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When a reader connects to a concept like The Amazons as a beacon of positive female empowerment, it’s devastating to have those myths, characters, and culture turned into one-dimensional monsters out of nowhere in three pages of a comic book that you previously loved. Absolutely devastating.

One of the most common words to be thrown around on the Internet at women by people who disagree with them is the word Feminazi. The implication of Feminazi generally being that the woman in question is an unreasonable militant feminist that hates men. It’s a horrible and generally false stereotype that is shockingly pervasive. So when you take something that is the symbol of positive female empowerment and more broadly a symbol of feminism and present it as exactly that stereotype (except even more extreme) then it just feeds into all that is wrong with those ideas. Azzarello’s Amazons are absolute monsters. They are presented as women who not only rape in order to procreate (and yes, I believe rape is the right word), but also women who kill after they mate, women who either kill their sons or sell them into slavery, and who seem to lie and hide what they do and who they are. I don’t see any way in which these women – an entire nation of women – can be labeled as anything except monsters.

There is no nuance to this idea. It is the broadest and most one-dimensional way to illustrate an entire people and culture as absolutely irredeemable.

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I spent the weekend trying to decide whether this story would have hit as painfully if not for the current state of women in the real world. In the U.S. alone we are in a fever of women’s reproductive rights being stripped away, women being denied a seat at the table for discussion of these rights, women who use birth control publicly being called ‘sluts’, and women being physically violated by things like transvaginal probes. Not to mention everything from continued victim blaming for rape, sexual harassment in the workplace, and women still (in 2012!) making approximately 80 cents on the dollar. And those things still ignore the far larger and more obviously dangerous problems that women must face in so many other countries – being forced to marry your rapist, being stoned to death for daring to be raped, to even archaic rules like women not being allowed to drive cars.

It’s hard to ignore that this is a society that increasingly hates and distrusts women, especially as they gain any ground or power for themselves. And so it’s doubly hard to see that reflected back in our fiction right now. To see powerful women – which The Amazons have unequivocally been – as THE example of a society of powerful women in DC Comics – stripped of everything that might be good and honorable so that we may see the broadest most hateful stereotypes of them presented. The erroneous and damaging stereotype reinforced yet again that women with power will become absolute monsters. I would never make an argument that a matriarchal society would be a utopia. I would argue that any society that has inequality can by its very nature NOT be a utopia. But I see the Amazons, time and time again turned (primarily by men I’m sorry to say) into horror stories. Wildly exaggerated speculation of man-hating, man-killing, war-like unreasonable monsters. The question in fiction seems to lately be – how could powerful women be anything but monsters? For me, it’s a bridge too far.

Undercutting The Amazons is not undercutting just any female empowerment myth, it’s undercutting THE female empowerment myth.

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— Kelly Thompson talking about Wonder Woman #7 over at She Has No Head! (via eggplantavenger)