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Post By
Nitz the Bloody

In Reply To
Kieran Frost

Subj: Re: But there isn't a misogynistic undertone to Marvel!
Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 05:06:33 pm CDT (Viewed 255 times)
Reply Subj: But there isn't a misogynistic undertone to Marvel!
Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 02:27:39 pm CDT (Viewed 262 times)


>> 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.

None of which excludes female characters from being deep and effective. Also note that Carol Danvers turned to alcoholism largely due to the PTSD of her rape at the hands of Marcus Immortus, while Tony was able to go off the wagon for reasons not related to being a victim.

>> 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! 

And do you really think that the women who enjoy those things only do so because of the hot guys? Even Twilight's female fans can talk at length about the stories and the characters and who Bella should end up with. 

Also note that Twilight is getting a graphic novel adaptation, so its audience is clearly receptive to comics ( if not spandex ).

>> 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). "

There are male characters who certainly don't qualify as pretty, such as Ben Grimm ( after the radiation ), the Hulk, Hank McCoy in his second mutation, and Rockslide of the Academy X cast. There are male characters who often have slighter builds, like Peter Parker and Reed Richards. And almost no artists draw male characters with bulging " parts ", at least compared to the way artists draw women's breasts. 

Nor are there male characters who have seduction as part of their basic look a la Emma Frost.

>> 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.

 In terms of percentages, those are still very small compared to the men, even if they're larger than the female readership. You're saying that men are the most interesting characters by and large, but that it's not a problem that there are fewer interesting female characters. So doesn't the system perpetuate itself being a boys' club?

>> 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.  \:\)

See above argument about how the way things have been doesn't have to be the way things could be, adding that male characters almost never get raped, and if they do, there's no emotional consequences ( see: Madelyne Pryor raping Cyclops in Fraction's X-Men, Cyclops showing no signs of trauma ).

And that male love interests would fare badly is a moot point given the severe lack of male love interests; these are not just coincidences to be ignored.

>> 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." \:\)

Anyone who's studied identity politics knows that the such markers are far more than skin deep. Being a woman isn't just about having breasts, but about being raised female and having a personality shaped by the experience of what being female means in a society. Just like how sexual orientation isn't just about preference for genitalia, race isn't just about skin color, or anything else of the sort. So it's a call to have good female personalities that women can relate to, not to put more token females on teams.

Also, given how women make up over 50% of the world population, why wouldn't Marvel want that as a potential consumer base?




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