Books & Comics

Everywhere you look, you see a slew of DC and Marvel comic characters from summer hits, from the Marvel live action movies to late night tv recordings of the CW network’s The Arrow and The Flash. There’s no denying that male superheroes are in charge. In a culture where male superheroes are dominating the box office and satellite TV it is safe to say: where did all the female heroes go; why is Hollywood so afraid of them? You could argue that female action packed features are not as entertaining or well made as a movie with a male main character, but that is not the case. Unfortunately Hollywood is still sexist. Hollywood pushes so many male centered television shows and movies with strong characters and intricate plots while giving female characters the short end of the stick, producing low rated movies like Catwoman and Elektra, (which was rated the worst Marvel cinematic universe movie on Rotten Tomatoes).

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Stan Lee, along with other comic book creators and writers are not to blame for the problem. Neither are the heroine’s origin stories. In comics, there are several kick ass female characters and storylines like the DC comics series “Gotham City Sirens” written by Paul Dini  featuring some iconic characters like Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. Even when the characters are not the main point of focus they are usually never being undermined. Comics have even gone as far as taking on the lack of representation problem going on in entertainment by making the present Ms.Marvel (Kamala Khan) a Pakistani American, and changing her costume to something more crime fighting appropriate. On top of that, Marvel has other women of color, characters like Storm and Jubilee. With all of these characters, how hard can it be to take one of these story lines and turn it into a highly praised movie?

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Every so often when you do come across a femme fatale, she usually is not a big part of the storyline or she exists to be a mere object of a male superheroes affection or motivation. In the X-Men movies, the female X-Men are taken down a whole notch so they don’t outshine their male counterparts. For example, the character Rogue is arguably one of the strongest characters in Marvel universe but the whole franchise she plays a victim. Afraid of her own powers, the character meets a sad fate in X-Men: The Last Stand when she takes “the cure” for being a mutant thus, losing her powers. Rogue goes through something no other character is going through (besides maybe her female peers). She is insecure and constantly doubting herself. Rogue is afraid to discover her full potential while a lot of her male peers in the academy flourish.

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Other amazing characters face problems as well. Another example is Storm, she is nearly white washed when casting directors chose a light skin actress to portray her when the character is from an African tribe in Kenya. Even though Jean Grey was an extremely powerful mutant, in the movie she is portrayed as a pawn for Magneto; and then killed off shortly after. God forbid there be a character, let alone a female character, stronger than Wolverine.

The Marvel cinematic universe, along with DC, need to stop focusing on overrated characters like Wolverine(Marvel), and Green Lantern(DC comics), and turn their focus into making a female lead in a movie. When confronted about the issue of a Black Widow standalone movie, Marvel Studios President responded by saying “the character is an integral part of the avengers film.” There is no need for them to sugar coat anything as it is quite evident what they are trying to say. Black Widow will remain in the sidelines and watch her other team members kick ass in the box office. Meanwhile, Captain America and Thor are coming out with their third feature films sometime in the next two years. The Green Lantern will also be getting a reboot after the first unsuccessful film starring Ryan Reynolds. You don’t see anyone trying to reboot Catwoman or Elektra.

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Although comic books do have their own problems, especially with the skimpy outfits worn by most female characters, Marvel and DC cinema are way behind in the times. The movie industry needs to follow the example of comic books, and do a lot of changing to better represent female superheroes of various backgrounds, seeing as womanandhollywood.com reported that  females over the age of twelve are buying more movie tickets than males. Hopefully, change will come soon, because we are all rooting for the upcoming movie Wonder Woman to be a success along with the television shows Vixen, Supergirl, and Jessica Jones. With the current rise and trend in feminism, Hollywood needs to stop being sexist and give viewers a wider range of female characters or else it’s safe to say it will lose moviegoers who can’t relate to, or be inspired by Hollywood’s submissive weak characters.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: CHIMIMANDA NGOZI “WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS”

 

Chimimanda Adichie is just as clever as ever in her short essay, “We should all be feminists”. The highly praised Nigerian Novelist had me nodding my head in agreement throughout the entire fifty two pages of her unapologetic, and sharp-witted short essay.

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Adichie introduces us to her essay with a personal, yet relatable, anecdote about one of her home town friends. The anecdote will take any feminist back to a time when they ran around slaying the patriarchy without even knowing what the word meant yet. Anyone who calls themselves a feminist will be able to identify with a young Adichie being called a feminist by one of her male peers. Adichie writes “Oklahoma looked at me and said, ‘You know you’re a feminist.’ It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone-the same tone with which a person would say, ‘You’re  a supporter of terrorism.’.”

Of course now Adichie wears the feminist crown loud and proud . She continues on in the essay with well supported and conscious arguments about gender roles and what society has taught us is right and wrong. Adichie claims that “I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations.” Adichie is completely charming and I expected nothing less of her.

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“We Should All Be Feminist” is an essay that everyone one should read regardless of age, race, or gender. It makes feminism seem more than just some crazy extreme ideal that everyone tries to make it out to be, and looks at it from a practical and logical viewpoint. Adichie’s feminism is perfect and I give this book five stars out of five. Chimamanda is one of the brilliant minds of this century, making this essay so striking and awe-inspiring.

 

 

GAME OF THRONES: SEXIST OR FEMINIST?

 

Arya StarkA long time argument based upon the idea A Game of Thrones is sexist or feminist has blown up feminist web pages since the show aired in  April 17, 2011. There seems to be no middle ground in this debate; it is either a profane and porn riddled disaster, or an underlying surge of feminism.

The sexualization of women, the various body types and ages of women, the raping and pillaging of women, the multitudes of powerful female characters, the unequal representation of sexualization between men and women.

Each person is entitled to their own reasons for A Game of Thrones sexism or feminism, as there are so many valid arguments on said subject. But overall, A Game of Thrones is neither feminist nor sexist.

I say this because of the basis of A Game of Thrones on historical events. George R.R. Martin has admitted himself that the beloved Fantasy world of A Game of Thrones is more than just loosely based on real events in history.

History Behind Game of Thrones is a website that goes into deep detail of the ties between historical events and A Game of Thrones. It cannot be denied that history has not been kind to women and that women in medieval history were treated horribly.

George R.R. Martin represents treatment of women in his novels in a realistic manner. The television show is branching off from the original plot line of the novel series: A Song of Ice and Fire; however, the treatment of the women are still in line with their treatment in history.

Most historical writings focus primarily on the white male, and reflect the attitudes of the professional historians, who are predominantly white males. To represent sexism is to show the reality of a situation that may not be widely spoken about.

A Game of Thrones takes perspectives of women to get a broader understanding of the setting and plot that were based on actual events. The oppression and sexism seen in the show and novel merely depicts what life would be like for minorities in the time period it is based upon.

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History Behind Game of Thrones: http://history-behind-game-of-thrones.com/

NEW COMIC: ‘NIOBE: SHE IS LIFE’

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Social activist Amandla Sterberg  is teaming up with publisher Sebastian A. Jones and Marvel artist Ashley A. Woods for her new comic ‘Niobe: She is Life’, coming out in November.

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