Monday, March 16, 2009

Rogue: Feminist Icon?

Illustration to the right by J. Scott Campbell.

This week could be another busy week, but for way more exciting reasons than last week. There's some movement on a couple of my projects that's requiring some attention. I'll try to post at least something every day, but I doubt there'll be many multiple-post days.

Today is about an article Miriam Beetle wrote a couple of weeks ago in which she identifies Rogue as her childhood feminist hero.

That surprises me a little. I don't know Miriam beyond what I learned about her in that post, but it surprises me that anyone sees Rogue as a feminist role model. As I discovered when I gave the character some thought a couple of years ago, a big part of the (admittedly unhealthy) attraction I had to her was that she was so broken and needy. And whether those are attractive qualities for anyone else, there's no denying that those qualities are there.

So how can someone as messed up as Rogue be a feminist icon? As Miriam explains it:
...the fact that Rogue had to protect herself against intimacy all the time ... meant that technically, her costume was more in line with a man’s costume ... It meant that no one ever ever got to touch her without her permission, or they’d be sorry ... it would have been nifty if random-ass guys who groped me could have instantly fallen into a coma. How’s that for bodily integrity.
I never would have put that together, but it sort of makes sense the way she puts it.

Miriam's reasoning for holding Rogue up that way is so personal that I wouldn't dare - especially as a man - to argue that she shouldn't do it. I'm glad she found empowerment in a character I also like.

What I don't get though is what she thinks about the part where Rogue intensely dislikes the lack of intimacy her powers force on her. Permission has nothing to do with it. No one's able to touch Rogue whether she wants them to or not. Again, that may not have mattered to young Miriam Beetle and that's absolutely okay, but adult Miriam doesn't address it in her post and I'd love to hear how that element affects her perception of Rogue today.

Roaring '20s Rogue and friends by Clayton Henry.
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