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NUM-INOUS COMICS PT. 2

This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Monday, February 15, 2016

POOR POOR PITIFUL WONDER WOMAN PT. 2

I know I'm giving this HU post more attention than it deserves, but I just feel filled with pity for people who don't even know what a good sexual fantasy is.

NB (whose initials offer a few interesting parallels, starting with the word "No") wrote:

don’t think the male fantasy aspect depends on Marston being a man. Steve Trevor ending up on an island full of women; that’s a pretty standard male fantasy (a thing men fantasize about, a thing presented to men as desirable). That doesn’t necessarily mean no men ever have it…but for instance, Darwyn Cooke in New Frontier I think has Superman stumble on the Amazons bathing each other. It’s very much framed through his gaze, and the pin up art tropes are hard to miss. That’s framed as a male fantasy — for a man watching, within the comic and outside the comic—though that doesn’t necessarily mean that only men would find it appealing (lots of women like pin up art.) 


I take for granted that NB meant to write that "no women ever have [the fantasy]. What's astounding is that anyone could take Steve Trevor's experience as a male fantasy.

It isn't a male sex fantasy just to be surrounded by a horde of beautiful women. Male fantasies are generally focused on action, so the dominant fantasy is to have sex with lots of women, with or without consequences. Occasionally one sees men being receiving non-sexual attentions of many women, such as having his whims catered to, being fed rich foods, etc.

Steve Trevor, however, is barely aware of being in the midst of many beautiful women, according to the way the origin is related in WONDER WOMAN #1. In this essay I summarized the action thusly:


Though Trevor is an intrusive presence, he sees nothing of the Amazon world for most of the story, and indeed his eyes seem to have been injured from his experience, since on page 12 he comments that “my eyes must be bad again” as he sees Diana in all her costumed finery, rather than as “the scientist who saved my life.” Rather than seeing, he is the one seen as Diana and her friend Mala rescue him from the waters. Yet only Diana, the one explicitly born on Paradise Island, falls in love with him and brings him back to life. Toward the tale’s end, when Hippolyte prepares to send Trevor back to his world in the company of Diana, the physician relates that she has removed Trevor’s “eye bandages.” Hippolyte orders that Trevor “must see nothing on Paradise Island,” and Diana retorts, “Nothing except me! I’ll bind him again--myself!” 

Hetero males (or lesbian women) may get a buzz from seeing a bunch of Amazon glamour-girls assembled in one place, but not *specifically* because they can put themselves in Trevor's place. The way he's totally taken into Diana's care is clearly a particular type of hetero female fantasy: that of getting a beloved off to one's self, away from any possible competition.

Oh, well, nothing new. NB can't do a close reading to save his life. But at least he performs the same slovenly interpretations on things he likes as on things he doesn't like.

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ADDENDA: I wasn't really expecting NB to allow the comment to stand, but he did, so once more I'm preserving a comment in case of deletion:

My “action” comment was simply extending what I said about assertive forms of male fantasy to passive forms. There are certainly all sorts of fantasies in which men are having things done to them rather than doing things themselves. But even in passivity fantasies– whether they are designed for men or for women– the subject is usually aware that something is being done to him or her.
Trevor really isn’t aware, in the origin-stories at least, that he’s in the midst of a community of women; neither Diana nor Hippolyta allows him to see that community. Later on, maybe he becomes an “honorary Amazon,” but that’s later. I’m not getting into the stuff about the virtues of feminization and so on; I’m just speaking to Christina W’s question as to whether the origin-story represents a male sex fantasy and to your response.

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