Monday, June 26, 2006

Looking To The Stars: A Woman's Place Is On The Web

I pride myself on being an enlightened, 21st century man. But that doesn’t change the fact that I really don’t know how it is to be a minority. Apart from a good deal of teasing in junior high and the occasional loud-mouthed sort who equates my long hair and good grammar with homosexuality, I really don’t know how it is to be hated for what I am. I’m white. I’m male. I’m straight. Apart from being a liberal in Texas or a comic book reader, I’ve never really been oppressed.

As such, I was a little worried that after last week’s column that I would get a backlash of e-mail asking me what the hell right I had to talk about the subject of sexism in comics since I can’t really recognize the value of the issue.

Well, I’ll admit that’s a point. As a man, I can’t really understand what it is to be made uncomfortable by Supergirl being treated like a helpless bimbo and Scarlet Witch being turned into a psycho hose-beast just for the sake of a storyline. I can’t fully put myself in those stylish shoes. But I can appreciate the inherit issues at hand. Consider me the inverse Homer Simpson; just because I don’t understand, doesn’t mean I don’t care.

And I’m not alone in this. Many of my Comics Nexus Brethren have been discussing these issues in recent weeks as well. Consider Paul Sebert and his Words of Wisdom on Erik Larsen equating comic-reading feminism with small boobs and the problems with the new Batwoman. Take a look at Jeff Ritter’s Minority Report, now in three convenient parts! (Part One, Part Two and Part Three).

Still, there’s only so much that even we three enlightened folks may do. So as a service to the community and an effort to broaden my reader’s horizons as I have tried to broaden my own in the last two weeks, I present you with a list of links to the well-written words of some women who read, write and love comics as much as we merry men of the fandom set.

When Fangirls Attack!

A links list with several methods of receipt, this one gathers up some of the best and brightest of female comic fans’ blog commentary and serves it up to you in a nice little package. For those of you who, unlike me, don’t have time to sort through hundreds of links.

Dance of The Puppets

I was drawn to this blog by a link on the DC Comics message board. And damn me if this isn’t the best criticism of the hypocrisy of Judd Winick’s liberal guilt and his treatment of Kimiyo Hoshi (a.k.a. The good Dr. Light) I’ve ever read. There’s also some more humorous but no less well thought out fare, like the treatise upon Superskirt physics.

Gail Simone’s Personal Blog

Somehow, I missed out on this until I found it linked elsewhere. No surprise that this blog is as funny and witty as you would expect. And it’s worth checking out just for a look at some of Gail’s scripts, as well as a lost scene from Villains United.

A fairly new site, this one has been making waves with the right sorts of people if the number of fetal piglets trying to crash their message board with porn and trolling is any indication. There are far too many good, well-written things for me to link to individually. Indeed, every feature of the site I’ve had a chance to look at so far is excellent and this is easily one of the Top 5 fan sites I’ve ever seen anywhere.

Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

The one that prompted me to rewrite this entry at the last moment when I saw an article entitled An Open Letter To Male Comic Fans that perfectly sums up the problem that many well meaning, but ignorant, guys try to reduce all feminist issues in comics down to skimpy clothing. Granting that there ARE a lot of complaints on the other side of the aisle about scanty costuming, it is about a lot more than that. And Kalinara sums it up beautifully.

Rangell’s Written World

There are links to so many other great places that you could almost miss the wonderful written world here. Rangell is thought provoking but more than that, she is funny. I burst out laughing at her faux sales pitch for The Cult of Aphrodite (Hourly Rates Available for the Tithe).

What Were They Thinking?!

While not strictly a feminist site, this humorous look at comic panels of long ago does have a lot of commentary upon some of the questionable treatment and costumes of female characters. Sue Storm, the icon for the “useless, until the plot requires her to do something” superheroine gets a particularly hearty examination.

And finally, because I also somehow managed to miss this, a live Web-Radio interview with Gail Simone. You see, most other writers would limit their Gail Simone pimping to ONE link. So I have to do it one better. Because that’s just the kind of guy I am.

Tune in next week. Same Matt time. Same Matt website.

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