Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday Misogyny

(Edit: Library Lass explains her true intentions behind the post here, but despite my own mistake I'm leaving this up because 1) The post sounds too real, 2) All of the people agreeing with it, and 3) we're getting good conversation out of it.)

From a livejournal post on Power Girl:
I don't read Power Girl. Don't know anything about her beyond: blonde, big breasts, related to Superman, !Supergirl, involved in the Crisis.

That's enough for me. I don't want to read Power Girl. I'm afraid that, if I start reading about her, I'll have to write a fic wherein PG goes through seven kinds of merry hell (in what would, no doubt, suspiciously resemble a fantasy-standard epic quest) to find some kind of alternate-Earth Kryptonite that would work long enough for her to have a breast reduction.

Hey, if I was Power Girl? I'd have a breast reduction. What am I saying? I *had* Power Girl's breasts. (I didn't have the rest of her body though. 'Tis a shame, really.) And now I have sensible C-cup breasts. Kryptonite was not involved.

I've given up trying to explain this line of reasoning to people. Most get stuck on "But you can't take away the boobies!" and then I stop talking to them.
(Edited to show entire post)

16 comments:

  1. There remains no positive manner that any male comic reader (heterosexual or homosexual) may discuss Power Girl's massive mammary glands. None. Unless you have breasts, you really have no clue what makes a C-cup more sensible than the Danni Ashe double F-cups Power Girl packs.

    That curvaceous cleavage serves nothing but adolescent male fantasies, and reduces Power Girl to the DCU's resident superhero on a stripper pole. You really don't get nastier than this Pamela Anderson knock-off in mainstream comics, yet, what's most interesting about that LJ (and most feminist discussions of Power Girl I've come across) is that the massive chest automatically incinerates whatever feminist aggression the character may exude - even when Wonder Woman's chest rivals Earth-2's bountiful bosom. Power Girl's never judged on the content of her character by anyone - male or female - because of her titanic top-heaviness.

    Not that her character exists in any real sense - DC's flipped her script so much all she really brings to any comic is a Kryptonian Marilyn Monroe impersonation. Then again, DC never needs to add substance to her silicone when no one looks past her navel anyway. It's odd - she takes on the bad guys and gets her hands dirty just like anyone else, but she'll never be a dimension-lost Rosie the Riveter, just because of her breasts. Isn't that kinda weird? It's a tacit acceptance in comics of the empty-headed bimbo stereotype large-chested women endure daily.

    One could argue that no scantily-clad tight spandex wearing flying White girl could possibly promote feminism in comics, but that perspective rarely emerges, since it would eliminate practically all mainstream female superheroes. No, Power Girl's balloon boobs defy all manner of fictional physics, but I've always felt that the misogyny inherent in her character grates only because it's so damned obvious; whereas in comparison, the Playboy Bunny physiques of Lois Lane or Diana Prince go unnoticed by feminist comic consumers.

    I doubt it's possible to pen a feminist superhero in comics, too often we only get Lolita in a cape, like Kara Zor-El. But since Power Girl deserves rebuke, none of the other metahuman heroines in comics have a chance in hell of respecting feminist virtues. Where's the consistency?

    Further, if DC or anyone else wants to justify Power Girl, I think Superman should fly over Metropolis every morning with a foot-long tent of steel in his firetruck red Speedos. Just to give those adolescent male fantasies a little locker room dick envy. For balance.

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  2. They haven't gotten in the way of the character for me. Having large breasts doesn't make her into Pam Anderson any more than another build would make her into Paris Hilton or Julia Sawalha. (Not that there would be anything wrong with her being Julia Sawalha, but that would be a radical shift...)

    I thought the JSA CLASSIFIED arc showed her with a fairly solid personality, brassy, sharp-witted, reasonably confident even when experiencing her identity crisis, etc. Even in JLE, her personality, though a bit more sour than usual, was compelling.

    As for the original idea- I think PG might go in for reduction if it were a simple procedure, but if it did indeed involve an epic quest, she'd say "screw it" and go shopping for quality undergarments.

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  3. " There remains no positive manner that any male comic reader (heterosexual or homosexual) may discuss Power Girl's massive mammary glands."

    I'm pretty positive that I love Power Girl's giant funbags.

    And that's REAL.

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  4. Isn't Power Girl invulnerable? How is she *supposed* to get a reduction?

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  5. She seems to be suggesting Kryptonite radiation poisoning to weaken Power Girl enough to allow sugery. Because apparantly small beasts are sufficiently important to risk your life over.

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  6. Oddly enough someone pointed me out to an anti-breast reduction site run by a magazine/internet model just the other day. She went into several accounts of men and women coming up to her to tell her how ugly they thought she was and that she should have a reduction. Her basic reaction being something along the lines of "why should I cut off a piece of my own body to fit your idea of what's "appropriate"?".

    The post above is essentially suggesting self-poisoning in order to better fit the poster's idea of what's sensible, and really that's the poster's problem, not Power Girl's. I dunno, I've just never been a big fan of the "I won't except you or anything you may have to say until you look more like I want you to" mentality. It's one of the reasons I've never personally been a big fan of fashion.

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  7. er "I won't accept" rather

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  8. How is it misogynist, I don't get it. The author of the livejournal had a breast reduction. She's venting about PowerGirl and she doesn't want to read about this character because the memories are still painful I suppose.

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  9. "Having large breasts doesn't make her into Pam Anderson any more than another build would make her into Paris Hilton or Julia Sawalha." - Evan Waters

    Having large breasts and empty character development (until very recently) made Power Girl the shallow, useless Pam Anderson knock off in DC's arsenal. She works for lots of readers like Chris, who enjoy the artistry of large breasts on the printed page.

    Power Girl has been a misogynist's field day for practically her entire career, DC's empty-headed top-heavy metahuman blond Barbie. It's as if comic writers created a totally offensive stereotype of womanhood, so stupid she doesn't realize where she's from, who never considers her breasts, period. Hell, the simple difficulty any woman with her proportions would have buying clothes offers interesting comic material, but I've never seen Power Girl in street clothes. Wonder why?

    Still, its questionable why the LJ author singles out Power Girl when Big Barda, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, or any number of mainstream comic heroines possess busts that rival Power Girl's. No matter how many bad guys she defeats, she's the obvious Hustler superheroine pin-up simply because of a chest she can't control. I'm unsure if that's justifiable in the DCU. Why does Wonder Woman, the fanboy's favorite dominatrix, slip under the feminist radar?

    Power Girl provides a useful example of why stereotypes can never leave comics - they self-perpetuate whenever vapid comic writers and immature artists please childish comic consumers hungry for pop culture rehashes of comforting American narratives, the more prejudiced the better. Appeals to base desires sell comics; we'll probably see Power Girl on the cover of Maxim next week in 52.

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  10. "How is it misogynist, I don't get it. The author of the livejournal had a breast reduction. She's venting about PowerGirl and she doesn't want to read about this character because the memories are still painful I suppose."

    If she's heaping that much hate on a fictional character for the high sin of having larger breasts than average, then she has a serious problem. Just like anyone who thinks "She was traumatized" excuses someone wishing "seven merry hells" on another person, real or fictional, for something as stupid as breast size.

    If your friend was so highly traumatized by her boobies, maybe she should just stay away from other women. I know I wouldn't feel safe around her if the sight of a bosom sets her into a violent rage.

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  11. Having large breasts and empty character development (until very recently) made Power Girl the shallow, useless Pam Anderson knock off in DC's arsenal.

    Funny, but I find your criticisms of Power Girl to be considerably more shallow than she is. I find the whole 'large breasts=no character' argument insultingly simplistic, and your obsession with boobies is worse than the fanboys who see her as sexy first, and a person second. You don't see her as a person at all.

    Why have you never seen Power Girl in street clothes, you ask? My guess would be because you haven't read very much Power Girl. She's had some excellent characterisation, particularly in JSA. Okay, the magical motherhood plot was pretty grim, but you don't seem to be aware of that either. Or that she ran her own company in her secret identity.

    Your argument is passive aggressive by numbers; I was practically ticking off the boxes as I read it. The only thing you've convinced me of is that you have some weird hatred of women with large breasts.

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  12. My main experience of Power Girl was through the JLE, and she was one of the most interesting and complex characters in that group.

    She was generally the one who called sexism when she saw it - I remember one story when she & the other women in the JLE were discussing feminism and one of them pointed to the window in her costume and asked how that supported her feminist ideas... I'm paraphrasing, but she said something along the lines of "This is who I am. A woman. Healthy."

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  13. James- none of the stories I've read in which PG appears have portrayed her as empty-headed. Not a one. She is not Pam Anderson, she is not Barbie- she's Clobberella, she's the gal who kicks ass and enjoys doing so a bit more than most.

    Maybe some writers have written her as a bimbo, but I haven't come across that. The good writers who've dealt with her have tended to be consistent in their portrayal of her personality, which is as I've described, which also tells me it's not a fluke. Geoff Johns and the team of Giffen and DeMatteis don't write in the same style, but they agree on PG being a mature, sassy kind of gal. That's who she is.

    And she happens to have very attractive breasts. I actually think it's nice that she looks like that because she's supposed to, not because the artists treat big breasts as a default. We could do with a character who's similarly defined as having small breasts or a different build than we normally see, that'd be great, but Peej doesn't necessarily have to be the one to change.

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  14. "She works for lots of readers like Chris, who enjoy the artistry of large breasts on the printed page."

    I also enjoy the artistry of large breasts in other media, not just in print.

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  15. Thank you so much, James, for those comments -- I'm making a followup post explaining just why that livejournal entry offended me, and those thoughts will be of great assistance.

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