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Thread: Alpha Flight: Huge Stereotypes or not?

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    Default Alpha Flight: Huge Stereotypes or not?

    I thought we could discuss this...

    Shaman, Native Canadian (indian) mystic...Yes, this is an old stereotype...I have to agree on this one.

    Sasquatch...The term Sasquatch is also used in the Northwestern United States...It's not just a Canadian term, is it?

    Northstar, gay Montreal-er...Is that really a stereotype? Montreal is a more metropolitan city than Quebec city and it has a gay-friendly atmosphere, but was it like that in the 80's too? I don't know.

    Aurora, Nun and harlot (via Twyst)...truthfully, I've never seen Aurora as a harlot or a tramp. She only became so, after Mantlo took over the book, when she began to easily throw herself toward anyone when Walter "died" (Bochs, Madison, etc...). She was only every really a nun, many years after Byrne left the book. Figuratively, Jeanne-Marie was "nun-like" in that she was chaste and religious...But I don't see how that makes her a Quebecois stereotype (maybe because I'm not Canadian)? Is the stereotype that all Quebecois women are nun-like or harlots? I don't know.

    Puck, named after a hockey-related object...But is he a hockey fan? Maybe he was shown to be later in Volume 1, but Byrne never addressed any hockey obsession that Judd may have had, that I know of.

    Snowbird, named after an Anne Murray (A Canadian...Gasp!) song (LOL)?

    Major Mapleleaf...Dudley Do-right wannabee? probably, he did seem rather one-dimensional to me.

    What qualities make these folks stereotypes? What qualities make them not so steorotypical? Which other Flight characters are stereotypical and why?

    What do you all think?

    If one really thinks about it....Almost every superhero is a stereotype to some extent...There are "bricks" (super strong, tough types who tend to be big), "blasters" (those who have energy powers), "Mystics" (who use magic in some form or other), The "patriot" (who wears their country's flag and fights for some patriotic ideal), The "speedster", the "brain", the "uber-man", etc, etc...
    Last edited by cmdrkoenig67; 12-19-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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    "Snowbird" is also the squadron of expert pilots, who work for the Canadian military, fly over events, due aerial maneovers and tricks, etcetera.

    As far as Aurora being a nun being typical, maybe that is because Quebec has a higher ratio of Catholics than elsewhere in the country?
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    Not that stereotypical, Guardian, Vindicator, Puck, ....
    Keep your stick on the ice.

    Live it.

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    Yeah, many of these characters were groundbreaking at their time!
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    I don't think that Northstar's sexuality was part of a stereotype -- if anything, I think Byrne avoided a lot of hurtful gay stereotypes with Jean-Paul, something that most other writers never managed once he was outed. But his being a snotty francophone and a radical separatist are stereotypes applied to Quebecois.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    I don't think that Northstar's sexuality was part of a stereotype -- if anything, I think Byrne avoided a lot of hurtful gay stereotypes with Jean-Paul, something that most other writers never managed once he was outed. But his being a snotty francophone and a radical separatist are stereotypes applied to Quebecois.
    Yeah...He wasn't flaming or effeminate, he was strong and into sports and he also apparently liked fights (see issue one). The snotty francophone stereotype is also applied to those from France too. Aurora wasn't snotty, was she? She always seemed friendly and outgoing. So Byrne created a sort of balance there? Byrne touched on Jean Paul's dealings with the Separatists, but I'd hardly call him radical...He left it behind, after all.

    Dana
    Last edited by cmdrkoenig67; 12-20-2010 at 01:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flightpath07 View Post
    "Snowbird" is also the squadron of expert pilots, who work for the Canadian military, fly over events, due aerial maneovers and tricks, etcetera.

    As far as Aurora being a nun being typical, maybe that is because Quebec has a higher ratio of Catholics than elsewhere in the country?
    Thanks for the info on the Snowbird Squad, FP...I didn't know about them. If having Jeanne-Marie be Catholic (Aurora must be a lapsed Catholic...LOL) is a stereotype, that's just silly if the majority of Quebecois are Catholic (about 86%, according to canadianchristianity.com)...Odds would be pretty high that the Quebecois (or at least one of two) on the team would be Catholic. On the other hand, Northstar seems to have no religious leanings.

    Dana

    EDIT: I looked up the Snowbirds...Cool...Akin to the Blue Angels in the States.
    Last edited by cmdrkoenig67; 12-20-2010 at 01:36 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67 View Post
    Yeah...He wasn't flaming or effeminate, he was strong and into sports and he also apparently liked fights (see issue one). The snotty francophone stereotype is also applied to those from France too. Aurora wasn't snotty, was she? She always seemed friendly and outgoing. So Byrne created a sort of balance there? Byrne touched on Jean Paul's dealings with the Separatists, but I'd hardly call him radical...He left it behind, after all.
    Northstar was established as a scrapper literally from his first appearances in UXM, and yeah, he was also quite the jock. Not to say that Byrne avoided gay stereotypes entirely, what with Jean-Paul being supposedly so bad with women. But even though that was the authorial intent, it didn't really carry through in the text -- we didn't see Jean-Paul relating any worse to women than he did to anyone else, and he could even be quite the charmer when need be.

    The twins represented a lot of different aspects of Quebec. Aurora was meant to represent two different aspects of the culture -- the large Catholic population and the not-entirely flattering reputation that Quebecois women have for being high-tempered and feisty. And she was quite...friendly. To the point that Heather was getting irritated at her flirtations with Mac. I don't think it was a matter of her being loose, though; I think that she just didn't know any other way to relate to men, given her upbringing. But when it comes down to what she's supposed to represent, that doesn't make the portrayal any kinder, really, especially since it can be taken as calling Quebec a bit schizo.

    As above, Northstar got tagged with representing Quebec's language wars and the Separatists. As he was in with the FLQ, so I'd say radical applies, even if it was in his past. He wasn't just for secession, remember, he joined up with the violent fringe and participated in several bombings, only pulling out when it came down to a matter of knowing murder. Again, not the most flattering representation.

    None of the above is a deal-breaker for me, but I also can't really fault anyone who'd look at that and be turned off. For example, I originally come from southern Louisiana. I'm familiar with Cajun culture. And so when I see an eye-rolling stereotype like Gambit, I don't really care about what else there is to the character. So far as I'm concerned, learning anything non-incidental about that character involves having to hold my nose going forward. It's simply not an enjoyable prospect, and I can see where the same might be true for someone from Canada reading old school Alpha Flight.
    Last edited by suzene; 12-20-2010 at 02:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67 View Post
    If one really thinks about it....Almost every superhero is a stereotype to some extent...There are "bricks" (super strong, tough types who tend to be big), "blasters" (those who have energy powers), "Mystics" (who use magic in some form or other), The "patriot" (who wears their country's flag and fights for some patriotic ideal), The "speedster", the "brain", the "uber-man", etc, etc...
    Those are more Archetypes than stereotypes. Also, and HUGELY important for this particular discussion is that none of these apply outside of comics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    Northstar was established as a scrapper literally from his first appearances in UXM, and yeah, he was also quite the jock. Not to say that Byrne avoided gay stereotypes entirely, what with Jean-Paul being supposedly so bad with women. But even though that was the authorial intent, it didn't really carry through in the text -- we didn't see Jean-Paul relating any worse to women than he did to anyone else, and he could even be quite the charmer when need be.
    I don't recall him being mentioned as being bad with women...I just recall Mac saying Jean Paul didn't have much interest in them.
    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    The twins represented a lot of different aspects of Quebec. Aurora was meant to represent two different aspects of the culture -- the large Catholic population and the not-entirely flattering reputation that Quebecois women have for being high-tempered and feisty. And she was quite...friendly. To the point that Heather was getting irritated at her flirtations with Mac. I don't think it was a matter of her being loose, though; I think that she just didn't know any other way to relate to men, given her upbringing. But when it comes down to what she's supposed to represent, that doesn't make the portrayal any kinder, really, especially since it can be taken as calling Quebec a bit schizo.
    Ah...Good points, Suz.
    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    As above, Northstar got tagged with representing Quebec's language wars and the Separatists. As he was in with the FLQ, so I'd say radical applies, even if it was in his past. He wasn't just for secession, remember, he joined up with the violent fringe and participated in several bombings, only pulling out when it came down to a matter of knowing murder. Again, not the most flattering representation.
    But it certainly added a layer to his character.
    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    None of the above is a deal-breaker for me, but I also can't really fault anyone who'd look at that and be turned off. For example, I originally come from southern Louisiana. I'm familiar with Cajun culture. And so when I see an eye-rolling stereotype like Gambit, I don't really care about what else there is to the character. So far as I'm concerned, learning anything non-incidental about that character involves having to hold my nose going forward. It's simply not an enjoyable prospect, and I can see where the same might be true for someone from Canada reading old school Alpha Flight.
    I hear ya.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Messor View Post
    Those are more Archetypes than stereotypes. Also, and HUGELY important for this particular discussion is that none of these apply outside of comics.

    - Le Messor
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    True, M...I have heard them referred to as comic book stereotypes before, perhaps by somebody using the wrong term.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67 View Post
    I don't recall him being mentioned as being bad with women...I just recall Mac saying Jean Paul didn't have much interest in them.
    Mac said he didn't have much interest in them, but that also goes along with Heather doing the whole "He went scouting with a woman? They'll kill each other!" in the AF/XM cross-over, and Aurora being shocked -- shocked! -- to find Jean-Paul in the company of a woman in AF #22. Byrne's also stated in interviews discussing the character how Northstar was very bad at relating to women. It's not the worst of the stereotypical assumptions out there, that liking men means you hate/don't get on with women, but it is still an assumption rooted in homophobia and misogyny, and I'm glad it didn't come through any stronger in the actual work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by suzene View Post
    Mac said he didn't have much interest in them, but that also goes along with Heather doing the whole "He went scouting with a woman? They'll kill each other!" in the AF/XM cross-over, and Aurora being shocked -- shocked! -- to find Jean-Paul in the company of a woman in AF #22. Byrne's also stated in interviews discussing the character how Northstar was very bad at relating to women. It's not the worst of the stereotypical assumptions out there, that liking men means you hate/don't get on with women, but it is still an assumption rooted in homophobia and misogyny, and I'm glad it didn't come through any stronger in the actual work.
    Didn't the people who started this thread all like the frist AF/XM cross-over, though? (Not Dana, the ones whose podcast got this discussion going.)
    Also, I thought they'd kill each other because he'd be mad she just sucked the life out of him. Literally - this is Rogue we're talking about. I'd think N'star would be really unhappy to know somebody has all his secrets.

    Northstar's always in the company of women - note that he lives with one, as seen in the pictures of his house.

    Also, I've always thought the stereotype was that gay men got along better with women than straight men. Partly because they're less nervous, 'coz what do they care? (Nervousness around women is usually because a guy really wants to make a good impression, and doesn't know how to do it.) Partly because they're usually talking to women's faces and not their tits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Messor View Post
    Didn't the people who started this thread all like the frist AF/XM cross-over, though? (Not Dana, the ones whose podcast got this discussion going.)
    I'm honestly not sure what that's got to do with the current discussion. Their gripe seemed to be that AF were all Canadian stereotypes, but we're on homosexual tropes/stereotypes in general now.

    Also, I thought they'd kill each other because he'd be mad she just sucked the life out of him. Literally - this is Rogue we're talking about. I'd think N'star would be really unhappy to know somebody has all his secrets.
    And if Heather had just said "He's scouting with her?! They'll kill each other!" the statement would read as perfectly innocuous, given what had just happened. But:

    Heather: Jean-Paul teamed with a woman??!? Especially with her?!? Logan, they'll kill each other!

    So the implication is that Jean-Paul does not like women in general, and that he just has especial reason to hate Rogue.

    Northstar's always in the company of women - note that he lives with one, as seen in the pictures of his house.
    All that conclusively proves is that he can stand to be under the same roof as a female guest. Though, personally, I agree with you on that point -- like I said, I don't think the authorial intent comes across that well in the text, though there's enough of that sentiment there to be noted. And it goes right into "Wait, what?" territory when you read Byrne's comments on "Northstar's boyfriend and Northstar's boyfriend's girlfriend". Never before have I hated the ACC so very much.

    Of course, the other way to read it, seeing as we don't actually see Jean-Paul display the qualities that are being insinuated, is that Heather and Jeanne-Marie are assuming stereotypes about Jean-Paul and don't know him well enough to know that they're not true.

    Also, I've always thought the stereotype was that gay men got along better with women than straight men. Partly because they're less nervous, 'coz what do they care? (Nervousness around women is usually because a guy really wants to make a good impression, and doesn't know how to do it.) Partly because they're usually talking to women's faces and not their tits.
    There can be more than one stereotype about an oppressed group, and they often change with time. The idea that gay men are usually "just one of the girls" is, relatively speaking, a more recent one that caught on as gay culture became more mainstream. On the one hand, it was seen as progressive and open-minded to put more visible gay characters in TV and movies, on the other, no one holding the purse strings wanted to risk making their perceived audience uncomfortable, and so you wound up with the idea that the best way to make gay male characters non-threatening as possible is to lump them in with the women.
    Last edited by suzene; 12-21-2010 at 12:01 AM.

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    Yeah...Many gay men enjoy being around women, while some aren't that comfortable with them, but I've met a few gay guys who can't stand women simply because they are women (I choose not to associate with people like that, though). In the end though, Jean Paul and Rogue began to get along quite well.

    Speaking of Rhonda (Northstar's "boyfriend's girlfriend" or room-mate as I thought I had read her to be somewhere)...Maybe she was once a he...You never know.

    Heather's comment in X/Alpha was Claremont's doing...But good point, Suzene about Jeanne-Marie in #22 (wasn't it actually JM and not Aurora that was shocked about Clementine?).

    Dana
    Last edited by cmdrkoenig67; 12-20-2010 at 06:26 PM.
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