I Never Want to be a 7-Year-Old Girl: DC and the Things I Like

Posted by EisforExtinction (1909 posts) - - Show Bio

Seven year girls have it pretty rough. They can't get drunk, they need to go to elementary school, and their favourite characters turn into slut factories. It's for reasons like this that I'm glad I'm 25 and a guy. As you can guess the things that we like are very different as well.

Not Neurosis

A seven year old may enjoy the music of Selena Gomez, the movie Mr. Popper's Penguins, and reading Harry Potter.

Neurosis

I on the other hand enjoy post metal band Neurosis, movies like Lesbian Vampire Killers, and reading biographies of drug dealers. It's cool that we can both like the things we like and we don't have to cross paths. I don't hand out DVD copies of The Wire to elementary students because just because they don't enjoy something that I do it doesn't take anything away from it.

Recently DC Comics has come under fire for a couple of characters in their relaunch: Catwoman and Starfire. I would usually ignore something like this because although I can agree Catwoman was very sexualized I enjoyed it and didn't lose my mind over it. The problem with the outcry is that it is overshadowing great comics. DC's Relaunch is being viewed as a failure because it is so out of touch with female readers because of two, in my opinion, minor characters. Catwoman and Starfire have received more attention than Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Batgirl, and even Carol Ferris (who I think has taken some major steps to become an independent woman).

Furthermore DC is being criticized for not reaching out to female fans that hadn't read comics in the past (something that I have a hard time understanding). Here is a comic poking fun of these events.

I have a number of problems with this comic:

A cartoon teen.
NOT a cartoon teen.
  1. Lucy was never inspired to read comics between the time Teen Titans was on the air and the relaunch of DC Comics.
  2. She didn't pick up a comic call Teen Titans Go! that was a direct spin-off of the show.
  3. She had no familiarity with Starfire other than from the show otherwise she would know that Starfire has always been sexualized (to be fair not the degree she has been recently).
  4. Lucy didn't pick up a comic called Teen Titans, she bought a comic called Red Hood and the Outlaws that doesn't mention Starfire in the title and only shows a little of her on the cover and even then Lucy was able to figure out that the character she enjoyed as a child now looks very different without any clue on the cover.
  5. It is DC's fault for not keep a character the same as a cartoon that was on that was a teenage version of a DC character from fie years ago.
  6. Lucy expects 2 dimensional characters from her childhood to continue to inspire her in college without changing.

Characters change. It's the same reason complaining that Nightwing could never be Batman and Superman could never renounce his American citizenship. To make stories interesting characters have to change. More often than not the people that complain the most about these changes are people who don't currently read comic books. They are attached to a version of a character they have in their heads from their childhood but don't buy comics now and quite honestly why would a company care about someone who has no intention of buying their product.

I'm not saying all change is good. I thought Catwoman could have been toned down but the reason that it's okay is that it made me have a reaction. Interesting things should elicit a response. It doesn't mean the thing is good or bad but the fact it deserves to be talked about says something. When you try to please everybody you end up playing it so safe that the product doesn't elicit a response and I don't want that with the things I enjoy.

If you demand the comic you read have a power female role model (which again I think is weird because I read a bunch of comics and I don't look up to 10% of the main characters) then I suggest Batwoman, Batgirl, or Green Lantern. If your favourite character is Catwoman or Starfire then maybe you could read back issues for a couple years until they inevitably change everything back to the way it was (because if you were buying issues before they might have kept Gotham City Sirens running instead of breaking up Catwoman, Harley, and Ivy). But until then let those of use with thick skins be glad that we aren't 7 year-old girls.

#1 Posted by etragedy (1102 posts) - - Show Bio
#2 Posted by Mercy_ (92990 posts) - - Show Bio

This is an excellent piece. Well said and agreed on many, if not all, points.

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#3 Posted by SickAlice (65 posts) - - Show Bio

More adults complain about this then children, and in the majority of a case it's not a children they know have read but " what if ". The adults are shifting the blame for their own judgements onto children as children are less reluctant to be able to defend their opinions. Most of the people I've read directly complaining about the difference between the animated Starfire and the DCnU one are on average 23up, meaning they weren't little when they saw the animated series. People like to complain, give them something and they'll dissect it, imply on it, and roll with it really. That's the bottom line of this debacle, fortunately I always carry ear plugs and headphones for myself personally. :P

#4 Posted by Delphic (1528 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Dark Huntress said:

This is an excellent piece. Well said and agreed on many, if not all, points.

seconded

#5 Posted by Joygirl (20146 posts) - - Show Bio

Signed with a particularly enthusiastic flourish.

#6 Posted by The Stegman (25496 posts) - - Show Bio

More adults complain about this then children, and in the majority of a case it's not a children they know have read but " what if ". The adults are shifting the blame for their own judgements onto children as children are less reluctant to be able to defend their opinions. Most of the people I've read directly complaining about the difference between the animated Starfire and the DCnU one are on average 23up, meaning they weren't little when they saw the animated series. People like to complain, give them something and they'll dissect it, imply on it, and roll with it really. That's the bottom line of this debacle, fortunately I always carry ear plugs and headphones for myself personally. :P

seconded 
#7 Posted by StarKiller809 (1239 posts) - - Show Bio

This is amazing. I really feel this way too and I'm glad that you said something. I really don't see why people blew up over Starfire and Catwoman. I mean, they made the whole situation more then it was.

#8 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (34303 posts) - - Show Bio

Yea I agree with most of what you said here, except Lesbian Vampire Killers, that was a crap film.

Online
#9 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

Lesbian Vampire Killers is an actual movie?!?!? O_O

#10 Posted by Afro_Warrior (1120 posts) - - Show Bio

@SickAlice said:

More adults complain about this then children, and in the majority of a case it's not a children they know have read but " what if ". The adults are shifting the blame for their own judgements onto children as children are less reluctant to be able to defend their opinions. Most of the people I've read directly complaining about the difference between the animated Starfire and the DCnU one are on average 23up, meaning they weren't little when they saw the animated series. People like to complain, give them something and they'll dissect it, imply on it, and roll with it really. That's the bottom line of this debacle, fortunately I always carry ear plugs and headphones for myself personally. :P

Agreed

Well written blog Eisfor, i feel the same about pretty much all your points.

#11 Posted by SC (13299 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool blog. Great points. 
 
I think DC is being criticized for trying to have its cake and eat it too, as in, I think its a straw man argument to say DC should be criticized for not trying harder to reach out to female fans, DC, entire point of relaunching? Is to reach out to more, simply more fans. As many as they can. Woman readers just happen to be a huge untapped market. Its not even about gender lines anymore either, since I have seen so many backwards arguments pointing to the past history of comics as some sort of reflection of the future? In real life with any medium, time changes things. Education, wealth and opportunity tend to balance out things like gender, and age and race. Today when you invent a product you try and sell it to as many people as you can. The better you get at selling something the more you don't just have to focus on one very narrow target market. So they know Twilight is going to appeal to girls, so in the trailers they try and focus as much on the action and fighting as they can to try desperately to pick up more money from guys living under rocks.  
 
This is where the comics book industry is failing. This is where other mediums are succeeding, this is where comics is showing its vulnerability in lacking the ability to adapt fast and most defenses of what comics are doing end up sounding more like apologist style defenses. Its not really about the people who like it or me, or any individual ho humming around on a comic message board, and just the general idea of DC's relaunch being considered a success of failure is puzzling to me, since its pretty complicated and effects still need to work though, and its going to take a while to see this work though. So its easy to provide good and solid logical arguments for why fans should give books chances or look for alternatives but those can't be exchanged for money. The point with Lucy is that DC is guilty of (some) stale thinking. Safe thinking. DC specifically hired Scott Lobdell because he is safe. They were making huge risks elsewhere so makes sense they needed some safe books. Another thing is lots of actual comic fans leave comics everyday. To assume that those not reading won't, is to sign the death certificate on comics, since it has to rely on two things? Bringing in new readers and keeping new readers? Moves like a line relaunch and advertising? Brings in new readers? Books like Red Hood? Doesn't keep new readers (it keeps old readers) A character like Starfire has more potential to help keep new readers. So no real right or wrong him, more about what can be done to be better. Everything can be better. 

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