Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rape in Comics: Themyscira

I've been noticing that Ragnell and my "Damned List" project has been linked in a few places, with analysis about certain trends. This is great of course, though I just want to remind everyone that the lists are not complete. Ragnell and I have had to put the project on hiatus due to various personal and financial reasons. We do intend to get back to it as soon as possible.

I'd like to make an addendum regarding her most recent, though still quite out of date list that may or may not skew certain analysis results.

In the George Perez Post-Crisis reboot of Wonder Woman, the Amazons' origins were retconned. After defeating and then befriending Herakles, the Amazons were then betrayed by the men, "their homes were tortured, their bodies ravaged, their pride stripped away".



Now, I'd imagine this was done to keep the story in line with certain versions of the Amazonian/Herculean legends, but that doesn't change the fact that Ragnell's list has some new members.

Admittedly, we only know the names of a few. Hippolyta, Menalippe, Phillipus, Mnemosyne, Euboeia, Io... But that doesn't change the fact that EVERY AMAZON we see at least until the merging with the Bana Mighdall (in the mid-90s) is on that list. Every woman in the tournaments, every one used as cannon fodder in major events...

Even given that half or more of the Amazons we see now in Amazons Attack and other places are probably Bana, and thus not on the list, that doesn't change the fact that it's still a very large number, which ought to be at least considered when contemplating analysis of the phenomenon.

11 Comments:

  • At August 13, 2007 9:14 AM, Blogger Scott said…

    While everything you say is true, this still doesn’t make the case that there is a lot of rape in comics. Even with this instance, rape still occurs in far less than 1% of comics and the percentage of female characters raped is still really small. For instance, if you are going to use that one line to add hundreds (thousands?) of names to the raped list, we could just as easily say that we haven’t heard of anyone on the entire planet of Thanagar ever being raped throughout its entire history, so there are hundreds of billions on the none raped list. Even if we just used named characters, there would still be all those women named in the various Hawkman series, the Hawkworld series etc. etc., not to mention every woman (except Lara) on Krypton, all the women of Atlantis, the Eternals, the Deviants, the Inhumans, the New Gods, Imsk, Titan (DC), Titan (Marvel), the Kree, the Skrulls, etc. etc.

    Seriously, it is time to say publicly that you’ve overstated the amount of rape in comics. This insistence that rape is a common element of comics and the backstories of the women in comics is not helping to reach feminist goals in comics. It is hurting because by complaining about something that doesn’t exist, you look like you are crying wolf. There are real feminist issues dealing with comics that could use your help.

     
  • At August 13, 2007 10:56 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Scott: I'm going to answer your comment only this once out of respect. You are not welcome to comment on this blog anymore. I welcome dissenting opinion and discussion, but I have a reasonable expectation of mutual respect of which posts like this do not qualify. You have every right to make any accusation you'd like to about me, but I have no obligation to further put up with your presence on my blog.

    Feel free to continue this discussion on your own blog, or to use this as further proof of my misandry/hatred of men/hypocrisy, whatever. Just please, this time, spell my name right. "Kalinara". It's in the URL. Failing that, feel free to use my real name "Melissa Krause". I've been known to answer to that in a pinch.

    Anyway to actually address your comment, I don't recall overtly making an argument with this post. Merely that it will alter any statistic (or perception thereof, since real statistics of this sort are impossible) of fairly prominent female characters being raped. I am more than all right with allowing people to draw their own conclusions.

    Also, I'll thank you to not try to tell me what the "real feminist issues" are regarding comics. I don't doubt you're a feminist, but you still have no right to determine those for me any more than I have any right to determine what real issues regarding homosexuality or homophobia are for you. Our different situations and experiences mean that we're very likely to disagree on what the "real issues" are. The prevalence of rape in comics is not an issue to you, and that's perfectly fine with me. It IS an issue for me, and I'll thank you to respect that.

    If you'd like to call attention to your own "real issues" though, please do blog about them. Sometimes we do miss important things which are worth paying attention to. We would be glad to link them.

    But, once more, you are not welcome to comment here. Thank you.

     
  • At August 13, 2007 11:41 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I have actually visited Scott's site via WFA, and let's just say that he seems to have...issues. The point that a number of women comic book readers have raised, is that using rape as backstory for so many female characters has become too easy, and overdone.

    Not EVERY heroine has rape in her background (or current story line), but there are certainly a lot more than there used to be, for example, Sue Dibny and Felicia Hardy. It's getting tedious. It is becoming a cliche.

    Scott has this weird fixation with statistics and seems hellbent on "proving" that there isn't much rape, and therefore we should all just shut up about it and go away.

    To which I say, "phooey".

     
  • At August 13, 2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    I just hope that list of people in other planets that haven't been raped doesn't get to the ears of the writers. They might have ideas.

     
  • At August 16, 2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Dan Coyle said…

    IIRC, Perez was brought into the project after Greg Potter's original WW proposal was greenlit, and rumors were that it was even worse than this.

    Potter disappeared off the face of the earth after the first few WW issues.

     
  • At August 16, 2007 7:39 PM, Blogger philippos42 said…

    I think Greg disappeared from the Wonder Woman credits by the second issue.

     
  • At August 17, 2007 12:36 PM, Blogger Mike Haseloff said…

    "Seriously, it is time to say publicly that you’ve overstated the amount of rape in comics. This insistence that rape is a common element of comics and the backstories of the women in comics is not helping to reach feminist goals in comics. It is hurting because by complaining about something that doesn’t exist, you look like you are crying wolf. There are real feminist issues dealing with comics that could use your help."

    I think it's fair to also mention that, given this is an industry built on malicious criminals and the struggle against them. And given that this medium is effectively art imitating life to an exaggerated degree -- isn't it logical that this be a realistic threat?

    I think there's potential for an argument that says it's perhaps even more crass to pretend these things don't happen, and by implication, aren't worth fighting.

    The percentages being brought up go lengths to discuss rape in self-referencial terms to the industry, but I don't think I've seen anyone making statistical arguments based on the depiction of crimes.

    I wonder how the percentages reflect on the comparison of crimes compared to real world occurances. Theft and murder are probably closer to their real world percentage than the heinous crime of rape.

    "I have actually visited Scott's site via WFA, and let's just say that he seems to have...issues. The point that a number of women comic book readers have raised, is that using rape as backstory for so many female characters has become too easy, and overdone."

    If you asked me to list references I'm aware of, I'd probably struggle to get past Catwoman, but to be fair, this does seem true, even if the numbers don't back it up.

    Something like everyone's favourite punching bag, Identity Crisis, did seem a little frivilous.

    Even so, as one of the few high profile instances, I think there is again an argument about the reality of art imitating life, and a world where the underlying basis for the genre is crime.

    Of course, in terms of equality, this suggests the bar needs to be raised for male characters, and in other areas.

    So, it's also fair to subscribe to the opinion that perhaps everything needs to be scaled down within reason. At least where the properties overlapping with children are concerned.

    I don't know. It's a difficult subject, with a lot more angles than I seem to see discussed. Then again, I don't have a vested interest.

     
  • At September 05, 2007 3:58 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Scott, I don't know if you're likely to stumble back on this page (I attempted to send a message through Yahoo 360, but I'm very confused by the service in general).

    I have to admit, having had time to consider myself, I overreacted to the post I linked. I think if I were to read the post at a time without as many external pressures, it would not have struck me in the same way.

    Thus, I apologize. If you decide that you would like to post comments on my blog, you're more than welcome to, and I thank you for going along with my request as unfair as I now realize it was.

     
  • At May 11, 2011 12:51 PM, Anonymous ArekExcelsior2 said…

    "A weird fixation on statistics" is actually really relevant if you want to make any real sociological points. To prove that rape as backstory had become frequent or exploitative, you'd need to have some idea of the relative numbers. You could define it a few ways: How many backstories include rape somewhere, how many comic book series (and there's many definitions there: do you mean EVERY Spider-Man book, or an individual Spider-Man series) include rape, etc. Notice that your operative definition here RADICALLY changes the results. For example: Let's say that Dr. Light's recent rape bullshit (much reviled, by the way, in the comics community) is mentioned not only in its main series but has to be mentioned because it's canon in five others. Are all those comics now rapefests? No.

    I personally would use something like Scott's operative definition and ask, "How many times is rape either pictured or an important plot point in comics?" If you took a random sampling, even if you abstracted out comics from the 40s to the 70s or 80s (where presumably comics codes and cultural mores would have made it taboo), I'd say you'd find rape is featured in about 1% of comics, if not far less.

    I'm a feminist, but it's simply silly to say that rape is widespread in comics. It'd actually be a good sign in a sense, as even nearly thirty years after Watchmen comics still can't bring themselves to handle adult or complex material very often and remain a lot of juvenile power fantasies (and this is said from a fan of comics).

     
  • At December 02, 2011 8:59 AM, Anonymous muebles guadalajara said…

    Of course, the writer is totally fair.

     
  • At January 04, 2012 9:14 AM, Anonymous thelawthepain said…

    ...who ...cares...yep that about somes it up..dam bloggers

     

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home