From the Mailbag: “Yes, you’re wrong to feel that way about Dazzler.”

Anonymous asked:

Yes it’s wrong that you feel that way, since violence against women is never ok and Dazzler didn’t deserve what happened to her. And Dazzler wasn’t “Anti-Mutant” for working for SHIELD, especially since they aren’t the bad guys. You are suppose to be a feminist, yet you are honestly going to sit there and say the horrible things done to Dazzler were justified? What the hell?.

Okay.

This is going to take some time, I think. In deference to those of you on my feed who do not want to read a long response to this ask, here’s the TL:DR—

1) In my original post, I did not say that Dazzler deserved what happened to her or that those things were justified; I said merely that I felt I could understand Mystique’s being angry with her in light of her actions. I don’t think anyone was particularly happy with Dazzler’s decision to join S.H.I.E.L.D. I don’t think even Dazzler was all that happy with it once she began to think about it seriously. 2) The question of whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. are the bad guys is a matter of debate (and largely irrelevant here because I didn’t say they were; I said they were involved in anti-mutant activities, and I stand by that). 3) Yes, as a feminist, I can empathize with Mystique’s anger even as I deplore her methods. And I have my reasons for that.

Let’s break those reasons down a bit, shall we?

To be completely honest, I struggled with the wording on that post for quite a long time, because—though it was a post about how I felt that I could understand Mystique’s perspective—I still wanted to be clear about the fact that I was not comfortable with Mystique’s actions. That is why I stated that she “quite inexcusably took things entirely too far.” What I had hoped to convey was that while I wasn’t happy with Mystique, I hadn’t exactly been happy with Dazzler, either, and I could see how Mystique would want to strike out against Dazzler for joining S.H.I.E.L.D. Though they are not the “bad guys” (although, in the context of a comic book, I’m honestly not sure what that means; no one thinks they’re the bad guys, but they all seem to do “bad” things in spite of that), it is my opinion that S.H.I.E.L.D.’s current stance on mutantkind, and their actions based upon that stance, is neither justified nor admirable. (It reminds me a lot of how they acted during Civil War, which I wasn’t thrilled with either.)

Nevertheless, the revelation that Mystique had gone beyond the kidnapping and impersonation of Dazzler to the complete violation of her bodily autonomy was well beyond anything that any reasonable person could condone. Despite the fact that I could empathize with Mystique’s motives, her actions were unconscionable. My question was: Did Mystique’s unconscionable actions make it wrong to empathize with her anger? I wasn’t sure then, and I’m not sure now. But I know that her anger, however understandable, doesn’t excuse her actions. There’s no question that she crossed a line (a line she would have crossed regardless of Dazzler’s gender, I might add). I had hoped to express that unequivocally, but perhaps I did not.

Being a feminist does not mean being perfect. It does not mean never having thoughts and feelings that you are less than sure about, or less than comfortable with. And I don’t believe it could, or even should, mean such things. We all have problematic ideas that we need to confront and reconsider. I consider myself a feminist, and I try to be the best possible feminist that I can be. But sometimes I do get angry about the oppression inherent in the system, and sometimes I do feel like I’d enjoy seeing the system burn to the ground as a result. And while actually having the system burn to the ground might not be a very good idea, because the consequences of doing so would be huge, I think there’s no shame in feeling anger as a response to injustice.

The X-Men comics have always tackled tough questions about society, oppression, and the nature of resistance. In reading them, we are confronted with difficult ideas about how best to fight back against systematic injustice and inequality. Dazzler had made a choice to work against those she once called comrades, and she was relatively comfortable with employing fascist tactics to do so. Mystique’s resultant anger was not unjustified, in my opinion, but in her wrath she ultimately made herself no better than the people she was fighting. The moment in the comics when the extent of her actions was revealed, I was once more faced with difficult philosophical questions. My original post was an attempt to articulate one of them. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to more fully explore my own response to that question.

Originally posted here.
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