Stop it. Stop it right now because I will not spend the 2-year lead-up to the Ant-Man movie listening to you people repeatedly make this harmful and uneducated reference to one event that you are horribly misinterpreting.
Hank Pym is all sorts of complicated. He comes across as arrogant with a God-complex and he obviously exhibits signs that he has deep-seeded personality disorders and mental illnesses he isn’t dealing with properly. Jan develops a crush on him and despite his tendency to ignore her and despite his abrasive personality she still admires his commitment to what he believes to be the greater good. They later get married.
Hanks Pym’s time in the Avengers was extremely complicated. He’d used his own brain waves to create the AI for a robot that then went and tried to destroy humanity, making him afraid of his own subconscious mind. He created larger personas (like “Giant Man”) because Thor and Iron Man made him feel inadequate. He had social anxiety and self-confidence issues but Jan didn’t, and while he was dealing with long stretches of self-imposed isolation and inactivity, Jan was becoming a famous super hero with the Avengers and a famous fashion designer. She was far better at being a hero and far better at being a regular citizen than Hank was at the time. If you want to have a problem with Hank, you should have a problem with how poorly he handled his jealousy.
When he did finally go out and fight with the Avengers he was trying desperately to be the big hero. He ended up shooting an adversary in the back while Captain America was trying to talk him down, so the Avengers suspend Hank pending trial.
So you’re Hank Pym and you have social anxiety issues, a super high IQ, low self-esteem, massive depression and for 14 years you’ve been wondering if you’re secretly a world-conquering, mass-murdering, ticking time bomb. Your wife helps you deal with all this by leaving you alone to go do her own thing and living a way better life than you. You don’t leave the house because you’re worried you’ll just fuck up and no one will like you. Then when you finally leave the house… well.. you fuck up and no one likes you.
Hank wanted to fit in so badly that he tried to build and program a robot to attack during his trial so he could swoop in and save the day and thus be redeemed. All he ever wanted to was to feel needed and feel like a hero, but too many of his personal demons got in the way of that. Jan found out what he was doing and tried to stop him. He lashed out and hit her away from him.
Would we still be talking about this if Tony Stark tried to stop Hank instead? No. What we need to realize is that in that infamous scene Hank is, during a mental breakdown, lashing out and hitting someone and that person happens to be his wife. When he hit her he wasn’t thinking “This bitch needs to learn her place” he was thinking “I can’t let anyone stop me from doing this.”
There is a harmful belief that still hinders relationship violence prevention and counseling and it is the belief that physical violence is the one, true form of abuse. Posters all over the country depict crying women with black eyes and they completely overlook the giant part of the iceberg under the surface in favor of the more dramatic and less complicated tip that most people see. It’s easy to just say “hitting is bad” and act like that one rule is our answer to combating relationship violence.
Spoiler Alert: It isnt.
I have a degree in Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention. I work with victims and survivors and their loved ones. Relationship violence is defined as “a pattern of abusive behaviors by one partner against another in an intimate relationships such as marriage, dating, family, or cohabitation.” Relationship violence is a systematic breakdown of the other person through threats, violence, insults and control. It is terrifying and demoralizing.
Hank Pym hitting someone away from him while in an unstable emotional state does not classify him as a “wife beater” just because the person who tried to stop him happened to be his wife. My abusive ex used to break our video games if I beat his high score to teach me a lesson about who was supposed to be on top in our relationship. That behavior was directed at me personally for the purpose of degrading me as a partner. You couldn’t replace me with someone else in that situation. You couldn’t plug Tony Stark in and have my ex’s motives be the same.
That is why you have to stop reblogging all this crap about how the Ant-Man movie is gonna be a 2-hour film about “some guy who beats his wife.”