Wednesday, March 11, 2015

About the female Thor, the black Captain America, and fanboy sexism and racism

The best explanation I've seen yet for why fanboys are cool with a black Captain America and upset with a female Thor: wolfofthewest_ comments on How to calm an Asgardian.

I haven't been following comics closely for 20 years, but I agree with wolfofthewest about the nature of the mythologies. Captain America is a role; anyone can take on the job. Thor is a person--it makes as much sense to create a female Thor as it does to create a male Venus.

If I'd been at Marvel and someone told me they wanted a female Thor, I'd propose doing it the same way characters in the past have become Thor: by having Odin cast Thor's soul into a woman's body. My suspicion is a transgender Thor would've made fanboys much happier, and would've made Marvel's decision-makers much more nervous.

The black Captain America is a fine test for fannish racism: only racists insist Captain America must be white. But if you want a sexism test, Captain Marvel is much more useful than Thor—have any fanboys insisted that Captain Marvel must be male?

ETA: Regarding discussion in comments, for clarity's sake, I changed "the same way characters in the past have acquired "the power of Thor"" to "the same way characters in the past have become Thor". I goofed up by failing to be precise, because as serious fans know, being Thor and having the power of Thor are very different things.