Catching Up, Probably a Bit TL;DR

One of the reasons I departed reality for Discworld was the tremendous amount of hatred floating around the internet and our society in general. Now that I have to leave Discworld and the wonderful characters of Sir Terry’s creation behind (*sniff*sniff*), I shall catch up on current events.

(With one quick addendum to my last post. I had forgotten that while the Rincewind novels are not particularly deep, but they are fall-out-of-your-bed-laughing funny.)

Anyway, on to more serious subjects:

Xenophobia

I have been completely disgusted by the virulent racism and xenophobia displayed by American citizens during the Syrian refugee crisis. They are not even coming to our shores yet and Americans are going completely ape-shit. Going beyond the sheer ignorance many display in having no understanding of the situation in Syria, (which is these people are trying to escape being caught between two groups, the Syrian Government and ISIS, who are completing for “The Worst Human Rights Abuses of the Decade” award), the constant refrains of “They’re  all terrorists! They all hate Western society and want to destroy it. They’re all freeloaders,” basically everything I observed a year ago only worse, proves that the United States is seriously at risk of become the new Nazi state, complete with a violent hatred towards a particular religious/ethnic group.

9/11

It’s funny how we never mark the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City Bombing, or the destruction of the affluent African American community in Tulsa to the point it was bombed by the military, or the massacres of Sandy Creek or Wounded Knee, or the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

But we have a national celebration of victimization every September 11th while the media constantly builds up the image of Muslims as a constant threat to America, whether they be nations like Iran, terrorist groups or even school kids.

3,000 people died in a horrific attack. But in the face of that assault on American ideals, American ideals failed. We fell to the devils of our nature, giving up our civil liberties in fear and falling into the most hysterical xenophobia I have ever seen in this nation. If 20 years ago you had asked me if I would ever see Americans talking with such venomous hatred about 1.6 billion people. I would have said no. America is a nation of immigrants. It has was part of what makes is strong and helped us rise to become a world power in a relatively short period of time.

And now we have become this.

So I can’t “celebrate” 9/11. I can only mourn it with shame.

Iran Deal

No, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good deal. People would know that if they bothered to read anything about it rather than listening right wing propaganda. And no, the Iranians will not be “inspecting themselves.” *rolls eyes*

Kim Davis

Constitution, Amendment 14, Section 1:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That is why all the gay marriage bans are being overturned: They are unConstitutional. SCOTUS is not “making law.” It’s just pointing at that Amendment.

(Proud to be a Maine Native, which was one of three states in the U.S. that gained marriage equality by popular vote.)

Davis was also in violation of Kentucky statue 11a.020.

So Kim, this has nothing to do with your personal beliefs. You are free to worship as you please on your own time. You are free to protest whatever causes you want on our own time. But in that office as a representative of the state, you *must* uphold the law. Especially after being ordered to by four courts.

So do your obscenely overpaid job you bigoted attention whore.

And that is another thing that struck me: Kim Davis worked in the Country Clerks office under her mother for 24 years. And then Kim, after barely winning an election, took over her mother’s post. Now Kim’s son is working in the same office, probably being groomed to take over from her. The Rowan County Clerks office has become the Family’s personal fiefdom.

Part of the problem that Kentucky voters should consider are the detrimental effects of nepotism on their government. And how the salaries are set. It’s ridiculous a county clerk is making twice the county sheriff and justice are.

But what was really troubling were the Tea Party politicians, including elected officials, that flocked to Davis’ cause, displaying their ignorance of the Constitution and how our government works.

The Republican Party Clown Car

Trump is a joke. No matter how popular he is, Republican National Committee is never going to put him up as a presidential candidate. In alienating Latinos, he has put the typically Republican electoral strongholds of Texas and Arizona at risk. He has alienated women. He has alienated Veterans. (At least the ones that are not involved in a shady “charity” and can’t afford $1,000.00 a plate dinners.)

Plus the multiple bankruptcies, lies about his income and the repeated insinuations that he would like to fuck his daughter. And he’s a freakin’ reality TV star for chrissakes! No. It’s not going to happen.

So he speaks his mind? So does the schizophrenic drunk on the bus. BFD.

Trump is the sideshow. The misdirection.

So is Carson, a man with no political experience (in fact the majority of the current GOP field do not have any political experience, they’re business owners and ministers) who repeatedly makes himself look like a fool pandering to the far right base and displaying no knowledge of how the government works. He’s there so the Republicans can say, “Look, we’re not racists. We have an utterly unqualified and ridiculous black candidate we can lead around by the nose.”

Ditto Carly Fionna. Really GOP? All the women you could have chose, and you stick *her* in the line up?

Jeb Bush also has not made a great show of things by choosing family loyalty over hindsight, or even history. A lot of people have also not forgotten how he used the Florida government to attempt to override the courts and interfere in a family medical choice in the Terri Shiavo case. That abuse of government power is a terrifying precedent.

No, the real GOP threat is one of the candidates currently in the background and who it will be depends on the RNC breaking the Tea Party’s hold over them.

With Perry and Walker gone (thank the Gods), if the Tea Party retains control, it’s going to come down to Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. Cruz is more popular among the far right, but he scares the crap out of the middle because he is not afraid to use the entire government as his personal ball to take home when he doesn’t get his way. But while Paul is a Tea Party candidate, his intelligence (and he is smart) and cohesive ideology makes him more likely to cross the boundary to pick up some of the moderate vote.

If the GOP can break the Tea Party hold and wants to strike at the Middle then I would guess Chris Christie. “Bridge-gate” aside, Christie has shown himself able to work with the Democrats rather than throwing a tantrum and kicking people out of his party just because they dared cross the aisle to keep the government running (see: Eric Cantor).

However, Cantor’s recent reception when he came out in favor of Jeb Bush suggests the Tea Party’s claws are in deep. They view bipartisanship and working with the other side as weakness. They don’t want governance, they want rulership.

On the Democrat side, I am an active Bernie Sanders supporter. I am an actual liberal (when I lived in California, I belonged to the Green Party which is not an option here in NC) and Sanders is a candidate that represents my ideology and interests rather than forcing me to vote for the “lesser of two evils” of the Democrats, who are actually slightly right of center (look at Obama and Clinton’s ties to big business).

If we end up with a Bush vs. Clinton, we get four to eight more years of the same. If we end up with a Paul vs. Sanders, it will open the dialog of who America is going to be moving forward into the 21st century. Both candidates have a very cohesive and diametrically opposed set of political and social ideals that actually fit within Constitutional framework of this nation. They are both experienced and actually know what they are talking about. That is a culturally necessary discussion that has to take place beyond social media and media soundbites.

The risk is that it could further polarize this country, pushing it towards the rupture I can see coming within the next 20 years. The U.S. has not been this polarized since the Civil War, and I can see some sort of upheaval on the horizon.

Not a full blown secession. Frankly the states that want to secede (the South again) are too poor to support themselves and rely on federal money. They think that because there are so many military bases down there, and much of the military is conservative, they will automatically have the military. The military swears to uphold the Constitution, not the Republican party. While they may get some, I think a lot of personnel would have serious doubts about becoming traitors. Also those bases and all their equipment is Federally owned. So secessionists could kiss all that good bye. Nor do they have the organized and well-trained militia the antebellum South had.

So they would be seriously screwed if they tried to secede.

But on the course we are now, we are heading for a major upheaval along both idealistic and class lines as the middle class vanishes into the “working poor” exploited by the large corporations and the uber-wealthy in order to become even more obscenely rich than they are now.

We can’t keep going like this. Something has to change or something has to break.

Speaking of the Clown Car and the Constitution

Article VI, Paragraph 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

So not only was Dr. Carson wrong (“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation“), so was bobby Jindal (“If you can find me a Muslim candidate who is a Republican, who will fight hard to protect religious liberty, who will respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, who will be committed to destroying ISIS and radical Islam, who will condemn cultures that treat women as second class citizens and who will place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.”)

The cognitive dissonance in Jindal’s statement (uphold “religious freedom,” so long as it is christian religious freedom) would be astounding if it was not so common. It’s doesn’t even freaking make sense to ask someone of one religion to take an oath on the holy book of another religion.

Did Jindal think a lobotomy was required to run for the presidency or something?

But as observed by others, there is no law that demands any elected official swear on a Bible. In fact members of Congress are not sworn in any holy book but simply raise their right hands. At the federal level, only the President is sworn on in a Bible. But that is simply custom, not law as it would be unConstitutional. As someone once observed, “You can be sworn on the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit issue if you wanted.”

A Woman’s Right to Choose…Anything

Woman Refused Medically-Recommended Tubal Ligation At Catholic Hospital

When she became pregnant three years ago, hers was treated as a high-risk pregnancy. The tumor required that she deliver via Caesarean section while fully anesthetized, rather than under partial anesthesia that numbs the lower body, which is more common.

When she became pregnant with her third child, a girl, she and her husband were elated, she said. But a maternal-fetal-medicine specialist told them earlier this spring that Mann should undergo tubal ligation to ensure that this would be her last child.

“You know, it’s never easy to hear that. But I have accepted it,” said Mann, who has two other children. “I talked it over with my husband. We want me to be around. That’s the biggest thing.”

Mann had heard that Genesys had changed its policies last year and that the tubal ligation would have to be specially requested. Indeed, an Oct. 1, 2014, memo to staff, provided to The Washington Post by the ACLU, said the hospital would halt all planned sterilizations to “strengthen our alignment with the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives.”

The hospital had indicated it would make some exceptions to the policy for medical reasons, so Mann requested one in May. But early this month, her doctor informed her that the hospital had said no.

I think I have told this story before, but this is similar to what my mother went through. My sister was an “Oops” of failed birth control. My mother was 40. The delivery was dangerous for both of them, requiring a C-setion. As they were waitin for dad to arrive and discussing the surgery, my mother asked, “While you are in there, could you *snip*snip.*

“I’m sorry, I will need your husbands approval for that.”

My mother said she damn near climbed off the bed and throttled him.

My father arrived in time and of course signed off on it. He was not going to put Mom through that again and four was plenty of mouths to feed.

But here is a woman, 40 years old, having her fourth child, and she is still not allowed to make choices about her own body.

This was in 1979.

This is what the Religious Right wants to drag us back to. That’s why they want to defund Planned parenthood. It’s not just about abortions, which is a minor part of the services they provide. It’s about limiting access to birth control. (As seen by the attacks on Sandra Fluke when she spoke out about the need for insurance to cover birth control and the Hobby Lobby case.) It’s about controlling women’s bodies.

And finally…

The Douchebags of Asheville, North Carolina

A friend of mine from overseas is considering visiting me. I thought Asheville would be a nice place to take her. Asheville is North Carolina’s version of Austin, TX: It’s the artistic, “hippy” city in a sea of conservatism.

Then this broke: Coffee and Misogyny.

*headdesk*

If you have the stomach for it, the actual podcasts (if they are still up) and tweets are vile. The way they discuss women borders of sociopathic. Just a complete disregard for them as humans worthy of basic human respect. And a laughing over what is legally rape with a hospitalized, drugged up woman?

Are you fucking kidding me?

And given the violence claimed in some of the sexual encounters, I worry if it was something that was escalating.

If you go to the “Red Pill” reddit page you find the same MRA culture that helped to  produce Elliot Rodgers. I have run into these individuals in many places. Especially where there is a thread about a rape story in the news. They are the first ones pulling the “Bitches be lyin!” accusation. MRA types refuse to acknowledge any type of rape exists accept stranger assault rape. (That is the minority of rape cases.) Basically, if a complete stranger doesn’t leap out at you from the bushes, you were never raped. You just had sex and “changed your mind.” To them the vast majority of rape accusations are false and a way to victimize men.

Also not true.

(When presented with these statistics, it’s amazing how many MRAs are suddenly greater experts on the issue than the FBI and Department of Justice.)

And while they bitch about how women “abuse” the accusations of rape, many of them like to get women so hammered or drugged up they can’t possibly legally consent.

But I digress.

To the “Red Pill”/Pick Up Artist/MRA worms:

First of all, the “Alpha/beta male” thing? Women don’t think on those terms. Sure we go through our “Bad Boy stage,” which is usually done by the time we leave college (and have dated one). The “Alpha/beta male” is a guy thing whereby men judge and elevate their ego by degrading other men for acting like decent people.

Know why so many American women find British men hot? It’s not that their cultural gentility makes them seem “beta” or easily controlled. It’s because they project a quietly assured masculinity. They (or at least most of them) don’t need to walk around chest thumping to prove they’re a man.

I met Hugh Laurie, who was the perfect definition of a “gentleman;” a gentle man. But not for one second did I sense he was a pushover.

Secondly, the most successful promiscuous men I have found are the ones that enjoy women as human beings. They like talking with them and spending time with them beyond just having sex with them. They actually *like* women as people. Women tend to respond better to being approached that way rather than as “fuck socks.”

Women who will not sleep with you are not evil or a “bitch” or whatever childishly disgusting names you call them while you are rage-pouting about being rejected. Women who will sleep with you are not suddenly subhuman and the act of having sex with them does not make you a superior human being. Almost every animal on the planet has sex. Why would you think that suddenly makes you so great? (Because given your crap attitude toward women, you idea that sex is about your ego, I doubt you care enough make it fun for them.)  In fact, the fact that you require a woman’s sexual acquiescence to shore up your fragile self worth is a sure sign that the problem isn’t women: It’s you.

Finally (in general), these two felt no inherent regret. They only apologized because they were embarrassed they got caught. While one hopes they will get the intensive therapy obviously required to cure such an ingrained hatred and disregard for half of the human race, I do not hold out much hope.

But the community of Asheville’s outraged response to this shows that twats like these are not what Asheville is about.

…I think that’s everything.

Oh, Welcome Pope Francis. You rock dude.

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What is Up with the Trophy Hunting Attention Whores?

Granted, the vast majority of big game trophy “hunters” are men with obvious issues.

And I have absolutely no trouble with women going out in the field hunting.

It’s just the ones who actually hunt using skill tend to look like this:

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Or competitively, like this:

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Not like this:

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She worked so hard tracking this animal that her make up is perfect and her hair freshly curled, no less.

But over the last year a number of women have not only appeared in the in the big game trophy hunting field, they made damn sure they got noticed by the greater public.

First we had the cheerleader who loved to kill animals with her Barbie-Pink accented bow and arrows. (I always loved how she “tracked” those animals so hard her makeup was perfect for all these pictures of her and the animals she killed.)

Then there was “I wanna be a Playboy model, but in skin-tight fake camouflage with blood stains.” (My favorite pic is her using a chainsaw with her long flowing hair hanging right next to it while she implies what a pro she is at using chainsaws.)

And now, only a week after the public outcry over the poaching of Cecil, yet another female trophy hunter thrust herself into the spotlight.

Once again, don;t you love how hard she worked to track this animal that her clothes are clean, her hair is nice and flowing, and her make-up is perfect?

Once again, don’t you love how hard she worked to track this animal that her clothes are clean, her hair is nice and flowing, and her make-up is perfect?

And not merely through taunting people outraged over trophy hunting on her Facebook page, but by going on the Today Show to talk about how “right” trophy hunting is, using the usual disproven “conservation” argument, swearing she had “great respect” for the animals she killed (I guess she is trying to have some sort of pseudo-“Native American” vibe that rationalizes that it’s totally o.k. to needlessly kill animals for your ego so long as you say you “respect” them). And, my personal favorite since it is so desperately pathetic, that “giraffes are really dangerous.”

Otherwise known as the Uncle Jimbo defense:

Giraffes are only dangerous if you deliberately provoke them (especially a mother and calf). They are not randomly rampaging through villages stomping on people. In fact, millennia of dealing with real hunters have made most in the wild human-avoidant. They are not flying over to the U.S. and breaking into your home. You are not “fighting them over there so you don’t have to fight them here”

You obnoxious, bloodthirsty fuckwit.

What is interesting is that I found in the course of researching this post is the biggest direct problem locals encounter with wildlife are elephants and hippos eating their crops, which can result in major income loss. However, there are non-lethal ways of dealing with that. It’s at very advanced technique called: Chilli powder.

But we got off track. I don’t want to shame any women about hunting. I think it’s cool that women get out there and hunt (non-Vulnerable or Endangered species for food) and shoot competitively. They are, after all, better shots. But these trophy hunting women, at least the ones trying so desperately to get noticed, are doing something else entirely. What is disturbing is while the trophy hunting men have a macho element to their pictures, many of these trophy hunting women have a sexual element to theirs. It’s not just that they want to be proven “Great White Hunters,” they want to be “Great White Sexy Hunters.”

I mean, I don’t wear make up unless it’s a special occasion anyway, but when I am camping or sailing, I sure as hell am not wasting space by taking along make up, a curling iron and gel/hairspray. I do not make sure my clothes are clean and immaculate while I am engaging in my outdoor activity.

(But then I am not being driven around by guides who are doing all the real work for me. )

But why do these women feel the need to do this? They obviously feel they have something to prove beyond their “prowess” as a hunter/how much they pay their guides to find animals for them to shoot at. What is it? Do they feel hunting is “too masculine” that they need to offset the activity by appearing overtly feminine? Are they trying to attract what they perceive to be “alpha males?” I don’t get it.

On the good side, Zimbabwe has begun to take steps to ban hunting near their National Parks.

Some American airlines have banned carrying animal trophies on their flights.

And the report that came out last week that Cecil’s “brother” Jericho had been killed turned out to be false. Not only is he alive, he has taken over Cecil’s pride and not killed Cecil’s cubs.

And if you would like some up close and person interaction with those “dangerous,” viscous giraffes, you can always visit Giraffe Manor. Eco-tourism, after all, provides more job locally and keep more money in the local economy than hunting does. (Though it can be hit or miss. One area cited that shutting down commercial logging in an area in China lost the area a lot of jobs that Eco-tourism could not replace. Eco-Tourism is a new “industry.” They’re working out the kinks for what suits each country/area’s needs. But it’s certainly better for conservation and local economies than big game trophy hunting. Even international pro-hunting groups have been forced to admit the claim that hunting brings in millions to the economy is not true.)

In the end what it boils down to is if trophy hunters actually cared about conservation, they would give most of the money they throw around trying to kill something to national parks so they can hire more wardens (more jobs!) to protect the park from poachers. If they cared about the local people/economy, instead of throwing a carcass at the local village on the way to the airport, they can buy them a herd of cows or goats that the people can use, slaughter or sell as they need. If they actually respected the animal, they would be tracking and taking pictures of them (which given light, distance, movement, dust, etc. can actually be more of a challenge than shooting them with rifle).

Or if you are really attached to firing guns, get involved in competitive shooting.

We are Greater Than the Sum of Our Racks

So this is the latest bit of feminist outrage, and while it may seem humorless nitpicking to some, I have to say I agree.

SaveWomen

Jezebel and several other outlets have condemned groups like “Save the Tatas” for sexualizing a deadly disease.

O.K. First thing I do when a charity hits the news is go check it out on Charity Navigator, a great site that monitors the financial integrity of charities. Save the Tatas weren’t on there. (Though Save the Boobies was with a warning that they and their associated “charities” were for For-Profit entities that had engaged in fraud.) So on to Wikipedia.

Save the tatas, also written as save the ta-tas, refers to both a non-profit breast cancer awareness foundation and a for-profit company founded in 2004[1] by Julia Fikse and currently has 12 employees.[1] Their motto is that laughter heals.[2] Founder Julia Fikse, attributes her idea to seeing people close to her die of breast cancer.[1] Liz Vassey and Hannah Cornett have both publicly supported the group.[3]

Over the course of 2008 and 2009, they have pledged at least $50,000 toward The Concern Foundation[4] and donated 5% of sales,[1] about $802,000, to breast cancer research since its start. They are currently supporting four researchers.[5]”

Well, O.k.. Their intentions are good. Sorta (5%?). And I see what they are trying to do.

Though unfortunately, that devolves into things like this:

You little shits.

Why does breast cancer get this kind of attention, and so much attention, when the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. is heart disease. Cancer (in general) comes in a close second and of the cancers, breast cancer is the most common, and the second deadliest.  So it does deserves a great deal of attention, but more than heart disease? I mean, I only learned this year that women can have different symptoms of a heart attack than men do and that they are more likely to ignore them.

But O.k., breast cancer is serious business. (Nor are women the only ones who get it.)

And I understand humor to get a message across, like the recent wave of the (innocent!) ALS Challenge, but instead of raising awareness, which is pretty high already, this approach trivializes it by reducing a woman’s life to what’s in her bra. It frames it not in terms of saving women’s lives, but of saving men’s playthings. Breast cancer is not merely a matter of “Oh God, please don’t take the warm, soft, squooshy toys away.”

It kills.

As in dead.

What is more important? The woman, or her tits?

If a double mastectomy is going to save a woman’s life, then who fucking cares about her breasts?

Society unfortunately.

When I was 25, they I found a lump in my breast. For those of you who have not found one, I will tell you that I have very cystic breast tissues and it still stood out. It was a lump that felt to be the size of my pinky tip, hard as a rock. It felt like there was a pebble in there. So that is what you are looking for. The doctor confirmed with a mammogram and I had a lumpectomy within a week of diagnosis. (What felt to be the size of a pinky-tip was in fact the size of a whole pecan in the shell. So if you find a lump, RUN, don’t walk, to your doctor.)

And they only gave me a local, so it was really weird. It felt like someone was tugging at my shirt rather than cutting into me and pulling something out.

It was benign, thank the Gods.

In the interim between diagnosis and surgery, I went through about 15 minutes of “I’m going to die” before reason reasserted itself and it downgraded to “I’m going to lose my right breast.” Somehow, that prospect was almost as frightening. I had not realized how much of our social identity as women is defined by what is sitting on our chest.  It is literally as socially vital to our identity as women as testicles are to men, perhaps even more so given how much attention they are given in our media. It was a terrifying prospect.

But I came to my senses, as most women facing this do, and realized my life matters more than my blouse bunnies. And, just as important, that my body does not define me as a woman to society or to myself (to a medical professional, yes, but otherwise, no). What is in my head and my (metaphorical) heart is the most important part of what makes me a woman and a valid human being.

And I redefined what being feminine meant to me. I’m not going to preach it because what being feminine means to me may not be the same as what being feminine means to another woman (cys or trans). Society doesn’t get to tell us what being a woman means. We tell them. We define that.

And it doesn’t have to have anything to do with breasts.

Our heads.

Our hearts.

Women.

Girls, Girls, Girls: Women in Comics, Part I: Films

Well finally.

I apologize in advance for the formatting. For some reason, WordPress hates MSWord.

When I was 14 years old, someone handed me a copy of this comic:

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(That is Chris Claremont’s autograph across the title. That is the only autograph I own of any famous person. *That* is how much that story meant to me.)

It defied everything I thought I knew comics to be. The art was not clean lines and bright colors. The story was less superpowers than it was brooding, almost Hitchcock-ian suspense. (And in reading back I found the lead up to this confrontation *was* very Hitchcock in that people around her thought she was crazy to the point she began to fear she was crazy.) The hero lost. Most importantly, the focus of the story was a young woman. A young woman wading out into the snow with little more than a down jacket and a bow and arrow to do battle with her inner and outer demons.

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I was hooked forever.

The portrayal of women in traditional superhero comics was a HUGE part of why I started to read them, and why many other women started to read them. Reading the first Marvel comics of the 1960’s is torturous exercise in chauvinism (you would shocked at how many female superheroes were models in their spare time *chuckle*), but superhero comics grew quickly and by the time I started reading them in the 1980’s, they were ahead of their time in how complex and powerfully women were portrayed, in both outer and inner strength. (Especially Claremont women.)

So having recently seen and heard many “feminists” bitching about how sexist comic books are, I’m going to tackle this in four parts:

The Films

The Characters

The Art
The Women Behind the Women of Comics

So let’s begin…

The Films
Many people love to criticize the portrayal of women in comic books, but many of these people have not actually read them. Most of those people are making their judgment from the films which are not representative of female heroes and superheroes in their source material.

DC
Batman, Batman, Superman, Batman, Batman, Batman, Superman, Batman, Batman. Dear Gods guys. Move ON already!

Catwoman was a prop in the last Nolan Batman film, and frankly one that was not terribly necessary. The Halle Berry Catwoman film does not exist in my universe.

People really have no idea how many awesome female characters in the DC Universe that are being ignored. Wonder Women and Catwoman are only the tippiest tip of the iceberg.

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Or my personal favorites:

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Don’t you love a super-heroine that shows up dressed for the occasion?

And…

BoP Lady Blackhawk
But more on Big Barda and Lady Blackhawk later.

The Marvel Entertainment Franchise:

The Avengers

Notice how Thor, the Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man all have film series of their own, but the Black Widow does not? Sure, neither does Hawkeye, but as long as Natasha Romanoff had been involved in the movie M.U. (Marvel Universe) in both the comic books and the films, she deserves some individual development of her own.

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Granted, BW is not a favorite character of mine. She’s rather clichéd. But if you are going to use her, if she is going to be the LONE female heroine in the landscape, put her on equal footing with her male peers.

Joss Whedon himself missed a step when he chose to not use the Wasp in the Avengers. Janet Van Dyne is one of the first female characters in Marvel Comics and, like Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor, a founding member of the Avengers.

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But then, she would have needed an establishing film to set her character up…

…which she still is not getting in favor of Ant Man. *head desk*

The next girl to be shown in the films will be the Scarlet Witch who is crazy powerful, and also very emotionally unstable and easily manipulated. Quite often, bat-shit crazy.

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Yeah, thanks guys. Love the way we’re being portrayed.

Captain America
Cap’s films have actually done o.k. with female characters. Granted, Betty Ross, Sharon Carter and the Black Widow are all in supporting roles, but they are all strong women. They just weren’t featured enough.

Thor
Sif. We need to see more Sif.

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Some more development from “bad ass chick” would be welcome.

Frigga actually got an upgrade from her comic book self which was more of the traditional mother goddess. The movie Frigga was wise, maternal and when she had to, kicked ass.

Iron Man
Pepper Potts is another one that is ignored and was actually decent, I think. I don’t read Iron Man regularly, but my impression is Pepper of the comic book is not quite so damsel-in-distress-y. However both the print and film versions are smart, strong, common sense women. I liked that Pepper of the film did something very sensible and so rare to action movies: She went to the authorities when they were in trouble.

What was nice is that in Iron Man 3 they put her in the suit, which is a nod to Pepper’s eventual development into becoming Rescue in the comic book.

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Sony: Spider-Man
Sure, let’s just focus on Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy, girlfriends who need to be saved on a regular basis. Why would Sony Pictures ever use his other girlfriend, the one with her own life who doesn’t need to be rescued all the time: the Black Cat? Or Ms. Marvel, a friend that Peter Parker actually has no romantic interest in?

20th Century Fox: X-Men and Daredevil.
O.K. they Got Elektra right in the first Daredevil film (the Elektra solo film does not exist in my universe).

But the X-Men films have some of the most egregious devaluations of female characters.

First of all, can we PLEASE stop putting Wolverine at the center of every goddamn story?

*ahem* Moving on.

Mystique is o.k.. Compared to the strength of her comic book counterpart, she is a let down. She was a leader in her own right, she was not Magneto’s Girl Friday. In the comics she is also frequently armed because shapeshifting is not an offensive ability and she is not stupid. I also do not know why a shapeshifter who can mimic clothing has to be naked the majority of the time except to serve as eye candy.

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She is also one of the first bisexual characters in traditional superhero comics, sharing a decades-long deep love affair with a pre-cognitive named Irene Adler/Destiny.

Jean Grey/Phoenix was good (though again, the Brett Ratner disaster of X3 does not exist in my universe).

Kitty Pryde’s portrayal is just lame. I think Ellen Page is perfect and if given Kitty’s full personality she would have a lot more fun with the role, but in the films Kitty is written as a mechanism, not a character. As I pointed out her use in X-Men: Days of Future Past was disappointing (she was the main character who went back in time in the comic) and made no sense (her powers have nothing to do with telepathy or time travel). More importantly she has been a mainstay of the X-Men for 34 years. We have watched her grow from smart, naive young teen into a smart, idealistic, kick ass woman. She needs to be more involved and prominent in their stories.

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And then, there’s Lockheed.

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But the two portrayals which were epic failures, devaluing the characters and pissing off fans to no end, were Storm and Emma Frost.

Storm is one of Marvel’s personifications of feminine strength. She often takes a motherly role towards the rest of the team (Kitty especially in the beginning), but she is not a woman you want to mess with.

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She can even get Wolverine to back down from a killing rage, just by the force of her personality and leadership.

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And Logan’s respect for Ororo grew to be mountains more than it has ever been for Scott/Cyclops. Logan would walk into hell if she told him too. Not because of any romantic feelings, but because he respects and cares about her that much.

In the comic Storm took over leading the X-Men when Scott took time off. And when his heart wasn’t in it anymore but he would not step aside, Storm kicked his ass in a Danger Room duel. And she was depowered at the time!

Halle Berry was woefully miscast (Angela Bassett would have been my choice, just to give you an idea of the kind of energy the character should have had), and in the scripts Storm was relegated to being an almost faceless supporting character.

Emma Frost’s portrayal was downright insulting. Emma Frost is a former member of the Hellfire club and associate of Sebastian Shaw, true. But she was never Shaw’s moll. She had her own agenda and schemes. Emma’s focus has always been the kids. In her earlier portrayals she was exploiting them for the Hellfire Club. But as she was developed and became a hero and her past was revealed (and as her entire team of kids died at the hands of another, future, member of the Hellfire Club) her interest became that of a protecting lioness, teaching the next generation of mutants how to survive in a rough world.

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X-23 was one of her students who was still being controlled by clandestine Weapon X program. You do NOT fuck with the children under Emma’s care.

Born to the economic purple, when her telepathy emerged her severely dysfunctional family put her, the little girl hearing voices in her head, in an insane asylum. Emma escaped to make her own way in the world, using her telepathy to create her own corporate empire. (Imagine the insider trading potential if you could read minds.) Her teaching methods are hard because she sees the world as a brutal place that kids need to protect themselves against. And yes, Emma uses her sexuality as part and parcel of how she manipulates and guards against that world, but she is by no means arm candy. (Or she should not be.)  Her past and protective motivations do not excuse her actions, which as seen above can sometimes be quite cruel, but she is much more than Hollywood allowed her to be on screen.

So comic books have not given female characters the short end of the stick, Hollywood has. But as I pointed out before, since 2000 the Entertainment Industry has been pretty dismissive of the ladies in general.

Next, who women in comics are and what they say about us.

And speaking of the third chapter, here is a perfect example of the real problem with how women in comics are protrayed these days: The Art

Preview II: Girls Girls Girls

Both Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde were introduced in X-Men #129 in 1980. In the 1990’s, Emma was developed into a “hero.” In 2004, 24 years after they met, Emma and Kitty found themselves on the same team.

(I hope this is not too small. I loaned my TPBs, Trade Paperbacks, out of a friend never to be seen again and it was either wait until tonight when I can fish this issue out of the longboxes or pull it from online.)

Astonishing X-Men #2, by Joss Whedon.

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