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Posts Tagged ‘representation’

I have never been terribly interested in Thor as a title.  It just isn’t my sort of genre.  But today Marvel announced the next worthy person to wield Mjolnir will be a woman and it caught my attention.   My Dad’s a longtime Thor fan and I’m sure he’ll have some huffing and puffing to do (just like he did when Bucky picked up the mantle of Captain America).  I get it.  Change is tough for fans who’ve read and loved a character for years.  It’s hard to see the characters you’ve grown attached to get shunted off to the side (my heart goes out to fans who love secondary characters).

Obviously, this is something Marvel’s had in the pipeline for a while.  I saw some comments on Twitter and Tumblr accusing Marvel of offering platitudes to female readers.  And of course there’s the deluge of male protest on Twitter and in the comments section on the above linked Marvel announcement (she’s already being called “Whor”).  The timing is certainly suspect on the heels of the #FireRickRemender controversy.  Reactions to the news run the gamut from excitement to wariness to calls to boycott the title and / or Marvel.

Writer Jason Aaron told Time:

If you’re a long-time Thor fan you know there’s kind of a tradition from time to time of somebody else picking up that hammer. Beta Ray Bill was a horse-faced alien guy who picked up the hammer. At one point Thor was a frog. So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before.

This indicates Thor isn’t a person, per se, but a sort of power that can various people can possess “if they be worthy.”  Marvel has shown us several worthy characters who’ve picked up Thor’s hammer:  Beta Ray Bill, Storm, Captain America.  It isn’t so hard to imagine that some new person, a woman this time, can pick up the hammer and thus embody the power of Thor.  On its face, this isn’t a simple switching of anatomy.  It’s a new person having the power passed on to her.  (As I said, I’m not any sort of authority on Thor and these are all things I’ve discovered via some quick Google research.)

Wired posted a great article on why this new Thor is important (spoiler: it isn’t the lack of a penis and presence of a vagina).  The article speculates that the choice to take this route with Thor is due to the character’s visibility thanks to his appearance in three films in the MCU.  Perhaps it’s that sort of visibility that’s making now the right time for Sam Wilson to take up Cap’s shield.

Visibility is important.  Representation is important.  It’s why characters like T’Challa, Sam Wilson, Storm, Miles Morales, America Chavez, and Kamala Khan are so important.  It’s why female-led titles are so important.  I’m excited about Storm getting her own title and joining the ranks of Black Widow, Elektra, Captain Marvel, and Ms. Marvel in my pull-list.  But all the outcry from male readers who can’t imagine their favourite hero without genitalia that matches their own makes me wonder how much male readership those female-let titles have.  And then, at the end of the day, there’s the mean-spirited part of me that wants to laugh at them, to remind them that there are plenty of other titles they can read if it’s just oh-so-hard for them to take Thor seriously when she lacks a penis.  Oops.

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❝ Comics has an outrage problem.

I don’t mean people getting up in arms over things, either. That’s an issue unto itself, and like anything else, it could be better than it currently is in several different ways, but that’s not today’s conversation.

What I’m talking about is how we—the comics community—describe, talk about, and address the concerns of people who are upset about one thing or another. The way we talk about outrage fatigue, outrage-of-the-week, faux outrage, outrage-o-matic, misplaced outrage, another outrage, this outrage, that outrage, and why it’s gross and short-sighted. How we use “tumblr” as a pejorative but ignore the poison in our own forums and followers.

The way we use the word outrage suggests that the outrage in question is fake and irrational, on account of being poorly thought-out and overly emotional. It happens every time someone brings up a point to do with equality, sexism, racism, or justice. It’s the same tactic the music media uses to devalue Kanye’s rants. They’re invalid, an inconvenience, annoying, or fake because you can see the emotions driving it, and emotional reactions aren’t valid.

We use the presence of passion to first diminish and then dismiss arguments. The offended must play by the rules of the unoffended, or even worse, the offenders, in order to be heard. You have to tamp down that pain if you want to get help or fix it. You can see it when people say things like “Thank you for being civil” when arguing something heated with someone they disagree with. Civility is great, sure, but we’re forcing people who feel like they’re under attack to meet us on our own terms. In reality, passion shouldn’t be dismissed. Passion has a purpose. ❞

Read the rest of David Brothers’ Beyond Outrage on his blog.

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Feminist Dragons

What is it with dudes and their never-ending cry of “Diversity! Diversity! Diversity!” ? Ugh, it doesn’t MATTER what the characters are like! Only the story matters! And we all know that those fanboys love to complain about how there’s no representation of LGBT (or are they calling it GLBT now? IT’S SO HARD TO KEEP TRACK OF LETTERS) or not-white people.

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