Get Your Own Fridge – Orson Scott Card and Superman

Superman is a symbol of hope and freedom. Which is why I am horrified at DC Comics’ decision to have known homophobe Orson Scott Card pen Adventures of Superman.

Card, author of Ender’s Game, is on the board of The National Organization for Marriage, a group called out by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2010 for its anti-gay policies and propganda. Orson Scott Card has gone as far as rewriting Hamlet to link homosexuallity with pedeophilia (no, seriously). He wrote that if Prop 8 failed in California, he would “act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage….” And DC decided to pay him to write Superman. Maybe they can overlook his bigotry because he’s a New York Times bestseller, but I can not.

Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Siegel and Shuster were left-leaning minorities and the hero they created fought for social causes and against villains, super or everyday. Which makes Card writing Superman all the more unacceptable. It is disrespectful to the character, and, more importantly, to the fans. DC is allowing a man who puts out false information about LGBT people for the specific purpose of depriving them rights to put his poisonous spin on the character that is supposed to be the shining beacon of righteousness.

Maybe they misunderstand what “big, blue boyscout” means?

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Get Your Own Fridge – Gender Roles

The other day, while on one of my trips to the local big box store, I was in line behind a family. The son was beside himself because he was getting another of his favorite action figure; the kind of excited kids get where they are worried that the cashier won’t give the toy back. He was buying the Pink Ranger, I assume to go in his right hand since there was already a Pink Ranger in the left one.

I never quite understood why toys would be gender specific. I played with dolls as a little girl, but I loved my action figures, too. Playing with Barbies and G.I. Joes, Barbie was as likely to be in an army uniform as a Joe was to be in a dress (my army was quite progressive). I used to get mad when my Matchbox cars didn’t transform (I didn’t understand that all diecast cars weren’t Transformers). And it was the 80s, so She-Ra and He-Man were well loved.

I think we have learned in recent years that My Little Pony is for everyone.

PonyFans
So, why is it that so many hold onto their ideas of what toys belong to what gender? Why can’t we adults be completely comfortable with what children are comfortable with? Is there a real reason a boy shopping in the pink aisle or a girl shopping in the blue aisle is “wrong”? Is it because it makes adults reevaluate the gender traps they have fallen into? Is it because “this is the way we’ve always done it”? Is it because it makes marketers jobs easier to deal with broad demographics? Some combination?

The older I get, the less I understand why it is so important that children’s play fall into rigid gender roles. I never quite got it in the first place, because both aisles have some really awesome toys.

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Get Your Own Fridge – Faking It

I always find it amusing when, in any discussion about fake geek girls, there is at least one guy (and it is always a guy) who says something like “We’re not talking about REAL geek girls, we’re talking about those who fake it like (insert female celebrity here),” or “booth babes” or someone else who makes money off of geeks. I always wonder if they really believe it or if it’s an attempt to divide women against each other.

There aren’t long threads on message boards, conversations on twitter, etc., about the male vendors and sales people are ruining fandom. No one questions if the guy selling is really a nerd. And no one says he’s ruining fandom just by making a living. No, he’s living the dream.

And if a female celebrity says she’s a nerd? Oh, she’s faking it. Like Anne Hathaway wanting to be Catwoman when she grew up. Like Gloria Steinem being such a Wonder Woman fan she put her on the cover the first Ms. Magazine.

Like Rosario Dawson speaking Klingon.

But, you know, faking it.

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Get Your Own Fridge – A Mountain Of Brokeback

There are two terms that specifically refer to the exploitation of female characters in comic art: brokeback and escher girl (there’s even a tumblr). They refer to the rearrangement that happens to female characters to make their breasts and ass more easily viewed by the reader. So, I guess it’s convenient? And sexy?

DoTheTwist

When someone complains about the treatment of women in this art, there is always someone to call “PRUDE!”, instead of listening to the actual complaint. The problem isn’t sexiness. Can you even call brokeback sexy? The problem is exploitation and inequality. The men in comics art are powerful. The women look like some terrible accident has befallen them.

OneOfTheseThings

(One of these things is not like the other…)

I have no problem with sexy (seriously, if Catwoman is my favorite character and Adam Hughes one of my favorite artists, sexy is not the issue here). But twisting a women to view secondary sexual organs all in one line is demeaning and distracting. No matter how good the writing, brokeback will pull me right out of a story. Which is the opposite of what they’re supposed to do with art, right?

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Get Your Own Fridge – Favorite Female Friendships

From media which finds itself unable to pass the Bechdel Test, to the potrayal of female friends as being incapable of being more than frenemies, the friendship between women is not usually potrayed as important or nessesary. Some of my favorite female friendships happen in cartoons, where there is more flexibility in characters and storytelling.

Raven & Starfire on Teen Titans
Raven and Starfire don’t understand each other, but they learn to respect their differences which allows them to become friends. (Switching bodies and having to learn the other’s powers helped speed the process along though.)

Harley & Ivy on Batman: The Animated Series
Ever had that friend who you loved, but she was dating a guy that was no good for her?

Hippolyta & Artemis in Wonder Woman
Anyone who can threaten to shoot the princess to the queen is a true friend.

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Get Your Own Fridge – Tired

I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing about “fake geek girls”.  I’m tired of hearing about cosplayers being attention whores and cockteases. I’m tired of being expected to look past impractical costumes, brokeback, women in refrigerators, and damsels in distress. And I’m tired of being expected to compromise who I am. I like comics, sci-fi, cartoons, video games and collecting toys while female. Exactly why is that a problem? Why is any woman or girl liking these things a problem?

Years into my geekiness I still haven’t found an answer. They ironic part is, my geekiness started because of men. When I was little my dad and I watched the old Fleischer Superman cartoons. My cousins showed me the Transformers cartoons. I bought my first comic when a friend’s brother wanted to go to the store. My guy friends taught me how to play D&D. I went to my first comic book convention on a date.

Because I’ve known all these men who were happy to share, I don’t understand those who feel the need to play gatekeeper. No one needs to be a bouncer for the X-Men. Anyone can like them. It’s really okay. It’s even okay if someone likes them in a different way than you. If you want to collect Star Wars facts to pull out at a moments notice and someone else wants to knit a Darth Vader, you can both be fans. Fandom is big enough for all of us. There is no reason someone should spend life being picked on for their obsessive love of Batman only to come into the Batman fandom and be picked on for the way they love Batman.

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Get Your Own Fridge – Batman’s Daughter

Cassandra Cain was Batman’s daughter. Then the universe was rebooted and she disappeared while her brothers remained. I’ve written a lot about my complaints with the new DC universe, but this one sticks with me.

Every woman is someone’s daughter. So deleting your big draw’s daughter send a clear message- women are not as important as men.

Now, I’m sure if you asked pretty much everyone would deny that this is the message. They would go on and on about it being a new universe with a condensed timeline and that they need to make sure the addition of characters enhances the overarching story. Barbara Gordon is the iconic Batgirl. It doesn’t make sense to have Cass as Batgirl too.

I call bullshit. Writers want to use her. Gail Simone, Scott Snyder, and Grant Morrison all asked to use her and were turned down. Fans want to see her. There have been mail in campaigns to bring her back, and last year she won DC Women Kicking Ass’s Kick Ass DC Woman contest.

In the New 52 continuity, there were 4 Robins over the 5 year timeline, all of which were Bruce Wayne’s sons. If you can fit Dick Grayson (the only one who is “iconic”), Jason Todd (who the fans killed and then was brought back from the dead), Tim Drake (who is slightly more well known since he has appeared in both The New Batman Adventures and Young Justice), and Damian Wayne (who is 10, but was conceived when Bruce was already Batman… oh screw it, I give up), you probably can fit Cass in as Batgirl during the time Barbara spent paralyzed.

Excluding Bruce’s daughter while creating plot holes to include his 4 sons shows a general disrespect for women as characters. It also shows a lack of respect for female fans. Woman aren’t considered necessary on the page or at the checkout. Which is a shame, since excluding 50% of the population hinders both storytelling options and sales.

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Get Your Own Fridge – Falling For Catwoman

I have been less than subtle in my love for Catwoman/Selina Kyle. I fell for her on TV, when I saw her in Batman Returns (sadly, no embed available). But everyone falls for Selina. And I keep falling for her on TV and in the movies.

Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

The Dark Knight Rises


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Get Your Own Fridge – Companions

Doctor Who has a strong, loyal, and somewhat obsessive following of fans from both genders. While we all have spent more time than is probably healthy on the merits of various Doctors (and the appropriate punishment for those who call him “Doctor Who”), the companions are who we all want to be. The Doctor has a habit of picking up very strong, clever women (and a few men) to take with him to travel all of time and space. Since I could never possibly pick one favorite (the Doctor never could), here’s a list of my personal favorite companions.

Susan Foreman
The first companion and the Doctor’s granddaughter. She ran away from her home planet with her crazy, cranky grandfather to see the universe.

Sarah Jane Smith
Probably the most famous of the Doctor’s companions (and for good reason). Sarah Jane had a successful career before meeting the Doctor. Most importantly she taught us “There is nothing only about being a girl”.

Donna Noble
Donna is brilliant if occasionally daft. She is excellent at missing important events in human history, which turned from hilarious to tragic when her memory is wiped and can never know that she was the most important person in the universe. Donna never took the Doctor’s crap and he respected and loved her for it.

Amy Pond
Imagine if you childhood imaginary friend turned out to be a time-traveling alien with a spaceship that was bigger on the inside. Now, imagine he came back for you as an adult. Wouldn’t you run away too? Amy is strong; every obstacle life throws at her (and there are many) is met by defiance and an insistence that it change to suit her. She is brave. She is, as the Doctor says, “mad, impossible Amelia Pond”

The TARDIS
His longest companion. He stole her and she stole him. They travel the universe together, they fight, she takes him where he needs to go (even if that isn’t where he planned on being, when he planned on being there). There is no Doctor without the TARDIS and no TARDIS without the Doctor.

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Get Your Own Fridge – On “Boys’ Toys” And “Girls’ Toys”

I love toys. The first toy line I remember collecting was She-Ra, and I had all of them. My dad threw them out when I was in high school. I have yet to forgive him.

Courtesy of Flickr

I still collect toys. I even have a few She-Ras. The frustrating part of being a female toy collector and having an interest in buying figures that share your gender is the notion that girl action figures don’t sell. If they even put any female figures in a wave, they’re almost always shortpacked. So, if you don’t get to the store right when they open a case, you can either pay scalper prices on ebay or not get the toy.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that I am not the target market for these toys. I get they’re for kids. But I’m not sold that they only appeal to boys.

Little girls don’t like Wonder Woman? Or Artemis from Young Justice? Or Batgirl?

Boys don’t like these characters?

Courtesy of Fully Jointed Play Figures

 

Maybe the problem isn’t that kids segregate toys as “boy toys” and “girl toys”. Maybe the problem is we tell our kids that “those are for boys” and “these are for girls”. Kids are pretty awesome. If you hand them a bunch of toys, they’ll play with all of them regardless of gender, unless they’ve been taught otherwise.

Besides, what’s the point of having Green Lantern if you don’t have a Wonder Woman to kick his ass?

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