Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fun With Sexism

You gotta love these two panels from a particularly wacky story appearing in Lois Lane #28:

The first one doesn't really make much sense. See, the super-powered Lois Lane of the future (the gal flying alongside Superman) had been racing him, but she began going faster than he was and because she didn't know how to stop she threatened to circle the universe forever. Fortunately, Superman quickly created a small planet from some nearby asteroids and its gravity slowed her down. So what does that have to do with keeping a husband? Of course, in some societies it is considered traditional for the woman to walk a few paces behind her man, but obviously that was not the case in the USA in 1961, when this story was published.

The second one comes after they land on Planetoid One, which had hit the Earth years earlier, destroying Metropolis and carrying much of the city off with it. Perhaps the oddest thing about Superman's unkind observation is that only moments before, he had been lamenting the fact that he couldn't talk in space to tell future Lois how to slow down. GCD tentatively credits this story to Jerry Siegel.

3 comments:

Richard Bensam said...

It may well be a Jerry Siegel script but those particular lines don't sound like him. I can't claim to comprehensive knowledge here but it's always seemed to me, subjectively, that Siegel was the least disposed among Weisinger's writers to the editor's preferred casual sexism and bursts of outright misogyny. Though he was a man of his era Jerry Siegel had a positive attitude toward women and was looking to build Lois up rather than tear her down. A lot of his ambitions there didn't get past the editorial stage. If this was a Siegel script, I wonder if Mort added in those lines himself. (Or perhaps it was a Siegel premise, liberated by Mr. Weisinger and given to another scripter?)

Smurfswacker said...

The more I ponder this the more curious it seems. Having lived through this era I'm no stranger to its "casual sexism". But what prompted the writer to have Future Lois think this at this particular point in the story? It comes completely out of left field. It's like having Superman think, "There's the planetoid. It's good I was here because being a woman Future Lois wouldn't have thought to look for it." It'd be consistent with his attitude, yes, but not what he'd be thinking while chasing a planetoid. I could imagine Lois thinking some Gorean claptrap like, "Superman is so masterful flying there ahead of me! I'd follow him anywhere!" But congratulating herself for learning a useful Life Lesson?

Or was this one of those shwoing-women-their-place stories in which the whole point is teaching uppity Future Lois to play second fiddle to Supes? I'd have to see the whole story.

Anonymous said...

I think the flying behind thing is meant to reflect that she should let the man lead and look like she can't quite keep up. Not a good lesson either, but in keeping with its time.
-Fraser