Comic book writer Scott Lobdell answered questions posed to him by readers of Comic Vine, a comic book blog. One of the questions asked pertained to the handling of Starfire, an orange skinned space alien with some rather unique views about sex. From Comic Vine:
I think what HAS surprised me the most is the vulgar tone of the comments I’ve read. When I hear people calling Starfire a “slut” or a “whore” or a “sex toy” it makes me sick to my stomach, honestly. I don’t think a person (man or woman) gets to define someone else’s sexuality and certainly not in such derogatory and dismissive terms. The notion that people genuinely believe they are staking the moral high ground in what they believe is their defense of Kori, by using such dehumanizing language is otherworldly to me.
I don’t think anyone is calling Starfire, a fictitious comic book character from an alien world, a slut, a whore, or a sex toy. On the contrary, I think what they are saying is that she is being unnecessarily portrayed that way by Lobdell in a book about teenage superheroes.
There is a difference.
In the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws, we see Starfire proposition a male team member she barely knows for promiscuous sex. She makes it quite clear that if he doesn’t have sex with her, she will just go ask a random stranger. As they leave to go to his room, she makes it crystal clear that love has nothing to do with what they are about to do.
Red Hood and the Outlaws is rated for teens. According the DC rating system, a book rated for teens is appropriate for readers age 12 and older and may contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes. I’m not sure how this book fits within this rating. This book is more than suggestive. It’s not alluding to promiscuous sex outside a committed relationship, it’s clearly portraying it.
In my opinion, asking an adult to understand Starfire and her views on sex, is asking too much. How is a 12-year supposed to read this book and understand Starfire and her views on sex?
After reading the first issue of this series, it’s clear to me that this book is not for me. The problem is, I honestly can’t figure out who the intended reader is.