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Comic Books for Girls – Offended?

 

Remember how a few months ago Cadbury’s invented chocolate for girls, and we rejoiced? Ladies, prepare to be overwhelmed, because Marvel and Hyperion have teamed up to bring us [drumroll, please]… Superheroes for girls!

“But wait” I hear you say; “don’t superheroes for girls kind of already exist, in a weird sexist spandex kind of way? I mean there’s Catwoman, She- Hulk, half the X- Men, Supergirl, Wonder Woman… I mean superhero girls have been around for aaaages, what is the big deal here?”

 

Hmmmmm

 

Storm in a teacup?

Well, silly girl, that is just your weak female brain talking, because what you don’t understand is that until now, nobody has been able to relate to female comic book characters. We just don’t understand their motivation, how they stay in shape, why they never get their hair all tangled up while flying, the list goes on. Until now.

Hyperion press is finally making these heroes relatable to us, by taking them out of the dangerous and unfeminine world of taking down supervillians and saving humanity, and instead concentrating on what really matters to us girls; trying to find Mr Right.

Women have been complaining about how they are portrayed in comic books for years, finally Marvel have solved that problem by introducing romance as the primary reason these characters do anything.

If you can’t tell already, I am less than impressed with this idea. Somehow, combating long-standing allegations of sexism by introducing a quest for The Perfect Man is not exactly what I, or any female comic books fan, had in mind.

 

Really?

 

I mean, it’s not like they are doing this for the men. Captain America is not getting a spin-off book series, in which he fights against evil and also finds the right lady to give his virginity to. Wolverine is not getting a novel to explore his intimacy issues, why does She- Hulk need a whole book (called The She- Hulk Diaries) to worry about finding a man who will embrace her immense green-ness? I mean didn’t Shrek do that exact thing in several movies?

 

Rogue romance

The book cover features a giant green lipstick, which I think kind of sums up the opinion the comic book industry have of women as a general rule. Nn opinion that got them into this mess in the first place.

The second book being released will feature Rogue from The X- Men, and the plot will consist of her accidentally putting her boyfriend in a coma, and then meeting the ‘handsome and otherworldly James’ and then sparks flying. Yes ladies, that’s right, Rogue’s incredibly complicated and dangerous superpowers are boiled down into a struggle to decide which of two dudes she should look at but not touch for the rest of her life. Because obviously beating Magneto was too butch an activity for her.

Honestly, the books themselves might be fine. They might even be well written, and offer glorious insight into the mind of a lady who is saving the world and having a personal life; only time will tell. The actually offensive thing here is that someone felt that the best way to make women be interested in comics was via the medium of chick- lit.

 

She ain't needing no man - image from wired.com

 

Batty idea

“Ladies don’t understand superheroes. I know, let’s focus on them trying to find a husband,” seems to have been the thought behind this series, and that is so offensive. For one thing, Batgirl is super gay; she is almost definitely not going to be looking for a man anytime soon. And if Wonder Woman isn’t badass enough for you without her having to catch dates in her Lasso of Truth, then I do not understand your life.

If Marvel really want more women to be interested in comic books, maybe they could start with, I don’t know, making a lady superhero who wears pants while fighting crime, or at the very least a decent sports bra. Then maybe they can start worrying about how The Invisible Woman can afford childcare costs while she is fighting International Space Crime for months at a time. Baby steps, like.

How about you? Think you’ll buy these books, or do you think Rogue is too badass to be worrying about her boyfriend?

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3 Comments

  • Well, if you’re looking for comics for women, Marvel is the wrong place to look!! Check out Alison Bechdel, Roberta Gregory, Lynda Barry… Feminist comic book artists/authors who work against the sexualisation and infantilisation of women in comics. As far as I can see, Marvel is jumping on the fifty shades of grey bandwagon. But on the topic of ‘women seeking men’ line in magazines in general, just pick any number of glossy magazines off the shelf and you’ll find it full of the rubbish! But let’s not stop there…there’s shows like Gossip Girl (and many others that I can’t think of the name because I genuinely don’t watch such patriarchal nonsense) which not only use the word ‘girl’ as opposed to woman (but never referring to men as ‘boys’) but which basis the whole TV series on the premise that what all women really want is a man to fulfil them for life.
    The issue, in my opinion, is not enough women at the top levels in the media as a whole, something which I myself had personally set out to rectify by attempting to get to that place in my career.
    I suppose the fact that anyone with any sort of feminist leanings has to turn to (fantastic!) online sources such as this website tells us that a lot needs to change before women will be represented fairly in the media, on all platforms, written or visual.
    Rant over :-)

    Niamh said:
  • I second the recommendation of Alison Bechdel.

    In terms of the Marvel issue. It sounds like a dreadful idea. Marvel have had “off-screen” narratives in their comics for years without needing to make them entirely separate works. We know Batwoman was kicked out of the army for before the repeal of DADT without needing a separate print in softer illustration to explain it to us. There have been plenty of romances over the years and characters dealing the love, loss, family, coming out, betrayal etc etc. Completely unnecessary and utterly patronising to female readers. There probably are reasons that the female readership isn’t huge but I don’t think chick-flicking superheroes is going to improve their fanbase, sounds like an even smaller niche to me.

    That said, I love the green lipstick idea. If it were on a comic I didn’t feel so obliged to despise, I’d be it.

    Ciardubh said:
  • OMG!!! I haven’t got to that issue yet that the Batwoman photo comes from… SPOILER ALERT or what!!!

    Mazi said:
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