March 19, 2013

In response to his girlfriend's complaining about Emma Frost...


67 comments:

  1. Laser Eye surgery is such a letdown, neh?

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  2. Can I just point out that it's a concussive blast, NOT "lasers"? Comic geek fail.

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    1. It all depends. Are we talking about Cyclops or some other superhero? With Cyborg, for instance, I'm pretty sure it's a laser. But then again, it's just the one eye. And this gentleman said, "eyes."

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    2. I had no idea it only came out of one eye, but I've never been a regular reader. So why doesn't he have a monocle instead?

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    3. Anon 11.16 makes a good point. There are plenty of comic book characters who shoot lasers from their eyes.

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    4. Michael, Cyborg has a laser out of one eye. Cyclops's optic blasts come out of both eyes.

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  3. Here's the difference: real men actually, in their heart of hearts, wish they could shoot concussive blasts out of their eyes. Real women do not, in their heart of hearts, wish to walk around in their underwear 24 hours a day.

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    1. That's skewing the point a bit. Women DO want to look like supermodels, especially effortlessly like the comics portray. Comics show us all a dream of what cannot possibly be. The question is, are readers like this guy with a distinction between fantasy and reality, or are they like the negative stereotype that kills themselves trying to fly or starves themselves trying to look like Barbie?

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    2. And yet, some do. Case in point: When did camisoles become outer wear? They were always, for centuries, lacy underthings. Then about ten years ago I started noticing young women greeting me at restaurants (NOT Hooters, regular restaurants) with a camisole over a skirt or pants. Nothing over the camisole.

      Initially, I really liked your response. It is generally true, men wanting super powers and women seeing their comic book counterparts as silly. But then I thought about fashions today, and I realized, unfortunately, that there are a lot of women who *would*, apparently, wish to walk around in their underwear 24 hours a day.

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    3. This is anonymous @12:19, I was responding to Anonymous @11:52am. It seems I was typing at the same time as Pwykersotz, whose posting appeared just as mine did on my screen. I agree with Pwykersotz, although it appears that I was responding to Pwykersotz. Just trying to clarify, here.

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    4. Ugh, really?

      Pwykersotz, women may want to look like models, because that's what's considered beautiful right now, but they don't want to just be sexualized. If they did I'm sure you'd see a woman like Gisele B√ľndchen wearing her Victoria Secrets outfits to the store when she's buying toilet paper.

      Anonymous 12:19, ankles used to be hidden too. The kinds of camisoles women wear as outer wear are no more suggestive than 80's mesh half shirts. Fashion constantly changes (and has it's own place in hell for it's influence on how all genders view their bodies), but to compare Emma Frost's wardrobe to what women actually wear in public is a reach.

      As for the real women that do want to dress like Emma Frost? I say more power to them. Although even if they have the bodies to rock that look, nine times out of ten, they're going to be called a slut. So it's unlikely you'll see that trend catching on.

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    5. Hmm, nope, I have to agree, the current women's fashion trend seems to be going around with your underwear showing. Why just the other days I was walking behind a woman whose shirt cut revealed so much of her leopard print bra that I could tell she hadn't been fitted for it properly. I actually kind of wondered why she was bothering with a shirt at all.

      Frankly, I think the only reason why more women don't dress up like Emma Frost is that half she stuff she wears needs to be painted on. Certainly, while not everyone goes around wearing exact replicas of her wardrobe, it's fairly common, even in the middle of winter, for women to go around with similar coverage. Seriously, the middle of winter and wearing short shorts and tank tops and they wonder why they freeze.

      Personally, as a woman myself, I prefer Rogue's style of dress, sans gloves. Well, sometimes sans gloves. Practical and comfortable. (Okay maybe not so much in the middle of summer, but she can control her powers now so I doubt that's really a problem for her. And the high heels aren't actually practical, I prefer flats myself because they won't destroy my feet later in life, but still!)

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    6. Here's the thing: men want laser eyes, but aren't ever going to get them because eyes do not work that way. But most women COULD achieve near super heroine bodies with enough exercise a proper diet. But it's much easier to complain about comics for being "unrealistic" (ignoring the fact that being "unrealistic" is the whole point of most comics) that to accept responsibility for their own lack of effort and self discipline.

      Their real complaint isn't that comic book females are "unrealistic", but that, at least for some very few women who put in the effort needed, they are.

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    7. Anoymous 1:31 here:

      Anonymous 4:56 maybe it's a regional thing but I've never seen a woman wear nothing but nearly-a-bra in the winter in the North East (college keggers excluded).

      When you say you see women who dress that way is it a normal everyday thing? Is it from the same woman, or is it just that this one time you noticed it? You mentioned wanting to dress more like Rogue, is that an exception where you live? I feel like we would all rather dress like Rogue, given the chance. My point was dressing like Emma Frost was the exception.

      There are women out there that do want to dress like Emma Frost, but most woman want to feel both sexy and strong in their cloths. For some it's a t-shirt and jeans, for others a bra and t-shirt. The disappointing part is we get judged for both.

      The unfortunate part of Emma Frost is you can't talk about her without realizing she was created as a sex object.

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    8. @Anonymous 3/19/2013 8:53 PM

      Except men don't like male superheroes either. In fact, the obesity rate for men is about the same as women while 85% of people with anorexia are women.

      Also, do you really think that the kind of body type that super heroines have is healthy?

      Having more muscle mass (like the male superheroes) is actually good for you while being skinny (like female superheroes) isn't as good for you. Not to mention the fact that large breast sizes have been linked to back pain and breast cancer.

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    9. Anonymous @3/20/2013 2:07 AM is missing the point.

      Yes there are just as many men who don't put in the time and effort to develop a Liefeld Physique. What matters is men don't care.

      I challenge you to find a single male comic book fan who would rather have Cyclops' pecs instead of his eyes, even though the pecs might actually be achievable with enough effort.

      In contrast, how many women, even female comic fans, obsess about Emma Frost's telepathic powers as much as they obsess over her costume and bust size?

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    10. "But most women COULD achieve near super heroine bodies with enough exercise a proper diet."

      ...and breast implants. See, the exercise and diet it takes to burn all that waist fat also burns fat everywhere else. Including breast fat.

      Without breast implants, a woman could achieve the waist size that comic book superheroines have but she'd have a flat or nearly-flat chest instead of the breast size that comic book superheroines have.

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    11. Not another anonymous.3/20/2013 9:22 AM

      I just want to add that I don't think there is anything "proper" about what a women would have to do to look like a comic book character. There is such a thing as being TOO skinny. Just because that skinny waist and huge breasts look is idealized in every form of media ever doesn't make it something to strive for.

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    12. There are plenty of supermodels and actresses who prove that breast implants aren't always necessary.

      Diet and exercise are not optional.

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    13. Those supermodels and actresses who have flat or nearly-flat chests *do* prove that breast implants aren't always necessary to look like *a supermodel or an actress*.

      They also *don't* prove that breast implants aren't always necessary to look like *a *typical comic-book superheroine*.

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    14. The physical difference between supermodel and superheroine is not nearly as large as you are trying to pretend. The worst excesses in comic book portrayal of women are a matter of goofy impossible poses more than impossible proportions.

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    15. Anonymous @ 3/20/2013 4:28 AM

      And you don't seem to understand that the fact girls are being taught to obsess over that kind of physique is unhealthy. It's the reason why 7 million women in America suffer from anorexia or bulimia.

      Wanting to become buff like Batman or Cyclops would not be unhealthy since having muscles is good but wanting to become to look like Emma Frost is unhealthy for a lot of girls and women.

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    16. "The physical difference between supermodel and superheroine is not nearly as large as you are trying to pretend."

      The difference between a flat chest and C-cup size breasts is merely something I'm *pretending*?

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    17. Anon @3/21/2013 8:41 AM clearly doesn't know what anorexia or bulimia look like. The women in comic books are drawn with characteristics that emphasize their health and fecundity. Making them look bulimic would not make them look healthy.

      The whole "muscles == good" argument is equally simplistic and false. A Liefeld physique comes with an extreme risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, glaucoma, neural impairment, and a host of other risk factors. And it only gets worse if you cheat and use steroids to get it.

      Anon @3/21/2013 3:13 PM: the flat chested, planky "waif" look is only a recent trend among supermodels. Who would have thought that fashion models would be subject to the vagaries of fashion? Have a look a few years back. Check out Frederique Van Der Wal, Rachel Hunter, Laetitia Casta and so on.

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  4. Handsome B. Wonderful3/19/2013 12:21 PM

    Until recently, weren't comics marketed almost exclusively to teenage boys? Isn't that kinda the bottom rung of the target audience ladder? I agree with this guy, folks need to calm down on this subject.

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    1. No, actually teenage boys are considered probably the most desirable audience by advertisers, because they have not yet formed stable brand preferences and are starting to have significant purchasing power.

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  5. So much to say...

    First off, while I do agree with this guy, there is a small but significant fraction of male comic book fans who seem unaware that (a) real women DON'T look like comic book women and (b) don't want to. Do you have any idea how irritating boobs like that would be, not to mention painful?

    Secondly, as far as I know the "underwear as outerwear" fad started with Madonna back in the '80's. Most women didn't buy into it then, most of us don't now either.

    Third - much as I'd like to argue with the statement, I think Pwykersotz is right. I think most of us would love to have a supermodel's figure without the effort or self-absorption that requires. So I guess I have nothing else to say here.

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    1. Right on! I'm a woman and I like this guy in today's comic because he does understand that comic book superheroic figures are unrealistic *instead* of whining about people IRL not looking like that. :D

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  6. There is a lot of male gaze in this thread. I think the point is comics (with some notable exceptions) reinforce negative stereotypes of women on an absurd level. It doesn't matter that it is a fantastical medium. It is still serving as a means of conveying a message, which seems at least visually, to objectify women. It happens in every bit of popular culture. However, comics are an easy target because of the fetishistic stylings of female costumes (Zatanna is a favorite point of conversation. Robbing her of her powers by *gagging* her? This is a literal and metaphorical silencing that is reprehensible). This objectification is a product of male gaze and is fundamentally morally problematic.

    I think a lot of women are getting reasonably sick of these sorts of tropes in an art form that deserves better. I have read some amazing comics and it is always a shame when an amazing story is damaged because of poor art direction.

    Not trying to start a flame war, but folks need to understand that this sort of portrayals of women permeate all parts of western society and is pretty much cultural currency. It needs to not be a given that a female character is an anatomical impossibility.

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    1. Ugh. Pardon the grammar mistakes. I was typing in a hurry.

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    2. You can rob Banshee of his powers by gagging him too.

      If you were talking about Golden Age Wonder Woman and her bondage-tastic weakness, then you'd have a point. But when it comes to Zatanna, her powers come from being able to speak, so gagging her is the most obvious and logical means of taking her powers away from her. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, lady.

      If you really wanted to insist on Zatanna being a metaphor for women's issues, then I'd say it would be an empowering one. Woman who can speak = nigh-omnipotent. So speak up, sisters! Let your voices be heard! Don't let the patriarchy silence you! Rock the vote! Cliche #4!

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    3. Context is always important especially in a story telling medium. That the gagging is happening to a woman, a class of individuals that has a history of being oppressed, makes it worse then it happening to a man. Also, the Wonder Woman example is just proving my point. Mainly, that there is a disturbing pattern with over fetishizing women in comic books.

      Also, not a woman, brah. Good assumption!

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    4. I'm sure Banshee (or perhaps a more relevant comparison, Zatara, Zatanna's father or cousin, either works) is just as offended and humiliated as Zatanna is when they are gagged. To say that it is worse for her because she is a woman is a blatantly sexist statement that unfairly dismisses the oppression of the male victim.

      And yes, I provided the golden age wonder woman example as a CONTRAST to your point, because it is a relic of a bygone era that has long since been eliminated from modern comics. Zatanna, on the other hand, has a superpower that is inherently linked to her ability to speak. Gagging is often the most practical means of doing so, but afflicting her with laryngitis or removing the air from the room would work too, if the supervillain was somehow able to accomplish these feats.

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    5. Not quite. There IS a greater cultural resonance that is much more viscerally impacting when dealing with a gagged woman as opposed to a gagged man. Also, to say there is sexism against men is absolutely absurd. The perception of "male sexism" is a product of male gaze. Let me be clear about this statement, there CANNOT be systematic oppression of a group that is already IN POWER. In this case (and almost all cases), it is white heterosexual males. (Preface: this is not to say that ALL white heterosexual males are evil, bad, etc. It is merely pointing out that they have been at the very top of the power hierarchy for literally centuries, and this privilege affects perception in almost every way). So yes, I would say it is worse for a woman to be gagged as opposed to a man because of basic cultural sensitivity.

      This is diverging a bit from an argument of reason and more of an emotional argument, but do you see Banshee bound, hanging upside down barely clothed from an acid pit, with a red ball gag in his mouth? I doubt it, but Zatanna has on more than one occasion.


      Your point doesn't succeed because even though Golden Age Wonder Woman is no longer applicable there is still a laundry list of these "relics of a bygone era" (Power Girl's window, the Enchantress, Sara Pezzini from Witchblade, Domino, these are few just off the top of my head) that are still very much in existence today. To say that fetishism and female stereotypes are gone from comics is just plain wrong. The lack of variety of feminine characters (this has already been elaborated on in the thread)and corrosive feminine stereotypes (the Temptress, the Virgin/Madonna, the Whore, etc.) are still very much alive in modern comics. This is still a prevalent issue.

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    6. Your argument falls apart because it is based on an imagined position of power that no longer exists in the day to day life of first world white heterosexual males. There are few things so powerless and pitiable as some of the white heterosexual males I see lingering in the comic stores... the subjects of many of the comics in this blog, even. To suggest that, should one of these men be victimized (be it murder, assault, rape, or a simple gag forced into their mouth) that their pain is any less real because of their gender is TRULY ABSURD and UTTERLY SEXIST. I am a white male and I can attest that I was handed no special powers or privileges at birth by virtue of having a penis. If you are and you were, please pass me directions to the secret white-guys club where they are handing out free money.

      As for Zatanna getting dangled precariously over certain doom, do you think it could have anything to do with her being an escape artist and stage magician? Mr. Miracle gets subjected to the same abuse every time he shows up on a cover. In fact, I'd say most solo heroes can be found in these compromising situations at one time or another; because being put in mortal danger heightens tension in the plot, draws passing viewers into purchasing the comic, and provides the heroic character a triumphant return from certain defeat. So what do you think is more likely when you see Batman dangling from a thread in one of Riddler's deathtraps: that the artist was intending it as masturbatory fuel for Bat-fans, or that the comic is simply more interesting when mortal peril is involved?

      And until one of the characters on your laundry list shows more skin than Namor or Conan the Barbarian, it's hard to take that comment seriously. I can walk the halls of my college and expect to see more cleavage than Power Girl shows. And I think a more correct statement would be to say that female AND male stereotypes still exist in comics. Because stereotypes (or "tropes") form the building blocks of narrative prose. They are ingredients for telling stories, and just like in cooking a recipe you can use them well or you can use them obtusely, but to eliminate them entirely leaves you with a bland gray paste that no one wants.

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    7. Unfortunately, we are at an impasse, friend. If you cannot acknowledge that being born a white heterosexual male comes with privilege, then I don't think there is a way to progress in this argument. It is a fact proven my numerous sociological and psychological studies (look it up).

      I never stated that victimized males feel any less pain than men. I was merely pointing out that based on historical fact of women's oppression, portraying a woman in that way is contextually worse then a man in the same situation. I would also argue that it is worse in real life, but that is a little bit more difficult to argue without getting into sociological minutiae and beyond the scope of this argument.

      Aside from Patronizing Storytelling 101, (I think we all passed English in high school) the fact that Zatanna is tantalizing when dangling in that manner further proves my point about how steeped in male gaze you are. Don't you think that hyper-sexualized cover art may make women uncomfortable in a real way you couldn't possibly understand? Just because the Submariner shows skin and doesn't make you uncomfortable doesn't mean that it is ok that Power Girl has a cleavage window. Being culturally sensitive does not diminish story telling quality.

      Also, didn't you say that fetishizing and stereotyping women wasn't a problem anymore in comics and now saying there are mean and women stereotypes?

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    8. Instead of just abjectly positioning your opinion as "fact" and challenging me to do the work to prove otherwise, it would have been courteous to at least back up your claim. You are the one making the claim after all, so the burden should be on you to support it. Nevertheless I'll go ahead and do your work for you, just one of the "privileges" of being a white male I suppose.

      And lo, it took Google a fraction of a second to show that your "fact" is actually merely one side of an ongoing battle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Male_Power

      But back to the discussion at hand; I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to define what you mean by "contextually worse", as it is a rather vague term. Worse to who? I had initially assumed you meant "the victim", which is why I took your implication to be that women feel a greater amount of pain from various abuse. Apart from pain felt, how else does one measure the impact of abuse? So since I seem to have missed your meaning there, perhaps you could rephrase it more clearly.

      Returning to Zatanna; I suspect you haven't read my previous post. My position is that Zatanna dangling over danger is exactly as tantalizing as Zatanna standing in profile or sitting on her couch watching TV. She's still the same woman, and her attractiveness is the same in any setting. The addition of an element of danger adds an appeal to the comic book which is THE SAME when it is applied to male characters. Since the dawn of comics, artists have been putting Bucky at the mercy of Hitler or Peter Parker dangling at the end of Green Goblin's rope in order to give readers an illusion of danger and get their adrenalin pumping. If you automatically assume that to take on a sexual context, then I'm afraid that's your hang-up, not the publisher's. There are plenty of ways to enjoy action/adventure stories beyond the sexual level.

      Is it more exciting to see Zatanna tied up and about to drop onto spikes than it is to see her having a doughnut at the local coffee house? Sure. But it's got nothing to do with her breasts. It's the exact same reason you don't see Batman covers dominated by scenes of Bruce Wayne shopping for groceries or changing the oil on the Batmobile.

      Hyper-sexualized cover art may make SOME women uncomfortable, sure. It may be true that I may never be able to totally understand it, but I'd be willing to guess that it is fairly close to the sort of discomfort that I feel when Namor shows off his chiseled abs or Spider-man jumps spread-eagle at the camera. So yeah, I think I can relate, or at least sympathize. But the difference? I've never started a tumblr campaign asking artists to re-draw Mary Jane into all of Peter's ridiculous poses.

      Finally, I am drawing a distinction between the use of stereotypes (of all genders, races and ages) and fetishization. Golden Age Wonder Woman was put out as an example of a comic that was little more than an exploration of Will Marston's views on dominance and submission. The stories involved were not really about whether or not the evil alien invasion could be stopped, it was about getting hot and bothered by seeing people tied up. This has become a relic of the past... even blatantly sexual comics of today like "Bomb Queen" still have stakes for the characters and conflicts to be resolved.

      On the other hand, stereotypes (positive and negative) continue to exist and will always exist, because it makes communication in a storytelling medium possible. Archetypes like the temptress, or the madonna, or the lecherous old man, or the wide-eyed youth, or the angry skinhead... these resonate with audiences that can relate to similar encounters in their own lives. They also form a visual shorthand so that the writer doesn't have to explain the backstory of every minor character to appear in his comic.

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    9. Oh good lord.

      Any fool who still subscribes to the ridiculous fantasy of "white male power and privilege" has clearly never been a white male. Trying to argue with them is as futile as trying to educate creationists.

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    10. Wikipedia! The king of scholarly data everywhere. You two are still reciting the same argument: that white male privilege does not exist. The fact that it does exist needs to be acknowledged in order to continue intelligently!

      Research y'all:

      Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America by Stephanie M. Wildman

      Urban Geography (A collection of scholarly articles dealing with geographical racism) "Defining environmental justice and environmental racism" is a particularly good article.

      "'Core' Culture Hegemony and Multiculturalism" by James Forrest and Kevin Dunn.

      Possessive Investment in Whiteness by George Lipsitz

      These are all great starting points and only the tip of the iceberg!

      Also, white male heterosexual! There is definitively white male privilege in America. After you read some more, I would love for the dialogue to continue. You probably won't read it and keep on thinking the way you continue to think because it is easier your way.

      Love the name calling Anonymous 10:36, keep it up! I'm sure you will continue to live a fruitful fulfilling life!

      I'm pretty much through with this thread, but it was really good talking to y'all.

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    11. Anonymous @11:38
      Well! That explains all the attention to women's, minorities, and homosexual issues these days! Obviously we care so much about the white heterosexual male that they don't even HAVE problems! All those guys in power are all just wringing their hands evilly, trying to think up new laws they can pass to hurt those poor defenseless women, gays, and minorities, right?

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    12. Useless post #172:

      Anonymous @ 12:20 - no one has ever said white heterosexual males don't have problems, at least no one sane has. The problems don't tend to be of the "can't get hired for a job for which I'm qualified because of my genitals", "can't get an apartment because of my sexual preferences", "I'm not allowed to use a public restroom because I don't look manly enough" type. Those are the problems that the x-rights groups are trying to address. Those people who are not white, heterosexual males live in a relatively restricted world. If you feel that they're getting too much attention, I'm deeply sorry, but right now your problems per se are not as pressing as theirs.

      And no, I don't really expect you ever to read this. I just felt it needed to be said.

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    13. The fantasy of white male power and privilege persists because it's much easier for certain people to cry "racism" and "sexism" than actually earn the things they want.

      You will never convince them their assumptions and prejudices are baseless because that would mean they have to accept responsibility for their own lives.

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    14. Wow, this thread picked up some steam since the last time I checked. But rest assured, I did return to read your posts so it wasn't wasted effort.

      This is mostly a reply to anon @ 11:38 AM;

      I posted a link to wikipedia so that you could at least read a summary of the key points of the book I was bringing to your attention. This is a little more useful than just listing the titles and authors as you did, wouldn't you agree? Wikipedia isn't the source of the information, it is simply an entry that represents a well-researched and supported book. Since it is asking a bit much of either of us to actually read one or more books just to progress with this conversation, a concise summary is more pragmatic.

      But based on your response, I take it you couldn't even be bothered to look at the link I provided? Until you do at least that, I see no reason why I should read any of the books you listed. Also, judging by the titles, most of them appear to be focused on issues of race, not gender. So they are relevant how...?

      I'd like to remind you that I'm still waiting for you to clarify your statement that it is "contextually worse" for a woman to be tied up than a man.

      Since you have yet to respond to any of my previous points about comic book characters, I'll leave you with the reminder that "male privilege" is NOT a universally (or even widely) accepted concept and falls far short of being called a "fact". Demanding that I, or anyone else, accept that your core precept is true and unquestionable undermines any possibility for a balanced debate. I may as well make a similarly ridiculous claim, like "Before we can continue this discussion, we all need to agree on the FACT that women are inherently emotionally unstable and cannot be trusted to make rational decisions".

      But since I don't imagine you hold such a view, and can't expect you to casually accept such a premise for the sake of debate, I would never make such a ludicrous demand.

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    15. Wow. One of you is a sexist, rapist pig. Do you like raping women, you sexist pig? People like you make me sick. You should not be allowed into society. You CANNOT abuse men because they have consistently been oppressors! Stop pretending that it happens - no white male ANYWHERE has been discriminated against. I can't believe that you would support rape culture like this.

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    16. Anon @3/24/2013 10:08 PM:

      Are you trying to make a joke here or something? Because if so, you really need to tone it back. Forcing asarcasm too hard like that is just plain sad.

      And if you you aren't joking, well that even more pathetic.

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  7. THANK YOU! ...where's the "it's true" tag?

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    1. Not another anonymous.3/20/2013 9:27 AM

      Haha! I was just thinking that Mr Tim was conveniently avoiding any specific tags to avoid being drawn into the following arguments.

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  8. The problem isn't really with individual characters, it's with the lack of variety in female characters. There are all sorts of different looking male superheroes. Sure, most of them look like super models/bodybuilders like Superman, Batman, Cyclops, Captain America, etc. But there are also a lot of "average" looking male protagonists like Elongated Man, Green Hornet, Ted Kord, Dr. Xavier, Neil Gaiman's Sandman, etc. There are also plenty of male protagonists who look like monsters like Swamp Thing, Beast, Hulk, the Thing, Spawn, etc.

    There are far fewer female characters, especially protagonists, in comics who don't look like super models or have the skinny body type.

    As for comics being targeted towards teenage boys, I don't think that's a really good excuse. That's like saying because cartoons are for kids then we don't have to put any effort into the writing. Comics do to say to guys that it doesn't matter if you don't look like a super model like Green Hornet, or if you look like a monster like the Thing or if you're disfigured like Jonah Hex, you can still achieve great things and what really matters is the kind of person you are. Why shouldn't comics also have that message about women too?

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    1. This is a good point. To be fair though, it's a result of target audience. Take a look at manga, for example: Every guy in "shoujo" manga tends to look like one of a total of three different types of guy and has one of two or three personalities (depending on the specific genre). And they all are undogly overtly sexualized and serve no other purpose than to be a fantasy for the female readers and/or writers/artists. And you know what? That's ok.
      Just like it is okay for female comic book fans to drool over Nightwings painted on form-fitting-right-into-his-buttcrack costume (he's rivalling Spider-Woman in that regard).
      Fanservice is not something everyone should hate on and frankly, I think many of the overtly and unnecessary aggressive men would react in a more civil manner, if the whole situation would be handled less in a "this stuff is bad" way and MORE in a "This stuff is okay, but I'd also like" (and that means women demanding BOTH more variety interms of women AND more fanservice in terms of barely dressed hunky guys). And I know it is often said that that is exactly what everybody wants. It's the only logical thing to want. But it seems that this is never said from the start. At the beginning,t oo damn often, stands the shaming or criticing or downright insulting of a male audience because they like sexy (and yes, often sexualized) female characters. If there would be more a "more power to ya" approach (an approach that I prefer to take...like, I'm not gay, doesn't mean I'd be against some more hints of gay-make-out scenes in..really, everything), while also simply saying "I want more, you can have what you got, it's great, keep it...I'd just like more of THAT" I feel like it would be much easier to end up with an understanding that makes everyone happy.
      I mean, sure...some people are offended by objectification. But, well, some people are offended by EVERYTHING and censorship is never the solution. There SHOULD be more variety in female characters. I love it when a character, male or female, ends up aside from the norm (and being a fat guy, I always like my fat characters and always want more fat guys and gals in comics). But that doesn't mean we need to purge the earth of all fanservice. Cause I for one know a lot of women (being into anime/manga I somehow ended up with a circle of friends that's almost exclusively female, with three exceptions) who would be greatly disappointed if they wouldn't be able to enjoy their Magic Mike, their shirtless Captain America and Thor in the movies, their gay porn by and for female audiences.
      Wanting more is always a good thing.
      Just please...can we stop damning everyone for enjoying what we already get? Can't we be more positive, optimistic and not focused on taking away things others like because we don't like them?

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    2. Well, bringing up shojo manga may not be the best example since Japan isn't exactly known for its equal treatment of genders.

      There are other deeper issues to consider, like how we define "sexiness" in each gender. Sexiness in men is often associated with power and strength while sexiness in women is often associated with vulnerability and submissiveness. The opposite of that is often frowned upon and denigrated. This is generally bad for both genders. Strong women are considered bitchy while vulnerable men are considered sissies. There shouldn't be anything wrong with men who are vulnerable or women who are strong. So the problem with portraying only these standards and not showing any diversity in any media is that they sustain cultural norms that hurt a lot of people.

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    3. "The problem isn't really with individual characters, it's with the lack of variety in female characters."

      True!

      "There are also plenty of male protagonists who look like monsters like Swamp Thing, Beast, Hulk, the Thing, Spawn, etc."

      And Donald Duck. Note the variety of male figures and monotony of female figures on the covers of Donald Duck comics, Elephantmen comics, etc.

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  9. That is true about Japan - but the point was really that: There is audience that likes objectified men. There are female creators that want to deliver them. And all of that is ok. That was my point: Women can enjoy something as primitive as that. Why wouldn't they? Why SHOULDN'T they?

    And many women in comics aren't portrayed as weak or submissive. Some are bitchy, sure (mostly villainesses)...and they tend to be considered attractive in their personalities because of that (I'm thinking that's like a bad-boy thing...evil and unlikable is always sexy for every gender it seems)
    And I'm not talking about deep character portroyals here, I'm talking about fanservice. Wonder Woman in a skin tight outfit is still tough, proud, intelligent and strong. Just like Nightwing is still an asskicker no matter how painted on the suit is or Sephiroth is still an overpowered everything-destroyer no matter how glorious his longer silver hair and...stuff like that.
    My whole point was never against variety either, i'm just saying that: If I like Wonder Woman showing her legs more than her wearing pants cause I think it's nicer to look at, that does not make me a bad person that wants to put women all over the world down. It simply means I enjoy that bit of fanservice and don't want to be villified for it. And I LIKE Wonder Woman because she's strong. Strong is sexy. Hell, I love the thought of the beautiful almighty goddess coming to save her regular-guy man/love interest. I wish there would be more male damsel in distress characters. But I'm digressing again her.
    I just think we can and should demand more variety without damning all that has come before. (and again, I'm mostly talking visuals here....personalities of characters tend to differ so much between writers anyway it's hard to take into consideration here and frankly, most people actively choose to ignore it either...it's why everyone ignores that, despite starring in a mediocre series and wearing a traditionally skimpy outfit, the current version of Starfire is actually a lot stronger and in parts complex than she has been in a while....and coincidentally, during her own storyarc had more clothes on than any version of the character prior, I think)

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    1. Except it becomes a problem when the lack of diversity in media leads to stereotypes against people. You can't just look at things on an individual basis since no piece of media exists in a vacuum. You have to look at the effects of media as a whole. For example, let's say 90% nerds in movies are portrayed as clumsy, even none of the individual movies directly link the character's clumsiness to the fact that they're a nerd and no one is intentionally trying to say that nerds are clumsy, it'll still create a stereotype of nerds being clumsy.

      Not only that but the lack of diversity in the portrayal of certain groups can lead to negative reactions towards different portrayals of those groups. Just look at people's reactions to a female character who is drawn to be chubby or "too muscular" or reactions to women in real life who are chubby or muscular. There are similar negative reactions against men who may be chubby or look "feminine."

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  10. Okay, so let's just forget about all of the social issues that go along with depicting women, even superheros, like Emma Frost. We all know there are many problems with verring view points that nobody can agree upon.

    However, in this instance I can see where a person's girlfriend would feel self-conscience and be offended that her boyfriend would identify so closely with Emma Frost. Even if she (his girlfriend) is a comic book nerd, the fact that he doesn't choose a stronger female hero who is just as sexy makes the whole issue is upsetting.

    I would be happy to revise my statement if anyone can give me an Emma Frost appearance that didn't read Fredrick's of Hollywood ad.

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    1. Hey Looney Toons, maybe you should ask yourself why you're projecting all that onto a guy depicted in a single panel comic.

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  11. Ah yes, my favorite logical fallacy.

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  12. I feel like this comic was made for some sort of point, although I'm not entirely sure what. It's not a terribly unusual sentiment for someone to express, unfortunately, but it's also not inherently funny.

    I would hope, then, that this is supposed to be pointing out an example of someone who really just does not have even a modicum of understanding of how pervasive sexism is. Judging by the comments, a lot of readers don't either. It makes me feel good to see some reasonable, intelligent comments in here, though, who get how comic books objectify women, how it being a fictional fantasy medium doesn't make a difference, and how female objectification is completely different from male objectification.

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    1. The only difference between male and female objectification is that men don't care about male objectification.

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    2. Not another anonymous.3/20/2013 9:48 AM

      The other difference is that there is more female objectification than male...
      As many people have said in above comments, male characters have a lot of variety, which includes, but is not limited to, physically exaggerated sex symbols. The variety in female characters is much more limited...

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    3. No, the difference is who the objectification is for. Being a super macho super hero with rippling muscles is a male fantasy. A woman with boobs the size of her head and extremely revealing clothes is ALSO a male fantasy. Female objectification lowers women's status in regards to men. Male objectification RAISES men's status in the minds of men.

      In both cases it is men perpetrating the objectification and in both cases it is for the benefit of men. That's the difference.

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    4. @mouse_clicker
      LOLWUT?

      It's already been pointed out that males are far more envious of laser eyes than rippling pectoral muscles. But quite apart from that, unless you can explain how objectification necessarily raises men's status while lowering women's (simply asserting it is not sufficient) your argument holds no water.

      Your position is that hyper-masculine male figures are an ideal for men to aspire to and hyper-feminine female figures are a goal for them to desire. And that may be the case, but there is absolutely no reason why the converse cannot also be true. There is nothing preventing hyper-feminine figures from being an ideal for women to aspire to and hyper-masculine figures a goal for women to want to possess. Given the comments I've overheard from women regarding various male superhero butts in the comics and movies, hyper-masculine figures most definitely can be something they want to possess.

      The only difference is how you CHOOSE to perceive them. Perceiving hyper-masculinity as good and hyper-femininity as bad is just your pro-masculine anti-feminine prejudice manifesting.

      But what's wrong with femininity?

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  13. I'm just surprised the guy had a real life girlfriend to say it to!

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  14. This is the most sane exchange of idea on female roles in comics that I have ever seen on the internet. Besides the "Looney Tunes" comment, there has been zero name calling and intelligent, argument driven exchanges that I hope has shone some legitimate light on the subject. Well done, everyone.

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  15. No "It's true" tag? Weak, Mr. Tim. You know it is.

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  16. You CANNOT oppress, rape, or abuse a white, heterosexual male. They come from positions in power. You cannot abuse or mistreat them.

    Men cannot be raped., If you disagree with this, you are a rapist. You are worse than a rapist, because you promote rape culture.

    Men cannot be abused. if you disagree with this, you are a rapist.

    Men cannot be discriminated against. If you disagree with thisk, you are similarly evil.

    If you disagree with any of the above, yoiu are a sexist monster, and you should be silenced.

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    1. Best be joking. For your own sake. Seriously.

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