Sunday, March 26, 2017

America #1

I have to admit I was a little surprised to see a Marvel comic book depicting lesbian sex (see last two scans), and in a title called America. The "America" in question is America Chavez, the queer Latina LGBTQ Young Avenger from another reality, the Utopian Parallel.

I asked Simon at my neighborhood comic shop if he thought, as I do, that the scene of lady bedroom love is "boundary crossing" for a industry powerhouse like Marvel. Simon said yes.

Nietzsche said that the greater a society is the more tolerant it is, and I absolutely agree with that. Pretty much the best -- most culturally dynamic -- thing that late-stage capitalism, a.k.a., neoliberalism, has going for it is its integration of women into ever-increasing authority roles.

Marvel reflects this with a noticeable proliferation of titles devoted to super-heroines: Ms. Marvel, Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! (apparently just cancelled), The Unstoppable Wasp, Hawkeye, etc. Sometimes it seems as if Marvel only chooses females for its new heroes.

This is all well and good, a balancing of the accounts as it were. The downside as I see it -- not only in Marvel comic books, but in my own professional life as well -- is that as women occupy more seats at the table, patriarchal norms -- social hierarchy, violence, economic inequality -- are not being destabilized, they're being exacerbated. The implicit promise of both second- and third-wave feminism is that the more women assume power in a society the more enlightened and egalitarian that society will become.

Well, that's not happening. Western civilization, despite significant gains for women and minorities, is just as addicted to warfare and hierarchy as ever, if not more so. Feminists will argue that this can't be laid at their doorstep; that the glass ceiling is ever present, and that the bald white man is still running the show from atop the pyramid. And they're right.

All I'm saying is that women are mirroring the negative aspects of patriarchy as they enjoy their "slice of the pie."

I remember one afternoon I unexpectedly returned home from work. I stood in the hallway by the front door and listened to my wife talking to her girlfriends, fellow med-schoolers. They were shooting the shit, listening to Patti Smith on the stereo, calling each other by their last names. It had all the testosterone and bravado of a men's locker room. When I stepped in to say hello I saw that my wife was wearing my favorite San Francisco 49ers cap. They all seemed shocked to see me.

That was almost 30 years ago. I always considered my generation -- the sons and daughters of second-wave feminists -- the first substantially gender-equal cohort in American history. Now women waving their "lady dick" is a cultural norm. More power to them.

But maybe we should take another look at feminism's tacit assumptions of ontological superiority. We need to ask ourselves if matriarchy is willing to abide by all the hogwash that got chalked up to patriarchy.

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