Made rebloggable by request:
Do you still like some of the Hawkeye initiative posts that illustrate how ridiculous some of the anatomy in comics is? I feel like it’s rather shocking in many ways, because we’re so used to seeing women in spine defying poses, and I was curious about your thoughts on that after reading both of your articles.
As I said in the first article, women have been drawing attention to this issue for years while keeping the focus on women. I use Escher Girls as an example because Ami’s a friend and she’s been doing good work for a long time now, both there and at previous blogs she’s owned. But the work’s been going on even longer than that; the women at Scans Daily, for example, have been talking about this for as long as I’ve been active in comics fandom.
I dislike the idea that the only way we can see what’s problematic with something is to recenter privileged people in the problem. Especially since, in doing so, we open ourselves up to recreating so much of the harm those privileged groups deal out on a daily basis. These attempts have a way of confirming the insecurities of privileged people rather than challenging them. A book where the racial dynamics between White people and Black people have been reversed (WARNING: A video at the linked website features a White actor in Blackface) might be written with the intent of commentary, but ends up repeating the very real and very bigoted ideas many White people carry with them (How many “Obama will institute White slavery” screeds were we subjected to in 2008? How often has the media addressed, with fear, “The Changing Face of America?”).
Similarly, the idea that men are being emasculated, that men’s roles are being subverted, that men are becoming “the new women” have proliferated at least as far back as the 1970s in response to second wave feminism. Men (mostly White men) have written in fear and anger about this perceived phenomenon for decades, and scare articles on the subject have featured prominently in men’s magazines throughout this year.
The project’s defenders point to the number of men who acknowledge that this makes them uncomfortable as a way of saying it’s meeting its goals, that the issues some people (like myself) are seeing in the project are worth it if they’ve reached those men. But I’d take a more critical look at exactly what’s making these men uncomfortable, since men have been uncomfortable with being seen as feminine for a very long time now, and it has done little to improve the way they treat women.