Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane Watson

This was the main Wikipedia picture for Mary Jane. Its an update of the original appearance of Mary Jane.

The is the main picture for the Pepper Potts Wikipedia article. She's like a thinner, more mature Mary Jane.

Comic nerds have many attractive women to fulfill various fantasies. Looking at the costumes of many members of the X-Men, one would think that they were specifically designed for the sake of titillating young wangs and egos. However, one fetish seems to rise about the rest: Mary Jane Watson. The literal Little Red-Haired Girl Next Door serves as a promise to high school nerds that even the Peter Parkerest among us can attract a pretty girl. Furthermore, given the ubiquity of the Spider-Man mythos in comics, movies, and cartoons, cartoons,  cartoons that looked good at the time but now suck, weird cartoons that sucked at the time, cartoons where Neil Patrick Harris voiced Spier-Man, and great cartoons that will probably be cancelled before their time, and Mary Jane’s central role in the overarching Spider-Man plot, it is no question that for the Marvel Universe, this red-headed spitfire is girl number one.

However, with the rise of Iron Man and the release of Iron Man 2, another sprite challenges Mary Jane’s throne: Pepper Potts. So, given the question of Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane, who wins? I asked the question on Facebook, and it resulted in a much more heated discussion than I intended:

Rey Valdez

Mary Jane Watson just chases power; the captain of the football team, the richest boy in town, Spiderman. That’s why she loses.

Evan Mintz

But the richest boy in town chased her. Plus, she chased Peter Parker before she knew he was Spider-Man. Then again, she could have been chasing the smartest guy.
And Pepper isn’t chancing power?

Rey Valdez

Yeah, but while she wouldn’t look at the rich kid in school (where he was a nerd) she notices him after graduation. She is also in love with Spiderman after he saves her from Green Goblin (who knocks Harry unconscious, thus he cannot save her). Then, when she finds out who Spiderman is she says, “Somehow I always knew” indicating that she knew that Peter was not only her emotional savior, but also her physical savior Spiderman.

Also, Pepper stayed by Tony even after the embarrassing thing with the kiss and the dance and even unto his lowest point. I give her high marks for that.

Evan Mintz

Pfsh, you’re going by the movies. And yeah, but that is Pepper all the way. But if you take comics into account, or even cartoons, MJ is a much more redeemable character. And way hotter.

Rey Valdez

Eh, I thought I would go through the more publicly known medium. I agree, MJ is way hotter in the comics.

Robert Camaj

I can’t believe this is even a contest. I like strong, intelligent women at the top of their field. Pepper Potts is smart, sexy, witty, and confident. All MJ has going for her is that it takes you quite a long time to figure out that you’re whipped.

Reasons why Pepper Potts is the bees knees:

1) Pepper Potts is a whiz at accounting.

2) The cybernetics in her chest will prevent her from ever losing her figure.

3) Pepper Potts is not offended by sexual harassment (which is definitely a sign of confidence).

4) Pepper Potts is feisty and self-assured. She a woman to be conquered, not manipulated. She’s a woman who realizes that 49 “No’s” and a “Yes” equals a “Yes.” Pepper Potts leaves trails of worthy men dead in her wake. And she understands that being fucked raw against the wall is way more sexy than gentle love-making on the bed.

Rey Valdez

Also, never read Iron Man comics.

Robert Camaj

Men who like Mary Jane are merely poor romantics who search for “good girls,” those petite, salad-eating, shy bitches who men assume don’t have baggage and will play fair and will not cheat. It’s assumed that the girl next door requires little confidence to ensnare and little effort to keep. All men learn the frightening truth eventually:

As a great woman once said, “There are no good girls, only bad girls found out.

Mary Jane Watson is a flighty harpy who took that whole women’s lib thing too seriously. Her fear of commitment caused her to turn down Petey’s first proposal, which would be fine in itself, except that, after giving him the runaround, finally did marry him. After they get married she gets a psych degree (A PSYCH DEGREE!!–just farce clothed in substance) and forces Peter to quit vigilantism, only to move to Los Angeles and be a whore.

Mary Jane is the sort of woman who would talk about a relationship as if it were a third person, begging for commitment while fearing monogamy–projecting her insecurities onto those pitiful boys who happily take her abuse because they believe they don’t deserve her.

Evan Mintz

Mr. Camaj makes a convincing argument.

Robert Camaj

Yeah, I got on a roll.

Evan Mintz

No MJ defenders? I’m in Rey’s camp, I don’t know enough about Pepper to take her down, and the Spider-Man comic plots are so entangled and confusing, especially when considering Mary Jane.
However, I can give MJ a defense using her character from the cartoon, Spectacular Spiderman.
That universe focuses on early Spider-Man while he is still in high school. MJ enters the plot late, as almost an outside character. She has little interest in Spider-Man, but focuses more on her personal acting career and in Peter Parker, whose outsized self-confidence and wit intrigues her. However, despite the waves of high school social drama, she is slave to no drama nor man. She is an individual, knows what she wants, and will go after it without concern. Like Peter, she has an outsized self-confidence, yet does not develop a big head or high expectations over it. And unlike Peter, she does not have radioactive spider blood to justify it, only her talent (and I supposed good looks).
While Pepper tolerates her boss’ insulting and even harmful shenanigans (possibly out of a money-driven hope of inheriting the company, which eventually comes to fruition) MJ does not take such abuse. Pepper sits and follows orders like a spoiled child, waiting for her father’s inheritance. MJ makes it on her own.

Robert Camaj

Hating Pepper Potts because she comes from money? C’mon now. MJ ain’t no prole princess.

Robert Camaj

Furthermore, Pepper Potts emphatically does NOT take Stark’s abuse. She gives as good as she gets, without question.

Evan Mintz

I’m not hating her because she comes from money, I’m hating her because she didn’t go earn her money, even if she supposedly had the talent. Like her boss, she stands on daddy’s shoulders and thinks she’s tall. But at least Tony made something himself. What does Pepper have to show besides the ability to sit and wait?

Robert Camaj


Evan Mintz

There may be equal footing there.
Pepper is definitely thinner, but MJ has more curves. Subjective test?

Robert Camaj

I come from working class folk, so naturally I prefer aristocratic girls.

As for body type, I defer to your judgment. It’s been a while since I’ve read either comic.

Evan Mintz

A quick google images answers all
I come from Jewish sit-com folk, so I prefer a woman who will constantly inform me when I’m wrong and remind me that she could be with someone else.
A Google Images search, indeed!

This is the first appearance of Mary Jane's face in the Spider-Man comics. It may just be me, but whenever a girl says "You hit the jackpot, Tiger," instant orgasm.

Pepper! I'd like to thank all the people on DeviantART for making slightly pervy pictures of comic book characters. So thanks shibamura-prime for this one!

All this, and she's a CEO!

If I remember my nerd history, this collectors statue of Mary Jane washing a Spider Suit created a bit of scandal because it was overly objectifying. Because comics don't objectify women, or anyone, ever.

Oh how pervy! Is there some sort of odd cross-dressing fetish here of a girl wearing her guy's clothes. I guess its only really cross-dressing if a guy wears women's clothes, because third wave feminism dictates that women can do whatever they want. Its all about choice. Guy's don't have this option. But that's a discussion for later after I've had a lot to drink. I mean, I don't want to wear women's clothes, I just want to know that I had the option. If I wanted. Which I don't....

Kirstin Dunst was possibly the worst choice ever for Mary Jane. MJ was supposed to be the party girl who consoles Peter Parker after his first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, dies in his arms/web. Rather, she played her as an annoying wanna-be actress.

This is probably a way better casting job. Though both of their faces look like they spent too much time sucking on lemons.

In conclusion, there is a veritable debate here. Thoughts, concerns, commentary? Does anyone actually read this far. I mean, I assume most people will get caught up on the pictures. Admittedly, there were a lot more Mary Jane pictures than Pepper Potts. But like I said, Spider-Man is a lot more popular and Mary Jane has a lot more exposure. Give it a bit more time, and maybe a better Iron Man cartoon than the crappy CGI one on Nickelodeon, and maybe she’ll have the same impact on the developing sexual identity of a bunch of pre-teen and teen boys who watch cartoons.

4 responses to “Pepper Potts v. Mary Jane Watson

  1. Hey, just a quick note from the female perspective.

    You’re hating on Pepper because of her job, but have you ever been someone’s assistant?

    I have to call out whoever said that she didn’t make it on skill, being a high-level, high-powered, personal assistant takes as much skill, drive and determination as starting any company.

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review | Burn Down Blog

  3. A difficult choice to be sure, but can Mary Jane ever be fully trusted? She’s mysterious, adding to her allure, but she seems like the type who could walk out the door too quickly. Also, some pics of Mary Jane through the years are less than flattering as I’ve noticed when reading the Ultimate Spider Man book with my 3 yr old. At one point, she had way too much hair and looked about 50 yrs old.

  4. In my opinion, I profer MJ.
    She was this entertaining, funny, witty girl with a sad childhood yet a cool personality. Film version was annoying, and as such I hope the reboot will fix that, but other versions, Spec. and Ultimate for example, are good depictions of her. Curse OMD for ruining the CLassic Spidey Mythos.

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