Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Why No, We're Not Particularly Sexist, Why Do You Ask?

So, I'm cruising about the Marvel website looking for blog fodder, when I stop by their Wikipedia-like catalog of the Marvel Universe.


And I see this.

And so, the IGN-ization of Marvel continues.

(Does this count as a feminist post?)

UPDATED: There are those who would give the benefit of the doubt here and just assume that Marvel was looking for a way to put their female heroes on a pedestal and so called them out in this manner. In the interest of fairplay, I thought I would mention that.


Blogger markus said...

No need for the benefit of the doubt.
"women and other minorities" is a classic and seperating "women" from "people" as Marvel have done here is a fairly elemental mistake. Regardless of whether the intent behind it is praiseworthy (again, see the minority example above).

5:01 PM  
Blogger Steven said...

Well, those are just the popular categories there. Here is the complete list.

You can see that they are NOT separating out "women" from "people," any more than they are suggesting "Canadians" aren't "people" either. Clearly one character can fit into many categories (Wolverine, anyone?) and someone thought it would be useful to list all the women together (it is). But it would be nice if there were also a category simply labeled "men" to complement "women."

Favorite category, though? "People who were dead but aren't anymore." Unsurprisingly, it's a pretty long list.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Ragnell said...

Let's try that again...

I have to say with no category labeled "men" they're certainly singling out women characters as something different from normal characters.

Either way, nice catch.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yeah, like I said, this was a cheap shot --- the real mistake I think isn't the fact that there's a "Women" category, it's the fact that there's a "People" category (which would seem a fairly useless category) juxtaposed so blatantly as a separate classification.

I agree with Steven and Ragnell here -- there ought to be a "Men" category, if for no other reason than to prevent bloggers like myself from taking potshots like this one. :-)

4:01 AM  
Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

It seems to me they're drawing attention to female characters as a category of special interest - just like "X-Men" or "The Avengers". Both those groups include "people", but it's no slur to separate them out, and the reason for it, obviously, is that they're so popular readers will want a direct link to them. I think Marvel was bowing in the direction of female readers, who have long complained about the lack of female characters. (If they had included a "Men" character, I wouldn't be surprised to see comments to the effect that that category isn't needed because the male characters are already prominent, or that anyone who specifically wanted to look at male-only characters was sexist.) The "Women" category doesn't make the female characters less important; it implies that they're more interesting, along with the most popular characters like the X-Men and Avengers.

By creating a distinct grouping, Marvel is foregrounding those female characters that do exist, letting them shine more and also responding to a specific interest many readers have. It seems counterproductive to me to criticize them for that. When they give you what you want, take it!

4:45 PM  
Anonymous wallflower said...

It's not the creation of a distinction group that's the problem here, Kevin. The problem is that the groups are worded very poorly. It looks like they're saying "Well there's people, and then there's you." Women don't count as "people" apparently.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous carla said...

Marvel was looking for a way to put their female heroes on a pedestal and so called them out in this manner.

Who are we kidding?

10:58 PM  

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