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RM: It's kind of interesting that most "ewww, superheroes" I've seen comes from dudes, while "yay, superheroes!" is more from ladies.

Not exclusively, of course, but I reckon there's something worth thinking about in there.

BW: I could offer a >140 character speculation here.

RM: Sure. I'm thinking it's a combination of people experiencing capes in more ways now + shifts in feelings of empowerment.

BW: Was thinking; superheroes read as less accessible to people who might want larger than life heroes to have an everyman aspect.

(So I'm curious about how guys who go Ew! at capes respond to military or assassin video game characters, Sin City, etc.)

Whereas anyone who likes superheroes accepts that they're people even with spandex and powers.

I'd wonder if girls get less association with superheros as kids, so 1) it's less likely to have that tinge of "kid stuff"...

RM: That one's trickier; of my parents, my mom is FAR more the comics fan, having loved Batman both as a child and an adult.

However, "here's my mom" is not a perfect encapsulation of every female cape fan ever, of course!

(compared to my dad, who was mostly done with comics when they killed the Barry Allen version of the Flash)

BW: 2) a teen/adult can get into that contrast of superpowers, dimensional travel, superscience, etc, with the very human aspects.

I'd also wonder about a weird byproduct of sexism, with guys brought up to be the everyman, girls have the "princess" thing...

... guys are brought up with firemen, police, soldiers etc as models, so we get older & hey, what's this exuberant spandex stuff?

... whereas a woman might think at some level OK, this is another special princess fantasy, where's the human aspect? here it is.

(God, now I'm worried that I'm being egregiously sexist.)

RM: Well, the issue itself is a broad-strokes thing, so being aware that Not All X Are Y is assumed, but always good to mention it!

So @BW brings up a really interesting point: does the "princess narrative" foisted on lots of little girls transfer easily to supers?

Because in addition to thinking about whose dicks should touch (v. important), fandom loves the "glittery but flawed" aspect of 'em.

And if you're already used to knowing you're never going to be a princess, why NOT enjoy a flying fireproof man you'll never be, either?

BW: My personal experience has been that if you're a guy, you're REALLY rushed to ditch "kid stuff"...

So spandex guys talking during fistfights is childish & uncool, but you give 'em fatigues & silenced MP5s & it's somehow "adult."

See "pretty much every comic from the mid to late 90s which were all ninjas, guns and nanotechnology."

RM: That, or you dig around for enough stuff in a silly thing you love to prove to peers that it's "awesome, not just kiddie stuff."

RT [protected]: "I think it's worth comparing superhero narratives to magical girl narratives which are very popular with young girls."

Which is also true: the silly/frilly/improbable costumes are armor. You put on your cowl or fuku or red lipstick and you can Handle The Day.

[edit; did not have all participants in this chunk of conversation in my feed]
SF: I think it's worth comparing superhero narratives to magical girl narratives which are very popular with young girls.

FV: Tony Stark totally has a magical girl transformation when he puts his armor on. The makeup and frills are armor, too! [...] You put on your cowl or fuku or red lipstick and you can Handle The Day.

SF: the whole "my secret identity might hurt my friends and family!" thing is strong in both genres

also "average girl by day, magic princess by night!!"

FV: And so much magical girl stuff relies on characters being Normal Gals WHEN SUDDENLY. You usually aren't raised to be one.


FV: And HOO BOY there sure are metaphors for being thrust into womanhood/adulthood there, aren't there?



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