Sure, yeah, I’d be happy to. This is the scene in question, for the curious.
As to how Natasha fits into the ladyspy trope of using sex to get what she wants— she doesn’t. Or to complicate it: she is, fundamentally, an inversion of that trope. The way Natasha was introduced was textbook femme fatale, but that was rapidly turned on its head. Soon we got hints that Natasha is motivated more by a sense of duty and sacrifice than evil commie man-killing. By the time her origin story got told the codename Black Widow had become a cruel irony. Instead of this devourer of mates she became and therefore always was someone whose fierce love and fierce loyalties were mined, exploited and turned against her.
Part of Natasha’s thing is that the is that the surface parts don’t match up to the deep down truths, so it makes sense that her codename is a mislead. It makes sense that she’s always in conversation with this idea of the champion seductress. (And it makes sense a few creators have misinterpreted her and written her as the trope she’s meant to explore and subvert.) But I think, if there is anything “necessary tactic” she’s learned over the course of her career, it’s the ability to mine that expectation to her own advantage.
Because the whole “she’s a lady and she’s a spy so she must be up for it” thing has been going on in her canon literally forever.
“Don’t— don’t ever do that again! Don’t ever touch me!”
This is scene is a flashback to Natasha’s very first mission, where some guy is already forcing himself on her. She’s shocked, outraged, and reacts violently, pushing him away. I think that was the real problem with Natasha’s lost years. Remember, it was Alexi’s death that drove her, back then, and she used her grief to overpower her conscience. She pushed everyone away. The few flashbacks we get to her early career paint her as a ruthless professional, someone almost asexual, almost unfeeling. I don’t want to completely equate sex with intimacy but even with no emotion at stake, to take off your clothes is to remove your armor. Her sleazy male handlers didn’t manipulate her sexuality, they manipulated her abstinence.
And having mastered that denial she didn’t need to turn to anger when men tried to put their hands on her. She could react calmly, and turn what they assumed was her vulnerability into theirs, never surrendering control, never unarmored. That’s the only way her first stories with Clint make sense to me. She was never in control, there, her feelings were complicated and contrary to the mission. Feelings always are. But it had been so long since Alexi died, since she’d started using loss to substitute for love, that she tried to tell herself she was just using him. It wasn’t a habit; if it was a habit, I think she’d have been better at it. And as soon as she started tricking Clint she began to have second thoughts, so I don’t see it as something she was accustomed to.
But the real danger wasn’t feeling, it was not feeling— something she’d learned a long time ago, but had made herself forget. Once she realized, she remembered, and she quit that life for good. And that was Natasha’s brief surrender to expectations, to the arch-seductress, to the darkness before her dawn.
Panels from Daredevil #90, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan.