requiem2adream: (Glee: Britana - Sex is not dating)
[personal profile] requiem2adream posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I have a question about Huntress and Arsenal's one night stand so of course I turn to the lovely ladies and gents of scans_daily to hopefully find the answer.

The first I heard of it was in BoP: Dinah, Babs and Helena are meeting in a park to discuss whether or not they can work together as a team and the subject of Helena's one night stands with Dick and Roy comes up and Helena has the brilliant line 'Archers... they pull a mighty bow but they're quick to let fly'. Which of course pisses Dinah off royally and nearly ends the team before it even begins.

I went back and read the Outsiders issues where Helena takes Roy's place on the team while he recovers from being shot, thinking that would be where I could find the Huntress/Arsenal stuff (I'm a massive Huntress fan and I've been trying to track down and read pretty much everything she's been in because yes I am obsessive) but apart from the kiss at the end




there's not really any interaction between the two and certainly no sexy times going on between the pair.

So folks my question is this: is this the first time it's ever referenced or is does the Helena/Roy stuff happen in different issues to the ones I've been reading? 

Date: 2011-01-17 08:14 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
Some women don't sleep with guys they're not pretty seriously into. That's not a judgement on women who do, in any way. It's simply a reality that that's a choice some people make. It was established, over several years of character work, as Helena's choice.

I totally understand what you're saying in this wrt this scene and while I agree for the most part, sometimes women in reality themselves change. ie. I know a woman IRL who recently got divorced and was monogamous with her husband of 15-plus years, and has now been enjoying a newfound sexual freedom.
Here, in this scene, we don't see some kind of character development for Helena, but I don't know if I really like this idea of saying, "well this character has been written this way and that can never change" in regards to the character's sex life, especially if that character is a woman.
And even more so if that character is a woman and a heroic one because then it starts to go down the whole "good girls don't do that" route.

Date: 2011-01-17 08:23 pm (UTC)
bluefall: (bright knight)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
Well, sure, if Helena decided for whatever reason that she was going to change her relationship philosophy, that would be fine. But that should be something that happens from her perspective and respects her as a character, not something that happens off-panel without explanation in order to set up a different character's punchline.

It's true there are an awful lot of serial monogamist women in capes. Renee and Zinda are, offhand, the only two I can think of at DC who aren't, though I'm sure there are probably a few more. But most of the guys are too, after all. These are all pretty old characters with old sensibilities, and the new characters are all subject to the blanket "let's not delve too deeply into teenagers' sex lives" policy.

Date: 2011-01-17 08:37 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
It's true there are an awful lot of serial monogamist women in capes. Renee and Zinda are, offhand, the only two I can think of at DC who aren't, though I'm sure there are probably a few more.

Kate Kane, Kory, Grace Choi, Jess Jones (pre-Marriage) are a few I can think of. And Mia Dearden, she definitely wanted to have sex with Dodger, she brought condoms with her to visit him. (I don't know if they ever got to do anything since he cheated on her with Emma Watson.) And she hit on Connor a lot.

Date: 2011-01-17 08:56 pm (UTC)
bluefall: (act feminine)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
Grace! How the hell did I forget Grace! I guess just because she's been in a committed relationship for so long?

Though she and Mia do both have that whole "past history of sexual abuse" thing going. I appreciate that the writing for both of them (so far as I know at least, I'm not a big Arrow fan) has avoided ever drawing that "promiscuous because damaged" conclusion -- Grace has a healthy and varied sex life, and also she was abused once, and these things are unrelated as far as the narrative is concerned -- but the implication is still just sitting there waiting for someone to make it, and I worry that sooner or later someone will. I mean look what happened to Shulkie. These gross sexist cliches have real traction with some writers. :/

Date: 2011-01-17 09:02 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
I totally agree. Mia actually really seems to have some positive attitudes towards sex just based on the fact that she hits on her crushes the amount she does. It's really, really refreshing to see not even taking into account the fact that she's a sex abuse survivor and is living with HIV.

Date: 2011-01-19 12:11 am (UTC)
cuntfucius: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cuntfucius
So basically we have girls who are queer, girls who have been abused, and aliens as the only girls who can be promiscuous in comics and it be "understandable" because of their "backgrounds" or some weird implications that I'm totally looking way too deeply into.

Which I know I am, hahaha. BUT STILL. You see less hetero-identified girls with "good" backgrounds doing this.

Ah, I fondly remember the slut shaming even Donna Troy went through...

Date: 2011-01-19 12:21 am (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
Yep! Exactly. And you have to be a type to have casual sex, you know! And because Helena is Catholic, she can't fit into this group? (Except that one of my best friends is Catholic and very happily has enjoyed lots of sex with different people! So take that stereotypes!)

Date: 2011-01-19 12:30 am (UTC)
cuntfucius: (ReneeKate)
From: [personal profile] cuntfucius
Yeah, either way I think people need to tread carefully when deciding on whether or not Helena would be the "type" of person to have casual sex, or if it's "in character" for her to do so. Especially because sexual choices are so very personal, sometimes you can be mostly monogamous and deep-connection-based your entire life, but have a tiny period where you want to try out some casual stuff to see if it's for you. I mean, I'm NOT a Winick fan at all by any means (rather the opposite), but I think in general, though he's using Helena as an annoying proxy for an exchange, he's also kind of shining a poor light on Roy here. Which was only aggravated by Gail's sniping of his "talents" in bed later on, or lack thereof. Winick's got a bad case of misogyny and liberal-proclaimed-male-feminist syndrome, so I can't give him too much of a benefit of the doubt here, buuuut I remember REALLY cringing at Gail thinking she was "sticking up" for Helena but, in fact, making Helena not seem in charge of her own bodily autonomy, taking away a bunch of her agency by attributing the sex she had to low self esteem and to a troubled period for her.

Roy gets a lot of slack for this, too. It's character memes spread around in fandom and by writers, ideas getting taken and run with and it just gets embarrassing to read because people repeat these "truths" without really trying to dissect the numbers and reality behind them. Donna Troy immediately, by glorious Kyle fangirls and boys, got branded as a slut the moment she touched Roy Harper. So did Helena. And even Kendra got bad reception for that reason. Donna also was suddenly a "slut" for ... being nice to Jason? All because she had touched Roy Harper before, which obviously WOW HOW LOW CAN YOU GO, GIRL?

So because of the treatment of a fave of mine, my eyes were VERY open and peeled to how Helena was treated after this. And it was not good. I honestly am baffled that Helena gets treated as the go-to casual sex girl in the DCU by so many fans, when her number isn't even "high." It's even more disturbing that people act as if it would be a bad thing if it was so.

Date: 2011-01-19 12:40 am (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
Yeah, either way I think people need to tread carefully when deciding on whether or not Helena would be the "type" of person to have casual sex, or if it's "in character" for her to do so. Especially because sexual choices are so very personal, sometimes you can be mostly monogamous and deep-connection-based your entire life, but have a tiny period where you want to try out some casual stuff to see if it's for you.

Exactly and this is what I was trying to say elsewhere, but you've outdone me as usual. ;)

Donna Troy immediately, by glorious Kyle fangirls and boys, got branded as a slut the moment she touched Roy Harper. So did Helena. And even Kendra got bad reception for that reason. Donna also was suddenly a "slut" for ... being nice to Jason? All because she had touched Roy Harper before, which obviously WOW HOW LOW CAN YOU GO, GIRL?

Ugh, so gross. Not only that but branded a slut because the fans also don't like the male character (ie. Jason or Roy) so she gets shat on by proxy.

Date: 2011-01-19 12:54 am (UTC)
cuntfucius: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cuntfucius
Yeah, and I think this is the problem of people being so absolutist about sex. If you involve it in a story, people immediately are on guard about its "purpose" in a story. Sometimes, people think immediately it is sleazy if there's no love involved...in particular, the readership I think is a bit behind on progressive ideals, since it's a mostly (direct market wise) shrinking one, I think? Because of this, individual character assessment on their sexuality can't ...be done in a realistic manner, usually, since most characters aren't really shown talking about it, or their preferences, or whatever. Comic relationships -- romance and sexuality, are written like...terribly, lol, often, in a way where you often get contradictory and backwards ideals projected on to characters.

It is because Roy has been more brazen and honest about his sexual desires than most that he's seen as sleazy, I guess. And then it becomes a caricature of sleaziness: He frequents strip clubs (and strip clubs are dirty, and strippers are dirty, so let's make STD jokes about Roy!), he ranked girls in bed in Rise of Arsenal during a sadistic fight...and yet, his impotence also gets made fun of. It's just like...Roy has been retconned and retroactively made into being pinned with character essentialism, where he was "doomed" to always be troubled and come from a broken lifestyle, so let's include being sexual in that "brokenness."

And, yes, any girl who touches a man THAT sleazy has to be sleazy herself, right? It's just all really backwards ideas, in general, and the sad thing is I see them projected by lolfeministbloggerslol in comic fandom just as much.

Date: 2011-01-19 01:42 am (UTC)
benicio127: (Heh)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
Absolutely and I'm nodding my head to everything you've said here. And I really am getting the sense of just how conservative the majority of comic fans are. I mean you see more progress in TV and movies. And you know, I can recall someone mentioning there were letters sent in when comics showed Dick and Kory in a sexual relationship because they were a) 18/19 ish (even though Kory is an alien and who knows how old she really is?) and b) not married etc. etc. etc.

Date: 2011-01-17 08:24 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
You took the words out of my mouth (off my keyboard?)

Whether or not a woman ever could/would enjoy casual sex or not is not something germane to most comic book conversations. Pretty much the only way to introduce that possibility is to write her as having casual sex at some point. And actually, it kind of bugs me that we even need to establish a "type" of female character who would do that - particularly when most male characters are assumed by default of being capable of casual sex in at least some situations.

Date: 2011-01-17 08:50 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
And actually, it kind of bugs me that we even need to establish a "type" of female character who would do that - particularly when most male characters are assumed by default of being capable of casual sex in at least some situations.

Ohmygod Yes. But by comic book logic, it seems that the fandom equation is, for example: Cheshire having casual sex is OK; Stephanie Brown is not. (

Date: 2011-01-17 09:12 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
I'm beginning to see a parallel between this issue and the good old "I don't have a problem with X being gay, except that up until now he/she has always been portrayed as straight - making him/her gay is not being true to the character."

While this sounds reasonable on the surface, it ignores the fact that the default orientation for characters has always been straight - just like the default sexuality for "good" female characters has always been committed and monogamous. You need to actively declare a character gay; there is no need to declare them straight, unless you state otherwise that's just assumed. The burden is on the writer to declare that a heroine might enjoy casual sex - because otherwise it's conventionally assumed that she doesn't.

And if a writer does make that declaration, people will be unhappy with it because she's never been written as that "type" before.

Date: 2011-01-17 09:26 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
Well, I think that's extremely reasonable thinking and is why the whole idea of parents enforcing heteronormativity to their children is a bad idea -- the assumption that their child will be the default straight.
And we have no idea unless a person tells us about their sex life and since that's such a personal topic, the automatic assumption is that good person = chaste person.

And don't even get me started on how disgusting it is to be OK with a Talia who pines away for a man who loves another woman over her (in fact that man loves many women!) and be chaste for him, yet when she has agency and makes her own choices of who she's having sex with, that that is the truly bad move.

Date: 2011-01-17 09:45 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Well, I think that's extremely reasonable thinking and is why the whole idea of parents enforcing heteronormativity to their children is a bad idea -- the assumption that their child will be the default straight.

Um yeah, that's the point I was trying to make, but maybe it got a bit lost. I meant that considering everyone straight by default is a product of heteronormative thinking, and actually not at all a reasonable assumption to make.

But a similar assumption of chastity operates in the way we see (and the way writers write) heroines. Casual sex apparently needs an established history of "sluttiness" in order to be in character - which is weird because I'm fairly sure that Helena never explicitly said "btw guys, I only have sex with men I love and am in a committed relationship with."

Date: 2011-01-17 11:45 pm (UTC)
benicio127: (Outlaw's amazing rack)
From: [personal profile] benicio127
But a similar assumption of chastity operates in the way we see (and the way writers write) heroines. Casual sex apparently needs an established history of "sluttiness" in order to be in character - which is weird because I'm fairly sure that Helena never explicitly said "btw guys, I only have sex with men I love and am in a committed relationship with."

I have nothing to add except thank you for this very awesome point!!!

Date: 2011-01-17 09:33 pm (UTC)
bluefall: (act feminine)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
Well, again, it depends how it's presented. Is it her story, in which she is a protagonist with agency, or is it an off-panel swerve in service of a male character?

I wouldn't be too thrilled with a Superman comic that abruptly had "Batman's ex-boyfriend" show up to make Clark look all super-accepting and liberal either.

Date: 2011-01-17 09:55 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
I wouldn't be too thrilled with a Superman comic that abruptly had "Batman's ex-boyfriend" show up to make Clark look all super-accepting and liberal either.

Is it bad that I might be at least a little bit thrilled by that?

Joking aside, yes, I do get why fans aren't happy with this happening while Helena's essentially a bit-part character. That's pretty much the only aspect I do get, but yeah, I get it.

Date: 2011-01-17 10:30 pm (UTC)
bluefall: Babs, looking grumpy and unimpressed (Babs is a grump)
From: [personal profile] bluefall
Yeah that might actually be worth it just to see the fanboy's heads explode, I gotta admit. XD

No but yeah, that's basically my point. The other thing is that Winick has a longstanding habit of ignoring prior characterization, so even if I didn't have an issue with him developing Helena's character in such a glancing, bit-part manner, I don't actually believe he's developing her here at all, just grabbing a convenient blank slate for his Roy/Dick whim. And pretty much just carelessly slapping a target across her chest for all the dudebro contempt the fanbase can muster while he's at it. He doesn't care about her here, not who she was before or where she'll go after. That's not an okay attitude to have when you're writing about someone else's character, period; that as volatile a subject as female sexuality is at issue is just icing on the failcake.

Then of course Gail came and tried to solve that problem by, um, validating that slut-shamey default dudebro read and throwing in some no-no-yes to boot. I'm willing to bet that a lot of the read you see from fans on this scene now, as opposed to when it was published, involves some back-propagated slut-shaming from that. -.-

dudebro, dudebro, dudebro, let me say it a few more times it hasn't yet entirely lost all meaning

Date: 2011-01-17 10:45 pm (UTC)
whitesycamore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
And pretty much just carelessly slapping a target across her chest for all the dudebro contempt the fanbase can muster while he's at it. He doesn't care about her here, not who she was before or where she'll go after. That's not an okay attitude to have when you're writing about someone else's character, period; that as volatile a subject as female sexuality is at issue is just icing on the failcake.

Hmm. I'll admit that maybe I hadn't fully considered the perspective of fans who, while not being inclined to slut-shame themselves, dislike this scene because it exposed Helena to a lot of nasty remarks from dudebros.

Female sexuality is a really contentious issue. I don't think it should be, but it is. I guess I can see why you'd be unhappy with Winick for not anticipating/not caring about the fallout for Helena. I suppose it would have been different if he'd been her main writer at the time, and prepared to go the distance and defend her decisions.

It's really unfortunate that her actual main writer's attempts to "fix" this were far more offensive.

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