Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

An Interesting List:

Now. Over in this post's comments, Scott and I got into an interesting discussion about whether rape is overused in comics or not. He provides me this list of female heroes that haven't been the subject of rape (or attempted rape):

1. Arachne (a.k.a. Spider-Woman II)
2. Armor
3. Atom Girl
4. Aurora
5. Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)
6. Batwoman (the new one)
7. Black Alice
8. Black Betty
9. Blink
10. Bloodstone, Elsa
11. Bordeaux, Sasha (Black Queen)
12. Bulleteer
13. Cairea (in the Hulk now)
14. Carter, Sharon
15. Chase, Cameron
16. Cooper, Valerie
17. Crimson Fox
18. Crystal
19. Cyclone
20. Dagger
21. Dead Girl
22. Dean, Karolina
23. Donovan, Milla
24. Duran, Courtney
25. Dust
26. Echo (a.k.a. Ronin)
27. Elasti-Girl
28. Enchantress
29. Energizer
30. Fahrenheit
31. Fairchild, Caitlin
32. Fallen Angel
33. Fire (Black King’s Knight)
34. Firebird
35. Firehawk
36. Gamora
37. Gorgeous
38. Gypsy
39. Hill, Maria
40. Hudson, Heather (Exiles version)
41. Infectious Lass
42. Invisible Woman
43. Irons, Natasha
44. Jenny Quantum
45. Jones, Jessica
46. Judomaster
47. Katana
48. Kent, Martha
49. Knight, Misty
50. Knockout
51. Lady Blackhawk
52. Lady Mastermind
53. Lady Shiva
54. Lang, Lana
55. Liberty Belle
56. Light Lass
57. Light Speed
58. Lilandra
59. Luna
60. M
61. Ma Hunkle
62. MacTaggart, Moira
63. Madame Xanadu
64. Manhunter
65. Mary Marvel
66. Medusa
67. Meggan
68. Mercury
69. Midnight, Jessica (Black Queen’s Bishop)
70. Miller, Layla
71. Minoru, Nico
72. Mirage
73. Miss America (Freedom Fighters version)
74. Moonstone
75. Namora (Agents of Atlas)
76. Night Nurse
77. Nightmask
78. Omega Sentinel
79. Parker, Aunt May
80. Phantom Lady III
81. Phyla-Vell (Quasar II)
82. Platinum
83. Polaris
84. Sabra
85. Power Girl
86. Power Princess
87. Princess Projectra
88. Pulsar (a.k.a. Capt. Marvel, Photon)
89. Rainmaker, Sarah
90. Raptor (Brenda Drago)
91. Ravager
92. Raven
93. Red Bee
94. Sage
95. Sawyer, Maggie
96. Scarlet Witch
97. Sersi (the Eternal)
98. Shadow Lass
99. Siryn
100. Songbird
101. Spaulding, Roxy (Freefall)
102. Spider-Girl
103. Spitfire
104. Squirrel Girl
105. Star Girl
106. Starfire
107. Stature
108. Stepford Cockoos (do they count as 3?)
109. Summers, Rachel (Marvel Girl)
110. Supergirl
111. Surge
112. Tabitha (a.k.a.Boom Boom, Meltdown)
113. Talisman
114. Tarantula (Heroes for Hire)
115. Tautin, Josephine (“Mademoiselle Marie,” Black Queen’s Knight)
116. The Question ( the new one)
117. Thompkins, Leslie
118. Thunder (in the Outsiders)
119. Tigra
120. Traci 13
121. Triplicate Girl
122. Troia
123. Venus (Agents of Atlas)
124. Vision (the Ultimate one)
125. Vixen
126. Waller, Amanda (White Queen)
127. Wasp
128. Watson-Parker, Mary Jane
129. White Tiger (the newest one)
130. Wolfsbane
131. Wonder Girl
132. Yorkes, Gertrude
133. Zatanna
134. Contessa Valentina DeFontaine

Okay, let's look at this list a moment. It's a NICE list. It makes me happy. Sometimes I get pretty cynical about comics, so it's good to have a list like this. So I want to take a closer look...

The following characters are less than five years old real-time (with many thanks to Chris Sims for his help):

3. Atom Girl
6. Batwoman (the new one)
7. Black Alice
8. Black Betty
12.Bulleteer
13. Cairea (in the Hulk now)
17. Crimson Fox
19. Cyclone
22. Dean, Karolina
23. Donovan, Milla
25. Dust
32. Fallen Angel
34. Firebird
37. Gorgeous
39. Hill, Maria
46. Judomaster
56. Light Lass*
64. Manhunter
69. Midnight, Jessica (Black Queen’s Bishop)
70. Miller, Layla
71. Minoru, Nico
77. Nightmask
80. Phantom Lady III
86. Power Princess
87. Princess Projectra*
93. Red Bee
98. Shadow Lass*
114. Tarantula (Heroes for Hire)
115. Tautin, Josephine (“Mademoiselle Marie,” Black Queen’s Knight)
121. Triplicate Girl*
124. Vision (the Ultimate one)
129. White Tiger (the newest one)
132. Yorkes, Gertrude


(*Current reboot, at least)

The following are non-love interest, non-hero supporting characters:

24. Duran, Courtney
48. Kent, Martha
62. MacTaggart, Moira
79. Parker, Aunt May
95. Sawyer, Maggie
117. Thompkins, Leslie


The following are underaged (More thanks to Chris)**:

2. Armor
3. Atom Girl
5. Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)
7. Black Alice
19. Cyclone
22. Dean, Karolina
24. Duran, Courtney
25. Dust
29. Energizer
38. Gypsy
41. Infectious Lass
43. Irons, Natasha
44. Jenny Quantum
56. Light Lass*
57. Light Speed
59. Luna
60. M
65. Mary Marvel
68. Mercury
70. Miller, Layla
71. Minoru, Nico
86. Power Princess
87. Princess Projectra*
91. Ravager
98. Shadow Lass*
101. Spaulding, Roxy (Freefall)
102. Spider-Girl
104. Squirrel Girl
107. Stature
108. Stepford Cockoos (do they count as 3?)
110. Supergirl
131. Wonder Girl
120. Traci 13
132. Yorkes, Gertrude

The following are robots:

82. Platinum
124. Vision (the Ultimate one)


Hmm. You know, suddenly this list doesn't make me nearly so happy. :-(



**In the case of the underaged characters, I tried to base them as accurately as I could based on age when joining, most recently declared age that I remember, and approximate in-comic time passing. In some cases, I would imagine I'm mistaken/misremembering. Feel free to correct me. :-)

35 Comments:

  • At March 11, 2007 9:43 PM, Anonymous buttler said…

    yeah, i'd have to add a " . . . yet" to that list.

    and as you pointed out in the last post, power girl's pregnancy may not be "rape," but its pretty damn invasive.

     
  • At March 11, 2007 9:53 PM, Blogger Chris Sims said…

    Also: Jessica Jones was totally raped by the Purple Man.

     
  • At March 11, 2007 10:17 PM, Blogger Rob Monroe said…

    And, as revealed in the original Proteus storyline in Uncanny X-Men, Moira MacTaggart was indeed raped by her estranged husband.

     
  • At March 11, 2007 10:26 PM, Blogger R.Nav said…

    I'm very happy that there hasn't been an Aunt May or Ma Hunkle Rape story.

    Also, Dead Girl.

     
  • At March 11, 2007 10:42 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    I might have to reread my Alias trades, but IIRC Jessica was mentally abused by PM, but was never physically assautled. I think they even make a point of that during her flashback to the period. Of course that then begs the question what constitutes rape. Just the physical act or do mental/mind control stuff involving abasement and power games like the Jessica/PM thing count?

     
  • At March 12, 2007 12:21 AM, Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said…

    I notice that Black Canary was left off the list and I think I know why.

    I've spoken with Mike Grell on the subject and it was always his intention that "Longbow Hunters", Dinah was tortured but not raped.

    Now, I know what happened to her was very graphic and her throat was cut, costing Dinah her powers. But while being depowered can be seen as a metaphorical rape, the writer himself says that she was not physically forced into any form of sexual intercourse.

    Just FYI.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 2:13 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Actually, she'd be off the list because during the torture, the men actually were about to/attempting to rape her when Ollie interrupted, going by the dialogue.

    She wasn't actually raped, but the attempt was there. That's probably why she's off the list. :-)

     
  • At March 12, 2007 2:52 AM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    I'll have to make you more depressed. :( Incidents that ocurred for other women on the list:

    Sasha Bordeaux was OMAC-nanotransformed, but got better.

    Bulleteer was transformed into a steel-plated girl against her will. Because of her husband, even.

    Dead Girl... well, is dead.

    Lady Shiva had David Cain's child in exchange for him saving her life.

    M was kept hostage by her brother Emplate who fed on her marrow on a constant basis.

    Mary Marvel, left depowered and crippled post Infinite Crisis.

    Ravager, ripped out her own eye while drugged by her father, Deathstroke.

    Starfire, used to be a slave.

    Troia, died like eighty times, lost son and husband, whatever.

    Wasp... uh... Hank Pym.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 2:54 AM, Blogger Flidget said…

    As you just mentioned in your previous post, putting Power Girl on that list is somewhat dodgy, though the pregnancy's been retroconned.

    Starfire's very much borderline too. Whichever of the two that one is. The flashback art of Koriand'r's slavery certainly alluded to rape. The less famous Starfire was raised by her master to be his wife and whom he attempted to force into marraige.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 3:08 AM, Anonymous Dumma said…

    Wasn't rape an integral part of Starfire's origin?

    There's probably so many new un-molested teenaged female characters purely because they tend to be oversexualized and since tentacle-rape isn't that popular (yet) among comic book fans, there's no point doing it, after all underaged females are hawt enough to boost sales ...for now

    And yes, rape has become such a stagnant plot it can't no longer be used to shock the reader, so logically it'll be used next as means to titilate him

    Mark my words


    Also, I'm a little behind in my current legion continuity so I gotta ask: Are those all the female legionnaries introduced so far, or has someone raped Saturn and Phantom Girl? And if so, was it Bouncing Boy?

     
  • At March 12, 2007 3:28 AM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    It's really disappointing/depressing how a lot of people assume that rapes are soon to come for these characters :/

     
  • At March 12, 2007 4:38 AM, Anonymous ingvild said…

    Aurora (Jeanne-Marie Beaubier) was raped by Sabretooth in a recent Weapon X series.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 4:55 AM, Anonymous Josh said…

    John Byrne's on the record saying he subjected Invisible Woman to metaphorical rape.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 8:37 AM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    Sadly I must punch more holes in this list.

    Boom-Boom and Skids along w/ others were mentally dominated/raped by Kilgrave
    Tarantula raped Nightwing

    Z:Mary may have her powers back post 52 and physical handicap/depowering DOES NOT =rape or crippling I know this personally

     
  • At March 12, 2007 9:14 AM, Anonymous Thom said…

    I would quibble with the inclusion Sasha Bordeaux or Bulleteer. Getting powers against your will is not quite the same as having rape as a part of a characters back story. Plenty of male characters have had powers thrust upon them as well, and we don't lump it in as "characters who were raped".

     
  • At March 12, 2007 9:56 AM, Anonymous Mela said…

    I don't really want to join in the whole-punching, but which Mirage are you referencing? If it's DC's Mirage, then she'd be on the Damned List. If it's Marvel's Mirage/Dani Moonstar, then she'd be fine (if, y'know, you don't count the whole M-Day depowering and loss of her job).

    The fact that so many are newer characters is oddly encouraging to me. Maybe the creators are actively trying to move away from using rape as a cheap backstory development or poorly done attempt at drama. Of course, I might be giving them too much credit.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's your definition of underage? Maxine Hunkel is in college.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 10:26 AM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    I provided a big document of rape-related Legion events for this list months ago, and I don't really recall it, but:

    No Legionnaires, as far as I can recall, have been subjected to any such indignities in the current boot. So, if the current boot is all we're worried about, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Light Lass, Shadow Lass, Dream Girl, Princess Projectra and Atom Girl/Shrinking Violet are all in the clear.

    If we take other versions into account, we gain some Legionnaires and lose others. By my own estimation, which others may challenge, the list of notable female Legionnaires across all versions who haven't been sexually assaulted is:

    Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Andromeda, Light Lass, Shikari, XS, Kinetix, Kid Quantum II, Spider Girl, Celeste/Neon, Thunder

     
  • At March 12, 2007 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Should Cassandra Cain be on the underage list? IIRC She was 18 when her solo series started.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 12:38 PM, Blogger Rob S. said…

    I'd argue with most of zaratustra's additions. If there's not a sexual element, it's not rape. It may be a violation of some kind, it certainly is inhumane, it may even be WiR stuff, but if you're making a list of rapes and sexual assaults, that's what it ought to be. Adding "metaphorical rapes" will water the list down to the point of uselessness.

    Also, while I haven't seen many of her appearances in Birds of Prey, I'm pretty sure Gypsy's no longer underage.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 1:11 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    I’m not sure that some of these classifications are valid. For instance, “underage.” That list you linked to earlier had several underage, female characters on it. In fact, some of them were on the list only because their age made them victims of rape, specifically, Terra, whose rape was statutory only because of her age. So if you are going to claim that underage characters don’t count, they can’t count for either list if you want it to be fair. Also, Grace Choi’s rape occurred when she was underage, so she’d have to be moved from the raped list to the not raped list. Also, I don’t believe all those characters listed as underage are in fact underage. Cyclone was in college when she was introduced. Post OYL, I’m not sure Natasha Irons is still a minor. Jenny Quantum seems to have aged herself to adult status. Peter David made a point of saying that M was of age in the X-Factor. Gypsy also seems to have aged to adulthood since her first appearances. Power Princess? Also, several of the underage characters here are sexual active, so while I can see why you might want to snip out some of the very young from my list as being too young to have rape storylines, I have trouble seeing why the sexually active teens would be removed.

    Also, I understand why you’d want to keep characters that have only been around a short while off the list; however, if you are going to say that characters that are less than 5 years old don’t count on the raped list, you aren’t going to be able to use characters that are less than 5 years old on the not raped list either. To keep it fair, you wouldn’t be able to count characters like Kate Bishop or Sally Sonic until they are in their 6th year. Also, there are characters on that list that I would not consider under 5 years old. Those Legion characters are essentially the same people who have been around for 40 years. Versions of Power Princess has been seen for decades. Phantom Lady is a golden age character. Yes, we are on the third one, but I don’t think any of them have been raped.

    I can’t figure out why “non-love interest, non-hero supporting characters” is in there. The “non-love interest” part seems like a way skewing the percentages by keeping Sue Digny on the raped list while removing characters from the not raped list. I strongly suspect that if any of the women in the “non-love interest, non-hero supporting characters” category were raped, you’d be counting them (e.g. one of your readers says that Moira MacTaggart was raped, so are you going to count her?)

    Let me add that I haven’t read every comic out there so if your readers find that a character I said wasn’t raped really was, you should of course, feel free to take them at their word and remove the character from my list and add her to yours. However, please limit those moves to real rapes, not “lost powers” or “mind controlled” or any of those things that might be symbolically like rape but aren’t rape. Virtually all characters have lost their powers or been mind controlled. (BTW, I believe it was stated specifically in Alias that Jessica Jones was not raped by the Purple Man. He raped other women while Jessica was under his control, but he did not rape her. And I think the reader who said that Jessica Drew was raped by him is doubly mistaken because the Jessicas are getting confused.)

    In any event, I look forward to seeing your list of raped characters that is 2 to 3 times longer than your edited version of mine.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 1:30 PM, Blogger Aero! said…

    I thought there was an attempted rape on Dagger in Runaways. She certainly had a violent stalker who attacked her and, if I remember correctly, referred to her as his "girlfriend."

     
  • At March 12, 2007 2:14 PM, Blogger Ragtime said…

    One in four women is the victim of rape or attempted rape some time in her life.

    While I certainly object to graphic (or implied) on-page rape scenes, and the overuse of the trope for dramatic effect, I don't object at all to having rape or attempted rape be part of a female hero's backstory -- certainly not when they are dealing with power-mad bad guys.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 2:33 PM, Blogger Lis Riba said…

    My gut reaction was that Starfire is on the wrong list -- never explicit, but certainly implied.

    But other people have beat me to that observation.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 4:51 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    Firebird is not less than 5 years old. She first appeared in Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #265 (November, 1981).

    Also to replace some characters that you might not think count, you can add:

    Lois Lane
    Black Widow
    Crimson Avenger III
    Domino
    Hawk & Dove (the newest versions)
    Mera
    Aquagirl II

    BTW, I looked at the list after removing those you suggested (e.g. all the underage except M who I know is not & all the under 5 year old except Firebird) and some that other posters suggested should be off the list and with them off my list, if you are to name 2 or 3 raped characters for everyone one I listed that was not raped, you’d have to come up with around 150 names. If 80% of female characters really are raped as you’ve suggested, that shouldn’t be too difficult. 80% would mean that there are 4 characters out there for every 1 that I named, so finding 2 or 3 should be a snap. But I think you are going to find that it isn’t. Here is some help:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_superheroes

    Good luck.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 7:46 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Scott: Did I say I was arguing with the validity of your list? I was merely pointing out qualifications that made me leery about celebrating so quickly.

    The only people I challenge are the ones that have definitely faced a sexual assault/attempt in their comic existence. (So far, these seem to be: Moira MacTaggart and possibly Dagger, though I'll wait until reading the issue.)

    I'm very glad your list is so long, even if so many are new characters or debatably underaged. (Aging in comics gets weird, I admit. Many that I listed as underage, because they were very young when introduced relatively recently in the rolling-back-ten-year time frame that exists in both DC and Marvel and are portrayed ambiguously enough now. I'm not saying that everyone has to agree with my interpretation of said ages. :-)) It's very reassuring.

    I'm just sad that there aren't more terribly prominent, clearly adult, female characters of more than ten years comic prominence on here. Though I realize that it's not a complete list either. :-)

    As for the comparitive list. If you'd paid attention to the in-progress links I showed you a while back, you'll see that Ragnell and I are working on such a list and have been for about a year. (This is taking a long time as we're trying to track down people's references and recollections to verify for ourselves...also, it's very slow as tracking down comics can cost money that we don't really have in spades).

    When we've completed the lists, verified and checked over, fully referenced and with context information, we'll very likely post links on our blogs. Then you'll be free to judge for yourself whether the actual incidents of sexual assault/attempted assault actually exceed your list or not.

    :-) I'd personally be very happy if our lists of actual/attempted instances are much shorter than yours.

    If you'd like feel free to send me your email address at r_nyalveis(at)hotmail(dot)com, and I'll be glad to put you first on the list to recieve a link to our lists when completed. :-)

     
  • At March 12, 2007 10:28 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    It’s nice that you are being so diligent with your research, but I’m curious as to whether or not you still think about 80% of female characters have been raped. You’ve been working on your list for about a year, and I did mine in an afternoon. Even if you remove all the characters who were underage, robots, less than 5 years old, etc., and the characters that people believe have been raped, your list is about the same length as mine. And your list includes underage girls and characters who have been around less than 5 years, characters that haven’t seen the light of day in over a year, villains, things called statutory rape that weren’t rape, etc. My list has had several people look it over, and there have only been a few instances of error, so I think we’d have to say that it is probably pretty close to accurate. Given that, in order for your list to accurate reflect an 80% instance of rape of female characters, you’d need to find about 300 female characters. After a year of thinking about this, you’ve come up with about 70. So do you still stand by your contention that nearly 80% of female characters have been raped?

    But let’s say you ignore my list and just think about your experience with comics. Your feelings about comics and rape are based on your experiences reading them. So if you just looked through a list of characters like the one I linked to and put a tally mark down for every character you were fairly familiar with and in another column put tally marks down for character you believe has been raped, do you think you’ll come up with something close to 80%? You could do this rather quickly, and it would demonstrate how accurately your perspective on the issue has been when compared to the reality.

    When I look through the numbers, I’m coming up with about 25%.

     
  • At March 12, 2007 11:12 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Our project is trying to find decisive incidents, Scott. Not dimly remembered ones.

    And of COURSE you can make a good list in a manner of minutes, the burden of proof isn't on you. A comic character can be assumed not to have been raped if you've never heard of said incident. (Even if, in the case of Moira MacTaggart for example, a rape HAD occurred). Proof of a rape/attempt is required to disprove you. Whereas I need the reference to those incidents to make mine. This takes time.

    though interestingly, there was a period of quite a few hours between the post where I issued you a challenge and you replied that makes me wonder if you really did compile the list so quickly. Especially given the obscure nature of many of these names. As well as the imprecise nature of listing certain characters. Why are so many listed last name first, and then others only the code name...most of which are imprecise as to who you're referring to: Which Starfire? Which Mirage?

    Also you've picked characters that have only been in 3-4 ISSUES in some cases. Batwoman? the new Red Bee? That combined with the use of Jenny Quantum, who'd only just been aged past infancy and non-heroes like Martha Kent or obscure schoolfriends like Courtney Duran really makes it look like you were stretching to answer the challenge.

    You answered the challenge well enough, don't get me wrong. It's an impressive list. But I find it very hard to believe it was compiled off the top of your head like you suggest.

    --

    As for the statistic, 80% may be high, it may not. The thing to realize though is that the in progress lists that Ragnell has created with the help of people's sketchy recollections already makes more than 25% of your list.

    I'm only counting Attempted and Actual here. But there's 25% in that post alone, and then scrolling into the comments, people are still suggesting more.

    Your list isn't complete, sure. But neither is ours, and every one we find takes one off of your potential list.

    (Another thing to consider in terms of arguing rape's overuse is that until the last few decades, the comics code prevented a lot of overt portrayals of adult issues. So most of our list comes from a much smaller frame of time for comics...that's where a lot of the "overuse" factor comes in as well).

    Also, this posted list in progress is over half a year old. Needless to say, in our own notes, the list has grown longer.

    Heck, Ragnell's list doesn't even encompass nearly as many minor or obscure characters yet. I mean, the entire Amazon population of Themyscira was written with rape in their backstory. Quite a few of them are reoccuring enough to have significant identity. (And possibly more will count soon enough, given the upcoming Amazon miniseries)

    So yeah, like I said, we'll have to see about the real statistics when we get there.

    Oh, and might I make a recommendation? You're probably not going to make a lot of converts here about the overuse of rape. You are on a comics blog with a very noted bias towards feminism, after all. You'd probably have more luck finding like opinions if you create a blog of your own and post your arguments there. I'd be glad to add you to my blogroll if/when you do. :-)

     
  • At March 12, 2007 11:53 PM, Blogger Sinspired said…

    Did I meantion I tire easily of lies and damn lies?

    Just to remind you, I'm pretty sure neither list is statistically significant. (And it's completely useless to argue about subjective "statistics".)

    Proving any sub-percentage of all female comic book characters ever is, well, impossible unless you have a master list of all comic book characters ever, subdivided by male, female, and "other". I haven't seen a completely accurate one, and would have no way of verifying it if I had.

    So, then, you need to make specific boundaries... Do only main characters count? Do only the big two count? If we count minor characters, how many issues do the have to be in?

    If you want a more accurate list, you actually should mark off a low-end cut-off by sales of issues in which the characters have appeared. That would allow you to get a more meaningful statistic. (And restrict it to registered copyrights.)

     
  • At March 13, 2007 5:34 AM, Anonymous M said…

    Mary Marvel was sexually assaulted in Supergirl Plus #1. In fact the whole comic was a PSA for sexual assault.

     
  • At March 16, 2007 3:01 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    You wrote, “Our project is trying to find decisive incidents, Scott. Not dimly remembered ones.”

    The problem with this idea is that you said that rapes were so common place in your reading that they’ve lost their emotional power. But then when making your list of raped characters you say that you’ve been working on it for almost a year and it’s taking a long time to track down comics that you don’t have and haven’t read but believe probably exist based on other people’s “dimly remembered” “sketchy recollections.” How is it possible that both of these are true? You said rapes should be seldom and subtle and implied that they weren’t, that you were being inundated with rapes because they were the first place that writers went so now everyone and her mother has raped in her back story. But if this were true that reading so many stories with rapes in them, wouldn’t you own these comics already? And if they are so common, why are so many of the instances of rape dimly remember, sketchy recollections? I mean, if someone said, “Ugh. Another rape! Jeez, they just did a rape story in the X-Men a couple months ago” I could see how that could make a person think rape was being overused and that its overuse was diminishing its impact. But if someone said, “A rape? Wait, wasn’t there a rape story 17 years ago in The Atlantis Chronicles? That was a rape, wasn’t it?” I’d have trouble believing that that dimly remembered, sketchy recollection would really be substantively diminishing the impact of the story. I’d find that even less likely if one hadn’t read the story at all and only heard of its existence from someone who posted that recollection on one’s blog. How can someone else’s sketchy recollections about a rape make you say, “Oh, I’m so tired of reading about rapes.”?


    “though interestingly, there was a period of quite a few hours between the post where I issued you a challenge and you replied that makes me wonder if you really did compile the list so quickly. Especially given the obscure nature of many of these names. As well as the imprecise nature of listing certain characters. Why are so many listed last name first, and then others only the code name...most of which are imprecise as to who you're referring to: Which Starfire? Which Mirage?”

    I don’t understand this. Are you suggesting that the sloppiness of my list suggests that I took MORE time to work on it than I said? As for why some were given their real names and some weren’t, well, usually it was because I thought the character tended to be called be referred to more commonly by one name than another. As for why some were imprecise, I guess I didn’t want to put too much time into it and I thought you’d be able to figure out which was which based on the gender and the fact that it couldn’t be a character that was on your raped list. BTW, it took me days and several internet searches to figure out that the imprecise Abby was probably Abby Arcane and not the mother from Eight Is Enough. : ) As for those hours of time, I spent some time considering how to respond to being called a disrespectful idiot who is only disagreeing with you because you are a woman. 8 of those “quite a few hours,” I was asleep. Ate breakfast. Ate lunch. Went to 2 nurseries to buy some shrubs and planted them. In short, a life.

    “Also you've picked characters that have only been in 3-4 ISSUES in some cases. Batwoman? the new Red Bee? That combined with the use of Jenny Quantum, who'd only just been aged past infancy and non-heroes like Martha Kent or obscure schoolfriends like Courtney Duran really makes it look like you were stretching to answer the challenge.”

    You think so? Because I thought I was looking at your list and using what appeared to be the same criteria you had except that I also limited my characters to those who had appeared within the last year (e.g. Amethyst, Argent, Black Orchid, Celsius, Clea, Hellcat, Valkyrie, and several others who had been far more significant, recent characters than several on your list – umm … it just occurred to me that Patsy Walker, Hellcat, has appeared this last year, so I should have included her), those who had died recently (e.g. Pantha, Agatha Harkness), some who had there books cancelled recently (e.g. that Werewolf By Night girl, the new Scorpion), characters lost to reboots (e.g. XS & Dawnstar even though it looks like Dawnstar is coming back.) So let’s see:

    I included Batwoman and the Red Bee, characters that have ad a few appearances in miniseries that have come out this year. Batwoman has probably appeared a dozen times. You included The Shining Knight and Sally Sonic, characters that have had fewer appearances in miniseries, one of whom was a villain. (Note that I excluded all villains from my list, but were I to include them, I could easily double its length.)

    I included Jenny Quantum, the sprit of the 21st century, who has been aged beyond puberty in at least 10 issues of recent comics and well into adulthood in one of them. You included Calliope, the spirit of epic poetry. Tell me, did she have a childhood, and how long had it been since she was a child when she was rape? Also we might note that she was in only 1 issue of The Sandman, 17 years ago, and as I’ve mentioned before, none of the dozens of other female characters from that title is on your “clean” list despite the fact that several female characters appeared in the series and appeared only in that series without being raped, so they could easily have been added to the clean list (e.g. Death, Thessaly, Barbie, Rose Walker, Foxglove, Hazel McNamara, Titania , Lyta Trevor-Hall, Nuala, Ethel Cripps, who are just a fraction of the female characters in the series that I’d say were all at least as significant as Calliope. To be fair, here’s a character for your list: Unity Kinkaid -- but even with her addition, you’ll still find that far less than 25% of the significant female characters in this series were raped.)

    I included non-hero Martha Kent, Superman’s mother, whose appearances in comics probably run into the thousands, and you included non-hero Lara of Krypton, Superman’s mother, whose appearances probably run into the dozens. And you included non-hero Atlanta, Aquaman’s mother, whose appearances are a fraction of Lara’s, and if I’m reading it correctly, Atlanta wasn’t raped. She had an incestuous affair. And let’s not forget non-hero Katherine Anne Summers, Cyclops’s mother, who appeared in a flashback or two.

    I included an obscure schoolfriend like Courtney Duran, who has had dozens of appearances over the last 9 years, including instances where she encountered supervillains, and who is not an obscure character if you read Spider-Girl, and you included – drum roll please! – obscure grandmother, Cora, whose only appearance IIRC was in an issue (maybe 2?) of a miniseries from 17 years ago. Imagine if I’d included every female character who has appeared over the last 17 years who had as many appearances as Cora. Also, one of the criteria I used for deciding if I’d include a character was to ask myself if I thought you’d include the character in your list compiling “all characters at DC and Marvel superhero Comics that have been sexually assaulted” if the character had been raped. Frankly, I find it impossible to believe that if Courtney had been raped that you’d leave her off your list because she was a schoolfriend of the main character. (BTW, why did you use the plural “schoolfriends” when I only mentioned on schoolfriend?)

    Just to show that I want to be fair about it, here are a few more for your list:

    Arella (Raven’s mother) & Victoria Wingate (mother of the Satana and the Son of Satan) could both be listed under “false pretenses.” Even though we might consider Trigon disguising himself as a real man false pretense, Arella did seem to be aware that she was “marrying” an extradimensional being/demon, so that gets a little iffy as rape, but Victoria had not idea. Satana was attacked by a would-be rapist in her first appearance. (Vampire Tales #2/7 – this was a black and white magazine, so I don’t know if it counts, but it was also reprinted in Essential Marvel Horror) Moondragon raped Thor. Scandal was almost forced into a sexual relationship recently thanks to her father Vandal Savage. Black Canary statutorily raped the underage Ray.

    So I’ll leave it to you. What do you think? Am I trying to pad my list or was I trying to make an honest effort to make a list comparable to yours?


    “You answered the challenge well enough, don't get me wrong. It's an impressive list. But I find it very hard to believe it was compiled off the top of your head like you suggest.”

    The reason for that might be because I told you that I did not compile it off the top of my head. I specifically said that I used the DC Encyclopedia and Wiki lists to compile my list because I don’t believe that coming up with lists off the top of one’s head creates a list that is without experimental bias. I’m absolutely certain that I would at least subconsciously and probably even consciously skew my list toward the people that would support my argument. To keep from doing that, I didn’t use the people I’d choose off the top of my head. Although, to be fair, given that I’m a long time Legion, Avengers, and FF fan, and only a tiny fraction of the women in those groups could be considered to have been raped, I’m guessing that if I didn’t know the topic and just chose female characters, my list would still contain far, far fewer than 80% of characters from the raped list.

    “As for the statistic, 80% may be high, it may not. The thing to realize though is that the in progress lists that Ragnell has created with the help of people's sketchy recollections already makes more than 25% of your list. I'm only counting Attempted and Actual here. But there's 25% in that post alone, and then scrolling into the comments, people are still suggesting more. Your list isn't complete, sure. But neither is ours, and every one we find takes one off of your potential list.”

    Other things to realized:
    1. Yes, even including sketchy recollections, you are still only at 25%.
    2. 25% is 1/4th of the total, but you think that 80% of female characters have been raped, which means there should be 4 times as many raped as not raped characters. So you’re list will have to grow 16 times larger than it is to make up the difference. And I’m not sure if you are aware of the law of diminishing returns, but basically it says, as short as your list is now, even working harder and harder, you aren’t going to make it to 500 characters, which is about where you’d need to get to make it to 80%. In your heart of hearts, do you believe that you are going to be anywhere closet to 500? And that assumes that I don’t add more to my list. If your’s can still grow after nearly a year of research, surely mine can after only a about a day’s? In fact…
    3. I edited my list down quit a bit before posting it because when you said the list of characters should have some “sort of prominence in the present day comics,” I ditched a lot of characters --- who have a lot more prominence in the present day comics than Cora. But if I included all characters who are as prominent as Cora, I’ll bet I could triple the length of my list without breaking a sweat. Right off the top of my head, I think of three characters just from the short-lived Son of Satan series that I could add, a series that only had 21 issues, but that’s literally a hell of a lot more than The Atlantis Chronicles.
    4. It is true that everyone that you take of my list adds one to yours, but it is also true that everyone I remove from your list adds one to mine (e.g. the things you call statutory rapes that aren’t statutory rapes, incest being called rape, and the confusing of Jessica Drew with Jessica Jones, neither of whom do I think was actually raped.) But because of the way the math works, if you’re striving for 80%, you’ll need to remove 4 characters from my list for every 1 that I remove from yours just to break even!
    5. 25% was the percentage that you said comics should reflect and after nearly a year of research, you’re at 25%. So what makes you think it is more than 25%?


    “So yeah, like I said, we'll have to see about the real statistics when we get there.”

    I don’t see your list as ever being considered complete. There will always be more characters for you to think will be raped. You’re already considering the Amazons in the upcoming series, for instance. But seriously, 500 characters? And think about this: you seem to agree that less than 1% of comics have rapes of women in them, but don’t you think that more than 1% of comics introduce new female characters? If you were to look back a year and count how many rapes occurred vs. how many new characters you could name, how do you think the numbers would play out? Remember how you said there were so very many new characters on my list? Do you really think you’re going to catch up to 80% when you are struggling to keep up with 25% and female characters are introduced into more books than are raped?

    “Oh, and might I make a recommendation? You're probably not going to make a lot of converts here about the overuse of rape. You are on a comics blog with a very noted bias towards feminism, after all. You'd probably have more luck finding like opinions if you create a blog of your own and post your arguments there. I'd be glad to add you to my blogroll if/when you do. :-)”

    You may, of course, make that recommendation, but it’s odd because:

    1. You may recall that this started because you had an open letter looking to convert people like me you your way of thinking. I didn’t come here to convert you. I came her so to give you a chance to convert me.
    2. If you think the people here are already agree with you, why bother with the open letter? Certainly, you weren’t writing it just to have people say, “Great post,” right?
    3. If I were here to try to convert people, wouldn’t it make sense for me to go where people disagree with me rather than to some place where they agree with me? Would you recommend to a doctor that if he wants to be successful, he should stay way from sick people?
    4. It is not a feminist doctrine that comics have too much rape in them. It is certainly not a feminist doctrine that 80% of women in comics are raped. For instance, I am a feminist and I don’t believe that 80% of female comic characters are raped. And I’m not trying to get you to say that there isn’t too much rape in comics. I’m trying to figure out about how much rape is in comics. Whether or not there is too much rape is a matter of opinion. How much there is is a matter fact. From the very start of this, I’ve been asking how much rape there is. I’m not saying whether it’s too much or not. Personally, I think it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that less than 25% of female characters have been raped in comics and less than 1% of comics have rape stories. If that’s too much for you, it’s too much for you. That is an opinion. I wouldn’t bother arguing it. But at this point, it is clear to me that beyond any reasonable doubts, the facts don’t support anywhere close to 80% of female characters being raped. You are entitled to your opinions but not your facts.
    5. I don’t believe the readers here are unthinking ideologues. I suspect that they can be feminists and still see that less than 80% of females in comics have been raped. I don’t see that feminists should be any less persuaded by facts than anyone else.
    6. Earlier, when I said that your comments on there being too much rape in comics seemed to be based less on literary theory (i.e. frequent repetition of themes or plots reduces their emotional impact) and more on feminist theory (i.e. rape has a meaning in its subtext that is objectionable), you called me a disrespectful idiot. Mind you, I didn’t say that you didn’t think that the literary theory was playing a part in your thinking. In fact, I agreed with you that if rape were used less often, it would have a more powerful impact. But I did suggest that if the literary theory were your major motivating factor, it seems that you’d be more interested in the violent crimes that occur very, very often (e.g. assault, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, arson, etc.) instead of the violent crime that happened in less than 1% of comics. You objected to this and said that I should take you at your word and believe that it was not feminist theory but literary theory that was making you say that rape was used to often. Okay. But here you say that I won’t convert people because they are feminists, not because they are English majors or story editors or literary theorists. So in order to keep from being called a disrespectful idiot, I have to assume that you think that feminists have a different literary theory than non-feminists do and that it has nothing to do with subtextual interpretation of rape. So why do you think feminists use a different literary theory regarding the frequency of plots and themes in comics than non-feminists?

     
  • At March 16, 2007 7:09 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Technically, I said that you seemed like a disrespectful idiot for putting words and justifications in my mouth. I have no obligation to explain my motivations to you, however, until you grow telepathic powers, I'd suggest you not rely on your obviously stellar grasp of human insight. I'd have better luck reading War and Peace in cyrillic.

    I honestly however do not see the point in continuing this conversation further. You've expressed your opinions and while I disagree, I thank you for your contribution.

    I think that if you actually READ more of what gets posted here and other places on this subject rather than trying so hard to pull it apart as being WRONG WRONG WRONG, you might actually understand us better.

    My open letter is my business, posted on MY BLOG. If you'd like to do something similar, please do. Blogger, Wordpress, Livejournal and the like are free. But I think that I'm going to put my foot down about my comment thread being the place for it. The discussion has gone full circle and in the end, I get the feeling that you'd be having the same discussion with a brick wall.

    So in summation: Get a blog.

    I'm not banning you from my comment threads, but at this point, unless you post something that isn't a self-congratulatory act of written self-stimulation, audience not required, I'm going to ignore you.

     
  • At March 19, 2007 3:01 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    You wrote, “I think that if you actually READ more of what gets posted here and other places on this subject rather than trying so hard to pull it apart as being WRONG WRONG WRONG, you might actually understand us better.”

    1. You are RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT. If I read more your posts, I might understand you better. But I don’t think my understanding of you is at issue. I’m trying to figure out about how many rapes appear in comics, and I don’t need to understand y’all to figure that out. I know what rape is. I know how to read. I know how to count. I know how to figure percentages. And knowing those things, I was able to read the comics, see the rapes, add them up, and figure a percentage that approximates how many female characters are raped are in comics, and the percentage isn’t anywhere close to 80%. I used your list to help come up with that percentage, but no amount of reading the other blogs is going to change that percentage to 80% unless one of you has another list that adds about 400 characters to the raped list. Not that I'm opposed to reading them, but I think that's a separate issue.

    2. I think it is more helpful to frame the question as “What is true and what is false?” rather than “Who is right and who is wrong?” I’m trying to figure out approximately how many rapes appear in comics. If you had a list of 500 characters and said that 80% of comic women were raped, I’d thank you for your information and begin spreading the news. However, at this point, it has become clear to me that beyond any reasonable doubts, 80% is an inflated number. And it is an inflated number whether I understand you or not, whether you understand me or not. The truth is objective, not subjective. It doesn’t have anything to do with me or you. What is 80% is 80% because it is 80%, and what isn’t 80% isn’t 80% because it isn’t 80%. What is true is true because it is true. What is false is false because it is false regardless of who we are. Even if I’m disrespectful, even if I’m an idiot, even if I lied about how long it took me to make my list, even if I lied about how I compiled my list, even if I’m sloppy in writing the names in my list, even if you look at characters in just a limited time frame, even if the readers are feminists, even if I have a blog, even if I don’t have a blog, even if you get the feeling that I’d be having the same discussion with a brick wall, even if I’m self-congratulatory, and even if you ignore me, beyond any reasonable doubt, it is not true that 80% of female characters have been raped.

    Of course, what you decide to do with the truth is up to you. If you want to continue to believe that rapes are overused, you can do that. If you want to change your mind about whether rapes have been overused, you can do that too. Thanks for your input!

     
  • At August 02, 2007 1:54 PM, Blogger Scott said…

    The rape subject has been coming up a lot lately, so I revisited our lists on my blog.

    http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-NYapGagiRKXkibx6bHvcaBbV36Q-?cq=1

    I updated both lists, including adding several to your "damned" list. If you've added others to the damned list, I'd like to add them too.

     
  • At August 02, 2007 4:12 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Hey Scott. For the most part our "damned list" project is indefinitely stalled at the moment due to financial and personal reasons. (We do have plans to resume as soon as circumstances allow.)

    I'm not sure where Ragnell left off with her list, so if you'd like to email me at kalinara@gmail.com or r_nyalveis@hotmail.com, I'll gladly forward your request to her.

     

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