With a second season of Agent Carter announced earlier this week, the internet was filled with joy, but also with hope for the coming season. One of those hopes was crystallized on Twitter under the hashtag #DiversifyAgentCarter.
The hashtag was created by Mikki Kendall, @karnythia, when she tweeted:
It didn’t take long before the tag was flooded with support and suggestions.
Existing Marvel characters such as Isaiah Bradley, Jimmy Woo, who have yet to be seen in the MCU, were top suggestions. Fans also requested the reappearance of two of the Howling Commandos who have been part of the MCU, Jim Morita and Gabe Jones, with some fans pointing out that Gabe Jones and Peggy Carter were romantically involved in the Marvel Comics universe for a time.
Beyond the Marvel Universe, fans suggested historical figures such as:
Katherine Sui Fun Cheung, the first Asian American woman to get a pilot’s license.
Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first Asian American woman in the US Navy in 1942.
Josephine Baker, the African American entertainer and member of the French Resistance during World War II.
James Wormley Jones, the first African American FBI Special Agent.
But the suggestions didn’t stop at historical figures who have their own wikipedia pages. Several people shared their own family’s history, including Hugo-nominated author Saladin Ahmed:
The hashtag’s momentum grew throughout the weekend and made its way off of twitter. According to con reports, the first questions that Hayley Atwell was asked at Wizard World Philadelphia were about diversity and inclusivity, and garnered a positive response from Agent Carter herself.
By now it is clear that #DiversifyAgentCarter is not just another hashtag. It is intensely personal. Further, the criticism wasn’t coming from people who were outsiders looking in, but from fans of the show itself. This “tough love” fan perspective has gotten criticism in recent years as being unsupportive, with the typical response from naysayers being “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” However, being critical of beloved media, or at the very least acknowledging its weaknesses, is more than an ideological stance, especially when those weaknesses are important social issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and intersectionality. It’s not just about Agent Carter. It’s not just about the whole MCU. It’s about all of media.
Considering all of the (well-deserved) criticism that Marvel has received of late in regards to its treatment of women and PoCs throughout the MCU, as well as their tone-deaf responses, answering the call to #DiversifyAgentCarter would be a step in the right direction.