Kitty Pride and Professor (really) X (Spoilers!)

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So, do you remember the time Professor X tried to do it with the teen-age Kitty Pride, but it wasn’t Kitty Pride but actually Baron Karza, the supreme enemy of the Micronauts?

The subplot, featured in the 4 issue x-Men and the Micronauts mini-series, flirted with Sub/Dom TG.    Baron Karza, trapped in the body of a female and dressed like a slave girl, on his back in such a vulnerable position, his arch-enemy, dominant, ready to make his move.  In the book, realizing his enemy intends to have sex with him, Karza tries desperately to distract his enemy, to keep him busy, because Karza feels physically helpess and unable to defend himself.

To understand the dynamic Chris Claremont was playing with, understand that Baron Karza was the Darth Vader of the micro-verse, the ultimate bad guy.  Like Vader, he always wore armor and a helemt, a cold, distant figure, inscrutable.  He ruled over others, had an near-omnipotence in his realm, and could even take on the form of a centaur, cementing his status as an emblem of masculinity and virility..

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So, for him to find himself trapped in the body of a girl, helpless and in the clutches of a predatory male was as close to a total reversal as could be imagined.

The added level of kind of strange pervyness was that the villain is actually Professor Xavier, and, of course, Kitty Pride was one of his students.  The story line didn’t really delve too much into this, and there were never any ramifications beyond the mini-series, but it was a very interesting, human and flawed Xavier that emerged.

A third little bonus for me was the fact that I had owned many micronauts as a kid and loved them, so now one of my favorite toys had merged with TG fiction, and I was in heaven.

In any case, these kinds of role-changes are very interesting to me.  Karza very quickly chose to play the helpless maiden, seeking to flatter and cajole and manipulate the man who wanted to have sex with him, all his usual shouting and bravado gone.  Yet, he was still Karza, and he was just waiting for the chance to try and kill his enemy.

How much of femininity is simply practicality?  Would any intelligent man, placed in Karza’s situation, resort to passive, feminine strategies?  Would many women, if they were bigger and stronger than the men in their lives, take on the dominant role because they could?

These are the questions I feel we can explore in genderfluid fiction, readily and overtly.  Of course, Chris Clarement, author of the series, didn’t have the freedom to pursue the story line very far or very deep.  The most he could do was play at the surfaces.   But that doesn’t mean, and I am sure others, haven’t written fan fiction in which Baron Karza remains a teen-age girl, and where he comes to find the pleasure in surrender.

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Does The Soul Have a Gender?

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Each time I start a new book, I look for something new to explore.   Almost all of them have, of course, dealt with gender identity, but with most of my books I start off asking a slightly different question, or exploring a slightly different scenario.

For the book I am working on now, I started with the question which serves as the title of this blog– does the soul have a gender?  I have occasionally included religious dimensions in my work, usually Christian, but this time I am exploring the idea of reincarnation.

I know in some cultures the idea persists that the soul takes on a female form when it is less spiritually evolved, and that as one progresses in their lives they eventually get to be a male. However, I reject this notion, which I believe reflects patriarchal and misogynistic cultures and their fear of women more than any true spiritual understanding.

I believe that neither male nor female is a superior or more evolved gender.  I believe they are different identities and that each has its strengths and weaknesses.  I believe both males and females are capable of creating life and beauty, and both are also capable of destruction and ugliness.

The cyclops.   The sirens.  One crushes with brute strength.  One lures you to your death with the allure of their beautiful voices.   We need both the masculine and the feminine and all the gradations in between.   The most evolved cultures honor all and live without fear of any.

I don’t know where any of my books are going as I write them.  I just write and see where the characters take me.  Sometimes, readers have complained about my endings, but I always feel like I am ending the stories where I need to.   Right now, having started with my questions about the soul, I am just letting the characters go where they please, and I am really enjoying writing my mythic exploration of this idea as my main character slowly comes to realize that he has a female soul, and how that knowledge impacts him in his current life.

 Here is an excerpt:

The water felt warm and scented oils clung to his smooth leg, the sweet odor of eucalyptus rising up to meet him as he stepped in completely, sliding down into the luxurious waters, and the candles flickered and he sighed as the water rose over his soft, swaying breasts, and he sighed softly, arching his back as he ran his hands his breasts, lifting them and squeezing his legs together as he remembered the way Chris had fucked him…

Craig opened his eyes, looking down at his hands on his flat, muscular chest.  What the hell?  He’d seen himself as a woman.  Again.   Had… loved seeing himself as a woman.  It had felt so good, so real, so…. Right?

Everything was wrong.   So wrong.   What had Chris done to him?

NY Times on blurring gender lines

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Breaking Free of Boundaries

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.

And unisex clothing is not the answer.

Today’s New York Times features an article on the blurring of gender lines in fashion, with more and more designers opting for unisex clothing lines in which all their items are sold without any male/female labeling or identification. The clothes are awesome, and I support and applaud anyone who likes them and wears them, but I long for a more expressive world.

And what would that more expressive world look like?  That world, to me, would include fashions that fell everywhere from the extremely feminine to the extremely butch, and in my world people could wear whatever they felt like on any given day in any given season.  If a woman wanted to dress in “dude” clothes, she could, or unisex, or if she felt like getting all dolled up and showing off all her curves, that would be fine, too on any given day for any reason.  Ditto a man.

What I see in the pictures that accompany the articles are a bunch of gorgeous, rail-thin models with androgynous features, all hints of curves or angularity hidden beneath loose, baggy clothes. The designer Kimberly Wesson, who wears her own unisex fashions, complains that her friends plead with her to wear a “sequined skirt” or to dress like “Joan from Madmen.”  Her designs are great, and she should wear the hell out of them, but why create a new set of restrictions in which unisex is an iron-bound fashion rule just as a inflexible and rigid a code as any other?  In which people are hiding their bodies?  In the name of being gender free, do we have to become gender-less?

I realize my vision for an expressive world that opens up opportunities for expression and includes more rather than less options may well be an unrealistic fantasy.  Even in my own writing I have yet to write a story where it exists, though maybe I will now that I think about it.  I think any trend that involves blurring of gender lines is a good trend.  The article asserts that more and more members of the younger generation are comfortable with gender free clothing, though, predictably, this trend is more female-centric as it has long been more acceptable for women to adopt men’s fashion that the other way around.

The changes are good, and I applaud all of the designers moving away from rigid notions of male and female clothing, but I want more.

I dream a dream of fashion anarchy, where people just wear what they want depending on who they feel they are on a given day or a given time of life.  I want total freedom all the time for everyone.