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WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Therefore I Have Value?
It’s a hot summer day but it’s dark, cool, and quiet in the theatre. There’s almost no one else there as I watch Spiderman Far from Home for the first time. From the buzzing speakers, I hear a nervous Peter Parker suddenly blurt out, “You look really pretty.” But without hesitation MJ responds, “And therefore, I have value?” As Peter scrambles to stutter out an apology, the tension quickly resolves as MJ assures him that she was only joking and awkwardly replies, “Thank you, you look pretty too.”
The scene is hardly a minute long, but by the end I realized that MJ had quickly become my favorite character in the MCU. Now I know the Marvel Universe is home to some of the greatest heroes and complex characters and I chose the dorky teen with a strange obsession with conspiracy theories. But the thing is, I had for the first time ever found a heroine in which I could see myself. As a little girl, I grew up loving Disney princesses, but I knew I was never going to spend my days running through castle halls in a flowing gown. Later, as I discovered Marvel, I admired characters like Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, and Captain Marvel, but I personally didn’t connect with them. Even if I had the physical capabilities, I’d much rather have my nose in book than be on a battlefield.
So as the movie progressed, I felt more and more like MJ was the character I had always longed to see on screen. She wasn’t just pretty or just nerdy – she was both. She wasn’t on the front lines of the battle, but she was willing to grab a medieval weapon and face danger for the people she cared about. For years, I had felt like in every film a woman had to choose between being the love interest or the hero. Yet here was a damsel who wasn’t in distress but was also willing to step back when something wasn’t her fight.
Putting women into boxes doesn’t just happen on screen, it’s something we do in real life too. But as women, God created us to be whole people, a perfect combination of many different qualities. Fierceness and femininity don’t have to be at war with each other. In Ephesians 6:10-12, we are all called to put on the armor of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
This call to a spiritual battle isn’t reserved for the brave and mighty but for all of Christ’s followers. This may seem contrary to the gentle idea of a woman, but God is not going to call you to something that compromises what He created you to be.
So go ahead, step outside the box of femininity the world has given you. Put on the Armor of God and the apron of a stay-at-home mom. Put on the belt of truth to accompany your favorite earrings. Walk into a room with confidence, bearing the sword of the Spirit. To the Natasha Romanoff’s, Carol Danver’s and Wanda Maximoff’s embrace your bravery, stand up for the oppressed. And to the Pepper Potts, with your brilliant minds, run your projects with success.
But for those like me who saw themselves in MJ, it’s ok; God will meet us in the middle with His perfect plan and you won’t have to spy on Peter Parker to figure it out.