So apparently superheroes are racist

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-16 05:15am

K. A. Pital wrote:
TheFeniX wrote:
K. A. Pital wrote:I dislike the superhero genre, not comics in general. Superhero, even if "fascist" is taking it too far, is at roots an authoritarian male power fantasy.
What is the definition of Power Fantasy? I really dislike this term, it so much a buzzphrase in my mind.

This is a fantasy where a male character (someone the man can identify with) gets super-powers, saves the girl from a supervillain, maybe saves the world as a bonus. Idolizing of the man of action, like I said before.


What I'm not convinced is that this is inherent to the genre. Its not as if all superheroes are male, or are based around saving damsels in distress.

That is a classic archetype, true, but its also one that existed long before superheroes, and is repeated in many other genres.

It is nothing more than a story like those army propaganda reels which offer young males "adventure" and "mission", and power (in the form of military technologies) to destroy the enemies of your nation.


The classic superhero is an individual who acts outside the law, and really only makes sense in a situation where the proper authorities are either corrupt, ineffective, or both. While you can certainly write a superhero story which serves as state propaganda, if anything, the classic superhero archetypes have an implicit anti-government/libertarian message, or at least they can be easily interpreted in such a manner. Batman only exists because Gotham is utterly corrupt.

Of course, I would also argue that the line between a libertarian ideal and a fascist, or at least authoritarian, ideal is often very, very thin, ironically enough. Its not a big leap from "heroic individual who takes the law into his own hands because the government can't/won't do it" to "strong man who imposes his will on a chaotic/corrupt society by force".

But I would likewise argue that crossing that line is one of the key differences, perhaps the key difference, between a classic superhero and a classic super villain.

Another aspect is that in this story, there is no narrative of world reform, world transformation, social transformation, cooperation of a human multitude. Instead, humans are passive onlookers who just watch as the hero (embodiment of the man of action) saves the world, saves them and the girl.


The common (but not universal) lack of transformation is at least partly an unfortunate byproduct of the franchise system, where the stories can never have a definitive end because they want to keep milking the cash cow. Its part of why I favour regular reboots- so that real change can be allowed in a given version of a story.

Its worth noting, however, that some of the iconic heroes are, in part, about inspiring ordinary people to stand up. Nolan's Batman, for example, explicitly becomes Batman, in part at least, to inspire others, and his goal is ultimately a city that no longer needs him. And because the Nolan films are a distinct trilogy, their own continuity, he is actually allowed to achieve that.

It is very much like Christianity and other religions, correctly dubbed "opiate of the masses" as they soothe suffering by offering a better afterlife, a life beyond life, to prevent humans from constantly rebelling against the conditions of their real life, to pacify them, but also numb their suffering.


Now you're just repeating Marxist slogans. :roll:

Is is possible that you have some ideological blinders in place in this debate?

Your analogy is flawed in any case, because superheros do not generally promise a hope beyond life, but idolize heroes who try to make the world a better place here and now. And they generally only "numb...suffering" in the sense that any form of entertainment does.

I also think that you should be more cautious about ascribing malevolent/propagandist motives to those you disagree with.

Except the power fantasy is a more dangerous kind of opium. It breeds exceptionalism (the hero, with whom the reader identifies self, is exceptional), it breeds the cult of action (do first, think later - a common feature of many superhero stories is the ongoing fight against villain after villain, that seem to endlessly appear in society, but nowhere is the hero ever close to reforming society to reduce villainy, or even think about it, there is no end - eternal struggle and war). This eternal war and eternal action without end are the elements which make the genre so infused with authoritarian ideas.

Batman endlessly fights crime in Gotham, which never transforms from the antiutopia it is, but remains a crime-ridden hellhole. Superman fights the bad entity of the day, but another villain appears just after the the fight. There is no respite and no consideration of the bigger picture - audience is there to consume action, after all.


See above.

Though some of this can also be put down to the current popularity of grimdark and cynicism in popular culture- at its worst, your story isn't considered "realistic" or "mature" or any good if its not bleak, full of gratuitous misery and brutality and depravity, with the only "heroes" being brutal anti-heroes who differ from the villains in little but their choice of targets. Its something I utterly despise. Again, however, it is not unique to the superhero genre, nor is it universal to the genre.

I do think excessive cynicism plays into the hands of authoritarians- people think things like "all the politicians are the same" and that leads to normalizing men like Trump, or thinking "at least they're change to the status quo", and so on. But this is getting a tad off the original topic, I think.

So there are two aspects to the authoritarian power-fantasy. First is a desire for action, which the pop culture reader, himself being a weak, disempowered member of the non-ruling class, no elite, is not capable of - but the escapism of the superhero lets him imagine self saving the world, and optionally save a feisty female along the road with hugs & kisses (the rest is up to the male fantasy - curtain, baddies are defeated, woman falls into hero arms...). Second is a desire of disempowered masses for a Great Man, for a man of action, Man of Steel (incidentally, there was a person calling himself that, Stalin) - it is the cult of personality and cult of great man. Although the theory of "great men" in history has been largely discredited, with us knowing much more about the complex eco and social systems of ancient civilizations, the power fantasy offers an authoritarian escapist dream : you don't need to do anything to reform society, because a hero can save you. And everyone. Or, in fact, the hero is endlessly battling evil and cannot win. If Superman can't change the world, how can you, weakling? Go back to sleep.


Or perhaps the fantasy is that we, or at least somebody, might be able to actually make a difference in the world, to make it a better place.

Or perhaps it will lead to the realization that the world will never be perfect, that there will never be one big fix, but that it is worth it to try to help people anyway, because at least you are helping those people and keeping the world from becoming worse?

These two aspects are easy to see.


Sure. But you are seeing only pieces of the picture and treating it as the whole, in order to conform to your own ideologically-based preconceptions.

You are right that we are dumb apes, but self-aware indulgence in these little apish fantasy pleasures is different from a non-self aware one.

And I don't think the majority of lower-class consumers are self-aware of the escapist authoritarian nature of these fantasies.

The authors are often aware, hence the many deconstructions and reconstructions of the genre, its expansion in the recent two decades. But the consumers are not.


I think, to be blunt, that you could stand a little more self-awareness yourself. In my opinion, you are cherry-picking examples to fit an ideologically-driven conclusion which is partially accurate/accurate in some cases, and generalizing it to apply to the entire genre.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-16 06:52am

I said the escapist fantasy of the superhero is different from the religious escapist fantasy.

The religious one distracts from daily troubles by a promise of afterlife. A promise of forgiveness and kindness from the heavens or god(s). This is especially important when life is unkind.

The superhero one is about power. It allows a powerless lower class member, who cannot change the world on his own, alone, without the support of others - to escape into a fantasy where he has superpowers and can change the world alone, at least while reading the story. Or, if he can't identify with the hero (say, because reader is female), she can then take consolation in the fact a hero can save everyone - a Strong Man who comes as the messiah, the Saviour.

It is poisonous, even.

The two are therefore not identical, but similar in that they substitute fake action for real action, fake feelings for real feelings. The desire to really change the world is subverted into prayer and ceremony of the faithful by religious fantasy, and it is subverted into empathizing and self-identifying of a powerless serf with a fictional superpowered character.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-16 07:09am

K. A. Pital wrote:I said the escapist fantasy of the superhero is different from the religious escapist fantasy.

The religious one distracts from daily troubles by a promise of afterlife. A promise of forgiveness and kindness from the heavens or god(s). This is especially important when life is unkind.

The superhero one is about power. It allows a powerless lower class member, who cannot change the world on his own, alone, without the support of others - to escape into a fantasy where he has superpowers and can change the world alone, at least while reading the story. Or, if he can't identify with the hero (say, because reader is female), she can then take consolation in the fact a hero can save everyone - a Strong Man who comes as the messiah, the Saviour.

It is poisonous, even.

The two are therefore not identical, but similar in that they substitute fake action for real action, fake feelings for real feelings. The desire to really change the world is subverted into prayer and ceremony of the faithful by religious fantasy, and it is subverted into empathizing and self-identifying of a powerless serf with a fictional superpowered character.


Still pretending all superheroes are male, I see. :roll: See above reg. cherry-picking evidence.

As to the rest... I don't deny that there is an escapist fantasy element of imagining being a hero, or imagining a hero saving us, though neither is remotely original to the superhero genre, of course. What I disagree with is that this is necessarily "poisonous", or authoritarian. Literature and fiction have often served as both a critique of society, and an inspiration to people to try to do better. We model ourselves after our heroes and their ideals, use them as a standard to try to measure up to. We cannot be Superman. But we can aspire to use whatever abilities we do possess to help others. Just as we can see in Batman's Gotham a critique of a society whose apathy and corruption forces the responsibilities of upholding the law onto a single vigilante trapped in an unending war. Or in Marvel's X-men, a critique of bigotry against those who do not fit with society's norms.

What "message" or meaning superhero stories have is ultimately dependent on the approach of the specific authors of a given story, and then subject to the interpretation of the readers. You are attempting to force a single meaning onto the entire genre which conforms to your own ideological prejudices, one that is so broad that it could apply to some extent to virtually any story which features a heroic character, and ignoring contradictory examples.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-16 08:46am

The Romulan Republic wrote:Still pretending all superheroes are male, I see. :roll: See above reg. cherry-picking evidence.

Not at all. The female superheroes are much less numerous, are a much more recent invention and (regrettably) are either carbon copies of the athletic male or downright walking and talking sex objects made by folks with a hardon for ropes and bondage. I mean... really. Such a large fraction of pop culture and especially superhero comic book audience is sickeningly misogynistic, so it would not be capitalism if these were not pandered to. I left females out because they were insignificant, and once they became more prominent, they were only introduced as tit-hauling protagonist femme fatales for the pleasure of male eyes.
As to the rest... I don't deny that there is an escapist fantasy element of imagining being a hero, or imagining a hero saving us, though neither is remotely original to the superhero genre, of course. What I disagree with is that this is necessarily "poisonous", or authoritarian. Literature and fiction have often served as both a critique of society, and an inspiration to people to try to do better. We model ourselves after our heroes and their ideals, use them as a standard to try to measure up to. We cannot be Superman. But we can aspire to use whatever abilities we do possess to help others. Just as we can see in Batman's Gotham a critique of a society whose apathy and corruption forces the responsibilities of upholding the law onto a single vigilante trapped in an unending war. Or in Marvel's X-men, a critique of bigotry against those who do not fit with society's norms.

You disagree, that is your right.

But surely you do understand that the sublimation of action into another man (great man) is actually the same in both hero cults and political strongman cults? A disempowered American places hopes in Trump, he himself is powerless, but he finds a "hero" who fights for him, who realizes his desires. Similar mechanisms. When the disempowered finds himself unable to act, he often watches with joy as his chosen "hero" acts on his behalf - a political strongman like Chavez can tell off big world leaders, a bully like Trump can shove America first down the throats of others, et cetera.
What "message" or meaning superhero stories have is ultimately dependent on the approach of the specific authors of a given story, and then subject to the interpretation of the readers. You are attempting to force a single meaning onto the entire genre which conforms to your own ideological prejudices, one that is so broad that it could apply to some extent to virtually any story which features a heroic character, and ignoring contradictory examples.

No, you are wrong - it is not as broad as you imply. This can be applied mostly to a narrow XX century subdomain of popular culture that produces this genre. This cannot be applied to classic heroic tragedies, for example, because there the hero is unlikely to survive his ordeal (and even if he does, there is very often a closure where he becomes weak and has to face his demons, and succumb in the end), and I do not think many people have a Hercules sublimation, because myths lose actuality and zeitgeist, while pop culture maintains contemporary fleur through rigorous updates.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-16 09:32am

K. A. Pital wrote:
The Romulan Republic wrote:Still pretending all superheroes are male, I see. :roll: See above reg. cherry-picking evidence.

Not at all. The female superheroes are much less numerous, are a much more recent invention and (regrettably) are either carbon copies of the athletic male or downright walking and talking sex objects made by folks with a hardon for ropes and bondage. I mean... really. Such a large fraction of pop culture and especially superhero comic book audience is sickeningly misogynistic, so it would not be capitalism if these were not pandered to. I left females out because they were insignificant, and once they became more prominent, they were only introduced as tit-hauling protagonist femme fatales for the pleasure of male eyes.


Misogyny is an epidemic in superhero comics, yes. And, as you noted, in society as a whole. I am skeptical, however, that it is any more an innate quality of the superhero genre than it is of modern culture as a whole.

I would also point out that female superheroes are not that recent an invention, if regrettably less common. In fact, probably the most famous female superhero, Wonder Woman, premiered in 1941 (presuming that Wikipedia is not lying to me).

As to the presentation of female superheroes, I think that you are again treating common trends as absolutes. Although I will say that to the limited extent that I read comics, I tend to prefer the (doubtless rare) comics with female artists, because its so hard to find comics that don't compulsively draw their female characters in sexualized poses, no matter how little sense it makes or how inappropriate or outright offensive it is under the circumstances.

I do think its a little ironic that you, in objecting to misogyny in comics, would dismiss any exceptions in order to make your case. If you are going to argue against misogyny, it might be well to avoid saying things like "I left females out because they were insignificant..."

I mean... I get your point. But I find the choice of words rather ironic, and I don't think it does anything against misogyny to dismiss and ignore the rare examples of good female characters in order to bolster your argument.

You disagree, that is your right.

But surely you do understand that the sublimation of action into another man (great man) is actually the same in both hero cults and political strongman cults? A disempowered American places hopes in Trump, he himself is powerless, but he finds a "hero" who fights for him, who realizes his desires. Similar mechanisms. When the disempowered finds himself unable to act, he often watches with joy as his chosen "hero" acts on his behalf - a political strongman like Chavez can tell off big world leaders, a bully like Trump can shove America first down the throats of others, et cetera.


Eh, I think with Trump its more "Russia first". :wink: But that's, again, somewhat beside the point.

Yes, I do understand the concept, the idolization of a strong man (though a successful strong man must also inspire followers to act on their commands). I simply see other possible interpretations of the genre, while you, apparently, insist on seeing only one.

No, you are wrong - it is not as broad as you imply. This can be applied mostly to a narrow XX century subdomain of popular culture that produces this genre. This cannot be applied to classic heroic tragedies, for example, because there the hero is unlikely to survive his ordeal (and even if he does, there is very often a closure where he becomes weak and has to face his demons, and succumb in the end), and I do not think many people have a Hercules sublimation, because myths lose actuality and zeitgeist, while pop culture maintains contemporary fleur through rigorous updates.


That is an interesting point, although I would still say that the things you criticize are neither inherent to the superhero genre, nor unique to it in any way.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-05-16 01:27pm

K. A. Pital wrote:This is a fantasy where a male character (someone the man can identify with) gets super-powers, saves the girl from a supervillain, maybe saves the world as a bonus. Idolizing of the man of action, like I said before.
This is the problem though, it gets broad as a matter of course. Batman didn't get superpowers for just one example. So, at the end of the day, and call me out if I'm misrepresenting this: your major concern is "exceptionalism" be it physical or mental (or magical, I guess) and the desire to use it and the desire for people to watch/read others using it?

We have an entire genre dedicated to "not super-powered but super-powered" characters saving the day and winning the girl: Action Movies. Aside from certain specific elements these follow nearly the same basic structure. In fact, only truly farcical movies tend to actually break these molds. Even "Not Another Teen Movie" followed this mold.

It is nothing more than a story like those army propaganda reels which offer young males "adventure" and "mission", and power (in the form of military technologies) to destroy the enemies of your nation.
There's only so many dramatic stories to tell. The basic component of the genre means that, at a basic level, the similarities are going to pile up. And I find ignoring those similarities to beat up on one genre is unfair.

It is very much like Christianity and other religions, correctly dubbed "opiate of the masses" as they soothe suffering by offering a better afterlife, a life beyond life, to prevent humans from constantly rebelling against the conditions of their real life, to pacify them, but also numb their suffering.
This is where you get into intent: like indoctrination vs entertainment (which can and do cross paths). I do not feel comfortable enough to debate it except to say "they rely on these stories for a reason." They can work both ways.

Batman endlessly fights crime in Gotham, which never transforms from the antiutopia it is, but remains a crime-ridden hellhole. Superman fights the bad entity of the day, but another villain appears just after the the fight. There is no respite and no consideration of the bigger picture - audience is there to consume action, after all.
Fact is, at least for me, I find the examples can cut both ways. "Bucking authority because I'm right, but change is a hard road" is pretty prevalent everywhere. The end result of Batman comics is to sell comics. The end result of the Civil Rights movement was civil rights. MLK was one face of that. An exceptionalist example to rally behind. Many did more than him, many did less. But ask a whole lot of people who was the face of the movement and you get that name.

And we "beat" racism just like we beat sexism and elitism, except reality shows that you can actually never stop fighting. You never "win." 2016 was a pretty damning example, at least for my country.

I find "exceptionalism" has a completely different set of problem. The current civil rights movement in American has no real "face," it's based on a hash tag. These people aren't fighting shitty laws (something concrete), they are fighting against the IDEA of racism (a nebulous concept). There's no law to point at, just an idea, just the reality. There's no specific villain to point at. There's no hero. The message is there, but outsiders have a harder time understanding it because we tend to rally around or against people much more than ideas.

I don't know if that was born out of our fiction or if our fiction was born out of it. I assume the later.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-16 01:50pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Not at all. The female superheroes are much less numerous, are a much more recent invention and (regrettably) are either carbon copies of the athletic male or downright walking and talking sex objects made by folks with a hardon for ropes and bondage.


Fantomah (who's more a jungle-spirit-with-a-skull-face when her powers are active). Tom Boy (teenage non-sexualized girl who beats up criminals while the cops stand by and say 'wow'!). The Woman in Red (completely covered in red, non-fanservice outfit, secret identity is a police officer). Lady Luck (appeared in Eisner's The Spirit, backstory pretty much the same as Green Hornet, again modest outfit). Invisible Scarlet O’Neil (invisibility, natch). Red Tornado (large woman who wore a pot on her head and was badass). Lady Victory (brick). Miss America (unrelated to any other flag-bearing characters you may know, she had the power to *create and destroy matter*). Nelvana, of the Northern Lights (first Canadian superheroine, 3rd Canadian hero period, first demi-god superhero making her a predecessor of Thor, first nonwhite superhero). Spider Widow (Woman discovers she can control spiders, uses makeup to disguise herself as a stereotypical ugly witch and fight crime. Lemme just state how awesome that is).

And, lesse, that incompletely covers up to 1941 of superheroines who aren't spinoffs of anyone and who don't wear fanservice outfits... if we got up to the end of WW2 we'd be here a lot longer.

You don't know too much comics history. Superheroines were there from the start and don't fit as neatly pigeonholed as you assume. Like I mentioned before, the comics code was where they took a hit (also just the general post-war era where there was only three ongoing hero books period. 1/3rd of which were Wonder Woman, but that obvious cleared out most every other heroine).

As for Wonder Woman, yes, there's bondage. But it wasn't a 'see how sexy it is for women to be tied up,' thing, it was a fair bit more complex than that, the author had a thing about thinking how men worked best under 'loving submission' to women and yadda yadda, it's weird but actually not a simple fanservice thing. If you boil it down to *just* the sexualization angle you're missing out on a heck of a lot and she is a feminist icon for very, very good reason. Heck, one of the great things about it was her boyfriend, Steve Trevor, was just this gigantic WW fanboy. Here's this two-fisted, square-jawed adonis agent for the US military, and he will gush to you about how Wonder Woman is the greatest person ever and so strong & heroic at the drop of the hat without the slightest hint of jealousy. Here's a modern clip but it captures the dynamic well

Additionally, Wonder Woman herself from the start focused highly on diplomacy and redemption, she was on a mission of *peace*, her weapon was a lasso of truth because truth brings peace and capturing someone is superior (and the creator specifically didn't give her a sword because it was a more 'masculine' and aggressive approach), the Amazons had a reformation island, and she took some villains there where they got redeemed and became friends, including convincing people to abandoning fascism. In other words, Woman character who neatly shoots through not only the fascist-authoritarian angle but also the 'watch someone strong just beat up baddies,' WW was always about trying to change their minds too.



Woman are the minority in superheroes and always have been and that's not good and things should continue to improve, but if you're saying it's 'inherent in the genre' and I'm saying "Here's a 44 issue run of a first nations demigod heroine in a cool non-sexualized outfit from the 40s," well, it's obvious that it's not inherent, just a common problem.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-16 04:28pm

What about all the creators of Wonder Woman after the initial authors? I get that the original author had more complex ideas than what it seems, but were those ideas still really embraced and kept on throughout all of Wonder Woman's run?
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-16 06:48pm

Zixinus wrote:What about all the creators of Wonder Woman after the initial authors? I get that the original author had more complex ideas than what it seems, but were those ideas still really embraced and kept on throughout all of Wonder Woman's run?


*All* of the run? No, but you're talking an 80 year stretch there! Different writers get it to different degrees.

After him, the next big writer focused more on adventure without as much push on the themes, but not abandoning her established character, just kinda WW lite compared to the original run, and editorial pushed for a change in Trevor relationship putting in dumb conflict about 'if WW marries Steve she'd have to give up heroing so that's why she doesn't.' Writers after that largely ditched Trevor and went all over the place, including a stint as a depowered martial artist (intended to be feminist and have her deal with real problems- and not a horrible run btw- but real world feminists pushed for a return to the star spangled swimsuit and so it came back). Then came the Crisis and Marv Wolfman gave her a quite solid run that established Ares, god of war, as her major foe and she beat him with words and truth. 90s, she had a more violent replacement, Artemis, with Diana sticking truer to her roots. Then she came back, became an ambassador...

In terms of actually grabbing a sword and becoming more aggressive, that's honestly a take that's only been big for the last decade or so (though I'd say you can trace it back to Kingdom Come- alt reality takes have long gone for more-violent Wondy for some reason), and I hate it, but a number of writers still Get It and have her be about compassion, redemption, and truth. Spectacular Comics Wonder Woman is a recent nice Wondy anthology book for example.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Batman » 2017-05-16 07:00pm

I can see why alternate reality writers go for more aggressive and violent versions. Because they don't have to try to keep the villains around. How many innocent people died because I won't kill the Joker, Clark won't kill Luthor and so on? Now if you CAN actually permakill the villains thanks to writing Elseworlds stories the options for the heroes open up.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-16 07:22pm

Batman wrote:I can see why alternate reality writers go for more aggressive and violent versions. Because they don't have to try to keep the villains around. How many innocent people died because I won't kill the Joker, Clark won't kill Luthor and so on? Now if you CAN actually permakill the villains thanks to writing Elseworlds stories the options for the heroes open up.


I hate it with WW most because she's both never had a never- kill policy and also has a fantastic batting average with redemption and offering an open hand is a huge thing with her.

It's writers assuming 'willing to kill in some circumstances' equals bloodthirsty when she is more diplomatic than Superman or Batman.

Injustice Gods has her goading Superman to be harsher, Flashpoint is just flat evil WW, nu52 WW made the amazons evil murders (though not Diana herself) and the core of the character or more specifically how they diverged from it is never addressed. Basically she gets shoehorned into the Batman/Superman no kill conflict and what an inverted WW would actually look like rarely comes up. You can do a darker WW, but it should be more focused on her character axis.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Batman » 2017-05-16 07:38pm

How the hell is Diana more diplomatic than Clark? I'm giving you me, I'm a 'my way or the highway' shithead who won't accept anything but his own preferred approach but Clark is willing to negotiate as long as 'okay, let's try your way' doesn't involve people getting harmed.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-16 07:45pm

Batman wrote:How the hell is Diana more diplomatic than Clark? I'm giving you me, I'm a 'my way or the highway' shithead who won't accept anything but his own preferred approach but Clark is willing to negotiate as long as 'okay, let's try your way' doesn't involve people getting harmed.


Well, for one, Diana is actually a diplomat. :P

Diana also, at least from the Greg Rucka run, tries to talk to everyone down(aside from Dr. Psycho, but that guy isn't really someone you can talk down).
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-16 09:57pm

Batman wrote:How the hell is Diana more diplomatic than Clark? I'm giving you me, I'm a 'my way or the highway' shithead who won't accept anything but his own preferred approach but Clark is willing to negotiate as long as 'okay, let's try your way' doesn't involve people getting harmed.


What Fax said. Clark is willing to talk and such, but if someone's there to throw down and he doesn't think it's a misunderstanding, he'll normally throw down and capture. He's not *un*diplomatic, it's just not a specific Thing for him.

Wonder Woman uses words as a primary tool in her arsenal, and at the end of the fight, she often has the foe with her lasso, facilitating more talking.

One of the ongoing subplots of the Gail Simone run, for example, was a band of gorillas from Gorilla City were seduced by Grodd's promises and given enhancements to be his elite strike unit. She convinced them that it was not the way, and getting forgiveness in the eyes of Gorilla City. Gail Simone's run ended with aliens showing up to genocide the Earth (save for a select few infants who'd they adopt and indoctrinate), Wonder Woman beats their champion and appeals to those who may wish to change their way, and stops them.

Or her arch-enemy Cheetah. Cheetah's come under a berserk state, the cheetah spirit overwhelming her rational mind. So Wonder Woman stands there and lets Cheetah claw at her while trying to talk her into restoring herself. (John Byrne's run, btw)

Note: A non-berserk Cheetah at this point still often tries to kill her, but she puts her body on the line for Barbara Minerva.


Come to think of it, the 'stand there and let someone who can actually hurt her wail on her' is a trick she's done multiple times. Also against a Green Lantern who wanted to let a warlike species, the Khund, be wiped out, while Diana believed they could change their ways (resolution: She convinced him to take a young Khund and train them to be a Green Lantern).




FaxModem1 wrote:Well, for one, Diana is actually a diplomat. :P

Diana also, at least from the Greg Rucka run, tries to talk to everyone down(aside from Dr. Psycho, but that guy isn't really someone you can talk down).


Odyssey storyline, even Psycho gets a bit of redemption :)

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Stewart M » 2017-05-16 11:52pm

Q99 wrote:
K. A. Pital wrote:Additionally, Wonder Woman ... was on a mission of *peace*, her weapon was a lasso of truth ... (and the creator specifically didn't give her a sword because it was a more 'masculine' and aggressive approach)


Well, I screwed that one up.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-17 01:10am

Which isn't to say it's always bad to give her such weapons, it should just be situational- i.e. slaying monsters or such, that's fine, she's got no objection to using a sword to fight, say, the killer super vines from space. It's just the lasso is her iconic weapon for very good reason. The more clever writers use what she's armed with for symbolism of the situation, others just slap on a sword because they think it's a cooler weapon.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-17 03:49am

It actually begs the question on why would the "mythical" Wonder Woman, who lived on an island where there's only women, be attracted to men? Or a certain man?? (It is a mythical place, so for a time being we leave the one-gender thing stand)

Women could be cool and heroic without even complicated bondage fantasies, if it comes to this.

A female sniper scored 309 Nazi kills. She did not need to look hot - although, as any woman, she could - or have a rope to talk sense into men.

Male consumers of pop culture are to blame for the bullshit treatment of women by the industry.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby ray245 » 2017-05-17 03:52am

K. A. Pital wrote:It actually begs the question on why would the "mythical" Wonder Woman, who lived on an island where there's only women, be attracted to men? Or a certain man?? (It is a mythical place, so for a time being we leave the one-gender thing stand)

Women could be cool and heroic without even complicated bondage fantasies, if it comes to this.

A female sniper scored 309 Nazi kills. She did not need to look hot - although, as any woman, she could - or have a rope to talk sense into men.

Male consumers of pop culture are to blame for the bullshit treatment of women by the industry.


That applies to male superheroes as well. They are generally drawn to be good-looking regardless of gender.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-17 02:32pm

K. A. Pital wrote:It actually begs the question on why would the "mythical" Wonder Woman, who lived on an island where there's only women, be attracted to men? Or a certain man?? (It is a mythical place, so for a time being we leave the one-gender thing stand)


I rather like the idea that for the Amazons, you're attracted to someone or not and gender doesn't enter into it and liking Steve- 'cause he's a heroic guy who's also super positive and a huge fan- is no different than liking another Amazon.

Though personally, if I was writing the Amazons, rather than having them be an isolated culture, I'd have them semi-regularly recruit women- from shipwrecks, from sending out lower-key champions before Wondy, etc.. Well, I've got a lot of stuff I'd do with WW and the Amazons.

Women could be cool and heroic without even complicated bondage fantasies, if it comes to this.


Yes. The original writer did have a whole thing about it, and he used it as a metaphor for breaking bonds and empowerment (look at early WW covers- she was breaking free of chains all the time). Btw, he also invented the lie detector, the real-life invention, and his wife played a large role in WW's creation.

Weird guy, William Moulton Marston.

Male consumers of pop culture are to blame for the bullshit treatment of women by the industry.


Yep. Also male creators who really underestimate the consumers.

There's a thing that's been noted that DC editorial seems to have a lot of problem believing that Lois Lane has a significant fanbase independent from her role with Superman and people just think she's a cool interesting character.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-17 02:40pm

At least she became one of the well-known characters, which can't be said of the other female heroes you've named upthread - they've vanished without leaving a lasting mark.

So from a multitude of female characters, only the one with enough sex appeal survived through the ages?
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-05-17 02:51pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Male consumers of pop culture are to blame for the bullshit treatment of women by the industry.
Then why do they devour good content containing strong women and tend to ignore poor content that does the same?

The latest example is Fury Road. For all the "shit feminism is shit" from MRAs, the movie was incredibly popular among men of all ages.

But it goes further back: Ellen Ripley of the Alien franchise. Sarah Conner from Terminator. Samus Aran from Metroid. The list is much shorter than for men, which is likely due to sexism and genre demographics (action is much more a man's genre, no matter the lead). But where is the sexism coming from?

X-Blades, Other M, Bloodrayne, and numerous other games/movies sold specifically to titillate or just rely on mediocre gameplay and storytelling mechanics do NOT do well in any demographic. And this is likely because porn already exists. On the flip side, a confusing game on all levels like Remember Me, with a much less sexualized protagonist (who we were still given ass-shots at every level) is forgotten due to mediocrity.

Where I find the sexism comes from the creators of content due to both a lack of understanding on why a character is popular and that in a desperate bid to profit off of hype, you give the bare minimum and just pander to the lowest common denominator. When you're doing that, and a woman is involved: "TITS! MOAR TITS!"

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-17 03:01pm

Heh, I guess you're right. I placed too much blame on the audience, but too little on the creators.

But still, after decades and many examples of female characters that worked (Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc) why do most of the creators - Miller being the exception here, he's too smart for this shit to put Mad Max on the same level - keep making the same mistakes?

Are they too dumb to realize that pandering to the lowest denominator doesn't work? Or are they actually right (i.e. even dumb shit with tits makes money)?
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-05-17 03:14pm

It goes both ways. The audience once upon a time preferred crap, but the audiences changed... unfortunately the turnover rate for creators is different, so while there's a bustling scene of new and inclusive creators, the Old Guard's still there.

Stratification issues, etc.

And we know audiences, the socioculture and memetics behind 'em, ain't a single set-in-stone thing, like the laws of physics. It's just like how some people who once voted for Obama either sat back and in doing so allowed Trump to win, or actually voted for Trump.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-05-17 04:23pm

K. A. Pital wrote:But still, after decades and many examples of female characters that worked (Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc) why do most of the creators - Miller being the exception here, he's too smart for this shit to put Mad Max on the same level - keep making the same mistakes?
As they continue to make the same mistakes, they also make the same.... not mistakes? How many directors continually rip off A New Hope? Eragorn, New Star Trek, New Star Wars. New audiences for one, but why mess with what works?

But when you don't understand the basis of WHY something is popular? It's easy to go with your gut of "I don't understand the medium. I have a business degree. Comics/Games/Movies/whatever are all garbage and not worth the time except to idiots and manbabies, so I'll wrap the garbage into a set of tits and man-beef and call it a day."

Then you get something like Fury Road with a writer and director who understand WHY the themes of the Mad Max universe were and still are popular. The lead having tits does not matter in the large scheme of things. This is just one example.

Are they too dumb to realize that pandering to the lowest denominator doesn't work? Or are they actually right (i.e. even dumb shit with tits makes money)?
Sadly, it DOES work depending. There are new audiences who aren't jaded by shit and intelligent marketing combined with flat-out lies do their part. Then, when things fail, they learn the wrong lessons. Much like with how I mentioned Remember Me. The game just never comes together. It's a bunch of novel idea and themes cobbled together into a piss-poor (yet fairly polished) tech demo.

And management takeaway from that? "Female leads don't sell." Welcome to what happens when you combine a management system of uninformed idiots who don't care about the medium with a helping hand of blatant sexism. Unrelated but related: Deadpool was fought at every level by Sony.

And the audience DOES share some blame here, but at the end of the day: I want to watch a movie. I want to play a game. I don't have control over what is being made. I can only speak with my wallet, yet like in anything you end up with execs who have no vision and are just following what worked once or twice and want in on the action.

Like how now every fight scene today is 50,000 camera cuts in 3 seconds? Like that, just with boobs.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-17 04:33pm

More on William Moulton Marston because he's just an interesting person:

"Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."


Elizabeth Holloway Marston, his wife, played a huge role in her creation. 'Marston recommended an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would conquer not with fists or firepower, but with love. "Fine," said Elizabeth. "But make her a woman." '

"There are one or two rules of thumb which are useful in distinguishing sadism from exciting adventure in the comics. Threat of torture is harmless, but when the torture it’s self is shown it becomes sadism. When a lovely heroine is show bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive just in the nick of time. The readers wish is to save the girl, not to see her suffer. A bound or chained person does not suffer even embarrassment in the comics, and the reader, therefore is not being taught to enjoy suffering."

"Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world. There isn’t love enough in the male organism to run this planet peacefully. Woman’s body contains twice as many love generating organs and endocrine mechanisms as the male."

There's a lot more, but suffice to say he felt that Wonder Woman, even the bondage aspects, was a very positive
role model, and that everyone deep down yearned for loving submission and one of the problems of the modern day was men would rather be 'unhappy masters' than 'happy slaves' (not his words, but ascribed to him). Unusual person with unusual views, to be sure.

K. A. Pital wrote:Heh, I guess you're right. I placed too much blame on the audience, but too little on the creators.

But still, after decades and many examples of female characters that worked (Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc) why do most of the creators - Miller being the exception here, he's too smart for this shit to put Mad Max on the same level - keep making the same mistakes?

Are they too dumb to realize that pandering to the lowest denominator doesn't work? Or are they actually right (i.e. even dumb shit with tits makes money)?


Interestingly, there was a study done awhile back that showed that movies with nudity, in fact, do not do better than movies without (though violence does give a boost). And commercials that use sex appeal made it less likely for people to remember the product and either does nothing or hurts from an advertising perspective. My view is, you can sell stuff directly as erotica, but outside that? It really doesn't add jack and 'male gaze' cameras and the like are a detriment. Heck, I wonder if it's so ubiquitous that even if it might have, possible, once worked (which I'm unsure of) it's just too saturated now. Like, you pretty much have to actually avoid it to not get as much as you want and more, don't you?

And, I'd say 'too dumb/too caught up in their own prejudices'. Note how Hollywood still clings to 'action movie heroines don't sell' in the wake of Hunger Games (4 movies, worst performing made 4x budget on a 160 mil budget), and even successful women directors tend to stop getting jobs after one or two duds, while meanwhile Zack Snyder can get chance after chance after chance.


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