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When I was a young kid, about 7 or so I think, my parents gave me two VHS tapes of the 90's X-Men: The Animated Series as a gift.  These tapes were titled Creators' Choice, volumes 1 and 2.  These were the tapes including these round table discussions at the beginning, in case any of you old timers remember that:



These volumes contained the first four episodes of the series.  Volume 1 was Night of the Sentinels part 1 and 2, and volume 2 was Enter Magneto and Deadly Reunions.  These two tapes started my childhood obsession with X-Men.  I must have watched the tapes hundreds of times.  I probably watched them about once a week from age 7 to 12 or so.  X-Men were my favorite superheroes during my childhood, and I continued to love them into adulthood as well.  However, interestingly, I never saw the rest of the animated series.  I don't remember it ever airing on TV when I was a kid.  Obviously it did, but it must not have been on when I was home and available, and there was obviously no DVR or streaming or on-demand or Youtube at the time, so I never saw it.  Funny thing is, I don't remember ever questioning it.  That is to say, I don't remember ever trying to find out when it was on, or asking my parents to help me see it.  I couldn't say for sure, but I think that as an ignorant child, I honestly thought that those two tapes were all that existed.  I probably just assumed they were movies.

Time and life went by, and by the time I was old enough to know that it was a whole series that I missed out on, it was long gone.  I don't think they reran it much, and I doubt it was available to purchase back then, so it just seemed like a bygone relic.  When the live action movie came out in 2000 (I was 15 by this time), I was super psyched.  I loved the live action movies, and I thought that the casting perfectly nailed the characters.  But it wasn't until 20 years later (Celestia almighty I'm f*cking old:( ) that I thought about how odd it was that my massive excitement about the live action movies, indeed my entire lifelong love of X-Men, was based purely on four animated episodes and nothing more.  That was my only experience with X-Men.  How curious.  :dash:

Fast forward to today.  In the year of our Princess, two thousand and twenty-three, I saw that the complete X-Men: The Animated Series is on Disney+!  (Which we have)  What a unique and amazing opportunity this was.  By pure chance and serendipity, I had unknowingly orchestrated a completely bizarre and wonderful entertainment experience.  Here was this series that I was totally obsessed with as a kid, and yet I had never seen past episode 4.  It doesn't get any more nostalgic for me than X-Men: The Animated Series, and yet the majority of the show was entirely new to me.  Watching this was simultaneously a nostalgia-dripping blast from the past and a brand new, never-before-seen experience.  It felt like returning to my childhood while not knowing what comes next.  How often does something like that happen life?!  I cannot overstate what a strange, wonderful, and exciting experience it was to watch this nostalgic show that defined my childhood, and yet it was basically all new.

I just finished the series a couple of hours ago, and unfortunately, as gratifying as it was to finally see it and have closure, I have to report that while the series had a great foundation, it is ultimately an extremely mixed bag filled with weird, nonsensical crap, dead-end plotlines, colossal missed opportunities, and squandered potential, not to mention a final season that, due to budgeting issues, resulted in a completely different animation style that looked like they asked a 5 year-old to draw the X-Men from memory with crayons, and audio that sounded like the VAs recorded their dialogue through traffic cones.  It's really a shame, because some of the themes they established early-on were really stellar.  X-Men is a franchise that explores themes of bigotry, prejudice, hatred of those who are different, scapegoating, segregation, civil rights, division, discrimination, racism, sexism, and any other -ism you can think of.  Mutants are just a stand in for any hated, marginalized group.  There are some truly fantastic scenes, too.  In one episode, a teenage girl "comes out" as a mutant, and her (extremely conservative) father disowns her.  In that scene, mutants are a stand-in for gays.  In another episode revolving around political polarization, local businesses are seen displaying signs that either say "no mutants", or "mutants welcome".  In this episode, mutants are a stand in for blacks.  Anti-mutant domestic terrorist groups then attack and bomb the mutant-friendly businesses.    (Wait, this is supposed to be a kid's show, right??!:blink:

But sadly, those couple of mind-blowing episodes are the exception.  The majority of the series is, well, frankly garbage if you ask me.  They took those incredible themes and basically went nowhere with them.  The series just went increasingly off the rails, and became less realistic, less serious, and less mature as it went along.  But, y'know, credit where credit is due: it's the only kids show I know of that said, not once, but twice, "the price for freedom is eternal vigilance."  Wow.  But they really squandered the potential.  It could have been so much more.  I've heard rumors of some kind of Disney+ animated X-Men reboot.  This is one time where I actually think it's warranted, and I'm hopeful.  Hooves crossed.

But the series got me once again thinking about something I've pondered before, and that's the phenomenon by which we've often historically used masculine terms to refer to mixed company.  (Ah, there it is.  You were wondering what the hell the title was about.  :twi: )  Y'know--mankind means all humans, phrases like "the dawn of man", or "the age of man" refer to all people.  And likewise, the X-Men are a mixed group.  In fact, X-Men has been celebrated as one of the early franchises to be very sexually, as well as racially, diverse.  And all of the women are still known as "X-Men".  Even at the individual level, they'll refer to one female member as an "X-Man".  Several times on the cartoon, Rogue and Storm refer to themselves as "an X-Man".  This doesn't strike anybody as odd.  It's totally fine.  But imagine if it was reversed.  What if they called it "X-Women".  What would that mean?  Well, it would obviously mean a group of strictly women... right?  That's what anyone would assume... right?  But why?  Why can't "X-Women" be a mixed group?  Why can't "womankind" refer to all humans?  Why couldn't Wolverine proudly declare himself to be an X-Woman?  I mean, I know that sounds funny, but really think about it for a second--Rogue, a woman, calls herself an "X-Man", and nobody bats an eye, nor does the thought of her being trans or the like even cross their minds.  But imagine Wolverine, imagine f*ckin' Hugh Jackman, calling himself an X-Woman.  Let the cringe ensue, right?  But why?  What's the difference?  Why can't it be reversed?  Why can't a feminine term refer to mixed company?  This isn't a rhetorical question, either.  I really want to know.  I don't have the answer.  This isn't one of those essays where I float my theory.  I really don't have one.  I don't know.  I wonder if the answer to this question might lead us towards better sexual/gender equality.

Incidentally, I just want state for the record that I'm not offended or upset that the X-Men are the X-Men.  In my adulthood, I've tried to adopt inclusive terms like "humankind", but I'm also not particularly bothered by the masculine terms, either.  This isn't an angry, offended rant.  Rather, I'm just posing the question as a thought experiment.  I often wonder why stuff like this can't be reversed.  I usually try to have some kind of snappy ending to my blogs, but this one just kinda petered out.  :sunny:  I guess that's all I have.  Catch you on the flippity flip.

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God created woman from man, so man was first. In our language, masculine terms are also gender neutral terms. I don't know if this is true in other languages. But people are smart enough to know that mankind means all people. I think you are making too much of this. Besides, George Carlin did it already. 



Edited by Brony Number 42
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There was a joke about that in Deadpool 2.

Even the word WOman is an extension of man. I don't know the etymology of that, if man meant the species or the male first.

In languages that have gender, like Spanish, the masculine form is also the general form. While Japanese, which is considered pretty patriarchal society, is largely gender neutral. So language is a weird thing.

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On 3/13/2023 at 7:47 AM, Fluttershutter said:

There was a joke about that in Deadpool 2.

I saw that, but I don't remember that joke.  Whelp, guess it's time rewatch!

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