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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...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NEAR ACQUAINTANCE, NEARLY FORGOT PT. 2

While quick-reading one of Dirk Deppey's antique hotlinks the other day, I saw the following phrase out of context:

To argue that cheesecake imagery is inherently harmful to women is to argue that male desire itself is inherently harmful to women. Thankfully, this isn't a majority viewpoint among feminists, otherwise the nation would be awash in hijabs, and American beaches would be far less entertaining.

After scanning that sentence-- with which I fundamentally agreed-- I wondered the "Two-Minute Hate" series of blogposts from 2007 had anything of philosophical merit to it-- or at least more than Deppey's "superhero decadence" had possessed, back in the day.

In a word, the answer was no. While I agreed with his assessment of entitled fangirl feminists, and their influence from similarly overheated mainstream figures like Andrea Dworkin, Deppey showed no propensity to analyze the role of sexuality in popular art. At one point he may make a basically sound statement like this one:

The same sexual imagination and visual imagery found in hetero porn for men also occurs in its queer variant. And why shouldn't they be similar? After all, they both have the same goal: Getting the male viewer in the mood. There's nothing wrong with this. Whether you like it or not, we're monkeys, and male monkeys are fascinated by the sexy things that they see. 

But then, like someone afraid of losing their Net-cred, he takes back the "nothing wrong with this" with the usual Journalista sneers at the superhero fans' taste for "pervert suits."

Even then, the pervert-suit aesthetic isn't going to go away. Mainline publishers will be far more willing to buy into the concept if it supplements the current cashflow, rather than taking its place. That means sensible heroines and lipstick lesbians and half-naked lolitas fighting crime — otherwise, you're simply asking publishers to replace a surefire money machine with one that might grow and thrive, if only someone is willing to throw the dice. I'm sorry, but that's just not going to happen. Where large companies with fiduciary obligations to stockholders and/or corporate owners are concerned, the money always comes first.
While I agree in part with his analysis of the economic bottom line, Deppey-- who, I presume. still stands by these 2007 words-- advises the protesting fangirls to get busy and make their own comics to counter the male aesthetic. I'll admit that this sounds more constructive than the fangirls sitting around and griping about Stephanie Brown not being the New Robin. Still, it's a shame that after having made a sensible comment about the nature of the male aesthetic, he backtracks by implying that it might be superseded by a more female-friendly aesthetic.



Arguably, such a FFA does appear in a character like Kamala Khan. Nevertheless, Kamala Khan is not good because she wears modest attire and appeals to female fans, any more Supergirl IV is bad because she wears a belly-shirt and appeals to male fans.



Still, I'll say this for Deppey's 2007 comments: even if they're infused with too much ideological content for my taste, he doesn't shriek and piss and moan like most present-day ideologues. And as little as I care for the Mary Sue contributors, they've been far excelled in general pissiness by both the Huddites and the Seekfarts, despite the fact that most of these contributors are male (or reasonable approximations thereof).




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