Sexualized Saturdays: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Gender Dichotomy

jessica-jones-luke-cagePlenty has already been said about heroes and anti-heroes. Superman was created over seventy-five years ago, and yet America today prefers its heroes to have a bit more grit, like Tony Stark. What’s undeniable is that a dichotomy exists between light heroes and dark heroes. It’s a way of looking at protagonists that has ancient roots, but manifests differently in male and female characters.

The light and dark dichotomy is very old and very ingrained in our storytelling traditions. On the surface, “light” stereotypes give the character traits that are traditionally associated with positive ideas and symbolism. More often than not these characters will wear white or light colors, have light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes. “Dark” characters tend to have dark hair, skin, eyes, and clothing. This color dichotomy is associated with good and evil, for religious and historical reasons. If you don’t have electricity you can be more productive when the sun’s out, while it’s easier for robbers and rule-breakers to hide in the cover of night. White is associated with purity and goodness, especially in Christianity, while black is associated with evil and the consequences of evil (like sin and death).

While light heroes cling to a traditional morality, dark heroes have a more subversive attitude. There’s something bad or wrong or broken with a dark character, which is usually the source of their darkness. Men tend to be gallant, chivalrous heroes or troubled rogues, while women tend to be virginal maidens or seductive vamps. It’s taken generations to move beyond this rigid dichotomy, giving the light and dark new and interesting implications. But if we really care about smashing gender stereotypes, we need to move beyond the light and dark gender axis. Both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones from Marvel’s respective Netflix series take the light and dark dichotomies and smash them to bits.

Spoilers for all of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones below.

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Manga Mondays: D.N.Angel

Minitokyo.D.N.Angel.114887D.N.Angel follows a not-so-normal boy, Niwa Daisuke, and his epic crush on Harada Risa. Daisuke’s family has raised him inside a booby-trapped house that tries to kill him whenever he comes home from school and wakes up for breakfast in the morning, leading Daisuke to be a very active and physically capable fourteen-year-old boy. A true sign of love from his family, I’m sure. But the men in the Niwa family have a strange genetic mutation, one that turns them in a phantom thief called Dark Mousy. And to top it off, this transformation happens because of hormones. So whenever Risa is around—or if he thinks about her too much—Daisuke will transform into Dark. However, in order for Dark to change back into Daisuke, the same must happen, and Dark has his own little crush on Risa’s twin sister, Riku.

Oddly enough, though Dark is aptly named, as he’s a phantom thief, his main antagonist is an angel of light, Krad. Krad is more or less and exact opposite of Dark. Whereas Dark is a lawbreaker with a heart of gold, Krad is the genetic mutation of police commander Hikari Satoshi and he repeatedly attempts to murder both Dark and Daisuke.

D.N.Angel is a cute little story that deals a lot with crushes, love interests, and the difference between light and dark.

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