Monday, September 26, 2011

The Perils of Power, the Effects of Empowerment

I was GOING to possibly talk about The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their 'Liberated Sexuality' but with most things about women in comics, I know people who can speak to this much better than I do, mostly because they care a lot more and I have become...  apathetic about the comic book industry.

I think one of the principle problems in discussing Strong Female Characters…

(yes, like these)
…in particular, and Strong Characters in general, is that there are a number of ambiguities in play. One is an ambiguity around the word “character”: this is a word used both to describe the figure in the novel (“The character of Elizabeth Bennett is the protagonist of Pride and Prejudice”) and the behavior and personality of people, both real and imagined (“Elizabeth Bennett’s character was repeatedly called into question by Mr. Darcy’s aunt Catherine”). And there’s likewise an ambiguity (actually a trambiguity, I guess), in terms of the way we use the word “strong”: a person could be strong like Superman in the sense that he could lift a heavy object, or he could be strong like John McClain in the sense that he’ll keep fighting no matter what, or he could just be rendered strongly: that is, this is just a clearly and boldly defined, precise and complex character.
Read more here, it's written by the entirely too charming Chris Braak, who is also the author of the go-to blog post on talking to someone who is defending the portrayal of women in comic books: Representations of Women in (Mostly Superhero) Comics


  1. Very good analysis of strong and character.

    I am kind of wondering when people will stop caring that horny manboys write women as they wish women were. To be honest, the only way to change the way they write women is for these feminists to have sex with them. Because it is their lack of experience with real women that leads them to desire this caricature of a woman. Of course, it's not even really a caricature of a woman, it's just a caricature of a strong man who happens to be a woman. Strong women characters are like John McClain. We expect our supermen to be fit, brilliant ninjas, and we expect our superwomen to be fit, brilliant ninjas. They should be able to bang whoever they want, because you know, when you're saving the world you don't really have time for seduction, so you gotta get what you can when you can.

    These women are an expression of an immature male sexuality. I almost feel like it's sexist to criticize them.

    So my suggestion to neo-Feminists is to find themselves a comic book geek and get into a real relationship with him, and teach him what a REAL woman is like.

    It's the only way he'll learn.

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