Prima Nocta, Anyone?
Avengers: Age of Ultron is an American superhero film – a 2015 sequel to the original film, The Avengers. You do not need to understand the plot of the film in order to recognize the stereotypical bravado in this scene, but you might need a quick history lesson.
Boys will be boys and superheroes will be superheroes, and as the Avengers sit around a table joking around, a challenge is thrown to lift Thor’s hammer. Legend has it that only those deemed worthy can lift the hammer, and a running joke throughout the film is that none of the other Avengers are able to lift it.
Nevermind who was able to lift the hammer. As Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) prepared to make his attempt, he stated, “I will be reinstituting prima nocta.”
Prima what? Most people let that phrase slip right by, not knowing what it meant. If you do not know what prima nocta is, you’re about to be enlightened.
Prima nocta (also known as “the right of the lord” or “the right of the first night”) refers to a supposed medieval European legal right of lords to have sex with the newly married wife of another man on the night of their wedding.
Ahh, it’s good to be king. Or Tony Stark. One can only imagine the reasons why he would reinstate such a misogynistic law.
So – does ignorance prevent this from being an example of normalized misogyny? Nope. As in most situations, ignorance is no excuse, and if you didn’t know when what prima nocta meant, you do now.
It is time to change what’s normal.