Sexualized Saturdays: Rick and Morty’s “Raising Gazorpazorp” & Gender Politics

(image via comicvine)

Rick and Morty is currently one of my favorite TV shows, and for that reason I have been avoiding analyzing its gender politics, especially in “Raising Gazorpazorp”, the episode that tries to address gender. In this episode, Rick and Summer go to a planet where the genders are separated. The males are dumb, violent, sex-crazed beasts, while the women are cultured and sophisticated, but openly sexist against men. Rick and Morty uses the Gazorpians to discuss humanity’s own gender issues, but fails, for the most part, to come to any kind of satisfying conclusion.

Trigger warning for rape and rape culture and spoiler warning for “Raising Gazorpazorp”, “Rick Potion #9”, “Meeseeks and Destroy,” and “Look Who’s Purging Now”.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Betty Dodson & Carlin Ross

web crush wednesdays

With a hellish election season finally wrapped up here in the United States, I can’t help but think back to all of the disgustingly sexist things that have happened. It made me think for the billionth time that we need better sex education in this country. Particularly, we need better sex and gender education, and everyone regardless of gender needs to learn about feminism. Well, sadly, we all know that isn’t happening in our current education system, which is why I am so grateful for those people on YouTube who try to educate others. Today I specifically want to talk about Carlin Ross and Betty Dodson, two amazing feminists and sex educators whose goal is to help de-stigmatize women’s bodies, help women learn about their bodies, promote a healthy sex-positive attitude, and promote women’s rights.

Warning for explicit discussion of sex and general NSFW-ness after the jump.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Droids and Gender in Star Wars

In the eternal quest to anthropomorphize everything, I think it’s pretty normal to occasionally look at generally featureless objects and idly wonder if they have a gender. After all, gender is typically a pretty significant part of identity for humans, and part of being human is to project humanity onto non-human things. Of course, most people can easily recognize that in reality, gender (as it exists separate from biological sex) is a uniquely human concept that can be applied to animals only in a very limited capacity, and to objects not at all. Thus, it was deeply surprising to me that the question of a robot’s gender became such a source of contention amongst Star Wars fans surrounding the release of The Force Awakens. It’s unclear who first voiced speculation about the gender of the adorably rotund new droid, BB-8, but it has spun off into a debate about the gender of every significant droid in the Star Wars universe, and opinions are bafflingly strong over in the gender binary camp. The more fascinating question, in my opinion, is whether an artificial intelligence can have a gender at all, and if so, what informs that aspect of its identity?

r2d2 and bb8

Aluminum Casing: who wore it better?

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Sexualized Saturdays: Rick Sanchez, Unity, and Sexuality

I just started watching Rick and Morty, and I must say that I adore it. Rick and Morty is the story of an elderly, eccentric, alcoholic scientist who moves in with his daughter and her family after years of being apart from them. Rick spends most of his time with his grandson Morty, who helps Rick out as they travel through space, alternate universes, and other crazy adventures.

I was recently rewatching Season 2 of Rick and Morty—in particular, I was watching the episode “Auto Erotic Assimilation”, where we meet the Hivemind being Unity, a former lover of Rick’s. In the episode, Unity appears to Rick in a variety of genders and while Rick seems to be primarily interested in Unity’s female avatars, he doesn’t seem averse to the male ones, who are also incorporated into their lovemaking in various ways. Furthermore, though Unity appears in a variety of forms to Rick, they seem to primarily be identified in the show as female.

Auto Erotic AssimilationSo today we are going to talk about not only Rick Sanchez’s sexuality, but also what the sexuality and gender of a Hivemind would be like.

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Sexualized Satudays: Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Engender Performative Play

More puns! The praise train for Splatoon and Nintendo keeps going!

For many of us, video games are a form of escapism. This can come in a few flavors, either by having equal standing in the game’s society, being able to perform outlandish feats, or just experiencing a world unlike your own. Another form of escapism is getting the chance to roleplay as something other than yourself. One of the most common ways to roleplay in gaming is to take on a character of another gender. In light of this, I want to discuss Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. some more.

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No Really, Trust Me: Pan’s Review of Loki: Agent of Asgard #14

Welp, the whole Marvel universe is coming to an end. Again. You know, as usual, thanks to yet another over-arching Marvel tie-in event called Secret Wars that Loki: Agent of Asgard has been awkwardly shoehorned into. To be honest, I have only the most general idea of what is going on in the rest of this tie-in, because like most people I can’t be bothered to read dozens of other series in conjunction with this one, but suffice to say that the world is ending. This marks the fourth such multi-series tie-in in just fourteen issues of Agent of Asgard, which leaves very little room for the actual title character of the series to develop while ey is busy playing backup to everyone else’s central plotlines.

Then again, there is the issue of whether or not the title character even is the same title character that we started the series with. The awkward young Loki we have come to know (and love?) has now been remade yet again into the bedraggled, slightly sickly-looking “God of Stories” who seems to have inherited only the vaguest impressions of young Loki’s memories.

This was the only panel that mattered, tbh.

This was the only panel that mattered, tbh.

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Ethnic Superhero Season, or What Michelle Rodriguez Can Teach Us About Believability

Virtually any time that something happens at the intersection of Black people and comics, I get a message on Facebook. That’s because my friends love me, I’m sure, but it occasionally leads me to be inundated with eight or nine messages about the same thing. Take, for example, this video of Michelle Rodriguez, which was sent to me by about twelve people a month ago:

In the video, Michelle offers a few choice words on diversity in casting: “Stop stealing white superheroes.” It caused a bit of an uproar in some circles, and Michelle made a video clarifying her statements. But first, let’s address the premise itself. Are all of these superheroes, “originally” white, whose races are being changed, being stolen? First, a superhero is functionally a mythological entity (yes, they are—I will fight you), and cannot be stolen. They can, however, be appropriated, and this may be closer to what Rodriguez meant. My initial reaction was confusion, both personal and academic. As an individual, I was confused at why another person of color objects to the practice of diversifying white characters, especially Green Lantern who has already seen a Latino character—Kyle Rayner—in a print run.

Academically, I was confused because the notion that white characters can be “stolen” or “appropriated” when they are primarily what’s made available to young people of all races, while even our fantasies are “regulated by white believability” is troubling. Even more than that, myths are shaped, stolen, borrowed, passed around, and stripped for parts regularly. That’s their nature and cannot be separated from their purpose. It’s what they do. If you don’t believe me, on the left is a picture of Chinese Jesus.

There’s no universe in which I’m sad that Thor is a woman in the newest print run, and I don’t feel that men have lost anything; Thor was a man for all comic print runs beforehand (except for that time he was a frog). A little turnabout is fair play. Similarly, I’m not upset that Heimdall was played by Idris Elba or that Johnny Storm is being played Michael B. Jordan. I’m not even upset that Donald Glover keeps teasing us with this Spider-Man thing, or that Tyrese Gibson keeps telling us how ready he is to play Green Lantern (although I wish they’d stop teasing us, I’m getting chafed over here).

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