Ah, all right, I think, to be more precise- ironic considering my earlier choice of words- I'm tired of the sense of embattlement I get from these sites. To have to constantly fight to be able enjoy something...I don't understand it.I'm answering this one here because I think I've zeroed in on the thing people can't seem to understand about feminist superhero fans, and its important enough that I need everyone to read this one:
Enjoyment is the default state.
Once again, I really really like superhero comics. (Particularly Green Lantern.) I get a lot of joy out of them that I don't bother to blog about because I'm too busy enjoying my comics to do so.
And most of the feminist fan bloggers I know feel the same way. When things are good, they are happy and you get one-line posts saying "This is SO AWESOME!" and some incoherent giggling if someone bothers to look up from the issue.
The problem comes when you are reading along, enjoying your comic, and something interferes with that.
That something being a disgusting new costume, a looming refrigerator, a sexist joke, an out-of-character scene, a really fucking stupid editorial direction, the inclusion (often creation) of a character who is nothing but a sexist caricature, a professional saying something unbelievably stupid, a butt/boob/crotch/leg/open-mouth shot that is totally unnecessary and interrupts the flow of a story, an awesome character getting shit on to make a male character look better and so on and so forth.
And when that happens, I stop reading and I fume for a bit. Then I boot up my computer, write about what bothered me, say a few rude things about the professionals, unload a bit and go back to the parts I like. Sometimes the bad outweighs the good in a particular book and I drop it, but on the whole there's usually a lot I like. That is why I keep reading.
Sometimes it takes a bit longer to go back to the parts I like. A day or two. A week. Until the next issue of something else I enjoy comes out. Until a certain creative team change occurs. I know a few people who are waiting on Editor-in-Chief changes to get back to what they like. Usually I just need to unload and analyze a bit, maybe rearrange my purchases or write a letter. (I have to write a letter or email or make sure I post in a place the creator'll find it, because I go into Happy Mode at a convention and know I'll never think of anything that pisses me off there.)
Sometimes I'll enjoy something incredibly on the first reading, and see a problem on reflection of the work or on the second reading, so I'll write about that when it occurs to me. Sometimes I will greatly enjoy something, but criticize a weakness of it anyway because the weakness exists and the story would go from pretty good to FUCKING AWESOME if not for that weakness.
And all superhero fans are like this, to a point. It just gets worse when the complaint or weakness is sexism, though, because that brings a whole bunch of people with stock answers of "Of course you're annoyed by that, superheroes are for guys", "That's the way things are, have been, and always will be," "I LIKE it that way so get lost" "Who invited the GIRL?!" and the ever popular "Sergeant? Throw this smelly little lesbian over the side."
That's where the battle comes in. We want to rant like all fans do. We want to write to the publisher like all fans do and let them know what's going on. But because of the nature of our complaints, that certain things are offensive to women, our opinions get invalidated by a culture that claims that superhero comics are male power fantasies.
So what it all comes down to is not constantly fighting to enjoy something. What it all comes down to is fighting constantly in order to be able to express our opinions about why we didn't enjoy something we should. Its fighting to have those opinions listened to so that our natural enjoyment of the genre will not need to be interrupted again.
That's an important distinction.
Its probably one that someone who doesn't automatically like these stories and characters may find hard to understand. Its definitely one that someone who only knows me through this blog -- my place of venting -- may find hard to understand (though I think I've thrown enough love at Green Lantern that it should be clear). But that's the base of it.