Alone amidst X-men:

Does Rogue Problematize or Challenge Archetypes of Sexuality and Mental Illness?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

With Chris Claremont’s 1975 debut as writer, the Uncanny X-men became the only mainstream superhero title to feature a female cast as nuanced, complex and powerful as their male team mates. Sexual expression was unique to each character, from the liberated confidence of Storm and Mystique to the gradual awakening of Jean Grey. No X-woman, however, was more defined by their sexuality, their psychological struggles to accept their inability to express it, and the consequences of that expression than Rogue, the untouchable Lolita.
I will explore how the character has switched between the untouched-innocent and the siren; her inability manifesting itself in a constant focus on her frustrated sexuality. For her, touch in any context means allowing her mind and identity to be overwhelmed by that of the other person, a situation that for many years manifested itself in a constant struggle for dominance with the psyche of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.

I argue that Rogue both problematizes and challenges archetypes of female sexuality, and its connection to mental illness, particularly hysteria. Though Chris Claremont's insight into the subtleties of sexual expression presented in a troubled, unstable, but ultimately positive character, subsequent depictions have displayed her as almost a parody of unfulfilled sexual frenzy, epitimised in Rosalind Gill’s question from 2008’s Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising:
‘If this is empowerment, we might ask, then what does sexism look like?'

I will explore the contrast between those depictions and how they complicate traditional theorizations of sexuality and hysteria; in particular, Foucault’s Hysterical Woman.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019

Fingerprint

Mental Illness
Archetypes
Sexual
Sexuality
Hysteria
Writer
Debut
Marvels
Mystique
Mate
Parody
Awakening
Female Sexuality
Sexism
Psyche
Person
Confidence
Superheroes
Lolita
Todd Haynes

Bibliographical note

My abstract has been accepted for inclusion in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics' 2020 special issue themed around Graphic Medicine. The schedule for peer review and amendments has not been released yet. The editors have tentatively proposed a panel of contributing authors at the July 2019 Graphic Medicine Conference in Brighton.

The editors of this special issues are Nancy Pedri and Irene Velentzas. Irene Velentzas is a PhD Candidate at Memorial University, working under the supervision of Prof. Nancy Pedri. Nancy Pedri is a Professor in the Department of English at Memorial University, Canada.

Professor Pedri's research profile can be reached here: https://www.mun.ca/english/people/pedri_nancy.php

Cite this

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title = "Alone amidst X-men:: Does Rogue Problematize or Challenge Archetypes of Sexuality and Mental Illness?",
abstract = "With Chris Claremont’s 1975 debut as writer, the Uncanny X-men became the only mainstream superhero title to feature a female cast as nuanced, complex and powerful as their male team mates. Sexual expression was unique to each character, from the liberated confidence of Storm and Mystique to the gradual awakening of Jean Grey. No X-woman, however, was more defined by their sexuality, their psychological struggles to accept their inability to express it, and the consequences of that expression than Rogue, the untouchable Lolita. I will explore how the character has switched between the untouched-innocent and the siren; her inability manifesting itself in a constant focus on her frustrated sexuality. For her, touch in any context means allowing her mind and identity to be overwhelmed by that of the other person, a situation that for many years manifested itself in a constant struggle for dominance with the psyche of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.I argue that Rogue both problematizes and challenges archetypes of female sexuality, and its connection to mental illness, particularly hysteria. Though Chris Claremont's insight into the subtleties of sexual expression presented in a troubled, unstable, but ultimately positive character, subsequent depictions have displayed her as almost a parody of unfulfilled sexual frenzy, epitimised in Rosalind Gill’s question from 2008’s Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising:‘If this is empowerment, we might ask, then what does sexism look like?' I will explore the contrast between those depictions and how they complicate traditional theorizations of sexuality and hysteria; in particular, Foucault’s Hysterical Woman.",
author = "Fionnuala Doran",
note = "My abstract has been accepted for inclusion in the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics' 2020 special issue themed around Graphic Medicine. The schedule for peer review and amendments has not been released yet. The editors have tentatively proposed a panel of contributing authors at the July 2019 Graphic Medicine Conference in Brighton. The editors of this special issues are Nancy Pedri and Irene Velentzas. Irene Velentzas is a PhD Candidate at Memorial University, working under the supervision of Prof. Nancy Pedri. Nancy Pedri is a Professor in the Department of English at Memorial University, Canada. Professor Pedri's research profile can be reached here: https://www.mun.ca/english/people/pedri_nancy.php",
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language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics",
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N2 - With Chris Claremont’s 1975 debut as writer, the Uncanny X-men became the only mainstream superhero title to feature a female cast as nuanced, complex and powerful as their male team mates. Sexual expression was unique to each character, from the liberated confidence of Storm and Mystique to the gradual awakening of Jean Grey. No X-woman, however, was more defined by their sexuality, their psychological struggles to accept their inability to express it, and the consequences of that expression than Rogue, the untouchable Lolita. I will explore how the character has switched between the untouched-innocent and the siren; her inability manifesting itself in a constant focus on her frustrated sexuality. For her, touch in any context means allowing her mind and identity to be overwhelmed by that of the other person, a situation that for many years manifested itself in a constant struggle for dominance with the psyche of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.I argue that Rogue both problematizes and challenges archetypes of female sexuality, and its connection to mental illness, particularly hysteria. Though Chris Claremont's insight into the subtleties of sexual expression presented in a troubled, unstable, but ultimately positive character, subsequent depictions have displayed her as almost a parody of unfulfilled sexual frenzy, epitimised in Rosalind Gill’s question from 2008’s Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising:‘If this is empowerment, we might ask, then what does sexism look like?' I will explore the contrast between those depictions and how they complicate traditional theorizations of sexuality and hysteria; in particular, Foucault’s Hysterical Woman.

AB - With Chris Claremont’s 1975 debut as writer, the Uncanny X-men became the only mainstream superhero title to feature a female cast as nuanced, complex and powerful as their male team mates. Sexual expression was unique to each character, from the liberated confidence of Storm and Mystique to the gradual awakening of Jean Grey. No X-woman, however, was more defined by their sexuality, their psychological struggles to accept their inability to express it, and the consequences of that expression than Rogue, the untouchable Lolita. I will explore how the character has switched between the untouched-innocent and the siren; her inability manifesting itself in a constant focus on her frustrated sexuality. For her, touch in any context means allowing her mind and identity to be overwhelmed by that of the other person, a situation that for many years manifested itself in a constant struggle for dominance with the psyche of Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.I argue that Rogue both problematizes and challenges archetypes of female sexuality, and its connection to mental illness, particularly hysteria. Though Chris Claremont's insight into the subtleties of sexual expression presented in a troubled, unstable, but ultimately positive character, subsequent depictions have displayed her as almost a parody of unfulfilled sexual frenzy, epitimised in Rosalind Gill’s question from 2008’s Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising:‘If this is empowerment, we might ask, then what does sexism look like?' I will explore the contrast between those depictions and how they complicate traditional theorizations of sexuality and hysteria; in particular, Foucault’s Hysterical Woman.

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