The Flash’s sexist “don’t tell the girlfriend” rule

Dear The Flash,

I like you, for the most part. You’re flawed, there’s no arguing that. You drag plotlines out long after they’ve overstayed their welcome, your dialogue tends to be rather bland, and you took about five episodes too long to actually call your main character “The Flash”. But you’ve got it where it counts, at least for me. You’re fun; genuinely, unapologetically fun, which is kind of rare in superhero shows these days. You’re not afraid to be silly, and that goes a long way with me. Just for Wentworth Miller’s repeatedly glorious appearances as the delightfully camp Captain Cold, you have a loyal viewer in me.

But it’s time for you to do something about Iris.

Even in a show where the heroes end every episode by locking untried (and sometimes nonviolent) super-criminals in indefinite solitary confinement in their own private prison basement, what you’re doing with Iris West is messed up. And unlike your other flaws, the Iris problem only seems to get worse with each episode.

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Let’s recap. You were already on thin ice with Iris West when you first introduced her. She was the very worst superhero girlfriend cliché: The oblivious object of our shy, nice guy hero’s affections, forced into the Girlfriend Zone by Barry from day one. It was made even more uncomfortable by your odd decision to make her Barry’s foster sister, but we’ll ignore that.

The Flash's sexist "don’t tell the girlfriend" rule

Worse still, the only real character trait you gave her, beyond being the only person alive not noticing how hardcore Barry is crushing on her every second of every day, was obsessively blogging about and “investigating” the Flash. Effectively, you ensured that Iris would have absolutely no facet of her life or character that didn’t completely revolve around Barry.

Things got worse as the show went on, and it became clear Iris had basically nothing on her mind at any given time beyond which dude she was hottest for. If it wasn’t her love triangle between Barry and the Flash, or her new boyfriend Eddie, she was chasing after guest-star superhero the Arrow. Occasionally, she would attempt to make her journalism career about more than just the Flash, but you quickly reined her in every time she got it into her head to have a personality of her own.

But with these last two episodes, things have gone far enough. You’re being beyond unfair to Iris, even compared to what’s come before.

In “Out of Time”, it seemed like you were finally ready to cut the bullshit and do something worthwhile with Iris’s character. Barry finally revealed his secret identity to Iris, they confessed their love for each other, and actual character growth was achieved.

The Flash's sexist "don’t tell the girlfriend" rule

Then, in the very next episode, “Rogue Time”, you pissed it all away in a move so spectacularly bad, I almost rage-quit you, The Flash. If you hadn’t been smart enough to include Captain Cold to soften the blow, I might have given up altogether. Barry traveled back in time and ended up erasing his entire reveal/confession from history, sending both he and Iris back to square one (he also erased a damn gripping villain monologue/character death scene, but that’s beside the point). All that promise was erased, and Barry and Iris went back to their silly, pointless dance.

Hey, The Flash, that old “I can’t tell my girlfriend I’m a superhero because it would put her in danger” excuse every superhero show/movie’s been using since the dawn of time? It’s dead. No one’s buying it anymore. Especially since every superhero who ever says that (yours included) usually has a large support network of (mostly male) allies in on his secret. It’s a transparent boys’ club mentality, and all it does is isolate the hero emotionally from his love interest. It reinforces the idea of the wife/girlfriend as an “other” who must be kept at a distance emotionally, who must be lied to and coddled.

Worse than that, it’s an obviously flawed argument. After all, if Barry is keeping Iris in the dark because he’s trying to protect her, what does that say about Joe, Dr. Wells, Caitlin, and Cisco? Does he not care what happens to them? And wouldn’t knowing that Barry is the Flash make her more safe, not less?

As the show has repeatedly demonstrated, Iris is already a target. She’s a cop’s daughter, and the city’s most public “Flash expert”. Wouldn’t knowing she has the Flash on speed dial make her safer than having to use her blog to call him for help? And as of “Rogue Time”, the Flash’s most persistent enemy, Captain Cold, knows Barry’s secret anyway. The cat’s out of the bag. Yet Barry still refuses to unmask for Iris.

Even worse than being nonsensical, the way it’s framed, Barry’s continued deceit of Iris comes across as incredibly selfish. After discovering that his changes to the timeline have made it so that Iris won’t come to him that day and confess her feelings like the first time, Barry seems heartbroken, but never even considers going to her to tell his secret anyway. It really comes across as Barry seeing no point in confiding in Iris if it won’t help him get into her pants.

But that really gets at the heart of where this unspoken “don’t tell the girlfriend” rule of superheroes comes from, doesn’t it? It’s all about infantilizing and ostracizing the female presence in the boys’ domain. As of the latest episode, Barry has let yet another confidant (predictably male) into his support network: Iris’s boyfriend Eddie, who he barely even likes.

The Flash's sexist "don’t tell the girlfriend" rule

So at this point, every man in Iris’s life is lying to her. Her boyfriend, her best friend, and her father. This is beyond mere protectiveness: this is patronizing mistrust. It’s impossible to ignore the creepy “women can’t be trusted” vibe going on. There’s no reason left for Iris not to know, unless they just plain don’t think she can handle the information. As a woman, she must be coddled and protected from all this nasty man business. No need to worry her pretty little head.

If you’re going to continue, The Flash, you need to start treating your female characters better, starting with Iris. It’s not just her you’re doing a disservice to. You’re making your show and your entire cast look bad. I like you, and I want to love you, but as long as this shit keeps going on, my love for you will always need an asterisk.

Sincerely,
Josh

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  • BlackieDuQuesne

    Wholeheartedly, 100% seconded. As much as I enjoy The Flash, their insistence on keeping Iris in the dark is infuriating.

  • Writrzblok

    I originally didn’t mind it as much, because it’s something superheroes do and on some level I can understand it. Plus only a handful of people knew. BUT, just because “it’s the way it’s always been done” isn’t an excuse anymore. But then Barry started telling it to freakin’ EVERYBODY. The Arrow crew knows, Joe knows, Cicso, Caitlin, Wells, even freakin’ EDDIE knows. The only other recurring character that doesn’t know is The Police Captain. So yeah, obviously it’s gotten way out of hand. I think about the only thing that will redeem this entire thing is Iris completely (and rightfully) unloading on them all for keeping this from her. But how they film it and how they frame it will definitely be the key to whether this works or not.

    • Zed

      You seem to be assuming that iris has some intrinsic right to know. WHY does she have a right to know? It’s not her secret, she’s not dating Barry, they aren’t in an intimate relationship of some kind, they don’t even live in the same house, so how is it exactly that Iris has an intrinsic right to know that Barry is the Flash?

      • Because she’s INVOLVED. She’s a part of it already. She’s publicly connected with the Flash, which, like it or not, puts them both at risk. She’s already aided him and come under fire repeatedly because of him. She’s the only person whose worked closely with the Flash but DOESN’T know his secret yet. Plus, she’s Barry’s best friend. Once again, even FUCKING EDDIE knows now.

        • Zed

          “Because she’s INVOLVED.”

          But she’s not. She’s chosen to write about the Flash, that’s her choice, if someone else decides to write about the Flash does Barry have to reveal his identity to them too & give out his phone number to them?

          “She’s publicly connected with the Flash, which, like it or not, puts them both at risk.”

          No that’s HER risk & it’s no more a risk then any other reporters risk when they choose to write about a risky subject. She’s taking the same risk as any other reporter is.

          “She’s the only person whose worked closely with the Flash”

          But she doesn’t work closely with the Flash.

          She’s the only person whose worked closely with the Flash but DOESN’T know his secret yet.”

          You mean except for everyone else that doesn’t know, including everyone else that has a personal relationship with Barry, that doesn’t warrant a mention in the TV show.

          “Plus, she’s Barry’s best friend.”

          No, she WAS Barrys best friend, until he made new friends & she went off into her own relationship, which all happened BEFORE he became the Flash.

          “Once again, even FUCKING EDDIE knows now.”

          Yes, he knows NOW, not before, NOW. He only knows because they needed him to know, because that was Barrys choice, as it should be, since its Barrys secret to share.

          She has no intrinsic right to know Barrys secret, that’s why it’s called Barrys secret, not Iris’s Secret, it being Barrys secret.

          • Writrzblok

            Yes, it is Barry’s secret and it is his secret to tell. That being said, why wouldn’t he want his best friend (and woman he obviously loves) to know?

            Say Iris finds out from something other than Barry sitting down and telling her. And even then, she would be upset that he didn’t trust her enough to keep that secret for him, eventually she might forgive him, but I think that it would be infuriating for someone who she considers a best friend and someone like unto a brother to keep something like this from her, lying to her face about it and basically making her feel and look like an idiot.

            So yes, It is Barry’s secret to tell, but Iris, given how close she is to Barry, kind of DOES have a right to know.

          • Zed

            “That being said, why wouldn’t he want his best friend (and woman he obviously loves) to know?”

            His best friend already knows, since his breast friend is Cisco, not Iris.

            “Say Iris finds out from something other than Barry sitting down and telling her. And even then, she would be upset that he didn’t trust her enough to keep that secret for him”

            It doesn’t matter how Iris feels about it, it’s not her secret: Her feelings don’t trump his right to privacy.

            “So yes, It is Barry’s secret to tell, but Iris, given how close she is to Barry, kind of DOES have a right to know.”

            No she really doesn’t: She literally has no such right, as no such right exists. An they haven’t been close since hooked up with her new BF.

          • Writrzblok

            I think the distance started when he got his powers and hid them from her to begin with. Now, initially, I can see why he would want to keep it a secret. Because he’s afraid the woman he loves and one of the people he is closest to (I’m talking BEFORE meeting and getting to know the STAR Labs team as well as he does now) would either freak out, not understand or think he’s crazy or look at him differently. It’s not exactly giving her much more credit than she’s getting now, but in the beginning, I can understand wanting to keep it under wraps until you get your head screwed on right. But now, almost a year afterwards and upwards to a dozen people who know that Barry is the Flash and the only person close to him who doesn’t know is the woman he is in love with? Go on. Tell me how that’s right. Please,

            You say she has no right to know. Then why does Barry not tell her? Why keep this secret from her? Why keep lying? It’s not to keep her out of danger, she’s a cop’s daughter and publicly linked to The Flash, so it can’t be that. The only reason I can think of is that he’s afraid she’ll hate him for keeping this secret. And, when he does tell her or she does find out and ends up hating him for a while for lying to her about it, then she has every goddamn right to feel that way. Barry keeping his powers a secret from Iris, robs her of being informed and making informed contributions. He is shutting Iris out and it isn’t fair to her.

            Also, “It doesn’t matter how Iris feels about it?” I can’t disagree with this statement enough. It might not matter to YOU how Iris feels about it. But if Barry cares and loves Iris (even as an adopted sister and person he’s known his entire life) he values her opinion. He considers her feelings on whether or not to disclose a secret with this much weight behind it.

          • Zed

            “I think the distance started when he got his powers and hid them from her to begin with.”

            Nope, the distance came from her relationship with Eddie which developed when Barry was still in his coma.

            “But now, almost a year afterwards and upwards to a dozen people who know that Barry is the Flash and the only person close to him who doesn’t know is the woman he is in love with? Go on. Tell me how that’s right. Please,”

            There is not right or wrong: Who Barry chooses to share his secret with is up to him, it’s his secret. Iris is owed no information whatsoever, especially given the widening distance between the two of them.

            “Then why does Barry not tell her?”

            No the question is why should he. If he’s chosen not to for whatever reason that’s his right to do so.

            “Barry keeping his powers a secret from Iris, robs her of being informed and making informed contributions.”

            LOL, attempting to use emotionally loaded language is amusing. She is not robbed, she has no expectancy of being informed of Barrys secret, its BARRYS SECRET.

            The reason he doesn’t share it is entirely immaterial, it may be the stupidest reason in the world, but it is still his right to privacy.

            “He is shutting Iris out and it isn’t fair to her.”

            Fair has nothing to do with it. IS it fair that Iris is dating someone who is not Barry? Not to Barry that’s not fair, but fairness has never been a qualifier for interpersonal action. Just as it is Irises right not to date Barry it being Irises life, it is Barrys right to not tell Iris he’s the Flash, since that’s Barry’s life.

            What seems fair doesn’t come into it.

            “I can’t disagree with this statement enough.”

            You can disagree to your hearts content, but the fact remains how you feel about informed choices made by other people that don’t directly affect you is immaterial to them making that choice.

          • Writrzblok

            “Nope, the distance came from her relationship with Eddie which developed when Barry was still in his coma.”

            What does one have to do with the other? 1) At least Iris had the balls to TELL Barry, and 2) While whoever Iris dates isn’t for Barry to decide, it’s just not the same thing as Barry deciding to keep her in the dark about being the Flash. Barry being Flash is part of who Barry is, whoever Iris dates or loves is not. It’s not even remotely the same.

            “LOL, attempting to use emotionally loaded language is amusing.”

            So is dismissing the fact that (whether or not Iris has a right to know) this is a secret that heavily affects her and will have an emotional impact on her life should she find out the truth.

            “She is not robbed, she has no expectancy of being informed of Barry’s secret, its BARRY’S SECRET.”

            If someone asks someone that they’re close to what’s going on out of concern because of their seeming erratic and uncharacteristic behavior, they DO expect to (at least) be told the truth and not lied to by someone they love and care about. And once again, I know it’s Barry’s secret to tell, I never disputed that it wasn’t, but Iris is not Average Jane on the street who doesn’t know Barry from Adam.

            “The reason he doesn’t share it is entirely immaterial, it may be the
            stupidest reason in the world, but it is still his right to privacy.”

            And how is him telling Iris a violation of his right to privacy? So he has a right to lie to her? I mean, yeah I know he isn’t compelled by law to be truthful to anyone about his superheroism, but Iris isn’t just “anyone.”

            We’re apparently approaching this from two very different viewpoints and aren’t going to agree. I’ve said all I’m going to about this. I’m out.

          • KLLRFRST

            I look at Barry revealing his secret ID sort of like “coming out”. It’s his right to tell who he wants to tell, and no one else has the right to that info unless he wants to make them privy to it.

            As a gay man myself, if I didn’t want to disclose my homosexual ID to someone, it wasn’t “lying” – it was just not telling someone something I felt they didn’t have a right to know.

            Pretty much the way you described Barry hiding his ID from Iris was more or less the way other gays like me behaved when in the closet. So I can totally understand Barry’s reasoning through that filter.

          • MichaelANovelli

            But, when two people love each other, they kind of *are* each other’s best friend. You did know that, right? Because otherwise this makes me sad. :(

          • Zed

            Except she doesn’t love him, hence why she’s dating someone else entirely.

        • Corvax

          You know, I realized something when you called her Barry’s best friend: I think my new ideal ending is that he gets as far away from her as possible. They have no business being together, and they have no business being friends, let alone best friends; Barry’s fixation is getting extremely unhealthy, and the only solution would be if he started keeping his distance. And yeah, I know there’s absolutely no way that’s going happen in a narrative that has a lot of stake in them getting together, but that’s seriously the only real way it can end “well” without being deeply uncomfortable.

        • Wizkamridr

          Or they could just kill her off like Gwen Stacey.

        • Wizkamridr

          I really wish people would use the f bomb in the proper context.

  • You now, up until today I only thought it was hilariously cruel that Iris was the only main character to not know Barry’s secret. Like the universe was built around lying to the poor woman. Now? I still think that, but I also see how the whole thing is really retrograde.

  • Wizkamridr

    I’m not a fan of Iris or Eddie. Barry needs to move on. I do like the father/son relationship barry has with his stepdad though.

  • I was hoping the marriage of Lois Lane and Clark Kent 20 years ago would be the final nail in this lazy, disturbing trope.

    • Mary229

      Everyone did. Clark actually told Lois who he was in he modern era in like 1990—so it’s been legit 25 years at this point. Even before that, she knew at the end of both the Silver and Golden age. It was a huge step forward and something they never should have undone. But look at what they did in 2011 with the new 52. They re-set the universe and shoved Lois back in the dark. After decades of knowing the truth—of often being the only person able to discern the truth over and over again—they took it away again. Now, Superman has tons of, you guessed it, male allies. He told Jimmy his secret. But Lois–the literal co-star of the mythos for 75 years–is shoved aside, marginalized and kept in the dark again. It’s sexist crap.

      God these women deserve so much better.

      • Zed

        “God these women deserve so much better.”

        Which women would these women be exactly? You mean those fictional characters who aren’t real? The ones that if we didn’t have the long drawn out plot development would lose much of its B plot in a second, as you immediately lose the love interest complications angle?

        You do get that in narrative fiction, you are required to have problems to overcome by the character, otherwise it just becomes the adventures of Flash Sue, the worlds fastest Mary Sue.

        As a story element it is a perfectly fine story element, just as it is when a female character does it to a male love interest, so please don’t try to make this a gendered issue, because it’s not.

        • Wow. That is legitimately one of the dumbest arguments I’ve ever heard on this site. Congrats.

          • Zed

            An yet still to smart for you to rebut: That must be so frustrating for you.

          • Zack_Dolan

            yeah, you’ll notice he does that. he puffs out his chest and blusters about shit he barely has a tangential understanding of, then takes his ball and goes home like a child when you point out the obvious flaws in his logic. except now he’s stepped it up to running and telling his internet dad that the kids at school are being mean to him so they can come fight his battles for him, bcs he can’t form a coherent thought that doesn’t involve complaining about an industry he so obviously pathetically, jealously wishes he was a part of but can’t be.

          • Wizkamridr

            Dumbest argument? I must be too stupid to understand what you mean.

            “God these women deserve so much better”
            Clark deserved so much better in Smallville. He was constantly berated by Lana.

          • tcorp

            Nah, bro. Check out this argument . . .

            “People simply don’t get very far in the [movie] industry if they genuinely lack any useful talent.”

        • In general women deserve better representation in fiction (both in quality and quantity). The idea that the main character is a man who must hide his amazing-ness from the female lead is strange, it was strange when it became a trope back in the 30’s and 40’s, it is strange that it persists. “These women (be they the characters, the actresses, the writers, or the audience members) deserve better.” seems to be what Mary229 was going for.

          Not every instance is gendered. There are many instances in which gender is not a factor, but on the macro scale there are issues of women being portrayed positively or actively in pop fiction.

          • Zed

            “In general women deserve better representation in fiction (both in quality and quantity).”

            No they don’t: They are perfectly represented in media now.

            “The idea that the main character is a man who must hide his amazing-ness from the female lead is strange”

            No it really isn’t, firstly because Iris is the love interest not the female lead & secondly because its just as strange when its a the idea that the main character is a woman who must hide his amazing-ness from the male supporting cast is strange: which is to say not strange at all.

            “it is strange that it persists”

            It’s not strange that it persists, its a well written, interesting, compelling plot element that people of all ages & genders love.

            “Not every instance is gendered. There are many instances in which gender is not a factor, but on the macro scale there are issues of women being portrayed positively or actively in pop fiction.”

            No there aren’t. I’m sorry but that’s purest bullshit: YOU might have an issue with it, but that’s your personal bugbear. Media has no problem with it, because the issue doesn’t exist, it’s simply your own projection of your issue on to the material.

          • tcorp

            “No they don’t: They are perfectly represented in media now.”

            Okay, now it’s gotten dumb.

          • Zed

            That’s not a rebuttal mate. Now if you have a rebuttal to make then we can discus the topic, but if you are going to make hit & run comments from a guest account, making no salient refutation, you might as well not comment at all; since you are essentially not saying anything.

  • tcorp

    Dear god, please stop posturing in every article you write.

    • What does that even mean?

      • tcorp

        posture — verb, to behave in a way that is intended to impress others.

        e.g., “But that really gets at the heart of where this unspoken “don’t tell the girlfriend” rule of superheroes comes from, doesn’t it? It’s all about infantilizing and ostracizing the female presence in the boys’ domain.”

        Uh, what? Or it’s just lazy writing.

        • I know what the word “Posture” means, I just don’t know what you mean by it in this context.

          If you do not like his writing or agree with his opinion why are you reading his articles?

          • Wizkamridr

            I read them for a good laugh.

          • tcorp

            1. Hope that they’ll get better.

            2. Masochism.
            3. Hate-reading.

            4. Occasionally trying to understand how others think.

          • Zack_Dolan

            I am so with you on this man. I can’t stand how every single week this guy has a massive overblown article about how comics are evil bcs they aren’t like they were when he was a kid or how EVERYTHING is sexist or racist in some way or how things he hasn’t even actually seen yet will suck more than anything in the history of ever. It’s obvious attention grabbing click bait and I’m really over his “I am going to say I don’t hate something, then go on for 10,000 words about why it is an abomination that shits on everything i love and believe in, then end the article asserting that i don’t hate everything.” This is the same guy who wrote a friggin Homer length epic thesis about how both batman vs superman and wonder woman’s appearance in it will be irredeemably terrible based on ONE picture that was released about it, and proceeded to later admit that the picture had nothing to do with anything and it was just there for the clicks after I politely called him out on all his contradicting points and told me to “not take it so seriously.” yeah ok, thanks, good to know YOU know you just write paper thin click bait fluff articles. hahaha

          • Hmm. I see. Well, if you think our articles are “paper thin click bait”, I guess I should take some of them down, starting with “An interview with Zack Dolan”.

          • Zack_Dolan

            I never said all the articles. I said his articles in particular. I quite enjoy like 90% of this site’s output and read just about all of it. I just get annoyed everytime I see one of these over the top inflamatory articles over everything.

          • Zack_Dolan

            And that’s a super mature way to respond to criticism btw.

          • How about going on the comments section of a website that gave free publicity to your webcomic and accusing them of posting click bait? Where’s that rate on the maturity scale?

          • Wizkamridr

            I think we can agree that this website isn’t as funny as it used to be. I still read most of the articles anyway.

          • Zack_Dolan

            I’m not accusing him of writing clickbait, I’m plainly stating it. and don’t act like you don’t know that’s exactly what it is, bcs he even admitted it in the comments above. I never said a bad word about any of the other presenters or their shows or the site in general. I don’t have a beef with you man, I’m actually a big fan of your work as I am with basically everyone else on this site BUT josh, but if you want to try and take infantile swipes at me that hurt you more than they could ever hurt me, that’s your business. My little “webcomic” is actually a 5 star internationally bestselling book that is actually one of the best reviewed comics of the year and are currently in negotiations to turn into an animated series. I’m sorry, your website refusing to plug me could not conceivably matter less in the grand scheme of things. But you should ask yourself, is it worth it to take down your own content out of spite and alienate a big fan who has been here since before you even had videos on this site and only had like ten text reviews on here and has been sharing and promoting tons of your shows to everyone he knows for years bcs you were cool peeps, just to stroke the ego of a guy you know for a fact is just talking out his ass to start fights? Be mad at me. Hate me. Call me a dickhead if you like, I’m an asshole, I’ll cop to it. But don’t sit here and take the high and mighty road like it’s a complete shock to you that this guy’s articles are inflammatory firecrackers designed around clicks instead of any honest desire to make a point or spread an idea. And don’t act like doing me a favor that one time means I’m somehow forbidden from disagreeing with you without you stomping off like an 8 yr old taking their ball and going home bcs they didn’t get their way.

          • tcorp

            Dude, take it down a few notches, like 20.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Then I have a good tip for you. If you can’t stand Joshua… don’t read his articles. After all, if you think you know, that this is just clickbait… don’t click on the articles.

          • Zack_Dolan

            And I’ve got a great tip for you, Cal. Shut your noisehole and mind your own business. Thanks XD

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            How do americans put this? “Take the chill-pill, dude”. I mean – if you don’t like what Joshua is writing, stop reading his articles. That’s not exactly rocket-science. ^^
            But don’t say “I can’t stand this guy” and then come back to read what he wrote.

            And that Winston is protective of the persons working for this page should be logical, too.

            No need to get agressive, Zack.

          • Zack_Dolan

            You mean the way Josh keeps ranting he hates everything DC and Marvel produce but keeps going back to read/watch them and come here to bitch about it? Like that? Ok, just checking. And I’m aggressive bcs it seems everyone BUT the person I have a problem has the guts to stand up and fight me when they should leave it between us. I respect you for sticking up for the folks at the booth, they are good folks and I have no problem with them and am friends with several of them, but let Josh fight his own battles. I doubt very much he’d be coming to your rescue if the situation was reversed.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Zack, with that argumentation, you can almost every time tell people, who offer different opinions to “shut their noisehole”, as you put it.
            “Let them fight their own battles, I doubt they would be helping you if the situation was reversed” – yeah, might be, but – honestly – I don’t care. I’m trying to bring in different opinions, and sometimes even plain, obvious “solutions”.

            Plus – Josh answered you, basically in the same way I did: If it bothers you, don’t read it.

          • Zack_Dolan

            well, two things. yes he did answer me finally, but you’ll notice his answer to me was “yes, you’re right, I just write clickbait for money” which is exactly my point. so defending him has kinda become academic at this point, don’t you think?

          • Jonathan Campbell

            We don’t get paid for this.

            (if Joshua does though…”shakes fist”)

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            His actual wording was: ” I’ll stop writing click bait when you stop falling for it, you silly chump. Whenever I write about nice, noncontroversial stuff, nobody reads it. So hell yeah, I’m gonna write about the stuff that gets the views. You don’t like it, stop reading it.”

            Well as a person, who has heard one thing or two about marketing, I can say: “What is getting butts in the seat, is working.”
            Oh, you can disagree there – I sometimes, too think, that some stuff is too excessive. Think about how some comics are drawn, just to catch the target-demographics eye, no matter if the comic is any good or not.

            Think about how the most comic-book-movies, that are not works of the Marvel Studios are now annoyingly dark, grim, gritty, because a realistic outlook did wonders for repairing Batman (although personally, it annoyed me more, because I had nothing against the high-camp-outing that is Batman and Robin). But it is getting people to watch it.

            Think about the movies of the bay – Transformers 1,2,3 and 4 are basically more or less the same, flashy lights, explosions, sexy girls and sometimes a robot that is transforming into a car, helicopter or airplane.
            But he has is target-demographic and as much as people as the Critic, E-Rod and others condemn and poke fun of the Bay-Tactics: It is working, it is getting butts in the seat.

            Personally, I can’t stress enough how much I hate reality-TV – shows like “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here”, but as long as people want to see celebs eating cockroaches, the viewership of this show is as high as it can get, so it most certainly won’t stop.

            From a marketers perspective: Why should it?
            It is working – people ARE watching it, why should we kill the cow, while it is still giving milk.

            Same with the articles of Josh: When you (the general-you… no, not General Yu!) are stopping to fall for articles, that have headlines, that are written in a certain type, once you stop providing the butts, that are put into the seats, maybe then we can have articles, that are dealing with real issues. Maybe then we can have real discussions. On the other hand – I have to say, I think, the articles are dealing with real issues.

            You are a content-creator yourself, Zack – you’re writing comic-books, yes? You said it yourself, you created something, that is in the negotiations of being turned into an animated show. Congratulations, that’s awesome.
            Now a question: How long – would you guess – will it take, unless the novelty of it will have worn off and you start to notice that the ratings are dropping?
            What will you do, WHEN this happens, might be either happening to the show or to the comics themselves?
            How will you deal with that? Will you say “Well, that’s just a product-cycle, that happens, I have dozens of new projects at the backburner?” Will you try to catch peoples interest?
            How will you do that?
            What options do you have?

            See – Josh is using the options he has at his disposal.
            he either can say: “Okay, the noncontroversial stuff doesn’t get read, I publish it anyway.” – but once you think about, that he is basically writing for this authors-and-reviewers-collective that is the agony-booth and neither Winston nor Mendo are doing this just for the fun of it, but need to at least calculate a bit, how long do you think, it will take, until the site-admins will go to Josh and say “Dude, your ratings are dropping, DO something against it.”
            Or Josh can take the more “click-bait”-ish approach.

            Yelling at him, for noticing how the game is played, is moot.
            So – no, defending him hasn’t become academic. Basically, headlines like “The Flash’s sexist “don’t tell the girlfriend” rule “, “This isn’t my Wonder Woman”, “Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband” is not sexist “, “Why long-awaited sequels are never that good”, ” How The Killing Joke ruined Batgirl”, ” Supergirl’s costume… looks like Supergirl. Weird.”, “Should Alien 5 be the “true sequel” to Aliens?” , were encouraged by Winston O’Boogie. He himself wrote on December 2, 2014 in his “If you want to write for the Agony Booth…”-article as step 2 on the guideline: ” Come up with a title for your article that’s short and to the point. It should be attention-grabbing, but also accurately describe what the article is about”

            The titles are short, to the point and attention-grabbing (or as you might wanna call it: click-bait-ish).
            So ranting on how Josh is using those methods, how you can’t stand the guy etc. yeah, that’s fine, but then don’t read it.

            Again, you’re a comic-book-writer: if I would read your comic-book and I would then go on a rant-rampage, how I can’t stand your work, how your work is sucking and that you still continue of doing it again and again and again – would you say “Oh, well, he has a decent point”? Or would you answer in the style of fanfic-authors in Germany and all over the world “DOn’t like? Don’t read!”

          • Zack_Dolan

            well, first, it’s astoninishing to me how much more thought you put in what you say than he does. maybe you should write the articles instead.

            and to answer your question. no. No i do not resort to embarrassing attention whore tactics and haven’t had to for 4 years of publishing now. do you know why? I came with my own talent. I have the ability to make something people actually want and enjoy on it’s own merits. i proudly have never had to resort to insulting and misleading my audience to get them to look at my work. they look at it bcs it’s good and they enjoy it. In fact, very early on I made a vow to myself I would never go the marvel route and shove a deadpool equivalent in every issue or make the females all creepy and freakishly oversexualized or kill/resurrect characters for sales spikes and I stuck to it. And I’m gonna keep sticking to it bcs I have proven to myself and to our fans that you don’t NEED to be the lowest common denominator to sell. you just have to actually be good at what you do. It was really slow and difficult at first, and there were many times I was afraid I would fail. but anything worth doing is hard, and it turns out that method has gotten my book sold on 4 continents and allowed it to beat the return of friggin sandman in a head to head release. We just got a 5 star review in the examiner last week, people notorious for being nitpicky and impossible to please. What does that tell you about “how marketing works”? It tells me nothing strikes a chord with people like real effort and to pretend that it’s ok to be a fraud and make excuses for why this loser should be allowed to keep making pretentious contradictory garbage frankly sickens me. You really don’t see something ironic about a man who;s entire catalogue of articles revolves around complaining about how the pros in the industry always take the low road to boost sales and how amoral and disgusting that is and how he expects better of them….when HE himself admits to doing the same thing for the same reason? You don’t think that sort of disqualifies him to complain about something he lives by himself?

            and as a matter of fact, the very few complaints i have gotten about what I do, I directly addressed and improved. You know why? bcs i’m not a 4 yr old who cries and bangs my spoon on my high chair when I get criticized. unlike little joshy here, I get that criticism can help you get better. If I strongly believe in something people don’t like, I’m not gonna change it for one complainer, but if they bring up a valid point and show me that I am slacking or letting them down in a certain area, you bet your ass I’m gonna put in the work to fix it and not just say “well, too bad, if you don’t like it”

            So, in short, as well composed as your points are, none of them apply to me, and no I don’t accept your logic that it’s ok to suck at your job and bamboozle people into reading it. If you can’t do a good job with your own skills, don’t do it at all. Don’t pretend to be a writer when all you are is a pathetic blubbering joke trying to tell actual women how feminism works when, as a man, he is the LAST person that should making any assumptions about what is right or wrong about how women are treated or represented. What does this chubby little neckbeard who has prob. never even seen a real woman have any authority to be saying any of this stuff and telling industry professionals how it’s supposed to be done? Where does he get off lecturing real women that they aren’t feminist enough or don’t understand like he does? (*that’s not in this article, but i’ve seen him do it many many times) he wants to help the cause of feminism, write something with strong female leads like I did. Contribute. actually make it better, don’t just sit on your thumbs whining about how the world isn’t bending to you whim and then later admit you don’t believe in either side and just want the attention. And if he can’t, then I strongly suggest he shut his howling screamer and fade into obscurity like a good little nobody.

            I appreciate that you’re trying to stand up for your point and all, but I am really done with this. I don’t care that you think this pathetic little loser is worth your time, have fun with him. but every time you respond to me, I get an email notification that stops me from what i’m doing to deal with you and I’m really tired of having this conversation. I don’t have a problem with you, but i frankly couldn’t give a shit less about your opinion.

            You wanna be one of the asses in the seats keeping this waste of bandwidth up on the front page, be my guest, but don’t sit here and try to tell me that he’s doing the right thing or that it’s ok to be a complete doucher like him bcs that’s the only way he can get clicks bcs it’s simply not true. plenty of other presenters, right on this site in fact, can compose intelligent thoughtful articles and videos, that are entertaining and funny and informative, and THEY don’t have to resort to this horseshit. And lo and behold they still have loyal fanbases. can you guess why? If you guessed it was bcs they were actually talented, you get a cookie. if he can’t get views bcs he’s a good writer, don’t be a fucking writer and go pump gas or something. There are plenty of REAL writers that would be happy to take the slot he’s wasting. end of story.

            Now I would thank you to kindly give it a rest and accept that I have no beef with you, but you are not changing my mind. And as I said like 20 comments ago, I won’t be reading it any more so you can stop repeating “if you don’t like it, don’t read it”. I only have been doing so up to this point, bcs apparently I’m an idiot and I like the agony booth and just like to support them whether I agree with them or not. but this whole experience has shown me I was wasting my time, so I won’t be from now on. I’m only even here now bcs you keep sending me replies that ping my inbox. Now I have actual work to do, so I’m gonna get back to being a positive influence in the comic the world instead of sitting around here trapped in the complainer circle jerk. good day, sir.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Zack, it is awesome, that you got into that position of being that awesome by your own talent – congratulations.

            It is a thing to work hard and do stuff and go through the motions and write, create, be a world-builder – and normally, when I would buy the comic within the drop of a hat, if I heard, that it would be published in Germany, because I think, that one should support people.

            Then you dropped the ball, dude – and you dropped it hard.
            Not to annoy you, but your whole post after “maybe you should write for this site” – to me – reads like “Yeah, I’m awesome, I don’t need to make any excuses about it, and Josh can go to hell.”

          • Zack_Dolan

            Man, I really shouldn’t even be replying to this and god knows why it took you two weeks to bother to msg me if you cared that much, but now you fucking pissed me off, so i’ll make it real simple for you. what i said doesn’t “read like that” , it IS saying that. I DID earn everything i got, I DON’T have to make any excuses about it, and Josh CAN go to hell. that is exactly what I’m saying and I don’t give two flying fucks whether you agree with it or not. go the fuck away already. do you honestly think I could care less whether some sycophantic nerd who can’t get his tongue out of the ass of some hateful needy attention whore with a blog on the internet thinks I “dropped the ball” or not? Yes, you ARE fucking annoying me so go bother someone else. I abandoned this site when I said I would and haven’t been back since and i don’t appreciate you sending me these piss-ant little msgs and dragging me back just so you could get the last word weeks after the argument stopped being relevant, if it ever was. I mean, seriously, what kind of fucking pathetic loser would try to start this argument again after all this time for no damn reason? unless of course you forgot it sends these directly to my email and thought you were getting in some “hilarious jab” while i wasn’t around to look at it? in which case, good job, fuckface.

            I tried to be nice about this. I tried to explain to you that I had no problem with you and just wanted to drop it and put all this nonsense behind me, but you just couldn’t get it through your fucking skull could you? well, now I DO have a problem with you. shut your fucking mouth and stop writing me. stop replying to my comments and go find something to do, you whiny fucking shitwipe. Neither I nor anyone else gives a wet shit about what you think, what you like or don’t like or anything else that comes out of your mewling fucking gob. I neither want to argue with you or try to change your tiny mind, nor am i pathetic click vampire like your hero josh, so I don’t need you to agree with or support me either. you are the very definition of “meaningless” to me. get a fucking life and get fucking lost.

            and if that offends you, i don’t give a shit either. do not fucking reply to this comment to tell me how your little feelings are hurt and how wrong you think i am bcs I really don’t want to waste another second re-explaining that i don’t give a fuck what you think or want and telling you shut up again. if you feel you just HAVE to reply bcs you have some biological need to be a fucking annoying prick, assume my answer was “fuck you, I don’t care, shut the fuck up” for the remainder of all your comments so I don’t have to write it myself.

            I seriously cannot make it any plainer for you. do not fucking bother me again.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            “Man, I really shouldn’t even be replying to this” – then why are you?
            Bored? Do something productive, then, Mr. Author.

            But isn’t that cute, that I got my very own one-man-shitstorm.

          • Greenhornet

            Who says “dark, grim and gritty” is “realistic”? They use to do that with “film noir” and that is some of the craziest, campiest, laughable stuff ever made. Some people (Some of whom WROTE the genre including Raymond Chandler) have said that the film noir style almost killed the detective movie and novel.

          • I’ll stop writing click bait when you stop falling for it, you silly chump. Whenever I write about nice, noncontroversial stuff, nobody reads it. So hell yeah, I’m gonna write about the stuff that gets the views. You don’t like it, stop reading it.

          • Zack_Dolan

            so that’s basically an admission that you’re a pathetic attention seeking nobody who can’t draw viewers based on his own merits and has to resort to these embarrassing inflammatory tween rage blogs to feel like you matter? Yeah I kind of thought so. And trust me, you won’t catch me around here anymore. All the talented people around here have their own sites and channels anyway so you feel free to clog the wall with your impotent cheetoh stained nerd rage, princess.

          • justin garner

            Well atleast you know what you are ill give you that.

        • Zed

          “Uh, what? Or it’s just lazy writing.”

          It’s neither: Its simply good writing structure: She as the love interest is a long term story telling goal for the writers, just as all love interests in ongoing stories are long term story telling goals.

          If you tell her that he’s the flash you lose the entire underpinning of the narrative conflict. That would be like removing the warring families aspect of Romeo & Juliet, once that’s gone so is the stories impetus.

          An that’s not in any way a gendered thing: Diana Prince kept her identity as Wonder Woman a secret from two Male Mary Sues, ahem, I mean love interests in the Wonder Woman tv series, as did Huntress in Birds of Prey (though in that it was the other way round, she kept her civilian ID a secret & the secret didn’t last because the series was shorter).

          Witchblade I believe did the same thing too in her own tv series, but I’d have to go watch it again to be sure about the details.

          This is why writers are always saying that there are no new ideas in fiction. Because there aren’t, you are simply putting the already existing elements into different orders: An the combination in the Flash mostly works.

          • tcorp

            Eh, I don’t really care what the masked identity trope is or represents, just that the trope isn’t a strong example of misogyny.

          • Zed

            “just that the trope isn’t a strong example of misogyny.”

            Well since misogyny is the hatred of women on the basis that they are women, the answer would be no, this is not a sign of misogyny at all. It is just a common genre convention of comic & spy fiction, regardless of gender.

          • Hex

            The underlying problem with female representation can be summed up in your own comment.

            You know how you said “Diana Prince kept her identity as Wonder Woman a secret from two Male Mary Sues, ahem, I mean love interests…”

            There is a certain level of contempt conveyed in that phrasing. What you are literally saying is that Diana’s male suitors were less believable characters because they are idealized into perfection. This is an understandable complaint. While the plot may call for a Diana to keep her identity from potential romantic partners, you still want a romantic partner that exists outside of his interest in Diana. You don’t want the writers to create a tall, dark, handsome Mary Sue that has as much personality as boiled vegetables. No, you want a guy with strengths and weakness, motivated by their personal history, insecurities and confidences. I want that too. I don’t want Iris (or any other female character) to just be a plot device, or a Mary Sue. I want her to be a person.

          • Zed

            “The underlying problem with female representation can be summed up in your own comment.”

            no it really isn’t. Firstly because I’m talking about male characters, but also because it has literally nothing to do with female representation, it has to do with poorly written mary sue presentation, which transcends character gender.

            “There is a certain level of contempt conveyed in that phrasing. What you are literally saying is that Diana’s male suitors were less believable characters because they are idealized into perfection.”

            No I’m saying they were poorly written & I have contempt for characters without personalities who are literally so bland as to be interchangeable. If you want to call that perfection you can, but I’m going to disagree with you entirely.

            “I want that too. I don’t want Iris (or any other female character) to just be a plot device, or a Mary Sue. I want her to be a person.”

            She already is, so I’m not sure what you are complaining about.

          • Hex

            I used the word perfection because your use of the phrase “Mary Sue” which is commonly defined as a overly idealized character. As it happens, I tend to careless for those types of characters. I like my women like I like my men, with agency.

            Which brings me to the point I was trying to make. We both want the same thing. Interesting, well-written, complex characters. We just happen to disagree regarding this iteration of Iris.

          • Zed

            “I used the word perfection because your use of the phrase “Mary Sue” which is commonly defined as a overly idealized character”

            Without flaw’s, or compelling character traits.

            “Which brings me to the point I was trying to make. We both want the same thing. Interesting, well-written, complex characters. We just happen to disagree regarding this iteration of Iris.”

            Iris isn’t a Mary Sue, she is not idealized, she has countless character flaws, including the fact that she’s incredibly shallow & kind of manipulative. Also she’s terrible at her job as a journalist. She’s so bad at the job even Lois Lane would punch her in the face.

            None of which has anything to do with representation of women.

    • MichaelANovelli

      It’s no posture; I’ve actually met Josh and he really is this cartoonish. LOL

    • Cameron Vale

      Joshua Bell wrote this, not God.

      • “Surely you can’t be serious.”

      • tcorp

        To be fair, the Bible has a lot of posturing, too.

      • How do you know I’m NOT God?

  • Corvax

    In addition to all you’ve said, the love subplot is also this show’s biggest deadweight, and the situation it provides brings out the worst in just about everybody. Initially, I liked the idea that Barry is abusing his powers and superhero status in order to help Iris and her journalistic career; it’s a good way of humanizing him and possibly setting up conflict later. But he’s blowing every shot at seeing either Linda or Caitlin- other, more interesting women who he actually seems to connect with romantically or has more interests in common with, respectively- in order to creepily fixate on his surrogate sister. And not only does her dad approve of this behavior, but he’s rooting for Barry because his partner dating her is somehow more awkward than her being with a kid who probably shared a room with her when they were children. And now Eddie knows, and is completely going along with all this implies about Barry, not to mention obstructing justice by fortifying the web of lies regarding Iris’s boss’s disappearance. I get that her and Barry just HAVE to be together because her name is the same as his girlfriend-turned-wife in the comics, but you’d think that alone would be a great reason to flesh her out and pay actual attention to the love story she brings to the series.

  • Wizkamridr

    And this is why I find Japanese hero shows more entertaining. There rarely is any of this drama. The hero is either a: totally oblivious
    b: the relationship is plutonic
    There was a love triangle in kamen rider kiva and super sentai jetman, but was not annoying like in the flash.
    Even in one of Japan’s biggest game franchises (Ryu ga gotoku), the hero has no time for romance. I guess it’s a cultural thing.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Wizkamridr, “rarely” is right, because they have the show “meitantei conan” – I know it as “Detektiv Conan” , americans know it as “Case Closed” (the anime-series). Two words: “Conan” and “Edogawa”. Shinichi can’t tell his girlfriend Ran, that he is Shinichi, but has to keep the masquerade of being little Conan Edogawa – probably because the black organization would be killing Ran, Kogoro, Prof. Agasa, the kids, Ai Haibara if word would be known, that he Conan would be Shinichi – so they take the “you can’t tell Iris” card and double down on that with putting the rest of the gang into the crossfire, too.

      • Wizkamridr

        I was referring to super sentai and kamen rider. Super hero
        kid shows. Even in popular shows like DBZ and one piece(anime heroes) , the main characters are too stupid to understand love. I mentioned jetman and kiva which had romance in it. Those type of shows still focus more on the action. Garo has romance in it, but the main character hides it. You know he loves the woman he is protecting, but it isn’t banging over the head like smallville did or this show.

        I see your point, but imo, Detective Conan does not fall
        under the same category as the Flash. Sailor moon has romance, but that show(imo)
        is mainly aimed at girls. Most guys watching the flash don’t care about the
        romance. They throw that in to get more people to watch the show.

        I respect your opinion, but it doesn’t mean I have to agree.

  • The Flash(played by John Wesley Shipp) series from 1990 handled the girlfriend issue way better than the modern version.

  • Wizkamridr

    Random questions for joshua in regards to sexist/ sexism:

    What are your thoughts in regards to female cosplayers who feel the need to walk around half naked?

    Are you offended by sexism in video games? I am currently playing a very sexist game that would piss off feminists to no end.

    Sega’s Ryu ga Gotoku.

    • A) On a case by case basis? No problem whatsoever. They can dress however they like. As a cultural movement, it is a bit of a problem that there are far more sexy female cosplayers than male ones simply by virtue of the far larger variety of sexualized female characters out there to pick from. But that’s more a problem with the media cosplayers consume that cosplay itself. After all, a fandom cannot help but reflect that of which it is a fan. But otherwise, I have a hard time complaining about attractive women walking around dressed as Power Girl. That seems like pure win for everyone involved right there.

      B) I’m honestly not a gamer, so I’m the wrong person to ask.

  • Wizkamridr

    I can’t wait for josh to review the Netflix Daredevil. I’m at the edge of my seat!

  • Greenhornet

    Golden Age Flash’s girlfriend knew his secret”identity from the first story.

  • FeministsRRetarded

    You femi-nazi’s are RIDICULOUS and just like to complain about EVERYTHING

    Google: (show) sexist — apparently every show in existance is sexist

    The entire Flash show circulates around the narcissist Iris while every man has to please and protect her like a queen.

    F her

  • Cris0000

    Been watching The Flash. I’m at ep 19 and enjoy everything except anything dealing with Iris. Came here from a search too see if anyone else thought true way the show handles Iris is as frustrating and horrible as I do.

    I agree with everything you wrote.

    There was a brief moment where Iris wanting to write about other things that I hoped would lead to her character being at all watchable. But like you said, they quickly squashed that.

    Even more infantalizing than her somehow being the only one who didn’t notice Barry’s feelings for her is that she’s also the only one who didn’t notice her feelings for him.

    Their whole dynamic seems to be entirely designed to relate to and appeal to men who’ve been “friend zoned”. It’s pretty common than shy, nerdy guys will pine for a female friend, and this is their ideal outcome – the woman just never noticed his feelings and even after she rejected him, it was only because she didn’t realize she was in love with him.

    Very few if any women can relate to that. We almost always know when a guy has a crush on us and don’t do anything to reciprocate because we don’t feel the same way. Then we end up getting frustrated and made to feel bad when the guy continues to hold out hope and we have to keep rejecting him (and shows like this give guys who are desperate to find one a reason to hold on). Eventually we lose our friend because if he can’t sleep with us, he doesn’t want anything to do with us at all.

    Where’s our female fantasy of the guy accepting we don’t feel the same, moving on, and continuing to be friends? AND staying friends even after he gets a serious girlfriend?

    • PhysUnknown

      “Where’s our female fantasy of the guy accepting we don’t feel the same, moving on, and continuing to be friends? AND staying friends even after he gets a serious girlfriend?”

      Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer might be one. It’s been a while, but Xander pines for Buffy, gets rejected, stays friends, dates Anya, but is still fiercely loyal to Buffy, but not in a “if I stay loyal, she may someday love me” sort of way.