Attention tout le monde! We are now inaugurating the new media tag, under which the Blog of Eternal Stench stinks up the atmosphere with commentary about the latest books, movies, TV and radio I’ve been consuming. Aren’t you excited? I knew you were [all 2 of you].
Unless you’ve been living in a closet during the past week, you know that DC Comics is resuscitating Batwoman [who???] as a lesbian. Check out the New York Times article for an interesting survey about the history of superheroes more accurately reflecting the ethnic and sexual diversity of the population at large. Supposedly Batwoman’s new sexual preference is a newsworthy advance in the name of peace, tolerance and the American way.
You know what would be really “groundbreaking?” If, instead of tacking on some homosexuality just to boost sales, the major comic publishers started by creating a queer character in the first place and then thought about how the sexuality would affect the character.
You could warp the stereotypes of superheroism [identity switching, flashy outfits, defending the oppressed, freakin’ outrageous sex appeal] to fit some of the experiences of gay people, such as coming out, getting ragged on, standing up for oneself. For example, maybe the character’s alter ego is straight and the super hero identity is gay! Maybe the character defends others against homophobic bullies…or has a murderous vendetta against homophobes [oooh, a tragic flaw]. Some of the most interesting superhero stories, like Spiderman, use the superpowers as an interesting metaphor [in Spiderman’s case, it’s superpowers as adolescence/growing up]. A similar thoughtful treatment of a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender superhero would be eminently interesting.
On a side note, I didn’t even know there was a Batwoman until all this buzz started occurring. Sheesh, if you’re add a twist to a character’s sexuality, why not do it to a character who could at least swing that way if she wanted to? For example, Catwoman seems to hang around women all the time, and Batman really pisses her off. Of course, just because she dislikes Batman doesn’t mean that she automatically must be attracted to women, but making Catwoman queer seems more psychologically plausible than pinning gayness as an afterthought to some non-entity named Batwoman.