Talking about that comic book panel with the man covered in eyes really emphasizes how the X-men being symbols of oppressed people can fall flat when they’re all beautiful people with awesome powers and no visible mutations. I think with the exception of Nightcrawler and Beast, none of the big name X-Men characters would have problems unless they revealed their powers. Also, I’m not comfortable with the analogy when you have characters like Professor X, Jean Grey and Storm. I would be scared if a guy I knew could easily turn me into a vegetable or a woman could flood my whole neighborhood.
What’s even more interesting, is that I can’t really think of a lot of female mutants who do have visible mutations that aren’t still considered sexy. Think the green alien women that Kirk would bang on Star Trek. I mean, has there ever been a female who looks like Beast or a female who looks more like a troll?
But the comic book industry is still a business and people who don’t look too human or beautiful wouldn’t cut it in marketing’s eyes. I just think the analogy wouldn’t go over as many peoples’ heads if we had more mutants looking like Nightcrawler, Toad or guy covered with eyes.
It entirely depends on the minority you’re talking about. If the minority in question is homosexuals then a gay man or woman looks just like a straight man or woman, you can’t tell by looking at them, but the oppression and discrimination they’re on the receiving end of is no less real. A trans woman can dress in men’s clothing and pass for cis, but that doesn’t make them any less trans or any less discriminated against in mainstream society. So, sure, in the comics a mutant can often pass as a flatscan but that doesn’t change society’s attitude towards them, they still have to hide who they are or else face anger, mistrust, discrimination and hatred. The analogy works perfectly well for me.
OP does have a point about the women though. When Marrow was introduced she was hideous, but they “sexified” her…Callisto was unattractive at first, but, again, got “sexified”…but that speaks to the wider issue of the representation of women in comics, where everyone looks like a swimwear model, no mater who they are.
Although, it does have to be said that this overall point is raised time and again in the comics. Nightcrawler specifically has pointed out to his fellow X-Men that they can pass for normal if they please, and the Morlocks often complained that the X-Men was an exclusive club for the “pretty” mutants, the “presentable” ones who the public wouldn’t be so scared of, while all the ugly mutants were forced to live in the sewers and tunnels beneath New York.
And now I’m getting nostalgic for Claremont’s original run…because he actually thought about this stuff…