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Post By
Kieran Frost

In Reply To
Nitz the Bloody

Subj: But there isn't a misogynistic undertone to Marvel!
Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 03:27:39 pm EDT (Viewed 261 times)
Reply Subj: Re: What a pretentiously absurd articles!
Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 11:51:45 am EDT (Viewed 243 times)

    There's a difference between catering to a specific group and catering to a specific group by excluding others. Superhero comics are hardly known for their sensitive portrayals of strong female characters.

But these are not "ordinary women", these are superheroes.  You can't apply the same logic/characterization. They can't be sensitive all the time, they need to kick ass and take names; all superheroes do!  I would argue it would be more "sexist" to have the male superheroes kick ass and taken name, while the female superheroes talk about their "feelings". ;\)   We can all agree, most of the stories are action orientated, right?  At what point does the "she just loves his soul, deep inside" story debut?  Or the "how can I be a working mother, and still give time to my kids" sub-plot. Before Galactus tries to destroy the world, or after the Hulk has taken over Manhattan?  I would argue the female characters get as much "sensitive" respect in sub-plots as the males (Carol's alcoholism vs. Tony's alcoholism spring to mind/Wiccan and Teddy dealing with being gay vs. Karoline Dean and maybe Nico dealing with being gay).  But the truth is NEITHER gender get's many none-superhero subplots... why... because it's a superhero comic!  This is just not the place to focus on it... at least it shouldn't be.

    and to try to simplify the issue into " well Disney movies aren't for boys either " is to ignore a lot of evidence.

Let's be honest, it's not like Hannah Montana is aimed at males... well... not for story or character content, that's for sure. ;\)

    I should note that the past few years have seen an explosion of sci-fi/fantasy fandoms with female bases, and the audiences for shojo manga, Buffy and other Joss Whedon shows, Harry Potter, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, and ( keeping in mind that I don't want to say this in any positive context ) Twilight have a lot of crossover potential with superheroes.

Agreed. But just because they like the "hot guys" in a film doesn't mean that transpires to comics. I have plenty of male friends who like fantasy and sci-fi and NONE OF THEM read comics. Just because some women suddenly find they have a crush on the talentless dreamboats in Twilight; doesn't mean this will necessarily lead to reading comics, or even being curious about entering a store like Forbidden Planet.  I wish it did, I truly do, but I don't feel these are fair assumptions. Just because teen-fans got off on seeing Daniel Radcliffe's supposedly unimpressive "magic wand" in Equus, doesn't mean they would buy a Harry Potter comic (not that J.K. Rowling would allow anyone to write her Harry ;\) ) Is there potential for fan crossover?  Yes. Should it be explored?  Maybe. Is this enough evidence to "blame" a "misogynistic" Marvel... hardly!

    This crossover potential is nullified when a substantial majority of superheroines have bodies and wardrobes that look like they were designed by and for 14-year-old boys...

Oh please! As if male costumes are designed by nuns! As if Xavier (a man in a wheelchair) isn't ripped beyond belief on his upper body (when shown).  As if Magneto, a man well into his fifties, doesn't have thigh muscles to rival body builders. ALL superheroes have amazing bodies, ALL superheroes have somewhat revealing, somewhat scandalous, somewhat "impractical" costumes. To even pretend it's because "they're women" is just wrong. Ms. Marvel [Dr. Karla Sofen]'s costume is very "small", true... AS IS Iceman's "sometimes not even hot pants" outfit. Or Namor's "does my bulge look big in this" fish net underwear. On a night out, women do (on average) wear more revealing costumes than men. So what?  Heaven forbidden someone applies that taste of clothing to a superhero costume. ;\) So what if a few more females have "unrealistic" costumes than men, it's not as if men get off scott-free when it comes to the art department. Grummett's bulges? Deodate's male asses? (I'm not complaining about them, by the way, they are AWESOME) but don't try and tell me men are wearing full body outfits while women are relegates to skimp about in underwear. This is NOT a woman's issue! This is the entertainment industry... and sex sells... in both genders! Who wants a fat Ms. Marvel? Who wants a Cyclops with love-handles? This is fiction, and like cinema; it's always "the best" angles, it's always the most flattering light, the most "perfect" specimens, even if the actors themselves are not "up to the task" (Nicholas Cage's embarrassingly CGI six-pack in Ghost Rider, springs to mind).

    [women] have far fewer starring roles than the male characters ( and tend to be downplayed even in the team books)

Guaranteed (percentage wise) there are more female roles and characters than female readers.  Many women get more plot points than the men.  Many female characters are in the spotlight longer and more often than many, many male characters.  But regardless of that, either way it has nothing to do with gender, it has to do with the fact some characters are interesting and some are not.  The interesting ones get focus, if they happen to be men, so what?  If they happen to be women, so what?  It's not about gender!
Female leaders:
X-men: Storm, Emma Frost, Rogue, Jean Grey
Avengers: Wasp, Carol Danvers
Thunderbolts: Songbird, Ms. Marvel [Dr. Karla Sofen]
Runways: Nico
SHIELD/HAMMAR: Maria Hill and Victoria Hand
Solo comics: Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spidergirl
And this is not even a complete list AND also baring in mind the VAST majority of Marvel readers are white, middle class males. So I think the industry has done a rather generous and non-misogynistic job on making women equal in the Marvel world.

    [women] tend to be stuffed in the fridge on a regular basis, either by literal death or by apallingly insensitive depictions of trauma.

Oh the old "women in refrigerators" story. I looked at that hysterically biased website once, and noticed a complete lack of common sense in all of it. Do they not realise WHY women are "stuffed in refrigerators"? I'll give you a clue, it's not because they are women. ;\) The majority of solo comics (from the very start) have had men in the lead roles. And almost every fictional category has "a love interest"; because people like that (Lord of the Rings expanded Arwin's role, for that very reason). And who is the "love interest" for most males? FEMALES! And who do you kill/injure for dramatic effect...the lead hero and thus end the comic? I think not.  You kill/injure the supporting cast... and who does the supporting cast always include... the love interest. You see where I'm going with this. It's not because they are women, that they suffer, it's because the drama comes from the "love interest" being attacked. If it was a female solo comic, I'm quite certain the male love interests fair just as badly.  \:\)

    It's hardly pretentious or absurd to acknowledge that there's a misogynist undercurrent to the genre, and it's hardly shallow to want to read about characters in your own group.

YES, it is shallow to only like characters based on nothing more than surface level characteristics. Surface level = shallow.  You can't argue that one. ;\)   Out of my "Top Ten" favourite characters in Marvel TWO are gay/bi (I'm gay) and less than 50% male (I'm male). TWO.  50%  And I hope you understand neither of those are reasons why I like the characters; I'm just saying my "surface" similarities doesn't play into liking a character, it's only coincidence if it happens.  I mean, none are British. None are actors. None are comic readers. None love films and theatre. Do you see my point. I have no problem being quoted as saying "to have the deciding factor on a character's enjoyment being their gender, skin colour, religion or orientation IS shallow." \:\)

P.S. I hope you don't feel my post is being rude (I apologies if it comes off as that); I'm just passionate about argueing against this particular topic.  \:\)

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