Homelander Has Some Very Screwed Up Ideas About Women's Bodily Autonomy (How Apropos)

Well, this past week has sucked. I can't speak for all my fellow American uterus-havers, but the revocation of the Roe V. Wade decision has forced me to rethink a lot of my personal safeties and rights in ways I naively thought would never actually be possible. There's still a lot to process regarding where the country is currently going, but one thing was made immediately clear when the decision was overturned – those in power have a very twisted idea of how cisgender women should be able to use their bodies, having even worse ideas for trans men and nonbinary people with uteruses.

Anyways, "The Boys" has established itself as a great escapist television show, right?

Jokes aside, "Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed," the penultimate episode of this season of "The Boys" could not have come at a more ironic time for several reasons, mainly because of Homelander (Antony Starr). The guy has taken a shocking but completely expected turn for the worse, fashioning himself as a twisted Christ-like figure that has begun to use his powers to establish dominance and succumbing to Stormfront's (Aya Cash) dreams of a "perfect" Supe uprising. While Homelander is a timely character as it is, one moment from this latest episode feels particularly spot-on in all the worst ways.

A top three day in my life

Let's recap that horrific little scene for just a moment. Homelander has been keeping Maeve (Dominque McElligott) in a secured location after he and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) abducted her. He comes to her, demanding that she tell him where Butcher (Karl Urban) and Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) are, as he already knew that she was working with the former in some capacity. He then elaborates the so-called dangers that Soldier Boy can bring, either killing Supes or draining them of their powers. When Maeve reveals that she doesn't really care about that (she tells him that she "can't wait" until she's no longer a Supe), that's when the evil really starts.

It turns out that Homelander is only keeping Maeve alive in order to have children with him. She tells him that she will "shatter" anything that he penetrates her with, and he has the audacity to scoff at her, saying that he isn't a savage who respects "what" she is, "even if [she] doesn't." Instead, he plans to harvest her eggs in order to create what he considers the perfect children, embedded with both of their "best" qualities. Of course, Maeve is visibly disgusted by this, but is able to get one last zinger out before he leaves her cell by telling him that she has finally seen him scared.

Reproductive coercion and Homelander in a post-Roe America

There is a lot that can be said about threats or even depictions of rape in media, and believe me, the original "Boys" comic series had no shortage of them. However, there's just something so chilling about hearing Homelander threaten to remove Maeve's eggs in this specific landscape. This threat is a prime example of how abusers, specifically former or current partners, use what is called reproductive coercion to control their victims.

According to Planned Parenthood, reproductive coercion can take on several forms, including "explicit attempts to impregnate a partner against her wishes" and "interfering with birth control methods." It can also involve forcing decisions regarding abortion onto their victim, whether they want to keep the fetus or not. Threatening to forcibly extract a woman's eggs in order to conceive life out of them is a bonafide example of reproductive coercion, an event that has gotten somewhat swept underneath the rug in the ongoing discussion on the impact of Roe V. Wade's reversal.

It's clear that Homelander has no interest in forcing Maeve into another relationship. He tells her as much, saying that he wouldn't dare to rape her. That may come across as mercy, but that's actually more terrifying. It suggests that he's granting her mercy when, no matter what, she is just seen in his eyes as a reproductive machine, not a work partner or even a person.

The unspoken reason why he chose Maeve

As awful as it might have been, Homelander could have made the same threats to Starlight, as she too is a Supe, so why did he choose Maeve instead? It's actually a pretty simple answer; it's because she's bisexual.

After all, remember that Homelander is the one who forced the Brave Maeve persona onto her — she never wanted to be out but was forced to be after he had outted her on live television. Granted, he claimed that she was a lesbian, but that act of violence irreparably damaged their already-crumbled partnership. In this latest episode, he even says that he respects "what" she is, not who she is.

Unfortunately, this also has a solid basis in real-world statistics. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 75 percent of bisexual women have experienced some form of sexual violence other than rape, including reproductive coercion, in their relationships. Even more horrifically, 87.5 percent of bisexual women reported in the survey that their perpetrator was a man.

Although paraded around by Vought as the hero fighting for LGBTQ rights and equality, Maeve is under constant threat by Homelander for the nearly-sole reason that she is attracted to other women. That, and the fact that she dares to be bisexual after the two had broken up. Homelander's treatment of Maeve is deeply rooted in the need to control those who he considers lesser, a sentiment shared by abusers and those who enable them.

America is Homelander, and Homelander is America

CBS News reported that pregnant women often face more abuse by their partners, with homicide at the hands of said partner being a leading cause of death during pregnancy, with abortion often being a lifeline for victims. The overturning of Roe V. Wade has sent a message to abusers everywhere: you can force your partner to have a child they don't want because the most feasible option to prevent birth is now gone.

In Homelander and Maeve's case, the two are exes instead of actual partners. However, the message remains the same. Homelander does not see Maeve as someone who deserves bodily autonomy and who shouldn't be able to have a say in what happens to her body. Now more than ever, Homelander symbolizes all of the most sinister values of the United States. Whether he is canoodling with Nazis or stripping away a woman's autonomy, he is everything horrible and oppressive about the current state of the country in one star-spangled package.

How ironic that "Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed" has come out on the Fourth of July weekend, huh?