(And the Toddler Is Only Bugging Me A Little)
I’ve been reading Gail Simone’s Tumblr a lot, lately. It’s been reminding me of a moment I had a year or two after getting into comics.
I was reading her first run on Birds of Prey and I came across a scene where two women were interacting. That’s most pages of most issues of that series, I realize, but it caught me. It was the first time I’d read a comic book and the interaction felt right. I hadn’t even noticed it until that point, but I’d never read a moment that actually felt like real, female emotion. It really struck me, because I didn’t consider myself female very often. I enjoyed ‘male’ interests, related to men better, usually connected to male characters. I was a woman, but I didn’t always know what that meant. But I read that scene, and I could see me, not in their opinions, or personalities, but in something else. I had a visceral sense that a guy wouldn’t have acted like that but I would have.
That moment helped me define myself. I don’t interact in culturally normal ways, I went through high school quietly bewildered with the drama around me, I’ve only really started making relationships with other women now that I have kids to talk about. But I still don’t think like a guy. I know I don’t feel emotions like a guy. (I realize Ms. Simone doesn’t like binary gender distinctions, but that’s the language I think in.) I’d gotten a bit too comfortable with the idea that media wasn’t ever going to aimed at me, but this was a comic book, full of my beloved explosions and action sequences, with the women participating in all the fights, and the women still felt right.
I’m not a teenager any more. I’ve accepted who I am, am comfortable in my skin (still hate myself, sometimes, but that’s for things I do, not my identity). I didn’t have it as hard as a lot of people - I never interacted with my peers enough to feel peer pressure, for example. But deciding who you are as an adult is hard for almost everyone. Reading her characters made me feel more real - if I could identify with someone, then I was a real person, not a mistake.
I’ve wanted to thank her for that for several years, now. She’s an amazing writer. A bit too violent, for my tastes, but most writers are. I’ve seen to much gore to read a DC book, these days, especially a Batbook(even Deadpool/Agent X were less upsetting, and his/their shtick was that they didn’t mind getting dismembered(as long as no one took their pieces)), but I’ve loved many of her series and with all the new projects she’s talking about, it’s possible another one will connect with me the same way.
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