Female Thor and the Ms. Male Character

Much is made of the lack of well thought out female heroes in comics these days. While Marvel and DC have attempted to bring female heroes into the limelight as of late, the implementation, in my opinion, has been subpar. Marvel made a lot of noise about its new female Thor comic series but I was skeptical from the beginning. The concept of gender morphing male heroes into female heroes is nothing new. It’s actually a well-documented phenomenon in feminist criticism known as the “Ms. Male Character.” Well-known feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian defines the Ms. Male Character as the following: “A female version of an already established or default male character. Ms. Male Characters are defined primarily by their relationship to their male counterparts via their visual properties, their narrative connection or occasionally through promotional materials.”

FemThor

This is extremely applicable to Marvel’s female Thor series, which is why I have such a problem with it—it’s just plain lazy. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most profitable film series in human history, grossing a total of over 9 billion dollars worldwide. In light of this fact I have only one question: why can’t they scrounge up the money to get some authors and illustrators together to create an original female heroine? I can only assume one of two possibilities: 1) they’re lazy or 2) they’re lazy and afraid of taking a risk. Neither one of these explanations is satisfying given the insane amount of cash they’ve raked in over the past decade. With this decision they’ve missed an opportunity to add to the lexicon of Marvel heroines. Instead, they’ve opted for lame, albeit safe, temporary gender morph of the character of Thor. Inevitably this story arc will come to an end, and once it does what will be left? No new heroine off which to base new and exciting original tales. Instead this character will be left dead in the water once it ‘s over with, and that’s a shame. They squandered an opportunity to do something exciting and new—let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake again.

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