Like many other MCU stars, entering the comic-book universe has not been easy. The young actress, who played America Chavez in the Doctor Strange sequel, has unfortunately faced harassment from various angles.
The Phase 4 film was banned in multiple countries due to some controversy surrounding LGBTQIA+ themes. Countries such as Saudi Arabia asked the Disney company to remove a 12-second sequence surrounding Chavez's lesbian parents, although the company refused to do so.
However, backlash over the ban found its way to social media, where the 16-year-old Marvel newcomer faced harassment online because of restrictions outside of her control.
Some of the backlash even claimed that the young performer had "[destroyed] Marvel [for] so many countries." Now, Gomez, who comes from a Mexican-American background, has opened up about some of the negative attention she has faced.
Gomez Finds Friendship and Solidarity
Doctor Strange 2 star Xochitl Gomez sat down with The Wrap and discussed the solidarity she has found with Ms. Marvel's Iman Vellani, a fellow Marvel newcomer.
Both young stars share the experience of being "brown girls" and, because of this, have both had to wrestle with negativity following their role in the cinematic universe.
In fact, early on, Gomez and Vellani set aside time to grab dinner together, where they were able to “bond over being young, brown girls in the MCU and what that means.”
It seems that they were both able to bond over "shared experiences", both "positive and negative," and the struggles that they have had to overcome in the face of adversity.
This reassured Gomez that she was "not the only one", despite in-the-moment harassment causing her to question if she was the only performer being singled out because of her background:
“It was just nice to be able to have these shared experiences that made me feel like, OK, I’m not the only one, and especially with harassment and haters and stuff, and being able to be like, ‘OK, it’s not just me, this happens to you, it happens to a few other people as well."
The actress also acknowledged that harassment disproportionately impacts people of color due to the "layers of racism" which often go side by side:
“And it’s just so much worse for brown people. Because there’s layers of racism, and it’s just, it’s tough."
Gomez and Vellani were quick to become close friends due to their shared experiences and even went "out to dinner" to take their minds off the issue, offering each other mutual support and solidarity as they navigate the aggression they both faced:
"And so being able to talk to [Iman] and be like, ‘You’re not the only one,’ and being able to show my support, and being able to kind of take her out to dinner, and be able to take her mind off it, be able to like release it all."
Gomez also pointed out that they were able to laugh and see the brighter side:
"And then afterwards, being able to laugh and just be like, ‘Look at the conversation we just had!’ Look at that, we’re laughing and it’s great.”
Marvel’s Mighty Misogyny Problem
Whilst it is comforting that young stars Gomez and Vellani have bonded over shared experiences, the pair should not have to face such problems at all.
Unfortunately, the internet is not a pleasant place, and many are aware of the bigotry that MCU performers have faced. This harassment has been directed primarily toward both female and non-white performers.
For instance, misogyny undoubtedly played a large role in why She-Hulk was review-bombed last Summer. The series dealt with commentary on the differences between men and women, and the struggles that are unique to women.
Criticism over a perceived "woke" narrative dominated conversation throughout the She-Hulk's airing. It comes as part of a broader discussion that the studio is becoming too "woke".
Marvel's attempts at becoming more diverse are something that should be celebrated. Sadly, it's clear that not everyone can appreciate this, instead projecting their grievances toward the cast. It seems that even the youngest stars, like Gomez and Vellani, are not safe from hateful and racist remarks.