Oct 28, 2015

You Are Not Nerds Fighting Against Oppressive Jock Overlords

You Are Not Nerds Fighting Against Oppressive Jock Overlords
Travis Hedge Coke

[Revenge of the Nerds is a 1984 comedy film about a group of douchey fratboys feuding against another group of douchey fratboys, and in the midst of it all, the hero rapes a girl he goes to school with, after his frat brothers sell naked pictures of her around campus without her knowledge and consent. He rapes her so good, she falls in love with him, and everyone is happy.

If you are an adult, living in 2015 and viewing your life as if it’s Nerds vs Jocks, as if you live in Revenge of the Nerds, you are a danger to society, and an embarrassment to nerds, geeks, or other movie-about-school stereotypes. Previous top embarrassment, Mean Girl Cheerleader now feels really bad for you.

Superman, in a handful of comics right now, is sporting a t-shirt and has his hands wrapped like an MMA fighter or my nieces when they want to swing ribbons around without holding onto them.

I won’t embarrass (or send you after) any specific individual, but there are a lot of “fans” out there, losing their minds, because this t-shirt wearing, muscular Superman is “sweaty,” “filthy,” “too sexual,” “a bully,” and “insecure.”

Here is a picture one online critique used to illustrate insecure men of this nature:

There have been plenty of anecdotes of how muscular men in t-shirts make them feel intimidated, how they are always dumb, or always aggressive. They just care about girls and fighting and they are very, very insecure.

They are sure, based on muscles, based on a t-shirt, based on him not wearing a three-piece suit and an outdated hat or baggy sweaters and oversized glasses he doesn’t need, that this Superman is an insecure poser bully. Because they’re living in a fantasy land where all men who hit the gym once a week or whose t-shirt sleeves don’t have enough slack that they could fit a whole other arm in there, are horrible bully stereotypes with too much money, having too much sex, who will knock them over in the hallway and cause their roleplaying miniature figurines to spill across the floor before the principal or dean stops in and blames the poor nerd.

Now, I have serious doubts that this actually happened very often to any of these worried souls, but this is - and this is important - not real, it’s a fictional comic. And, it’s fucking Superman. Superman in a t-shirt is still Superman. T-shirts that aren’t baggy or filled with rolls of fat cannot and do not make the individual inside the t-shirt a bully. It doesn’t happen. That’s not how t-shirts work or ever have worked, since their invention.

Superman is not going to drop a bucket of pig’s blood on you at prom. Superman is not going to pelt you with tampons. Superman is not going to steal your girlfriend and drive off in a Jag his dad bought him. Mainly because if your girlfriend chooses to go with Superman, she’s not your girlfriend any more and may never have been, but also because Superman’s dad, good ol’ Pa Kent, probably has never been able to afford a Jag even for himself.

This is Superman. He’s not the enemy.

So why the paranoia? Why the fear of “alpha dogs” and “white knights” and “betas” and other hackneyed 4chan phraseology? Why would anyone be afraid that Superman would be a jerk just based on the shirt he wears?

I could see if it had a swastika on it, or some monstrous phrase, but if it’s just the S-crest or a plain t-shirt? Why do his muscles suddenly scare some comics fans? How do you read enough Superman to be a Superman comics fan and still think his shirt will make him an over-aggressive dudebro who will hurt people like you?

Fear is not rational or fair. It’s also no excuse to be bigoted or paranoid.


Mark said...

Is this a reboot (I've lost track) or did he lose his old costume? If it's a reboot (assuming he's never had the traditional costume), where did he get a t-shirt with a big S? I care but not enough to buy a copy.

Duy Tano said...

It isn't a new reboot, but since the beginning of the new reboot they've been making Superman S t-shirts, starting with him paying somewhere for some before he became famous. So, they're all over and easy to get

Or he could have just silkscreened a shirt.

Unknown said...

Is this not the comic where Superman sides with peaceful protesters against violent, corrupt policemen?

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