Two letters from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #126, and a very telling response from an editor:

10 Responses to “Lois Lane’s Readers”
  1. Thom says:

    How does Bizarro world get it’s mail delivered to our dimension?

  2. elsie says:

    Out of curiosity, what year was this? I’m trying to position those attitudes on my personal timeline as a feminist. (Comics numbers mean nothing to me. I’m here for Doctor Who, movies and manga.) But yeah, the editor’s note is very telling.

  3. Mister Terrific says:

    The editor’s reply on the second one…WTF, man, WTF?

  4. Dorian says:

    Elsie–This comic was released in 1972.

  5. John G says:

    I wonder if B.J. Reed still lives in the greater Oxnard area.

  6. elsie says:

    1972 — Okay, I was 9 years old at the time, and women’s lib was just beginning to impinge on my consciousness.
    Dorian, have you ever considered applying the Bechdel test to some of these vintage comics? I’ve seen blogs that consider it in relation to contemporary comics, but I’m curious how the vintage ones would do.

  7. Dorian says:

    Elsie–To be honest, I’m not a fan of the “Bechdel test”, as I most frequently see it being used online to give knee-jerk dismissals of works as misogynist without engaging in any real critical examination.

  8. Thom says:

    I wonder if we took people’s lives from a given time period and compressed it into two hours or 22 pages…how many women would fail the Bechdel test? I fear a lot, just from personal experience. Sometime the top topic in a person’s life is “their significant other”. So the test strikes me as an ineffective way to gauge how a well or realistic specific story presents it’s female characters.

  9. elsie says:

    Yes, as a critical tool, the Bechdel test is pretty limited and can be used in a knee-jerk manner. I see it mainly as a starting point for discussion. One reason I like the Bechdel test is that it highlights the automatic assumption that a woman has a male significant other. I don’t. My best friend doesn’t. Neither of us even have relationships at this point. We talk about work, pop culture, her daughter. Those are our main topics of conversation. At work I’m on a committee with seven women, and significant others are rarely the topic of conversation. In fact, the only time it came up was when the committee chair explained that her husband did training workshops, and so wanted him to help us prepare for one that we were leading. And we’re a committee that gets along and can really get off topic.

  10. Josh says:

    Failing the Bechdel test, I’d suggest, doesn’t make a story misogynist: it could mean that the story is noir and as such focused on isolation, or just set in an androcentric milieu like a Conradian ship or a Delanyan gay male subculture. OTOH, stories that pass often do have something interesting and distinctive about their settings and plots.

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