Fantastic Female Friday: Lorelei

(Marvel comics, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD)

From the Agents of SHIELD episode “Yes Men” it was easy to gather that Lorelei had feminine wiles that would cause “men” to go to endless war. She’s used to commanding armies, she’s used to demanding the finer things. But to her… they aren’t men, not really anyway, they are soldiers… they are ants. 

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Lorelei made her first appearance in Thor #337  in 1983. The story that she falls into is one of unrequited love, she’s always getting at Sif for liking Thor (since the 80s!), Loki likes her and Lorelei can have any man she wants… well almost, she can’t seem to get Thor. There’s lots of convoluted trickery including spells, potions, dragons and fake names. Amora, her older sister, tricks Lorelei and Loki into falling for each other. In Loki:Agent of Asgard #2.. this is still somewhat the case. Although, it’s more likely that he feels a fondness for her because of their similar status in their families. Lorelei gets in over her head enough, from wreaking small havoc on the love lives of her cohorts to teaming up with Pluto and spawning Valkyries.  

She’s a little much. 

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But look at the way people are all captivated by Hiddleston, there’s no reason to hate on a female version of Loki.

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But Lorelei’s not a knock off.. she’s her own personality evolved out of a similar experience. She might be a “tramp” and a “hussie” but let’s face it: So? She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it. And that’s hardly the only weapon in her arsenal. She has sorceress powers, can turn men to stone and she’s skilled in combat.

So when she is set free in Thor: the Dark World and debuts on the small screen taking over a biker gang’s empire in the middle of the desert -did anyone recall that Odin was being impersonated by Loki at the end of that film?! So did Loki want his lady friend back? …think about it.

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While I’m not a fan of her role in reinforcing the gender binary (her power only works on men… doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room… also no mention of gay men or lesbian women… erasure is a dick move, this should be retconned by now.. shit.) and despite the fact that her powers aren’t limited to coercion she’s seen relying heavily on her feminine wiles.. I’m still a fan. It is tropes on tropes. But we live in a world where people do infact have “good looking” privilege. Lorelei takes that to the next level. And that’s one of these times when I want to remind everyone why “conventional gender roles” are bad for everyone: Is it really her ‘fault’ that men will all fall on their swords for her? They were taught to look out for beautiful damsels in need… she just eggs them a bit further. It’s that specific reason that I can justify that it is only ALL men influenced regardless of orientation. Male privilege. Society said that men are heroes who fight for women. And this is the result. She’s manipulated a broken system to her will. 

Agents of SHIELD- episode 15

Yes Men AKA “The Lady Sif episode”

Lorelei, Amora’s kid sister, Loki’s friend and sometime love interest; shifts her focus from random newlywed to a gang of bikers to start her army. Similarly to Loki, Lorelei is the younger sibling that never lives up to expectations, Lorelei has recently been confined and unable to speak, so when she gets loose she really blows the doors off of things.

Back at the plane, Skye is still stuck in bed at the prodding of Agents Simmons who is desperately trying to find out more about the “wonder drug.” Ward comes in to visit Skye and makes cute smiles at her while she complains that “she must look hideous” (she’s wearing an awful lot of makeup for someone who ‘hasn’t seen a mirror’). Anyway, Coulson is trying to find Director Fury but no one will let him near him. Suspicion grows! But while Coulson is gone, Agent May holds down the fort. They get a call about incoming Asgardian activity.

They find Lady Sif in the middle of the desert via the bifrost. Lorelei entered unnoticed via one of Loki’s secret pathways. Lady Sif explains that they are up against a sorceress that can bend men’s wills. Lorelei is used to commanding armies and starting wars. She also explains that Lorelei’s power only works on men… they have an inherent weakness..

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Is the weakness a Y chromosome?

The implication is, of course, that no MAN can resist her feminine wiles. But so… even men who are gay? But not women who are gay?

Because I have got to tell you. This would have been a better episode if Simmons was bi and helped Lorelei take down the team. No one would have expected that and we would have gotten some LGBT visibility over here -in the comic book genre/Marvel Universe/primetime network TV realm where there’s not much. And in this case, it wouldn’t have been “inclusion cookies” it would have actually added depth to the episode.

Because I honestly called the rest of this shit.

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The Team + Lady Sif heads to the biker bar where Lorelei is setting up her empire, and I already know that 1/2 the team is men and of that team there are only 3 that really get out of the plane and 2/3 of them are men. If Lorelei is after the greatest warriors then she will head for Ward (even though that makes less sense since Coulson is actually “the leader” but we need angst here people!) and Ward will fall hard and by the time Lorelei squeezed his arm I was already like “We can pack this up here. He won’t betray Lorelei for May but Skye will bring him around.”

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So, Simmons gets sidetracked (because she’s been tending to Skye instead of being in the field and having more involvement in the Lorelei situation) and says that she needs outside help to identify the Wonder Drug. I love driven academic types. Coulson shoots it down. Ward and Lorelei head for Vegas. There Ward references that he cares for a member of the team but that she’s nothing next to Lorelei…

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The the two have a sexy clothes ripping hook up. After she feeds him the line “You’re a real man with the rage of a berserker inside.” Which reminds us that the fury brought on by the berserker staff is still very much alive in Ward (yeah, so in Melinda May, too)

Meanwhile Sif and May bond over weaponry and losing their men to vixens. Sif warns her that Ward, the real Ward is lost to Lorelei’s will. May says “Ward won’t kill me. He might try to kill me, but he won’t.”

And then, while they should be looking for Lorelei, she and Ward take over the plane. This leads to the inevitable May vs. Ward faceoff -where Lorelei reveals that the “beautiful warrior with the heart of ice” is not the one who had his love.

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Sif, meanwhile throwing down with Lorelei is antagonized by the redhaired vixen who reminds Sif that she made the love of Sif’s life obey her every command, that Thor thinks of Sif as a man. Sif subdues her and slaps the magic collar on. Ward snaps out of it just in time to not get dead and stuff.

But here’s the fucking thing though, so none of our “strong” chicks get happiness? Ward tries to apologize to May, she waves it off with an “I told you that you didn’t have to worry about that with me.” Which she did, she was really forthcoming with the fact that it would be no strings attached and that it couldn’t get in the way of work. May also has a heart to heart with Coulson, say that he needs to open up about what he saw, even if it’s not to her, even if it’s to Skye. And he does and he tells Skye that the “wonder drug” was alien blood (btw- Sif mentioned the Kree earlier, I’m thinking my theory was right!). In the closing scenes we catch Melinda May listening in… and she calls it in, saying that “Coulson knows.”

So, damn, May knew?

I don’t want Ward and Skye together. I just don’t. And I don’t really hate Skye. I’m tired of this idea that tough and capable women aren’t worthy of love in the way that special snowflake Mary Sues are.

This episode had a lot going on in the background (Coulson divulging about the alien, the obvious cover-up, Melinda’s informing on them.). And a lot of awesome stuff in the foreground (Lorelei recently reappeared in Loki:Agent of Asgard #2, and it was awesome. And who does not love Jaimie Alexander looking all Asgardian? Nerd cookies everywhere!) But this fucking episode also ignored the existence of LGBT people entirely. And it’s even worse because of Lady Sif and Melinda’s implied fist bump over male weakness. Umm.. no. Because it’s not that. It’s that men are socialized to be protectors and unfortunately women are socialized to be damsels. Which is what happened here. Skye was kicked back all helpless, while May was fighting for everyone’s safety …but who does Ward love? Melinda’s showed him tenderness and compassion (as much as she can) but who does Ward love? Women are socialized to believe that being a true equal takes you out of the running for being a love interest. The backstory of both May and Sif in this episode fucking dead on perpetuated that. Shut up. I feel like there’s something in there about Lorelei using her sexuality for empowerment but not being better than the “strong female characters” -but even so, they don’t get the whole package, either.

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Someone write me a fanfic where Gemma Simmons falls for Lorelei and she hijacks the plane while the lock Ward in the holding cell which would have been the logical thing to do anyway: WHO BRINGS SOMEONE WHO HAS ZERO CHANCE OF NOT BECOMING A HUMAN WEAPON? Where was Agent Hand and Maria Hill?! If “only men are susceptible” why would you not CALL ALL THE WOMEN?!

Someone help. Send logic.