*Originally published 11/28/09 on Black Elixir Neat*
Mmkay. Pluto has entered Capricorn. Thank Fucking God, the God of Fucking. Planetary position's as meaningless as everything else, but to go on association, the transformative essence of Pluto applies to the fundamental Structure of our human perspective when in Capricorn. That's neither here nor there, but I guess I have some hopes for certain fundamental changes. I want to change the world to be more accepting so that I don't have to act demonstratively. It's selfish and stupid.
Anyhow, gender identity's been on my mind a lot lately. Of course, I could go on about Batwoman for days. I could talk about how Greg Rucka has written her as a full human being and how that seems so fucking mind-blowing in the reactionary field of superhero comics. I could write about how her scary straight-browed mask offsets the chalk-white skin and blood-red lips, how her body language becomes both intimidating and arousing simultaneously, how White Town's "Your Woman" goes through my head when she flirts with her future Big Ex and future Question, Officer Renee Montoya.
Thing is, I don't know that this should feel as special as it does. I should be more critical of the stilted dialogue during the Baroque Horror of Gotham moments with the Religion of Crime. Frankly, it says something to me about the world that Batwoman doesn't get a title all her own. I can complain that DC Entertainment "should" have done a Batwoman book, but as a retailer, I don't think that it would sell as well as it would within Detective. I'm kind of sad that a character as human as she is seen as new and innovative for a lead role, that LGBTQIA characters most often flesh out ensemble casts as something separate or novel.
There's also the shapeshifter/intersexed character problem that dogs me. "Shapeshifter" as character type seems to carry the dichotomy of Trickster/Sociopath, and, with the exception of a few X-Men or aliens, seem mostly male/masculine in disposition. Mystique, the most high-profile of the feminine shapeshifters in the superhero genre, is a notably oversexed sociopath, all the way to fighting Wolverine while naked and carrying all sorts of phallic artillery. Her callousness seems only portrayed through her cavalier use of sex appeal and through few other outlets. We could argue that it's "part of her character," but she's barely a character in contrast to the potential she has. Secret Invasion, where Earth has been invaded by a shapeshifting species of extraterrestrials, exemplifies this by displaying the War Skrulls as bulky, steroidy Man-Dudes with the ladyshaped ones acting in a more manipulative role. Why does it take so damned long for media to move forward? As much as I love Mad Men, I feel frustrated that a show that takes place in the early 1960s seems more relevant than the most bleeding-edge dramas.
Sure, I get it: it's comic books. Most somatypes are relegated into extremes and visual shorthand due to the limitations of publishing, as well as a given artist's skill. I'm as incapable of living up to Batman's physique as the lady sitting next to me is to Wonder Woman, but with so many opportunities to explore the fallacy of any identity, especially in a genre where identity is writ so large, the stagnation feels like a waste.
Having LGBTQIA characters work in comics would, in my opinion, come through making it less of a big deal. A character's gender identity, or rather gender tendencies, act as window dressing for the person beneath all of those motivations. In the words of Mark Renton, "It has everything to do with aesthetics and fuck all to do with morality." I'm getting kind of tired of two women getting intimate as being seen as "hawt" and marketed toward this weird harem fantasy for the hetero male. Maybe I take all of this too seriously. Maybe it's that focus on sensory intimacy as, well, intimate that makes this whole scenario seem more frustrating than it should be. Maybe I just want the world to change so I don't have to think about how to act like a Man all the fucking time.