First things first: For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “gender bending”, the simple way of explaining it is a person who actively transgresses, or “bends,” expected and stereotypical gender roles.
About a week ago, I found myself laying in bed sick at my boyfriend’s house. Very bored of laying in bed, chicken soup, and tired of That 70’s Show reruns, I began to look through his way-too-expansive collection of Marvel Comics. Pages and pages and pages of Batman, The Hulk and Wonder Woman- all in scantily clad costumes with muscles that would make Hulk Hogan, even in his prime, tremble. (Please keep in mind this post does not even begin to cover sex and gender in other graphic novels, such as anime.)
I began to flip through the pages, not because of the captivating story line, but because of the subliminal messages I found in these comics regarding sex, gender roles, gender constructs, gender bending, homophobia, etc.
I found this article on StumbleUpon. It is written by a Gender Roles blogger and self-proclaimed Geek. There is a lot going on in this article and being that I am not a comic book reader, I don’t feel like I will be able to do it justice by just writing a short summary. It basically discusses how artists use creative freedom to blur the lines between traditional gender lines in comics.
Gender is about identity and expression and connection. So while there are some fan-artists who draw gender-swapped characters because it gets their respective motors running, I would venture that far more of them do so in the spirit of intellectual and creative exploration. It’s their way of asking “what if?”
Here’s the article. Hope you enjoy.