Sunday, December 31, 2006

Before this gets out of hand.

I've noticed a small amount of griping about the posts here and here. I've no doubt that this will turn into a large amount of griping, so I may as well wade in here and say I agree that there are people placing fan entitlement over feminist critique in our little community of the blogosphere.

I may be wrong that this will turn into a New Year's Flamewar. The last time I touched on this subject I didn't get the shitstorm response I was expecting. Of course, last time I didn't single anyone out, so here goes.

I've seen a Green Lantern fan complain that Jade's death was sexist because it was unfair to Alan on the Comic-Bloc forums.

On When Fangirls Attack, I've seen supposedly feminist articles complaining that bad haircuts are sexism against female character.

I've seen a flock of JLI lovers attach themselves to Girl-Wonder.org and seize on every opportunity to trash DC, which I simply find suspect. I know that there are very passionate feminists who also love JLI, I liked the series myself, but when I see constant personal attacks against Didio and Johns that keep bringing up the body count of Giffen's old Justice League but don't see the same people engaging in the more in-depth feminist debates, I'm a little suspicious.

And I know a comics blogger who comes up with endless justifications for her hatred of characters such as Donna Troy and Jade. She claims that they, at their very core and in their concept, are anti-feminist by nature and should die horribly to be replaced by better female characters. (And Cassie Sandsmark, but I haven't ranted about her on this blog yet.)

Look, this is superhero fandom. We're naturally obsessive, possessive, and only marginally sane at best. Fans who don't want anything bad to happen to their favorite characters have been latching onto pseudofeminist critiques since the Fridge List, and they aren't going to stop now. Its hard for any fan-rant not to look like "Bring Hal Jordan back or die" with that image in the reader's mind.

The best anyone can do is offer as well-thought out and reasonable an argument as possible, with plenty of social theory to back you up. It never hurts to go for the common sense argument.

Now, I do have to weigh in on the other controversal statement Dorian made in that paragraph. The Memorial Case Campaign. I don't see overt sexism on DC's part. I do see inherent sexism in the Bat-verse, and the setup of the characters. I am absolutely certain that piles of letters from fans about wanting a better portrayal of female characters is a good thing. Whether you feel its in character or not for her to get one, it lets them know that women care about what happens in the books.

7 comments:

  1. I want to go on the record that most of the characters in the DC universe have really crappy haircuts.

    Just sayin :)

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  2. At least Superman got a haircut.

    Aso, Steph *does* need a memorial case in the cave. She can replace Jason's now that he isn't really dead anymore ^^;;

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  3. Well said, Ragnell. You know, I actually think Time made a good choice in picking all of us content drivers and consumers of the Internet for Person of the Year because you see what kind of power comes up when somebody posts something. And, I think comic book fans are so diverse that when we agree with somebody, we really agree with them, and when we don't, we get all mad.

    For example, I wrote something about Chuck Dixon writing Grifter/Midnighter and, given the homophobic statements he's made, was concerned about how he would treat the character. I tried to be as reasonable as possible and thought I was fair, but I got comments and e-mails from people pissed at me for "ragging" on Chuck Dixon. Hello?!? I didn't say he was a jerk or evil or I hated him. I put his words and my concerns out on the table. People draw their own conclusions.

    It's important to remember, though, that our opinions are our own and we should be able to post whatever we want to on our blogs because where the hell else are we going to do it? Unfortunately, none of my friends love comic books as much as I do. So, I have to say everything I want to say on my blog and hope somebody will listen to me.

    And, like I say when people complain about things on television, if you don't like what's on, turn it off.

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  4. You'll get no arguement from me about sexism in the Batman books, or the creepy misogynistic overtones that went into Stephanie's death. Citing the case campaign in particular may not have been the best example to use, in hindsight.

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  5. That Steph doesn't have a memorial case isn't sexism. It's about keeping the trademark for the original Robin valid. By showing the costume they are regularly publishing the character, thus reinforcing ownership. When a purple hoodie becomes a trademark issue for DC then Steph will get her own floating costume in a tube.

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  6. That's...actually the weakest reasoning I've heard yet for the lack of a Spoiler case. DC is in no danger whatsoever of losing copyright on the original Robin costume due to non-publication. Between reprints, merchandising, DVDs of the various Bat-series, etc., that costume isn't going anywhere.

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  7. This is an interesting arugument, and also well-reasoned. Unfortunately for a lot of people, well-reasoned is the LAST thing that they seem to be able to come up with. I hate to use the term "knee-jerk", but if the shoe fits...! However, I know that I too have had immediate and often negative reactions to things, and the computer makes it so...easy to comment before actually sitting down and thinking things through.

    It is also possible, as you have experienced, to get yelled at even when you HAVE made a reasonable arugument. I once made an off-hand remark that I didn't really care much for Manga. Boy was THAT a mistake!

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