schmevil: (daily planet)
schmevil ([personal profile] schmevil) wrote2011-11-04 11:52 am

something between meta and fic

I'd like to sign up for the ST Secret Santa, but I'm kind of an enormous failure at meeting deadlines, so no. I was also toying with signing up for Avengers Bang (Jan gets trapped in Disney's Fairyland, oh shit), but see previous. Any time I talk about signing up for something, guys, discourage me. Reject me. I am not meant for exchanges! That way lies disappointment.


Anyway, here's a bit of something. This is a snippet of a 'non-fiction' piece on my version of Lady!Cap. I could never figure out where to take it, so here's what I've got. It has a very definite point of view, which isn't quite MY point of view. Opine away!


Captain America is every American. That's the line, isn't it? I've traveled all over the US, continental and otherwise, and met people from all walks of life who attest to this. Cap is every American. There are detractors, of course, people who say she represents a particular America, one they can't be a part of.

Still, in the wake of her marriage to longtime boyfriend Tony Stark, t-shirt sales are up, and her approval rating eclipses that of two moderately popular Presidents combined.

I had one of the t-shirts when I was a kid. Not to mention the stars and stripes roller blades, and the plastic shield. That last one made it all the way to the first party I hosted in my first college apartment, when it died a sudden and ignominious death under the wheels of a taxi. The roller blades weren't official merchandise of course, but I waged a guerrilla campaign that Che Guevara would have been proud of, until my parents caved and finally picked them up at the local flea market.

As for official Cap merchandise, there's only ever been t-shirts, ball caps and shields, with all proceeds - yes all of them - going to charity. These days the shirts and hats are made from 100% organic, fair trade cotton, and the shields with a high percentage of post-consumer content.

Cap doesn't charge for speaking engagements. She does a lot of them, mostly schools, community organizations, and first responders groups. She's more in demand than Bill Clinton, Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey.

She's a strangely beloved figure, and has been since she first lifted her shield and ran headlong towards a German murderhole. I say strange, because any number of factors should make her enduring popularity impossible.

She's a she: Lady Liberty may be an American icon, but she isn't a real lady. Even before she took off the cowl and gave us a face and a name - Stephanie Rogers, native to New York - Captain America was real. Sometimes all too real. Where were you when Cap came back? Bet you didn't have to think about the answer. Every time she landed herself in the hospital, we were glued to our tvs and radios, waiting for news. It's funny, young guys will joke about how hot the scale mail is, and some older guys feel a kind of proprietary protectiveness towards her, but she's never been America's sweetheart. She's our mother, daughter, sister, our first lady - but none of that has ever stopped us from sending her into action.

She's a soldier: Captain America last saw wartime service during World War Two. She hasn't been deployed since, but those iconic images - facing down German tanks; leading GIs onto the beach on D Day; posing with rest of the Invaders - are impossible to forget. And yet, she's a solider in a country that doesn't allow women to serve in elite combat units, except her; a country that carries its victories as heavily as its failures. She's the perfect warrior, and she has declined to serve ever again. Yet every barracks I've seen, no matter what branch of the service, has been plastered with pictures of her deployed with the army, or with the Avengers. Same goes for every liberal arts department I've visited.

Her boyfriend's Tony Stark: He's her husband now, and he's been out of the arms game since before they started dating, but the stain lingers. He runs a Fortune 500 company that he built from a few great ideas and the backing of a few steadfast friends. He's a recovering alcoholic, a former Secretary of Defense - the youngest ever - and a superhero. He's a controversial figure, but his marriage to Stephanie Rogers was the hottest gossip of the year. And none of this has made his girlfriend any less popular.

Growing up, Cap wasn't my hero, t-shirt, roller blades and shield aside. For a long time, it was a series of girl pop singers and Christian Amanpour. But Cap's always been there too. I suspect that's how it is for all of us. Captain America is every American. The thing is - my still favourite Women's Studies professor once told me this - is that you've got to find out who your Cap is. If you can do that, then you know what your America is, and you know a little better, how you fit into it. It took me a while, but this year I found my Cap. It probably helps that she saved my life. There's something about having your life threatened that crystallizes things.

...and then there was supposed to be an action story, but I can't seem to gather the energy to write it.

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