Blatant Sexism

Fantastic Four #33: Blatant Sexism 6

 Fantastic Four #33, page 20, panel 5

Fantastic Four #33, page 20, panel 5

Fantastic Four #33: Blatant Sexism 6

Script: Smilin' Stan Lee

Art: Jolly Jack Kirby

Inks: Chucklin' Chic Stone

Lettering: Amiable Art Simek

After a long hard day defending the subaquatic monarchy, there's nothing my man needs more than to be pampered when he gets home. A comfy pillow (just how does this work underwater), a relaxing chair, and the opportunity for him to be a patronising misogynistic shit. Ah, it's great to be an underwater woman in 1964!

Seriously, Namor is a twat.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #33 on our thirty-seventh episode: Yes, Mr Lister, Sir!

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 5

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 23, panel 4

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 23, panel 4

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 2

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

We just had to squeeze in one more piece of terrible sexism before we finished with this issue. Reed's completed his serum and it's time to finish this story with a face-off between these two long-time rivals. What follows is a pretty tense standoff between Reed and Doom, reflecting on their shared history and conflict. So, why do we have to start with a terrible, off-hand sexist comment?

This could have been fixed so easily, and the narrative intent is there. Reed's drawing Doom's attention back to himself, and could easily have done so by by asking, 'Why battle Sue Doom?' Unfortunately, Stan's sexist tendencies came to the fore, and this undermines the whole thing.

It's an uncomfortable moment to end our coverage of this annual on, and proof that even one of the strongest issues of the Fantastic Four can be undercut by the dated attitudes of the age in which it was published.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 4

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 18, panel 7

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 18, panel 7

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 4

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

We return, following a brief post-Thought Bubble blogging break, with a look at yet another instance of Reed being a sexist git to his one true love, Sue. Except that this doesn't seem quite as much fun to look at as it used to. This is the first blog post written post-election, a divisive and horrible election where the candidate who won, despite his ridiculous lack of qualifications, did so by preying on the outdated attitudes that divide us. These include race, homophobia, and misogyny.

There was always a tongue-in-cheek element to our looks at Stan Lee's insistence on writing his 1960s leading men as horribly sexist. To us, the idea of treating anyone as lesser, regardless of race, gender or sexuality, is pretty ridiculous, and up until earlier this year, our preferred way of tackling these incidents was to ridicule them and to refuse to take them particularly seriously. Which, when you're dealing with Stan's writing, is pretty easy to do. He's not exactly a serious writer. This hasn't always been the best tack to take, and we've certainly been guilty of not balancing each moment of mock with a more serious dismissal of these attitudes, instead relying on an assumed knowledge of our intentions and beliefs.

From an in-continuity perspective, props have to be given to both Ben and Johnny for taking Sue's side in the ridiculous, non-debate over whether she should be joining in with the fight against Doom. Reed has seemingly forgotten when Sue went toe-to-toe with Doctor Doom in hand-to-hand combat back in Fantastic Four #17 (despite the writing then crediting Reed with teaching her judo), and that with her force-fields, she is more than capable of participating in the fight. This attitude would, thankfully, dissipate as the book moved on into the 1960s, but it's also hard to read this panel without being reminded of the terrible treatment of Sue at the hands of Reed in the late 120s.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 3

 Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 17, panels 6-7

Fantastic Four Annual #2, page 17, panels 6-7

Fantastic Four Annual #2: Blatant Sexism 3

A Stan Lee Story Spectacular

A Jack Kirby Illustrative Idyll

A Chic Stone Delineation Delight

A Sam Rosen Lettering Landmark

I do not like the version of Reed Richards we see in these two panels. I'm genuinely disgusted that he would respond to anyone, not least of which the woman he professes to love, in such a reductive way. Shame on you, Reed, and shame on you Stan Lee for writing this.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four Annual #2 on our thirty-fourth episode: The Doomcast, with special guest host Alan Middleton

Fantastic Four #14: Blatant Sexism 2

Fantastic Four #14, page 4, panel 7 Script: Stan Lee

Art: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

After a short break, it's time to check in with the Fantastic Four, who themselves are having a short break. Having fulfilled President Kennedy's ambition to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade during his own lifetime, having fought the Red Ghost and his stupid super apes, discovered The Watcher, and been mobbed at the airport, it's only natural that the team want to take a rest.

Except for Sue, who manages to live up to a gender stereotype by deciding that now is the time to do a spot of housecleaning. What merits this inclusion on the list of sexist moments is Reed's wonderfully patronising response.

Ah, Reed, you pompous ass.

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #14 on our twelfth episode: HYPNOFISH!!!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/FF_Episode_12.mp3]

 

Fantastic Four #12: Blatant Sexism 1

Fantastic Four #12, page 8, panel 3 Script: Stan Lee

Art: Jack Kirby

Inking: Dick Ayers

Lettering: Art Simek

It may have been a sign of the times. It may have been playing into the pulp archetypes that made up the Fantastic Four. It may even have been a small extension of Stan's own attitudes. But there's not getting around it - there are times when the Fantastic Four is incredibly sexist.

If I was to try and document every moment of apparent sexism towards Sue, I'd get myself into some tricky waters. Is it sexist that Sue designed the costumes for the team way back in issue #3? If the book were written today, then most likely, even if it was written in an 'ironic' way. But most people would agree that in 1962, Sue designing and making costumes was simply a product of the times.

This, however, is utterly inexcusable. (Although you can give yourself a childish snicker if you read 'morale' as a euphemism).

And thus, with the idea that Sue, the Invisible Girl, is only around to make men feel good when they look at her (a task at which she must surely fail regularly), we have our first blatant piece of sexism.

It won't be the last...

Check out our coverage of Fantastic Four #12 in our tenth episode: Hulk? Smash!

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/ffcast/Fantasticast_Episode_10_Final.mp3]