Deny Thy Marketer And Refuse Thy Name.

Despite the frankly disturbing revelation of Identity Crisis‘ genesis as “we need a rape to be badass!” and their continued (and baffling) instrangience over a memorial case for the fourth Robin, DC has been in my reasonably-good books lately.

Not only have they started a mini-series featuring Connor Hawke (on whom I have a massive crush) drawn in such a way that he is noticeably not White, but they’ve announced a Year One: Huntress to be written by radical feminist Ivory Madison and a Year One: Teen Titans by Amy Wolfram, who did excellent work on Teen Titans and Legion of Super Heroes.

I feel I should give them some sort of prize. DC, you may have this chocolate! I found it on the floor, but I’ve brushed the lint off for you.

And then, of course, there has been the announcement of the new Minx line. Hm. My feelings are mixed, like a bag of sweet, sweet candy that has fallen into a dust bunny.

I am cynical about the ratio of female to male creators, particularly when sources reveal DC’s claim that it “cast a wide net in seeking those stories” is what we laypeople call “lies”. However, in terms of its effect as text, the quality of the work is certainly a more vital element than the gender of its creators. I am prepared to wait and see.

I am also wary that, having created girl comics for girls, DC will brush off their collective corporate hands and get back to happily representing women in their mainstream lines as sexy sexxors who occasionally fight crime.

But! Comics that are reputedly beautifully done, supervised by the legendary Karen Berger and about girls whose lives don’t revolve about men. It might be a bit dusty, but that’s still some good candy!

Unfortunately, it’s as if they created good candy and then named it “Poop-Ballz”.

minx (mngks) n.
1. A girl or young woman who is considered pert, flirtatious, or impudent.
2. Obsolete A promiscuous woman.

minx (plural minx·es) noun
an offensive term that deliberately insults a woman's or girl's sense of propriety and decorous behavior

minx n.

a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men
syn: coquette, flirt, prickteaser, vamp, vamper, tease

How did this happen, and who do I blame?

Robyn Fleming envisions the decision making process thusly:

Marketer: We need a name that's BOLD and EDGY and SASSY – like those dolls the girls like, what are they called?

Underling: Barbies, sir?

Marketer: What? No! I mean the BOLDER, SASSIER ones!

Underling: Bratz?

Marketer: YES! Those! Bratzzzz! I think it's the "z" that makes them so SASSY. We must harness the power of the back end of the alphabet for our own use! Quick, everyone, what's a name for GIRL that ends in X, Y, or Z?

Personally, I think that somebody’s been reading a lot of Regency romance novels. Those books are absolutely infested with minxes dashing about, scandalising society and capturing the hearts of handsome rakes and lonesome Dukes who were hurt once by women and have vowed that they shall never love again.

There are rules, here. “Minx” is almost invariably prefaced with “little” when used by the hero as adescription for his lady-love: “You little minx!” Duke Dashingworth declared, fascinated by her saucy and anachronistic defiance of social constraints. “Marry me!”

Sometimes, it’s the bad guy: “You little minx!” Lord Scowlington snarled, ripping her bodice open. “I must have you!”

Very occasionally, it’s a disapproving society matron: “That little minx has deceived my son with her tricksy ways!” the Dowager Duchess sneered sneeringly. “From this day forth the Ton shall shun her!”

But does the heroine ever describe herself as a minx, little or otherwise? No. It’s a term directed towards women, not a self-description. In male mouths, it’s often a term of approval for the heroine’s sass and fiery strength of character – but it’s then masculine approval. So applied, it’s a word that trivialises feminine anger, boldness or resistance as necessarily sexual, and is directly concerned with the attractiveness or otherwise of such cutsey, flirtatious impudence.

Basically, a minx may be someone who genuinely doesn’t care if she’s attractive to men; but the people calling her one sure do.

It seems like – oh, let’s be kind – an odd choice of title for a line that is supposed to appeal to “smart and sophisticated” teenage girls who are “about more than going out with the cute guy.”

It could be a bold new move towards reclaiming a word used to denigrate or limit women in terms of masculine approval. Or it could be a bone-headed move made by people who didn’t really think through the implications.

Which sounds much more like the comics industry as we know it?

Bad DC! No more floor-candy for you.

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