Week forty three of Operation Graphite – theme: Rule 43.

The gender swap of a character is pretty popular these days, but it is not just silly crossplay. On the surface, these are characters who people want to reinvent, characters who are ingrained within our culture, and flipping the gender makes an old character new again. The deeper you look into this phenomena, the more your glean about the various perceptions of gender roles in society. Why do some believe that women dressing up as male characters become stronger and tougher, while men dressing up as female characters (not always in drag, but sometimes the masculine equivalent of that female character’s wardrobe) are deemed weaker or less? Are the very gender roles that people are trying to be overcome, are being reenforced by accident? And what does this say about the characters themselves? Are girls dressing up as male characters because all the female characters from 30 years ago or more are all weak, 2-dimential damsels in distress for the hero to save?

As we continue to inch towards gender equality, as there become just as many X-women as X-men, we have to ask, why do some think switching one gender for another is cool or bad-ass, while the opposite reversal tends to almost always be a joke or just disturbing? And yet, the two submissions this weeks went with the trope of tough male characters being played by females. It is the most popular spin, but are we missing the point by continuing with the same cliché? Or, can we just enjoy the character switch up and not get bogged down with a discussion?

Contributing examples of Rule 43:

bruku – The Punisher

Shock – Lady Humongous

Thank you for mixing it up.


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