Sunday, November 04, 2007

I can't believe I have to make this post.

(And one last Wizard post. This one is entirely tangential anyway.)

I've seen several places that people have been saying "Well, the Feminists have SAID that if DC and Marvel want to be male-only they should put it on the cover, and now that Wizard does it they're all pissed."

Yeesh. Here's the thing about DC and Marvel and I'm going to say it before some dumbass at one of those companies (probably Marvel) thinks this might be a good idea. I was a teenaged reader in the 90s, lured by my sister with the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon. I never got the "boy's club" impression off of comics even in the midst of the Image craze. Growing up with the animated series I grew up thinking superheroes were for everyone and you know what? The Archives, Essentials, and Showcases support me here. They're loaded with sexism but the same sexism you find in gender-neutral and female-aimed entertainment from the same eras, just look at old 60s sitcom plots involving women and compare them to plots involving girls in the comics.

These things were for everybody, and they still should be.

Here and now I freely admit that if Marvel and DC were to brand their stuff officially as a "boy's product" I would be seriously pissed off for two big reasons:

1) They would be taking something away that I enjoyed as a child, taking it away from me as an adult and any young female relatives I would have wanted to introduce to the hobby I loved. Oh, I would be free to buy it if I chose to do so, but my honest reactions as a paying customer would not be welcome because of my gender.
(Arguably, this is the unofficial state of the industry right now.)

2) Because they would be telling me directly that despite having been a loyal paying customer they don't care for my money anymore and don't give a shit if they offend me and I stop reading. I would not be welcome because my money is not as good as a man's.

This is why I can emphathize with the Stephanie Brown-fans. I'm not a Spoiler fan, I'm not a Robin fan, I could give two shits about what's in the damned Batcave. I'm a casual Batfan, no more.

However, these women had a hero, a favorite comic book universe, and a number of elements in the Batverse told them girls were welcome there.

And they were taken away. Not just Stephanie, but Leslie and Onyx. Montoya, Dinah, and Barbara went to other parts of the DCU. Selina stayed, but Selina is a slinky antihero/villainess who fulfills a lot of fanboy fetishes.

Effectively, Gotham went from being for everyone to being for boys.

If you really think anyone'll be happy seeing that spelled out on the cover, you're in for a surprise.

If not, and you are bringing up an argument that basically states "They weren't for boys when I started reading! Why am I being pushed away?" as a "See, you got what you wanted!" gloat, you are a jerk.

And if you are saying "Its always been this way," you're being an ass. If that's true, then how did all of these people who are so "easily offended" by the "natural state of comics" ever get to the point of being regular fans?

Something got worse.

11 comments:

  1. "And they were taken away. Not just Stephanie, but Leslie and Onyx. Montoya, Dinah, and Barbara went to other parts of the DCU. Selina stayed, but Selina is a slinky antihero/villainess who fulfills a lot of fanboy fetishes."

    Woah! You mentioned Onyx! awesome!

    but you forgot Cassandra... the one other Gotham girl who had her own book. ;__;

    Which ended despite consistently selling better than Catwoman I might add. :(

    (going by ICv2.com sales estimates since 2004...)

    That probably isn't such a bad thing...since the book had reached an nice end. But then DC brought the character back only to serve as a cheesy out-of-character villain to a fellow male hero. *sighs*

    Yup, it's an all boy's club now in Batman's world. :(

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  3. A-FRICKIN-MEN. (And thankyou soooo much for not leaving out Onyx. Oooooh, that burned me. Thought we might have gotten SOMETHING good out of that War Drums/War Games/War Ad Infinitum mess. But no...)

    Incidentally, I've got about six kajillion old superhero comix, and I see no shortage of ads saying "Hey Boys AND GIRLS," and no shortage of females writing into the letters page... Since they were always for boys.

    That's why they're advertising that Annie Oakley Daisy Air Rifle For Girls in that issue of 'Tec from 1951 I've got... Because back then boys were boys and girls were girls and there was none of this "women have their own power fantasies" crap.

    Yup. It's just knowing your audience.

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  4. I hate it when people claim "That's how it's always been" as an excuse to carry on with that kind of behavior. That's how it's always been, and that's why so many people are pissed off -- they want something different.

    You're right about comics originally catering equally to males and females -- in the '40s and early '50s, around 90% of all girls in America read comics.

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  5. Well, they clearly suffer from Irony Deficiency Disorder, something we see a lot of in the political blog comments battles - it makes them incapable of detecting and sarcasm, so they can't understand that to say "Why don't they just put 'No Gurlz Allow3d' on the cover?" is a satirical way of pointing out the offensively the PTB pretending to care about us as an audience, and highlighting their hypocrisy there.

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  6. I don't know where to write it but... I'm a big Green Lantern fan since the 70s.

    And I don't know much about how to write in english -but I can read it well- so... fuck off sexists magazines!

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  7. All I can say is keeping comics a "boy's club" is costing them bank.

    If you need proof, look at the positions of anime to comics in the industry in 1995, then in 2005.

    The biggest reason for the change: Sailor Moon. (that point is arguable, but I can make it.)

    That show brought a ton of girls into fandom for the first time.

    My first exposure into any sort of fandom occured around that time, so I saw the change firsthand. The local comic shop I went to in Raleigh- it was 90% comic book stuff in 1995. Now it's just 50%. What do you think took over that last 40%. (And this is despite the fact comics are much better now then they were in 95, and anime is much worse)

    You didn't see the male fans leave over the "pesky wimmins" either.
    In fact, men came as well. I know more then a few male shojo fans. (I ironically met them in my main hobby)

    Basically, the comics industry is being dumb poo-poo heads, and it's sad.

    I do think the industry will wise up someday, but then I'm optimistic.

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  8. You know, you could also argue that Montoya, Dinah, and Barbara all went on to bigger and better things. Instead of being supporting batverse characters, they're notable characters in their own right. If they were all still fixtures in the batverse, couldn't we also complain that they needed their own corners of the DCU and needed to get out of the bat-shadow?

    And I don't actually think your characterization of Catwoman describes the character as she's been written in recent years. Try reading the book because, although my perverted faboy fetishes go unfulfilled, it's damn good writing about a strong and interesting female character. It's lazy to dismiss her because she's inconvenient to your argument. At least acknowledge her as an exception.

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  9. "And if you are saying "Its always been this way," you're being an ass. If that's true, then how did all of these people who are so "easily offended" by the "natural state of comics" ever get to the point of being regular fans?"

    Because they started as kids and most kids don't give a shit about feminism or even know what it is?

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  10. Because they started as kids and most kids don't give a shit about feminism or even know what it is?

    I can't speak for every other woman out there, but me personally? I may not have understood feminism as a child, but I understood sexism. I didn't have the words for it, sure, but I knew.

    There's a reason I hated the pink ranger on Power Rangers for being a bimbo and embraces She-Ra and He-Man for having women that were smart and strong. There's a reason I would, at seven, flinch when I saw certain scenes in my other cartoons that portrayed the girls as weak, wishy-washy, or only interested in romance, cooking or otherwise.

    I didn't have to know what feminism was to know that there were things out there that made me feel bad about being a girl. And I'm guessing, just guessing, mind you, that most other women share similar experiences. Children aren't stupid, and just because you may have been fortunate enough to be unaware of such things as a child doesn't mean we all were so lucky.

    So I'd say Ragnell's point is very valid.

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