Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Male Feminist pt 3

And so ends this journey, most definitely with a whimper rather than a bang.

I think 'the compliment of rational opposition' is a compliment always, and one to be all the more treasured when it's in response to a statement that wasn't all that rational to begin with; so I want to earnestly say thanks for any heckling from the wings on this one. I hope my general half-bakedness doesn't enrage anyone too much, as for meself,-I really have enjoyed faffing around the interweb and trying to get a fuller picture of this Marston chap.

'Feminist' as a term seemed to be the major flag-raiser but there aint no way around that because that is the word associated with Mr Marston I took exception to and really didn't realise took much defining.

So, seeing as the horse has bolted, and there's a bit of a draught in here why don't we close the door:

Feminism defined (via five minutes and a search engine):
#1.a doctrine that advocates equal rights for women.

#2. Feminism refers to movements aimed at establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women.[1][2][3] Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights. Feminism is mainly focused on women's issues, but because feminism seeks gender equality, some feminists argue that men's liberation is therefore a necessary part of feminism, and that men are also harmed by sexism and gender roles.[4][5][6][7] Feminists—that is, persons practicing feminism—can be persons of either sex.

#3. Feminism does not have a single fundamental definition. Feminism refers to the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes; that each individual is a valuable human being in his or her own right. The goal of feminist work is broader than simply a stronger emphasis on women; the goal is to revise our way of considering history, society, literature, etc. so that both male and female are seen equally conditioned by the gender constructions of their culture.

Feminism from the above definitions is grounded in a desire for equal rights for all people regardless of gender. In other words all that is good and right and every civilised society should be aiming for so: what on earth did I think I was talking about?

Okay. Back when I was a gorsoon in Art college, I came in one day and this poster was on the wall:

Whatever section I had in my head under the word 'Feminism', this poster was the thumbnail for it. 'Feminism' was, for me, whatever put that poster up and thought it was a good thing.
The 'Male Feminist' whom I did not trust, is the person ( with their genitalia mainly outside their body ) who is not offended by it.

Now that's a simplistic and uninformed way of thinking as it turns out, and I really oughta no better -but it's good to be learning at this stage in my life.

When I read Marstons' interviews, my own reaction is that the man was essentially 'White-knighting',on a grand scale- I could be wrong, but his notion of the perfect society with loving, nurturing, females incapable of aggression at the helm is one I find shockingly patronising.

In spite of all this was he a 'feminist'? -Well he definitely tried to make a positive contribution, and although her readership has always been 90% male and although when she joined the Justice Society of America superhero group they only took her on as club secretary ( I kid you not), Wonderwoman was probably over-all a better role model for young women,( and what they might be), than what was out there before.

Gloria Steinham considered her the right gal for the cover of issue#1 of 'Ms' Magazine:

And it's probably unfair to judge the Marston by today's standards (that the F.B.I. under Hoover administration had no time for him doesn't actually tell us much about the mans character either).

So, to finish up then here is a modern male self-proclaimed feminist who's attitude I complete agree with, this is from a blog called atopthefourthwall. The subject is Wonderwoman's new costume 2010, and the author is not in favour.

....'But wait,' many of you have asked me, 'Aren't you a feminist? Aren't you happier now that she isn't wearing a sexist bathing suit and is actually wearing pants and showing less skin?' Well, let's address that last part first - she's not really all THAT much more covered up. She's still got exposed cleavage and frankly most comic book artists draw pants on women as skintight to the point that it might as well be spray-painted on anyway. And even then, as I said, the Project Rooftop examples had plenty of costumes with pants, but they weren't black. And in case you're wondering if I'm just misinterpreting the colors and it's really dark blue, check out the article or buy Wonder Woman #600 for yourself - they're black.

Now let's address my feminism. This is once again a misinterpretation of what feminism is - the thing is, showing skin is not the problem. I mock it in a lot of books because it seems like a lot of women's costumes are designed to show as much skin as possible for titillation reasons. Instead of designing costumes that are logical for a character based on who they are, their origins, or their thought process, they're designed so that they can ride up a woman's ass and heterosexual men can drool at it. Part of feminism is that you don't have preconceived notions about a person simply because of how they dress, how society might look at a girl or a woman in a mini-skirt and think to themselves, "they must be a slut," when in reality they could just really like mini-skirts.

Costumes themselves are not necessarily sexist one way or another and the same goes for Wonder Woman (though I continually groan in frustration whenever an artist decides that Wonder Woman's lower half rides up her ass like a thong). How the characters are written and how their body language is portrayed is what makes things sexist one way or another. Frank Miller writes Vicki Vale to be obsessed with superhero penises and put in the script that he wants Jim Lee to sexualize her for titillation, making her into nothing more than an object to be gazed at, describing in detail that she should be in skimpy attire and that her ass should be front and center for the reader. THAT is a sexist portrayal...

This is a point of view I find perfectly valid and have no problem agreeing with, (a short skirt is simply a short skirt and what is depicted is different from how it is depicted e.t.c.) Personally, I'm for equal rights for everybody and I think objectification doesn't do much for human dignity of any gender, race or creed,

but I wouldn't call myself a feminist.

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