I’m sure a lot of SJW pros will probably claim I am not really a female, and this is probably written by a racist white man, but I can assure you I am very much a female comic book fan. You can hear me review comics at www.youtube.com/themutantagenda and my twitter and instagram handles are @nerdgirltruth. Come find me.
Marvel is an amazing company that, I believe, has changed a lot of lives in its time. I am so proud to have a source of entertainment that also brings great values. Now I know, who am I to say what is of value? That is always subject to each person’s opinion, of course, but the majoring factor is encouraging respect. If there’s one thing in life that everyone wants, it’s some fucking respect. No one wants to be belittled. No one wants to be torn apart as if they are worthless. Also, no one wants to be taught a lesson with a moral of the story shoved in their face. And, honestly, I learn better when you teach me subtly. I think when a view is forced on someone, punching them in the face with direct dialogue that is annoying, it won’t get you anywhere, but the opposite of your intentions.
When Chris Claremont rebirthed the X-Men, he played it cool. Storm was introduced an issue before he took over, but he was the force behind her character. Claremont developed her into a strong female lead and it wasn’t surprising she became just that. Ororo (a.k.a Storm) is a goddess who had a traumatic past, but that didn’t stop her from growing into an intelligent and kind being. I’m not saying everyone with a traumatic past goes down a slippery slope and aren’t good people. My point is she didn’t let it get the best of her and she rose above her sad past to become a radiant force. Within the first issue, I already liked her personality of what little I read from her. In the second issue, I was hooked. She had poise. She had only encouraging words to say. She never spoke down to someone in any childish manner even if that person was arrogant, immature or didn’t agree with her. Everything about her was caring. She could hate those who talked trash, but instead she spoke back to them with intellectual acuity. Storm became a strong black female lead without those words being said. She didn’t need to, though, because Claremont raised such an amazing woman in front of our own eyes. He put the hard work into building up such an empowerful woman.
Nowadays, it’s like Marvel needs to shortcut characters into being strong female leads. You don’t need to prove to me that women can be in leadership. I already know that. You already have those characters. You taking a male lead character and swapping him out for a female doesn’t prove your point. It invalidates it. When you do that, you are telling me that you don’t believe a woman can be a strong female lead without the help of a man. If you really want me to believe that the renewed female version of a once male lead is strong, then make her her own character. She doesn’t need to take over someone else’s shoes. She is strong on her own or else you’re showing me she’s not strong at all.
Also, what is with making these lead women masculine looking? Can a lead woman not look feminine and be strong at the same time? I know there are many facial structures out there in the world. I, myself, have a little bit of a squared off jawline. It seems, though, that now that Kitty Pryde is in leadership, Marvel decided to take away her girl-next-door qualities. She is no longer petite and feminine, but short haired with a defined jawline. She didn’t look like that before, but suddenly came into that appearance once making her a lead role. I thought showing strong female leadership meant not masculating, but however a woman was on their own terms was strong. Kitty seemed like she was totally fine with her appearance to me. Guess not. If she didn’t like herself before, then that’s fine. Look how you want to look Kitty, but I want it to be your choice, not what others believe a powerful woman should look like.
Another issue that has come across the table is sexualizing women. I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but Storm used to get naked a lot. She is in tune with herself and isn’t ashamed of her body. She is most comfortable when in the “au naturale” state. I know she would never tear someone down for loving their skin and wanting to show it. The body is beautiful and there is no need to shame someone for appreciating their own body. If Rogue is wearing a skin tight costume and her breasts are bulging out, I’m fine with that. That is her body type. It’s okay for a woman to have big breasts and a big ass. Many women have that now. Does that mean the everyday woman is degrading herself by wearing a cami and skinny jeans?
I also wouldn’t expect someone fighting villains to be in a baggy outfit. These people are super acrobatic and have to be in shape to be fighting the way they do. It would be odd to see Rogue in loose clothing and overweight. That goes for any character, male or female. I am not body shaming anyone, but I am being logical here. These mutants go through a lot of physical exertion. Do you really think they’d be chubby after all of their hard work? P.S. have you seen what most yogis wear? It’s hard to be flexible without wearing something form-fitting.
I still believe Marvel is a great company, though it seems they are going through a rough patch. It’s unfortunate that so many people have such strong beliefs and can’t see eye-to-eye on things. Marvel has always celebrated diversity. The problem is a lot of people are blinding themselves from what’s always been in front of them all these years Marvel has been publishing comics. When you keep an open mind, then you can see that Marvel has embraced and respected difference since the very beginning. For those that do not see it, it may be because you weren’t a real fan to begin with. If Marvel knows how to do anything best, it’s being subtle toward learning these values. Maybe more people should open up their minds, tune in to the words and start from the very beginning.