Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just a little sigh

From Extreme Justice 16, we have a scene of some beered up boys harassing women in a car:

We are meant to think that the boys are morons and shouldn’t be abusing the girls. Then the next panel is as follows:

And the whole point kind of falls apart. Could the artists/editorial not see the hypocrisy in the art vs the text?



Lord Runolfr said...

Uhm... all I can say is "WTF?"

That made no sense whatsoever, and certainly didn't have any kind of positive message.

cerebus660 said...

Not only that, but the artwork is ten kinds of ugly as well. My 9-year old son could draw a better Firestorm!

Anonymous said...

Not really sure but I think I am missing something. Is it the butt that has you upset or something else?

Saranga said...

Hi anonymous, thanks for the comment.
It's not just the fact of a gratuitous arse on show that made me post this, (although that is aggravating enough), it was more to do with the conjunction of the art with the message in text.

The in text message is that abusing women whilst you're driving past them is wrong. What the guys are yelling is centred around the women, being women. It's rather sexist.

This message of sexism being bad is completely undermined by the art on the next page, which is a gratuitous arse, designed to titilate. The message here being that women are there to be ogled at. It's rather sexist.

Having re-looked at the panels I've just realised you could read it differently. You could view Sheila as liking the blokes attention and flirting with them, and it's only her mate getting annoyed about it. Which would make it less sexist and not contradictory. And also would not make me be bothered re Sheila's arse on shos.

I didn't read it as such, I read it as Sheila flipping her middle her finger at them initially, and then waving at them in a 'ha ha suckers we got away' kind of mode.

How did you read it?

Anonymous said...

"How did you read it?"
I read it as some assholes in a truck harassing some girls and the girls getting pissed.

Why would the ass pic take away from that massage? Are you saying that it is wrong for girls to dress like that? Are you saying that if they dress like that they have it coming?
more likely your saying sexy is sexist and I think that is insulting and wrong.

"The message here being that women are there to be ogled at. It's rather sexist."
I think your reading the wrong message.
I see the message as saying
" I have a nice butt and don't mind showing it off for anyone that likes it." I don't see how that undermines the don't be a jerk point unless you think girls embracing sexuality is bad, or you think guys liking nice butts is wrong.

I find your politics to be the reason so many girls refuse to call themselves feminists.
They are afraid that means they can't be sexy.

Saranga said...

Hi Anonymous, thanks for coming back and replying further.

I am not saying being sexy is wrong, or sexist. I am not saying the girls had it coming or that they shouldn't dress like that, or that girls embracing sexuality is bad, or that guys liking nice butts is wrong.

I was looking at it in 2 ways. 1 - What is the in-text message of the panel (this would be based on the characters' actions, dialogue etc)
2 - what is the meat message, that comes from the creators (writers, artists, editors (?) etc).

I think there is a contradiction. The in-text message is that women aren't pieces of meat to be ogled and harassed as men see fit.
The meta message is that women in comics are there to be ogled for the enjoyment of (usually) men.

It's not just this panel on it's own, I'm viewing it in context of so much other comic art, especially of the time in which this was produced. A lot of comic art does/did objectify women and a lot is/was sexist.

As for my politics putting off women calling themselves feminists.. Well, I'm not (and don't want to be) an ambassador for feminism. If I were an ambassador then I would certainly choose my words a lot more carefully and I'd also make this into a feminism 101 type blog. But that's not my aims with this site.

I choose to self identify as feminist and I'm not too bothered what anyone else calls themselves.
I agree that a lot of women are afeard that being feminist means you can't be sexy. All I can say is, that's not what I believe.

Anonymous said...

"As for my politics putting off women calling themselves feminists.. Well, I'm not (and don't want to be) an ambassador for feminism."
No your right that it is not our job to encourage feminists to come out but it is in our best interest.

The pic is ironic(right word? English is not my first)but not contradictory imo. The men in the truck are harassing the girls in a way that is insulting and obviously not ok, those that enjoy such things are given a pic of a nice butt... is this also insulting and obviously not ok.
If yes why?

Saranga said...

Hi there. Apologies for the delay in response, in truth your question made me think - I've never been quite sure what irony means. My dictionary (and I'm really not insulting you here, this is for my benefit), says irony is 'an expression of meaning, often humourous or sarcastic, by the use of language of a different or opposite tendancy'.

I think that for something to be effectively ironic, the sarcasm needs to be really explicit.. I'm just not getting that from this piece..

I said in my last reply that my reading of this panel is affected by the comic wide context in which it is set.. I guess taken on it's own it could be more ironic.

I think maybe the irony may lie with the reader's viewing of the panels - the artist/writer has attempted to depict why sexual harassment is bad, but because of the conventions of comics, the industry in which they work, the expectations of the fans, (whatever reason) they couldn't help but slip in the sexist and objectifying image.

I think I think that if the artists had put the bum shot in as a reaction to action in the previous panel, then that's just sexism, and not irony, because it's not effective at sending up the sexism. It's just sexist and it's objectifying.

Did that answer your question? I think I've confused myself a little here so am not sure if the above is a reasonable or useful response.

Anonymous said...

"I think I've confused myself a little here"

Me as well

You're saying that the artist drawing a butt for his/her (Was the artist a guy?) and others enjoyment is wrong. Your words are it is sexist and objectifying.

What makes you think that is sexist?
You said that the massage was good all the way up tell they show the butt.

I don't buy that guys looking at them and enjoying it is the same as something as dangerous as a sexism.

Whats your argument that says enjoying the look of a sexy body is wrong?

I am shocked and saddened how often the argument is made that sexy girls are wrong and bad.

Look at that picture and think about this. We have a bunch of sexy girls not taking crap from assholes.
You call the pic sexist, I call the pic exactly the kind of massage us feminist need.

Saranga said...

Hi, sorry for the delay in replying.

I didn't say that other people's enjoyment of the ass shot was wrong. I have no issues with people enjoying a sexy body. I am not against sexy women - go view one of my recent posts on the new Hippolyta Wonder Woman statue.

I was highlighting a discrepancy between what I perceived as the intended message in the first panel and the unintended message in the second panel.

Comic art has routinely and regularly depicted women as sexy first and people second. Women in comics have been for many years drawn with the focus on their tits and ass, with porn face expressions and with completely ridiculous fluid spines. They have been drawn this way because the artists are men and the (perceived) audience is men. Because these men can't draw women without thinking how hot they are or should be. Because being hot is the highest compliment you can pay a woman. Allegedly.

These men appear to be incapable of seeing a woman as something other than a sexual being.
So even when they are depicting a scene of sexual harassment they cannot stop themselves drawing the woman as something to ogle (or they deliberately chose to draw it that way).

Why do women always have to be sexy? Why is that always so damn important?

That is my interpretation of the two panels, that is why I find it sexist and if you still can't understand my point of view there isn't much else I can say.

I didn't put the post up to try and convince people of my opinion, it was something that I noticed while reading the comic and it made me a sigh. You are welcome to your opinion. I have mine, we do not have to agree.