Saturday, June 02, 2012

Controversy Over Gay Superheroes


Recently the comic book world has been a flurry with the news of gay superheroes.  First DC revealed that one of their “iconic” characters would be reintroduced as gay as part of their New 52 re-launch (this turned out to be the original Green Lantern Alan Scott) then Marvel reveled that there would be a gay marriage in the pages of The Astonishing X-Men.  Needless to say, all of this coming out has caused quite a hubbub. 

The One Million Moms organization is urging parent’s to write both DC and Marvel to express their disappointment and outrage.  Here’s a taste of One Millions Moms’ anger –
Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, "I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?"

This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don't but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27).

Unfortunately, children are now being exposed to homosexuality at an early age. Comic books would be one of the last places a parent would expect their child to be confronted with homosexual topics that are too complicated for them to understand. Children do not know what straight, homosexual, or coming out of the closet even means, but DC Comics and Marvel are using superheroes to confuse them on this topic to raise questions and awareness of an alternative lifestyle choice. These companies are prompting a premature discussion on sexual orientation.

Okay there’s a lot going on in these three paragraphs, most of which is disturbing, but let’s start with the idea of children, exposure, and the target audience of comic books.  First, yes kids love superheroes but comic books aren’t written for kids and haven’t been for a long time.  Anyone who thinks comic books are for anyone under the age of 12 (maybe 10 depending on the child) obviously hasn’t read comic books in a very long time.  For the past 30 years comics have dealt with complex and dark issues that are not at all meant for young children.  The days of Super Friends are long, long gone, so any parent that is concerned about their young children being exposed to issues of homosexuality at a young age because of comics needs to rethink their priorities.  My kids are 11 and 12 and I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all letting them read superhero comic books.  Sure maybe I’m a tad overprotective where it comes to things like exposing my children to violence and sexuality, but in no way am I going to blame DC and Marvel for corrupting the youth when the product they are selling ISN”T DESIGNED FOR KIDS!  If you want someone to blame for exposing young children to inappropriate topics, blame the parents that don’t care enough to keep violence (and often very graphic violence) away from kids.  I can’t tell you how many kids that I know (and when I say kids, I’m talking 3rd-5th graders) that are allowed to play video games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and watch the Saw movies, yet god forbid if there is a gay superhero—that is indoctrinating the young.  I’m sorry but I suspect that viewing (and often participating in) hundreds, if not thousands, of graphically violent deaths is more damaging to the psyche then a couple of dudes making out. 

Which brings me to my next topic—bigotry.  Obviously I have no idea what is in the hearts and minds of the people over at One Million Moms but when I read stuff like this –
This is ridiculous! Why do adult gay men need comic superheroes as role models? They don't but do want to indoctrinate impressionable young minds by placing these gay characters on pedestals in a positive light. These companies are heavily influencing our youth by using children's superheroes to desensitize and brainwash them in thinking that a gay lifestyle choice is normal and desirable. As Christians, we know that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27).
I can only assume that it is at best fear and at the worst straight up hatred and bigotry that drives this kind of nonsense.  The simple fact of the matter is, homosexuality is a natural part of life.  It occurs in ape populations, it occurs in penguins, and yes it occurs in humans.  There is nothing wrong with homosexual relationships and I’m sorry if you haven’t come to realize this simple fact.  So when companies depict superheroes as gay, they are simply telling stories that depict elements of real life.  Sure we don’t have anyone in the world that flies around in tights and a cape saving the day, but we have always had stories that fulfill our need for the fantastic while at the same time express our values and ideas as a culture.  Superhero stories, much like fantasy literature, take the place of folktales and mythology for modern society.  Sadly though, people use hard-line, literal interpretations of religious scriptures to excuse away and rationalize their prejudice.  One of the things people often forget is that religion serves a function for society and that is one of control.  Religion can control the masses, especially when people focus on rules that were written at specific times for specific reasons (like not eating shellfish and pork—because at the time people couldn’t always cook it right and folks would drop dead from eating it, so in order to keep from losing more of the population these things were deemed unholy) instead of looking at the big picture values (like treating people the way you want to be treated).  So indeed of judging people by their character and how they behave, the religious like to condemn those who love differently then they do. 

Personally I find this controversy sad and a big waste of time, especially when there are bigger questions that need to be answered, like why were some of the old Earth Two heroes sent to the new Earth 2 after the Flash caused the universe to be rebooted but The Specter wasn’t?  And why weren’t all of the Earth Four folks (Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, The Question) sent off to the new Earth 4?  And why wasn’t Captain Marvel shipped off to whatever the new version of Earth S is, and why in the world would he now go by the name Shazam, if by saying that word he gets transformed back into Billy Batson (can you imagine “Hi Superman, my name’s Shazam” *boom* “Dammit, now I’m a kid again.”)?  These are the questions that I’d like DC to answer.  

3 comments:

FrancesDanger said...

A slow clap and 80s movie montage for this post!

As someone who has been going to the strip since I was 14 I can honestly say exposure to the gay did not indoctrinate me. Why? Because it's not a choice. You either are or you aren't. A gay person didn't choose it any more than I chose to be straight.

As for the role of gay superheroes in comics I have to say there is probably no better representation of what it has been like to be gay in the past. Superheroes have to shield who they really are for fear of reactions, just as many gays feel they have to remain closeted. The plain fact of the matter is, whether you agree with the gay lifestyle or not, it's a real, legitimate thing and as such needs to be portrayed in all aspects of society in order to overcome the years of bigotry.

Dave said...

Well said Fran! I hadn't thought of the dual identity angle but you are totally right. Good show!

Otter Limits said...

I would agree with you for the most part that comic books aren't written for kids anymore but that doesn't necessarily mean kids are reading them. My son reads the same comic books that I read.

I don't blame comics or movie or video games for corrupting our youth and I agree with you in your statement that we should blame parents for the inappropriate behavior of today's children. I believe that it is up to the parent themselves to determine whether or not a particular comic book, or a particular tv show or movie, or a particular video game is inappropriate for their children.

I'm not going to get into the homosexual argument here because that will open up a whole can of worms and you (Dave) already know my stance on that issue, but what I will say is that if a parent finds a particular behavior immoral and does not want their children to be exposed to it, I believe that to be the parent's right.

As far as your last comment goes, I agree that there are other questions that we should be asking DC Comics other than, why did you turn Alan Scott gay.