The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

Assuming the MCU is in our universe, every ant we see in the film Ant Man is female. All worker ants are sterile female clones. Male ants are called drones, and are only used for breeding, then discarded. Queens stay in the nest. This is how ant society works, and if you study ants at all, it works well for them — it’s geeky fun science stuff. But to mention this kind of insect reality in the Ant Man movie would be a little uncomfortable.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd, in a charming role as the Ant Man) names his ant sidekick Antony, a male name. Not that this matters at all to the insect in question, or to the movie even. But I think it’s still interesting to consider in these films that all the ants are female.

Wasp society is similar — if you’ve ever been stung, it’s by a female. The stinger and the ovipositor (egg layer organ) are the same thing. So putting Hope and Janet in Wasp suits seems more satisfying.

Yellow Jackets, which are a hornet, are also a type of wasp. Again, the ones you see are female. So the bad guy is wearing a female suit as well. That character seems like he wouldn’t be up to wearing “insect drag” — but none of this matters to the film or to us as viewers.

Again, I am not trying to say there are gender or sexism issues here — the real reason Hank would not put Hope in the Ant Man suit was from fear of losing her, like he lost Janet. It wasn’t a case of sexism. (Seemingly he had no problem with his wife in a Wasp suit and they worked together developing the entire project. )

I used to study social insect behavior in Tucson, AZ. For what it’s worth, I’m just adding some neutral perspective. I prefer stories to use actual science and it impresses me when they do. The Bullet Ants, Crazy Ants (controlling electricity?), etc, is made up nonsense. But if they stick to the rules they themselves establish, I’ll be content.

After all, as far as we know there is no Vibranium in the world. No Wakana, which uses the Vibranium tech to incredible heights. But so far, they are consistent in how said tech is presented, and yay to that.🙂

Read the RunPee Rewatch Review of Ant Man

The Quantum Realm In Ant Man 2 Offers Answers for Avengers 4

2 Replies to “The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants”

  1. I think they missed an opportunity to build on the realism by not pointing out more about the sex characteristics of the ants in both movies. In my book (literally) when you’re bending the facts to suit the fiction it’s best to point out the facts you’re not bending as much as possible, to make the things that get bent more real.

    A nice throwaway in the first movie would have been for Scott to give the name “Anthony” to the ant and then Hank to correct him and tell him that “Anthony” is a female. It’s true and helps make the unrealistic more realistic.

    He could have also mentioned that “Anthony” was a clone of all the other workers. 🙂

  2. He named her Antony, to be precise. But yeah, absolutely, your examples would have been perfect to stick in the films. This is why your trilogy is going to rule the Earth.

    It also reminds me of a rule about lying. If you base your lies on as much truth as possible, people are more apt to believe you. Substitute “world-building” here for lies. Why bust through walls when you can make a better story staying within them?

    And then save the crazy bullshit for the Real Big Lies, like using sorcery to bend reality in Dr. Strange!

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