Friday, 4 October 2013
"I think its because mainly women are so haughty and arrogant anyway…they invest so much into their beauty. They often use that beauty to manipulate men and the world and get their way."
Several years ago here at TooBusyThinking, I printed a piece which criticised the above sequence from The Avengers 12.1. Just to make something of my objections clear, I began the post with the following; “You could choose to blame the messenger, dear reader, but I really don’t go looking for this kind of unthinking, smug and thoroughly shameful sexism.” It's a post which still receives responses from folks with some very odd and disturbing ideas about how women ought to be represented. Perhaps you'll forgive me if I share an anonymous -as is typical - example of this which arrived just this morning. I usually delete such comments, believing strongly in no-platform for those who are (1) clearly beyond debating with and (2) soaked in reactionary thinking. But having recently been asked to share a example of such quickly disposed-of missives, I thought I might offer this;
"I think there is something in the back of our minds as humans that creates a situation every now and then that involves a super heroine being stripped naked and humiliated. I seen you ask "why does it not happen to male hero's and villains?" Well two reasons come to mind. 1.Mainly men write and read these stories and generally don't wanna see a man naked 2. I think its because mainly women are so haughty and arrogant anyway...they invest so much into their beauty. They often use that beauty to manipulate men and the world and get their way. Now with a superheroine you basically have a goddess who is all these things and stronger than a man. In an odd way it makes a superheroine more human if every now and then she gets in a situation where she is depowered, debooted, and stripped naked bound for all to see. That embarrassment and humiliation resonates in our brains and reminds us we are mortal and even these goddesses can be made mortal too and have everything taken away from them. Look at season one of the Wonder Woman TV series. There was only like two scenes where she lost her "magic belt" and lost her powers but that event, the fausta scene, inspired a whole legion of superheroine fetishist who buy adult videos just to see that kind of content. So it seems this very concept of naked humiliation has been engrained in us. It goes back to the story of Adam and Eve, before they ate from the tree of knowledge they never even knew they were naked. After they did it seems naked embarrassment was created."
Even now, with the blog only just returning from hiatus after four months out, these things still roll in. This one at least didn't attempt to transmit contempt, rage and/or the promise of violence, which a great many do. But it's still shocking to me - no matter how used I am to receiving such material - that folks can view the world this way in 2013. Of course, all I have to deal with is the arrival of such immediately-deletable comments. To be a woman is to have to deal - on one level or another - with this kind of thinking, and often far far worse, on a second-to-second basis.
This piece was also posted at the TooBusyThinking Tumblr - find it here - which usually has quite different content to this blog.