__marcelo (__marcelo) wrote,

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Why Girl-Wonder.org matters to me

Taken (and edited a bit) from a comment I made somewhere else, mostly so I could file this under "rants".

It's not about specific events. Shitty -unnecessarily shitty, horrific events- happen to characters of all genders and species in comics. It's half because of the operatic nature of the medium, half because of bad writers taking bad shortcuts.

It's about the *causes* of said unnecessarily shitty events, the *form* of said unnecessarily shitty events, and the *consequences* (in-world) of said unnecessarily shitty events, how they differ between male and female characters, and what that means.

  • Those unnecessarily shitty events, when they happen to women, are overwhelmingly linked to some supposed 'mistake', 'error' or 'sin' they committed, or done because another -generally male- character wants to punish or trap a -generally male- character the victim is close to. When unnecessarily shitty events happen to males, it's caused by the fallout of some heroic or commendable act of them.

  • The form of said events is overwhelmingly sexualized when it comes to women (and by "sexualized" I mean, it's either a rape or you wouldn't know it isn't a rape without the text bubbles), and almost never sexualized when the victim is a man.

  • The narratives about the consequences of those events are, again overwhelmingly and with few although noteworthy exceptions, written from the POV of male characters (brooding, revenge) and not from the POV, or addressing concerns, of the victim. (Female) victims either die or miracously and magically "get over it". Harm and recovery, *consequences*, when it comes to female characters is almost never a narrative concern; hurt is swept under the rug as a "female thing".

So: Males are hurt in violent but not-sexualized ways in the line of duty, and the narrative follows their recovery/revenge. Females are hurt in violent and highly sexualized ways (read: raped or raped-but-in-name) as helpless bystanders, hero bait or 'punishable sinners', and the narrative generally jumps over or cuts off whatever happens to them afterward.

In a world where sexual violence against women is so prevalent, so seldom talked about, and so mind-boggingly seldom punished, the above pattern is horrific. And it's not integral to the medium, or even to the specific genre of superhero comics - it's just integral to a particular worldview about genre roles in narrative (and life) that has no business existing anymore. Nor ever had.

Tags: girl-wonder.org, rant
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