For my final Literary Theory paper, I wrote about sexism in Watchmen. I won’t be posting the whole paper (after all, who wants to read 10 pages of me trying to woo my teacher into giving me an A?), but I would to share my favorite part out of it.
“As Eddie puts it, “C’mon baby. I know what you need. You gotta have some reason for wearin’ an outfit like this, huh?” We can’t ignore that she dresses up as a sexy super hero to fight crime, a stereotype largely dominated by men. Her sexy costume is a way to show that yes, she is female. She’s not afraid of showing some skin, after all, she could beat you to a pulp. The other female fighter in the Minutemen, Silhouette prefers to cover up her body, and is later revealed to be a lesbian. Perhaps Sally’s sexuality is where her power really lay. As Gayle Rubin points out, “Women are oppressed in societies which can by no stretch of the imagination be described as capitalist.” I won’t get into an argument on capitalism and America, but I feel women are oppressed everywhere. Sally’s costume was a way for her to show that she could not be oppressed in their male driven society, while Silhouette chose to show her anger against oppression by instead sleeping with women.
By the Comedian raping Sally he is also oppressing her, showing that she can never be anything more than a weak woman. Gayle Rubin notes that in the Amazon valley and New Guinea Highlands, men gang rape women.
““We tame our women with the banana.” Said one Mundurucu man. The ethnographic record is littered with practices whose effect is to keep women “in their place.”” When Sally is eventually saved, Eddie says “Hey wait! She wanted me to do it! She…” Perhaps Eddie thought this would tame her, or ultimately put her in her place, which is not with men fighting crime.”