Attitudes Towards Feminism in the Past Week 2

My first post ever on this blog was the first “Attitudes Towards Feminism in the Past Week.” It’s been quite a few months since then, but I guess it’s just that time again. To be more accurate, though, these are observations I’ve made in the past two to three weeks.

Most everyone knows about DC’s “New 52.” Well, people who know comics know about it. To summarize it quickly, the people at DC comics have decided to relaunch [reboot] 52 new titles this year. Most have since come out.

Since I am wont to read a comic book every now and then, I perused a few of the bigger titles. I specifically went out of my way to read Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws, two releases that  appeared to have been garnering more than their fair share of attention. They weren’t.

Comics Alliance and io9 put it into much better words than I do, and I strongly, strongly suggest you read at least one of their articles. If I were to personally point out the problems with both comics, they would go as follows:

In Catwoman her first on-panel appearance involves her changing into her suit; red lingerie and butt/boob-shots abound. The issue ends [SPOILER] with her and Batman having sex. It ends with a whole page of them just- going at it.

Red Hood and the Outlaws is a comic which features Starfire, a character who also showed up in the immensely popular cartoon Teen Titans. My problem here isn’t so much with her costume design [on the right]; it’s what you expect from most female heroes nowadays. My problem is that she spends most of her time out of that costume and in a barely-there bikini. She also wants to basically have sex with everyone.

DC’s responded to fans’ reactions about Starfire on Twitter. Essentially, we’re not supposed to be letting our kids read these comics.

This past Sunday I watched Ironclad, a period piece which features Paul Giamatti as an irate Prince John trying to take over in spite of the Magna Carta he just signed. Baron William de Albany, played by Brian Cox1, must defend a castle alongside templar Thomas Marshal [James Purefoy]. Kate Mara plays Lady Isabel, who occupies the keep they guard.

Lady Isabel serves two purposes.

1) To be a strong female character in a heavily male-dominated film/era.

2) To incessantly try to seduce Marshal, haranguing him about how his vows keep him from love and that he should listen to his emotions.

I hated Lady Isabel.

Mara’s character strives to be both fierce and independent [she hits a man in the face with a mace]2, yet her single goal seems to be trying to get into a templar’s pants [tights?]. As a role model she teaches that the ultimate victory is not over the iron grip of royalty, but instead the taking of a holy warrior’s virginity.

In two comic issues and one film [all released in 2011] we’re given a picture of what strong female characters should be. Attractive, certainly, but also sexually aggressive. Sexual freedom and independence seems to be what helps define a woman as strong and in control. This has caused me to come to the conclusion that the last thing I want my daughter becoming is a “strong female character.”

This has been  attitudes towards feminism in the past week. Two.

1. Who I must point out was also Colonel William Stryker in X2. It’s the only thing I can think when I see him.

2. Though when you take into account the fact that one man is cleaved in twain and another is beat in the face with a disembodied arm, it’s not that big an accomplishment.

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9 responses to “Attitudes Towards Feminism in the Past Week 2

  1. Pingback: Aaron Diaz: Has a Lot of Opinions About DC | Culture War Reporters

  2. Since one else has the balls to say this to you
    Comparing the animated character to the New 52 version is STUPID
    here’s what thhe character has looked like since the first time SHE EVER APPEARS:

    compare that to the animated version she’s still got the Double D’s the new one has, she’s still got he outfit that one wrong move can cause her to be Banned from the Superbowl but
    And she’s worn that bikini before the relaunch not to mention Titans Vol 2 #1 where she spent her whole apperance in the issue naked….

    • As I mentioned, my problem is more with her behaviour than it is with her get-up. DC doesn’t really pull any punches, either, when it features her wearing her bikini; they look a lot like Playboy centrefolds as far as the pose and so on go. Her unbridled sexuality, like I said, bothered me.

      I agree that a fair comparison can’t really be made, since one is a television show for children and the other is a comic for 13+. The reason I included her Teen Titans outfit was to a) emphasize the sexuality of her new getup, and b) create a juxtaposition between the interpretation of the character that kids like and are comfortable with, and the way she’s depicted in the comics, which they might be led to read as a result of their familiarity with her.

      My point throughout the article, which I hope was communicated, was this sense of aggressive female sexuality that seems to be valued so much nowadays. I think your point that she spent an entire issue naked is a good one, as far as it implies that this isn’t a recent development.

  3. Please read more than just the 1st issue of anything before you make a judgment on a character’s personality and how they are being portrayed.
    Her “aggressive” sexuality is not new to her character either.

    • First off, I’d like to apologize for taking so long to reply to your comment.

      I am aware of her sexual aggressiveness in her history. Part of my issue is, as I said to Grey, the way she’s depicted. Every time she’s in frame she’s essentially just eye candy, and while I’m sure the writers have done more with her in later issues of Red Hood and the Outlaws, in the first one her sexuality encapsulates who she is. That’s not good writing.

      If it really means that much to you, I’d be happy to read the rest of the series up until the latest one just to see how things develop.

      • That’s fine, everybody’s got a life outside the internet right?

        I understand what you mean. I just don’t think its fair to make a judgement on a character or story from only one issue.

        If it helps, here is a page from issue six that I especially liked: http://i42.tinypic.com/rctut4.jpg

  4. That’s definitely a pretty fine example of character development, I’ll give you that. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Evan and Gordon Talk: Why Christian Media Is So Bad |

  6. Grow up

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