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Exploring the Impact of Misogyny for Women
Masculinity can be toxic, even the most considerate and progressive men harbor misogynistic views in the darkest parts of their beings. From a long time, there has been a stereotype and reputation attached to male and female identities. These social structures generally do not have women in charge or on the top. Rather, women bound against rules set by societies they reside in; however, there are many genres, initiatives, and works of literary art which focus on woman empowerment and highlight the ill-treatment of women in society. Tits & Clits (No 6) by Farmer, Joyce, and Lyn Chevli and Bitch Planet (Vol 1) by DeConnick, Kelly Sue and Valentine De Landro are some of the strong pieces of work which explore issues in women’s lives due to misogyny. While the works of in Tits & Clits and Bitch Planet differ in terms of genre and style, they both ultimately share a fundamental concern with misogynist representations of women which objectify and disvalue women. The misogyny towards women presented in both these works seem to be prominently present in how a woman should look, how a woman should behave, and how a woman’s body is valued more than herself.
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From a young age, women have been given a dress code in school to which they need to abide by. There are women today who have dress codes outside of school and into the real world. Whether it be the religion of the land or the beliefs of society, appropriate attire for women in public is often dictated by rules that are written by men. By large, the logic behind social norms of a woman’s attire stem from the philosophy that just being able to lay their eyes on certain parts of a women’s body is a reason enough for men to get aroused. Along with dress code, men have an optimal idea of what a woman is supposed to look like. In Bitch Planet, there exists a group of men, the Fathers, who hold all the world’s power and are in charge of deciding which women deemed “non-compliant” – through their actions, their looks, and their sexuality – are sent to Bitch Planet, where they are to live their lives in jail. One such woman, named Penny, was identified as non-compliant because her body weight was too large in terms of social norms. Although, Penny believed she was perfect the way she was regardless of what a group of men had to say. She was confident in her body type and her body image and thus deemed non-compliant to men’s beliefs. When the Fathers brought Penny in and asked her, “How long since you imagined what your life could be like if you were more compliant Penelope?” (Bitch Planet Vol 1, Page 68) to which she imagined her exact overweight self. Penny was proud of her body and confidence in herself which left the Fathers in shock and disgust and deemed her non-compliant once again and sent to the outpost in prison. In the Fathers’ eyes, an “ideal” version of a woman has a slim and lean build with a fare complexion and smooth hair, all of which Penny was not. The misogyny of the Fathers disvalued Penny’s current body and asked her to re-imagine herself as something else. In most situations, women face constant issues regarding body image and self-confidence due to the constant comparison to the “ideal” body developed by men. Men disvalue woman with body types that stray from the ideal body developed by society; if a woman is confident in her body image, like Penny, she is labeled non-compliant and exiled from society. In addition to body type, men declare they know what a woman wants based on how she looks or what she wears. A great example of this is presented in The Adventures of Dahlia Delicti in Tits & Clits (vol 6) by Beverly Hilliard. In this comic, a pair of men observe Dahlia staring at Eclairs to which one of the men says, “I’m telling ya, man, all chicks secretly wanna be raped,” (Tits & Clits, Page 4) to which he indeed rapes her and in his defense, he proclaims, “don’t fight it bimbo! I’m jes keepin you from overeating.” (Tits & Clits, Page 4). It seems that Dahlia’s outfit of a shirt and shorts screams out to men that she wants to be raped. To which the man adds, that by raping her, he saved her from overeating and getting obese which would then disvalue her body from being considered attractive. Somehow, Dahlia wanted to be raped and communicated that to the man based on her just staring at eclairs in a bakery. Sexual objectification based on a woman’s body language and appearance is relevant in both texts regardless of the way it is being depicted; although, they both highlight how normal misogyny is and how it is often depicted as being the woman’s fault due to her non-compliance with society and how she communicates what she wants based on her appearance.
“Act like a lady,” is a common phrase thrown around by men and women to address a situation when a woman is not acting the way she should. Men have misogynist opinions on how a woman should behave in situations in order to sustain the male ego and reputation. When a woman is not behaving like a lady, she is deemed to be rebellious and non-compliant. In the case of Bitch Planet, women are sent off to another planet. Another target of the Fathers in Bitch Planet was Marian Collins who was sent off to prison due her non-compliance with her husband’s affair. Marian was sent to prison when she didn’t except her husband’s affair when it was her husband who committed a crime of cheating on his wife, but this is acceptable for a man. However, a woman — like Marian – should have not acted with such anger from learning about the affair. The woman who her husband had an affair with “was young and beautiful. She was compliant,”(Bitch Planet, Page 19) as a result, Marian was devastated and hurt which caused her to make threats. In accordance with the Fathers, this behavior from Marian in response to the affair was unacceptable and against the society norms, she should have not threatened her husband. Often, the rules as to how a woman should behave change when she gets married because the behavior restrictions and rules for a woman during marriage and prior to marriage. To explain, for marriage, men “just want the young girl – 20 year old. You get older, then nobody want you,” (Tits & Clits, Page 34). The comic comments on the society norm of how a woman should get married in her early 20s in order to remain desirable to men. After marriage, a woman is required to tend to her family needs before anything else. When the man in the comic is asked why his wife did not help him with his business, he answers with, “she had to stay at home with the children. Besides I didn’t want her in the shop by herself” (Tits & Clits, Page 34). The man first claims that his wife needs to stay at home with the children as if it is obvious to the woman he’s speaking with. Secondly, he mentions that he would not let his wife remain in the shop by herself because she might gain unwelcomed attention from customers or he merely does not trust her to. Many men, like the man in the comic, believe that there is a certain way a woman should behave after marriage; she needs to put family as her main priority by staying home and taking care of the household while the man goes out to work. To explore, this stereotype has been prevalent for many years, women are required to stay obedient to their husbands and their only responsibility is to take care of the household. After an examination of Marian from Bitch Planet and the man from Coffee Break, the reader can infer the value given to the obedience and compliance of a woman to a man which stems from the misogynist opinions of how a woman should behave.
In parallel to how a woman should look and behave, men identify females to provide the most value to them in the form of their body and sexual intercourse. This perception objectifies women’s importance to only their bodies and the sex they provide. The women sent to prison in Bitch Planet have been banished from society due to their non-compliance and lack of value provided to the community. The guards in the prison often physically and verbally abuse the women for their rebellious and defensive behavior. However, the guards use their power in the prison to force and blackmail the women to engage is sexual activity with them. One guard, named Tommy Peppers, witnessed a pair of women breaking the rules and threatened to report them for their rebellious behavior unless, in exchange, the women allowed Tommy to watch them shower with no clothes on. In exchange of remaining safe from the Fathers of the prison, the man, treating their bodies like objects, asked the women to give up her privacy and allow him to watch them shower. The amount of respect given to a woman and her privacy is little to none; whereas, her body is given more value than her privacy and consent. Similarly, in Tits & Clits, a comic titled An Exercise in Stocking Fetishism displays the importance a man gives to a woman’s body rather than the woman herself. In this comic, a man approaches a woman in an airplane and describes a dilemma he’s having where he “can’t seem to get excited with her [His wife] unless she’s wearing stockings,” (Tits & Clits, Page 11). He claims that he loves his wife very much and finds her attractive but fails to get aroused if she is not wearing stockings. He also mentions that it is tacky of a woman to have body hair even though body hair is natural for humans and men have it as well. This man deems that the value of his wife based on the physical appearance of her body and not what she has done for him. Women are judged and determined to be attractive based solely on their bodies by men who consider the body to be the most important part of a woman. In examination of comics excerpts from Bitch Planet and Tits & Clits it becomes evident that men view a woman’s body separately from the woman herself and find more value in a woman during sexual intercourse.
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Gender stereotypes have existed for a long time and have dominated society norms and behaviours that each gender is to follow. However, there has been a profound male dominance in social structures where in most cases the men are valued over a woman. In this social hierarchy, women are to follow the rules set by societies they reside in. Many genres, initiatives, and works of literary art focus in on woman empowerment and highlight the ill-treatment of women in society due to these social norms. Tits & Clits (No 6) and Bitch Planet (Vol 1) highlighted some of the issue’s women face in their daily lives. While the works of in Tits & Clits and Bitch Planet differed in terms of genre and style, they both ultimately shared a fundamental concern with misogynist representations of women which objectify and disvalue women. The misogyny towards women presented in both these works seem to be prominently focus on how a woman should look, how a woman should behave, and how a woman’s body is valued more than herself. As a result of this assumptions and stereotypes, women are ill-treated and sexually objectified in situations where women go against the misogynist opinions and rules of society.
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