Happy 75th Anniversary Superman & Lois Lane
that’s the coldest fucking sip I’ve ever seen ever damn
Reblogging again for the comment.
“There’s the door, spaceman!”
Ugh. I’m on a Mark Millar rage spiral and I can’t get off it.
(via spectroscopes) I fucking hate Mark “Let’s rape Wonder Woman for 23 pages” Millar SO DAMN MUCH. And yes, I will always add that parenthetical to his name, because we should never ever forget that THAT WAS A THING HE WANTED TO DO. The fact that he’s a big name in the comics industry, that he was trusted to write any Superman, EVER, makes me want to burn the world down. Worst fucking writer. I hate him so so much. (via snappily)
Is any Miller in the comic book industry not a failboat?
Ahhhhh people being rageful at Millar fills me with warmth and sunshine.
This is a story about how and why Lois Lane’s role in the Superman mythology has been and is being systematically diminished. You see, once upon a time there was a female character called Lois Lane; Lois Lane was an unusual female character at that time because she was a rare example of a woman who not only worked within a male-dominated field but excelled at it, and an ‘intellectual’ field at that: journalism. Lois had to overcome barriers of sexism to prove to her male boss, her co-workers, and the audience that she was just as good and even better than her rival, Clark Kent (who, lest we forget, has superpowers, so it was not exactly a level playing field) — and she was: she was just as good a journalist as Superman himself.
Now, in the 1930s and the 1940s, the white men who were privileged by the patriarchy and derived their privilege from the systematic oppression of women were so privileged and had bought into their own lies about female competence so completely that they were, as a group, incapable of conceiving of the idea that women (as a group) could ever find any great success in working in (white) male-dominated careers like journalism — they could barely even conceive of the idea that significant numbers of women could want to. Thus Lois herself was a non-threat, as far as they were concerned: she was that woman who was “not like those other women”; she was allowed to exist and allowed to be awesome because her existence and her awesomeness was no threat to white male assumed superiority.
Later on, in the 1950s and the 1960s things began to change for women. The men who had felt so secure in their ivory tower were beginning to see cracks in the base of it: they were no longer so assured of their superiority or of the indifference of women to the idea of success and competence outside of traditionally female roles. It became more important to the security of the patriarchy as a power structure that characters like Lois were put in their place — in order to remind women in general of where their place was. “A woman could never be that competent, that smart, or that perceptive!” they said to themselves (having bought into their own mythology of feminine inferiority for so long), “Nor must women be allowed to think themselves competent, smart, or perceptive.”
This idea that no woman could be as awesome as 1930s Lois had been began to manifest culturally; men started selectively reading the character to bring her into line with the myth of who they thought she must be, which was someone “so blind she never even noticed that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same!” In time, people became convinced that this was who Lois had always been; even women bought into the idea: Lois Lane was invented in the 1930s, therefore she must have been a misogynistic stereotype. We were encouraged to view rejection of Lois Lane as a feminist act (just as we were encouraged to reject our own femininity and womanhood as ‘unfeminist’).
Thus the idea that Lois was always incompetent, shrewish, and ‘blind’ — in short that Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane is a full and valid representation of who she is and has always been as a character — became a cultural meme which continues to inform the way she is written and commented upon today. Any piece of media which does not conform to this stereotype is thrown out as ‘uncharacteristic’ of Lois, regardless of the fact that when all is said and done a vanishingly small proportion of the portrayals of Lois over the years even approach the way she is characterised in popular culture.
Now, in 2011, we see a female character who was a role model to millions shunted off to the background and we’re told that this is where she has always belonged; we will be treated to a love triangle between Lois, Clark, and some third party which will underline Lois’s lack of perception — and we will be told that this is in line with her portrayal through the generations (regardless of the fact that Lois is the only one who actually did notice that Clark was Superman); we will see her marginalised and used to present one more iteration of the meme that “women don’t like nice guys” — and if we complain, no doubt we will be told that this has been done under the pretext of “feminism”, as if there were no feminist way to write Lois, and as if removing female characters from a given narrative (or diminishing their roles and essentialising them as love interests when they had previously filled a variety of different niches) could ever be a feminist act.
(posted by ghostsontv)
This is a post that was written a few months ago by ghostsontv. But it’s a really, really good post. And it deserves to see the light again as we approach the one year anniversary of the official announcement of the DCnU.
I think a similar analysis could be made for other progressive female characters who started out quite strongly, but modern fans write off their earlier appearances as having been sexist because of the time they were created.
So modern writers can get away with doing things like treating Wonder Woman as a sex object, because everyone KNOWS her original tales were just sex fantasies and had no other value. They get away with taking Star Sapphire and making her into a man-hating madwoman just a decade after she was a playful ally, and rewriting the entire concept as a story about how love makes women insane! They get away with having the Scarlet Witch go womb crazy and be retconned as a frightened, helpless thing protected by her brother even though she was a force to be reckoned with back in 1964, because it was 1964 and she must have been a delicate flower. And making her weak-willed is justified as being true to her roots.
And they get away with it, because even many of the fans who defend female portrayals don’t look back at the earlier stuff to see what we’ve lost, to see that no, there was more to some of these characters from the start.
I think what burns me the most about this kind of thing is that so often these characters are “handled” by men and then women are TOLD that the changes that are made to these characters are actually for their own good or “more feminist.”
For example, we can look at the Perez era Wonder Woman wherein we were literally told that Wonder Woman was almost above love—wherein Wonder Woman’s canon love interest was removed from her narrative, in part, because it was unacceptable for a powerful woman like Diana to be in love with a human male. As if that was below her. As if the only way that she could prove her incredible power and be an equal to her male superhero counterparts was to reject the concept of love with a human male. As if feminism could ever be defined under such narrow terms. In turn, this then developed into this insane “The Amazons are all man haters” ridiculous stereotype that people seem to repeat over and over again. In turn, we get writers thinking that they are writing Diana as “strong” when they present the Amazons as violent towards men when, in reality, they have so completely misunderstood and botched the concept of “female strength” that it makes me physically sick.
Ironically, 25 years after DC did this to Wonder Woman, we got a similar commentary on Lois Lane when the DCnU hit. Grant Morrison literally said that Lois was “stronger” now that she “wasn’t tied to a man.” And I’ve seen people try to argue that the complete and utter destruction of the Supermarriage might be a good thing for Lois Lane because “now she can be that strong woman rejecting Clark again while he pines for her and she doesn’t notice him.” Let’s put aside the fact that this reinforces a sexist “women don’t fall for nice guys” narrative that it took decades for Lois to FINALLY overcome. But the idea that a woman needs to ditch the man she loves to be strong again is just insane. There were literally creators I respect making this kind of argument.
Excuse me…but are you fucking kidding me with this stuff?
I can’t believe that in the year 2012 there are people who still don’t seem to comprehend that there is a huge difference between a woman needing a man and WANTING a man and that a woman does not lose her strength, agency, personal power or feminist appeal if she chooses of her own agency to commit to a man (or woman) that she LOVES. Breaking up a happy marriage (which the Supermarriage was) should NEVER ever be used as an argument for feminism. It’s not. It’s a huge, huge misconception about what it means to be a “strong woman.”
Yet, in an industry that continues to be dominated by men who are either pushing 50 or over 50, we continue to be told on varying levels that these choices are actually “good” things for these powerful female characters and that they are the more “feminist” choice.
Now, it’s hard to say how that “strong women don’t need a man” bullshit is going to play out with Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor now that Steve has been introduced back in the books. Time will tell. Time will tell.
It always amazed me with Steve, how they argue that he weakens her. How they say it’s pathetic that she falls in love with the first man she meets. (Because yeah, having the GODDESS OF LOVE as a patroness doesn’t indicate she might have some pretty good luck in that area.) And then they turn around and do shit like have her first crush in Man’s World be on the only guy who can beat her in a fight. They hook her up with Batman so that he can give her neat stuff like her own secret identity and the Invisible Jet. They try mortal love interests who TURN HER DOWN when she approaches them at first because they assume she’s a snob.
Really, there is just a litany of things they did post-Crisis that were so much more fucked up than the idea that a dude crashes on an island with no dudes, and one of the women starts a romance with him (and Steve’s time on the island can be stretched to as long as they want to establish one) that I can’t believe the hoops jumped through to justify it.
It all just comes down to “Yeah, we like how this settles in better so surely that means she’s stronger” without even stopping to think that maybe, just maybe, the reason it seems better to them might be because it conforms to long-held sexist assumptions in our culture. Because that woman who was so intimidating to them, who made them uncomfortable with the amount of power and importance she held, is now torn down, roped in, put in her place.