Friday, February 19, 2016

Do You Have A Moment To Talk About Deadpool?

In the last couple weeks I have hidden more Facebook posts than I can count. I discovered I don't care about vitriolic posts about politicians, or arguments about the appropriate response to Justice Scalia's death. I said on Monday, "Honestly, I'd rather talk about Deadpool."

Turns out I was wrong.

I've spent a large portion of my life as one of the few women present in male dominated areas. I walk with a limp because I broke my pelvis in the US Marine Corps - a male dominated place if ever there was one - but before that I loved getting into dirty mosh pits in the punk and metal undergrounds of Central California. I know how to handle a firearm, I like throwing a punch. Wine gives me heartburn but I love beer and whiskey. These aren't statements meant to make me sound cool - I value my friendships with women and I don't think getting lost in the comic book shop is any more or less admirable than getting lost in Sephora - and I do both as often as possible. I'm telling you this about myself for one reason only - I've spent a large portion of my life being told that the things I enjoy are for other people, or even more bluntly, NOT for me.
Look at me all wearing floral and firing a rifle at the same time! 
Does this make me masculine? Does this make me a wannabe "cool girl"?

Fuck no, it doesn't.

Even crime fiction is often thought of as a man's game. While the people in the crime fiction and true crime communities are, for the most part, welcoming and inclusive to people of all genders, the work itself is often classified as "masculine." Many women protagonists get described as "men with boobs" or dismissed entirely. It makes me want to say, "Hey, am I not a woman?" If I relate to these characters? If I enjoy their story lines - am I less a woman? More a man? Of course not.

So when I see die-hard comic book fans getting snarky and shitty about the huge response Deadpool pulled from women, it sets my teeth on edge. When I see non-comic book people wailing and gnashing teeth over the film's success because it was made for "adolescent boys" and men who haven't outgrown their adolesence, what I hear is that this thing I enjoy isn't supposed to be worth my time.

Both sides seem confident that Deadpool wasn't made for me. Deadpool wasn't made for people who like dirty jokes, gun fights, and comic books? Or was it not made for people who like looking at Ryan Reynolds (hey, his face wasn't fucked up for the whole movie). Or was it not made for people who like criminal protagonists who aren't interested in being heroes?

I'm also a feminist who isn't overly fond of the way action movies fuck up female representation - but I saw a sex worker who wasn't ever judged for her profession and who's partner didn't ask her to leave it. I saw a teenage girl be treated fairly and kick major ass without ever being discounted simply for being a young woman. I even saw the hench-woman kick Colossus's ass, where most movies would have left that fight to a man.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead IS an awesome name.
Was it perfect? Hell no! Most entertainment isn't. But I knew what I was getting into because, yes, boys and girls, I did read the fucking comics. Because I am vast and contain multitudes, I've read Deadpool and I've read Bitch Planet, I've read crime fiction and I've read feminist theory. I may not have a college degree but I am confident I'm more educated and more thoughtful than the average adolescent boy.

I should be used to it, after all - horror isn't made for me, action movies and sci-fi aren't made for me, Hemingway didn't write for me... the list goes on and on. Of course, if my interest in makeup and pretty dresses were my only hobbies, I'd be labeled an air-headed bitch.

I'm a woman, and Deadpool was made for me.

If you have a problem with the idea that me, or women like me, enjoy it when you think it belongs to you? Shut up and find a hobby. If you have a problem with the movie's success because you're deathly afraid of a world where things are popular, and the only way you can assert your intellectual dominance is to assume people who enjoyed the film are "teenage boys", hop right off the gender assumption train and check yourself.

You don't get to take the high road while sorting people into boxes based on how much smarter you think you are than them. You can't take the high road while excluding an entire gender from the things you enjoy.

So, if you can't accept that women are into all kinds of movies, books, and stories - no, I don't want to talk to you about Deadpool. Or anything else, probably.

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