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The internet has been buzzing almost non-stop since Marvel dropped the first Captain Marvel trailer online earlier this week. But amid the love, at least one person went as far as altering the trailer, a move that received its own counter-trolling shared by none other than Captain Marvel herself.
Like many Marvel trailers before it, fans analyzed the trailer frame-by-frame and purported their own theories about what they thought was going on in certain scenes. But some people took issue with the Captain Marvel trailer for a very dumb reason: Captain Marvel and her alter-ego, Carol Danvers weren’t smiling enough throughout the nearly two minutes of footage—and that she should be.
It got to the point where one account even took a few shots from the trailer, promotional photos, and poster and used FaceApp to manipulate Brie Larson into smiling. Naturally, it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
Many women have had to deal with other people (largely men) telling them to smile for much of their lives—a comment that, no matter how well-intended, is inherently sexist and one way for people (mostly men) to police women’s bodies. So for some people to extend that “courtesy” over to a fictional character, one who’s also Marvel’s first female superhero to get her own movie, is equally frustrating and disappointing.
And although the Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of scowling, angry, and somber superheroes and smiles are rare to come for many of its male heroes, it only became an issue the moment Carol Danvers refused to smile in every scene she was in. (Despite this particular account’s complaint, she does, in fact, smile in parts of the trailer.) Given that Carol is dealing with some hefty memory loss and can’t tell which of her memories are real in the midst of a potential Skrull invasion of Earth, not being cheerful during every second of screen-time is understandable.
Plenty of Captain Marvel fans mocked the edits while others pointed out that because the account flagged the edits to one of the accounts associated with Comicsgate, the person who posted them was looking for a visceral reaction from fans and feminists. (Even outside of that group, there are some people who agree with the sentiment that Captain Marvel should smile more.)
Jane Ritt did one even better by taking three Marvel movies—Iron Man 3, Doctor Strange, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier—and making the male superheroes at the center of each respective poster smile for the camera.
I agree, Captain Marvel needs to smile more, so she fits in with the rest of the universe pic.twitter.com/CAJ7MzUOxK— Jane Ritt ⚡️ (@heymermaid) September 19, 2018
Those particular photo edits went viral with Larson going as far as to share them on her Instagram account.
Fans also showed their support for Larson and Captain Marvel with the hashtag #SelfiesForBrie, in which they posted photos of themselves, not just photos of themselves smiling. While she emphasized that fans didn’t need to do anything for her, she was touched by the support they’ve shown her during the past several days.
I want to talk about #selfiesforbrie -the hashtag I didn’t know I needed.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
It’s not an intention of mine for any fan to do anything for me - I’m not a cult leader. I’m living my life and if you’re into it, cool. If not, that’s cool too.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
However! Scrolling through and seeing your faces brought so much emotion. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me. Thank you for your kind words; I’m happy you feel supported by me too.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
I loved seeing all your expressions. Moody or smiling or coy or fierce or whatever is YOU. What an incredible collection of folks owning themselves (I see you #validbisexual !!) where they are, how they are.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
I also saw self depreciation or apologizing for being “ugly” or pointing out specific things they didn’t like about their face. What the heck!!! That type of ownership is yours to wade but just know: you are beautiful - never apologize for it.— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
Thank you. Thank you. It was truly a highlight of these few wild days. Much love 💗— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 21, 2018
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.