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Off My Mind: Does Being in the X-Men Make Women Go Crazy?

There must be something in the water at the Xavier Institute.

Despite having a team name of X-Men, there have been several female members. This is something that has always been a little odd and sexist. We know it was Charles Xavier that started the team and of course he wanted the X from his name to be part of it. The fact that they were called men is strange, especially when you look at the name of other teams, such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, the Defenders and so on.

In the comics, the original team members were not even men yet, there were teens and one of them, Jean Grey, was clearly female. As the team's membership increased and changed, it was accepted that gender would not be an issue to be part of the team.

What's interesting is the majority of the women that became X-Men over the years have suffered from some sort of insanity or complete character change. Now I might be using using the word crazy lightly and this is in no way saying women are crazy. It's that we've seen the female members of the X-Men go through some pretty crazy changes. What is it about being an X-Man that makes women go a little crazy?

== TEASER ==

Jean Grey

Let's start with Jean Grey since she was the first female X-Man. Her moment of insanity started with the coming of the Phoenix Force. To be fair to Jean, you could argue that her major moment of insanity, destroying a complete star system and billions of lives, wasn't her doing. We found out years later later that Jean was actually in a hibernation pod at the bottom of the bay while the Phoenix Force struggled with trying to maintain human nature.

However the change or bonding was made, part of Jean was present in the Phoenix Force. With the birth of Jean as Phoenix, she still had her personality and feelings. She and Scott continued their relationship. An elemental force wouldn't have a need to put up the charade. As part of the X-Men, Jean/Phoenix easily succumbed to the manipulations of Mastermind. If Phoenix or Jean was truly portrayed as powerful as we would expect, she/it would've wiped out Mastermind the first moment he tried to manipulate her mind. There must be another explanation as to how Jean/Phoenix could lose it so easily and become Dark Phoenix.

Polaris

What about Lorna Dane? She was the second female to become part of the X-Men and hooked up with Havok. She had everything a person could ask for. She had a boyfriend, friends, a home and a place where she belonged. Eventually her association with the X-Men would drive her over the edge.

Because of her proximity to the band of mutants, it was almost fated that her world would be turned upside down. First she was kidnapped by the Shi'ar and mind controlled to try to kill Xavier. Later her mind and body were taken over by Malice. She found an enemy in her sister, Zaladane. Later she discovered that her true father was none other than the X-Men's greatest enemy, Magneto. She even had a weird run in with Doop...or maybe it was Daap, an alien that tried to kidnap her. Being a member of the team off and on, we soon saw quit the change in Lorna. Whether it was chasing Doop through the woods or just being part of the X-Men, Lorna went over to the other side but luckily managed to return to Havok's side.

Storm

Storm has always been one of the strongest female members of the X-Men (except when she's put in a situation where her claustrophobia can kick in). Storm may not have gone completely crazy as some of the other females but she did undergo a drastic change. When she first joined the team, she was the essence of elegance. She was worshipped as a goddess and almost became the mother figure of the group (but did she really believe she was an actual goddess?). She was the only one that could truly stand up to Wolverine and keep his violent tendencies in check. Above all else, Storm valued the sanctity of life.

When faced against the Morlocks, a member of the X-Men had to fight their leader, Callisto, to the death. Storm could barely stand and Nightcrawler volunteered to fight her. Storm insisted she would do it. Showing no remorse, Storm was victorious. She stabbed and nearly killed the Morlock.

Then Storm became a punk rocker...sort of. One of the biggest changes was when Storm decided to chop off her long flowing white hair and wore a mohawk. Gone was her traditional costume which was replaced by leather pants and the vest worn by Callisto.

Later when she lost her mutant abilities, she fought Cyclops in the Danger Room for leadership of the team. Whether it was a brilliant tactical move or just plain dirty fighting, she ripped off Cyclops' visor, knowing he could not use his optic blasts to stop her without fear of killing her or the other members observing in the Danger Room.

Psylocke

What about Betsy Braddock? When we first saw her, she was a prim and proper English lady. She wasn't quite X-Men material as she only had telepathic powers. She survived a terrible ordeal before going to the Xavier Institute and finally showed the beginning of her potential in surviving an attack by Sabretooth.

Then came the Siege Perilous and her transformation into an Asian assassin. This was a complete change to her calm character. Now dressed in a skimpy skin-tight suit, Betsy fits in perfectly with the other unstable but deadly members of X-Force.

Kitty Pryde

Kitty has always been a strong person. Not even being brainwashed, regressed and turned into a ninja had much of an affect on her psyche. Having her heart broken by Colossus, losing her best friend Illyanna or even spending months stuck out in space in that crazy missile didn't drive her over the edge.

But what was it that made her cut her hair and start carrying around Wolverine's broken bone claws? That's pretty gross (not necessarily the hair part but carrying his claws). There wasn't really a clear explanation for it. Maybe I need to go back and read those issues. I remember feeling like I had missed a half dozen issues or so when X-Men #100 cane out in 2000.

Lockheed's Dragon Girlfriend?

When heroes and villains were transported away by the Beyonder (in Secret Wars), the X-Men and Lockheed were included. During their time there, Lockheed met a female dragon.

When they returned to Earth, rather than arrive back in Central Park, they were transported to Japan. Besides not knowing how they'd get home, they discovered that Lockheed's new girlfriend had grown...a lot. The X-Men and Sunfire tried to stop her but it was Lockheed that got through to her.

The other X-Ladies have had some unstable moments as well. Is it a matter that they're all secretly bothered by the fact that after all these years the team still continues to use a sexist name? The X-Men were pretty much a secret until Charles Xavier made his public statement and revealed the team. Some knew who they were but they weren't the franchise that they are today. They could have easily rebranded their name and retained their fancy X-logo. Look at how many other X-teams there are.

What the X-Men need to do is keep a better eye on their members. For whatever reason, the women are susceptible to having moments where they are not themselves. Sure some changes have been for the better but others have resulted in risks to themselves and others. Is it time the X-Men start a support group for its members? Should they be aware of the signs of instability? Who will be the next X-lady to go over the edge?

100 Comments
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Posted by zombietag

storm with mohawk = coolest thing evaaa

Posted by NightFang

You gotta love the crazies!

Posted by Wise Son
@zombietag said:
storm with mohawk = coolest thing evaaa
QTF
Posted by batman_is_god

And the male x-men that have not gone crazy or had drastic peronality changes are?
Posted by NightFang
@batman_is_god: Wolverine for one, lol.
Posted by tonis

I have often thought of how cool a concept it would be to have superhero psychologists. If for no other reason than this one :) 
 
We might find answers to this question with a series like that.

Posted by Outside_85

One can only wonder with all the stress that comes with being on a superhero team and being a member of a community alot of people hate and want gone, simply wouldnt make any regular person snap?

Posted by AlKusanagi

Rogue was crazy before she joined, so she gets a pass.

Posted by Soldier zero

Well I don't think that the X-Women are more at risk of craziness than any other superheroine, the only problem is the exposure. Since Claremont's original run the X-Men had a higher number of female characters than almost any other team in the Marvel Universe, plus Mr. Claremont worked very hard to place female characters at the center of the stage making them the centerpieces of several stories. As a result the authors have many more meaningful female characters to psychologically mutilate when needed.
 
By comparison the Avengers (not to mention the F4) rarely had more than 1 or 2 superheroines on the team at the same time, constantly shooting them with the "madness bullet" will quickly result in boredom and kill the storyline (see the Proctor Saga for reference). As a result an author is almost forced to abuse male heroes as well.

Posted by Eyz

It sure looks like so :P

Posted by Chane

Who did the punk Storm painted art? Where is it from?

Posted by HellionVulcan
@Chane said:
Who did the punk Storm painted art? Where is it from?
The x-men legends games i believe or marvel ultimate alliance 1 is where its from .
 
I think marvel has made the female x-men more unstable then the men ,the Polaris failed marriage bit had me laughing hard thou but showed that she could be a badass & who doesn't like badasses when they're female .
Posted by AgeofHurricane

Being an X-Man can drive you crazy if your a woman, lol.

Posted by mark5
@Outside_85 said:
One can only wonder with all the stress that comes with being on a superhero team and being a member of a community alot of people hate and want gone, simply wouldnt make any regular person snap?
agreed. 
Posted by Out_of_Space

They became crazy as to be expected !
Posted by jubilee042

love the crazies

Posted by miki

love=made people crazy

Posted by djotaku

As far as the team name, in Spanish mixed gender groups get the male pronoun and noun.  X-Men sounds less ridiculous than X-Men and Women or X-People.  However, with new teams like X-Factor, it shows they could have chosen a non-gendered name. 
 
As far as women going crazy - you have great examples, but it would have more punch if you did a comparison to whether the guys had as much tendency to go crazy

Posted by TheGoldenOne
Interesting article.
Posted by TDK_1997

Because in the X-men you can go crazy
Posted by perry_411

All women are controlled by their emotions. The depiction in X-men is a reflection of reality.

Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

This is actually a good question. However, I would like to point out a lot of men in X-Men go cazy, too.

Posted by SleepyDrug
@djotaku said:
As far as the team name, in Spanish mixed gender groups get the male pronoun and noun.  X-Men sounds less ridiculous than X-Men and Women or X-People.  However, with new teams like X-Factor, it shows they could have chosen a non-gendered name.   As far as women going crazy - you have great examples, but it would have more punch if you did a comparison to whether the guys had as much tendency to go crazy

Good point.  Most of the X-Men guys have turned crazy or bad at one point, too.  Professor X, Magneto, Cyclops, Angel, Wolverine, Colossus, Mimic, Gambit.... 
 
There is just an allure to a hero failing, even if briefly.  Which makes the heroes that avoid it even more heroic by comparison. 
Posted by KZR

That picture of Storm is awesome. 

Posted by SC

Plural of man, one definition of man = gender neutral. Come on people... X-Men. Mankind (or in this case Mutantkind I suppose) so why are the the X-Men when they were never men in the first place? Thats probably a more pressing issue. Its a legal thing.  
 
Plus yeah, male characters go crazy too! Being in the X-Men for the most part means females get attention. With the exception of the last five years, and first 8 years, usually most of the writing centered on female characters. Any character used as lead usually gets the crazy story. Hulk, Thor, Spider-man, Iron Man, etc 

Moderator
Posted by Carolina574

They have the crazy eyes man...

Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k
Sublime in some cases, I`d presume. Maybe the fact that they are always being manipulated to do evil things. And it might be that all the murdering they see and get, gets to their heads. Or maybe some cosmic being even more powerful than Phoenix force messes with them. Those are my answers.
Posted by dorsk188

The only one of these that really ticked me off was Polaris.  She went from being a shrinking violet to a complete psycho at the drop of a hat, then suddenly was a normal person with a dull personality.

Posted by Jake Fury

Obviously, the Summers' family "seed" causes severe problems for women later on. Storm, Psylocke and Kitty pale in comparison to Lorna & jean's episodes. Or maybe Aunt Flo was just in town...
Posted by weaponmaster

"Whether it was a brilliant tactical move or just plain dirty fighting, she ripped off Cyclops' visor, knowing he could not use his optic blasts to stop her without fear of killing her or the other members observing in the Danger Room." 
 
 
It was, quite certainly, a brilliant tactical move and dirty fighting.
Posted by Zaber

Good job, G-Man! 

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Storm beating Cyclops = PIS. The fact that's even referenced is enough to make me crazy.....Well, crazier.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

Could have been worse...they could have been named the Y-Men and had the women have serious issues like this! But seriously I think many of em go insane because it seems just to be the name of the game being part of a mutant association striving for justice and equality.  Every X-Man has had their bad day(s), and the women are no different.  Oh and kudos to those who get what I mean by putting a Y instead of an X in front of men, teehee.

Posted by SC

The Brotherhood of Good Male Manly Mutants that used to be Ex Men, but are now Man Men #1 Starring Storm and Jean Grey! 

Moderator
Posted by fodigg
@batman_is_god said:
And the male x-men that have not gone crazy or had drastic peronality changes are?
Posted by Shadowdoggy

it's a classic comicbook cliche'

"Women destroy the world with their crazy emotions"

but I guess it's a step up from the classic "women as superhero's girlfriend who then gets murdered or kidnapped to move the story along" cliche'

and also....Chris Claremont


Posted by Cafeterialoca

You know, I wished there was just one female super hero that is looked up to by other characters the same way characters look up to Captain America, Superman, Batman, etc.

Posted by MutieLover
@FadeToBlackBolt
Scott was facing pressure from Madelyne to quit the team for awhile and the stress of having a new baby distracted him. 
 
Ororo grew up as a pickpocket in the slums of Cairo before she was a "goddess" and had to be clever to survive. She had also been de facto team leader for awhile...and she did beat Callisto in hand-to-hand combat while suffering through the effects Plague sickening touch.
Posted by Alch21

Bitches be crazy.
Posted by karrob
@Eyz said:
It sure looks like so :P
Posted by Trodorne
@SC said:
The Brotherhood of Good Male Manly Mutants that used to be Ex Men, but are now Man Men #1 Starring Storm and Jean Grey! 
HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA loved that.
 
 I don't know there is some distinction that women are more natural to go crazy than men. this is probably on the idea that women can't keep their emotions in check. jean grey especially, its no wonder scott would later cheat on her with emma. Though technically Jean cheated first.
 
  Besides im done talking about *shudder* feelings, were mainly talking about older story lines that are mostly forgotten. In stories like that women hide their problems until crap hits the fan and they go cuckoo for coacoa puffs. Then they tell the men why they are upset and angry when they could have mentioned it in the first place, yes they would still have gotten complaining from the men but the problem would have been solved by working together as a team in the first place. but its one of those things that makes us so unique. 
 
   And you Marvel men, The women don't as for much just and open ear and a opinion when they want it. sometimes you have to tuck in that gut and swallow your pride. not everything we do is for the benefit of all. But once in a while use your head, when that female team mate is acting outside of their usual characteristic, find out what is going on. I know our natural tendacy is to leave them alone to work out their issues, What we do as men may not be correct or valid but its one of those things that makes us what we are.
 
 remember im pulling for you, cause were all in this together.
Posted by Wattup

Lazy misogynistic writing. 8 )
 
Although, I think X-Men has given the spotlight to more female comic characters than any other franchise I can think of.

Posted by Bestostero

They're cuckoo for cocoa puffs!

Posted by Niko1356

WTF !?!?!?!? What About the Scarlet Witch ????? ..... Then Agian she was thought of as an avenger and not an X-Man
Posted by Herx

the answers obvious from the first ever issue from the 60's. All the male members of the team continuously hit on them, and the only way to make them understand that no means no is go all gaga and teach them all a lesson about boundaries.

Posted by Trodorne

here is a song for this article
  

Posted by Billy Batson
@Alch said:
Bitches be crazy.
 
  
  

BB

Online
Posted by G-Man

@Niko1356: Believe me, I debated whether or not I could include her due to her connections but it just wouldn't be right. Maybe she fought them one time too many and caught whatever they have.

Staff
Posted by ImperiousRix

I'm... not sure about the topic today, but I must admit when I read the title all I could think of was this... 

Posted by Rudyftw

Its classic Sand-woe syndrome..... THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A WOMEN IS OUT OF THE KITCHEN FOR TOO LONG.

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