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Author Topic: Gender Representation in Comic Books and Other Popular Media -- Discuss!  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline rick957Topic starter

This is the discussion thread that corresponds to this Dialogue thread.  You don't need to read every word of that thread, but please let us know which part(s) of that thread you are responding to, if you choose to post here -- use the "quote" function, if you can.  Or feel free to respond in a general way to the overall topic, or to anything anyone has said here.  I'll be watching to see what people have to say and put in my two cents now and then; Somnifera has an open invitation to do the same any time she wishes to. 

The whole point of having our conversation (between Rick and Somne) in public is to let people read along and add their insights, no matter how brief or lengthy, raw or polished.  Please read along with the most recent posts here, and then join the conversation if you're inclined to do so; and thanks for stopping by.  :)  -- Rick
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 06:19:31 PM by rick957 »

Offline NatalieB

I'm curious as to why you're discussing Gender representation in comic books rather than Sex representation in comic books.

Not that I'm criticising, so please don't think I am.  Hell, its your dialogue, call it "Flerming jobbyflangers" for all I care.  All I meant is that I was wondering if the discussion was planned to move on to gender roles as well as covering the brokeback.

Offline rick957Topic starter

I'm curious as to why you're discussing Gender representation in comic books rather than Sex representation in comic books.

Not that I'm criticising, so please don't think I am.  Hell, its your dialogue, call it "Flerming jobbyflangers" for all I care.  All I meant is that I was wondering if the discussion was planned to move on to gender roles as well as covering the brokeback.

Hi NatalieB!  I'm so glad that you stopped by.  :)  I was a little skeptical about whether or not anybody would notice our little discussion, so it's great to see that you did.  "Flerming jobbyflangers" is a much better title than the one I came up with, IMO.  ;)

As to your question, I found it a little confusing -- did I or Somnifera somehow give the impression that we were going to talk about the depiction of sex acts in comic books?  That wasn't our intention, if that's the impression she or I gave somehow.  Our interest is in talking about the way women are depicted in comics and other pop media, not just in sex scenes -- there aren't many of those in superhero comics, after all -- but more generally, in any kind of scene.

Does that answer your question?  If not, or if you have any other questions, please say so.  :)  And I hope you enjoy the Dialogue in the other thread, as well as here in this thread.  Somnifera will be responding to my opening post over there in the next couple days, and then we'll continue from there.  In the meantime, anyone who wants to ask questions or start discussing the specified topic here is welcome to do so.

Offline NatalieB

Ah, sorry for being unclear.

In alot of contexts "Gender" refers to a societal role - masculine or feminine; sex refers to biology - male or female.

To put it another way, imagine I worked as a brickie.  I'd still be female - I have boobs and ovaries and all kinds of stuff.  So my sex would be unchanged.  However, brickies and other construction workers are stereotypically a male job so it could be argued I was taking on a masculine gender.  I'm cis-female but if I weren't I would to some definitions of the term be female sexed but masculine gendered.

However, it's pretty clear from your response that I've overthought this, though, and wasted your time in the process.  You've answered my question, thanks.

In case you're interested though, Wikipedia has, predictably enough, a series of articles on this.  Start with Gender

Offline rick957Topic starter

Quote
In alot of contexts "Gender" refers to a societal role - masculine or feminine; sex refers to biology - male or female.

This is an intriguing distinction and one that I think I understand, based on your explanation, but it's a fine distinction that I don't recall encountering anywhere else before.  There are several possible reasons for this.  It could be that you're describing a distinction in terms that's more common in the UK, where you are, or in Europe, but less-often seen in the USA, where I'm at.  Or, it may be a distinction that's more common in academic circles or feminist circles, perhaps?  I took a literature course with a strong feminist slant as an undergraduate in college, and I didn't encounter the word-distinction you describe there, but I didn't get any farther into the world of "gender studies".

Quote
To put it another way, imagine I worked as a brickie.  I'd still be female - I have boobs and ovaries and all kinds of stuff.  So my sex would be unchanged.  However, brickies and other construction workers are stereotypically a male job so it could be argued I was taking on a masculine gender.  I'm cis-female but if I weren't I would to some definitions of the term be female sexed but masculine gendered.

This makes good sense as you describe it, but unless Somnifera speaks up and affirms this particular usage of the terms, I don't expect that we'll be making use of this particular distinction in the terminology.  When I used the term "gender" in the thread titles, I was simply referring to the representation of women (female characters) in comics, as opposed to the representation of men (male characters).  The finer distinction about their biological sex versus their culturally-defined, perceived gender is a distinction that I think might be too much to expect to see in the relatively unsophisticated, one-dimensional world of the superhero genre.

Anyone else (Somne? anyone?) want to chime in on this terminology issue?  I am by no means an expert on feminism or gender topics, so this may be part of my learning curve in figuring out how to talk about these issues.  But if so, we'll just call this my first lesson.  :)

Quote
However, it's pretty clear from your response that I've overthought this, though, and wasted your time in the process.  You've answered my question, thanks.

No apology necessary!  It's a pleasure to know that you've looked at these threads and (hopefully) will read along and add your thoughts as we move forward.  That's the whole idea of the exercise, so anything you have to say on these topics is of interest to me (and to Somnifera as well, I imagine).

Oh, also, about this

Quote
In case you're interested though, Wikipedia has, predictably enough, a series of articles on this.  Start with Gender

I skimmed the article and found the organization of the article perplexing ... there seemed to be several unexpected and perhaps inappropriate digressions into geographic-region-specific information.  On a first glance, it looked to me like one of the many Wikipedia articles that lacks basic coherence of structure.  I find that many Wikipedia articles, especially longer ones, suffer from the hodgepodge of clashing priorities of the numerous contributors, so that the amount of space given to each subpoint bears no relation to the actual relative importance of each subpoint.  I don't know if that made sense ... All I mean is that many Wikipedia articles have glaring organizational problems, and this one seemed like a good example of that to me. 

At any rate, I didn't find a clear explanation of the "gender" vs. "sex" terminology in that article, at least not one that corresponded to the distinction you seem to make.  Did I overlook it?  I didn't read it closely at all.  Perhaps you could excerpt/quote the relevant sentences here?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 07:33:01 PM by rick957 »

Offline NatalieB

PMing you details, so as not to further derail

Offline rick957Topic starter

Alright, so, this dialog thing isn't going anywhere after all, it appears.  My apologies to anyone who read the first parts and was planning to continue reading.  Somnifera hasn't been in touch with me, so I assume she had to back out for some innocent reason, and that's fine -- such is life!  Too bad the mods won't delete the whole thread so it doesn't take up space, but that part's not up to me.  :)  Bye now!