Mostly Dedicated to Comics Published from 1955-1970
The Wasp's lament should have been "If only I had not followed the easy path of being a pretty air head, interested in nothing but fashion, but instead fought the hard fight against the classic expectations of my generation that only boys took science and math."But that's a bit long for the space available...
I believe it should read, "I probably ought to be out there helping the guys in their fight, but Stan insisted that caressing this phallic shape will play better to the book's target demographic."
That's the weird thing about the early Silver Age Marvel: For all the knocks DC (still) gets about their stodgy and un-hip Silver Age books, Marvel (the so-called hip one) seemed to take the backseat to DC's more liberated woman characters.While Marvel's heroine's fretted and swooned, DC's female supporting characters had meaningful jobs (Lois Lane and Iris West were reporters, Jean Loring a lawyer), ran companies (Carol Ferris), or were Justice League heavy hitters (Wonder Woman). That's not to say DC's women were free of the condescending stereotypes of the time, but it's still surprising to contrast the Marvel and DC females of that particular era.
Intriguing observation, Mark. I'm thinking some of Marvel's warts are the good mixed with the bad. Stan tried to use the real world. A world with New York City, traffic jams, hippies, the evil communist menace and, sadly, the prevailing sexist attitudes.The DC world was nicely buffed and glossed over, with imaginary cities and not a pinko in sight.
A thought occured to me while reading your post, Blaze. You know, as bizarre as the Wasp's attitude is, I'll bet many women of earlier decades acted and thought this way...especially before the mass-media made it seem as if every woman was....or felt they had to be...an ultra-competent feminist titan.Not to give the impression that I'm praising or waxing nostalgically for such portrayals....but at the same time, perhaps Stan was basing his characterizations on honest and existent personality traits of the women in his life....and not necessarily a manifestation of Paternalism keeping the women-folk in their place.It's a somewhat complex issue, made even more difficult to pin down half a century later by people who either didn't live at the time or were too young to have any sense of adult relations and personalities of the time period.
Very true indeed. To get something of a pulse of the times, a guy only has to watch some of the great sitcoms of the time. "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "I Love Lucy" to name a couple. Being a housewife was the Rule of Law. Laura and Lucy always had to plead, finagle and trick their showbiz husbands into allowing them to perform on stage. The character of Sally, a co-writer with "Rob Petrie", was a constant source of jokes concerning her being a "spinster".I'm suddenly having a deep cringe. I'm wondering what armchair comic scholars 40 years from now will make of the 90's era of comics. I don't want to be around to explain ferocious femizon superheroines that nevertheless dressed like bondage gear strippers.
Oh, I'm not seriously trying to pin the sexist label on Stan, Mark. In the context of the times, the statement the Wasp made was not out of line; it's only with hindsight that it seems embarrassing.But I certainly agree with your point about the DC women being more liberated and found in more non-traditional occupations.
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