batty over the divide

Misogyny against women.The narcissism of small differences.  Sexism. Reinforcing the status-quo. Expanding the characteristics and distance between a much contrived and accentuated gender divide with all its perverted politics. All these killings of women in Batman leads one to believe that the rhetoric about the sanctity of life is window dressing and in terms of “entertainment” and the fallout from human sexuality and aggression, women will be used as an expendable commodity. Batman and honour killing? …

---Epstein:The world is made up of great divides— divides of nations, wealth, race, religion, education, class, gender, and sexuality—all constructs created by human agency. The conceptual boundaries that define these categories are always symbolic and may create physical and social boundaries as well Today, as in the past, these constructs not only order social existence, but they also hold the capacity to create serious inequalities, generate conflicts, and promote human suffering. Read More: image from Jonathan McIntosh.

JM:Gothamites who happen to be female have very few options beyond being a damsel in distress, a sex object and/or dead. With the possible exception of Batgirl and officer Anna Ramirez all the women on this list fit into one (or more) of these narrow categories. Plus, of course, Ramirez ends up as a traitor whose life is only spared via a random coin toss….As Elisa Kreisinger recently pointed out on her blog the stereotypical Hollywood roles for women coupled with the male gaze behind the camera poses a big problem for video remixers wishing to create alternative visual stories. Because there is so little to work with in the original source its extremely difficult to re-imagine stronger or more complete female characters in a Batman Universe remix. That said I’m carefully searching the filmographies of both Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer looking for creative ways to include them in this project without all the sexist tropes. Read More:

---It all began with a blog post by Film Critic Hulk, who bemoaned the portrayal of Selina Kyle (and other, less prominent female characters) as masturbatory aids to the game's henchmen ("They all look good in here..."), her cloying flirtations with Batman following a rescue at his testosterone-soaked hands, and the non-stop 'bitch'-cussing, despite the rather redundant observation that 'bitch’ refers to a dog. Film Critic Hulk argued that the game over-egged its misogyny to an uncomfortable degree, and included with it no actual salient purpose within the game besides some vacuous notion of an 'edgy' representation of criminal behaviour, which he argued to be a deeply flawed excuse. This was followed by a similar article on respected gaming site Kotaku, which said "...there's a fine line between edgy dialogue and forced, angry overkill," while GameFront's more lenient opinion was that "Many people don’t even consider the weight of the word when used against a female, equating it with 'bastard' for males."--- Read More:

So,the sexual divide is the great definer of social life,the narrative tension, contrived as it is that animates all the cultural industries and our spoon fed pop culture. There are too many individuals and companies that have a vested interest in upholding it, that it is proving to be the most resistant category to re-calibrate in an anti-dysfunctional way. As a social creation, and canonized academically through gender studies, gender has the veneer and status, ironically, as a deep seated, inflexible type of variable in all analyses which of course influences social policy, marketing and other exploiters of the “first glance” which denotes position of social hierarchy. Invidious distinctions are bound by gender typing as a first mover, and this applies to all societies without exception.

The gender divide them is socially created which is impervious to natural forces and processes. Only through cultural and social mechanisms and their insidious impact and influence on our cognitive processes does this social sorting by sex, the grading of the meat, occur and nailed in place. The forces of persuasion and embedded cultural schemes disguised as consensus or even a necessary illusion, are not easily dismantled. The lower instincts of man are territorial. Like a junkyard dog. Even when there is a crossing of gender barriers, these new spheres retain their male definition. Form adjusts but content survives. In sum, subordination of women is, unfortunately,  a building block of our society’s flimsy and fragile cultural identity otherwise it would not have to be reinforced so intensely.

---Interestingly, despite the modern tendencies of a strong, independent woman, who cares only for herself (something which was still considered revolutionary during the first half of the last century), when it came to the implied sexual tension between her and the Batman (which was always there, even in shows like The Animated Series), she was always placed in the role of a woman (emotionally) dependent a distant, aloof male. Basically, Catwoman was written to be defined by the Batman - she was confident and independent only when she denied her sexuality.--- Read More:

J.McIntosh: This new transformed narrative will borrow clips from over 50 Hollywood films to completely re-imagine Bruce Wayne – Gotham City’s most privileged son. It will focus on themes of power, privilege, class and mental illness in the Batman Universe. The project will rely on the fair use doctrine to push the boundaries of what’s possible with transformative storytelling Read More:
Yet we know that this demographic is a fallacy: a 2010 study showed the average age of US gamers is 37, of which female gamers make up 42 per cent. This represents an increase of two per cent in the previous year alone. (Source: The Entertainment Software Association – ……Assuming it is the latter, female gamers must also contend with the perennial annoyance of an extraordinarily high percentage of female characters subscribing to the Nuts magazine idealised notion of physical appearance. Then again, most male gamers don’t really look like Nathan Drake or Marcus Fenix either, but these are two discrete issues: female videogame characters remain sexualised to a degree far higher than in most other media (possibly even comics), and evidence to support this is everywhere you turn.

Developers are surely more aware of this gender disparity than most, and if Rocksteady was aiming for a young male audience then surely the treatment of women within the product would have been carefully considered, besides the slapping of a 15 rating on the cover. This is an adult game with adult themes, yet it is set in a comic-book world, which is perhaps why some find its offhand misogyny unsettling.

The perceived problem with Arkham City is less to do with skimpy outfits or their relationship with (or detractions from) female equality than it is to do with the connotations of the way Catwoman is verbally addressed and blithely objectified.

Which begs the question, was the treatment of Catwoman in Arkham City actually sexist, or has a fuss been kicked up over nothing? Have we reached a point where we can stop getting upsetover things like this, or does it represent a huge step backwards in a medium already in dire need of gender-representational progress? Read More:

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