Friday, December 07, 2012

Number 1276: “It's a woman's world!”

This is the fourth and final posting of our silly science” theme week. I've saved this one for last, because when I first read it I was slack-jawed with amazement. Yep, sixty years ago in these United States we had a whole different mindset about gender roles, did we not? I grew up in that era; my mom was a housewife and stuck to her “traditional female” role. It was how we saw the world, and role-reversal is the gimmick of this story, from Mystery in Space #8 (1952). Boys reading it in those days would think this would never happen! When Mrs. Pappy and I got married in 1969 the feminists (we called them “women's libbers”) were making headlines, and from my own spouse I could feel the change a-comin’!

In 1971 feminism was so threatening to some men that a book like this could be published.

This Mystery in Space story, written by John Broome under the pen-name John Osgood, and drawn by Bob Oksner and Bernard Sachs, had a publication history that straddled the feminist movement, before and after. It was reprinted the same year as The Feminists, in 1971 in From Beyond the Unknown #11 (where I first saw it), and in 1980 in the Simon and Schuster compilation, Mysteries in Space, the Best of DC’s Science Fiction Comics.

The last two panels of the story are howlers. You'll see when you read them. Talk about a male fantasy. “Okay, you chicks had your fun, now move on over and the boys are back in charge!” As all of us have noticed in our 2012 society that kind of talk may have worked in 1952, but not now.


Michael Hoskin said...

"Took over again?" That's the only time I noticed the characters demonstrating an awareness of men being the former top dogs and it comes in the last panel?

Brian Barnes said...

[extreme sexism: on]

So, when women take over, they are going to demand a sexy dress code on themselves? Even now, when men run everything, we can't get away with that!

I say if short-shorts and fish nets and plunging neck-lines are the cost of turning over everything to women, I'm all for it!

[extreme sexism: off]

This is just an incredible piece of nonsense. Women took over, but to the author, the women are just men with nice legs; they act exactly like men in this story. Men and women deserve the same jobs and opportunities, but men and women do have many difference outside the obvious. It's like this author is more afraid of women being like men -- and in fact proving himself less manly in some manner -- then them taking over!

Of course, I'm always pretty guilty of reading a lot more into these things than is required.

Daniel [] said...

Yeah, those last two panels could have been used to argue, in round-about fashion, for sexual equality, but instead cause the story to just crash-and-burn.

Pappy said...

Well, we are talking about a short comic book story from several decades ago, and probably shouldn't read too much more into it than it reflects a very male-dominated attitude of the times, and is a gimmick story, at the time maybe not much noticed.

I like Brian's observation of the writing that "women are just men with nice legs" which shows the writer didn't have much understanding of the female brain, in comparison to the male brain, and how different the sexes are in very fundamental ways.

I have a 1940s Simon and Kirby story coming up in February where the women are in charge, and in positions of power are like men. I'll link back to this story and you can compare.

Darci said...

This immediately brought to my mind the 1953 film "Project Moonbase" (which was reportedly re-edited from a failed TV series, "Ring Around the Moon"). There's a female moon pilot (for the sensible reason that she weighs half what a male pilot would) and a female President. Some of this was probably the contribution of Robert Heinlein.
Looking forward to that February story!