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Fanboy Adds Fuel To Fire

Comic book artist Tom Hodges has posted a response to the flack the statue of MJ, designed by his friend Adam Hughes, has received. In typical, not-really-understanding the subtext, he posts his narrow view of the situation which is the same thing others have posted: which ignore the overall negative portrayal of women in comics. He's actually quite snotty about it, which is amusing.

My friend, Artist Adam Hughes designed this. Now, what I'm about to put below is Addressed to anyone offended by this... and I do this because everyone who HAS posted something about how offended they are by it either blocks people who have an opposite view or they twist their words to make it sound like we're just a bunch of rabid fanboy idiots!

The fact that this type of statue is made shows they are just a bunch of fanboy idiots. Show me the beefcake statue of Spidey but we know that will never be made because are much as fanboys are rabid, they are homophobic of men. Lesbian women are great! but fanboys want to stay well away from sexualized images of men.

Your inability to even have a sense of humor over the Sideshow/Hughes statue is ASTOUNDING! It's painfully obvious that all of you are missing the point of this playful, fun piece of art.

Objectifying and demeaning women is FUN! PLAYFUL! Oh really?! This piece isn't fun or playful. It is past tacky and is tasteless. Comic books have this idea that women in comics are less beings than men. It's true. Be absolutely honest with yourself and you know it is true. Does it really have to be a another statue commemorating this fact?

1. MJ has been everything from a stage Actress to a Lingerie model in the comics. You obviously don't or haven't read Spider-Man in the past 20 years or you'd know this.

And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Again. Missing the point. See "portrayal of women in comics."

2. She's not HAND WASHING the Spidey suit. She's finding it in a Laundry basket.

Wow, that's a small laundry basket. And with it being solid plastic like that means anything damp left in there for a couple of days will mildew. I don't imagine they could have made it a open lattice basket but they could have added texture to give the impression of a laundry basket. And she keeps it on a table? Why does looking in a laundry basket require having a bottle of bleach at her bare feet?

3. If you're upset she's not portraying MJ like Dunst in the movies... then you obviously have no idea who the MJ character really is. She's a supermodel, not some whiny waive thin tone deaf little girl. She's supposed to be stacked.

Okay, this is just a stupid comment overall. And has a spelling error. He either means she's not a whiny wafer thin tone deaf little girl or she's not a whiny waif thing tone deaf little girl. I should hope MJ isn't a "little girl" and for that matter Dunst isn't either. Now he's just being patronizing. Great way to win female fans over to your argument - patronize us.

Now I may be wrong, but ANYONE who complains about this piece obvious does NOT read Superhero comics. If you did, I'd consider you a hypocrite. I enjoy the Indie stuff (SiP and Lenore) but without Spider-man, X-Men and other comics, they wouldn't exist. Do you think Terry Moore is offended by this piece? I HIGHLY doubt it!

Buh wah? Now he says I'm a hypocrite in that I enjoy reading the STORIES presented in superhero comics but can still object to the way women are portrayed by the artists? Guess what, Mr. Hodges. I think you are an idiot fanboy. You feel so indignant and self righteous that someone dare question AN ARTIST that you are choosing not to think about some of the valid points that have been raised.

If you actually knew the artist and the reputation that follows him, you'd know he was a gracious man who respects women and has only been someone to show women who are strong and independent.

Really? What I know of him is his female characters are well know for having disproportionally large breasts.

I can't tell you enough how disturbed I am that this "blog mess" made it on MSNBC, Fox News and Inside Edition. I also hope that anyone who feels the way I do right now will email these media outlets and voice your support for this amazing piece of art.

I don't see this happening any time soon. Sorry. I think this statue sucks the big one. Oh wait, I take that back. That might give some artist an idea for another statue.

I hope that anyone with 1/2 a brain sees the piece for what it is, fun and playful. If you read anymore into it then that I feel very, very sorry for you.

I have more than 1/2 a brain and I feel sorry for you, Mr. Hodges. You don't get it and most likely never will because you choose not to.

To quote another blogger D. Edward Sauve:

What get me is the pose. It's the kind of pose she'd make at work as a model.

No. No way she'd do that casually at home after doing that all day. If MJ were played half as smart as I understand she's supposed to be, she'd be sitting on the couch folding laundry.

Hey! There's a cute collectible-- Peter and MJ on the couch, folding laundry-- she's just grabbed the uniform and he's got her jeans folded, setting them on the table. She's in that exact same outfit, maybe sans heels. He's in boxers and an old Midtown High Teaching Staff t-shirt. A loving look between them. A loving married couple, ote of whom happens to be Spider-man, the other Mary-Jane Wattson-Parker, Super-model and actress. At home, being domestic.

Now that's Pete and MJ. That'd be cute. Hell, even be sexy. Someone draw that for me.

I'd BUY that. I ain't buying this.

If you made it through this entire post I will write here frankly why this all bothers me so much. I am a woman who grew up reading comics. The vast majority of comic books were purchased by my older brothers so I had no say about titles or even finishing story arcs, if my brothers got bored. I read what was there. And I loved them. I loved the stories and the pictures. How could you not dream of flying along side Superman or bouncing bullets off your bracelets like Wonder Woman? The stories were pretty straight forward of Good vs. Evil and while the Good Guys took more than their share of lumps, they persevered and won out in the end. Boys are said to fantasize about being characters in comic books well, so did I. But I was a girl, I wanted to see people, i.e. woman, I could relate to. Women as heroes were scarce. They tended to be more support characters tending to the heroes needs than out there with the men kicking ass.

In the ‘80s I stopped overtly reading comics. I would read them at a male friend’s place if they were in sight but wouldn’t ask to read them because I was repeatedly told “Comics are for boys.” This bothered me to no end because it was sexist. If I was allowed to vote, work as a cop why couldn’t I read comics? Comics reinforced the “boys only” idea for a long time with their utterly hideous artwork. If I walked into a store that sold comics, I would sneer at the images of women with legs inhumanly long, waists that could not support their torso and breasts that started at their collar bones. Men were also drawn deformed, they looked like overdosed steroid popping body builders but they looked powerful. Women in comics looked like hooker victims of an evil plastic surgeon. Over and over again I heard the excuse “comics portray an idealized version and are only make-believe anyway.” Okay, sure. I am fine with comics portraying fantasy but whose idealized version where they portraying? Sure as hell not mine, for either women or men. The level of sexism in the comics was insulting and hurtful. It felt like men who were afraid of women having power in the real world were taking it out on the women in the fantasy worlds of comics. The comic book industry was ignoring all women because of an “old boys’ club” mentality: comic books were the last bastion of manliness in a world of women fighting for equality. Comic books stores certainly seemed to feel that way. Regardless of how angry I was by the way women were treated in comics, I still read them because I loved the wonder of comics: people who could fly, read other people’s mind, do magic. Like any person with imagination, I loved to be swept up in the adventures of comics. But it was always a guilty pleasure.

Things changed in the ‘90s with new types of comics gaining a foothold. Non-superhero comics emerged where things were shown closer to the real world but still having fantastic elements. I started reading comics again, openly. I felt that someone in the comic industry realized girls read comics. Some of the comics even had strong female lead characters who looked like humans, not Stripper Barbie. I still liked the super hero comics but they were and to some degree, are, still considered for boys.

So, why am I so angry about the MJ statue? (This following sentence is a vast over simplification but) because it is sexist: created exclusively with the male fan base in mind – entirely ignoring women who read comics. No straight woman and very, very, very few lesbians would want to own that statue. There are so many things wrong with it that it should never have been allowed to be made. The artist may have intended something cute, but he failed miserably.

MJ might be a secondary, supporting character in the Spiderman comics. She has been a model and an actress but she is a woman who knows the man she loves goes out and risks his life for people he doesn’t even know. She is like the wife of a policeman. She knows her husband can be killed at any time. Unlike most police wives, she may become a target for villains trying to hurt her husband. Just imagine being in such a situation. A person would have to be an individual with a lot of inner strength to deal with it or they would walk away. So we can say MJ is a strong woman. She is an idealized version of a woman because she is in comics. So she is beautiful – not my opinion of beautiful but, whatever. A woman can do laundry without it being degrading, so I have no problem with that. A woman can also wear whatever the hell she wants but one must admit, the combination of a super-low-cut super-short shirt, super-low-rise tight jeans with a rip in the ass cheek, and a high rise thong is nastily skanky.

The problems I have with the statue: As I said, it is sexist in that it is aimed exclusively toward men, ignoring woman who have read Spiderman for years and cheered for the romance between Peter and MJ. It is overly sexualized: from the clothing the character is wearing, to the disturbing disproportions of her body to the highly unnatural pose the character is contorted into while doing what could be a simple action. There has long been anger raised in women by suggesting they should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. The fact MJ is barefoot doing a household chore raises women’s hackles. MJ is wearing a pearl necklace. Ignoring that joke that raises, the wearing of a fancy necklace – dressing up to do housework – brings up nasty issues women have faced in the past. Even if this was not intended to be degrading by the artist, the inclusion of these shows insensitivity to women’s issues. The statue objectifies MJ. Even if she is an imaginary character, we are supposed to feel empathy for her, feel and care for what she experiences. This statue undermines her “humanity” and turns her into a sex toy.

It is demeaning in that a strong woman is presented in a sleazy manner, and frankly to quote MST3K's Tom Servo on Space Mutany, “She’s presenting like a mandrill.”

Posted by Marmy on May 17, 2007 11:07 PM


wow, that is totally not as angry sounding as you were last night. kudos babe.

Posted by: tbit at May 18, 2007 09:30 AM