coming out to your parents
If you try for one second to tell me the X-Men isn’t an allegory for the gay rights movement, I will smack you. They weren’t even remotely subtle about this.
The mutants have always been an allegory for anyone that didn’t fit in to society. The folks who drew the comics made a point of that early on.
It’s not just the gay rights movement, its not just kids trying to “come out” to their parents. Its people being mistreated by the government, put away, forced to pretend to be “normal”, systematically oppressed, even killed for who they are because the powers that be cant control it. It’s an allegory for blacks, gays, the disabled (mentally and physically), women, and anyone really who isnt a white man at the top of the food chain.
Seriously guys… Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr are Professor X and Magneto. Legacy virus is HIV. X-men is a flawless comic.
Flawless commentary is flawless
Meh. Not this again.
People never get tired of reminding us of the allegories of the X-men and civil rights. I personally don’t care for allegories that consists of 2 powerful white men leading an ensemble of mostly powerful white people. I’m a comic lover and I understand the point Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were making. I enjoy X-men for what it is, a fantasy. I’m not going to use it for deep social commentary, despite the idealistic intentions of the creators.
I can see and listen to actual marginalized people. I’m on the margins myself and so is everyone around me and in my community. Allegories like this are for people who aren’t paying attention or listening to communities on the margins. I can’t imagine a Black lesbian for instance being excited about the X-men as an allegory for her life. I’ll make an educated guess and say that the only people who view allegorical narratives like the X-men as profound are probably white. I’m definitely not impressed by all powerful white characters used in place as allegories of systems put in place by real life powerful white people i.e. white supremacy.
The day when a white man shooting lasers from his eyes and an angry, furry dudebro with retractable adamantium claws start shedding light on my experiences as someone on the margins is the day when pigs fly.
Also, the allegory of Professor X as MLK Jr and Magneto as Malcolm X feeds into the dichotomy of one guy being respectable and the other being violent and ruthless. It is deeply flawed. People continue to promulgate this simplistic narrative of MLK Jr and Malcolm X and it’s dangerous. Magneto is a mutant who wants to destroy humankind (allegory for white people?) because he thinks mutants are superior. He is filled with hatred and contempt for humankind. He leads the “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” (allegory for the Nation of Islam?).
Magneto’s sole purpose is ridding the world of humankind. That’s a horrible allegory of Malcolm X. That isn’t Malcolm X. That’s a white man’s interpretation of Malcolm X misrepresented as Magneto and his followers.
If Stan Lee and Jack Kirby wanted to really make a statement, they should have made the five original X-men Black since Black resistance to white supremacy was the preeminent struggle that inspired them. Forgive me for not giving a shit about their allegories when their inaugural champions of justice and vanguards of truth were white people. Even when inspired by Black resistance and Black suffering, the end result was still whiteness.
I agree with everything said above, but there is something else that needs to be added, and that is that privileged folks have a VERY difficult time recognizing oppression. It’s not good enough to say “hey, this thing that is happening to all these other people is bad.” You have to say, “imagine if this was happening to you" to get them to take notice.
The people who actually have the power to make changes won’t make any changes until they can relate to those being oppressed. Think back on those guys who are SHOCKED when they pretend to be women online. The government leaders who are AMAZED how hard it is to get by when they try to live off food stamps. I mean, they’ve heard it said for years, but unless someone they relate to actually experiences it, the oppressed are just complaining and blowing it out of proportion!
If Lee and Kirby had made a comic about black characters, white people wouldn’t have read it. It would be considered a black comic for black people about black problems. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was part of Lee’s intention. Lee has gone on record saying that Iron Man was created to trick his young, liberal readers into sympathizing with a character who is a capitalist and pro-war. Maybe the X-Men were a way to trick his white audience into actually relating to what was happening to blacks in the 60’s, and eventually gays in the 90’s.
And I do recognize how fucked up that is. We shouldn’t HAVE to resort to these issues needing a straight white male mouthpiece to be heard. But I think we’ve finally started to reach a point in society where the privileged are actually willing to listen to and value the words and experiences of the oppressed. But that might just be me being optimistic.
(Source: sebastianslan, via ladyzolstice)