Yeah. That’s a bummer.
So here’s basically what happened. In the Past Amazons were good women who lived on their island and played bullets and bracelets a lot. Then ten or so years ago they became these angry women who went to war at the drop of a hat, usually for having emotions (see: Amazon’s Attack). This is because someone figured that the idea that this island of women liking peace and so forth was dumb and they had to be brutal man hating warriors. Because of their super irrational stance on hating men they had to go to do castrations to show how mad they were. Colin (at Too Busy Thinking About My Comics) wrote some good words on exactly why that particular situation was super fucked up. So that was bad, but DC says it’s an alternate universe, don’t worry about it.
So we have our new Universe at DC and Wonder Woman is a good book. It’s still mostly a good book. Strong woman with the subtle thing about not needing men and all that. Except for they (and specifically Wonder Woman who for a long time has been a feminist symbol and directly tied to feminist ideas) definitely do need a man. Apparently this has something to do with why they hate men. That’s stupid. Any reason you give for why this NEEDED (read that word) to happen is a lie. Being made from clay is kinda awesome, and how she goes from clay baby to champion of Love and Peace in the world is super awesome. Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass wrote something cool about why that change is a stinker a while back, but tumblr search is in the pit of hell and I’m not good at navigating that.
So that was whatever, it’s not great, but what can you do, the greater whole of mainstream super hero books are dumb right now. Then issue 7 happened, and that was just too much. There’s a lot we can get into about how the Amazons are portrayed in general and how much they line up with feminism, but just take that for granted right now. Let’s kick to the real world (and let’s just stay within the past month or two) and look at how feminists are portrayed at large. And more than femenists, because that label comes with a lot of trail mix that’s hard to navigate. Let’s look at how women who don’t fit into the extremely narrow middle to upper class, white, straight, cis gendered, able bodied, super conservative, right wing, christian barely half a step moved from victorian ideals of what women are supposed to be are treated.
It’s not good. Like having sex? You’re a slut and a whore (and these are bad things in our society). Want to control what happens to YOUR body? Still a slut, and you’re fucking irresponsible (for being responsible?). Get raped? Your fault because it just is. Like having sex by yourself? WTF? You need a man to satisfy you. duh. Like having sex with women? You have used a dildo at some point so you really want a penis. Or, you’re doing it for attention. Walk down the street? Get harassed. Say you don’t like that harassment? You just need to take a compliment, sugar tits.
It goes on and on. There are stories of each of these incidents and many more if you just care to take a look. It boils down to generally bad things. So when what happens in issue 7 happens I don’t actually have to work to connect not so phantom dots. The narrative around feminists and other yay women groups is that they’re angry for no reason, they’re sluts, they’re stupid, they’re ugly and can’t get a man and that’s why they’re angry, they just need put in their place. Then there are the tropes that come out of this. One of the biggest ones being the succubus thing. I think it’s probably best stated here. It’s the idea that goes hand in hand with so many other sexist and super misogynistic notions about women relying on sex appeal to trap men into whatever they want. It goes with the false idea that women control stereotypical households because they control sex when in reality women in those situations don’t control much of anything in their lives. It’s the idea that because men are stupid and cannot control their sexual urges (note how a lot of times when something happens with men having sex with women in societally inappropriate ways we talk about the man in infantile terms because men are helpless around women when they’re just throwing sex in the air) and women, who have no other useful skills, use sex to take advantage of men in power to gain some level of power for themselves. They either use sex to get a job, or to keep a job they don’t deserve, or to get a raise, or to get favors, or anything that’s good that happens to them has to be because of sex as opposed to any competence on their part (y’know outside of being able to competently snare that man).
I know, I know. What happened in issue 7 is this. The Amazons were turned into just about everything society says feminists and women who don’t know their place are. Know where the baby Amazons come from? Well, all the big Amazons go off every three years and secretly seduce sailors out on the open seas. These sailors have no control of themselves and fuck the shit out of these Amazons. All these Amazons want are babies (probably so they can get some sort of child support from the government). Then to make things even better, all the boy babies are kicked out. They only want women babies on this man hating island of awful slut succubi.
And that’s about it. It’s just unfortunate. For actual phantom dots you can relate this to Editorial’s ideas about women in comics (either as characters, creators, or fans). The way some of them have responded to questions is deplorable at best. The dismissive attitude they have towards fans who want to have respectful dialogues about gender and sex in comics comes into play when you read this issue. It’s hard not to think about the “take this shit on our terms or get the fuck out” mentality of mainstream books these days when you read something like this. It’s hard not to look at the portrayal of women in cape comics and the defense of the shallow portrayals and the cavalierly sexist way certain characters are talked about by writers and think that that sort of mentality makes it so that no one there can see the problem with this.
It’s the same attitude and thinking that let’s them put out artwork that says Africa is ape controlled, then defend it with the boring old “you’re racists!” comments.
I mean, it’s similar to what Marvel did with Black Panther in letting all the readers know that this previously all powerful and undefeatable empire of strong black people actually could be toppled whenever by a white dude with some robots. Because there is nowhere that is safe for you.
It’s a good lesson to learn. There is no where safe for you. Not walking down the street in America minding your own business (In case you’re super dense, this is a comment about Trayvon Martin. To date, his murderer still hasn’t been arrested or charged with anything. Because killing a black kid in cold blood is self defense. It keeps the world safer by getting one more potentially white woman raping negro off the streets). It’s not safe in your comic books. Because this symbol of powerful women being kick ass all by themselves? Just a bunch of man hating sluts.