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PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion

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101 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:47 pm

Mnemosis

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Joshua wrote:
Denim wrote:She opened a door and was shot. Then she was disrobed and photographed. The point of the shooting was that he is the Joker. It's not misogynistic it's the Joker doing what the Joker does. It's characterization. The taking of the pictures of her was for the Joker to torture Jim with.
Here's the deal, if comics didn't have decades of precedence of treating women like second-class citizens, I think you'd make a fine point. The Joker is a psychopath and Barbara just happened to be one of many victims; it wasn't done because she was a woman. On the surface, I can get down with that.

However, the fact is that comics (and world culture) have treated women like second-class citizens for decades (and eternity) and so when you have an instant like the one at hand it's not completely off-base to cite it as one of many times female characters are marginalized. It may be a bit of an overstatement to call TKJ misogynistic, but violence against women in comics is going to be under more scrutiny because they have been mishandled for so long.

Hey, a reasonable argument I CAN accept.

It's the very use of the word misogyny that's bothering me, because it implies some degree of malicious intent. I honestly don't believe that is the case in most examples. Writers were using the tools and characters they had at their disposal. There was no villainous hand wringing as the writer said "Oooh, I'm gonna show her." It was just a matter of "I need to hurt the main character. How could I best do that?"

Rath99 wrote:
No one said that every writer who hurts a woman is misogynistic. It is very possible to do something misogynistic and not be a misogynist.

Misogyny is defined as "hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women." If a woman is abused, in a comic book, for the sake of the story, to assume "hatred, dislike, or mistrust" as the root of that action is a pretty strong assumption.

To use my own example again - I neither hate, dislike, nor mistrust women in general nor Lois Lane in particular. But I know that endangering her in a comic book story would be a believable way to rock Superman's character to its core. At worst, I'm being dismissive of women, but again... I'd do the same to any of Bruce's male supporting cast for the same reason, so all I'm REALLY doing is being dismissive of supporting cast members.

What you said, though, Tito, very much speaks to my point. There is a difference between objective and subjective analysis. There are stories, in all media, that can be pointed to as objective instances of misogyny, where just about anyone who's literate can look at the story and say "Wow, what was that author's problem with women?" There are then the cases where an individual or minority, looking at a story through their own perspective, infer a tone that is - to anyone outside of their group - not there.

I'll part on this note. Simon Furman wrote a story featuring Arcee for IDW comics wherein its revealed that she's female simply because a Cybertronian scientist wanted to find out what would happen if he assigned her that gender. Nothing in her brain is any different from any other Transformer, she just has a female form. As a result, she goes blood-thirsty insane and becomes a wild card whom no one can trust, eventually hunting down and killing the scientist for what he did to her - i.e. giving her a female gender. While Arcee is a hero in the book and never gets seriously injured, I'd suggest that THIS story has a much stronger tone of misogyny than one where a psychopath uses a man's daughter to hurt him.


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102 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:48 pm

Rath99

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Demonweasel wrote:
Rath99 wrote:
Demonweasel wrote:

Mnemosis wrote:

I disagree with this, almost entirely. There's a "cry wolf" factor in any conversation such as this. What it boils down to is this: if people who take an issue (misogyny, racism, etc) personally make mountains out of molehills, they discredit their overall cause.

I'm not saying that's what Meg's doing. That's what this discussion is about - figuring that out. If there's good reason to interpret TKJ (or comics as a whole) as misogynistic, then there's every reason for outcry against it, and Bob's your uncle. If, on the other hand, the purportedly misogynistic writing can be explained away logically, then the louder she yells, the more she drowns out the legitimate concerns on the subject.

So there has to be some sort of established test that can be passed by someone who hasn't seen or experienced that kind of oppression to prove that oppression exists? You can't possibly stop for a second and go "Hey, could this look from the other side?" or think that there may be something that's going on that's hard for you to identify because it's outside of your own experiences? Is it that it's difficult or that you just don't want to do it? Plus, asking an oppressed group to explain their oppression to the satisfaction of a member of the group that is seen as the "oppressors" (no matter whether or not that person has done any oppressing) is exercising mad amounts of privilege and w

Be human enough to know that there are things that happen outside your own experiences and that you may not understand everything that comes across your path. No one person knows everything, and willfully disengaging from that idea but continuing to argue that things only exist and can be interpreted through your own veiwpoint is narrowminded and ignorant.



Thank you!!!!

No thank you. Well, maybe I should thank Jenn, since the only way a man would argue this is because his girlfriend told him to, right?

LOL!!


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103 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:52 pm

Mnemosis

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Demonweasel wrote:
No thank you. Well, maybe I should thank Jenn, since the only way a man would argue this is because his girlfriend told him to, right?

1) I never implied she told you to. Just that she was your motivation.

2) Clever. But...

3) Tito's argument I believe. I believe where he's coming from. I expected a far more pragmatic argument from you, and therefore, given your relationship with one half of the originators of this argument, it seemed as though your argument had been influenced. I honestly and truly believe that 6 months ago, you'd have had something entirely different to say on this topic. Maybe not a completely opposite stance, but certainly something more middle of the road.


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104 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:21 am

Joshua

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Mnemosis wrote:
It's the very use of the word misogyny that's bothering me
That's what's got me at odds with this whole argument. I think women have been written like shit since the advent of sequential art and while it has improved some over time, a lot of times it still uses the same old conventions (which I believe has more to do with apathy and laziness, not the hatred of female kind). "Misogynistic" comes across as a knee-jerk reaction, not unlike the extreme right or left comparing Bush Jr. and Obama to Adolph Hitler. It's a strong word that instantly puts up peoples' defenses. I'm not saying it's necessarily untrue (though Alan Moore doesn't strike me as a misogynist), just that it makes a lot of assumptions about a writer's intent.

On the other hand, I don't look at the world through the same lenses that a woman does. I've never really had a lack of strong, well-written characters that I could relate to, so when I see a random act of violence occur to a white man, aged 18-55, I just shrug my shoulders and say, "Hey, shit happens." Hence my earlier point that if this were an isolated incident it really wouldn't be a big deal, but it isn't an isolated incident, it's one of hundreds of times female characters have been nothing more than a target (or a fuckrag Laughing ) to further push along the male characters' story.

I would, however, be interested to find an educated female reader who doesn't think The Killing Joke is misogynistic. While I don't think a man's opinion on the topic is necessarily invalid, having another woman weigh in on the "Not-misogynistic) side of things would certainly be a quick way to abolish the "opinion tainted by gender" aspect of the argument.

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105 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:27 am

Demonweasel

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Mnemosis wrote:
Demonweasel wrote:
No thank you. Well, maybe I should thank Jenn, since the only way a man would argue this is because his girlfriend told him to, right?

1) I never implied she told you to. Just that she was your motivation.

2) Clever. But...

3) Tito's argument I believe. I believe where he's coming from. I expected a far more pragmatic argument from you, and therefore, given your relationship with one half of the originators of this argument, it seemed as though your argument had been influenced. I honestly and truly believe that 6 months ago, you'd have had something entirely different to say on this topic. Maybe not a completely opposite stance, but certainly something more middle of the road.

So clearly you think I'm easily influenced or just stupid. Which is it, because both imply a shocking lack of regard of me from you. I expect better but clearly you think I'm some kind of weak-willed idiot. It's incredibly insulting and I'm seriously offended. If you can't even be straightforward enough to admit that's what you were implying then it's even more pointless to argue with you than I thought. Do you really think it's okay to just brush off everything I've said just because of Meghan? Do you even understand how fucking insulting to me that is? Next time do me a favor and just spit in my fucking face and don't pretend like you have any semblance of respect for me.

However, I'm not surprised you've resorted to quibbling over language. You don't like the word misogynist? What other word for it is there? You're being deliberately obtuse and shifting the ground of the argument just so don't have to give up any ground or admit that you *might* be wrong. It's completely disingenuous to enter into an argument with that kind of mindset, not to mention cowardly.


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106 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:29 am

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Edit: Nevermind. Angry, lost points to my reading comprehension.


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107 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:10 am

goatt

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wow... what a thread to stumble across. One odd observation looking at all this: I'd say its a safe bet that Alan Moore sat down and pondered what the most terrible, unforgiveable, shockingly brutal thing he could have the joker do was. What would show him as the unredeemable monster that he is. Unfortunately for Babs, he realized that a brutal, violent, and sexual assault on a defenseless female(not that barbara is by any means defenseless, but in the given situation she never had a chance) would be the event that would hurt and enrage not only Jim, but the readers the most. And judging by the emotion it still brings up all these years later, I'd say he succeeded in what he set out to do. I'm not saying it was the right thing to do, as it clearly hurt ALOT of people, hell, it made my stomach turn the first time I read it. I just find it interesting that it can still have the effect that it has.

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108 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:17 am

Silent K

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Alright, everyone back to your respective corners.

This discussion has had fleeting moments of...just that...discussion...when it hasn't been marred with opinions being invalidated, the lack of some even entertaining a opposing viewpoint, and worst of all, feelings being hurt.

In the end, expressed opinions are not in a vacuum. And often, strong opinions are greeted with equally strong opposing views. There are many facts within this discussion that can be cited and proven. But no matter how hard anyone screams, opinion is not fact.


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109 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:19 am

Silent K

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goatt wrote:wow... what a thread to stumble across. One odd observation looking at all this: I'd say its a safe bet that Alan Moore sat down and pondered what the most terrible, unforgiveable, shockingly brutal thing he could have the joker do was. What would show him as the unredeemable monster that he is. Unfortunately for Babs, he realized that a brutal, violent, and sexual assault on a defenseless female(not that barbara is by any means defenseless, but in the given situation she never had a chance) would be the event that would hurt and enrage not only Jim, but the readers the most. And judging by the emotion it still brings up all these years later, I'd say he succeeded in what he set out to do. I'm not saying it was the right thing to do, as it clearly hurt ALOT of people, hell, it made my stomach turn the first time I read it. I just find it interesting that it can still have the effect that it has.

Great fucking point.


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110 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:30 am

Mnemosis

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You've called me a coward/cowardly twice now. Classy.

It is human nature for a man to leap to his lady's defense. We are programmed to be "knights in shining armor." I'm sorry that you're as offended by this as you are. My comment was meant as a ribbing between - what I thought - were two friends. Clearly, I completely misread our interpersonal relationship.

I'm absolutely someone who'll call bullshit when I think there's bullshit to be called. In my experience, I'm right most of the time. And I don't mean that as my opinion. I mean that as, days, weeks, months, or years later, when circumstances have changed, I usually hear the "you were right, I just didn't want to hear it at the time" apology. Or I'm wrong about this instance. I'm certainly not perfect, so I can absolutely accept that possibility.

I've come to expect a certain voice from Thacher Cleveland. I heard an entirely different one in this conversation. I called it as I saw it, but I CERTAINLY never meant it in any sort of hurtful capacity. Unlike, clearly, your rage filled responses.

And I'm not "quibbling over language." Words have meanings. When we don't respect those meanings, we don't HAVE language. As a writer, you should be especially respectful of the power of word choice. Misogyny has a very specific meaning that carries with it a malicious intent, and accusing someone of being misogynistic or writing in a misogynistic fashion is labeling them in a VERY serious way. To say that these writers are being dismissive, even disrespectful, of female characters isn't too far off base - though I would still personally argue that it's not about gender to the writers, but about characters. But to suggest that these stories are indicative of some ill will towards women is, I feel, slanderous.

You can call me names all you want, you can attack me directly... I don't care. I'll listen to what you have to say. But don't take the "quibbling over language" defense; because it very nearly invalidates any point you're going to try to make. You can always hide behind "that's not how I meant it." If you can't be bothered to recognize the specific meanings of words, then how can anyone expect to have any productive discourse with you?

Just because the word assassination refers to someone ending up dead doesn't mean that everyone who dies is assassinated. Just because misogyny can result in a woman being mistreated doesn't mean that every time a woman is mistreated, it's the result of misogyny. That's specious reasoning, not a matter of semantics.


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111 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:34 am

Mnemosis

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goatt wrote:wow... what a thread to stumble across. One odd observation looking at all this: I'd say its a safe bet that Alan Moore sat down and pondered what the most terrible, unforgiveable, shockingly brutal thing he could have the joker do was. What would show him as the unredeemable monster that he is. Unfortunately for Babs, he realized that a brutal, violent, and sexual assault on a defenseless female(not that barbara is by any means defenseless, but in the given situation she never had a chance) would be the event that would hurt and enrage not only Jim, but the readers the most. And judging by the emotion it still brings up all these years later, I'd say he succeeded in what he set out to do. I'm not saying it was the right thing to do, as it clearly hurt ALOT of people, hell, it made my stomach turn the first time I read it. I just find it interesting that it can still have the effect that it has.

THIS. Just because a woman suffered for the story doesn't make it an act of misogyny. It was a writer trying to do something brutal, game-changing, and lasting. And in that, Moore succeeded.


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112 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:36 am

Mnemosis

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And, sorry. I'd already hit send on my response before I saw what you posted Knize.


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113 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:39 am

Captain Painway

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Rath99 wrote:Gentlemen..you won't and can never get it. Meg speaks from a POV that we can never understand. Whether you see misogyny or not isn't the point. She does. That’s it. Just as from my perspective (being Latino) I see racism where other folks won't. A little news flash there is quite a bit of it in comics (see JMS' Superman).

So the best we can do is listen and respect her viewpoint and understand that there is now way we can feel how she feels about it.

Joshua wrote:
Mnemosis wrote:
It's the very use of the word misogyny that's bothering me
That's what's got me at odds with this whole argument. I think women have been written like shit since the advent of sequential art and while it has improved some over time, a lot of times it still uses the same old conventions (which I believe has more to do with apathy and laziness, not the hatred of female kind). "Misogynistic" comes across as a knee-jerk reaction, not unlike the extreme right or left comparing Bush Jr. and Obama to Adolph Hitler. It's a strong word that instantly puts up peoples' defenses. I'm not saying it's necessarily untrue (though Alan Moore doesn't strike me as a misogynist), just that it makes a lot of assumptions about a writer's intent.

On the other hand, I don't look at the world through the same lenses that a woman does. I've never really had a lack of strong, well-written characters that I could relate to, so when I see a random act of violence occur to a white man, aged 18-55, I just shrug my shoulders and say, "Hey, shit happens." Hence my earlier point that if this were an isolated incident it really wouldn't be a big deal, but it isn't an isolated incident, it's one of hundreds of times female characters have been nothing more than a target (or a fuckrag Laughing ) to further push along the male characters' story.

I would, however, be interested to find an educated female reader who doesn't think The Killing Joke is misogynistic. While I don't think a man's opinion on the topic is necessarily invalid, having another woman weigh in on the "Not-misogynistic) side of things would certainly be a quick way to abolish the "opinion tainted by gender" aspect of the argument.
I don't really have time to respond tonight, and I think I need to more carefully read TKJ tomorrow in order to respond fully, but I don't completely agree with the female viewpoint expressed in this thread. Meg has a right to her opinions, and I respect that, but I don't see this issue in quite the same way, and don't want everyone getting the impression that this is how all women feel regarding sexism/misogyny/"women in refrigerators" in comic books and other media.

But like I said, my thoughts and feelings on that must wait until tomorrow. I'm too sleepy to make any good points right now.


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114 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:40 am

Silent K

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Mnemosis wrote:In my experience, I'm right most of the time

I'm going to engrave these words on your fucking tombstone. I love you


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115 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:48 am

Mnemosis

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Silent K wrote:
Mnemosis wrote:In my experience, I'm right most of the time

I'm going to engrave these words on your fucking tombstone. I love you

Yes, out of context that sounds even more ridiculously arrogant than it did IN context. Laughing


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116 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:48 am

Lee

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Guys... For real... I love the Killing Joke. I am super serial.


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117 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:49 am

Mnemosis

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Racist.


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118 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:59 am

Demonweasel

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Mnemosis wrote:You've called me a coward/cowardly twice now. Classy.

It is human nature for a man to leap to his lady's defense. We are programmed to be "knights in shining armor." I'm sorry that you're as offended by this as you are. My comment was meant as a ribbing between - what I thought - were two friends. Clearly, I completely misread our interpersonal relationship.

I'm absolutely someone who'll call bullshit when I think there's bullshit to be called. In my experience, I'm right most of the time. And I don't mean that as my opinion. I mean that as, days, weeks, months, or years later, when circumstances have changed, I usually hear the "you were right, I just didn't want to hear it at the time" apology. Or I'm wrong about this instance. I'm certainly not perfect, so I can absolutely accept that possibility.

I've come to expect a certain voice from Thacher Cleveland. I heard an entirely different one in this conversation. I called it as I saw it, but I CERTAINLY never meant it in any sort of hurtful capacity. Unlike, clearly, your rage filled responses.

And I'm not "quibbling over language." Words have meanings. When we don't respect those meanings, we don't HAVE language. As a writer, you should be especially respectful of the power of word choice. Misogyny has a very specific meaning that carries with it a malicious intent, and accusing someone of being misogynistic or writing in a misogynistic fashion is labeling them in a VERY serious way. To say that these writers are being dismissive, even disrespectful, of female characters isn't too far off base - though I would still personally argue that it's not about gender to the writers, but about characters. But to suggest that these stories are indicative of some ill will towards women is, I feel, slanderous.

You can call me names all you want, you can attack me directly... I don't care. I'll listen to what you have to say. But don't take the "quibbling over language" defense; because it very nearly invalidates any point you're going to try to make. You can always hide behind "that's not how I meant it." If you can't be bothered to recognize the specific meanings of words, then how can anyone expect to have any productive discourse with you?

Just because the word assassination refers to someone ending up dead doesn't mean that everyone who dies is assassinated. Just because misogyny can result in a woman being mistreated doesn't mean that every time a woman is mistreated, it's the result of misogyny. That's specious reasoning, not a matter of semantics.

You'll listen to what I say, but you'll just quote it out as "words" and not give it any kind of thought out response? You'll take an entire, well thought out argument and shove it down because you think I'm "white knighting?" My responses are angry because that makes me angry. It makes me angry because you're patting me on the head and saying what I think isn't worth an argument. I've proceeded to give you that same level of "respect" back.

I'm no one's boy and I'm no one's bitch. I don't see how you think you can imply that and think I'm not going to get hurt or react accordingly.

"In my experience, I'm right most of the time." Really? Get the fuck over yourself. Maybe the people who don't think so realize what a waste of fucking time "arguing" with you is and just walk away.

Whatever. If the argument is "Can we use the word 'misogynist'?" then the whole fucking argument is pointless, because it does get down to hat language means and all that nonsense, and I don't want any part of it.


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119 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:08 am

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120 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:14 am

Mnemosis

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Demonweasel wrote:
You'll listen to what I say, but you'll just quote it out as "words" and not give it any kind of thought out response? You'll take an entire, well thought out argument and shove it down because you think I'm "white knighting?" My responses are angry because that makes me angry. It makes me angry because you're patting me on the head and saying what I think isn't worth an argument. I've proceeded to give you that same level of "respect" back.

I'm no one's boy and I'm no one's bitch. I don't see how you think you can imply that and think I'm not going to get hurt or react accordingly.

"In my experience, I'm right most of the time." Really? Get the fuck over yourself. Maybe the people who don't think so realize what a waste of fucking time "arguing" with you is and just walk away.

Whatever. If the argument is "Can we use the word 'misogynist'?" then the whole fucking argument is pointless, because it does get down to hat language means and all that nonsense, and I don't want any part of it.

I REALLY didn't quote it down to words out of disrespect. I did it to avoid a giant block of quoted text like the one I've now got above. My point in quoting was that I was responding to your post in particular.

You SERIOUSLY are misreading the tone of my initial comment. I can't change where you're coming from when you read it, but know that it is NOT where I was coming from when I wrote it.

Knize used the quote out of context to be funny. When you use it out of context as part of a discussion, it sincerely affects the quality of the discussion. My point was that there have been probably five or six times in my life that I called someone out and they blew up in my face over it, and that of those five or six times, four or five of them resulted in that person eventually coming back and saying "Hey, you were right, my bad." So you know what? I trust my gut.

But as far as language goes, like Knize said, there's a difference between opinion and fact. The definition of the word misogyny is fact. It has a clear cut meaning. If someone is going to argue that something is "misogynistic," then it certainly helps if everyone understands what "misogynistic" means. So what I'm saying is, based on that meaning, I don't think these are examples of a writer being "misogynistic." Saying we can't bring the definitions of words into an argument is like saying we can't bring facts into an argument.


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121 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 2:32 am

Joshua

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Lee wrote:Guys... For real... I love the Killing Joke. I am super serial.
Agreed. I think it was one of the first books that made me realize that actions can have lasting consequences, in a medium where they so often don't. The art is pretty fantastic as well.

Also, the Joker in vacation duds cracks me up.

Also, I don't hate women.

Well, maybe a couple.

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122 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:04 am

Demonweasel wrote:
Mnemosis wrote:I REALLY hate to poke the sleeping bear, but:

Then by all means, lets. Wink

Mnemosis wrote:
Because they were supporting characters/loved ones to the male leads, and there needed to be a dramatic punch to the gut of the male lead, and so the supporting cast member/loved one was killed off. It's simple statistics and logic. Does it suck? Sure, I guess. But it's not misogyny. It's story telling, working with what exists.

A death that moves a character along on his path can be fine, but there is a qualitative difference in the violence that's done against a character. In most cases, the violence is done to a woman and she's depicted as being helpless & hopeless without the presence of the heroic character. Often times, like with TKJ, the violence takes on sexual and degrading undertones. That's what the issue is. It's not "No woman shall ever be harmed" or "No character's death should effect/provoke the main character's actions," but it's a matter of how that woman is depicted reacting or adapting to that violence. The majority of portrayals show them crying, weak and ineffectual. Male supporting characters are usually depicted as "going down fighting" or some other kind of face-saving activity.

Mnemosis wrote:
I'm not even listing Barbara, because her being shot as a loved one of a leading character was the same as Jason Todd being killed as the loved one of a leading character. Neither saved the day. Both were unceremoniously put down by the Joker as a means for a writer to effect change within the life of the leading character - Batman. Whether you like TKJ or not is totally a matter of personal opinion. I've never read it, personally. Didn't care to. But the point is, this is why supporting characters exist - to create drama within the lives of the leads. The lion's share of supporting characters are women, because the lion's share of established leads are men.

So yes, you're absolutely right when you say something like "This sort of thing happens to female characters more often than male characters" but you're not considering why.

It's statistics. Not misogyny.

Yes, statistically there are more female support characters than males, and we all know why. Just because something is statistically true doesn't make it fair, just or "right." Just because 46% of all prison inmates are black isn't doesn't mean that there's not a deep inequity going on here that should be addressed. I'd like to think that the lack of strong female and minority leads in comics is something that's seen as a problem that should be addressed. If it is, the shrugging shoulders and going "Stats!" doesn't help anything, and makes it sound like this is an irreparable problem. This is fiction, and fiction is created by writers and readers (by their effect on the marketplace). The first step to correcting a problem is saying "Hey, this is a problem." That's what this whole discussion is about and it seems like a majority of the responses just boil down to "This is not a problem." Hiding behind stats and the difference between main and support characters isn't particularly fair. It's being deliberately obtuse because it seems like on some level something we like is being threatened. It's not. If it's no big deal if it happens to a male character, then why *not* have it happen to a male character? If there were more strong female characters and less things happened to paint the ones we do have as dumb, clumsy, ineffectual without a man, prone to sexual violence or just used as "the love interest," then I think people would be happier. As it stands, that's not the case, and the imbalance in statistics is significant and not something that should just be dismissed as the cost of doing business.

Mnemosis wrote:
Remember, before the Green Goblin ever snapped Gwen Stacy's neck, Uncle Ben ate a bullet just so Peter could learn a lesson about responsibility. He wasn't being a hero. He was just serving his purpose as stage dressing. To imply that female supporting characters should be above that, simply because there's been more of them over the years, is asking for special treatment in the name of equality, which has always confounded me to no end.

Uncle Ben was a half-formed allegory character used to teach Peter a lesson. Yes, his death puts Peter on the path to heroism, but that is entirely his job. He is stage dressing, you're right.

Gwen was an established character that had been around for years. Out of nowhere, she's plucked up off panel, killed why laying there defenseless. She does nothing for herself and her years of development and interaction just ends with a "Yeah, she's dead," and it exists and happens to only make Peter miserable and create problems for him. It's an established character being balled up and thrown in the trash without so much of a "by your leave." It's a situation that happens a lot of the time to female characters when they are killed off. There's a qualitative story-telling difference there, especially given how long a supporting character exists. If a villain walked into Wayne Manor and put a bullet in Alfred's head, no matter how great a story you'd tell about that drama and conflict that happened after the fact it'd still be considered a giant waste of a character. If there was a big event that Alfred played a major part in and he died defusing a bomb that could've leveled Gotham, while it would still be a loss of a great character, he would've died heroically and with dignity. In almost all cases, female supporting characters are not given the second option. Male supporting characters are often not dealt with in the first option. Recognizing that and saying "Hey, that's something that we should correct" isn't asking for "special treatment:" it's asking to correct a gross inequality, and if that means not killing off a character in a callous, excessively violent or degrading way that shouldn't be seen as such a chore.

If the gross majority of black characters were depicted as criminals or gays as prancing queens or latinos as illegal immigrants or asians as glasses-wearing math nerds with glasses in the same way that female characters are treated as violence prone props to propel a superior male character along on his journey, wouldn't you want steps taken to change that? Is asking for that change such a challenge that should be argued so vehemently?

Mnemosis wrote:
Next month, we can introduce Tony Stark's long lost brother, whom he can bond with, so that the next time we need to hurt Iron Man, we can attack a male instead of a female.

Male or female, it's bad storytelling and makes for a crappy character. The character your describing in this situation is more often than not labeled "girlfriend." And yeah, that's part of the problem.

Mnemosis wrote:
And I honestly believe that, if the tables were turned and the majority of long established leads in comic books were females, their male supporting cast members would be the ones in constant peril.

And that would still be wrong, especially if you switch around the amount of historical unchecked abuse and subjugation that women have been victim to over the course of human history. Another big part of the problem is that the continued use of these roles (and mainly *only* these roles) for women in fiction only reinforces & and echoes that kind of historical oppression, and sets it up as an acceptable status quo. That's what a big part of the issue is: identifying that this is something that goes on and that it's wrong. This whole thread is full of "This isn't a problem that's happening" or "This is happening but it's not a problem." That's a pretty sad state of affairs, IMO.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:I understand some fans outrage against what happened to Barbara, but lets be honest, It's not the worst violence in even a Bat-book.

I'd be interested to see what you have that's more than being gun-shot out of nowhere, stripped naked and photographed, especially to a character that'd been around for more than 40 years.

I gave you one. The public spectacle of killing a child to me is worse than an adult female being shot and photographed naked.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:
Jason Todd was a teenager. DC put up a public vote on whether to kill off a teenage boy, and then did so in the most violent and mocking way possible. Jason Todd had no redemption, and still hasn't to this day. He's been shown to have been broken by the experience, where as Barbara has grown, adapted, and dare I say been a stronger character since her tragedy. I'm not excusing the initial violence, so much as saying that the handling of her since then has been superior than what Jason Todd has gotten.

Barbara Gordon has the most heroic moment in The Killing Joke IMHO, as she is in the hospital, just having been crippled by the Joker, and her concern is for her father and not herself. She doesn't come close to breaking, as her father does, and she doesn't sit there yucking it up with someone who has caused so much violence and death in his life like Bruce does.

There's hardly any heroism in a women showing concern for another character, especially when it implys that the other character is more important and reinforces a "maternal/support" role that's generally considered a "good trait" in a female character.[/quote]

How does it show that Jim is more important than Barbara? It's a woman showing concern for her father. One of the established traits of heroes is being selfless, and she shows that trait in that scene. Concern for somebody else over yourself isn't a bad thing.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:
DC doesn't even have the worst treatment of female characters in comics, where I'll say that Marvel does. Two of the worst cases of violence against women come from someone who I've liked for a long time: Kevin Smith. What he does to Karen Page and more recently the Black Cat, IMHO is inexcusable. I also didn't see female fans doing crazy over Angel's origin in New X-Men. I really have a problem with people calling out DC on their treatment of women in comics when they don't really discuss either of these two instances. Marvel's female characters are treated far worse than DC's, and to me it's sad that the DC stuff gets more attention because those characters are more popular.

Yeah, those are a lot of instances of female characters getting degraded and basically being used for target practice. It's not a Marvel vs DC contest, it's about comics on the whole. Witrh all of the examples out there, why is it that we're still arguing over whether there's a problem or not (which, let's face it, most of these arguments are). We're talking about DC because the topic was TKJ.[/quote]

The issue is that most fans have a problem with DC's treatment of females, and don't usually mention the problems with other publishers. It lends to the perception that it's only a DC issue.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:Ok I listened to the Princess cast and here's some more thoughts.

Jason Todd was hit from behind, beaten with a crowbar, with the Joker questioning his sexuality and psychologically breaking him down. There was nothing heroic about his death.

He was in costume, actively going out there to find and rescue his mother. If I'm not mistaken, he even manages to get a hit on the Joker and his henchmen before he gets beaten nearly to death. Then, after the Joker leaves, he unties his mother and carries her most of the way to safety (despite the fact the door was locked). That's almost about as heroic as you can get, and would be considered by some to be the epitome of pro-masculine tough-guy-ism. He's nearly critically injured and he overcomes it to try to carry a loved one to safety, disregarding his own health and well-being.

Barbara opened a door and got shot, in civilian clothes, with no way to defend herself. She didn't lift a finger in her own defense and is entirely degraded and powerless with no way to fight back. That she asks about her father's well-being doesn't do anything to mitigate that. There's a substantive qualitative difference in the levels of violence there and the characters reactions to it. That's kind of undenyable.[/quote]

There really isn't much defense to a gunshot through the gut. I would ask you also how one gunshot is more violent than half an issue of a child being beaten with a crowbar.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:
The treatment of minorities and women IS a problem in comics as well as all entertainment medium. My problem with most of the people that focus on the issue is their narrow focus on DC. It just seems like front running on an issue.

I don't even really know what that means, but if you do think that it is a problem, then why seemingly argue that what happened to Barbara Gordon was no big deal or something that shouldn't be looked at as "wow, that's wrong?" People focus on DC because unlike Marvel, DC has a crap-ton more female characters that readers actually care about and have long established histories. The Marvel side of things is littered with dead and abused girlfriends and wives and that's about it. One of the reasons why DC has so many female fans is the presence of stronger female characters, so when those characters get crippled, killed, depowered, degraded or what-have-you then more women are going to notice and be upset because that small little corner they have where there can be good rolemodels gets a little smaller. The same thing with minority characters.[/quote]

I never said that violence against women in comics isn't an issue. Your whole argument for what was so wrong with what happened to Barbara is how powerless she is. She was a superhero. The pile of dead girlfriends and wives in Marvel aren't. All I'm trying to say is if you're going to talk about violence against women, is to discuss the issue as a whole, and not one instance as a pet peeve because it may be the most popular instance.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:
Kerouac had a huge point that I think has gone uncommented on, and that the point of ancillary characters is to move the story of main characters on. Female or minority characters for the most part can't carry their own books, so they are relegated to this role. Violence against them is going to happen, because in proportion females and minorities are more supporting characters than headliners. This doesn't excuse the behavior, but explains the reason why it does happen. For every example of something horrible happening to a female or minority supporting cast member, there is a correlating one of a white male protestant one. It's unfortunately all about numbers.

Statistics does not make the situation right. If you can acknowledge that there's a problem, why just throw hands up at statistics and go "there's nothing that can be done about it." Furthermore, why have everybody jump up and down when someone points to ONE large instance of misogynist violence? If it's "just statistics" then this shouldn't be a surprised at all, and if you think it's a problem in general then why all the arguing about if *this instance* is misogyny?[/quote]

I never said nothing can be done about the issue. I was looking at it from a logical point of view. I never said the instance wasn't misogyny. What I did say is that I don't think it's the worst application of violence to a supporting character in a Bat-Book, and I stand by that.

Big Poppa Nick wrote:
Also the issue of costume ripping was brought up. You definitely have a point there. Again it goes to the fascination with the female form. There it's a problem with society as a larger picture. Comics need to sell. If a female character is in battle and her costume is ripped, the more compelling and marketable image is one of a rip near her breasts or genitalia. If a guy's costume is ripped, it's really hard to get one near the penis that would be titillating without getting censors all aggro about it.

I'm going to be really blunt here: This is fucking insane.

So, since the female form is marketable and can help a comic sell, why not just have them be naked all the time? Or at the very least filled with a 10000% more fan service? So all female characters that fight should end in various states of undress because it's marketable? If it's "compelling" to have a women have her costume get ripped "near her...genitalia," but in a way to not "get the censors all aggro about it" how would it be hard to have that happen to a guys costume? Last I checked, the genitals were in the same place for both sexes. Plus, what censors? Neither company has them. They have editors that have a mandate from their bosses to not show or put characters in certain situations or nudity. They have the threat of law compelling them to label explicit adult material. They have the comics code authority which holds no actual sway over any comic company and don't even enforce half of the standards they were initially created to enforce. I know I've sure seen a lot of "violence against authority" and concealed weapons in my comics in code-approved books.

It seems like you're saying that since the female form is marketable, then hen women fight in comics clothes getting ripped and torn suggestively is just an unfortunate side-effect because that's what readers want to see, and that cannot out should not be changed because it could jeopardize the financial stability of a publisher. If that's the case, then that shows a startling lack of value of female characters as anything other than sex-objects, which in turn shows a gross lack of respect for women. Female characters are still worth having if they get into a fight and not one uniform is shredded, torn or burned off ever again. Lessening the amount that a woman loses her clothes in a fight is not some insurmountable task that is too risky from a marketing perspective. In fact, doing so would be better for the industry since it would show women (statistically the largest group of active readers of fiction) that female characters are valued for more than just cat-fights and that the majority of people currently reading comics aren't just guys looking to get a glimpse at well-drawn female flesh.
[/quote]

Why is this point insane? You are a retailer. If you have two different posters, one of a naked Wolverine and one of any naked female character, which one are you ordering more of?

I never said that there should be more instances of female's costumes being ripped in a suggestive manner. I was explaining why it happens. In the beginning of what I wrote, I acknowledged that it was an issue. Stating why things happens isn't an endorsement of the actual transgressions themselves.

I agree with alot of your points Thatcher, it just seems like you are arguing with me over semantics.

Comics and all media have a long way to go in portraying women and minorities in an equal standing with their WASP counterparts.


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123 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:17 am

Rath99 wrote:Gentlemen..you won't and can never get it. Meg speaks from a POV that we can never understand. Whether you see misogyny or not isn't the point. She does. That’s it. Just as from my perspective (being Latino) I see racism where other folks won't. A little news flash there is quite a bit of it in comics (see JMS' Superman).

So the best we can do is listen and respect her viewpoint and understand that there is now way we can feel how she feels about it.
Invalidating any argument and saying that because I'm not black, a woman, Latino, or gay, I can't ever understand an issue from an intellectual standpoint really doesn't sit well with me. Because I don't belong to a selected minority doesn't mean I can't empathize or understand a person's point of view is bogus.

I think I've listened to everyone's viewpoint, and have a differing opinion. I don't need to cower in a corner of an argument because I'm not female, and should be afraid that my opinion would offend a woman.


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124 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:09 am

Spazzy

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Silent K wrote:Alright, everyone back to your respective corners.

This discussion has had fleeting moments of...just that...discussion...when it hasn't been marred with opinions being invalidated, the lack of some even entertaining a opposing viewpoint, and worst of all, feelings being hurt.

In the end, expressed opinions are not in a vacuum. And often, strong opinions are greeted with equally strong opposing views. There are many facts within this discussion that can be cited and proven. But no matter how hard anyone screams, opinion is not fact.

This!

I enjoyed The Killing Joke. That is my opinion, and I don't feel like I should have to explain/defend myself.

Now didn't I say everyone needs to behave? you're gonna get it (imagine thats a knife...)


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125 Re: PrincessCast: The Killing Joke Discussion on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:16 am

jaydee74

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What they said. Totally agreed with Spazzy. I also enjoyed the Killing Joke. I thought it was an interesting story especially in it's time and I do think it's aged well. However, I completely see Meg's point of view on this. Hearing what she said on the podcast, I re-read the book and got her points. There's no need to bring in facts or figures into this. This is how she feels. It's her right to feel that way and she shouldn't be attacked for that.

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