Scott Summers and the X-Men in X-Men '97 trailer

If You’re This Upset About ‘X-Men ’97’s Rogue Character Design, Please Go To Therapy

That X-Men ’97 trailer sent a very welcome chill down many a spine the other week, especially for those who have carved a special place in their hearts for the original animated series.

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But not everyone was entirely happy with the X-Men ’97 character designs, as evidenced by the comparisons of the ’97 Rogue to her far more sexualized ’90s counterpart. Cue the many internet comments in the vein of “look what they took from us.”

Now, the internet isn’t a real place, and I reckon that many of the folks who pitched in on this micro-phenomenon wouldn’t dare show this kind of behavior if they were face-to-face with any women in their lives, because how would you even reconcile that? How could you explain to your mothers, sisters, daughters, friends both in childhood and adulthood, that on some level, perhaps veiled with “it’s just a joke,” you feel like you were deprived of something because Rogue’s body doesn’t accommodate your fantasy, however kinetic it may be?

Well, you could start by explaining that you have a programmed tendency to measure a woman’s value based on how much her body, specifically her chest and hips, appeals to you specifically, and how you, as a result, have trouble viewing a woman and her body—or any body other than the group yours belongs to, for that matter—in any context outside of that appeal.

And so, when a woman’s body—a body that once appealed to your fantasy and now no longer does—shows up on screen, you feel as though something is being taken from you, because on some level, you struggle with engaging with women as real people with thoughts, feelings, ambitions, and character, and in trying to avoid the discomfort that comes with trying to do that, you instead defer to the more familiar, comfortable act of viewing them as objects that have their value determined based on how closely they’re tailored to your sexual preference.

You could furthermore try to explain that while maybe this doesn’t entirely encapsulate who you are, the feeling of entitlement you’ve expressed towards women’s bodies (i.e. “look what they took from us”) has proven to be something that you harbor, and despite knowing this, you’ve refused to do the work to shed such a trait up to this point, and thereby continue to be complicit as a conduit for a grotesquely harmful idea that, beyond the unwelcome sexualization that it imposes on women, largely serves as the basis for widespread violence against women as well.

But I don’t think you want to explain that to the women in your life, hence why I recommend you instead explain this to a therapist. Maybe then you’ll come to realize just how incredible of a character Rogue actually is, and that, my friend, is just the beginning of this wonderful journey.

(featured image: Disney+)


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