I came across this while surfing – Wonder(ing) Women: Investigating Gender Politics and Art Education within Graphica(pdf). The paper goes into the subtle and sometimes not so subtle gender discrimination in comics. When I was in my teen comic book phase Batman was one of my favorites so this part about the disappearing, reappearing, reinvention and evolution of the female Robin (Stephanie Brown) caught my attention,
Removing Robin and Mary Jane: Re-writing and Undoing Female Characters
Beyond representations of female body and costume, there are many complex gender issues to be explored in superhero comics’ characterizations and storylines. While most students are familiar with token female superheroes, these characters often exist in roles far removed from male counterparts. Within the comic book narratives of DC superhero Batman, there was but one female Robin that accompanied Bruce Wayne: Stephanie Brown. As might be expected, her tenure at his side was rather brief. Unlike the previous fallen male Robin, she was denied any sort of memorial by Batman (or in effect, the comic book authors of DC comics) at the end of her time as Batman’s support. This is an especially problematic exclusion, given the claims of Gareth Schott (2010) regarding homoeroticism in early Batman comics between Batman and (male) Robins (p.
28). A potentially liberatory context of queerness in the 1950s for Batman and male Robins are not matched by equally empowering gendered otherness several years later for Stephanie Brown.
In a similar vein, the Spiderman comics contain re-tellings and retroactive storylines in which Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane is removed. These revisions represent a strikingly similar un-doing or even un-saying of a female character and her importance. GirlWonder.org is a website devoted to analysis and protest of such gender injustice, and
includes a call to DC Comics to integrate a memorial for the sole female Robin into Batman mythology.
I would rather go Metafilter on this story and leave off too a lot of narrative. Though I cannot help but think the author is a little lost on the rplematic disapperance and some tenuoius conection to male Robins and homoerotism. I’m not saying there is not some narrative in that ballpark worth delving into, only that her connection seems tenuious while also suggesting to consider the possibilites. Perhaps that is all she intended.
This is one of the longer essays in which the unsatisfactory closure of the Stephanie Brown character is brought up. The problems arsing with her peculiar dismissal from the Batman series is a little clearer and thus less frustrating, “A lot like Robin if you close your eyes.” Displacement of meaning in the Post-Modern Age By Mary Borsellino. Some more concerns in a similar vain here – An Open Letter, On the Topic of Stephanie Brown. Those complaints may seem unwarranted since in the world of comics deaths and resurrections are not uncommon. According to DC Comics Wiki history of Stephanie she did not die. If she did not then have some kind of closure, say via a special memorial in the Bat Cave that might be a moot point – Stephanie Brown (New Earth) at Dc Comics Wiki.
Interesting point about being fair – ‘Teachers Want Corporate America Assessed’
It has been more than a week ago since I stood in Times Square penned in behind barricaded fences in a sea of tens of thousands protesters at the Occupy Wall Street rally. As an education blogger, I was on the lookout for teachers when I saw a man with a large yellow sign that read, “Teachers Want Corporate America Assessed.” [ Schools Matter)] In the past year, three newly established grassroots education movements have been organized as parents, teachers, and citizens begin to focus on ending the reign of terror in schools. The fight, however, is just beginning. (Image: Schools Matter)
The message was loud and clear — it is time for educators to turn the table on the corporations and politicians and begin evaluating, measuring and assessing their performance. Here are some well-known statistics: 25 million people are out of work or underemployed, 50 million people have no access to health insurance and one in five children in the U.S. is living in poverty, with four of every ten black children living in poverty. Everyone but the wealthy has become part of corporate America’s collateral damage, and the country appears poised on the brink of calamity.
[ ]…After years of blame for students’ low test scores in a country that has no accountability for the perpetrators of endless wars and the economic meltdown that make teaching evermore challenging, teachers are beginning to loudly call out those in power and to reclaim their voices that have been muffled by years of threats and sanctions.
The Right and liberals both have aimed plenty of criticism at education. They come it from different angles. One of the Right’s parrot like re-frames is the lack of accountability for teachers. I find the subject overblown. Teachers are not intractable, many are as disturbed by bad teachers as anyone else, if not more so. With the firing of over a hundred thousand teachers since the recession began in 2007, they are hardly difficult to get rid of. Why the laser-like focus on holding teachers accountable and spending hundreds of millions protecting Wall Street from accountability. Teachers didn’t steal $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth, bankers did.
Tristen – Heart and Hope to Die