plainly and simply parasitical on the obvious or univocal reading

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'll be happy for a second

During my regular nerdly surfing of the comics blogosphere, I noticed something intriguing and exciting from one of my favorite non-explicitly-feminist comic bloggers, Jim Roeg. Well, not from him directly, but it's a thing I noticed on his site that I'd like to point more people to. During his wonderful essay on Steve Gerber's Marvel Two-in-One run he posts the following panels:

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the topmost panel. Do you see what I'm seeing? Well, first of all, out of four characters, two of them, a full 50 percent, are women. But the thing about that that I really noticed, and that got me really excited, is that the two women are completely different from one another (well okay, they're both thin and pretty...)!

Now, I don't know who they are, so y'know, not really any lasting iconic appeal or anything, but look, two different outfits, two different hairstyles and, what's this? Two different types of body language? Yes!!! And the one in the traditional "heroic stance" that is usually reserved for men only (let me say that again: a woman in the traditional heroic stance. Well, except for the whole hand-on-the-thigh thing...) is also wearing long pants. What is this? Is all of Gerber's stuff this awesome?

So yeah, for one brief, shining moment, there are just as many pathways into the text for those wishing to identify with the women as there are for those wishing to identify with the men. So not mind-blowingly spectacular or anything, but nice.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Willing to Concede?

God damn it, dude.

I was all set to begin what I thought was a pretty awesome post about the strained antiradicalism of X3 (supposing that the self-evident misogyny has been covered, and also that, since I can't get the image of Ms. Mota's Arclight out of my head for more than five minutes, I may be undermining myself a bit on that score anyway... but come on! Can't I have one moment of drooling fanboyish weakness? Because I mean, holy shit...), and then I was clicking around on When Fangirls Attack, as I do, and found something that, on this of all days made me go from relatively calm but slightly angry to "Isaidnolunchnogangrenelunch" within minutes.

See, it was yet a third incredulous defense of an entitlement that does not exist (or more accurately exists, but shouldn't) from Erik Larsen that did it. I didn't comment on the first one, or the second, because, well, I'm lazy and update infrequently and also because there were plenty of people saying things that I thought anyway. Besides, his second article was full of "poor me" whining about how everybody was dogpiling him for no reason and from what I could see on message boards, people were actually buying it. So I held back, thinking maybe that was that. But he hasn't stopped.

The first thing that I notice is all the talk about how what he wrote was quoted out of context in people's responses. Fankly, though, that's only a valid criticism if putting the quote back into context changes its meaning. Alas...

And now, to take some quotes out of context:

I'm not saying that we can't do better. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to do better. I'm not excusing anybody. But I also don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to make candy bars for people that would like to buy candy bars.
The thing is, though, it is perfectly reasonable to bring critique against the idea that candy bars make people just as healthy as anything else, in a world where the message that "real" healthy people like to eat their candy bars, and by God it's their right to do so and anyway they just can't help themselves, that's just the way healthy people are after all. To then go on to say that candy bars and the consumption thereof are not harmful to chocolate, caramel and creamy, creamy nougat is a bit disingenuous, no?

And that brings me to this, then I'm done:

If somebody dresses in a way to provoke, is it wrong to be provoked? If you wear a dress with the neckline plunging down to your navel, somebody's going to give you a once over. If you walk down the street in your birthday suit, people will look. Is the person looking at fault? I've heard women get incensed about men checking them out when they're clearly dressing to get the attention that they've gotten.

And somebody's going to get on my case about that statement.

Yeah, me.

Because how do you know someone has dressed in a way to provoke without asking? And more to the point, how do you know they've dressed to provoke you, and not somebody else? Despite what you may have been told, the way a person dresses is not a license to gawk and leer and make them feel uncomfortable. Maybe the reason that women get so mad at being checked out is because they're being checked out by people they aren't interested in, and excessively. Maybe they're getting stared at or harassed (cat-called, for example) by guys who they don't want to talk to or even acknowledge. And what a dodgy statement that is anyway in a world where there are some women who get unwanted attention no matter how they dress or don't dress and there are also women who couldn't get attention of that sort when they do want it (from people they're interested in) no matter how they dress or don't and it has nothing to do with anything about them.

And shame on you for building your own victimization into the statement. Not really very brassy, dude.

So to wrap it all up, there are folks saying he's a decent guy, and I'm sure he is. But that's part of what bothers me: basically decent people do, say, and think this kind of stuff all the time. It's part of what keeps women from being people first. I don't think anyone's saying that the attitudes of individuals are the biggest problem, just that they indicate something deeper, an older and darker magic, if you will...

By the way, I'm not willing to concede that I'm wrong. 'Cause I'm dedicated like that.