shemale: (Default)
[personal profile] shemale posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I went through a period a while back where i was looking for trans women characters in contemporary comics and graphic novels* and a lot of people referred me to Neil Gaiman, with The Sandman series in particular, and told me about how he's friends with ~real live trans women~ and all that. And i still see him referenced, here and elsewhere, as providing some of the best inclusions of trans people in those forms of visual media to date.

The problem was, I already owned the entire series (for a long time; i got them when i was in my mid teens), had gone back and read it again, and found it disappointing in most parts which included trans women and in others it actually brought up feelings of body dysphoria and memories of violence. And while i do appreciate some of the more gender fluid characters in the series--especially Desire--they're not trans women.



The first trans woman in the series, if i'm remembering correctly, got one panel in the second volume of the series, and in that panel, she was fucking dead, murdered by a serial killer (who's talking about it at a convention for serial killers). He's nicknamed "The Connoisseur," and only killed "preoperative" trans women because he finds "something brittle and bright in the back of their eyes; he loves them...[but] always feels they're laughing at him."


[Note the super classy way her genitals are silhouetted]


And it's just dropped from there, and the story moves on to other characters without comment. And it seems like there's absolutely no reflection on the part of the author that trans women are at such a high risk of being victims of murder and violence in general.

And, as i'm going back and reading this, i'm like "oh god this is terrifying what the fuck" and then "well, he is a serial killer, and this was written in the eighties; maybe we'll move on to something that makes up for it."

So I read on, and on, and on to the fifth volume in the series.

Enter Wanda Mann. Seriously, her name is Wanda Mann.


[Is anyone else noticing a trend here?]


Again with the focus on her genitals and their configuration, bot visually and as a core part of her identity.
Now really, i'm all for open representations of trans bodies, but with this series it begins to get pretty voyeuristic.

And again with the killing! As an aside, Wanda also gets killed off, in the process of protecting a cis woman.


[Gaiman is a proud supporter of the No Tranny Left Alive program]


But it's alright, because she's apparently better off dead.

Anyway, before she fulfills her inevitable role as a trans character and dies off, her Raison d'ĂȘtre is to be a case study illustrating the maleness of trans women. This includes a dream sequence in which she's forcibly given genital reconstruction surgery by Bizarro Superman (and experiences some pretty extreme body horror, which frankly i found a little contagious), and her exclusion from a moonblood ritual and other forms of ladymagick. No seriously there's a moonblood ritual:


[Author is trying to show his egalitarianism by being almost as fucking creepy about cis women's bodies as he is about trans women's. Also, MOON CHROMOSOMES]


And, reading this, i'm like, my god, this is some of the best, least cissexist inclusion of trans women in comics?

So yeah, i don't know, i'm mostly posting this here for the discussion (which i won't, unfortunately, be able to participate in beyond this post until later tonight)--what do you think about Gaiman and the stories i've posted scans of, where have you seen trans women in comics that i've maybe missed, and so on and so on.



*Somewhat unsuccessfully, unfortunately
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Date: 2010-02-20 09:17 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Rar!  Fear my tiny rage! (mad squirrel)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
You know, up until the moon bit, I was like "maybe not great, but at least not terrible". But the moon stuff...uh, wow. Not quite sure what to say there. Good one, Neil.

I like how the fucked up attitude that being trans is "picking and choosing your gender" is part of the fabric of the fucking universe. I feel so empowered.
Edited Date: 2010-02-20 09:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-20 11:37 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (Wanda)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
I like how the fucked up attitude that being trans is "picking and choosing your gender" is part of the fabric of the fucking universe. I feel so empowered.

That's not quite accurate - the Endless are more the fabric of the universe, and in Death's view, Wanda is a woman. Thessaly comes from a tradition of absolute bastards, so it's not hugely surprising her rituals and beliefs exclude transwomen.

It's still a pretty poor showing, though. Wanda Mann, Jeez, I couldn't believe it.

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Date: 2010-02-20 09:46 pm (UTC)
cleome45: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cleome45
I'm really not as familiar with Gaiman as most people here are.

Off the top of my head: I can think of three stories I've read that prominently feature transsexual characters:

Gary Reed and Guy Davis' Baker Street

Gilbert Hernandez' Poison River and Holidays In The Sun

In all these stories, the characters in question have a dubious relationship with the law and/or "the straight world" at best. I'm not sure what to make of that, but they're surrounded by cis folk in much the same boat, FWIW.

Date: 2010-02-20 11:01 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
I am so looking forward to reading Baker Street; I finally got it ordered. Yay Christmas gift-money!

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:10 pm (UTC)
punishermax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] punishermax
Yes, thank you head nailed to wall, for that illuminating comment into gender roles in society. I wish to subscribe to your works.

Date: 2010-02-20 10:29 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
Hahaha. I, too!

We're gonna get emails now, with head-nailed-to-wall audio tracks embedded in them.

Invisibles?

Date: 2010-02-20 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] tishooo
How about Lord Fanny in the Invisibles?

Re: Invisibles?

Date: 2010-02-20 10:27 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
It's been a while, I recall that Fanny was born a boy and raised a girl at his grandmother's insistence (and might literally have been emasculated by her) so I'm not sure whether he/she was a transvestite or a transsexual, and to what extent matters were her/his own choice, or forced.

Can anyone elaborate?

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] saralakali
Wow. I wonder if Mr. Gaiman heard the same story I did about the Feminist Wiccan who barred trans women from her rituals. I have no idea if the story was true or not, but it would explain the sheer WTF-ery of that last scan.

Date: 2010-02-20 10:24 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Rar!  Fear my tiny rage! (mad squirrel)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
There's a lot of Feminist and Wiccan groups who even now are resistant to trans women, although things are definitely changing.

Of course, then there's the largest women's music festival in the world that had a long-standing policy of not considering trans women to be women at all, although even they've been softening their stance lately.

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:18 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I'm not sure you can use a serial killers murder victim as an exemplar of anything, as the scene is all about what a twisted monster the Connoisseur is rather than a commentary on his victims.

Wanda has a sort of final scene down at the bottom of this page which suggests she finds a peace after living that she didn't have in life.

Out of curiosity, what did you think of Anna Madrigal in the "Tales of the City" books?

Date: 2010-02-20 10:25 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Rar!  Fear my tiny rage! (mad squirrel)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
It is a comment on the fact that trans women in fiction tend to be either victims or killers, though. It's not just comics, the same thing has happened on television for decades.

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:26 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
Hmmmmh.

Is Wanda ever depicted fully dressed? :/ I only have two volumes of Sandman (first and last) so I never got to any of these pages, but they make me feel awfully unhopeful and nervous.

I never know whether to mention Lord Fanny from the Invisibles when people are looking for trans woman recs. Born with a boy-baby body, raised happily as a girl by matriarchal ladymagickers, sometimes presents as what I might call "visually male-coded" (offensive?? D:) and sometimes as female-coded; uses the transition as an access point to magic/gods/spirit contact ("it happens when I put on the wig").

Fanny's referred to as 'she' and as a trans woman on wikipedia, a gay transvestite witch on International Hero and a male crossdresser on comicvine. I haven't finished the series because trades are expensive, so I can't comment with my own interpretation or with what canon says, beyond the fact that other characters refer to her fondly as "girl". But she is a very present character throughout, as POV character and as ensemble member.

Date: 2010-02-20 10:28 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Thanks, that answers my question about Fanny upthread, glad to see I'm not the only one confused.

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:28 pm (UTC)
punishermax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] punishermax
Wait why is she walking around in her underwear anyway?

Date: 2010-02-20 10:35 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
The obvious question is, why not? It's her apartment IIRC.

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Date: 2010-02-20 10:47 pm (UTC)
valismedsen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valismedsen
maybe i'm just a little too partial towards Gaiman (i like him), but in my point of view the (good) thing in this case, when looked at with attention to a trans character's voice, is what she responds to the magical monster. She asserts herself and her right to be treated as she actually perceives herself. About a moon god not wanting gender crossings, it seems to me as just a reflection of society's prejudices,a social commentary on the part of the author. Besides, on Gaiman's world, the gods are not to be taken as bearers of universal truths anyway (I think).
And the thing about genitals being focused on, I think that ends to be a major thing on public and political discourses about gender and trans issues. I know that in a single trans individual's life experience its not all about genitals (although as I see it, it's still pretty important), but one can hardly avoid the fact that the topic of genitality, and male X female aspects, are the ones to be discussed, referenced and cleared first. Still, it sure looks like there is a lack of storytelling that goes beyond this, although I don't believe that's Gaiman's fault, and that what he did was an amazing job of bringing such characters into light.

Date: 2010-02-20 10:53 pm (UTC)
elf: Rainbow sparkly fairy (Default)
From: [personal profile] elf
The best potential fix I could think of, a way for comics to treat trans women decently, is to pick a handful of existing female minor characters who've shown up a few times but haven't been spotlighted for anything, and identify them as trans women. That'd avoid the whole "HERE'S A TRANNY NOW WATCH HER DIE!!!" cliché.

I'd give examples but my knowledge of canon is shaky at best; I don't know the names of receptionists and shopping buddies and social workers who've shown up a couple of times in the background. For an easy plot device, put her in a state that's just changed its laws about either gender or marriage, and she's finally able to get married to her long-time sweetie. (Which wedding ceremony is in danger of buildings falling on it or volcanoes erupting in the middle of it, from which Our Hero/es shall rescue the whole party yay.) Half a page, maybe at most page-and-a-half, in the middle of an adventure story about rescuing the earth from aliens or destroying the new league of villains or curing the zombie virus or whatever, and it'd show that the publisher has some awareness of the existence of trans women.

Her trans status never has to be mentioned again (because it's not relevant to her job or taste in movies, which is all we see her for) and she can go back to being a recurring minor character, now a married one.

But I suspect that showing any existing character as trans would result in absolutely bizarre hatemail and whacko accusations of adding sex to comics "for children," and bible-based protests. Gaah.

Date: 2010-02-20 11:01 pm (UTC)
zemo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zemo
Erm, I know where you're coming from. Alas, a trans-woman that isn't being identified as such in a comic would be just a woman. Now, this is definitely what we'd want in real life (no more trans-women, just women), but in a comic...there WOULD be people complaining about the writer actively ignoring the existence of a trans-woman. Like white-washing a black character, or something of that kind.

That's kind of a problem there, I just noticed. If a writer writes a trans-woman character, he will be bashed on if he points out a lot she's a trans-woman, and he will be bashed on if he just mentions it casually. Plus all the hating from religious and other groups on how he dares bring something "filthy" into a comic book. If I were a comicbook writer, I'd stay well away from writing trans-women, I think...

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Date: 2010-02-20 11:24 pm (UTC)
midnightvoyager: Just Middy (Default)
From: [personal profile] midnightvoyager
Doom Patrol!

Well, my example isn't helpful, I guess. But Rebis is pretty fascinating.

Date: 2010-02-20 11:54 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Rebis is an odd one since it's a combination of hetero male, hetero female and heavn knwos what energy being, fused by the energy being into a new being who was a hermaphrodite.

Some of Crazy Janes personalities were male (Sun Daddy and Driller Bill are both definitely identifies as male), but she/they were already a whole 'nother kettle of sex-related issues.

And Coagula was male to female post op transsexual.

Date: 2010-02-20 11:43 pm (UTC)
colonel_green: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colonel_green
I'm not sure I see the problem with Gaiman's discussion of biology vs. psyche/personality/whatever you want to call it. We're supposed to sympathize with Wanda and the challenges faced, even from the magical world, and in the end we're shown her with Death, the ultimate authority on such matters (that image was, from what I recall from some past interview, something he really wanted to have in the story).

Not that there hasn't been some debate about Wanda dying (I believe that the guy who writes the foreword for the collected edition mentions he wasn't sure what to make of that at first). I think he effectively addresses the issue that he set out to; it's more than fair to want stories dealing with other things, but I don't know that you can hold it against Gaiman that he doesn't do that here.

The arc has elements of horror, to be sure, but that was The Sandman.

Date: 2010-02-21 02:04 am (UTC)
elf: Rainbow sparkly fairy (Default)
From: [personal profile] elf
The problem isn't so much with the character Wanda, but the choice to use yet *another* trans woman as a Token Example Of Weird Gender Stuff, followed by her death.

It doesn't matter how genre-appropriate the events are, or how sympathetic the character is, or how well-described and tasteful the sequence is--it's a cliché, and one that a lot of trans women are sick of. Especially the "and then she died" part, which seems to be most media's way of dealing with trans women.

It's not that such stories can't be well-done; it's that we'd like to see some *other* stories about trans women. It's annoying when the best thing you can say about a story is, "hey look--this one's not full of transphobia and overt bigotry!" Still full of clichés. Still focused on her gender as if that were the only aspect of her life that could possibly be of interest to readers. Still showing her in skimpy clothing to make sure everyone's aware of How Weird She Is.

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Date: 2010-02-20 11:46 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Speaking of positive, or at least neutral, portrayals of trans women as just folks, I just had this odd memory of a story that appeared in the old Heavy Metal magazine, although I don't remember exactly when (probably early 90's). It involved something about Hitler or something close to that in the future, and there's a scene where he's for some reason in a women's change area at a public swimming pool, and one of the women is pre-op trans. He freaks out and falls in the pool (and somehow is transported elsewhere), but the woman is totally casual and nobody around her seems to think anything's unusual.

Haven't a clue of the name of the story, but I wonder if anyone else remembers that?

Date: 2010-02-21 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] snugglebitch
It involved something about Hitler or something close to that in the future...

In Heavy Metal, that doesn't exactly narrow it down. :P

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Date: 2010-02-20 11:51 pm (UTC)
neuhallidae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] neuhallidae
I'm kind of disappointed that you didn't include anything about Wanda's funeral. After all, as mentioned in the comments, whatever society's, or even a goddess' judgment on Wanda is, in the end, the avatar of death, one of the most basic constants of the universe, sees her as a woman, plain and simple.

Date: 2010-02-20 11:53 pm (UTC)
kijikun: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
Yes. This.

Some of the most important scans and scenes are missing from this.

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Date: 2010-02-20 11:53 pm (UTC)
kijikun: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kijikun
Why didn't you include Scans of Wanda dressed or her friend crossing off the name on the tombstone and writing Wanda?

Date: 2010-02-20 11:55 pm (UTC)
houbanaut: (Default)
From: [personal profile] houbanaut
It's not great, and it's depressing that this is maybe the most inclusive portrayal of transgendered women in a major American comic.

Gaiman at least gave it a shot; we can give him as much or as little credit for that as we choose, I suppose. And he's been fairly up-front about sometimes inadvertently falling into negative stereotypes. I think even the afterword to A Game of You takes him to task for having Wanda die.

The criticism is well articulated and makes a number of valid points, so I'll just bring up a couple of points in his defense.

First, Sandman was a horror comic (at least early on), and bad things happened to pretty much everybody. And when you say that "trans women are at such a high risk of being victims of murder and violence in general," you could make the argument that that's all the more reason for a comic aspiring to a sense of gritty social realism to reflect that.

Secondly, Gaiman has said that about the moonblood thing that just because the moon doesn't accept Wanda as a woman, that doesn't mean it's (or she's) right, and that he wrote Wanda's forceful rebuttal very deliberately.

Date: 2010-02-21 12:11 am (UTC)
nezchan: Rar!  Fear my tiny rage! (mad squirrel)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
I agree that Gaiman should at least get a couple of points for putting more thought into it than most, and that in a horror comic horrible things happen.

However, that whole moonblood conversation still comes off as a puny human ineffectually raging at the way things are.

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Date: 2010-02-21 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] theaesthete
Yeah, these stories certainly aren't ahead of their time. In fact, they're very much of their time. These scans remind me of "Silence of the Lambs," which I rewatched not too long ago. Gender transgression gets used as a way of upping the stakes of the horror. It's like, There's a face nailed to the wall! And also THIS WOMAN HAS A PENIS. ZOMG! This was a cultural moment during which sexual otherness was linked closely with violence and decay not only in pop culture, but the evening news; incurable diseases, cannibal serial killers, et cetera. Neil Gaiman isn't special. Actually, I've been saying that for decades. I think the guy is so overrated it makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Date: 2010-02-21 12:17 am (UTC)
colonel_green: (Default)
From: [personal profile] colonel_green
I don't agree there. While I'm not as big a Sandman fan as many are, he was never concerned solely with horror (well, maybe in the first trade, when things were still coming together). His stories were all vehicles for exploration of issues of identity, the nature of story, what-have-you (personally, I thought a lot of them weren't particularly interesting stories, but that's not the same thing).

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Date: 2010-02-21 01:07 am (UTC)
punishermax: (Default)
From: [personal profile] punishermax
One day a good transexual character will show up in mainstream DC or Marvel, I'm sure of it, for a long time I think people were waiting for a gay character and we have some these days.

For now, we just have to use our



IMAGINATION

Date: 2010-02-21 01:19 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
For a moment I thought you were suggesting that Spongebob was a transsexual and was going to comment that they transgendered have quite enough to deal with in their lives already....

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Date: 2010-02-21 03:16 am (UTC)
flint_marko: (Magneto)
From: [personal profile] flint_marko
Gaiman on Wanda's death:

" I think- and this is applying some kind of after-the-fact pondering to the affair- I killed Wanda because she was the only person whose death made the story a tragedy. I certainly didn't plan who would live and who would die when I began the story, everyone was up for grabs. As the story progresses, and Wanda became the only character who was doing noble and valiant and brave and good things, it also became fairly obvious that she was going to be killed when the house collapsed in the hurricane. Which meant that I was going to be able to do her funeral, and give Barbie to show what she'd learnt".

I liked the fact that the same people who were writing to go "We don't like this ts person in our comic make him-it-ho away" were the same people who six issues later were writing "They cut off her HAIR!" "They didn't even let her be buried under her name!" (Something I'd made up, and discovered later from TS friends has happened.)"

Bust mostly Wanda died (as did the I-don't-like-dogs-lady) (as did George, Martin Tenbones, and Wilkinson and Luz) because that was what happened in the story."

"Just as Morpheus died, and the people in Brief Lives, and Orpheus, and the Spider women, and Rose's grandmother, and Carla (well - Carla and Ruby died because Nada died but you know what I mean) - because that was what happened in their stories. Keep any story going long enough (as the waitress points out in 24 hours, before she dies) and they end in death."


http://www.woxberg.net/gaiman/literature/wanda.php

Date: 2010-02-21 03:56 am (UTC)
seriousfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seriousfic
"Just as Morpheus died, and the people in Brief Lives, and Orpheus, and the Spider women, and Rose's grandmother, and Carla (well - Carla and Ruby died because Nada died but you know what I mean) - because that was what happened in their stories. Keep any story going long enough (as the waitress points out in 24 hours, before she dies) and they end in death."

Whoa, that's a pretty weaksauce explanation. Guy should've quit while he was ahead.

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Date: 2010-02-21 04:22 am (UTC)
candidevoltaire: (embarassed)
From: [personal profile] candidevoltaire
Speaking from my personal experience, when I originally read the arc with Wanda it made me ill (yes, literally; I suffer from a condition that can be induced by stress). While I can look back on it now, much later, and just feel embarrassed for Gaiman, at the time it was like being punched in the gut. Repeatedly. It was, to borrow a term used earlier in the comments by [personal profile] zemo, akin to being bashed. And, yes, this was the best inclusion I knew of (though I'm now curious about the stories [personal profile] cleome45 has mentioned). I liked Sandman quite a bit but I wouldn't be hurt to never have the stories with Wanda in my collection even though I tend to be obsessive about completeness.

As for Gaiman as a writer, he seems to be learning more, but his circa 2000 short story (text, not comic book) that included "trans by technology" has issues. HelenG of Bird of Paradox wrote a blog post about it. I think the problems shown here may be able to be chalked up to ignorance but we won't know until Gaiman writes about a trans person again.

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Date: 2010-02-21 04:27 am (UTC)
lissa_quon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lissa_quon
If you are looking for a comic about trans women try looking up How Loathsome.

It's hard to explain but its a comic about the scene of trans genders, and their identity and such. There is a transwoman as one of the main characters and the narrator hirself is androgynous and doesn't seem to have a gender identity. The characters are handled very well as people and the comic presents them as rather matter of fact.

*indulging in a shallow moment*

Date: 2010-02-21 04:40 am (UTC)
suzene: (Default)
From: [personal profile] suzene
As an added bonus, it's got Ted Naifeh on art, which means the whole book is dark and gorgeous.

As seen here.

And, less dramatically, here.

Re: *indulging in a shallow moment*

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Re: *indulging in a shallow moment*

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Date: 2010-02-21 06:53 am (UTC)
salamangkiero: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salamangkiero
The way I see it, It's a case of a Writer having a hard time writing about a subject he knows not much about - even if he does have friends who do.

I love Gaiman's writing, and I think he's at least more talented than 80% of the writers in comic books. He's also talented enough to have gone on to actual novels, though in that regard, I would say he's slightly better than most writers in the genre, but not exactly top-drawer.

Given all this, ANY writer will still have his pitfalls, and we're looking at one of Gaiman's.

I think that his "weaksauce" argument isn't really so weak as it is totally not factoring the whole trans imagery and effects. It was a character whose death would have made more of an impact, in his mind, because that character was the best one, the nicest one. It's still a cliche in that case, but I don't think it was because Gaiman hates trans women.

As for the name...I think that's one of Gaiman's trademarks: Names Have Power. His characters, you can tell a bit about them from the name, though he may have flubbed on the implications with this one. Given his background, no surprise that he uses the name thing.

Date: 2010-02-21 08:48 am (UTC)
bliumchik: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bliumchik
Okay, there are two things I want to point out here, not to try and invalidate your experience with this comic but just because I think context is important.

Firstly, and I think most crucially: Gaiman is very much one of those authors whose universes have no moral justice. There ARE NO "powers that be" and if they are they do not neccessarily agree with the author. Bad people don't get punished and good people don't get rewarded. The universe of this story is not "fair" - it works more or less the way it does in real life - stuff just happens.

In a story where the villains get their commeupance and the heroes get their just desserts, where all loose ends are neatly tied off, in short, where the universe agrees with the author's morality, killing off minorities and the like is most definitely indicative of prejudice on the author's part. Here? It's just stuff that happens. Gaiman (and I think he's mentioned this in interview somewhere) did not exclude Wanda from the moonblood ritual because he thinks she is "not really a woman," but because he thinks it is narratively logical for the powers in charge of that sort of thing to think so. Not fair? Neither was Burgess getting stuck in a living nightmare for eternity for not releasing Morpheus. Pretty sure Gaiman wouldn't actually wish that on anyone, you know. Most people wouldn't. I always got the feeling we were meant to be on Wanda's side against the fabric of the universe.

Other people have already talked about the wanda-as-a-"real"-woman-after-death thing, I am also pretty sure I've read an interview in which he said that's just what she was on the inside all along.

I do wish there had been any trans people in this who didn't end up dead, I think Desire's genderqueer self had a lot of opportunity for one of those stories... on the otherhand nobody Desire dealt with had a happy ending, so maybe not.

Which sort of vaguely brings me to my second point: Wanda's situation, dreams etc might have been fucked up, but people are< /i>. Some people are not, but the only reason this one stands out is... well, frankly, there are a shitload of cissexual people in this comic, so statistically speaking we run into a few non-fucked-up ones. If there had been more trans people you'd see a human variety, but sadly there are not. If there were more trans people in comics generally I don't know if you'd be dissecting this one, hoping it would be perfect.

Date: 2010-02-21 08:55 am (UTC)
bliumchik: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bliumchik
That's not to say I think Gaiman has no cis-privelege, obviously :P that would be ridiculous. He's not perfect, and it would be nice if there were more trans people etc.

Also it would be nice if there were more affirmational portrayals of minorities in comics, but I DO NOT think this comic is the place to be looking for them. It's a fucking tragedy, isn't it? I mean, literally. Shakespearean/Aristotelian Tragedy, with Horror influences. If there were transgender characters in Oedipus Rex I wouldn't expect them to get a happy ending either.

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Date: 2010-02-21 09:06 pm (UTC)
nothingbutcake: (GrayMan)
From: [personal profile] nothingbutcake
I think Chichimanda Adichie's talk (I WILL LINK THIS EVERYWHERE) fits the situation here perfectly: The problem is not that a trans character gets killed and a cis character ~*learns*~ something; the problem is that this is the only story being told.  Being trans means being a victim that was ~*too good for this world*~.  Someone posted Gaiman's thoughts on Wanda's death above, but he...does nothing against the grain by writing the trans victim ~*who was the best of us*~.

As long as trans characters have unequal treatment as a whole in media, it is difficult to justify giving trans characters an equal chance of being victimized.

And we get to see transphobic gods, but not any trans or genderqueer or androgynous gods, gods that are affirming towards trans persons?

Recent events have taught me that Gaiman is good at defending privileged actions that are 'well-meaning' or 'artsy' though.

Date: 2010-02-22 06:19 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (Tony is Doom)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
And we get to see transphobic gods, but not any trans or genderqueer or androgynous gods, gods that are affirming towards trans persons?

Yes, and it's not like there was no opportunity to do so; there's a fair few cultures that have a tradition of people switching gender identification. The Norse had some stuff like that, and they're very prominent in the series, but I don't recall it ever being touched upon. If he had had something positive, then the stuff in this post wouldn't be so bad.

Date: 2010-02-22 12:53 am (UTC)
lamashtar: Stripper in spartan outfit (This..is...Spartaaa!)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
As a little girl, I identified with Wanda. Who wouldn't? She was pretty and had great leather clothes I envied intensely. She had wierd comic book dreams and was shut out by the girl clicque. GOD herself said she wasn't good enough. Of course I was angry! Then while everyone else was off on a stupid futile mission of vengeance against a bad guy WHO GOT AWAY SCOT FREE, Wanda tried to protect everybody and gets deaded. I hated this story and Gaiman's stupid 'it's realistic!' explanation. Some stories are definitely worse than others.

My impression of the recurring trans male-to-female preops was that he was trying include a theme of hermaphroditism. You may not consider Desire a 'real' transgender, but s/he is a real hermaphrodite, and sometimes s/he is more a man, sometimes more a woman--but s/he still has those other parts. The focus on genitalia is deliberate and necessary when you're talking about hermaphroditism. No, this is not a good transgender series of stories, because the transgenderism is mostly there for symbolic reasons. And being a symbol ain't that great. :/ Hermaphroditism is considered sacred, but many modern feminists feel the need to be overly exclusive, due to long feelings of persecution. As we all know, being persecuted does not lead to being necessarily righteous in other matters.

Date: 2010-02-25 04:43 pm (UTC)
candidevoltaire: Mary Marvel's dance lesson (dance)
From: [personal profile] candidevoltaire
It's disgusting to use an oppressed person as a symbol. Whether it's the Mystic Negro or the Trans Shaman, the very use shows how the writer doesn't consider the group to be part of common humanity but an other. If this is what Gaiman was doing, then that makes it even worse.
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