Personal

Mystique and the Problem of Gaze

Or, the insufficiency of binary feminist criticism in mutant discourse.

Richard Siken wrote the line history is a little man in a brown suit/trying to define a room he is outside of. A lot of the time, that’s how I feel about gender.

Growing up assigned-female, I was drawn to the idea of being ‘not like other girls.’ I spent most of my time with boys, but reveled in not being one of them. I tested out binding and packing for years before my best friend bought me my first binder. I talked to trans men about drag, about whether it was okay for someone like me — then thinking I was a girl — to participate.

When I started wandering around the queerer parts of the internet — you know, the places where kids try out new names and pronouns and try to explain themselves with a language none of us were ever taught and half of us only halfway understand. Tumblr’s a big part of that, especially for me. While I still thought I was cis, someone said, anonymously, that they’d thought I was nonbinary.

For some reason — wink, nudge — that mattered to me. So I started to consider things. What did I do with the characters I liked? I made them trans. Usually, I made them nonbinary.

And I looked back, too, on the single most consequential figure in my queer youth: Mystique, as played by Rebecca Romijn. Mystique in her nakedness, her refusal to conform. Cis feminists, I’ve since learned, see her as a concession to the male gaze, using the subtly insidious “empowered naked lady” trope. It’s the trope people associate with any character with breasts who maybe, sometimes, shows them.

(more…)

Welcome!

Hi everyone!  Welcome to the new blog!  If you came from any of my social media, this is the exciting new blog where I’ll be writing longform analysis on stuff that maybe isn’t immediately newsworthy, as well as talking about my endeavors as a journalist, aspiring supervillain, and screenwriter/filmmaker.

The name of the blog, No More Metaphors, is a reference to the infamous House of M storyline in Marvel comics, and particularly these panels:

Wanda Maximoff's No More Mutants

Wanda Maximoff during the House of M storyline, weeping as she declares, “No more mutants.”

I wanted to reference this because the X-Men have always served as a sort of allegory for all manner of minority groups, but often the stories have been focused around straight, able-bodied white people.  Very rarely are things like gender, sexuality, disability, and race dealt with explicitly in X-books.

And I’m tired of that.  I’m tired of only being able to see myself as a metaphor as opposed to a real person.  I want mutants, sure, but I want them to be like me, not just using my stories as a queer disabled person as fodder for their allegory.

I want more books like Iceman.  Over at DC, I want more books like Midnighter, Batwoman, and DC Bombshells.  Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime looks promising, but still, one line and an occasional solo miniseries isn’t enough.

So, this blog was conceived, and named.  I used to host it on Tumblr, and all of my old posts can still be found there.  Everything new, however, will be posted here and only linked over there.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you follow along as I work to analyze existing texts through queer and disabled lenses, call for more and better representation, and just talk about my life as a queer, disabled superhero fan and comics press reporter.  I’m looking forward to sharing more than ever here!