Queen of the Day Emma Stone Just Schooled Spider-Man On Feminism Margaret Eby

Emma Stone just made us love her even more. (Shutterstock)

Press junkets and interviews are not normally a place where feminist discourse thrives. The actors are there to sell their movies; the reporters are there to try to squeeze out an interesting sound bite from a group of actors who’ve already talked to a hundred other outlets. It’s a weird fish tank where moments of natural interaction are hard to come by.

Which is why it’s all the more impressive that Emma Stone managed to slip in a moment of honesty during an interview with Yahoo Kids. And, can we say, double the points that the moment was a brief but powerful refutation of a sexist comment that her co-star and real life boyfriend Andrew Garfield made.

Here’s what happened: Garfield was answering a little boy’s question about how Spider-Man got his costume.

“He made it,” Garfield said. “He made it with his bare hands. He sewed it. He took some sewing classes and some needlepoint classes. It’s kind of a feminine thing to do. He made a very masculine costume out of a very feminine—“

And that’s where Stone, standing up for both women and for all the men out there who know their way around sewing a button, cut him off.

“It’s feminine how?” she asked.

“It’s amazing how you took that as an insult,” Garfield said.

“No, I’m not taking that as an insult; I’m asking how it’s feminine,” she continued.

Garfield then went on to explain how he meant the gendered comment as a compliment. “Like my mother, she’s an amazing craftsman. She in fact made my first Spider-Man costume when I was three, so I use it as a compliment,” Garfield said.

Maybe so. But you’ve got to hand it to Stone for sparking a conversation about gender stereotyping at a moment when legions of young super-hero fans are listening.  Forget Spider-Man. Emma Stone, you’re our hero.

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  1. Why does nitwit keep popping in my mind.? Why did she ask the question? She just wanted to know, wanted information. The motivation could only be she took issue with his judgement that sewing was feminine, mainly because she knew the answer without asking. We are socialized to believe sewing is feminine and going to war is masculine. She shows major signs of being insecure and dishonest about her intentions.

  2. Feminine is a GOOD quality! It’s what I love about Emma (and Zooey!)

  3. I think she was just defending males who sew, and not getting all Militant-Lesbian-Feminist on the poor guy. She is a very feminine lady (AND WE LOVE IT!)

    • Just for the record: “Militant-Lesbian-Feminist” isn’t the only ‘brand’ of feminism out there. Kind of like how Southern Baptist isn’t the only ‘brand’ of Christianity.

  4. I don’t get it. So he called sewing feminine? This is offensive, why? Okay, so women aren’t the only ones who sew but I know in my world the only people I’ve known that sew are female. My mom, grandma, friends, and myself. To me, this is a way of showing the kid that even though sewing can be seen as feminine it doesn’t mean only women can sew. Men, even superheroes, can take a class and make something awesome even when it’s not always seen as the norm. As far he made something masculine out of a very feminine quote…do we know he was going to say or was he interrupted before he could finish? Women are so quick to say we can do x,y, and z, even though it’s considered a masculine whatever so why is wrong to flip the script and say men can do x,y and x even though it’s considered a feminine activity?

    • Nothing wrong with ‘flipping the script.’ But there’s also nothing wrong (IMO at least) with questioning why X, Y or Z are considered either masculine or feminine in the first place.

      Also, related note: while sewing is considered feminine, tailoring – which is almost the exact same thing – was traditionally seen as masculine.

  5. Yes, Andrew Garfield was expressing aspects of gender conventions that aren’t his fault, but he also automatically assumed that Emma Stone found his comment offensive when she asked why sewing is feminine. Sewing, as a modern skill, is not something I would consider solely feminine. (Historically, yes, it’s been a skill taught to women, so I’m not ignoring that. I’m just speaking of it as a present day skill.) Men in the armed forces are taught to sew (buttons, patches, tears, etc.) Men in the medical field are taught how to sew sutures. While most men, historically, haven’t been taught sewing as a recreational/decorative activity, this specific example (the costume,) and the examples I’ve mentioned are practical aspects of sewing. (Not to mention that men are showing more and more of their interest in recreational sewing – go them!) So, I can see why Emma would ask why Andrew was describing sewing as a solely feminine skill in this particular context.
    Also, Andrew went on to say that he/Spider Man “made a very masculine costume out of a very feminine [skill/activity]…,” which is just silly to me, because Spider Woman wears nearly the same costume as Spider Man. with a mask instead of a full hood (so that her hair could be illustrated, I’m guessing.) The gender playing field is pretty level when each superhero is wearing a skin-tight body suit. ;)

  6. If he wasn’t calling it out for being feminine he would have merely stated that Spider-Man sewed his own costume. No gender description necessary. Emma was right to bring up the question of why.

    • Exactly. and there was also the level, “it’s feminine but he made a masculine item out the skill!!!” which almost implies a hierarchy where feminine is less than masculine. Secondly, I wouldn’t appreciate having spiderman tell my kids what should and shouldn’t be considered feminine or masculine. Keep your boxes to yourself, Garfield.

  7. Sewing is feminine because we’re told it’s feminine. Andrew Garfield is not the problem here, it’s movies like Spiderman which actresses like Emma Stone get paid to act in. No one was schooled. Whatever that means.

  8. How is that ‘schooling’ Spider-Man? Your headlines are so sensational sometimes., it’s silly. She raised a question. She objected to his comment. There was no schooling!

  9. I don’t understand what is wrong with his comment. Gender is a social convention so feminine things are defined as delicate and detailed (designing and sewing a costume) and masculine things are rough and solid (a uniform of bold colors with an intimidating logo used for fighting). He’s not saying that sewing is for girls and fighting bad guys is for boys. He’s saying sewing is a feminine trait, which is a (changeable) fact, defined by (an evolving) society. Men and women exhibit both masculine and feminine traits, which he points out. He never says that men should only be masculine and women should only be feminine. He acknowledges the duality in each individual. There’s nothing anti-feminist about what he said.

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