I’ll be speaking as part of a panel at Dragon*Con this year. I don’t have a day or time yet, but the paper title is: “Hustler and Tijuana bibles: desire and objectification in the Watchmen”.
Abstract: When Sally Jupiter shares the Tijuana bible devoted to Silk Spectre with her daughter, Laurie Juspeczyk responds with disgust, rejecting it as sexual objectification. Similar concerns arise in the conflict between the lesbian couple which erupts into violence over the purchasing of Hustler. Vilification of traditional expressions of male sexuality is explicit in the Watchmen; Laurie is clear and forceful, her mother apologetic, telling Laurie only that she can’t understand what it is like to have most of life behind rather than ahead of her. Moralizing male characters also express Laurie’s sentiments, especially Rorschach with his general contempt toward any expression of sexuality. However the 1980s, when the Watchmen appeared, was a time of intense conflict between anti-porn and sex-positive feminists, with the latter arguing that free sexual expression has positive benefits for women. Rarely does the Watchmen present only one side of any issue. In this presentation I trace the appearances of the sex-positive position in the Watchman; finding it perhaps surprisingly in the depiction of Laurie’s own relationships as well as in Sally’s experiences, the interactions of the lesbian couple, and the relationship of Rorschach’s therapist with his wife.
Slides and text to be posted closer to d-day*.
*delivery-day. See how that works?