BREAKING NEWS: Rape is Bad for You

Bloggified by Jake on Friday, June 16, 2006

I, for one, think J. Michael Straczynski deserves a big pat on the back for being so brave. If you haven't read the latest issue of Squadron Supreme--and for shame if you haven't... unless you just hate feminism and are threatened by strong, empowered, self-reliant female characters--the story takes place during and after the team fights an army of a hostile Middle Eastern country. After the battle is over, we learn a little of the background story of Inertia, a woman capable of redirecting kinetic energy.

Her story is a sad one, but one that must be told!

Inertia is unlike any other character in comics. First, she is a woman, but she doesn't rely on men to take care of her and protect her. No, sir (or ma'am as the case may be)! Instead, she takes care of herself and is just as capable of kicking butt as any of the big boys.

Second, she wears skimpy outfits and has a lean, muscular body. She is beautiful and isn't afraid to show it. I will, however, draw attention to the fact Gary Frank's rendering of her makes her seem a little flat-chested. She appears to be no larger than a B-cup, though she wears a sportsbra, so she may be larger. Either way, I would encourage Frank to be bolder and give her large mammaries. Do not try to hide her femininity! If anything, fanboys who are afraid of strong feminist icons like Inertia should be visually assaulted by their feminine virtues.

Third, she grew up with a father who was unloving and who cheated on her mother. He is very mean to her and suspects that her powers are a result of her sinfulness. At one point, when he realizes he cannot harm her by hitting her, he opts instead to hit her mother. This abusive background helps to shape her worldview.

Fourth, she is a lesbian. The plight of homosexuals may be taboo dinner conversation in this country, but Squadron Supreme is pushing it to the forefront of the national consciousness by confronting the homophobes out there in a way no other comic is daring enough to do: with images of sexy girls kissing each other! Take that, Ma and Pa Kettle!

But last, and most important, she is the victim of rape. If you thought lesbianism was verboten, just while Middle America is reeling from that revelation, we're hit with this hot button issue. Straczynski is one of the few writers, comic or otherwise, willing to take on the subject of sexual assault. What's really interesting is the way he frames it and the fact that it took place early in Inertia's life to have it truly become a motivating factor behind what she does and who she is.

Rape, it seems, can be a traumatic experience for some women and Inertia is one of them. In fact, it is still something she thinks about even though it happened years ago. This powerful juxtaposition of a strong woman, who has taken charge of her life and become a hero with the intention of helping others, with the scenes of her helpless against sexual assault, makes you think about how rape is a really bad thing and how normal "non-superpowered" women might have an even harder time putting the pieces back together.

I know when most of us read stories about Psylocke or Black Cat or Wonder Woman, we only see the strong, daring women within, but this is a grim reminder that some people are more likely to see them as nothing but sex objects.

It's a shame more writers haven't the guts to explore pressing issues like these or to create characters as deep, unique, and multifaceted as Inertia. Industry pundits who are always complaining about the lack of female comic book readers need look no further than Mr. Straczynski and Inertia to see exactly what it's going to take to pull in that all-important demographic: strong, foul-mouthed, sexy, scantily-dressed lesbians who have daddy issues and recount their sexual assaults in graphic detail. Why can't we have more characters like this?

I know a lot of the men out there won't like it, but that's why they publish Archie.

0 sarcastic replies:

Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)