In what very well may go down as one of the most baffling defenses of a Marvel product in all of history, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director Kat Coiro has asserted that the widespread criticism of the Disney Plus series’ CGI had nothing to do with its quality, but was rather “our culture’s belief in its ownership of women’s bodies.”
Coiro shared her opinion on the backlash to Jennifer Walters’ uncanny valley-esque looks during an appearance at the series’ August 3rd Television Critics Association press tour panel.
There, the director asserted, “In terms of the CGI being critiqued, I think that has to do with our culture’s belief in its ownership of women’s bodies.”
“I think a lot of the critique comes from feeling like they’re able to tear apart the CGI woman,” said Coiro. “There’s a lot of talk about her body type, and we based it on Olympian athletes and not bodybuilders.”
“But I think if we had gone the other way, we would be facing the same critique,” she concluded. “I think it’s very hard to win when you make women’s bodies.”
She-Hulk star Tatiana Maslany would later echo this rhetoric while speaking as to what she enjoyed about playing the series’ title role.
“[The series follows Jen] as she navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7 superpowered Hulk,” explained the actress to the media in attendance.
“Jen has had her life planned out for her and has worked really hard to get to where she is as a lawyer, and to have this thing happen to her that sort of derails everything,” she continued. “It is a bit of an identity crisis.”
Turning to what she found “really compelling about the story”, Maslany asserted that it was the element of how “when she’s She-Hulk she’s treated very differently than when she’s Jen.”
“There’s a lot of having to affirm her intelligence when she’s Jen and assert her role and trying to get respect, whereas when she’s She-Hulk there’s this inherent sort of awe inspired by her that’s at odds with how she wants to be perceived,” she elaborated. “Her anger, her largeness, her taking up space in a room, is all fertile ground for us to play with, flip the standard on its head so you can laugh at it.”
“We’re so fixated on women’s bodies, whether it’s aesthetically or politically or in terms of rights or in terms of autonomy, I think what we do in this show is in touch with all of these concepts,” she concluded.
Notably, Coiro’s statements in particular came the same day that Entertainment Weekly published an interview with the director wherein she revealed of the series’ production, “It was definitely something we talked about, about inclusivity and making sure that the story was told through the female lens. Comic books have traditionally, in the art, been through the male gaze, and so there was a lot of talk about what is the female gaze and how do we create this from our point of view?”
“One thing I always come back to was one of the wish fulfillment elements of getting to see her walking down a dark alley, and someone gives her a hard time, and she’s able to kick their butts,” the director detailed. “It was something that every single woman could relate to, any woman, of any age.
“How exciting would it be to walk home in the dark and not worry?” she added. “She-Hulk is able to walk home, even while wearing headphones, and not worry, because she has the power to not feel vulnerable physically And I think that’s a pretty unique thing that only a group of women could have brought to this, among other much more nuanced things as well.”
Putting forth one example of such “nuanced things”, Coiro recalled, “We talked a lot about women feeling the need to be polite. If some guy comes up to you in a bar, it’s obvious what he wants but you don’t want to offend him because you are afraid of being rude.”
“Jennifer Walters has this new part of herself that doesn’t have to temper that and doesn’t have to put up with things she doesn’t want to put up with,” the director said. “Jennifer Walters doesn’t have to put up with that crap.”
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is set to hit Disney Plus on August 18th.