October 19, 2013 by Julia
I’ll admit, I’ve been much too distracted with real-life frustrations to get too frustrated about politics. I kind of enjoyed the shut-down, though. While I felt very bad for people who were losing one or both incomes from their home, I think it was stark evidence that the government has its fingers in way too many pies. This post from one of my favorite blogs, along with the comments on it from other federal workers, says something entirely different than the people think they are saying. If government workers are over-worked due to less funding, maybe they aren’t supposed to be serving that function in the first place. Just a thought.
Anyway, I’m getting kind of angry that geekdom has become the new cause célèbre among angry feminists. I enjoy my media, stay the hell out of it. Not every indication that women like different things than men is emblematic of the phallocentric phallocracy. Not every story that has more men than women is oppression. Not everything featuring women with flaws OR women without flaws is sexism (seriously, authors can’t win these days). And, even if something is sexism, it’s not even necessarily worth throwing a temper tantrum over–nothing perpetuates stereotypes of women being hysterical nutcases like women actually being hysterical nutcases.
But no, no, apparently feminists have nothing better to do with their time these days other than insert themselves into geekdom and raise a big stink over things that have nothing to do with the oppression of women. Are you ready for the most recent case of utter sexism that valiant feminists are confronting on my behalf? Ready? Marvel is selling Spider-Girl costumes with skirts! And there is an option (are you ready for the sexism?) that comes in pink! OMG THE HORROR! THOSE POOR GIRLS! SOMEONE NEEDS TO START A CHARITY!
This tantrum makes feminists look particularly stupid, because they immediately jump to SEXISM! as the motivation for marketing decisions. Anyone with half a brain knows that companies test their products on consumers before they are released, and their product designs are developed for the specific and sole purpose of making money. I guarantee you the costume designers at Marvel were not sitting around a table cackling as they plotted to oppress women. I’m sure that what really happened is that they surveyed the market and determined that young girls might want to wear a costume called “Spider-Girl” that comes with a skirt or in pink. That’s it. But no, the people at Salon came up with this for a headline: “Marvel Comics gives its Spider-Girl costume a skirt because all girls must wear skirts!” And Jezebel wrote this: “Marvel’s Spider-Girl Costume Is Pink and Frilly Because Girls.” Surprisingly, Salon is more shrill and idiotic that Jezebel, which is usually pretty difficult. But yeah, the implication that Marvel is on some kind of one-company crusade to force all women to wear skirts is kind of hilarious.
As for me, I rolled my eyes because that’s not the real Spider-Girl costume. As the original discoverer of the pink costume noted:
If your child likes Spider-Girl and wants to dress up as her, wouldn’t they be really disappointed at this costume? And if they don’t care about looking like Spider-Girl, what’s even the point of having this costume under the Spider-Girl brand with the heroine right on the front to sell it?
Exactly–Spider-Girl is obscure enough (she’s from an alternate timeline) that if your daughter wants to dress like her, she is a comic-book fan, and is unlikely to appreciate a modified costume. I suspect that they tested these costumes among female fans of Spider-Man, as a “girl version,” and slapped the Spider-Girl picture on there to pretend otherwise. Fine, whatever, you have to make your own costume if you want it to be authentic–we geeks have been doing things like that for years, no big deal. There were no nefarious purposes here, only a confused marketing strategy.
Besides, re-imagining male costumes for women has been A Thing in geekdom for years. Here is the Google Image search for dresses based on the Iron-Man costume, for example. I can’t wait to read the hysterical rantings of Salon and Jezebel over these at-home cosplay designers who made the SUPER SEXIST decision to wear a dress instead of the original costume. Hell, they can come to my house and bitch, because I had someone make a tutu dress of my husband’s favorite comic book character’s costume (he is sufficiently obscure that I’m not saying who, in case I end up with captioned photos online somewhere) for our daughter. OMG I PUT MY DAUGHTER IN A DRESS VERSION OF A MALE CHARACTER’S COSTUME! I’M SUCH A PHALLOCRAT!
Feminists, please, leave geekdom alone. Thanks.