Monday, August 5, 2013

The Metaphor Behind the X-Gene of Marvel Comics

This article(Fashion photographer focuses on those with genetic conditions to reframe beauty) crossed my Facebook awhile back from a friend. It made me think.  The entire premise just made me stop for a second to think.

In many ways Marvel has dabbled into similar forays with their characters and how they create them.  The X-titles in particular carry the most weight with the variations that cover nearly all bases.  Characters like Cyclops can only see one color.  Beast himself was turned to about this metaphor early on as well with his feet and hands that led to his further mutation.  They dabbled with it heavily using Rogue's powers and her lack of physical contact and comforts.  The list carries much on into the new class with Mercury and Whither in Academy X, or even the students of the Jean Grey School.  The X-gene is a powerful metaphor.  It talks of sexual identity and how we define ourselves.  It can talk about any difference imaginable. It can talk about sexual orientation and attraction. It can talk about real world natural genetic disorders. It even speaks about racial stereotypes.  It's a loaded metaphor that can cover as many bases as an author can come up with new powers and characters.

The X-gene has always been the go to for the outcast metaphor.  These aren't truly outcasts of society though.  They never were.  Mankind/Humanity made them that way.  No one else did.  God didn't, nature didn't.  They are only outcasts because someone says they are.  If someone did that to us, to those we loved, how would we react?  Yet the question remains, why do we do it to others then?  Why do we let it happen to others?

Groups like the Friends of Humanity in the X-Men comics are always looked to quickly as a hate group.  The mean zealot fervor of condemnation of anything different.  The FoH don't just represent religious fervor, it also represents the darker parts of human nature.  The parts that scream for condemnation over trivial matters.  The parts that scream at others over false righteous indignation and mob mentalities that hide the fact they are the real monsters or just simply following in fear.

But it's an oft repeated meme of utter truth that should be remembered always...
We are all beautiful.  We all matter.

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