Foxhell: Episode 24 of Lucky In Love – International Woman’s Day!
International Woman’s Day today, so this particular strip is dedicated to that event – does this strip have any particular connections, aside from a pretty strong central female character? Empowerment – I’d say this particular strip is one where the leading lady takes back control (though some might suspect she never really lost it) and the tables turn after a week of beatings.
That’s not to say that this strip has any social subtext of how women/men interact. Foxhell is very much about treating male and female characters the same.
I am very aware of the unfairness society still carries for women – I don’t have any doubt of that. I’ve seen abuse up close personally, I’ve seen it reflected in statistics. Things are far better for women in England today in many, many ways – legally and socially – but there is still a divide.
What I always wanted to do in a news strip was have a female hero that played in a fairly neutral role – that is to say she doesn’t imbue male/female stereotypes – she’s not here to champion female rights, nor be subject to male fantasy. She doesn’t wear scanty clothes, nor does she have grand torso baggage. She’s not male fantasy nor is she a female role model. She’s done bad things – which will become evident as stories progress – like people do. And as a writer I was keen to have a character that wasn’t treated any differently because of her sex. She’s beaten in this whole week not as a subtext for the abuse of women, or the domination of Man, but because she was in a circumstance which would have her tortured regardless. The Pity would have beaten her the same way whether she was a man or woman.
And perhaps while trying to create a character that was neutral, maybe that was in a sense to champion the female hero – by removing the stereotypes of the female hero archetype. Yes, she occasionally wise cracks, but no more than a male character. She’s not a “feisty” – or sassy woman – she’s not Buffy – she’s an adult. She’s chucked a few defiant comments in “Lucky in Love” – but most of the time she’s played straight, while in “Wine and Die” she’s a little more lippy. I felt that’s what people are like – not women. I loved Buffy, but too many female characters in fiction have followed that singular path than female heroes are about looking hot, sexy and with a glib lip. Fox is attractive to the eye perhaps, but she doesn’t sell that, in fact I hope she lampoons that. She wears bunches, but doesn’t wear them provocatively – certainly doesn’t try to. She’s not a tomboy either – she’s a person.
And I guess that’s my contribution – I hope – to the prevailing need to break female stereotypes – Fox is – and is treated as – a person. Not an attempt to soapbox female issues nor gift a fantasy to men. Equality is always the key – though I do believe we need days like IWD to help remind people that equality among the sexes is STILL a big issue.
If you enjoy Foxhell, more of my work is available to view at www.jamesmclean.net
Your support is always most, most welcome!