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Wednesday, May 11, 2016 

Why is it wrong to belittle male heroes but not female heroines?

Forbes movie writer Mark Hughes recently addressed a controversy that rose over a comment in questionable taste director Zack Snyder made several years ago about what he thinks would make a great storyline with Batman. First, it could help to get a little perspective of what caused the disgust, as seen in this Entertainment Weekly interview (via Business Insider):
Well, one new point of difference is make them more grim and gritty, like Hancock or The Dark Knight, which seems to also work in Watchmen’s favor —
Everyone says that about [Christopher Nolan’s] Batman Begins. ”Batman’s dark.” I’m like, okay, ”No, Batman’s cool.” He gets to go to a Tibetan monastery and be trained by ninjas. Okay? I want to do that. But he doesn’t, like, get raped in prison. That could happen in my movie. If you want to talk about dark, that’s how that would go. [...]
On the surface, it does sound obnoxious and insulting, like an attempt to be sensationalistic. But if he wanted to do something like that for some kind of educational value about how even same-sex abuse is a sadly existential problem, then his comment could have validity, if not a finished product in which such a sick occurrence took place. Trouble is, Snyder's not really clear about why he thinks that'd make a great storyline, so we just don't know whether his intentions were in good faith or not.

Now, here's some of Hughes' own comments, which provide plenty to ponder:

If there's any would-be fans out there who see nothing wrong with doing this to lady characters in movies, yet fully object whenever menfolk suffer this, then I agree with Hughes that it's disturbing. But if he thinks only the movies matter, he should take a good look at the roots this mentality had back in comicdom. Identity Crisis is one of the worst examples featuring a rape that was not only drawn offensively in an anal perspective, it was written offensively, making it look like the only reason the male heroes were furious was because Dr. Light attacked their "sex object". Indeed, in retrospect, that's one of the creepiest problems with how it was set up, making it look like the men only cared about Sue as though she were some kind of hooker who could be passed around on a whim. One more reason why nobody should be surprised at the negative backlash DC's staff refused to listen to, any more than the crowd who object to the continued employment of Eddie Berganza.

I would just like to note here that, if Snyder said - or, heaven forfend, bragged - about putting a heroine/lady co-star like Wonder Woman, Lois Lane or Mary Jane Watson through the wringer of sexual assault, for nothing more than some kind of gleeful, cheap sensationalism, I'd be very angry about that too. It seems like today's storytellers are so bankrupt that's all they can think of, just more and more sexual abuse, and even if it was intended to advance the woman's story more than the men, it could get out of hand (and come to think of it, yes, it has).

In fairness, of course it's possible to write sexual assault as a motivating factor for man too. One can only wonder then if it's SJWs leading the fauxtrage because they don't want proponents of homosexuality to look like the baddies. Is that possible? Could be.

I agree with him there. Either the SJWs want rape featured in these comics and movies/TV shows or they don't (and if they see nothing wrong with cheap sensationalism and belittling serious issues, that'll weigh against them too). It's always possible to motivate lady characters by ways of aggravated physical assault that isn't sex-based, or by loss of a beloved relative/buddy, yet nobody seems to consider that. On a similar note, some TV producers who film crime dramas airing at 10 PM seem to think the audience will only care about the story if there's a murder/rape taking place. Simple robberies and car thefts aren't enough, apparently.

Still, I do think there are fans out there who'd be furious if Snyder wanted to write that into a story involving a superheroine and/or lady co-star. I certainly would if I thought the filmmakers and comics writers were only out to degrade some of my favorites like Donna Troy, reducing serious topics to nothing more than a crude fanfic while sympathizing with the villains, as Identity Crisis did.

Depending on one's view, it could be. If it were just written for cheap sensationalism, then of course it wouldn't work. IMO, the female-vs-male rape in James Robinson's Starman was just a load of sleaze. In any event, it's no less disturbing how he used that 1994-2001 series to rub out several minor characters, and if Ted Knight had to be killed at the end, why did he have to die in Pyhrric battle and not from natural causes?

And now that I think of it, how is it that Watchmen could change his view, but not Avengers stories of the mid-70s, to name one example? I just don't get why a tale aimed squarely at adults has to be the game-changer.

Too often, in fact, if you know where to look. In the past decade, it was also done very repellently.

He's got a valid point here. If you disagree with Snyder, that's one thing, but cursing at him with repellent profanity is a socially reprehensible action and morally wrong. It's just what's wrong with society today, how we've all lost our manners and think vile words in nearly every instance are "cool". Anybody who goes online just for that is not only an opportunist lacking a moral compass, I don't think they're really against smut in showbiz either; just a whole lot of basket cases with serious mental issues.

I may not agree with everything Hughes has to say, but he certainly presents some interesting arguments and points, one more reason why I'll be happier if and when he's willing to speak out against the terrible modern abuse mainstream superheroes now suffer from back in the comics publishing world. Let's remember: they're even less innocent than Snyder is.

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Which Synder is he talking about here, Scott or Zack? After all, both Synders are ego-driven writers/directors involved with Batman who evidently don't care about the past, only how much praise he gets for telling "inventive" tales.

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