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JCHandsom said on July 9th, 2013 at 10:40 am

So I take it you’re a Deanna Troi fan?

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I’m pretty sure that’s a comprehensive misreading of Bewitched I Dream of Jeannie; in as much as either show has “theme” at all, it’s “life is so much better when women put away their interests and talents in the service of better fitting reactionary gender roles.”

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@Zyzzyva: I wouldn’t pick a fight with Jaime over classic sitcoms; it’s not one you’re likely to win. :)

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K-Box in the Box said on July 9th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This entire essay feels really well-intentioned but highly misguided.

You’ve essentially expended 2,000+ words on arguing how writers should do a better job of showing how awesome women can be when they wear all-pink costumes, when what we should be doing is showing women wearing so many colors other than pink that pink itself ceases to be exclusively associated with women.

Rather than patting female readers on the head by saying, “See? Even though these non-action-oriented female characters fall into all the most traditional gender-essentialist definitions of conventional femininity, they’re just as good as the action-oriented male characters!” What writers should be doing is using their representations of women in their stories to forcibly expand how popular culture defines the boundaries of “conventional femininity” itself, to the point that characters like She-Hulk and Power Girl and Big Barda no longer code as “masculine” simply for being big and muscular and packing a punch.

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I think Bewitched deliberately sets things up so it can be read either way, which is part of the key to its appeal. Sort of like X-Men is set up so we can see the characters either as “rebellious kids who are outcasts of society” or “good kids who are subservient to authority.”

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I think that’s a fair criticism of the post. The role for women in comics hasn’t progressed a whole lot since the binary distinction in older comics; these characters were created because coding as “feminine” meant doing certain things and not doing others, and that’s a problem. What I think, though, is that it’s interesting to see these representations of conventional femininity in an action comic and see how their particular conventions work within a different set of storytelling conventions. Whether that can redeem them for their origins – a male writer’s idea of what girls wanted to see in comics – is at least partly a separate question from whether they’re interesting to read about.

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K-Box in the Box said on July 9th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

… I’m not sure you’re allowed to be that thoughtful and cordial in responding to criticisms on the Internet. :)

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stavner said on July 9th, 2013 at 3:24 pm

What about Gadget Hackwrench?

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kingderella said on July 9th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

i think thought bubbles are actually indeed making a come-back. ive seen some in “wolverine & the x-men”. “uncanny avengers” may not technically have thought bubbles, but the narration is self-consciously old school.

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Aw, I thought this post was going to be about actual Magical Girls.

You owe me a post on Sailor Moon and Puella Magi Madoka Magica!

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I liked this post a lot. But I’d also like to second a call for more posts on Puella Magi Madoka Magica. The visual novel Magical Diary (“Love Lives of the Young and Wizardly!”) would be an acceptable substitute.

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Jonathan L. Miller said on July 9th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

On the flip side, the dark side, I’m surprised more writers haven’t dealt directly with the implications of being a person with non-action powers in an action-adventure universe.

Oddly, what leapt to mind when I read that sentence wasn’t a female character, but Doug Ramsey/Cypher from the ’80s “New Mutants.” (Power=super translation.) To put it mildly, writers didn’t seem to know what to do with him, then killed him, then half-resurrected him as part of a cyborg (so less of a passive power), then I stopped following the X-comics, so I don’t know what happened next.

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I, too, would be down for a thorough discussion of the Magical Girl as seen in “Sailor Moon” and related media. Especially interesting to me is the way that “Sailor Moon” handles violence and victory. The monsters’ defeat did not come through death or imprisonment, but rather through purification and liberation (with a shout of “Refresh!” or “Beautiful!” or something along those lines). Redemption, not punishment, was the Sailor Senshi’s driving force. It makes for an interesting contrast with the more male-driven fighting forces we’re used to seeing.

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Yeah, I apologize for that. I just put in “magical” because it fit the tune of “Calendar Girl,” and realized too late that it misleadingly sounded like I was talking about that subgenre. So blame me mostly, and Neil Sedaka a little.

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Michael P said on July 9th, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Worth noting that John Byrne did the Dark Phoenix, Malice and Crazy Wanda stories.

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I’m surprised more writers haven’t dealt directly with the implications of being a person with non-action powers in an action-adventure universe.

That would require modern age comic book writers to figure out how to make characters more interesting without making them more powerful.

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MonkeyWithTypewriter said on July 10th, 2013 at 8:25 am

Jonathan-now Cypher’s alive again and he can translate any language-including “body language”. eeeeyeroll.

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I would argue that for most of its run–after #16 and right up until the first Iron Man movie–the real stars of The Avengers comic were the characters who didn’t have their own books, because those are the ones who could actually have storylines that advanced within the book. And for many, many years Wanda was foremost among them, making her one of the mainstays of the Marvel Universe.

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