the art of women in nerd culture (or how love makes you a killer)

Before I start, I want to explain that I am not going to harp of the state of women in nerd culture. More intelligent people have done this before. In particular I am going to talk about Star Sapphires because they are literally everything that I despise in one convenient package. To start things off I’m going to link you all to a tumblr post that gives a much better overview.

Dressed to Kill by Megan Rosalarian Gedris is funny and fantastic and also I kind of love her. She’s great and continually creative in ways I long to be and is probably a living cartoon character. She’s great is what I’m saying.

So I’ve been sick since about Sunday and since then I’ve gotten through two seasons of Archer (again), The 10th Kingdom, and about six and a half episodes of Once Upon a Time. Yesterday in a fit of pique, I decided that I should just give Green Lantern: The Animated series a try. I love Batman: The Animated Series; sometimes I listen to Adele and cry about how good Batman:TAS is and how I just want so badly for it to be canon.

It’s an okay show even if Hal Jordan is, as always…well, Hal Jordan. I like Kilowog. I love Razer because his name is Razer and he is a space teen who is a stupid dumb in every sense of the term.

Just look at him. His name is Razer.

I just…

His name is Razer. Can I repeat that yet again? I need to get it all out at once or this entire entry will be “OKAY BUT HIS NAME IS RAZER”.

For the uninitiated I’ll try to keep this brief. I am aware that I am cutting out a lot of comic lore, but time is of the essence. From the Silver Age (roughly 1959 – 1970) onwards, Green Lanterns are essentially space police who patrol different sectors, defending the galaxy, etc. There are several Green Lanterns from earth, but the most well known is John Stewart who was on the Justice League cartoon and who is pretty cool! Up until 2007 there was only two other Lantern corp, the Yellow Lanterns, who serve as the primary antagonists. Green runs on willpower (whatever that means) with yellow currently running on fear, and as a counterpoint to the Green Lanterns.

Yeah in the original comics the only weakness was the color yellow. I’ll just get that out of the way because that is just really stupid. Anyway the Yellow Lanterns are run by this John Waters lookin’ dude named Sinestro who GASP was green lantern until he decided to douche it up.

This dude seems legit.

In 2007 a comic event started that introduced the
I think that phrase deserves some glitter text. Well going through each color of the rainbow (ROY G. BIV style)  there are different corresponding emotions to each color. Red is rage, Orange is Greed, Yellow fear, Green Willpower (that is an emotion now), Blue is hope, Indigo is…compassion. I don’t remember and Violet. Oh Violet is actually pink and it’s love.

Also all of them are women.

They live on a pink planet

They are all crazy.

The Star Sapphires were introduced in various forms before in the comics but weren’t officially an organization until 2007. Geoff Johns, the primary writer really likes the Silver Age, and brought them back. There are also the Black Lanterns who are all zombies and the White lanterns are who cares they are ALL THE COLORS. That’s not how colors work, but okay Geoff Johns.

I have a lot of issues with the Star Sapphires. Mainly that they are all women. They live on a pink planet. They are driven by love and they are all crazy. It bears repeating.  Obviously since this was an EVENT other characters in the DC universe got pulled in and since Wonder Woman is a WOMAN she became a Star Sapphire.

Because romance just is a huge part of what Wonder Woman does and who she is. She has never had a romance storyline but SHE IS DRIVEN BY LOVE THAT DOESN’T EXIST I DON’T EVEN KNOW APHRODITE DESCENDED FROM THE HEAVENS TO GIVE HER HER RING STOP ASKING ME.

I should probably note that there actually was a male star sapphire which I was pumped for until he was dressed like this:

EMPOWERMENT

Hmm yes

Never is the huge discrepancy between how women are treated and how men are treated in comics is more evident than here. Star Sapphires generally wear bizarre pink space taffy outfits. Check out that male star Sapphire. Decked out in space pajamas, armor, the whole nine yards.

I FEEL SO EMPOWERED

OH ALSO HE IS KING OF THE WOMENFOLK. I have not actually read this issue because simply seeing that cover has told me all I need to know.

If you’re going to go with SEXY SPACE PEOPLE and then decide to make a male star sapphire? I WANT A SEXY COSTUME – or maybe, and this would make sense, wish fulfillment. I’m talking hot firemen, hot policeman, regency hottie, hot highlander (I don’t know why this is a thing), hot…. space… vampire? I don’t know. I think space vampires are a thing in DC. I’ve been away for a while.

The thinking behind Star Sapphires is that they entrap you and love makes them crazy. In the episode of a kid’s show, mind you, they put men in stasis so that they never leave. This is possibly one of the only situations where you could possibly have an excuse for them wearing sexy costumes. After all, honey pot, femme fatale, etc.

The entire concept behind Star Sapphires is HA HA WOMEN.

It’s an underlying concept that is in a lot of nerd stuff. The Drow, for example, are a huge example of this. They are a matriarchal society of underground elves based on R.A. Salvatore’s creepy fetishes and the fact that WOMEN running a SOCIETY? Gotta be evil man, you know they’re ruled by their hormones.

Look at the Asari, from Mass Effect. They are basically super hot blue alien women who are only there to have sex. They are professional space prostitutes – that is their entire race.

But you know what? I don’t care for the most part, if the game was not dripping in douchebro frat boy at every turn. Sex workers are people too, and everyone has their reasons. That is not the point. The point is that, as a race, they are only there to titillate. The point is, that there are very few other females of various alien races. As in, none, mostly.  There are more intricacies to it, but the bottom line is, hey: hot alien chicks. Of course, there is a subset of the species that are essentially succubi and live off of killing men they have sex with. That’s…hot?

I can see a lot of that thinking in In Love and War. Their planet is pink, they recruit women who are pining, and turn them into Glenn Close. Of course there is the all important fact that in the context of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, it is an all female society. They make a comment of how having a female dominated society is so much better and peaceful. There’s an underlying current of “ALL MEN ARE TERRIBLE” to them. They are, again, space succubi, albeit in a neutered way.

The thing is I like the Asari – a lot. I love the Asari, and the writing does try in later installments to move away from being so creepy. It’s still creepy, but it tries a little.

I like the drow too, in a weird way. I think it’s a really interesting idea, even if it’s executed in the worst possible way.

When it comes down to it, I like the Star Sapphires. I would love it if they dealt with the whole “obsession is bad” angle, if there were an equal gender ratio, if they were not all crazy and evil, a million ifs that I will never see. I love fighting great evils with the power of love, even if it’s embarrassing it’s still pretty great, as I’ve mentioned in previous entries.

But I cannot get over that hump. I cannot get over the fact that as a female, love makes me crazy. In the end, all women want is either your symbolic death (marriage, as all sitcoms inform me) or your actual death. Women can’t run societies without it being either at face value evil, or secretly evil. The only thing women are good for is poppin’ out babies and character development for the male characters.

As an end cap: It’s probably worth noting that the most prominent female Red Lantern’s motivation is she was raped.

I don’t have a joke for that. I don’t have paragraphs sputtering anger. I just want to mention that, because that is important to think about in the bigger picture.

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