I didn’t even know that Milo Manara was still alive. As a teenager, which was a long time ago, I used to drool at the beautiful and sexy women that he drew on the rare occasions that I managed to borrow or steal any of his comic books from my older and wiser brother.
Now the Italian artist is being heavily criticized by a cover for Marvel portraying Spider Woman, a hero I didn’t even know existed, in an erotic pose.
Can you believe that? The outrage! Manara drawing women in erotic poses? What has the world come to?!
At first sight, this would seem another instance of conventional American puritanism versus European liberalism, but in fact, it isn’t. Those complaining about Manara’s drawing are not Christian conservatives or "family values" types, but self-proclaimed feminists and progressives.
A certain Amanda Marcotte even goes to the length of explaining
that there are “good butts” and “bad butts” and that Manara’s drawing is “bad” because it is a “man imposing his ideas about the female body and female sexuality onto a character,” while the insufferable Nicki Minaj shaking her ass in a video like a porn star is “good” because it shows “a woman in charge of her own image.”
Following that twisted logic, one can conclude that a woman drawing a man is bad because it is “a woman imposing her ideas about the male body,” while a man exposing his penis in the subway is good because he is “in control of his own image.”
I suppose that from now on men should be allowed to draw exclusively male characters, and women should be the ones to draw imaginary women, as Spider Woman doesn’t even exist (as far as I know), and it is not clear how an imaginary character can suffer sexual discrimination. As for Milo Manara, he should probably be sent to a reeducation camp.
It is quite surprising how the progressive movement and particularly its politically correct and feminist variants seem to be evolving into witch-hunting puritanism and censorship.
Yet in the end, I’m not as surprised with American neo-puritanism, since it has always been part of the landscape in one way or another, as with the fact that most American journalists or bloggers don’t even seem to know who Milo Manara is (although, to be fair, perhaps I wouldn’t know about him either if it wasn’t for teenage hormones and my brother’s providential comic collection).