Are you still wondering what to get your boyfriend for Christmas? Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, so far, I have talked a lot about men in comics. But what about women in comic books? What about the portrayal of women in comics?
In my opinion, that is a relevant subject, perhaps even more so since the #MeToo movement.
I propose to investigate this matter and to consider it a part of romantic things to do for your boyfriend, whether you are a man or a woman. It will become clearer, I promise! Let’s go! Christmas is coming and I don’t want to miss this opportunity, as I see it as one of the various special things to do for your boyfriend.
You will read some feminist stuff, but do not worry: I respect and love men, and some of them are also feminists. I hope you are lucky enough to have one like that around you. I am lucky enough to have one of my own. His name is Jean-Michel and he is a journalist. I dedicate this post to him.
LAURA MULVEY MALE GAZE THEORY
In media, women are put there to be observed from an objectified point of view. They are not making any meaning, they are not placed in roles where they can take control over a scene.
For instance, women in comic books are viewed from the eyes of heterosexual men. They are passive no-brainers living things designed for male desires. In a nutshell, that is what Laura Mulvey Male Gaze Theory is about and which she elaborates in her famous essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema‘.
Laura Mulvey is a British feminist film theorist, born in 1941. She teaches film and media studies at Birkbeck, University of London.
In order to study the portrayal of women in comics, one can only start with super heroine Wonder Woman. And why is that, you may ask? Simply because Wonder Woman is the first female super heroine to have appeared in comic books.
It goes back to 1941, during the second World War. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston. What was the intention of the author when he created this beautiful creature?
Her creation aimed a representing the post World War I liberated women. Power, force and strength: these were the qualities that were very much desired by a lot of young women who were reading comic books at the time.
Instead of becoming some kind of a role model for these young women, some scholars who studied the portrayal of women in comics believed, to the contrary, that in fact, the creator of Wonder Woman had designed a sex symbol for male audiences.
As of today, the question remains, irrespective of the country of origins of our female super heroine: Paradise Island, or Themyscira, a matriarchal country where men are banned.
Paradise Island is thus a place where women do not suffer any limitations imposed by men.
As a result, one could say that Wonder Woman various incarnations are queer: she is a mix of male and female stereotypes. This naturally brings me to talk to you about Thor.
Thor case is very interesting from the perspective of gender norms. Recreating Thor as a female character surely is something quite unexpected in the world of comic books, even though his hammer had already landed in the hands of women, like Black Widow, for instance.
Something of a high symbolic value, which could show some kind of an evolution regarding the subject of the portrayal of women in comics, is the fact that the next Thor movie, planned to come out in theaters on November 6, 2021, is called ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’, and not She-Thor, nor Thora.
This is a major improvement. Thor now represents the idea of a hero, irrespective of his masculine or feminine characteristics. Jane Foster will be provided with an armour that will protect her, not the tiny bathing suit that we normally see on the behind of women in comic books.
And the female version of Thor will have as many powers as the male one, as opposed to what used to happen in the past, where female super heroines had fewer powers than their male counterparts.
MY WAY ON THE HIGHWAY
In my humble opinion, let’s not forget to go back to basics: enjoy your reading, or enjoy he movies you watch. Of course, I also like the sexy shape of a female super heroine.
What I don’t like is, when I watch a movie scene where a catastrophe is happening, women are always shouting and crying, while men remain impassible.
First, there is nothing wrong with emotions, nor is there anything wrong with feeling them and letting them go.
This is a message you hear everywhere, but it does not seem to be applicable to men. This is quite irritating, if you ask me.
In addition to this, let’s not forget that a counter example of the positive evolution of women in comic books: Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, is shot at by the Joker and remains paralyzed.
Even though she becomes Oracle, she will stay behind the scene and her intellectual powers will serve he strong male character: Batman.
But, there is light at the end of the tunnel: more women have become writers and artists in the comic books industry. Here are some that you might want to check out: Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Becky Cloonan, Amanda Connor, or Meg Cabot.
SPECIAL THINGS TO DO FOR YOUR BOYFRIEND
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, there are plenty of romantic things to do for your boyfriend for Christmas, as you have seen. So, amongst those special things to do for your boyfriend at this time the year, why not offering him a comic book depicting the adventures of a female super heroine? Or a female action figure?
That could be the start of a very interesting discussion in front of the Christmas tree, if you ask me. Let me know your thoughts! In the meantime, take care of yourself and of your special friend! Peace.