I always find it interesting when I find themes in a period of time. Yesterday was a heavy gender issue day. But then the theme had been building from the moment I picked up Y The Last Man on Tuesday.
Sometimes I think these themes pop up because I notice them but this one was so strangely universal. I requested Y The Last Man a month or so ago with two other graphic novel series but I didn’t get the first book until last week. It took me until Tuesday to have time to dedicate to the book series. I had all ten books of the series to devour and I sure did. What an amazing story! Y The Last Man follows Yorick, a young man who’s father had a thing for Shakespeare. Yorick finds himself to be the last surviving male (well, with his male capuchin monkey) after a mysterious illness kills all males (human and animal).
This series is full of commentary but it didn’t really catch my eye. I just loved the journey Yorick went on. His goal was to find his girlfriend and ask her to marry him. He traveled with a secret agent sworn to protect him and a geneticist who is trying to create a vaccine to the disease using Yorick. But I didn’t think about any of the political parts because there was just so much – it could really become an exploration of feminism but I don’t read to think most of the time.
Then add Mrs. Hall blog post. Now at first I agreed with her. I didn’t even look at the pictures she shared (which have changed since yesterday). I believe that young women should be a little more discreet. Not because I believe they shouldn’t feel pretty or sexy or even have sexual urges but solely for the reason that nothing on the internet disappears. I say this very thing about Miley Cyrus – someday she is going to regret how she portrays herself in her current pictures. When I was a teen I did stupid things. Happens to us all but there’s no real evidence of my stupidity because we didn’t have the internet. Now all those poor choices can circulate forever. Those sexy stupid pictures will be there for future lovers, stalkers, bosses and children to see.
However, I seriously disagree with Mrs. Hall’s concept that her boys can’t be responsible for their actions because the girls put thoughts into their heads. I’m sorry but I’m the mother of a teenage boy. Even with Autism, we expect him to take responsibility for his actions. We expect him to treat girls and women with respect. I had a long rant on facebook about this. You can raise responsible boys but that’s not the point of this post – we’re talking about messages from the universe.
So after all that, I finish Y The Last Man and pick the last graphic novel I have on my pile – Spiderman and the Black Cat. This is a restart by Kevin Smith. Wonderful. I know it’s not being well received (at least according to all the bad reviews on goodreads) but I loved it. I don’t do a lot of superhero graphic novels. Not all that interested in going back and trying to read the stories either. I like what exposure I have had to superheroes (traditional ones like Superman and Spiderman). I occasionally pick up one, like this one, just because I can.
I was totally impressed but then maybe the universe had a way of paving the road. The story is mostly told from Black Cat’s perspective. She’s returned to New York to find a friend who is missing. It ends with her bonding with the villain over their rape stories (the villain is male). She’s a very sexy character and the growth she talks about was awesome. I loved that she was a very in control woman.
Add to all that the fact we watched Tomb Raider this week and I’m left thinking about what is feminism and what sort of world do we live in. There are few other things that just were noticed because I was tuned into them. I’ve often talked to my son about what it means to be a woman. I can’t change the world but I can make my son understand. We talk about sexuality. We love him so who he loves is a choice he gets to make. We want him to be with someone who is good for him – not someone who mistreats him but on the other hand we expect him to treat his partner with love and respect.
Granted my husband and I have a lot of work to do on ourselves. We have decades of bad influences to wade through (and bad habits). However, I have decided that the sort of woman I want to be is a strong, caring one. I wish
men people would take the time to see how their words and actions support a culture that prevents women from being equal. It’s not enough to want the same rights. People should be allowed to make choices that work for them without judgment. A woman who chooses to stay home with her children is not flipping off women who fight for the right to work. She made a choice, just as a woman who chooses to have a baby isn’t pro-life (she made a choice so by definition she’s pro-choice). We should support each other’s right to choose. We should support the right for an adult woman to pose naked for money (or have sex for money) so long as she’s choosing to do so. We should support a woman’s right to marry and have two point five children and a picket fence. We should support her right to be CEO or an artist. We should support her right to love someone who treats her with respect and support her when she makes a choice she regrets.
We should demand that men stand up for the right for women to choose. We should raise our sons to be advocates. We should raise them to know that the world needs women to complete it. We should support their right to choose as well. Because while it feels like they have everything, that’s not true. They are forced away from their choices as well. They don’t get the same rights when it comes to raising their children (just ask any single dad). They have pressures to be “men”.
We are never going to be the same but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be in balance. The word equal has never meant the same but we forget. We forget that the world is better when it’s in balance and balance is all we should be seeking.