Friday, February 22, 2008

See, This is Exactly What You've Been Asking About, Zhinxy

So what am I, a reasonable person with criticisms of some works, or a vile creature on the road to censorship, demonizing those who like things I don't?

De • mon • ize

3. To represent as evil or diabolic: wartime propaganda that demonizes the enemy.
--The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Y'know, NOBODY IS REALLY SURPRISED when a comic book superheroine gets shat on.
Zhinxy, you asked me this question, and my previous answer may not have been particularly on-target. Perhaps I wasn't sure what exactly it was you were asking. I'll attempt again.

About you, personally? I don't really know. Honestly, I don't track you enough to be able to say one way or the other whether I think you demonize the male libido or those who like things you consider sexist or wrong. The links I click on at WFA for the most part don't seem to feature you as an author, mostly as an audience member in the comments section. I can say I don't recall you saying anything directly to me in my blog that I thought was an outright attempt to demonize anyone, so as far as that goes, no.

If you want an example of what I do consider demonizing, I refer you to Nenena, there. One flip comment neatly illustrates the difference. A woman bodypainted in the style of Wonder Woman's costume isn't merely a men-oriented magazine pandering to men's tastes, it's taking a dump on a superheroine. A reaction of outrage and revulsion expressed in ugly language, to paint the perpetrators as some sort of hideous, morally-bankrupt ogres.

That's the kind of thing I consider "demonizing".


zhinxy said...

You addressed a post to me? Hey, flattered. thanks.

Now... Gotta give me some context for that quote of nenena's there before I can really go on here...

Look, do I have any problem at all with WW being in playboy or what not... No, not at all. Pretty much the opposite. Some see her as a symbol that shouldn't be treated that way. Some were really annoyed by the write-up. I was mildly annoyed by the write-up, myself.

Not speaking for nenena, don't know her all that well, etc. Think she's come off in the past as reasonable, educated, and capable of agreeing to disagree. I still think she could see WW as a symbol that shouldn't be treated that way, see it as a superheroine getting shat on, etc, without a larger demonization necessarily taking place. "Don't do this to WW?" Not necessarily "Don't do this to anybody ever under any circumstances." And a person could have a big problem with playboy without having a big problem with the whole concept of everything porny. Big world. Complicated issue. Lots of nuance.

Again, gotta point me to some context on the nenena quote, there. But if you want to think it's demonization, go right ahead, nobody's stopping you.

Honestly, tend to think of superheros as part myth, part character, part fetish material, part silly kitsch, don't mind any of those aspects being put front and center in whatever context, but how you pull it off... that can vary.

Gotta say I never intend to demonize anybody's kinks or whatnot, tend to like a lot of t and a in my comics, but that doesn't mean I don't call a thing sexist or racist or homophobic when I think it is. Enjoy being pretty damn snarky, and make a lot of jokes, too. Not on the whole using my comix bloggin' persona for the whole intellectual grad student level of analysis I reserve for tedious blather on Christian Heresy or serious fights about serious political feminist/libertarian/zen buddhist whatnot. Oftentimes shouldn't comment while drunk. Big fan of lots of people I do not agree with but nobody agrees with me in general. Don't tend to fall into line with the mainstream-to-radical sorts of second-into-third-wave feminist thought being a conservative gal, but still pretty damn familiar with it - the whole kit and kaboodle including the disparate views of friedan, daly, dworkin, wolfe and so on and on, and interpret what people are saying as somebody familiar with the theory, and engage with them on that level. Or even ignoring the whole thing and joking around. Words and concepts, in their context, just read different to somebody who's deeply familiar with the theory - even if they vehemently disagree with it, they don't tend to misinterpret it or fly off the handle when they hear it and so forth and so on. And a lot of times, yeah, don't necessarily care enough to bother jumping in on arguments. Not always welcome in other people's spaces, not always adding to the discussion. Always good to keep in mind.

Anyway... Lotta sexism in the world. Lot of it institutionalized. Lot of it in comic books. Don't see talking about it as a call for censorship or fan entitlement necessarily. My own sense of fan entitlement has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with deciding who does and not get permission to write the Joker. Got nothing against you personally, don't think most people do, don't always think you make sense, but when you do, hey, sometimes you've got good things to say.

What I'd like to do, on the other hand is recommend a few blogs: figleaf, susie bright, renegade evolution.

Always nice to develop a feel for some sex-positive feminism and whatnot from the spectrum of moderate male issue blogger to renegade feminist icon sexpert to gonzo porn-performer libertarian. It's a hell of a drug. Gives a great perspective on a lot of the issues at hand and has nothing to do with comic book entitlement or anything of the sort. I'm sick, anyway, and don't have much to add.

Stay good, mousey one.

Anon, A Mouse said...

More about Nenena's quote:

I don't think it's a HUGE case of demonization. I've seen others give far worse. I've seen Nenena HERSELF give far worse.

But it is indicative of where I start to draw the line. Sure, it could be just an exaggerated choice of words due to snark, but the more one says things like that the more it makes me wonder where the snark ends and the real vitriol begins.

That quote, if you didn't catch it, is in the same blog entry that I've been discussing for two other posts. She could have said, "nobody is surprised when a superheroine is treated like a sex object", or some other variation of that idea. Instead, she chose a fairly graphic image to lay on the readers. Make of that what you might.

zhinxy said...

Well, just seems like hyperbole to me. Anyway, yeah, don't see it as demonizing. Think what you want. Sick right now, don't want to be dragged into a blogwar, have nothing against the wonderful world of Wonder Woman porn in general blah blah yada yada.