Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hands, porn, lesbians, libraries, voodoo and lip reading

So, I finished reading Young Justice. As people may have noticed I think it's rather good. But there's always a but, right? Take Empress - cool costume, cool power, cool character background etc etc. I feel that making the sole black chick's power a voodoo one is, how shall we say it, racial stereotyping? And then on top of that she gets naked to cast a spell? Jesus. I call that racist. Probably not racist through maliciousness, more racist through lack of imagination and thought, but still racist.

My other problem with the run is the deaf girl Arrowette makes friends with on the way to the games. I'm fully supportive of including more (any?) deaf people in comics and literature but i think it should be handled well. It should not be inferred that deaf people are experts on lip reading. Only about 30% of all words are formed on the lips, the rest are formed with the tongue and throat. So, it's impossible to lip read 100% of all speech. It really would be nice to see communication issues reflected accurately.

Given Peter David's inclusion of a couple of deaf characters in Supergirl and Young Justice
I wonder if he suddenly came in contact with deaf people at some point, maybe a member of his family or a friend went deaf suddenly? It reminds me of Judd Winick bringing in HIV positive characters. Which again I fully support. Comics can provide a good forum to educate people about illnesses/disability/social issues so bring it on. Just do it right. Please? Do your research first.

(And on another note, I really hate Cassandra Cain's ability to read body movement like a language - it doesn't make sense! People growing up without speech and without hearing don't communicate as she did. It's a stupid plot device.)

On to Buffy issue 12. So she slept with Satsu. Big deal. This doesn't make her gay, or even bi. This simply means she slept with a chick. Some of the blogs I've read that have looked appear to be getting hung up on whether this makes Buffy gay or bi. I say, does it matter? It's just sex. And I don't think you can draw parallels between Buffy's previous unconventional relationships and sleeping with a girl. So Angel and Spike were dead vampires. They're still hot male dead vampires. That's quite different from women. I'm quite offended that some people think women and dead male vampires have something in common.
I should add that fro Buffy to be gay or bi she'd have to actually crush on women. I doubt she has a proper hard on for Satsu, I think she needed comfort and closeness and orgasms. You don't have to fancy someone to sleep with them.
And the rest of the comic? Awesome. This series is getting better and better each issue. But Willow flying really pisses me off for some reason. I'm picky and don't think anyone in the Buffyverse should be able to fly. It just doesn't seem to fit.

And I also just read the whole Genshiken series. I liked. One of the more notable parts of it was the abundance of porn for women they' showed. And showed it as part of everyday life for the characters, it wasn't anything to be ashamed of. It was read the same way the men read their porn, it was discussed openly, and recommended to friends and it was normalised.

By extensions this normalises female sexuality and realises women do have sex drives and desires and fantasies. Compare that to Western attitudes towards porn and women and I see that Genshiken deals with this in an incredibly mature and praiseworthy way. It's a relief to see women reading and buying porn without shame, without being subject to ridicule or name calling. Bring it on.

Superman 674
Their new house. Want want want! Check out that library space. *drools*

Serenity 1
Hurrah for the explosions and the guns! Boo in a big way for the cover. That's an Adam Hughes cover? What, did he draw it blindfolded? Look at the hands! And Mal's neck, and Zoe's very very forced grin - she looks like somethings pinning her cheeks back.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't make her gay or bi, it makes for bad pandering to the fan fiction and voyueristic fanboys for a cheap gimmicky sales boost.

Saranga said...

Sorry, didn't make myself clear. I'm looking at it from the context of the story and what makes sense within the narrative. I'm not concerned about why that plotline was included.

Ami Angelwings said...

Bah I'm just gonna rewrite my comment :( I have to change too much :\ Can you delete the last 2 deleted comments? :)

I think it matters a little tho... as a bi girl, it bothers me that bi-ness is often ignored (Joss apparently doesn't even think of it as an option when talking about whether chars are gay or straight) and it's like "you're one or the other" and bi-ness is just curiosity in girls or girls who are "too sexual" or something :( Not that it's on Buffy to solve this thing and for Joss to announce that Buffy is bi or pansexual, but I can see why it is important to some ppl. :) Nobody likes having their sexual orientation discounted ttlly with just 'oh it doesn't matter'. :\ Being bisexual isn't just "I dun care about gender" or whatever, and I can see why some ppl might think it's important that they could have a strong openly bi hero (and main hero) to claim :]

Saranga said...

My apologies, I didn't mean to discount anyone's sexuality.
I thought about including in my original post that I am bi, but I was concerned that by doing so it could then be read as "As a bi woman, I have no problem with this, therefore you should all respect my authoritah'. Not what I wanted or meant.

I also didn't want the post to become about the marketing angle, rather, I am interested in how people are justifying Buffy's actions in terms of narrative and character history only.

For what it's worth, part of the reason I don't understand why people need to explain away and justify her behaviour is because to me being attracted to men and women is as natural as breathing. I cannot conceive of only crushing on one sex or gender and I cannot quite understand how people go through their lives without liking both men and women.

Saranga said...

Knew I'd forget something. I agree, I think we need some bi role models. I could have really done with some whilst growing up, and even now as an adult. Straight media deals with us as male wank material, lesbian media ignores us.
However, I don't think Buffy is bi. I think Willow should have been portrayed as bi, the switch from man loving to woman loving was far too quick and could have been dealt with in a far more mature way. When Oz came back didn't she still have feelings for him, shouldn't this have been explored more?

Ami Angelwings said...

I think Willow should have been portrayed as bi, the switch from man loving to woman loving was far too quick and could have been dealt with in a far more mature way. When Oz came back didn't she still have feelings for him, shouldn't this have been explored more?

I agree :\ It was treated like some switch had been flipped and stuff and like... isn't being bi an option? That's just what gets me :( Why isn't it an option? Not that every char must be bi, or that even Willow or Buffy are, but why can't it be an OPTION?

Saranga said...

agreed :)

Anonymous said...

Why mention Cass's body language thing here? It's not a disability like being deaf, (she can talk normal now,) and it's not a disease like HIV (it's never hindered her or endangered her). It seems a bit random when put in context to your post.

Plot device? Couldn't one say the same thing for Elongated man's ability to stretch himself? Or the atom's ability to shrink? It's a special ability based on/inspired by a real theory, no? It's not meant to be completely realistic.

Out of curiosity have you read the Batgirl series? There was an issue that had a doctor discuss theories about Cass's abilities which basically can be described as an extreme. chronic, non-exhausting, painless/stressless form of "hypervigilance." Hypervigilance occurs in people that have been isolated and abused for long periods of time (victims of domestic abuse) or went thru some trauma (not unlike PTSD).

Yeah, It's a big stretch, but I don't think DC wanted a lot of realism when they wanted to use this funky ability to make Cass a fighting machine. But then again...THIS IS COMICS.

They take theories to an extreme and make stories out of them. They are fantasy. And it shouldn't be a problem considering...again...this is comics. Not every comic out there has to be completely realistic and use its character as the living example of a social message. It'd be nice, but sometimes, mindless fun can be okay too.

Although, if one bothered to look past the crazy kung-fu skills, Batgirl Cass's book had themes of redemption, rehabilitation and education. So it wasn't completely devoid of social messages.

Of course, that's not everyone's cup of tea, and I respect that. But call them as they are.

Her body-reading language abilities are just that: Special abilities, not a disability nor a disease. It's a special ability because its unrealistic.

I agree, tho, there should be more realistically diverse characters. But Cass can't be fairly compared to the deaf girl or Mia here.

Unless you're talking about her illiteracy and ignorance. Something that wasn't taken care of during her series' 5-year run.

THAT is a problem for her, and it's a pretty unrealistic situation for someone working with Batman and Oracle, the most intelligent people in the DCU...

But heck, the book did try to bring up the issue of the importance of education. Problem is that story never got fully developed. By the time they figured out that Cass had some funky form of dyslexia, her series was finished.

She could've been DC's superhero character with a learning disability. Someone who would overcome her illiteracy during the series. And then finally get an education (if only by homeschool). But nope, DC didn't care enough to bother with that.

They thought she was more interesting as an ignorant illiterate girl...like so many women in deprived third world countries...

Ami Angelwings said...

I'm fully supportive of including more (any?) deaf people in comics and literature but i think it should be handled well. It should not be inferred that deaf people are experts on lip reading. Only about 30% of all words are formed on the lips, the rest are formed with the tongue and throat. So, it's impossible to lip read 100% of all speech. It really would be nice to see communication issues reflected accurately.

That's something I rly like about Jericho :) Also that they actually hired a deaf actress to play the deaf character :) But that she communicates largely thru sign and stuff :]

I ttlly agree with you that just having minorities exist in fiction isn't enuf if they aren't being portrayed well and realistically. :) Minorities dun exist for the majority after all, and simply b/c the majority has a stereotype or idea of how they are or it's just easier to have them be a certain way, doesn't mean they should be portrayed that way. :)

Which is why I thought it was great that Jericho had a deaf actress portray Bonnie since her communication would be natural and realistic since it is how she communicates regularly rather than it being the actor or writers coming up with how they THINK deaf ppl might communicate. :)

Saranga said...

Anonymous:
I mentioned Cassandra purely because it's something that's been at the back of my mind for a long time. It wasn't meant to be connected to the rest of the post, although I appreciate I didn't make that clear.

[i]It's a special ability based on/inspired by a real theory, no?.... Out of curiosity have you read the Batgirl series? There was an issue that had a doctor discuss theories about Cass's abilities which basically can be described as an extreme.[/i]

I haven't read the Batgirl series, no, and I wasn't aware that her abilities were based on a real theory. However now I am interested!

[i] I don't think DC wanted a lot of realism when they wanted to use this funky ability to make Cass a fighting machine. But then again...THIS IS COMICS.[/i]

OK you have your view I have mine. I'm still not overly fond of Cass. And even if this is *just* comics I want some sort of believable (at least within the narrative of that universe) explanations. Fromw hat I've read, Cass' origin doesn't do that for me.

[i]Not every comic out there has to be completely realistic and use its character as the living example of a social message.[/i]

I LIKE mindless fun! I don't want every book to have an overt social message, but like it or not fiction reflects the real world and the author's knowledge and views. I'd like some author's to pay a little bit more attention to the world.

My comments about Cassandra were based on seeing her on a handful or appearences in other people's books. I don't think I need to read her whole series to form an opinion on her, but from what you've said about the book I am now more inclined to pick up some books.

Re-reading my post I didn't mean to compare her to Mia or the deaf girls Peter David has included, but I can see how you got that impression. In my head I also did not mean to infer that Cass had a disability. But discussion of the meaning of disability needs to go into post cos that alone can take months.

Re her illiteracy - the stuff I've read about her is when she first started working with Batman, so I have no idea how that developed over her series.

Thanks for your views anyway :)

Saranga said...

Ami - I haven't seen Jericho, is it an American/Candian show?

Ami Angelwings said...

Yus :) It's an American show on CBS.

I have a review of an episode up on my reviews blog actually xD Also I talk about Bonnie in a piece in my rants blog :)

Jericho's been cancelled tho, the last episode aired recently :(

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