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The art we create is a reflection of ourselves.

Our values, our ideals, our hopes, our frustrations, all shape what we create.  Read any creator, even if it's fiction, and you will learn how the creator feels about politics.  About religion.  About race.

About sex.

People tend to forget that their experiences are not absolute.  Just because you think, like, or do something, it doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way.  Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to sex.  Sex is fundamentally different for women than it is for men.  Women are actually letting someone inside their bodies, which is a pretty big deal.  It is more intimate for women.  It is more intrusive for women.  It carries greater risks for women than it does for men.  This does not stop guys from thinking that, since sex is fun for them, it should automatically be fun for women.  Women who describe losing their virginity as teens describe situations that sound more like coercion at best and rape at worst.  Not that the guy cares – sex feels good, and if you don't like it, something is wrong with you.

(This does not go away with age.  Scientists are trying to work on a female version of Viagra so women will want to have sex more often like guys.  It ain't women demanding this drug, it's guys.  As if women's sex drive is some flaw that needs to be fixed instead of just how they experience it.  And guys wonder why women feel they are under siege.)

The male perspective that sex just fun is reflected in popular entertainment.  There was a Western called Waterhole #3 where the character described rape as “assault with a friendly weapon” (this line was played for laughs.  I was the only guy who didn't find it funny).  Look at the number of sexploitation comedies from the 80's to the modern equivalent with American Pie.  They all paint a picture that sex is just a game and fun and nothing more.  Oh, and that women are playthings.  The James Bond movie Die Another Day originally got an R rating.  The producers removed 17 seconds of footage, and the film got a PG-13.  What was in that 17 seconds?  Halle Berry smiling while James Bond makes love to her.  Yes, showing a woman experiencing sexual pleasure got the movie an R rating, but all the violence?  Nah, that's cool.

(Obscure bad movie buffs will recall the David Carradine-starred Death Sport, where the scene where the nude woman is tortured lasts a full minute longer than the scene where she's enjoying sex.)

This continues in the adolescent male power fantasies of comics.  The fourth series of Supergirl features an early issue (#2 or #3, if I recall correctly) where Supergirl meets the Teen Titans.  She and Starfire are hovering about ten feet above the ground talking, and Robin and Kid Flash are on the ground looking up Supergirl's skirt.  And those of you asking, "Peter, aren't you reading too much into that?", there's a panel insert of Robin asking Kid Flash, "Enjoying the view?" and he responds, "Mm-hmmm."  So, to answer your question, no, I'm reading exactly what they intended into it.

I bring this up because another shipment of SQUICK has arrived, Express Mailed by Dan Slott.  Slott, you will recall, is the writer on The Amazing Spider-Man.  I need to set this up, the issue just arrived in stores yesterday.  If you're a Spider-Man fan, you already have the issue.  If you aren't, this has been plastered everywhere for the last couple of weeks.  You've pretty much blown your chance at a surprise ending.

So, Doctor Octopus has sort of swapped bodies with Peter Parker.  I say "sort of" because Doc and Peter both have access to each others' memories (Doc Ock was once engaged to Peter's Aunt May, and there's a scene where he experiences Doc's memories of having sex with her.  So Peter knows what it's like to....sorry, I can't finish typing that without throwing up in my mouth a little).  Doc Ock is determined to be a hero now, and in doing so, fixing Peter's life and making him better.  Right, the guy who, just last story, wanted to be the greatest mass murderer the world has ever known (he said so), wants to not only be a hero, but be known as someone else instead of himself.  Anyone else having trouble thinking a guy with an ego the size of Montana would do something like that?

So, Doc Ock has gone Kraven The Hunter, and NO ONE knows the truth even though they damn well should (Spock, as he's being nicknamed, turned up in the most recent issue of Daredevil, and Matt Murdock figured out almost immediately that something was horribly wrong here, so how the people in Peter's everyday life would miss it is beyond me).  Among the things he's going to do to fix Peter's life is a better job and getting him back together with Mary Jane Watson.  And in #700, we see her moving in as they sit on the couch, ready to make love to him.

So, here's the question -- is this rape?

MJ is having sex under false pretenses.  She is being tricked into thinking she is giving her heart and body to someone other than who is there.  Someone who ostensibly doesn't feel love for her, she's just one more piece of the puzzle to put in place to complete the perfect picture.  At the very least, he's using her, but given how traumatic it will be if she finds out (maybe, we are talking about the writer who introduced GILF sex into Spider-Man), shouldn't there be at least a red flag telling him, "This might not be a good idea?"

I'm starting to think my lack of success with mainstream comics has nothing to do with my art style.  I think I am lacking a requisite amount of misogyny.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
sinetimore
Dec. 29th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
I always wondered who wrote the Cosmo suggestions, because some of them just seemed flat-out stupid. Dan Savage shredded one that read, "When you are out on a nature hike, without him seeing, grab a small rock. When you two are making love, put the rock on his taint and it will drive him wild." Dan correctly pointed out that, any woman who does this, her man is going to stop dead and ask, "Why are you trying to shove a rock up my ass?"

The popular mags are horrible for both genders, but in different ways. Magazines for men and women both lie to their readers. But men's magazines lie in a way that builds guys up -- "You're a cool dude and manly man, and women like this want you." Women's magazines tear women down -- "You'll never be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough, and men like this will avoid you like the plague."

I honestly wonder how men and women ever connect at all.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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