An interesting debate has turned up in comics fandom of late, stemming from a certain event in 52 #21.
Does a particular character’s death by decapitation imply a larger, disturbing trend in the DCU? What does it mean?
Over at his livejournal, JLG posts this question in his entry, Creepy Trends:
Trends are why Dorian Wright has every right to criticize Marvel and voice his concerns about Marvel’s portrayals of gay characters after his examples of Northstar and Freedom Ring, and why feminist comic readers keep a close watch on the comic industry and advocate better portrayals and treatment of female characters after the initial WiR list, Sue Dibny, Stephanie Brown, and Cassandra Cain.
“If something happens three times, it is a trend, by the way.”
Mongal, Pantha, and now Trajectory. So what is it with DC gruesomely decapitating women?
Our own Ragnell doesn’t like the implications of one of the arguments that emerge in the comments of JLG’s post, and she takes it to Written Word to examine more closely, in her entry, Castration:
It’s one thing, of course, to find sexism by focusing on the reasoning why, or the reaction of the other characters to this death. However, to focus on the method of death itself, and how humiliating and degrading it is and connect that with castration when it is a death that occurs no where close to the sexual organs, and occurs on a battlefield rather than a traditional women’s setting, comes dangerously close to the attitude that one’s identity, personality and power lies in one’s sexual organs. It also, when all the shame connected with a death in this matter comes specifically from losing the battle and not one’s gender role, comes infuriatingly close to equating “loser” with “woman.”
In both cases, the discussion gets particularly interesting in the comments.