June 07, 2007

Once More To The Well!

Ok, I really do need to find a few things to post about not related to comics and sexism, but what can I say, this stuff is hot right now.

So we've been talking about Heroes for Hire for a few days now, so let's tie it in with the Mary Jane statuette we talked about earlier. Here's a much better column from the other side than you'll find in any of the postings on the various message boards where this is discussed. At least, it's better in that it's not filled with bile, complete ignorance, and raises some interesting counter-arguments. Of course, it is rather dismissive of people who might dislike the statuette.

I think it's important to keep things in perspective though. Too often I find liberal arguments, whether they are about national politics or discussions about comic books, lumped together as if there is only one level of outrage or dislike that a liberal can feel. We're either in favor of something, ambivalent, or insanely, irrationally pissed off. Are both the H4H cover and the Mary Jane statuette in bad taste? Of course they are. Am I as upset by the Mary Jane statuette as I am about the H4H cover? No.

The Mary Jane statue is immature fanservice. It's cheesecake, yes, and invokes certain styles of the past, but that doesn't mean we should just accept it as totally awesome and give it a pass. It takes a strong female character and reduces her to a passive, submissive, sexy object for Spiderman, and the viewer's, pleasure. To me, it's eye-rolling sexism; a symptom of the way many men still think they need to view women. It's juvenile and should be addressed both by fans discussing it and within the company, but it's not something that I get outraged about. I should note, however, that I do get rather frustrated with the discussions *about* things like the statuette when people deny that there's anything even the slightest big sexist about it.

The H4H cover, on the other hand, deserved every bit of outrage it got. It isn't just a bit of juvenile arousal, it's an attempt to sell books by sexyfying rape. These two examples of sexism are not the same, and they shouldn't be treated as such, but neither is worthy of being blithely dismissed as "fangirl entitlement". People who are such things get the Bingo.

On the other hand, Steven Grant writes a column over at Comic Book Resources and has a much better post over at Publisher's Weekly about this stuff and more.

1 comment:

Noumena said...

I don't know about you, but I get insanely, irrationally pissed off at everything.

Like the fact that it's kind of hot today makes me want to violently overthrow the fascists at the AMS.