Saturday, September 24, 2011

An article on those Catwoman/Starfire comics

It's good, and can be read here.  Some of the comments are horrible.  Seth Vlan has a good point when he says that:

"Which brings me to my second point; nearly EVERY SINGLE MALE in comics drawn with an Olympian physique that's every bit as offensive as the equally exaggerated proportions of female characters. According to these comics, even Reed Richards could beat me at arm-wrestling without resorting to his stretchy powers. If you can't see that, if you can't even try to understand what it's like to constantly be told that you need to have huge muscles and bed lots of women to earn respect, then you're a hypocrite of the highest order, maim."

Apart from the last sentence which is rude, he has a point.  Then he continues with:
"As for how you view "sexually liberated women", stop hiding your true feelings. At the end of the day, you just don't like it when women go to bed with TOO MANY men. Probably because no one gives you the opportunity"

Whichmakes Mr Vlan a bit of a dick really.  Patriarchy and sexism hurts everyone.  To make a generalisation, under the patriarchy women get objectified to look like sexed up vacant dolls, men get objectified to look like strong muscle men.  These actions help no one.


SallyP said...

It's true that men are drawn with herculean physiques. It's also true that the boys bring this point up EVERY time that women complain about the sexiness that is dripping off of the pages.

And yet...oddly, all men are neutered completely in comic books, at least when it comes to drawing THEIR "sexy" parts. Why is that, I wonder?

Maddy said...

I think something to remember is that although idealizing men as unrealistically strong and muscled does send troubling messages to male readers, it is not the same, and it is not equivalent to what is done to women in these comics.

Women are idealized as sex objects before anything else. Idealized as being strong and powerful at least implies the character has power, and the majority of the time it's those characters who get to be the main characters, the big heroes, the ones for whom continuity will bend just to suit them.

It's the female characters who are perpetually made to appear less important, less powerful, and who rarely have stories, series or crossovers revolve around them (and if they do revolve around them, it's likely not positive portrayals).

Saranga said...

Sally and Maddy: I do not disagree with you. I just wanted to be fair to the original commenter.
He had one valid point, but given his other points I don't think he was bringing it up to show how patriarchy hurts everyone. I think he was bringing it up to negate and deflect from the problems being discussed, i.e. women in comics.
Which is de railing and not on the whole helpful to the conversation.
Men and women are prescribed such different roles in our society/societies, I think it is helpful to look at how both genders deal with the pressures AND how both roles are valued. Which is why I wanted to highlight that one of his points was valid.

Anyway you guys both know all this so i'm going to stop waffling now!

notintheface said...

The key is that both genders have their escapist power fantasies fulfilled by the heroes of their own gender. Their being sexually attractive to members of the opposite sex (or the same sex as the case may be) may help sell books, but that shouldn't be the whole deal.

Wonder Woman#1 and Birds of Prey#1 succeed on both counts. Catwoman#1 and Red Hood#1 may succeed in the latter for some men (not me!), but they fail miserably in the former.

Also, it's important to distinguish between "male" fantasy and "douchy male" fantasy.

Starfire as portrayed in the original New Teen Titans? Male fantasy. Starfire as an amnesiac emotionally uninvolved sexbot? DOUCHY MALE fantasy.