nenena: (Default)
My Little Pony x Welsh Corgis. Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

A Seven-Year-Old Girl Responds to DC's Reboot of Starfire. In the wake of the sudden rush of mansplaining that has ignited all over the internet as adult male bloggers try to tell female readers that they're reacting to Starfire wrong, HERE is a voice that actually matters.

And finally, here is your Soul Eater Moment of Zen.
nenena: (Romeo x Juliet - Melt some faces!)
Deb Aoki has some damn smart things to say about DC's New 52, Catwoman, Starfire, and manga.

The article is long but well-worth a complete readthrough. Among one of the issues that Aoki tackles is the question, "Why are female comic book readers so upset about sexist depictions of Catwoman and Starfire, but never express rage at exponentially more vile manga fare like Tenjo Tenge or High School of the Dead?" The answers are actually pretty simple:

Maybe it's because I'm not as emotionally invested in who these characters once were or what they represent. I never had memories or expected the characters in TenTen or HSotD to act a certain, more virtuous way. These characters are never concurrently marketed as 'kiddy versions' for younger readers.

As Mikey San from the One Piece at at Time Blog (@OPataTimeBlog) mentioned, "There is no way I am letting my 9 year old bro pick up that Red Hood title. He knows Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon and really...Yeah. I rather not bust his bubble about her."

In a related note, David Willis, creator of Shortpacked! expressed similar sentiments, albeit in webcomic form in this comic strip.

No-Stances Emperor (@sdshamshel) added: "I think part of it is that DC's characters all have to share a universe, and as a result, a cumulative message. HOTD girls were built from the ground up to be cheesecake and fanservice, and they don't impact the titles around them."

And Omari's Sister (@Omarissister) chimed in: "Because TenTen never claimed to be sexually liberated. You know going into that one that it's a violent skinfest."

Or maybe it's because stories like TenTen and HSotD that cater to male fantasies co-exist with manga content that is written by and for female readers, vs. being the dominant voice/house style of the medium in their country of origin.

Shorter version: Manga readers (both male and female) who care about not reading crappy depictions of women can easily ignore the existence of titles like High School of the Dead and its ilk, because these titles a) are niche series rather than mainstream/dominant genres of manga - yes, even in Japan, b) are conceived of and marketed from the beginning as male wish-fulfillment fantasies that never try to pass themselves off as "lolz empowering wimmins!", and c) do not include characters that are much-beloved by female (and male) readers from other mediums or several decades' worth of past comic books.

I would also add that when a mainstream manga series gets enough of a fanbase to say that it has honestly produced some iconic badass female characters - like Sakura from Naruto or Rukia from Bleach - then you WILL actually start to see Fanrage On the Internet when those characters are portrayed in a sexist manner within their title series. Because we all care a lot more about female characters who are awesome being portrayed poorly than we do about female characters created to be masturbatory fantasies being portrayed as, well, masturbatory fantasies.

Anyway, that's just one of the issues that the entire article tackles. Aoki also has some very insightful things to say about Tiger & Bunny and Sailor Moon, too. So go, read!
nenena: (W.I.T.C.H. - Irma rocks)
I know that everybody and their dog has already linked to this fantastic post by Laura Hudson over at Comics Alliance, but since it simply cannot be linked enough, here you go:

Since pointing out my issues with Starfire yesterday, I have received numerous e-mails -- from men -- accusing me of slut-shaming. Since there are a lot of people who don't understand the sexual dynamics that are in play here both creatively and culturally, I'd like to dissect this a little bit and explain why these scenes don't support sexually liberated women; they undermine them, and why after nearly 20 years of reading superhero books, these may finally have been the comics that broke me.

[...] This is not about these women wanting things; it's about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering -- the idea that women can own their sexuality -- and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their "sexual liberation" into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.


Why is she contorting her body in that weird way? Who is she posing for, because it doesn't even seem to be Roy Harper? The answer, dear reader, is that she is posing for you. News flash: Starfire isn't being promiscuous because this comic wants to support progressive notions of gender roles. Starfire is being promiscuous so that you can look at pictures like this:

[MORE NSFW IMAGES OF STARFIRE INSERTED HERE - images that were, yes, actually printed in the comic.]

If you really want to support Starfire's "liberated sexuality" like she's somehow a person with real agency, what people should really be campaigning for is more half-clothed dudes in suggestive poses to get drawn around her, since I'm sure that's what she'd like to see. But people don't really want that, do they? Because it's not about what Starfire wants. It's about what straight male readers want. And they want to see Starfire with her clothes falling off. And hey, hey -- there's nothing wrong with that specifically, but let's be honest about what's happening and who we're serving (or not serving) and at whose expense. And let's be honest about the fact that this treatment happens almost exclusively to women, which is a huge part of what makes it so problematic.

Memo to mansplainers: Stop using the word "slut-shaming" if you don't even know what it means.

Next, in more happy news: Fate/Zero is going to begin streaming on all Nico-Nico websites on October 1st with subtitles available in Korean, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. FUCK YEAH!