30 Days of Marvel Day Four: Favourite Royal Mutant
Apologies to all you Inhumans fans out there, but I really do not know shit about them, so today I talk about Pixie. There will, yet again, be more talk about Matt Fraction today but I promise that tomorrow will be mostly about Kathryn Immonen!
The first time I laid eyes on her was the Manifest Destiny (I think?) arc of Fraction’s (and possibly Brubacker) Uncanny when she was eating breakfast cereal and telling Cyclops that she thought Emma was in the brig and I though who is this adorable girl with pink and black hair because I have always wanted to have pink and black hair. As it turns out, she is Pixie and is basically the best thing ever. At first, as I counted the minutes between issues of Pixie Strikes Back and tore through every one of her appearances I could get my paws on, my love for her was a very light and fluffy thing much like a cloud made of cotton candy.
When I took her on as a character in a roleplay, I decided early on that being Welsh she must not only have a deep and abiding love of the current Doctor Who, but that she frequently impersonates both The Doctor and the TARDIS by virtue of the fact that she is a teleporter. This was generally portrayed as her flashing the headlight on her scooter and making wooshing noises before and after teleporting. From what I understand, it’s a fairly generous portrayal of the lengths that some of the Welsh go to in order to associate themselves with Doctor Who.
Reading her appearances between M Day and Messiah Complex, I became aware of the similarities between Megan and Stephanie Brown especially in the wake of Magik trying to steal her soul and what she witnessed in Limbo. While far more abstract of an experience than what Stephanie was subjected to by Black Mask, it’s roughly comparable as well as how their lighthearted personalities survived their ordeals. But when I came back around to close the gap in her appearances in Uncanny, a much deeper and darker connection between Pixie and myself emerged.
I’ve thankfully never been the victim of a violent crime, but Pixie being swarmed and beaten for being a mutant affected me profoundly (despite the fact that it was drawn by Greg Land) and changed the way that I look at the character completely. The primary power of the X-Men (from the reader’s perspective) has always been how readily it can be read as/appropriated to be about any given marginalized group with the added flourish that (with some notable exceptions) what sets the mutants apart is also quite literally what empowers them. Thus I’ve always taken some comfort from the X-Men in an abstract kind of way, but in that moment it became disturbingly specific.
The fear and anxiety of the possibility of being the victims of transmisogynistic violence is something that all transwomen deal with on a daily basis, myself included. It keeps us in the closet and can turn any public excursion while presenting as female into a terrifying experience. Not only was it a visceral reminder of the possible consequences of not passing well enough, I was struck by the horrible thought that it’s nearly impossible for Pixie to pass as human, which while never preferable, is sometimes vital for survival. The violent oppression of mutants has been a constant theme since their beginning, but it was Grant Morrison who most memorably brought mutants being fetishized and appropriated from through John Sublime and the U-Men to the forefront of the narrative. Which is the other side of both Pixie’s experience and mine as a trans woman. Pixie’s appearance marks her out as “exotic,” which is a particularly problematic word for women of colour but has also been incredibly damaging to trans women through their exploitation in pornography. Thus, Pixie becomes the disturbingly perfect mirror of the ways in which I am targeted for exploitation and violence by the patriarchy.
It’s very much worth noting that in no way, shape, or form could Pixie’s bashing be considered an instance of fridging. Following the attack, she briefly left the X-Men only to regret the decision and turned around to come back. Of course by “come back,” I mean “ignored Wolverine’s admonishments to stay back from Empath after he tore through the core X-Men, took him to the pavement, stabbed him in the face with her soul and followed that up by rocking out on stage with her hero Dazzler.” Agency, motherfuckers. Pixie has it.
You really made me look at things from an all-new all-different perspective with this, I thank you for that.
I’m overly sensitive regarding gender and role themes, and although I was touched with the beating of Pixie I never got to compare it with my own experiences, until now, that is.
Thanks! I’m glad to see that my ramblings are doing someone some good!
Pingback: Friday Five: Emma’s 30 Days of Marvel, Pt. 1 « Graphic Policy