I used to really hate the scene in CA:TFA where Peggy storms off after catching Steve and Pvt Lorraine, you know, the one where Steve accuses Peggy of fucking Howard. I used to want to scream “MY BB STEVE WOULD NEVER” because Steve ugh stop being an idiot you’re better than this. But I started thinking about it and honestly, no matter what excuses my gut wants to make, Steve is clearly not better than this. He has some shitty attitudes that he falls back on in moments of weakness. My fave is problematic in a way that makes sense, but he’s called out on it, and I like that better.
(Although tbh, I wish there had been a scene where Steve explicitly apologizes for being a jerk,
along with more Howling Commandos footage.)
People tend to be quick to forget what it’s like to have it tough when they have it easy, and I think this is a scene where Steve really forgot where he came from. Steve had the super-soldier serum magically to turn him into the “ideal man,” and suddenly, for the first time in his life, he’s taken seriously. He’s riding high on people rewarding his bravery instead of bashing his face in for it.
But Peggy? Peggy’s exactly the same as she was before she met Steve. She still has to work twice as hard as her colleagues to get maybe half the recognition. She has to prove to her superiors that she deserves her job every single day. She has to fight for her place in the military structure, for the assignments she’s more than capable of doing. She’s put blood, sweat, and tears into her work, and she thought she found a kindred spirit in Steve. Not only that, but she wants to believe that Steve is better than everyone else. After all, if there’s one man like Steve, and if Steve can find people he trusts, maybe there are actually more men like Steve, and maybe things are starting to look up for Peggy.
So when Steve pulls that shit, she’s just disappointed.
People have been treating him like a Perfect Soldier, i.e., a Real Man (TM) for months now. They’ve had him acting the part for so long that he probably started to believe it. Before, he became accustomed to being trampled over, shoved to the side, overlooked, etc., so he’s not used to having the power to hurt people. I don’t even think it occurred to him that’s a thing that could happen after the serum. He assumed that he could stay the same by acting according to what he feels is right based on how people are treating him (like he always has). What Steve failed to notice is that by nature of receiving his new body and the superhuman physical power that came with it, he was also given incredible amounts of social power, such that the world is no longer picking fights with him. He has to learn that he’s not always in the right just by nature of who he is anymore. And Steve fucks it up, not because Steve himself is a failure or a bad person, but because he forgets.
Because you don’t just become a good person because someone tells you that you have the capacity for it. A good
man person is not something you are simply by nature of being. It’s not even about making a choice to be a good man, or wanting to be one. It’s a series of choices that you have to be continually making.
So THANK GOD for Peggy standing up to Steve, for getting in his face and saying, “check yourself before you wreck yourself, Rogers.”