I’ve been away at a feminist retreat for the weekend, recharging my energy for gender equity fights with some feminist sheroes. We don’t have to fight about some things anymore, right? The world has moved on…
Sure, there’s still that small matter of objectification. Despite capitalism finding new ways to exploit men’s bodies, when we pay attention to the typical ways women’s bodies are positioned in mass media, it’s pretty obvious we’re encouraged to view the feminine in ways masculinity is never portrayed.
But somehow, despite the cultural scaffolding which treats women as window dressing for the real world concerns of men, despite the fact I wilfully avoid much media to help myself stay sane and centred, I am still shocked when brand new products are created to reinforce traditional gender roles. Just out from Marvel:
We all need heroes. People that inspire us, help us feel brave enough to honour ourselves in tough situations, brave enough to stand up to other people who are behaving badly. Boys need heroes in quite specific ways – while the majority of men don’t hold rape supportive attitudes for example, the majority of men do not challenge other men when those attitudes are expressed, because they are scared of failing the dude test.
Sadly I don’t think Marvel are quite that nuanced, and this is just pure sexist crap. Girls are being encouraged, again (and again, and again, and again….) to wait around for some bloke to keep us safe, decide what needs doing and help us with our lives with his big strong muscles and his masculine brain. Boys are being encouraged, again (and again, and again, and again….) to suppress any feelings they may have of wanting to be cuddled or comforted, of being able to cry when they are sad, or not knowing how to do something.
If I needed more of a reminder of why I need feminist space than a joyful weekend with other feminists talking about our bodies, our work, self-care and play, I got it, first thing this morning when this jumped into my inbox.
If it bugs you as much as it bugs me, let Marvel know.