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Are feminists really “FURIOUS” that the Sonic Movie did well? A case study in right-wing outrage manufacturing

Do feminists want to take all of Sonic’s rings?

By David Futrelle

On February 10, Twitter was filled with gloating tweets from assorted amateur and professional far-right culture warriors, all happily celebrating the poor showing of the film Birds of Prey, which they had collectively decided was a terrible insult to comic book fans and men in general because Harley Quinn’s outfit in the film wasn’t as sexy as theoretically possible. This is the state of the culture war now.

Then someone on Twitter, for some reason, decided to stir the pot a little bit, trollishly trying to gin up some sort of phony conflict between Birds of Prey and the not-yet-released Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Then a couple others retweeted this tweet as if it were their own. Then a couple more did the same, and so on and so forth, and before long the #Birds of Prey was filled with dozens of identical tweets.

https://twitter.com/sk1nnysp1ce/status/1226954882382475265
https://twitter.com/haseulxcx/status/1226951265906761730

People began riffing on the original, with the riffs getting more and more absurd with each new incarnation.

https://twitter.com/fopples7/status/1229466376835883014

It was obvious from the start that this whole “campaign” against Sonic was what is commonly known as “a joke,” and not intended to be taken seriously by anyone.

Indeed, the first Tweets were tweeted out four days before the Sonic movie even opened, and anyone who took a second to look at the original tweeter’s account would have seen that she’s a hardcore Animal Crossing stan who mostly posts jokes and who (as far as I can tell from scrolling through several days of tweets) never posts anything having to do with feminism.

But the right-wing outrage merchants took one look at the tweets and saw a great opportunity. And so the videos began the appear, loudly and indignantly decrying this supposed feminist campaign to destroy the Sonic Movie with evil feminist lies.

There were a lot of these videos, with the most popular, from the (literally) Nazi-adjacent Tim Pool, boasting nearly 190,000 views (so far); several others have seen tens of thousands of views.

I have not, god forbid, watched all of these videos. (I watched all 27 minutes of Tim Pool’s and portions of a bunch of the others.) But the ones I sampled were indignant in their tone, seemingly taking for granted (without bothering to do more than ten seconds of research on the subject) that the anti-Sonic tweets were indeed some sort of serious feminist campaign to take down a movie that I doubt most feminists are even aware of. They’re fighting a straw man (or straw woman) that they seem to be truly convinced is real.

But maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. Surely they’re not all as gullible as that. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say not that they don’t know they’re fighting an imaginary enemy but that they simply don’t care that they are — at least so long as the clicks keep coming.

Send tips to dfutrelle at gmail dot com.

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KindaSortaHarmless
KindaSortaHarmless
1 year ago

(smirks) and they call us outrage merchants… Pot, meet Kettle indeed.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

This is the thing about when far right trolls try to imitate feminists: usually they only end up fooling their own kind. The same thing happened with free bleeding a few years ago.

I can’t speak for other feminists, but since I have no personal stake in either of the films, haven’t seen them, and don’t really plan on it, I don’t really care if one does better than the other.

@KindaSortaHarmless
As always, it’s the projection with these types. Also, they seem to have taken Goebbel’s advice about accusing the enemy of that which you are guilty.

Bina
1 year ago

Shorter these dudes: Oh noes, female antiheroes are justifiably angry at men! We MUST make their movies fail!

Meanwhile, for a perfect example of WHY female antiheroes are justifiably angry at men, see above.

calmdown
calmdown
1 year ago

Off topic, but some (sort of?) good news from Portland today:
https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/02/jeremy-christian-guilty-on-all-counts-in-max-stabbings-trial.html

On topic: I probably will see Birds of Prey purposely because of the fact that it pisses anti-feminists off (and has done reasonably well with critics). Sonic isn’t marketed towards me but notice I didn’t complain about it on the internet because I don’t like shitting on things just because they weren’t made for me. Also I have nothing against 10 year old boys?

Katherine the Adequate
Katherine the Adequate
1 year ago

Uh, what? What did well? And I’m supposed to be furious? Sheesh. I’m always out of the loop.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/qjdzwb/sophie-lewis-feminist-abolishing-the-family-full-surrogacy-now

Found this because rightwingers on Facebook were melting down over it. 🙂

Jamesworkshop
Jamesworkshop
1 year ago

All the sonic movie success tells us is that box-office tanking revenge for Jim Carrey comments about Trump didn’t amount to much.

All BOP tells us is that being a R-rated quasi-sequel to a movie with an even lower metacritic score (both in professional and general public) than BvS Dawn of Justice and Justice League isn’t a surefire bet…who knew?

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

CURIOUS? This feminist certainly is. I’m CURIOUS to know what it would be like to live in a world without patriarchal whining, idiocy, trolling, and violence.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Jamesworkshop

box-office tanking revenge for Jim Carrey comments about Trump didn’t amount to much.

Well, conservatives have a short memory and many angry moments, you can’t expect them to remember everything they get upset about.

@Kat

I’m CURIOUS to know what it would be like to live in a world without patriarchal whining, idiocy, trolling, and violence.

I’m curious myself. Anyone know where I can find that world?

Victorious Parasol
1 year ago

These yutzes can’t remember that women play games, too, can they? AND we watch cartoons. We’ve even been known to read comic books. And we have money to spend on those things.

*lovingly pats the 15th anniversary SteelBook edition of A:TLA she and Mr. Parasol bought last night as a first-week-of-new-job celebration*

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Victorious Parasol

These yutzes can’t remember that women play games, too, can they? AND we watch cartoons. We’ve even been known to read comic books.

I think the conservatives know this, but they ignore it because it makes them very upset (see: GamerGate, ComicsGate, AnimeGate, every other related reactionary movement).

How did your first week go?

Victorious Parasol
1 year ago

@Naglfar

As far as first weeks go, this was a good one. I like the teammates I’ve met so far. They have a good structure in place for getting newbies up to speed. As someone who’s designed similar programs in the past, I am impressed.

Talonknife
Talonknife
1 year ago

The actual problem with the Sonic movie is that the studio crunched the hell out of their animators to fix the original design and then fired them all as soon as it was done.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 year ago

My kids went to see Sonic with some friends yesterday. I stayed home and napped in the other room and had a much better experience. (For the record, the f-bombs and Satanic rituals didn’t bother them. Paw Patrol turned them antifa when they were 3.)

That constellation of response videos…wow. Invented feminist outrage is catnip to real right-wing outrage.

@Victorious Parasol: glad to hear it’s going well so far!

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Buttercup

Paw Patrol turned them antifa when they were 3.

I’m not really familiar with contemporary children’s television so I could be way off, but isn’t Paw Patrol about law enforcement? So wouldn’t that encourage children to support police?

That constellation of response videos…wow. Invented feminist outrage is catnip to real right-wing outrage.

It seems that their thought process goes something like this:

[imaginary straw feminists do something in the fevered imaginations of the right]
Conservatives: “Those feminist snowflakes get so upset, let’s own the libs for all the lulz.”
Actual feminists: “We don’t really care.”
Conservatives: “No you totally do, see this definitely real tweet and you all think the same because we do.”

Lakitha K Tolbert
Lakitha K Tolbert
1 year ago

As far as I understand these things BoP didn’t actually flop at the box office. It just didn’t perform according the over inflated expectations of its creators. Everyone i spoke to who has seen the movie, liked it just fine. Hell, I liked it just fine. I had a ball! I was mildly interested in going to see Sonic, which looks really cute, but two movies in one month is an outrageous amount of money to be spending for me, so I chose one film, and BoP was it.

Its interesting to watch all the reactionary silliness white men are having towards genre movies these days. Ever since Black Panther, white fanboys have been, mad as hell about that movie, trying to tear down any other genre movies that came after it, that starred poc and women, all while championing their next “Great White Hope” movie. They championed Ready Player One, then the next Star Wars movie, then Joker, and now this, as if they are looking for some movie that will defeat the existence of Black Panther, so they can smugly turn to us and go “gotcha!”, I guess.

Never mind that movie watching isn’t a kind of game that a group of people win. All they’re doing is making sure Hollywood makes more genre films. Beyond making more movies, Iddont think Hollywood is paying that close attention. I know the general mainstream public isn’t even remotely aware of whats going on, because its concerned with other issues.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 year ago

@Naglfar – I know, I was kidding :). Paw Patrol has as much antifa content as Sonic does homophobic slurs.

Although the airplane pilot puppy is a (whispers) girl, which no doubt would enrage the gamer bros who demand 100% realism in their talking canine rescue team cartoons.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Lakitha

Beyond making more movies, Iddont think Hollywood is paying that close attention. I know the general mainstream public isn’t even remotely aware of whats going on, because its concerned with other issues.

Once again, reactionaries have a very inflated idea of how much everyone else cares what they think. Every time they try to do a boycott of a movie or product, it always fails to make a dent.

@Buttercup

Paw Patrol has as much antifa content as Sonic does homophobic slurs.

As I figured. It just reminded me of this meme I saw the other day that said “ACAB and that includes the Paw Patrol.”

Victorious Parasol
1 year ago

Thanks, Buttercup! I’m sure the manosphere would have a collective cranial explosion if they knew Mr. Parasol was glad to hear I’m happy with the new job.

Good. 😉

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

The only reason that I, as a feminist, am upset about the Sonic movie doing well is because a bunch of people were forced to crunch to redo the animation because of the poor reception, and then the studio that did that work was shut down and everyone laid off before the movie was even released.

Buttercup A. Skullpants
Buttercup A. Skullpants
1 year ago

@Naglfar 😂😂😂 Love it.

For a second I thought ACAB meant “assigned cat at birth” and wondered if Paw Patrol was more subversive than I thought. I really dislike the way cats are the villains in that show (and just about every other TV show and movie). They’re always depicted as scheming and creepy.

Just once, I’d like to see a hero cat who saves the day by playfully knocking the evil world domination plans off a table and then batting them under the couch.

@Victorious Parasol – That’s icing on the cake! Hope your first few days continue to go well.

numerobis
numerobis
1 year ago

The VFX industry is stupidly brutal. The pay is not great, the hours are long with lots of unpaid overtime, and much of the staff only have a contract to the end of the show. A studio will staff up to 500, then down to 50 when a couple shows end. The margins are so thin that a studio can’t keep many people in between shows. There’s little loyalty in either direction: companies don’t invest in their workers, and thus workers don’t stick with their employer.

It’s labour-intensive, so there’s lots of competition from poorer countries where labour is cheaper; rich-country governments combat that by offering huge tax credits. In Quebec, it can amount to 30% of salaries, which means the country essentially isn’t taxing income in the multimedia industry (and Quebec is transferring money to the fed).

Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
Jesalin, Goddess of Lust & Pleasure
1 year ago

Just once, I’d like to see a hero cat who saves the day by playfully knocking the evil world domination plans off a table and then batting them under the couch.

OMG Mr Fluffybutt, what have you done!? You knocked my hand-held death-ray off the counter and broke it, and then you pee’d on the schematic, so I can’t even fix it!

Sigh Screw this, I’ll just get a normal job.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
1 year ago

@ buttercup

Have you seen this cartoon series? Cat staff may find it relatable.

comment image

Reaktor
Reaktor
1 year ago

I wonder how many of these people will change their tune and start bashing the Sonic movie as SJW trash because the main human character, a white guy, is married to a black woman and some of her relatives show up, but none of his. “OMG FORCED DIVERSITYYYY!!!1!!” Perhaps many already have, but I haven’t bothered to check.

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
1 year ago

“ACAB and that includes the Paw Patrol.”

I was recently reading some furry political discourse on Twitter (as one does) and there was general condemnation of people cosplaying as police dogs at cons. Apparently, the police dog thing is a popular vein of humor for people whose fursona is a German Shepherd dog.

(I’m not sure if “police dog” usually means anthro dog in police dog gear, or anthro dog in police officer uniform)

Eric NotMe
Eric NotMe
1 year ago

Well you could’ve done proper research and figured out that the birds of prey vs hedgehog fight was a joke and never had anything to do with Sonics’ success nor the feminists outrage.

The outrage is because the “incel gamer” community or “basement dwellers” were right from the start – do the movie properly or risk flopping.

People are comparing Sonic to what Zack Schneider did to DCEU – he went with his vision instead of what the fans would’ve liked and ruined the entire franchise probably for the foreseeable future. Sonic listened to fans, spent 38 million for the redesign and oh wow! It’s doing pretty well.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I don’t understand this attitude at all. There’s room for all sorts of films. A given film shouldn’t be seen as a repudiation of another film, I don’t think. If you don’t like a certain film, maybe someone else does.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Dormousing_it

If you don’t like a certain film, maybe someone else does.

True, but that is what the alt right fails to understand. They are so used to everything catering to their desires that they see anything that isn’t made specifically to appeal to them as a personal affront. They’re upset that there are things being made which aren’t engineered for conservative cishet white men, so they melt down about how that’s an attack on them. And then by projection they assume everyone else hates anything that is aimed at their demographic and created this fake outrage that only really seems to have fooled their fellow alt-rightists.

ABars
ABars
1 year ago

Sonic caved to online demands for changes thereto, whereas BoP didn’t, and now the former seems to be doing better than the latter. Now, the internet is going to attribute Sonic‘s success to having caved to online demands for changes thereto, and BoP‘s failure to not having done so, and is going to bring up the two movies every time it demands changes to a movie. Worse, studios might actually start believing it, and might indeed start caving to demands for changes, up to including reducing the roles of women and POC. Indeed, this may have already happened with Rose Tico in RoS (not that this actually stopped anyone from whinging about the movie anyway). It is for this reason that, even though I didn’t like Sonic’s original design any more than anyone else, I am incredibly nervous that having redone it may have caused more harm than good.

Fan behavior in the past decade has been abhorrent, and the absolute last thing that content creators ought to be doing is rewarding it.

Nanny Oggs Bosom
Nanny Oggs Bosom
1 year ago

Oh dear. All seems a bit silly. And gullible.

I hesitate to say it but I was playing Sonic almost 30 years ago. I occasionally still play it. My coordination is so bad I almost always fall off something and die.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

@Naglfar:

I suppose you’re right. It must be nice, to see yourself as the default human being\sarcasm.

Kinda reminds me of the fuss my stepfather put up, more than 35 years ago, when an employee manual at the company he worked for, was rewritten with gender inclusive language. For example, he/she, or s/he, instead of “he”. It was long overdue at the time.

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@ABars

Fan behavior in the past decade has been abhorrent, and the absolute last thing that content creators ought to be doing is rewarding it.

Agreed. It seems like this kind of thing started with GamerGate, when misogynistic assholes started harassing creators and commentators enough to scare the industry into listening to them too much.

@Dormousing_it

Kinda reminds me of the fuss my stepfather put up, more than 35 years ago, when an employee manual at the company he worked for, was rewritten with gender inclusive language. For example, he/she, or s/he, instead of “he”. It was long overdue at the time.

A modern parallel to that is how TERFs, far-rightists and other assorted reactionaries are currently melting down over the use of “they” as a singular third person pronoun. What I find particularly interesting about their meltdowns around “they” is that most people use singular “they” out of habit without even noticing, it’s just when someone asks for that pronoun to be used that reactionaries have tantrums.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

@Lakitha K Tolbert:

Ever since Black Panther, white fanboys have been, mad as hell about that movie, trying to tear down any other genre movies that came after it, that starred poc and women, all while championing their next “Great White Hope” movie. They championed Ready Player One, then the next Star Wars movie, then Joker, and now this, as if they are looking for some movie that will defeat the existence of Black Panther, so they can smugly turn to us and go “gotcha!”, I guess.

[ambles over to nearest rightwinger]
[leans in to whisper in ear]
“sonic the hedgehog’s skin isn’t white.”
[watches slow dawning of horror on rightwinger’s face]
[snickers]

@Talonknife, Kupo:

The actual problem with the Sonic movie is that the studio crunched the hell out of their animators to fix the original design and then fired them all as soon as it was done.

Capitalists exploited some workers! See page A4. In local news, dog bites man; continued on C3. International: Middle East a mess. See D4. Sports: Some team won some game yesterday, and some other team lost. More sports coverage on page E1. Horoscope: Sun predicted to rise in east tomorrow morning. Details on back page.

[sigh]

When will things even improve enough for something like this to be newsworthy?

@Naglfar:

Anyone know where I can find that world?

Try the science fiction aisle. Especially under female authors, e.g. Ursula LeGuin.

[sigh]

@Buttercup:

Just once, I’d like to see a hero cat who saves the day by playfully knocking the evil world domination plans off a table and then batting them under the couch.

[Bad Guy puts a key on a table, near the edge]

[Fluffy white Blofeld-cat pricks up ears and starts padding toward the table]

Bad Guy: “This is a communique from Crimson Jihad. You have heard from your own expert. You have seen the Holy fire with your own eyes. Do not force us to destroy this city. And do not try to use force against us. I can trigger this bomb instantly. All I have to do is turn that key –”

Henchman: “What key?”

Bad Guy: “That key right th — WHERE IS THE KEY?!”

Cat: *meow* *bat* *jingle jingle*

Bad Guy: “NOOOO!”

[key falls from 40th-storey unglazed window in half-finished skyscraper]

[straight down a sewer grate, natch]

@Dormousing_it:

For example, he/she, or s/he, instead of “he”. It was long overdue at the time.

Still erasing nonbinary people. [sigh] Baby steps, I guess …

@Victorious Parasol:

Congratulations, and good luck. Cautious optimism seems warranted.

Aaron
Aaron
1 year ago

As far as I understand these things BoP didn’t actually flop at the box office. It just didn’t perform according the over inflated expectations of its creators.

I mean, I also liked the movie, but it definitely bombed. (Its opening weekend was even lower than Justice League, which was also a bomb.) I don’t think the expectations were unreasonable – it’s a blockbuster superhero film set in the DCEU, and it failed to turn in the box office studios expect from that sort of movie.

I don’t think right-wing trolling was a factor here though. Mostly I think it was the R-rating. What in the world were they thinking?!

Naglfar
Naglfar
1 year ago

@Aaron
My biggest issue with MPAA ratings is that they consider nudity, sex, and swearing to be worse than graphic violence, which to me seems backwards.

rv97
rv97
1 year ago

@Surplus

Hopefully if “Bernie the Socialist” gets elected will Americans start being more conscious of exploitative capitalism. Hopefully.

The whole world though has embraced or is embracing the mentality of the New Right. It stinks and I wish we could do something about it but it’s practically hopeless. They’ll attribute religion to justify their bigotry or the power of the free market to justify exploitation.

Some days I’ve had enough. Only reason why I’m not doing anything illegal I feel is because I want to save my own ass.

Artie
Artie
1 year ago

I lurk too much, but I felt like saying something to do.

But isn’t ironic that the alt-right crowd, a group known for disowning furries of any kind (even alt-right furries), are doing their damnedest to prop up a very furry movie against a super hero movie.

BBBB
BBBB
1 year ago

Somebody needs to stage an intervention with that Pool fella…

https://twitter.com/theserfstv/status/1229968667531563008

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@rv97
Not cool.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@Naglfar

@Kat

I’m CURIOUS to know what it would be like to live in a world without patriarchal whining, idiocy, trolling, and violence.

I’m curious myself. Anyone know where I can find that world?

I have a feeling we’re going to have to make that world — again and again — because the bored, life-loathing adherents of the alt-right might not ever give up trying to tear down that world.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@Dormousing_it

Kinda reminds me of the fuss my stepfather put up, more than 35 years ago, when an employee manual at the company he worked for, was rewritten with gender inclusive language. For example, he/she, or s/he, instead of “he”. It was long overdue at the time.

I remember those days. I used inclusive language in a term paper, and my teacher informed me that it was unnecessary. (And I’m sure undesirable — to him.)

Jessie
Jessie
1 year ago

I don’t think this is the whole reason these folks are trying to make Sonic vs Birds of Prey a thing. It’s because everyone complained about Sonic’s original design and they changed it, while these guys complained that the BoP ladies weren’t dressing sexy enough and they didn’t change it.

According to the narrative they’ve created, they were the ones (rather than *everyone*, including Sonic’s original creators) who complained that Old Sonic was weird, so any success Sonic has is because the filmmakers submitted to the will of the Angry Internet Men, while BoP’s weak showing is the punishment it earned for defying them. Therefore all media must cater exclusively to them, and their gratification is the sole determinant of success or failure. It’s all about making themselves out to be culturally dominant.

SadOldGuy
SadOldGuy
1 year ago

Thanks for a whole new list of YTubers to block.

Chris O
Chris O
1 year ago

These guys don’t need to manufacture outrage…they’re BORN outraged. It’s the only emotion most of them are even remotely capable of.

Chris O
Chris O
1 year ago

And in case I didn’t make myself clear in my previous comment, I was talking about the right-wingers.

Simon
Simon
1 year ago

Birds of Prey was mid budget by the standards of today. Relying on my imperfect memory, about $84 million. It will do fine, not spectacular, on the evidence of the opening weekend. Won’t be as good as the Harley Quinn animation that’s on now. Margot Robbie is superb.

Demonhype
Demonhype
1 year ago

I…was not aware that, as a woman and feminist, I was supposed to hate and despise Sonic as some icon of manly pride and dominence? While it is find the first Sonic design repulsive, even with the fix my opinion is “meh, that’s a thing that exists”. The games were fun though, still are.I

I wanted to see BoP long before I heard I was supposed to want to see it out of my deep feminist hatred for all things penis-having. Ironically, I’m hearing that from mra/incel types and not from.my fellow feminists.

Katamount
1 year ago

I think @Jessie has it; they think they had some leverage in the Sonic movie, contrasted with BoP where they had none. Hence they have a stake in Sonic’s success as a demonstration of their influence, regardless of the film’s actual content.

@Artie

That is odd, innit? MLP is second only to Sonic in terms of sheer furry fandom content.

Paireon
Paireon
1 year ago

I just find it incredibly funny that these dudes are championing Sonic of all movies, when the fandom of said IP has had a reputation as being disgustingly perverted degenerates for the longest time (at some times it felt like about half of the scorn leveled at the furry community was specifically aimed at Sonic fans). Wonder when the alt-righters will realize the level of their self-own and either will furiously backpedal their support or try futilely to “reclaim” Sonic for God-Fearing White Anglo-Saxon CisHet Manly Men(tm) everywhere.

Nice to see I’m not the only one either. In any case I don’t really care for either movie. I’ll maybe catch them on Netflix or something sometime in the future. AFAIK in any case BoP is severely hampered by many factors (awards season release, R-rating -because people are still squeamish babies scared by it, it seems- , sequel to a successful-but-panned movie, part of a very inconsistent -at best- movie universe), while Sonic has factors that help it (high-profile family movie in the dead of winter, PG-rated -I think- , very recognizable IP, lots of publicity around the original design fiasco and subsequent better-received redesign, Jim Carrey being goofy for the first time in years, not actually terribly, terminally bad unlike most videogame movies) so one outperforming the other has likely much more to do with those than anything else, Frog and Bad Combover-worshippers be damned.