(WARNING: THIS WILL HAVE SPOILERS)
Okay, so I came across the above link while googling random stuff I like. After reading this mini-article, it made me wanna watch Megamind again because I also really liked that movie, I think it’s funny. However, after watching it a second time, I’ve come to realize that Megamind shows one more very important message rather than just “Roxanne Ritchie isn’t some helpless damsel” message. And the message that I saw is:
1. Hal Stewart has “Nice Guy Syndrome”
For people who don’t know what “Nice Guy Syndrome” is, I think Urban Dictionary describes it best:
‘An annoying mental condition in which a heterosexual man concocts oversimplified ideas why women aren’t flocking to him in droves. Typically this male will whine and complain about how women never want to date them because he is “too nice” or that he is average in appearance. He often targets a woman who is already in a relationship; misrepresenting his intentions of wanting to be her friend and having the expectation that he is owed more than friendship because he is such a good listener. He is prone to brooding over this and passive aggressive behavior.’
Now look at Hal in Megamind. He starts out as Roxanne’s camera man in the beginning of the movie. At first, he appears to be just a weird guy who acts just a little bit too friendly toward Roxanne. He makes comments and jokes with Roxanne in a very friendly, albeit awkward, kind of way. He’s the lovable nerd that everyone loves to see on TV. Seems like an okay guy, right?
Well, let’s see what happens next.
After Megamind infuses Hal with Metro Man’s powers, Hal goes to Roxanne and asks her to be his girlfriend in a very direct way.
Now, from what TV shows and some movies tell us, the nice guys always get the girl at the end. Well not this time. Although she’s made it very clear she wasn’t interested in him, and completely ignoring the fact that she was in a relationship with Bernard (whom we know is actually Megamind in disguise) he expects her to just fall at his feet, begging to be his girlfriend.
And when he’s rejected, what does he do? He throws an extreme temper tantrum in the form of rampaging through the city!
And this isn’t just some “Oh that’s just a cartoon” thing. This has happened. NUMEROUS TIME IN REAL LIFE.
There have been a lot of news stories about men going on rampages and committing murder all because a woman rejected him.
And the thing is, what Hal did wasn’t even overly exaggerated! Remember when Elliot Rodger (yeah that prick) from California ran down and shot several men and women in Isla Vista because he didn’t get the endless “sex and praise that he deserved”. Or other stories of teenagers and college guys shooting and stabbing women they were rejected by or even the more passive (but just as horrible) activity of men putting naked pictures of ex-girlfriends or pics of girls they were rejected by on “Revenge Sites”.
(Now, this isn’t the say that women don’t do this as well. Some women go to extreme like this as well. However, in this day and age, men do this WAY more than women do but if you can look past genders, the message I’m trying to portray should be relevant to everyone.)
Now look at Hal a.k.a. “Titan”. During the final battle, Hal had FULL INTENTIONS of killing Roxanne because of her rejection! In fact, he tried to do it TWO TIMES before being interrupted by Megamind!
Now, some people might argue that “Oh wait, he was just trying to get revenge on Megamind for manipulating him”. Yes, that might have been a large factor but remember the scene where Hal reveals himself as Titan to Roxanne and he’s rejected by her? Look at what Hal says when she rejects him:
“I’m a good guy.”
“You’re supposed to be with me.”
He then flies off in a rage and later, still angry over his rejection, he goes on a crime spree, stealing numerous things all because he “didn’t get the girl”. There’s also one more line that Hal says during his first fight with Megamind that I’d like to point out:
“This is for stealing my girlfriend!”
AGAIN, even AFTER Roxanne rejected him and made her feelings clear, he still insisted that she was his girlfriend!
And this wasn’t the first he had a temper tantrum over the rejection. Earlier in the movie, just before Megamind and Roxanne entered the Metro Man Museum, Hal tried asking her out on a date. Again, after saying “No” a number of times in the most non-aggressive way she could, he still assumes she saying “maybe”…and throws a fit anyway; punching and slamming into the side of his van!
You can chalk it up to mental illness all you want, but to me, this is a clear case of Extreme Male Entitlement and what can happen in the WORST case scenario:
- Man likes girl so he acts as friendly as he can
- Man asks girl out on date expecting her to say yes because “he’s a nice guy”
- Girl sees him as just friend and says no in the nicest way she can
- Guy freaks out for being “friend zoned” and throws a temper tantrum
- Girl winds up DEAD from said tantrum
And like I stated earlier: THIS HAS HAPPENED MANY, MANY, MANY TIMES BEFORE. And even though Mental illnesses has been used an excuse, we see all the time in everyday life and in the media that men are taught that they deserve women if they act a certain way or say certain things, regardless of how the woman initially feels.
And again, Hal is an example of this fact: after it was very clear that she was in a relationship with someone else, he still insisted that she should’ve picked him.
Thankfully, in the end, Hal’s tantrum is stopped and is thrown in prison where he belongs.
Even though they did it in a very cartoony way, and before the subject started to gain momentum in the media, Megamind shows what can happen to a woman for having the ability to say “NO” to a man. Has our society become so “devolved” that a woman saying “NO” is guaranteed a punch to the face or a stab to the arm? Why is it out of the numerous amounts of homicidal jerks and misogynistic asses we find in the world, there are only a SMALL number of genuine “GOOD GUYS” in the world? And that brings me to my next point:
2. Megamind could be a great Role Model
Okay, obviously, Megamind is not a completely good guy since he was the “Bad guy” in the beginning of the movie. But still, his actions (even as a bad guy) can still be something to aspire to. Through out the movie, I noticed that Megamind is a guy that men can aspire to be.
To repeat what I was previously saying, Hal appears to a prime example of Extreme Male Entitlement. Meanwhile, Megamind is the absolutely opposite. Yes, he’s supposed to be the villain (something that HE believes as well), look at the way he treats Roxanne.
When he starts his relationship with Roxanne, he’s kind to her, does things that makes her happy, treats her kindly, all that good stuff. However, when Roxanne dumps him after she learns that he was lying to her, he just accepts it. He DOESN’T throw a tantrum, DOESN’T try to blame her or other people, and, most importantly, he DOESN’T TRY TO KILL HER! (Which would probably be expected since he was playing as the “BAD GUY”). He doesn’t even get angry!
Instead, he gets depressed and tries to resume his plan of becoming a villain to the new hero. Now, let’s take away the villain and superhero stuff and look at this from a real world perspective.
A guy has been dating a girl for a while but then the girl decides to dump him. The guy gets depressed and then proceeds to bury himself in his work. He doesn’t try to beg her be his again or try to threaten her, he moves on with his life!
And that’s what Megamind did! He sucked it up, accepted that he was the one who wronged her, and he moves on with his life. Which is the healthiest thing a person can do after something like this happens to them: moving on with your life and not spend your time brooding or getting angry or blaming other people for your issues.
And that’s another thing I noticed about Megamind in the beginning of the movie. He’s a positive person that makes the best of a bad situation!
Whenever he was bullied at school in the start of the movie, he always tries to find a solution, tries to find a way to help himself out a bad situation. And when everyone seemed to be totally against him, he still stayed positive and tried to make the best of his situation.
Though, in this case, he took a page out of Cave Johnson’s book and took those lemons life gave him and turned them into hand grenades.
Anyway to continue, at the end of the movie when he puts himself in jail again, the moment he sees Roxanne is in trouble, he doesn’t sit there brooding and depressed or go that cliche route of “I’m useless and sad and I’d probably make things worse” mentality. Or, even worse, thinks to himself: “Well, she dumped me so she deserves it.” He puts aside his pride and depression in order to do the right thing.
That’s why I think that when you put aside the fact that he’s a villain through 70% of the movie and just look at his personality, you can see how he can be a guy to aspire to be: He’s positive even when he knows things might not work his way, he persistant but accepts that he can’t get what he wants all the time, he’s self reliant and tries to find answers to his own problem and, when things really get him down, he doesn’t wallow in depression or anger and moves on with his life.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that I agree with the blog I read that Roxanne is indeed a great example of what a strong woman looks like. However, as far as feminist issues go, I believe that these three character were a real trifecta of examples:
A strong independent female who is CLEARLY anything but a damsel in distress.
A guy with severe entitlement issues that hates a woman for rejecting him.
And an actual good guy who’s got a great personality and respects the decisions of his crush.
Now, I mentioned earlier that the media would teach us Hal was the one who was “wronged” when clearly, he was an ass that threw a bitch fit just because things didn’t go his way. And, unfortunately, that message is still present in todays movies, Tv, music, games, etc. But, sometimes some real gems break through the fog of sexism and negative messages. Gems like Megamind.
Hopefully, in the future, as more and more movies like this are released to the public, future generations will grow up on more positive messages and maybe, just maybe, we can hope to see a decrease in violent crimes against women and the rise of men like Megamind who respect a woman’s right to say “no” and knows that the world doesn’t revolve around him.
Here’s hoping we reach that future. This was my first time writing something like this so thanks for reading!