Women In Refrigerators (2)

Batgirl Special (1988) DC Comics - Writer: Barbara Randall (Kesel), Penciller: Barry Kitson, Inker: Bruce D. Patterson, Colorist: Carl Gafford, Letterer: John Costanza, Editor: Denny O’Neil, Cover Artist: Mike Mignola

We’ve got some great posts by smart ladies for you today… and some thoughts on WiR from guy (yes, we promised we’d link to your contributions too, guys).

First off, certainshadesoflight reflects on the difficulty of just responding to the issue:

It’s harder to write than I thought.  It’s hard to put into words how it makes me feel as a woman to constantly see a female character I love so much be treated so poorly over and over again.

I hope other people are thinking of posting some content for this conversation this week.  It’s an important conversation to have and it’s essential that we share how we feel as women when we see this kind of stuff.

Next, Elisabeth Pfeiffer and Corrina Lawson get analytical, looking at what’s changed since WiR was posted, what hasn’t, and what needs to change.

Women In Refrigerators: 13 Years Later, by Elisabeth Pfeiffer (aka georgethecat)

While we work to end sexual violence and tell the world that one rape is too many, we are told that because women experience sexual violence disproportionately anyways, that it’s going to pop up when creators of fictional fantasy escapist worlds want ‘realism.’ This ‘realistic’ element is often portrayed through grossly stereotypical tropes that are lazy, ignorant, and rely on heterosexist and misogynistic ideas. One extremely common such example is the woman running away from the gang of would-be rapist men (as seen in Green Arrow no. 1 [Brightest Day 2010] by J.T. Krul and Diogenes Neves). The hero swoops in just at the right time to save this woman from being viciously and violently gang-raped. This moment is never mentioned further because it is nothing of consequence; it is just a normal occurrence in the life of our hero. (And through my gleaning of the reviews, it seems to be of no consequence to the general storyline, either, except to show how heroic the male character is; and, it is almost always a male or more masculine character who does the saving in these scenarios)

Women In Refrigerators: 13 Years Later, by Corrina Lawson of GeekMom

To me, the bottom line is that the problem lies behind the scenes.

DC right now has two female creators on their new rebooted titles, Simone and Ann Nocenti, who’s taking over Green Arrow. Without a strong creator who sells a lot of books to stand up for a character, like Geoff Johns did with his Green Lantern characters or Grant Morrison did with Batman or even Scott Snyder with Batman, female characters are going to get overlooked–let’s not even get started on the other missing Batgirl, Cassandra Cain– in favor of other pet characters who happen to be male because, well, 98 percent of the creators and the vast majority of editorial are male. (One bright exception to this is Batwoman, who is backed by the amazing talented artist and writer, J.H. Williams.)

So while the characters in the comics might be treated better right now than thirteen years ago, the real change, the one needed behind the scenes, is sorely lacking. Things will never truly change until that does.

Finally, Erik Bear of Cold Dark Matter sent us this response to our theme:

Superheroes are a men-centric world. Written and drawn by men, assuming a male audience, with male central characters. Thus the women are incidental, usually side characters, objects to be desired or protected, defined entirely by their relationships with the men of the series. And they’re drawn to reflect that. Sure, there’s body dysmorphism for both sexes in comics, but it’s only the women that get distorted into sex objects that always pose for maximum T&A. The men are always hypersculpted icons of power, with nary a hint of sexual characteristics even when wearing a skintight body suit that ought to leave nothing to the imagination.

That’s if for today, but there are still more great posts coming to a blog, tumblr, and facebook page near you!

Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.

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