that. She didn't want that. In this whole TV series, she was fighting this false self, needing to be the false self, in order to get acceptance, love, get sex, and so on, so I thought it was a beautiful theme.
Despite this show being written for women by women, I highly recommend it to everyone, especially men who want to get better at dating and relationships, because it will give you a kind of fun and pretty short—I mean, these episodes are like 30 minutes long—a fun experience of taking the woman's point of view seriously on subject matter that has been male-dominated and probably, in an unconscious way, you probably didn't even know it was male-dominated, and it's a fun experiment in that sense and I hope the MCU does more of this. [43:18.3]
You do not want to be one of those compensatory narcissists who bemoan the past and want to conserve the way it was back then. History has moved on. It's already moved on, and if you are not adjusting, if you're not adapting, you're going to be evolved out and it will be harder for you in the modern world and in modern dating. A really fun way to learn and experience a woman's point of view, She-Hulk.
Let me know what you thought about this episode. Thank you so much for listening. I read all of your comments, so please let me know what you think. Disagree with me, agree with me, just let me know. I love all the feedback I can get. Like this on whatever platform you're on and, if you enjoyed this, please share it with anyone that you think could benefit from it.
Thank you so much for listening. I'll see you in the next episode. David Tian, signing out. [44:05.0]
This is ThePodcastFactory.com