Thursday, March 16, 2006

Who watches the Watchwomen?

I finished Alan Moore's Watchmen last night, because lately the only types of books I can finish have pictures in them. Sad. I really enjoyed it, but I couldn't shake the major, glaring, overt, yet, I think unintentional misogyny. Why are so many comics (graphic novels) like that? Why are the women portrayed either as vague stereotypes, drawn so similarly you can't tell them apart or ball busting sluts/whores who destroy every man they touch? I realize that every character in Watchmen is flawed...some of them to more revolting degrees than others, but there were redeeming, if naive male characters and not all the men are flawed in the exact same way. As for the women we have: Janey Slater, the first girlfriend to Dr. Manhattan, who leaves him alone when he needs her the most and proceeds in becoming the hugest bitch and ball-buster in the world; Sally Justice, the first "Silk Spectre" who is brutally beaten and almost raped by one of her fellow crimefighting super-heroes, only to turn around and (*SPOILER ALERT* if you want to read the following sentence highlight it, but it gives away something totally crucial to the story) sleep with him later and get knocked up (coz, you know, deep down all women really "want it")...which brings me to her daughter; Laurie Juspeczyk, Silk Spectre II, second girlfriend to Dr. Manhattan, ball-buster and ultimately huge ho; then we have the psychologist's wife, Gloria, who is again a ball-busting hag who leaves her husband because he gets so caught up in his work that he doesn't sleep with her for like two nights in a row.
I'm not saying these things ruined the story...I was pretty riveted...I just wonder why this genre is the way it is.

*Editor's note: I completely forgot to mention Rorschach's whore of a mother, who smacks him around for interrupting a trick. Awesome.


jimi said...

and why do we have to see dr. manhattan's big blue ass in every other frame?

Tracy said...

NO shit, dude!! I kept asking Lars how long it would be before they gave us the big, blue cock and balls, but I only had to turn a few more pages before BAM, there they were. ICK.

Michileen Martin said...

I had the same reaction when I first read it (about the portrayal of women, not Manhattan's ass, though yeah, it is a little disturbing). But, you know, I wouldn't necessarily ignore the possibility that this WAS intentional on Moore's part. Since I think he's saying a lot of things in Watchmen about superheroes and the sexual roots of the genre that we tend to ignore (particularly the inherent sadomasochism), I wouldn't doubt that he meant to portray the Jupiter woman as he did to comment on the misogyny of superhero comics.

But then again, to be honest, if I didn't love his work so much, I might not have tried to come up with a justification for it.

Aditya Bidikar said...

Parts of this phenomenon in Watchmen struck me as commentary, and parts as symptoms, but actually, I personally felt that both Laurie and Gloria were right in what they did, especially Laurie. But I think you might be right - should read the whole thing again.

(Came here via When Fangirls Attack.)

Elayne said...

Gosh, I always assumed it's because Moore and Gibbons are male. :)

Marionette said...

A moment's consideration of female characters in Moore's work brought to mind The Ballad of Halo Jones, Promethea, and Evie in V for Vendetta. The women in Watchmen are very much the exception, and given how meticulously crafted the story is, must have been done on purpose, though I admit the reason escapes me.