The Wicked and the Divine Gives Readers Gender Representation Across the Spectrum and Beyond the Binary Making It the FemmeGeek of the Week Icon

This week’s FemmeGeek of the Week Icon, The Wicked and The Divine, represents all the diversity that femmegeek represents. Originally, I chose just Lucifer as this week’s FemmeGeek. Thinking about the book, I realized that doing so would alienate a large portion of the characters and those who identify with them.

The Wicked and The Divine has been touted for years as a comics touchstone for the LGBTQIA community. The Wicked and The Divine represents almost every variation of queerness and gender identification on the spectrum. Most importantly, from the position of being a FemmeGeek icon, it represents genderqueer feminine identities in meaninful ways.

For those who haven’t followed The Wicked and The Divine, the book’s premise is that every ninetey years the pantheon of gods is reborn. For two years they will be loved, adored, and powerful. At the end of the two years, they will die. Over the course of those two years, well, over the course of those two years a lot of shit goes down.

Lucifer, the first pantheon member readers meet in The Wicked and The Divine, is constantly referred to as female but presents as gender nonconforming.

Lucifer’s lore represents the angel of hell as mascuine. In fact, the first instance of Lucifer in The Wicked and the Divine states as much. However, Lucifer in Wic/Div was born as Eleanor Rigby and constantly called Luci or she/her. The masculine David Bowie-esque representation with short hair and white pantsuit represents Luci as visually gender nonconforming.

The Wicked and the Divine
Image: Image Comics
The Wicked and the Divine
Image: Image Comics

In the context of femmegeek representation, The Wicked and the Divine presents readers with a wonderfullly unique look at a modern representation of femininity that goes beyond the gender binary. For those women who identify as gender fluid or nonconforming, this important representation was one of the very first to address femininity in this manner.

Moreover, Inanna later on in the story is represented as similar to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. This presents a male character with gender nonconforming feminine identity. Inanna is a goddess in a nontraditional male identified body who exhibits feminine qualities.

The Wicked and the Divine
Image: Image Comics

Inanna clearly identifies as male while also calling himself the queen of heaven. Additionally, he notes in his introduction to protagonist Laura that he was always afraid of who he was but that upon being granted godhood that he can be “whoever I want to be. I can be whoever I am.” The implications from seeing pre-god Inanna and the final Inanna he becomes in The Wicked and the Divine was that he had been hiding as a traditionally gender identified male who did not feel comfortable in his representation. Being granted godhood allowed him to become more than society had previously allowed.

The importance of these particular representations within the identity of femmegeek cannot be overstated. Femmegeek desires to define all variations of feminine on the gender spectrum. Those identities include ones outside the traditional binary.

The Wicked and the Divine, however, does not simply represent the gender nonconforming identities but also the hypermasculine homosexual  Baal, the traditional masculine heterosexual Baphomet, the bisexual traditional feminine Laura’s narrative, the catlike feminine hypersexual Sakhmet, the traditional heterosexual feminine Amaterasu, the patriarchally mysogynistic Woden, the powerfully feminist feminine Morrigan, and the female identified thought to be asexual lesbian Norns. Each of these different gender and sexual identities provides an opportunity for readers to see themselves in the characters. The Wicked and the Divine represents the spectrum of feminine identity making it the perfect touchpoint for femmegeeks.

Over the last week, discussions of feminine representation have become more immediate. While one mother insists that her child is not transgender but simply a tomboy, the transgender community has noted that the article denies the child a say in their gender decisions and reinforces certain gender binaries. The Wicked and the Divine provides a fictional and visual narrative that helps promote going beyond the binary.

Binary representations of gender in the world continue to harm young people. Whether they are girls who identify as tomboys or boys who like to wear tight fitting women’s style clothing, society forces them to choose between male and female, boy and girl. These limits have been placed on people for hundred of years, with media continuing to perpetuate the myths. As young people choose media, they choose that which represents their identities. Traditional identifying women may choose a character like Black Widow, but for years those gender nonconforming readers have been unable to find characters like themselves. Therefore, with this in mind, we thank The Wicked and the Divine for providing a comics manual for representation across the spectrum that allows for meaningful identification for all femmegeeks.

 

Karen Walsh
Karen Walsh
Karen Walsh is a part time, extended contract, first year writing instructor at the University of Hartford. In other words, she's SuperAdjunct, complete with capes and Jedi robe worn during grading. When Karen isn't teaching, she is a freelance writer who works for a variety of marketing clients focusing on a variety of topics, including InfoSec and parenting. Her geeky and parenting writing can be found at GeekMom. She works in order to support knitting, comics, tattoo, and museum membership addictions. She has one dog, one husband, and one son who all live with her just outside of Hartford, CT. She can be reached on Twitter: @kvonhard and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeekyKaren/

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