What Do You Mean I Cant Be Superman?

lady_avengers__assemble__by_kathrynlillie-d52idse The year was 1991 and it was time for Halloween. I was all dressed up in my Superman costume...an anxious happy budding little fangirl at the age of 5 without a care in the world. I was walking with my mom in my elementary school when a teacher approached me and asked who I was supposed to be. I proudly held my head up high and stuck out my little chest as I declared, "I'm SUPERMAN!" The woman frowned at me and said, "Oh honey, you're a girl. You can't be Superman. You're Supergirl!" I instantly got visibly upset and confused. Enter the heroine of our little story: MY MOM. "Excuse me, but don't you ever tell my daughter who she can or can't be. She is not limited by her gender. If she says she's Superman then that's who the hell she is. My daughter can be whomever and whatever she chooses to be." (My mom is awesome.) Once again, my head was held up high and my little chest poked out. I'm Superman bitch...

I tell this amazing story because in the year 2013 I find it amazing that even now we are still trying to put a limit on young girls and women by telling them, "No. You can't do this because you're a GIRL!" We tell them "You must like pink because it's for girls, you can't play with action figures, you don't like sports and you can't possibly read comic books or like anything geek related." It amazes me that when I mention to some men that I enjoy a lot, if not almost everything that they like, they look at me like I'm an anomaly or with skepticism. IT'S A LIE! GIRLS DON'T LIKE THESE KINDS OF THINGS!!!!!!! Well you'd be surprised buddy. I know a very large number of (single, beautiful) women who are bigger geeks and sports fans than the men that I know.

genderswappedjla

As mentioned by this week's TheNerdpocalypse Podcast, "No Penis, No Batman" (great episode by the way), Paul Dini claims that executives don't want girls watching their shows because apparently girls don't buy the toys. I just don't get the stupidity and laziness of this statement. Instead of trying to figure out what they can do to get more girls buying the toys or possibly making a product geared towards 51% of the population, executives choose to just shrug their shoulders and say, "Welp we're just going to IGNORE this demographic because we assume that they won't buy our product since they obviously can't like it due to their lack of a penis." Seriously? Do you not realize that the people who shop the most are of the female persuasion? Isn't that one of the stereotypes that comes with being a woman? That we like to shop?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srnaXW9ZgZc

Shes a smart cookie...

This way of thinking is why we so rarely see a strong female lead in a superhero and/or action movie. These executives think that a movie with a strong female lead will not do well and no one will go see it. I mean they're correct right? Nobody wants to see a woman with a good head on her shoulders, quick witted and kicking ass right? Who wants to see that!? Oh look Hunger Games Catching Fire made over $700 MILLION Worldwide so far. And oh look! The main character is a strong, quick witted, ass kicking young lady! Oh and would ya look at that, according to recent reports there's an increase in young women doing archery because they were inspired by who? Katniss Everdeen the female lead of the Hunger Games! *gasp* Yeah, you executives need to get your head out of your asses and realize that the female gender makes up a large portion of your consumers, we kick ass and we want to see other women who kick ass on the big screen! Give Wonder Woman (the Queen of Badassness) a fair chance by casting a woman that pretty much embodies what it means to be an Amazon, not just another pretty face. Give many of the other popular and well liked female superheroes a shot by putting them into movies or giving them shows. Most importantly, give the little girls of the world a chance by giving them someone to look up to and aspire to be. Stop telling them that they can't do things because they lack a penis. You're missing out on a lot of money by ignoring them and plus its plain ole rude. I'm just saying...

James Gunn and Jumping to Conclusions

James Gunn A few days ago a story broke about director James Gunn (Super) and his not so tasteful comments on one of his blog entries entitled “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With: 2nd Annual Poll Results!” You can read the cached version of the article here. Now first off the title of the blog post tells you one very important fact...this isn’t real! I know what you’re thinking, its not a matter of whether the people are real but rather the sentiment. Well I think in this case the fact that we are talking about fictional superheroes makes this all rather silly, but I digress. Gunn gathers the names for the list from his fans who are polled. Men and women, gay and straight are ranked according to how many votes they get. No harm no foul...yet. However, Gunn puts himself in the driver's seat of possible blame or ridicule because he makes small comments under each character. Most comments are snide or crass and have the maturity of about a 13 year old. From a comedic point of view I don’t think he is going to be opening for Louie C.K. anytime soon, but comedy is completely subjective.

Some of the comments range from the juvenile to simply rude. For instance his comment under Wonder Woman, “For the second year in a row, Princess Diana is the big winner.  It seems like many guys out there are hoping she’ll lasso their penises and make them tell the truth – which is that they want to be inside of Princess Diana!” HEHE lasso their penises. Well maybe my little nephew would think that’s hilarious, but who cares really. If you are reading a list of 50 fictional superheroes you want to bed simple dick jokes aren’t going to get your angry. So that one wasn’t so bad, OK lets get to the more rude ones. When talking about Gambit, a straight male Cajun member of the X-Men, “My girlfriend voted for this Cajun fruit. I think she’s looking to have a devil’s three way with the two of us. The idea of my balls slapping against Gambit’s makes me sick to my stomach, but I can’t deny the fellow’s pure HEAT, as he yet again placed so high on this list, despite being male and in the presence of so many A-listers.  Wolverine and Superman may beat him in sales, but it’s who the ladies love that really matters, and Gambit is the Galactus of Cock!” I guess this would roll right into the category of homophobia for some. Well it would if Gunn was anti-gay and really hated gay men. Once again Gambit isn’t real, and the entire list is a goddamn joke. So you can run further down the list and see comment after comment with varying degrees of inappropriateness. From joking about “corrective rape” to “rude bitches” James Gunn hits them all. I really don’t believe Gunn believes these things about regular people but frankly I don’t know the guy. However, I think its a much smarter approach to assume the guy isn’t a hateful person because he made some bad jokes than to assume that he is a misogynist prick. My issue with the controversy has less to do with James Gunn and more to do with how others reacted to it.

I am a very politically motivated person with strong opinions. Anyone who listens to our weekly podcast can attest to this. I never really hold back. I try to keep my politics out of nerd culture as much as humanly possible. However, this is one moment where I think breaking that rule is warranted, so here goes. Today I read about this controversy again on the progressive website ThinkProgress.org, a site I read often for political news. I am a liberal/progressive person when it comes to my politics so this site affirms many of my beliefs. I think the site is run well with some pretty good journalist doing good journalism. All that being said, when I saw the article entitled “Guardians Of The Galaxy Director’ James Gunn Likes Being Gross About Superheroines On The Internet” by Alyssa Rosenberg I wasn’t too pleased. I found the article to be full of misinformation and grasping for straws on some points. First off, Rosenberg makes the fatal mistake of taking Marvel and by proxy Disney to task for allowing someone like Gunn to handle the first female superheroine in Guardians of the Galaxy. Well first off in case you missed it, Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen) is the first Marvel superheroine. Johanssen has played the role twice. Secondly, the rumor of Ms. Marvel being in Guardians of the Galaxy is not a fact but rather nothing more than a rumor. If you are going to write about this stuff take the time to get it correct.

Now more to the major points of Rosenberg’s failed argument. A number of times in the article she purposefully pretends to not understand what Gunn means. For example when talking about Emma Frost, Rosenberg quotes Gunn with “What I love about Emma is the practical attire she wears while adventuring. Certainly, if I were a woman fighting giant monsters I’d want to wear some awesome breast-mushing halter top, a pair of panties, and thigh highs.” Clearly Gunn is referring to how ridiculous Emma Frost is normal portrayed. Its a commentary on the comic industry. The tone is clearly of sarcasm. Remember that Gambit quote from earlier, here is Mrs. Rosenberg’s version ““My girlfriend voted for this Cajun fruit. I think she’s looking to have a devil’s three way with the two of us. The idea of my balls slapping against Gambit’s makes me sick to my stomach.” No mention of how he ranks so high or that “but I can’t deny the fellow’s pure HEAT.” Once again he is clearly using a joking tone, but to pretend otherwise will get you hits from angry readers.

So at the end of the day I think the whole controversy is plain silly. James Gunn is an oddball and frankly perfect for a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy. Alyssa Rosenberg was looking to jump on the slam bandwagon because he said some stupid things. She is an excellent writer and could have certainly spent her time working on a worthwhile story instead of this one. It just comes across as petty and small. Newsflash! People make crass and stupid jokes all the time. However, we need to be careful to not label people as hateful bigots just because they don’t do something we like. Crying wolf constantly about sexism, racism, homophobia, or the like only does damage to those movements. When you call everything racist than when a real racist moment occurs no one will believe you. I don’t think Gunn was being a bad guy, just telling some bad jokes. He wasn’t being a sexist or a homophobe, what he was being is an asshole and frankly the internet is full of them. Let it go.

Lastly, you can read Gunn's apology here. What did you think of the controversy? Let us know in the comments.