“He may be a super man, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good man.”
— me just now (pretty good, right???)
First off, apologies for the radio silence. Things got crazy with the holidays and then I got stuck in the bottle city of Kandor for a while and then I was kidnapped by the Anti-Superman Gang and then I switched consciousness’s with a gorilla (AGAIN) and then I caught a cold which had me on the ropes for a few weeks. You get it.
In any event, let’s talk about Superman’s super disturbing spanking fetish.
Let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with a little spanking between consenting adults. But that is NOT what we’re talking about here. These are clearly nonconsensual physical assaults.
And there are a lot of them.
Superman has argued that these women were criminals and he was merely dispensing justice but has he ever infantilized and humiliated Lex Luthor, Brainiac, or the Ultra-Humanite in a similar fashion?
Let’s give Superman the benefit of the doubt for a moment and say these aren’t really assaults but fair and proportional justice doled out to these women.
What does that say exactly about Superman’s feelings about women? What have non-sexual spankings traditionally been reserved for? Punishing children, right?
So basically, Superman thinks of these female criminals as intellectual and emotional children, unworthy of the serious attention of the criminal justice system, and decides to take the matter into his own hands (literally)
In this best case scenario of Superman’s intentions, he is depriving these women of their basic human rights. It would be like him sentencing criminals to an eternity in a timeless prison dimension wormhole without due process. Oh, wait…
Where does Superman’s obsession with corporal punishment stem from? Could it be something to do with his daddy issues?
Or his other daddy issues?
Or his Best Boy Pal who went back in time and became his babysitter issues?
Or his President Eisenhower issues?
The sad truth is, probably none of these things are at the root of Superman’s psychological issues. Well, maybe they are but I don’t think his psychological issues are the root of the real problem: Superman is not an outlier.
He may be a liar and a creep who spanks women and pimps out his cousin to kiss dudes suffering from werewolf curses (namely me) but he is also the norm. Misogyny is a systemic problem in the super hero community. Everyone from Batman…
…to Captain Marvel…
…to Superman’s robot slaves (more on them another time)…
…to even paragons of feminism like Wonder Woman…
…and Supergirl are purveyors of this “old-fashioned” lesson teaching.
The real villain here is a culture that dehumanizes and minimizes women and makes people think this kind of behavior is permissible.
And also, Superman’s the villain too. Superman’s a jerk.
Ultimately the spanking issue is a result of the comic book code and how it affected the content of comics. By restricting both violence and sexual depictions the 2 could be combined in a very tame act of spanking, garnering at least some fan service (though it would be lost on most). Though by restricting story telling considerably you shrunk the audience considerably, keeping more of those that wanted spanking, and as censors changed so did their attitude on spanking. This created a small audience geared toward a few things, which once they circumvented the code and began to drop the silliness in favor of things they wanted to do, they not only tried to separate themselves from such silliness, but they also had to narrow their publications due to the smaller profit margins. This meant a dry spell of spankings, which coincided with the women’s liberal movement, which protested against such depictions, partly due to a lack of expectations of such stuff in such a medium. As the movement died down and allowed others to write what they wanted you see an increase in comic book spankings, though mainly from new companies catering to that sort of stuff. In the end you see the comic book code and social movements shaping the current comic book industry, much in the same way as in Japan with widely different results (due to different pressures).