Saturday, March 21, 2015

Comics & Feminism Pt. 2: Thor WITH BOOBS!!

Switching gears, let's talk about Marvel Comics and it's latest indiscretion. I've been rather lenient with Marvel, mostly because I'm a DC guy (not so much these days, until they turn Beast Boy green again, and while I understand that the "Mortal Kombat X" comic books are under the DC imprint, I am reading those for "Mortal Kombat" and not DC) and I'm a lot harder on what I love than what I also love (in this case, Marvel is like my step-son, sure, I care about him but he's not really mine). That being said, Marvel has wowed us with it's Cinematic Universe but on the page, Marvel's got some problems. One of those problems came in the form of a Norse Goddess with Boobs. Let's get to it;

Marvel announced that Avenger's main stay Thor would become suddenly unworthy of Mjolnir and that a woman would take over, not as some other person who's just holding onto Thor's Hammer until The Son Of Odin could reclaim it, but she'd be taking over AS THOR, name and all! You had people who aren't professed comic book readers touting this as a victory and of all places the announcement of this new Thor was made on "The View". Needless to say, some are for this change, others are against it. But while those who are for it aren't questioned for their choice, the ones who are against this change are labeled (you guessed it!) misogynists, we just wanna see women as sex objects and everything else under the sun. Well in this article I'm going to point out why those of us are against this change (myself included) are correct, but why those who are for it should be absolutely offended by it. Let's work!

For starters, let's address the obvious. There is NO way this woman can be Thor for the simple fact that THOR IS HIS F*CKIN' NAME! Thor is not a title  like Captain America or Iron Man or Spider-Man! Thor was the name he was given FROM BIRTH BY HIS FATHER ODIN! So let's be clear here, she can have Mjolnir, a lot of people have held it in the past, no one cares about that, but she can't have his name. That's his actual (literally) god given name. For Thor to yield not only his hammer but his very identity to someone else is like Batman allowing Jean-Paul Valley to become Bruce Wayne (it's ridiculous).

Setting that aside, let's take a look at the comic proper. The comic "Thor #1" features Thorina (as I'll be calling her now) taking on the team of Absorbing Man & his wife Titania who are essentially the Bonnie & Clyde of The Marvel Universe (more or less). Absorbing Man goes on his rampage and says this delightful tidbit;
Absorbing Man, who's pretty much a lowbrow kinda guy who looks like a mutated hairless caveman and he verbally raises a stink about the new Thor, saying " Thor? Are you kidding me? I'm supposed to call you Thor? Damn Feminists are ruining everything! You wanna be a chick superhero? Fine, who the hell cares? But get your own identity." You can read the rest above but those are the important tidbits. Now go back and read the 3rd paragraph of this article again.

You done? Notice anything? Absorbing Man is basically saying exactly what I said about Thor, however putting it in less words. Essentially, Absorbing Man's little speech was made to address the critics of Thorina, putting our words in the mouth of a small-minded, high school drop out, neanderthal. Absorbing Man represents us (according to the comic book) and the message here is that only under educated, stereo-typically masculine, neanderthalic men oppose Thorina. But notice, Absorbing Man's contention with Thor isn't because she's female, after all he does say "You wanna be a chick superhero? Fine, who the hell cares? But get your own identity.", which is the attitude, I and many others hold to. But that's not where the issue stands, the issue comes when Absorbing Man DARES to blame feminism as the cause of this sudden transformation, and Thorina responses with;
"That's for saying Feminist like it's a four letter word, creep. And also you know for the robbing.". Seriously? This is Thor? Granted, she doesn't say this outloud but the fact that she thinks this...seriously? For starters, why does an Asgardian God care about Feminism? She's supposed to be Thor, right? She's not just wielding Mjolnir, she's supposed to be THE THOR. So why does Thor care about Feminism? Why did the writers feel the need to inform us that Thorina was punching Absorbing Man for "saying Feminist like it's a four letter word", the fact that he's a criminal who's currently breaking the law was an afterthought.

While I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humor of metafictionally addressing critics, this is just pandering. I call it pandering because theres already this idea out there that there aren't any female superheroes...which anyone worth their salt in reading comic books would be hard pressed to NOT find any female superheroes.Instead of highlighting someone like Sif or Valkyrie or a few other Asgardian Female characters who are well known in the Thor titles and have an established relationship with the character, NOPE! Marvel would rather pull this character out of nowhere and say "Look, it's a empowered woman doing the job because the man can't do it!". And apparently, this is supposed to be girlpower, taking the role of someone else?

This wasn't a passing of the torch or an apprentice saving the teacher kinda thing, we don't know who this character is and she doesn't really have a long standing history with Thor, so this wasn't something readers could nod along with, this was a Thor's suddenly unworthy, let's hand Mjolnir off to a woman. Now, knowing the nature of comic books, I'm well aware this change won't last for very long and for that we can be grateful, but the fact of the matter is, this change could have been done MUCH better than they did. But that's not where the pandering ends. Titania steps into the fray and then this happens;

Titania is the arch enemy of She-Hulk and she has fought She-Hulk a number of times and has tried to kill her WITH HER BARE HANDS and many other heroes, this is a career criminal. Rather than attacking Thorina for breaking her husband's jaw, Titania hits him herself and then allows Thorina to hit her. WHY?! Titania decides to explain herself and tell Thorina that they were just bored and looking for a fight. What the hell? Has any villain in Marvel history EVER allowed the hero to capture them or allowed them a free shot WITHOUT establishing some sort of precedent of mutual respect? For example, Superman & Lex Luthor HATE each other and if Superman set ablaze by a kryptonite fire Lex wouldn't piss on him BUT Lex Luthor HAS worked with Superman in the past to save his own ass. But he NEVER allowed Superman to just catch him (not without a struggle).

But Titania doesn't even put up a fight against Thorina, she just allows Thorina to hit her. Instead of attacking the hero, as a villain is supposed to do, she attacks her HUSBAND and allows Thorina to hit her. If this wasn't pandering, Titania would have went into an all-out smack down brawl with Thorina until one of them was either dead, immobile or passed out. But because this is a pandering nonsense, Titania allows Thorina to hit her because "Hey, my husband totally insulted her and feminism and she has a vagina, just like me, so I respect her.". In the words of the immoral Al Sharpton "just turn it around", and by that I mean let's flip the genders. If Absorbing Man hit Titania after she got her jaw broken by Thor and he decided to not only decline to attack Thor just because they both have a penis but he hits Titania himself, OH, you'd never hear the end of the outrage.

Oh, the irony.

They could have seriously written a female Thor (without calling her Thor) and do it in a way that is both respectful and awesome. But I digress. But here's the reason why those who agree with this change should be disgusted by it; for starters, it's pandering (if I haven't made that point clear enough), because Thorina punches people disagree with Feminism (because Thorina considers using "feminism" as a four letter word a much worse offense than larceny). Thornia isn't treated as an equal in this book, if she was Titania would have tried to kill her LIKE SHE DID EVERYONE ELSE! But because this is pandering nonsense, Titania doesn't even raise a hand to fight her. Is that what equality looks like? The book reads like a series of Feminist talking points and the reason I say this is because Thorina OPENLY ADDRESSES FEMINISM AND ATTACKS SOMEONE FOR CRITICIZING IT (her words and actions not mine)!

If you want to write female characters, you can do so without appealing the concept of "Grrrrlpower!!" You write them as you would write any other character! Shock of all shocks, comic book writers have been doing that FOR YEARS! Unfortunately, everyone treats female characters like they're some kind of Rubik's Cube that NO ONE except Joss Whedon has figured out. Marvel is trying to correct a problem that isn't a problem, Marvel has a LARGE stable of Female characters they could utilize in a 100 different ways. I've said it a number of times that I actually have an excellent idea of X-Men's most underrated mutant (not anymore, sadly) Jubilee. I absolutely love Jubilee, and Rogue, and Psylocke (who doesn't love Psylocke?!) and Surge and Husk and Monet and Ms. Marvel and a whole slew of other female characters who because they're also sexy or wearing skintight outfits or because they have big boobs or whatever are somehow disqualified from being considered REAL female characters and Marvel has to go and strip Thor of HIS OWN NAME, give it to a woman and expect thunderous applause. This is NOT a victory for you guys! This is an epic loss and you all are too blinded by your own faux shining-reflection that you can't see it.

Thorina needed a man's powers before she was anything, none of the characters I listed needed anyone else to be as awesome. Ms. Marvel's been kicking ass before Thorina, does she get any credit? Any mention on The View? Any public recognition of her awesomeness? Nope, only until they made a Muslim Ms. Marvel (failing to realize that The X-Men have a Muslim within their own ranks they could have promoted named Dust {and unlike Kamala Khan, Dust actually wears the Hijab, as it is a must in the religion of Islam}!). Do you see what I'm getting at? There are LEGIT female characters who have been around kicking ass for a LONG TIME! Hey, Marvel, HOW ABOUT YOU PROMOTE THEM INSTEAD OF SHOVELING OUT NEW CRAP! I think I've said all that I needed to say. I'll catch you guys later!

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