Considering how many women have fallen in love with New Scamander, I think it’s safe to say that not every man has to look and act like Thor to be adored. In this video, The Pop Culture Detective discusses the refreshing example that Newt gives to young men and women and why it’s so important.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Thor’s arch about him learning to define himself based on his actions as a person, versus what he thought he had to be as a warrior and a king, is still very good. But in the end, Marvel followed the typical trope of his mother (or parental figure, in this case both his mother and father) dying as motivation; he was always too busy saving the galaxy to see Jane, let alone contact her in anyway (Superior alien etch, hello?), and true to his trope he was loud, competitive, cocky, and bottled up everything that had happened to him until he suffered from a serious depression that left him an overweight alcoholic in End Game.
I loved his character and humor, but would I want to date a man who was never going to tell me how he feels, what he’s going through, and is never around? No. It should not have been surprising that Jane dumped him.
And it wouldn’t surprise me if the truth of Thor is frighteningly true for a lot of men. As a role model, he places a lot of pressure on men in our society. Not only is his body “perfect,” but he is the man’s man; a fighter, athletic, confident (until he’s crushed), and a man alone. He has no family and is absent in his own relationship because he’s expected to be a hero.
When we look at Newt Scamander, we see instead, a man who is quiet, gentle, and observant. Newt is a nurturing character, caring for magical beasts, and an activist for their preservation. And as the Fantastic Beasts series continues, we see his is a traveler, loyal friend, and genuinely cares for people as well, and though he expresses doubts and fears, he still does what he believes is right.
Most importantly, he is himself, regardless of what other people think or believe.
But don’t take my word for it (cue the music for Reading Rainbow), check out the video and see the beauty that is the Fantastic Masculinity of New Scamander.
I would like to add that Thor may not be the best role model for men at times, but I still appreciate his character, his differences from Newt, and his growth. I think what the MCU does well is demonstrate how we have been and what we could be. Thor breaks out of his trope and shows us that we can too.