When it comes to being an all around stand-up guy, Mark Ruffalo has a whole lot of previous experience. When he isn't playing what seems like the nicest version of Bruce Banner that is humanly possible, he's usually to be found working tirelessly on behalf of his own charity, Water Defense, tweeting about important and often over-looked issues, or answering the kind of sexist questions that'd normally be directed at his female co-stars.
Most recently, though, he's taken to Twitter to do exactly the sort of thing that Movie Star 101 teaches you not to do: bite the hand that feeds in the name of a noble cause.
Ruffalo Just Called Out Marvel Over Their Lack of Black Widow Merchandising
In, because after all this is Mark Ruffalo, the most polite way possible:
Now, there are three main reasons why, for me at least, that's a seriously bad-ass move.
It's an Incredibly Serious Problem
Y'see, this isn't actually about there not being enough Black Widow lunchboxes, or too few Scarlet Witch LEGO mini-figures. It's about (an often unintentional) institutional sexism present in almost every aspect of society - including the world of toys and merchandising. Sexism which, both overtly and more subtly, places women - and especially young girls - in the position of being 'secondary' consumers, with their legitimacy as fans seemingly being questioned by groups who are simultaneously trying to sell them something.
Which is a pretty fundamental problem, one which, as has been talked about at length, all over the internet, isn't going to go away without a whole lot of people making a whole lot of brave decisions to change the way they do business - and all of us being willing to take a closer look at the decisions, judgments and exclusions that both we and others are making all the time, often without realizing it.
Which is why it's a shame that:
It's a Rare Thing to See an Actor Stand Up to Their Studio Like That
And, accordingly, why it's such a big deal to see Ruffalo taking a stand for a cause he obviously believes in, especially when it means calling out the company that pays him large amounts of money to play a giant green rage monster.
After all, there are an awful lot of people out there who feel the same way as Ruffalo - many of them with a platform to speak out about it - who feel that they can't, because of the potential damage to their careers. Which, in itself, is part of the problem.
Perhaps most importantly, though?
This Is the Way Things Get Better
After all, by speaking out about this sort of thing - and making sure that it doesn't just get swept under the carpet - the chances of something actually changing go up exponentially. If Ruffalo's willingness to speak out encourages others to do the same, then, alongside the tireless work of countless campaigners, we'll eventually see things change for the better: the puny god will get its comeuppance...
Which, seeing as each piece of petty institutional sexism ties into a larger and more catastrophically damaging web of widespread misogyny and inequality, is a pretty huge thing.
And, thanks to Ruffalo, it's one small step closer.
What do you think, though?