Tag Archives: relationships

Wonder Woman, Relationships, And Misguided Standards For Female Heroes

I love superhero comics. I love romance. Naturally, I love it when they’re combined into a perfect package of super-romantic sentiment. I’ve singled out a few favorites of mine in the past, as well as a few not-so-favorites that act as cautionary tales. Chances are I’ll find plenty more excuses to write about superhero romance in the future.

That said, I’d like to take a step back from the specifics of superhero romance and assess the forest from the trees, so to speak. Instead, I thought I’d highlight something that I’ve been noticing within the pages of some of my favorite comics. It’s not necessarily an egregious flaw, but it is a distressing trend for lovers of romance like myself.

It has to do with how superheroes are portrayed when they’re in romantic relationships. Almost every popular superhero is caught up in a romantic sub-plot. Superman has his ever-iconic love story with Lois Lane. Cyclops and Jean Grey have decades of romance and drama. Spider-Man gets around so much that he has multiple iconic romances.

Not every superhero is defined by their romantic sub-plot, although some are more effected by it than others. It’s hard to tell the story of Sue “Invisible Woman” Richards without involving her husband and children. However, certain characters are held to different standards when it comes to romance.

That’s to be expected, given the diverse circumstances of each hero. Not every hero is going to be affected by their romantic sub-plot in the same way. That effect also changes through different eras. Even the iconic relationship between Superman and Lois Lane has changed a great deal over the years, although not necessarily for the better.

However, this particular era has really twisted the standards for female superheroes in romantic relationships and not in a good way. I won’t go so far as to call it a double standard like the others I’ve cited, but the differences are stark. It goes like this.

A male superhero gets caught up in a romantic sub-plot. The plot progresses, he enters a relationship with his romantic interest, and continues being the same hero he’s always been. The relationship supplements his story.

A female superhero gets caught up in a romantic sub-plot. The plot progresses and she enters a relationship with her romantic interest, but the relationship conflicts with her ability to be a superhero. It gets to a point where the act of her being a hero is detrimental to the relationship. She can have one or the other, but not both.

These scenarios are somewhat generic, but they convey a similar message. Male superheroes can be in romantic relationships without it undermining their heroic persona, but female superheroes can’t have those relationships without it becoming an obstacle.

This strange, unbalanced dynamic played out recently in the pages of “Wonder Woman #754.” I’d even go so far as to argue that Wonder Woman suffers the most from this dynamic, despite being one of the most iconic female superheroes of all time. Given that she’s the ideal that other female superheroes are compared to, I think that’s telling.

The main plot of the issue isn’t important. The side-plot is where this dynamic showed up. There were frequent flashbacks that highlighted Diana’s recent “drama” with her long-time romantic interest, Steve Trevor. I put drama in quotes because it feels less like drama and more like forced excuses.

It’s been an issue for Wonder Woman for decades. Despite being her most iconic love interest, going back to the 1940s, Steve Trevor has never been that official with Diana. Even though they’ve professed their love for one another in many forms and in many timelines, they’re rarely ever shown as being in a functional, mature relationship.

It’s not just with Steve Trevor, either. Even in the classic “Justice League” cartoon in which she was romantically linked to Batman, nothing ever became official. There’s was never a point where Wonder Woman went from being single to being in a real, functioning relationship.

In fact, the only time Wonder Woman was ever in a functional romantic relationship was when she dated Superman during DC’s short-lived New 52 era in the comics. During that time, Wonder Woman and Superman had their own comics and their own stories. Sometimes, those stories became entwined. Sometimes, they didn’t. It never undermined their relationship or vice versa.

I know comic fans have strong opinions about the New 52 as a whole, but I find it telling that this was really the only time Wonder Woman was allowed to be in a relationship while still being Wonder Woman. For her to be someone’s girlfriend and still be the hero she’s always been, her significant other had to be Superman.

Take a moment to think about the scope of that standard. Wonder Woman, the standard-bearer for female superheroes for decades, can be in a functional relationship, but only with someone as capable as Superman. She and Steve Trevor can be in love, but they can’t have a relationship. He’s just an ordinary man. He’d just undermine Wonder Woman’s ability to be the ideal female hero we know and love.

Meanwhile, male heroes like Batman and Spider-Man can become romantically involved with far less capable individuals, many of which don’t have superpowers and can’t fly across the planet to be on time for date night. They’re still allowed to be in those relationships, but Wonder Woman can’t even make the effort with one of her most iconic romances with Steve Trevor.

As a fan of superhero comic, romance, and Wonder Woman, I find this both flawed and frustrating. While the “Wonder Woman” movie did an solid job establishing genuine romance between her and Steve Trevor, they still never got a chance to actually be in a relationship. It’s as though a female hero can’t be in a relationship without losing something. At the same time, a male hero can’t have a complete story without one.

It’s a strange disconnect and I think it’s getting worse. In recent years, superhero comics have made a concerted effort to develop female characters and I applaud that effort. It has led to some major successes. The problem is that, like Wonder Woman, these female characters aren’t really allowed to become anyone’s girlfriend. Being in a relationship is seen as an obstacle to being strong, independent, compelling characters.

Respectfully, I call bullshit.

Being in a relationship isn’t detrimental to any character, male or female, if the relationship is well-written. In addition, female characters don’t have to be completely, 100-percent independent to be great. In fact, making them that emotional single-minded is a good way to make them unlikable and unrelatable because, in the real world, people have relationships. They form bonds, rely on others, and are effected by those close ties.

Now, I don’t deny that writing great female characters is challenging, especially in recent years. It feels like you can’t write female characters without having an agenda anymore, even when it’s not printed on a shirt. Again, I call bullshit. Female characters, like all characters, are deeply affected by the loving bonds they form. They deserve the same development and exploration as their male counterparts.

Why can’t Wonder Woman be in an official relationship with Steve Trevor?

Does being Steve Trevor’s girlfriend make Wonder Woman any less a superhero?

Does any female superhero lose something when they become someone’s girlfriend?

These are relevant questions that are worth asking. If someone as iconic as Wonder Woman can’t be in a relationship with someone without undermining what makes her Wonder Woman, then that’s not a problem with her as a character. That’s a problem with the standards and assumptions we have about superhero romance.

I’m sorry if this rant feels dragged out, but this has been bothering me for a while. I’d be happy to discuss it more. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Filed under DC Comics, Marriage and Relationships, romance, superhero comics, Wonder Woman

Happy Valentine’s Day 2020!

To everyone out there, whether you’ve found the love of your life, are looking for them, or just want another reason to share affection with the world, Happy Valentine’s Day!

As a romance fan, I have a special affinity for a day that celebrates romance.

As a single man who has nobody to spend the day with, I’m also somewhat conflicted.

I don’t deny that it’s disheartening on some levels, seeing couples going the extra mile to celebrate their love today. At the same time, I’m encouraged. It reminds me that love is worth pursuing. Finding that special someone is worth the effort, no matter how daunting it may seem.

One day, I’ll find that someone. When that day comes, Valentine’s Day will become even more special. Until then, please use this day to enjoy and cherish the love you’ve found. If you need to get into the spirit, check out some of my sexy novels and my sexy short stories.

Love is a beautiful thing. Whether you celebrate it with chocolates or extended periods of lovemaking, do what you can to make Valentine’s Day special.

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Lesson About Love I’ve Learned From Writing Romance

When writing, talking, or criticizing a certain topic, we often do so thinking we know enough about it to make it matter. It’s not until we actually make the effort that we realize just how inadequate our knowledge is. It can be distressing and disheartening on some levels, but it can also be revealing.

I’ve been writing romance stories since I was a teenager. I don’t deny that those first stories I wrote were awful. I’ve even gone back and deleted some of them, both from my memory and my computer. They were that bad. I made the effort because I believed I could tell a good, meaningful love story. It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized how much I had to learn.

I’ve learned quite a bit since then, but I don’t doubt for a second that I’ve a lot more to explore. The fact that I’m still single, unmarried, and not dating anyone at the moment is proof enough of that. However, after reading about and writing so many love stories, both as novels and as short stories, I’ve uncovered countless insights into love.

Writing about it, discussing it, and even observing it in people who have found it has taught me a lot. Much of those lessons have found their way into my writing over the years. In the interest of sharing those revelations, I’d like to offer a few of those insights for those still struggling to make sense of this emotion that drives so many people, both in real life and in the world of fiction.

Some may seem obvious. Others may seem corny. That’s to be expected. Love is one of those strange emotions that seems so simple on paper, yet so overwhelming in practice. That’s part of what makes it special. That’s also part of what makes it worth pursuing. Hopefully, these insights help with that.

Lesson #1: Love requires effort, but can become tedious if it turns into work.

Lesson #2: Love is often more opportunity than destiny. Fate may bring people together, but it’s through choice and effort that something comes of it.

Lesson #3: The line between lust and love is often blurred, but becomes more defined when those involved are honest with themselves and each other.

Lesson #4: It’s okay for love to be shallow on some levels, but greater depth is needed in order for it to blossom.

Lesson #5: Being in love means growing and evolving with a person. That means loving someone for who they are and who they’re trying to be.

Lesson #6: Being in love is only part of a functional relationship, but it’s a critical part that can make others work.

Lesson #7: Love isn’t always logical, but genuine love is coherent and consistent.

Lesson #8: You cannot control how, when, and where you fall in love, but you can control the situation around you.

Lesson #9: Being in love, like being in a relationship, is an ongoing feeling. Treating certain parts as endpoints only undermines both.

Lesson #10: In the same way love means different things to many people, the experience of love can be just as different. Even if others don’t understand it, that doesn’t mean the love is less sincere.

Lesson #11: Love is unpredictable, but there are often patterns that become noticeable when you’re honest with yourself and your partner.

Lesson #12: There’s no one right way to love someone, but there will always be many more wrong ways.

Lesson #13: Love build on lies is always unstable in the long run.

There are probably many more I could list or haven’t thought of. If you have some lessons in love that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.

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A Brief Message To My Future Wife

Every now and then, I find myself wondering what I’ll say to the love of my life when I meet her. I also wonder what I’d say to my future self if I could. I think everyone contemplates what they’d tell themselves at a certain point in their lives, past and future. Most of the time, it’s just a daydream or a thought experiment. As you get older, though, every sentiment feels more urgent.

I still believe the love of my life is out there. I doubt I’ve met her yet. I hope I meet her soon and not just because I’m getting older. There are so many things I want to say to her. Chances are, if you love someone with all your heart, you can never convey the totality of your feelings. Sometimes, you need both foresight and hindsight to keep things in perspective.

With that in mind, I’d like to share this as a simple message to my future wife, whoever and wherever she may be. I may not be able to put this into words at any point in our lives, but as someone who is still searching for that special someone, know that this sentiment is honest and true.

There will be days when I’m a pain to be around.

There will be days when I am distant and cold.

There will be days when I just don’t want to talk to anyone.

There will be days when I’m not in a romantic mood.

There will be days when I’m stressed out, overwhelmed, and in a bad mood.

There will be days when I focus only on where I’ve gone wrong and where I’ve failed.

There will be days when I blame others for things I’m responsible for.

It’s on these days, however, when your love means the most to me. I may not say it at the time, but know that it’s true. Even when I’m at my worst, I still love you. Moreover, I still need your love.

With time, I get through these days. They quickly become distant memories and I make an effort to ensure the good days outnumber the bad. Know that it’s you who helps make those good says worth waking up for, but it’s easy to acknowledge that when all is well. It’s much harder to convey when things are going wrong.

It’s easy to cherish love when all is well, but you can only know the strength of that love when things are at their worst. I believe our love is that strong. Never doubt that for a second, no matter how many bad days we face.

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Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights, Marriage and Relationships, romance, sex in society, Thought Experiment

Daily Sexy Musings: Contemplating Your Perfect Lover

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We all like to dream about our perfect lover. Even if you’re not a fan of romance and have never encountered an endearing romantic sub-plot, I believe everyone imagines what their perfect soul mate would be like. It’s one thing to entertain a lurid fantasy. Those are easy. Contemplating the perfect lover takes more time, energy, and passion.

The perfect lover isn’t just someone you want for one night or a weekend in Cabo or even a month in Cancun. The perfect lover is someone you want to be with until your dying days. They’re someone you’re willing to love, honor, fight for, and cherish. They’re someone whose willing to be with you at your worst and vice versa.

That kind of lover holds a special place in our collective psyche. For many, it seems like an impossible ideal, but it’s not. There are real people who have contemplated and met their perfect lover. Their stories aren’t the product of fiction. They’re very real and they remind us that this kind of love is real.

That kind of love doesn’t just happen. It takes work, but it’s the kind of work that’s worth doing. As a lifelong romantic, I believe that with all my heart. I hope I one day meet someone who will share in that effort with me. To those who have met that someone or are still contemplating that someone, I hope you find this Daily Sexy Musing encouraging. Enjoy!

When I have a spare moment, I dare to imagine.

When I have several, I dare to dream big.

My dreams must be bold because that’s the only way I can see you. Through focus, faith, passion, and grit, I conjure your face from various slivers of scattered thought. Like piecing together a work of art from a pool of countless pieces, I assemble the figure of my soul mate.

Piece by piece, you come together in a convergence of beauty and presence. Just being near you fills me with awe and wonder. To look upon you is to see a every longing desire made real. Seeing you means seeing the true love in its most tangible form. A concept espoused by fairy tales and fantasy suddenly becomes possible.

However, I don’t just stop at a figure.

Beyond the beauty, I dream of a lover whose persona captivates as much as her smile. I can hold you in total darkness, knowing only your touch and voice, yet still feel your wondrous grace. The sound of your voice, the power of your touch, and the warmth of your presence only affirms what my eyes have told me.

You are the love of my life.

You are the angel in my dreams.

You are the only one for me.

I take comfort in that vivid dream. While our dreams help us entertain possibilities, it is love that makes them real. Even after the moment passes, I still feel your spirit, guiding my heart through this chaotic world. I know you’re out there. I may not recognize you when I first see you. You may not recognize me, either. However, we share the same vision.

We contemplate our perfect lover.

We pursue them with all our heart.

We eagerly await that special moment for one our paths cross.

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Daily Sexy Musings: Chiseled Muscles

Hardcore Body Building Workout

Let’s not lie to ourselves. Having toned, chiseled muscles makes you more attractive in the most general sense. That’s not me making a sweeping judgement on beauty standards or body shaming. That’s just the general consensus. It’s not just me saying that, either. I’ve heard that sentiment expressed directly to me by men and women alike.

I know beauty standards vary wildly across cultures, time periods, and regions, but for the most part, having toned muscles will give you an edge in terms of sex appeal. Like it or not, strong muscles are a key indicator to your health. If you take care of yourself, eat right, and exercise, it generally shows in your muscle tone.

I’ve shared my personal experiences with physical health and body shaming. I’ve gone through periods where I was more pudge than muscle. Then, I got serious about my health. I started working out regularly and eating better. I did it for an extended period, eventually working it into my routine. The results are readily visible every time I take my shirt off. More than one woman has told me as such.

That’s not to say you have to have toned muscles to be sexy. It’s just one of many ways to go about it. It also happens to be a way that has many other positive health benefits. That can only help your sex appeal in the grand scheme of things. To that end, let this Daily Sexy Musing serve as both inspiration and affirmation. Enjoy!

I look in the mirror. In an instant, the fruits of so much labor and effort reveal themselves. Without filters or boasting, the potential of the human body becomes real. I touch it just to be sure. My eyes aren’t lying to me. What I see is what I feel. The hard, toned muscles of my body are there for all to see.

It took hard work.

It took many sacrifices.

It took drive, determination, and dedication.

What I see is both an accomplishment and a next step. The work isn’t done, but I’ve already succeeded. I know because you see it too. In both my reflection and my presence, you look at me with a glint in your eyes that wasn’t there before. What you saw before was just the foundation. Everything you see now is what I’ve built.

I did it for you.

I did it for me.

I did it for us.

Within each chiseled muscle, strength and power radiates for all those who seek it. They don’t just provide visual stimulation of my beauty. They tell a story of who I am and who I’m trying to be. Whereas some gladly accept their current stature, I dared to seek more. Whether in pursuit of vanity or health, I set out on a journey to turn a work in progress into a work of art.

I lifted.

I ran.

I sweated.

I starved.

I fought.

I struggled.

Time and again, the strain held me back. What started as a plan became a process. From that process, I took what nature gave me and refined it. Through the struggle, I endured. From that endurance, I saw results. The more I saw, the more I wanted to see. Now, you can see them too.

I want you to see them.

I want you to admire them.

I want you to know what I can achieve when I set out to achieve something greater.

These muscles that you so enjoy are tangible proof.

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Holiday Sexy Musing: Christmas Eve Excitement

depositphotos_91472090-stock-photo-white-tree-beautiful-sexy-christmas

It’s almost here! The countdown to Christmas can officially begin. If you’re a kid, chances are you won’t get much sleep tonight. With presents to open and sugary treats to enjoy, there’s a lot to be excited about. That sentiment applies to adults too, but their excitement is different.

I know this because I’m an adult who loves Christmas every bit as much as I did when I was a kid. It’s still my favorite holiday. I still get giddy and excited like a kid who ate too many sugar cookies. Granted, my love for Christmas has evolved over the years. I’ve come to enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. It’s a part of the holiday spirit that I gladly embrace.

At the same time, a part of me still wishes I had a special someone to share this holiday with. I love my family and they’ll always be part of my Christmas plans, but one day, I’d like to meet a woman that I can love with all my heart and share in the holiday festivities. I haven’t found that woman yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from musing on the sexy sentiments we could share over the holidays.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer one last musing here on Christmas Eve. In both the holiday spirit and the spirit of all things romantic, I offer these sensual thoughts to those who share my holiday spirit. If you’ve got someone to share it with, then you’ve already got an extra-special gift.

From me to you, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Consider this little musing a small, but sincere gift to get your spirits going.

The Christmas tree is up.

The lights are shining bright.

The shopping is done.

The presents are all wrapped.

The eggnog is fresh.

As the final hours tick by and the perfect moment draws near, I hold you in my arms and cherish our greatest gift. It has been another long year. In between moments of love and passion, we endure struggles and strife. From the bitter winter cold to the sweltering summer heat, we’ve once again come full circle.

Together, we made it.

Together, we celebrate.

Surrounded by festive lights and holiday décor, our hearts and souls feel undeniably jolly. As kids, we dreamed of toys and presents to fill us with joy. In time, the greatest gifts become immaterial treasures. Like the spirit of Santa, St. Nicholas, and Father Christmas, we embrace this unique seasonal passion.

Holding you, in front of a roaring fire with roasted chestnuts, I see more than just a present for my heart. In you, I find the true meaning of the holidays. It’s more than just a celebration. It’s an affirmation of everything feeling we’ve shared.

With a simple kiss, we unwrap this precious gift.

With a loving embrace, our holiday spirits fill with festive joy.

With an act of passion, we usher in the holidays.

To you, my love, I can do more than wish you a Merry Christmas.

Together, we can make it more than merry.

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