Saturday, July 08, 2006

Promises, Promises

(I'll address comments sometime soon -- I've gotten some good ones on old posts even. In the meantime, I offer this meager piece of writing as an apology)


  1. It's a very good apology, though. More please.

  2. "With good art, nothing is truly random."

    Unless you're Jackson Pollack. As in life, random elements sometimes combine to create great beauty.

    That said, the "Traditional Play-the-Game Manipulatively Sexual Woman vs Dignified, Honest, Healthily Sexual Woman" game is the same as controlling as any woman verses woman or black verses black game the American culture hands us. I don’t' see anything especially empowering about dividing women into bad (bad = sexually manipulative) and good (good = dignified and healthy, however culture defines that) then watching the good defeat the bad.

    "The Femme Fatale, the dangerous curved one. A construct used to slander all women. A stereotype that women have to work against."

    The Femme Fatale is dangerous to *men*. It's *men* who use it to slander women who are not "Dignified, Honest, and Healthy." Women shouldn't have to work against the stereotype. They shouldn't have to engage in symbolic battles against her. The only way to fight a stereotype is to become whatever it is not, at which point that stereotype is controlling who you allow yourself to be. It's controlling you. One can, however, fight against the people *perpetrating* that stereotype and it's "good woman" equivalent.

    When you embrace this cover, you're not embracing a noble view of womanhood. You're embracing the view that a woman can only be noble if she rejects and battles against the sexuality that a male-dominated culture finds threatening.

  3. I don't know, as I see it, the Femme Fatale is a dangerous stereotype to everyone.

    It's saying that a woman in charge of her sexuality is somehow evil, a threat.

    And not just to men. Noir, in comics, in movies, the femme fatale doesn't have female friends. No colleagues. No sisters. She's as cruel to the mousy "good girl" types as she is to the men, and she's a jealous rival of another femme fatale.

    Basically, you're working with a dichotomy that women must be quiet and demure to be good and any sexual and dominant is evil.

    Wonder Woman automatically denies this dichotomy. Especially in that image. She's strong. She's forceful (that's not a pretty expression on her face), she's sexual (that's not a woman ashamed of the power of her body, not in that costume, not with the forceful confidence she always displays.

    This isn't though, a matter of a woman fighting a woman in the symbolic sense. It's the battle of ideals and perception. Osira is a male fantasy of a powerful woman, strong, in control, and infinitely dangerous/treacherous. Diana is a truer ideal of strength, one in which strength is not divorced from goodness and righteousness. Sexuality as a part of the woman, not the sole defining characteristic of the woman.

    This battle isn't about rejecting sexuality. This battle is about rejecting sexuality as the sole defining characteristic.

  4. And also claiming the right to express your sexuality as a means of expression, rather than a mere tool.