“When a beautiful actress is cast in a movie, executives rack their brains to find some kind of flaw in the character she plays that will still allow her to be palatable. She can’t be overweight or not perfect-looking, because who would pay to see that? A female who is not one hundred per cent perfect-looking in every way? You might as well film a dead squid decaying on a beach somewhere for two hours. So they make her a Klutz. The hundred-per-cent-perfect-looking female is perfect in every way except that she constantly bonks her head on things. She trips and falls and spills soup on her affable date (Josh Lucas. Is that his name? I know it’s two first names. Josh George? Brad Mike? Fred Tom? Yes, it’s Fred Tom). The Klutz clangs into stop signs while riding her bike and knocks over giant displays of fine china in department stores. Despite being five feet nine and weighing a hundred and ten pounds, she is basically like a drunk buffalo who has never been a part of human society. But Fred Tom loves her anyway.”—Mindy Kaling on the women who only exist in romantic comedies | Flick Chicks (via rufustfirefly)
You’d think people who had grown up with the ‘Toon Titans’ could’ve been a target audience there. The comic book Starfire isn’t that far off from the cartoon Starfire, except for the obvious difference in customer base between a cartoon for young children and a comic book that costs four bucks a pop. So why is murderous part-time psychopath Red Hood in charge instead of minor icon Starfire? In short, why isn’t it Starfire And The Outlaws?
Because that wouldn’t hurt. Unbeknownst to many, Scott Lobdell’s parents were killed in a tragic newsprint accident, their bodies buried in a closed-casket funeral lest friends and family see panels from Fantastic Four 53 imprinted on their lifeless bodies. Superheroes had taken Scott Lobdell’s family, and Scott Lobdell was going to take back.
You see, Scott Lobdell has seen things. Things man was never meant to see. If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back into you. And Scott Lobdell had seen into the very heart of the abyss.
You don’t fuck with someone who’s written the Tommy Lee Jones/Cedric the Entertainer laffer Man Of The House.
The DC reboot made female characters more palatable by taking away their power, their history, their relationships. Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance were no longer BFFs. Lois Lane was no longer Clark Kent’s wife and trusted friend. Voodoo was a stripper, and apparently despite the name, she wasn’t one before. Dan Didio had already made his biggest mistake; he’d made Scott Lobdell mad. But now he’d made his last one—he gave Lobdell an in.
Bleeding Cool's DC Through The Eyes of a Marvel Zombie, by Heather Kenealy
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Jason Todd, the Red Hood, rescues Roy Harper, from unjust imprisonment and convinces him to join him in being a mercenary, I guess. Also Starfire is there, she’s really stupid and likes having sex. Then some weird lady cryptically says cryptic things and Jason gets to shoot people.
Wow. Can I just say how offended I am by this book? The story in and of itself is OK, but then the misogynistic way Starfire is treated is just appalling. She is literally reduced to a brainless sex slave who can also kick ass. They mention in narration that she was raised to be a slave but she’s really a princess, but they treat her with absolutely no respect, the big HAHA joke being Red Hood referring to his back up as 38s, and of course, the next panel stars Kori’s boobs. Yeah, Scott Lobdell, you should be ashamed.
Story: 1 out of 5 stars
Scott Lobdell, Writer.
Seriously, the only reason I am not giving this book a zero is because at least the words are all spelled correctly. How did this trash get published? Really, is DC just going to let Lobdell turn Starfire into that brain damaged girl on the short bus who keeps pulling her skirt over her head? This is just disgusting, and it’s frankly writing Jason and Roy as scumbags who take advantage of this really stupid but hot alien. It’s not only character rape but it’s practical literal rape.
Art: 1 out of 5 stars
Kenneth Rocafort, Artist. Blond, Colorist.
Continuing with the theme, the only character Rocafort cares to draw with any skill is Starfire, posing her in slutty positions that best show off her boobs or butt. Every other piece of artwork in this horrible book is inked in scratchy overworking, anatomy is wonky, with Red Hood’s thighs going from elephantine to almost spindly in one sequence. The colors are adequate, which is good because the faces of the two main characters are identical, which might mean Starfire isn’t stupid, the boys are really just that interchangeable.
As I’ve pointed out with regards to my post about the Shortpacked comic from a few days ago that while I disagreed with the way the comic went about its approach, I totally agree with the overall sentiment.
We’ve heard what’s being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic.
We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.
Which is great advice - I encourage parents and consumers to review any type of media before its used for themselves or a child, hence why the ESRB works so well for the video game industry, and why the MPAA exists. As someone who used to make games for a living, I understand the value and impact a rating can have on a title. A rating is exactly why I will watch something - say, like How To Train Your Dragon or Justice League Unlimited - before I’ll allow my nearly 3 year old son to sit down and watch something with me. I want to ensure that it’s appropriate - or at least explainable - for him.
However, what DC is doing here is taking one example of the situation - written complete with gut punch emotion by the unbelievably eloquent Michele Lee (please click this link - it will take you to Ms. Lee’s original blog post where you will get the entire story) - and granted, it has become the rallying cry of fandom to use this example, as it is the most well thought out, written and most emotional example of the Starfire and Catwoman hullabaloo. DC, in a very officious and corporate way, pulls a Matrix here and dodges the bullet of concern that has been the great fan outcry - why the hell are favorite characters being depicted in this way? You’ve had - in the case of Catwoman especially - DECADES of character development, and yet with this relaunch, it seems as if that’s unimportant and has been flushed.
It’s not the rating, guys. Seriously. It’s the exploitative story telling. And honestly, that’s a dismissive statement. Your biggest complaints are coming from adult fans of the character. It’s one thing for a character to be sexy - it’s quite another to be depicted as a sex robot. She went from being an emotional positive force to being an emotionless negative stereotype. THAT is the problem.
Its a shame that books like Red Hood & The Outlaws and Catwoman have tarnished an otherwise excellent relaunch. Sadly, people are going to remember these two negative extremes more than they will positive things like Animal Man, Blackhawks, Grifter, or I, Vampire.
It occurs to me that people who are only acquainted with me on Tumblr might get the wrong impression about how I feel about comics. After all, a great deal of what I’ve reblogged lately has been articles decrying the anti-feminist everything about the DC reboot. So I thought I would lay out my perspective on the matter, for anyone that cares. This is also to help me articulate what bothers me about these things and why they are wrong.
Main point: The DC reboot pisses me off so much because I want to love comics.
I really, really do. I am a fan of sequential art and what can be achieved in storytelling with that format. I am a fan of superheroes. I love a lot of male superhero characters. I even fangirl over some of them. It’s been problematic for years that there weren’t very many female superhero characters I could really enjoy, but A) my main era of actually reading comic books was at a less socially conscious age and B) I liked the male characters enough to ignore what was going on with the female characters (whether I should have or not). The DC reboot, though, has changed that. The way female characters are being treated in this reboot is something I cannot ignore, something that infuriates me, for two reasons.
1. They’re destroying the female characters that were less problematic before the reboot.
This one is probably the one that bothers me the most as a writer and artist. Why are they changing things about perfectly good characters? The offenders here are the Batman girls and Starfire.
The female characters in Batman have always, I feel, been less problematic. Aside from Ivy, they’ve had less revealing costumes. Harley was sexy in that full-body clown suit, but she wasn’t throwing herself at the reader; her character was not about sex. It was about obsession and how you can be attached to someone who does nothing but hurt you. Hard to feel that in herredesign.
Catwoman- yes, she wore a catsuit, but at least it was somewhat practical, since she was a burglar, and it (at least usually?) wasn’t a catsuit that was missing bits, unlike other characters. She wasn’t willing to change who she was or stop doing what she enjoyed for Bruce, and that unresolved romantic tension made that ship. She was an interesting character and an interesting not-quite-enemy for Bruce in ways that had nothing to do with her physical appearance. Now she’s being advertised primarily as sexy by her book’s writer, her catsuit is half coming off, and she’s having sex with Batman at the end of her first issue (which is a problem because of the change in character and because of the pornshot nature of the ending panel, not because she’s sexually active).
Annnd Starfire. I’ve seen a lot of places talking about how this Starfire is supposed to be sexually liberated. I’m not sure where that argument originated, but Starfire was already sexually liberated. Her whole culture promoted polyamory in a way that sometimes included sex, and that was equally acceptable for both males and females. The change in her character has not ‘sexually liberated’ her. It made her into a woman who uses people as sex toys, because she has no emotional connection with them whatsoever, even the ones she’s theoretically in a relationship with. How is that putting her on a level with men? If I saw a male character written that way, I’d think he was disgusting. No matter how stereotypically attractive his appearance was, I wouldn’t be attracted to his character. I’d consider him prime hated villain material, since he’s clearly accustomed to treating other individuals as less than the sentient beings they are and has difficulty understanding emotions, which is, well, a bit sociopathic. Why is anyone supposed to feel any different about that same character as a woman?
2. It has gone to a level that cannot be ignored in favor of the male characters.
This is pretty simple. When I was reading through my dad’s comics, if I didn’t want to see women treated as sexual objects, I went and read Batman and skipped the issues of the JLA that featured Wonder Woman in favor of the ones with Black Canary (hooker costume aside, Canary is pretty awesome). And we’re told to vote or not vote with our dollar- buy the comics with strong female characters, don’t buy the ones that super sexualize or objectify their characters.
Where am I supposed to go now? I love Batman, but now Catwoman and Harley have this ridiculousness going on, and even if the pornsex and the costume falling off was in Catwoman’s comic, it’s going to intrude on Batman. Harley doesn’t have her own comic (as far as I know?), so Batman is where she’ll be showing up. Even if they do a good job with Batgirl (pleasepleaseplease), there are still going to be these glaring problems. Starfire? Not her own title- she’s in Red Hood and the Outlaws. Again, even if I like the male characters there (don’t know so much about them, to be honest), I can’t just read them and somehow ignore Starfire’s barely clad ridiculous proportions asking to have sex with a friend of the person she’s supposed to be in a relationship with.
And I haven’t seen anything that gives me an indicator there will be good options for female characters in this reboot. If someone has, link me. Please.
That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth (which, to the comic book industry, is apparently nothing).
In many ways, the constant barrage of this type of imagery (and characterization) is not unlike the sh*tty neighborhood I used to live in where every time I walked down the street, random people I didn’t know shouted obscene comments about my body and told me they wanted to have sex with me. And you know, maybe a lot of those guys thought they were complimenting me. Maybe they thought I had tried to look pretty that day and they were telling me I had succeeded in that goal. Maybe they thought we were having a frank and sexually liberated exchange of ideas. I’m willing to be really, really generous and believe that’s where they were coming from. But in the end, it doesn’t matter that they didn’t know it was creepy; it doesn’t matter that they “didn’t get it,” because every single day I lived there they made me feel like less of a person.
That is how I feel when I read these comics.
And I’m tired. I’m so, so tired of hearing those messages from comics because they aren’t the dreams or the escapist fantasies or the aspirations that I want to have. They don’t make me feel joyful or powerful or excited. They make me feel so goddamn sad that I want to cry, because I have devoted my entire life to comics, and when I read superhero books like these I realize that most of the time, they don’t give a sh*t about me.
“She’s like me. She’s an alien new to the planet and maybe she doesn’t always say the right thing, or know the right thing to do. But she’s a good friend, and she helps people. She’s strong enough to fight the bad guys, even when they hurt her. Even her sister tried to kill her, but Starfire still fights for the good side. And she helps the other heroes, like Superboy and Robin and Raven.”
A most interesting read from a most interesting perspective. I have a hunch that little girl could do great things with her life.
“It puzzles me how many people still believe ‘friendship’ or at least bonhomie conducted in cyberspace isn’t a valuable form of social contact, but, say, being thrown together at an NCT group, or in halls of residence, or because your desks at work face on to each other, is. Or that anodyne small talk with a neighbour is ‘genuine social stimulation,’ whereas chatting over Twitter with someone 6,000 miles away who loves Top Gun and Jefferson Airplane as much as you do is just lonely, dysfunctional nerds clashing in cyberspace. This, to my mind, is idiotic. It’s time for us all to come out of the closet about our secret internet chums.”— Grace Dent, How to Leave Twitter (via pitcherplant)
Often times when I call people white, I get a chorus of “I’m not white! I’m Italian and a quarter Cherokee!” or “I’m not white! I’m Irish, British, Scottish, and a little Spanish.” I don’t identity police, so if you want to identify based on your heritage rather than your…
As a trans male, I see a lot of trans 101’s that are pretty lacking in the ways of actually breaking down constructed notions of sex and gender. I’ve run a number of them myself, some more successful than others. I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes along the way, so here’s the latest version:
Let’s start at the beginning:
You’re born. The doctor takes a glance at your genitalia and ascribes you to one of the two binary sexes: female or male. This is your assigned birth sex. Or maybe the doctor looks at your genitalia and is shocked to learn your body hasn’t formed in either of those two ways. The determination is made that you are intersex. Then, generally, surgery is performed on the unconsenting infant to render hir body more socially acceptable, usually sacrificing reproductive function and pleasure. (After that, then you get an assigned birth sex of…female or male, depending on what they were able to make you look like.)
Then your family takes you home to raise you. Based on your assigned birth sex, they teach you either that you’re a girl or that you’re a boy. They teach you how your gender (girl/boy) is “supposed” to act, dress, speak, etc. You have now been indoctrinated into the gender binary, a social construct of sex and gender that contends that there are 2 sexes (female and male), which directly correspond to 2 genders (woman and man), which are both immutable and non-voluntary and entirely beyond our control.
You’ve been taught wrong.
Now let’s stop and back this thing up. Errybody get on the bus, because we’re going to fucking school. (Hi, my name is Cal, and I’ll be your driver.)
The first mistake comes from the fine world of science and medicine. Genital configuration doesn’t even come close to accounting for all of the physical aspects of a person’s sex, let alone other factors (we’ll get to those in a second). There are a lot of variables involved in baby-making. There are a lot more karyotypes than just XX and XY (XXO, XXY, etc.). Plus, even those first two don’t always link in ironclad ways with sexual development. Statistics indicate that 1 in every 20,000 people assigned male actually have two X chromosomes. (That’s right, I said assigned; we’re not even talking trans men here yet.) Every kariotype has this bi-potential, the ability to produce a “typical-looking” male or female. Beyond genetics, there’s also hormones and reproductive ability to account for, which also vary widely and don’t always link up in expected ways. The most recent statistics I can find state that 1.7% of all births in the U.S. are intersex. 1.7 probably sounds like a pretty small number, but it is not. In IRL presentations, this is the part where I ask everyone in the room to raise their hand if they can recall, at some point in their life, having seen a person who was albino. Usually everyone in the room puts up their hand. If I asked them to recall if they knew anyone who was intersex, I imagine most of those hands would drop back down. But actually there are nearly 300 intersex people for every one who’s albino.
TL;DR: The sex binary doesn’t work. There are way more than two types of body, and they’re not “flukes”.
Now, in a typical trans 101, there’d probably be a segment around here about how “sex is between the legs, and gender is between the ears,” but that is frankly just not true. We use sex as a way of linking physical attributes (bodies) to social ones (gender roles), making sex as much a social construct as gender is. And clearly our conventional notions of sex fail to account for a LOT of people. Which leads us to the more important part of what sex is:
Self-identified sex. This is the sex which you know yourself to be regardless of your genitals, karyotype, hormones, secondary sex characteristics, or reproductive ability. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only sex that matters, because it is the only accurate way of making a determination about what someone is. I cringe when I hear people use the terms “male-bodied” and “female-bodied” a LOT for this reason; a “male body” is any body that is occupied by someone who is/identifies as male. I’ve also seen people use phrases like “self-identified women welcome!” in a lax effort to try to include trans people. I don’t know why so many people seem to think that self-identifying is just for trans folk; it’s not. Everyone self-identifies. (Yes, you too.)
Let me put it to you this way: Could you, right now, without checking your pants, birth certificate or karyotype, tell me what sex you are? If you answered yes, congratulations — you’ve just self-identified!!!
Now, if the answer you came up with for that last question matches what was written on your birth certificate, you are cissexual. (“Cis” is a prefix borrowed from chemistry that means “on the same side,” the opposite of “trans,” which means “on the opposite side”.) If the subsequent gender you were raised as also worked out for you, and you feel comfortable with it, then you are also cisgender.
Transgender people identify with a gender other than the one they were reared as, or feel that their assigned gender incompletely or inaccurately describes them. This can include people who are transsexual, as well as people who are genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, or any other non-binary identity. The word “transgender” originally emerged in the 1990’s as a way to describe people whose transition did not involve genital surgery (and therefor weren’t “changing sex”), but it has evolved into a much broader term through two decades of use.
People who are transsexual identify as a sex that is different from the one they were assigned at birth. Transsexual women and men often feel body dysphoria relating to their primary and/or secondary sex characteristics and seek to alleviate this feeling through medical transition (i.e.: hormone therapy and surgeries). Most trans 101’s like to describe this condition with phrases like “a [pick yr gender] trapped in a [different gender]’s body.” YUCK! I am not, never have been, and never will be a man in a woman’s body, or even a man in a female body. I am male, and I’m in my body, so it’s a fucking male body, period. And I’m not fucking trapped in it either.
Now, if you’re a cis man or woman, you can generally go through life without ever having to worry about what the “cis” part of that means. This is not so for trans men/women and non-binary folk. Because we live in a society that is deeply and profoundly cissexist.
Cissexism is the system of oppression that considers cis people superior to and more valuable than trans people. It is the system that teaches you that being cis is “natural” and that people who are trans are deviant. It is holding the genders of trans people to higher scrutiny than those of cis people. It is laws, rules, and institutions prioritizing the comfort of cis people over the needs of trans people (ie.: legal discrimination in jobs and housing, and close to zero trans-inclusive hate crimes laws, or things like trans people being kicked out of gender-segregated homeless shelter because they’re afraid the cis people of that gender will be “uncomfortable”). It is defining beauty and attractiveness based on how cis people look, and using those standards to determine how well a trans person “passes” (AKA: looks cis). It is the belief that cis people have a greater right to employment, housing, health care, public restrooms, and the ability to make decisions about their bodies than trans people do.
All that stuff is fucked. If you would like trans people to consider you their ally (note: cis LGB folks, you’re not automatically considered one just because we sometimes share an acronym), and you don’t fancy yourself to be an oppressive asshat, here are some pro tips/trans etiquette!:
1) …EVER “out” someone or reveal their trans status without his/her/hir express consent. Many post-transition people live “stealth” and never or rarely disclose that information, and many who are not “stealth” still only share that information selectively. To reveal it without direct consent would be a violation of that person’s trust and privacy, and it could put them in danger of losing their job, house, or even their life if your words hit the wrong ears.
2) …Ask questions just to satisfy your curiosity. Especially do not ask questions or make assumptions about a trans person’s genitalia or “operative status”. It is invasive. You, presumably, would not want to discuss your genitals with anyone other than a doctor or sexual partner.
3) …Ask questions like “So, what are you?” if you’re having a hard time ascertaining someone’s gender. Try to pick it up from context, and if you still can’t figure it out, ask (politely and in private, if you can) what their preferred pronoun is. You don’t need their life story; you just need to know what to call them when referring to them in the third person.
4) …Try to compliment us by saying things like, “You look just like a real [gender]!” or, “You pass so well! I never would have known!” Also don’t try to compliment us by making fetishizing statements, such as, “I love trans guys/girls – they’re so hot!” Trans people are not transitioning from F/M to “sex object.” Trans people are as diverse in their bodies and experiences as cis men and women, and statements like this imply that you fail to see us as individuals. And also that you are creeeeeepy.
5) …Assume that all trans people are non-binary or reject the gender binary. A great number of trans people identify with binary roles and labels.
6) …Accuse people who are medically transitioning or are binary-identified of “reifying” or “enforcing” the gender binary. (This happens often in feminist spaces.) You would not accuse a cis person who fit comfortably in their assigned sex of this; to do so to someone whose trans is fucking cissexist and over-scrutinizing.
7) …Expect that all trans people will match your idea(l) of what a Real Man/Woman™ should look or act like. Think about your own gender. Are you like all of the other people who share that identity? Not to mention that many trans people don’t even have any desire to look or act cis.
8) …Make assumptions about how trans people relate to their gender history. Get rid of that notion that all trans men are inherently better feminists than cis men because of their assigned birth sex, and boot the idea that all trans women must’ve experienced male privilege. And stop fucking using accusations of male privilege to silence, shame, and misgender trans women (I’m looking at you, second wavers).
9) …Use the words “tranny,” “shemale,” “ladyboy,” or “he-she,” ever. Even if your other trans friend is cool with it. Please don’t. These words all seek to invalidate the status of trans women as women, have been used to fetishize trans women, and can be very triggering. Consider these words hate speech.
10) …Make assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation. “Trans” is not a sexual orientation; who you are and who you want to sleep with are two very different things. Trans people, like anyone else, can be gay, straight, bi-, pan-, or asexual.
11) …Use transgender or transsexual as nouns. They are adjectives that modify the way one might experience being a woman, man, etc., just as descriptions of race, class, ability, or orientation are.
1) …Respect every individual’s name and pronouns. Even if that “weird” neutral pronoun is hard for you to remember. Even when they’re not around to hear it. If you slip up, do not make the moment more uncomfortable by drawing attention to it. Just correct yourself and move on.
2) …Apologize, rather than become defensive, if you’ve done/said something that offended someone. Think of it this way: if you accidentally stepped on someone’s foot, and they cried out in pain, would you argue about whether you meant to step on their foot, whether it hurt as much as they claim it did, or whether the step actually happened at all? Or would you apologize and move on?
3) …Think before you ask. It is tiring, and often outright painful, to have to be an “educator” all the time. See if your common sense (or Google) can’t come up with an answer to your question first.
4) …Consider the ways in which you receive privilege by virtue of your being cis. Know that becoming an “ally” doesn’t make that go away, although that is the goal. Be proactive in educating yourself and others and supportive of the trans people in your life.
I’ve been getting a couple questions about trans* and intersexed people where the question askers were getting some terminologies confused. I think this will answer your questions, and it helped with some of mine too!
“One of the proposed “gender-neutral” alternate spelling, seen most often in Spanish-speaking countries, refers to use of the at-sign (@) to replace -o -a or even -e: l@s niñ@s, @s trabalhador@s.
The anarchist circled A is also used in this manner, especially in radical political writing (¡Compañer@s!).
Many people, though, prefer use of the slash (/) as in (el/la candidato/a).”—Gender Neutrality in Spanish and Portuguese.