So, over on one of the Ravelry forums I frequent, there was a link to today’s Tee Fury t-shirt. Now, before we go on, for those of you not familiar with Tee Fury, they offer limited edition t-shirts for $10 (usually the designs are available for only 24 hours and they change everyday). Now, I have purchased some fucking awesome t-shirts from Tee Fury – they tend to be geeky or pop culture reference-y. However, the designs are often hit or miss.
Now, today’s design, Dark Duel, was designed by Verrrso (their Facebook page is here), a Brazilian design studio. Now the problem wasn’t with the art itself, but with one piece of the of the side art, meant to showcase the artist’s other designs. It shows Wonder Woman ironing Superman’s costume. (Frankly, I should probably note that I’m not a fan of the art.)
Cue feminist rage.
There were also some really inventive backstories to the image – such as it actually being Superman in his Wonder Woman drag just doing his laundry.
But, seriously, this reminds me of awful Mary Jane washing Peter’s costume while her thong is showing statue.
As one of the ladies on the forum pointed out, thinking about gender issues within the domestic sphere of superheroes is a really interesting and a thought-provoking concept. Frankly, given the unpredictability of superhero lives, I’d imagine that they’d outsource most domestic duties, even if they had a non-superhero spouse at home (of either gender). It makes sense to have an Alfred or a Jarvis to handle the minutiae of the superhero’s more mundane existence. I would think that, whatever little downtime a superhero has, they’d want to spend it with their friends or their significant other – and not scrubbing toilets or doing the laundry.
And, to be honest, I don’t see something especially un-feminist about doing someone else’s laundry. I do my husband’s laundry; he deals with the garbage every week. The gendered implications of how our domestic duties are divided doesn’t particularly concern me; neither chore was assigned because of the assumption that chicks are totally better at doing laundry and he has bigger (and more manly) muscles to take out the garbage and sort the recycling. On the flip side, I don’t particularly like vacuuming, so my husband mostly does it.
Though, the situation in the art is completely different than how my husband and I divide the housework. That’s why I made my first point: I would totally argue that Wonder Woman has more important shit to do than washing her own costume, never mind Superman’s.
But neither of those points really hits to the core issue. Diana – who’s a fucking warrior and an Amazonian Princess – is cast the stereotypical housewife role. The implication of showing her doing her “wifey” duty to Superman by ironing his fucking costume is that she has nothing better to do and that she’s finally in her “proper” place – subjugated by a man. (Again, completely contradictory, if you knew anything about Diana or Wonder Woman.)
By relegating her to an incredibly stereotypical and gendered activity like this – especially within the superhero genre, which already has massive issues with the role of women and female superheroes (and non-hegemonic men, in general) – you’re successfully communicating where female superheroes (and, by extension, female fans) belong: in the kitchen and making the male superheroes (or male fans) a sammich.
Seriously, fuck you guys.