Mark Ruffalo might be the most underrated member of the Avengers ensemble cast. Robert Downey Jr. is the team’s resident bad boy, and the Chris’s Evans and Hemsworth provide fans with plenty of eye candy both on and off the screen. Until recently Scarlett Johansson held the crown as the Marvel cinematic universe’s only female superhero (watch your back Elizabeth Olsen). Despite playing the films most visually striking character, the incredible hulk, Ruffalo tends to rank below all of his more memeable costars in the unending Marvel media frenzy (okay okay, he beats Jeremy Renner but who doesn’t), but Ruffalo may have finally found his niche as the Avengers’ resident feminist.
Let’s be honest, the last round of press for Avengers: Age of Ultron was pretty excruciating. It seemingly went on forever and it led to a series of unfortunate gaffes, most notable for Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner who ended up in a world of media hurt after making sexist comments about Johansson’s character, Black Widow. Evans managed to smooth over the damage, and Renner just kept digging himself deeper into a hole, but the whole incident provided a perfect platform for Ruffalo to shine his personal brand. In a series of interviews since, the actor has been vocal about the need for more female superheroes and about his personal feminism. Most recently, in a post on his personal Tumblr, Ruffalo took on the recent “I am not a feminist” internet phenomenon, and he didn’t pull any punches.
In his post the actor makes it clear that publicly declaring yourself “not a feminist” is an unacceptable position. He likens it to degrading the legacy of all the women who have fought for equal rights over the last two centuries.
“You’re insulting every woman who was forcibly restrained in a jail cell with a feeding tube down her throat for your right to vote, less than 100 years ago.
“You’re degrading every woman who has accessed a rape crisis centre, which wouldn’t exist without the feminist movement.
“You’re undermining every woman who fought to make marital rape a crime (it was legal until 1993).
Ruffalo went on to list the long history of woman who have fought bravely, often at risk to their own lives and safety, in the name of gender equality. It’s the kind of impassioned post that we don’t often see from celebrities. Most stars allow their feelings, particularly about hot button issues, to be filtered through handlers an spokesmen giving their opinions an diluted quality, but it seems that Ruffalos post is 100% unfiltered truth telling. The star signed off by telling those who disagree to “Kiss my ass you ignorant little jerks.” An inelegant, but certainly authentic response.