Feminists tend to get really really upset over how women are portrayed in comic books. I actually tend to agree that I would like more female superheroes, but I’m not going to be particularly offended if the comic book industry doesn’t oblige me. I don’t need my superheroes to be female so that I can relate to them. No matter how much I enjoy Wonder Woman, after all, Batman and Superman are going to remain at the top of my list of favorite heroes. I’d rather have good quality superhero films than a bunch of affirmative action flicks, made simply to assuage the angry feminists who need more girl power on screen.
Sorry, but it’s true.
Two of the issues I hear complained about the most are these.
1. Female Superheros are drawn too sexy. They give girls an unrealistic expectation for their own body.
Yes and those horrible misogynistic comic book authors don’t give men and boys unrealistic expectations about their body ever.
Look, these women are drawn to be attractive and be “ideal” specimens of womanhood. They are superheroes and, no, I don’t think I’ll ever realistically have (or want) boobs the size of my head like Wonder Woman is occasionally drawn (usually in cover art), but most men don’t look anything like their male superhero counterparts either.
We aren’t meant to, not without copious hours at the gym anyway. These guys don’t have 6 pack abs, they have 12 packs and biceps the size of my head, thighs the size of both my legs. The woman have washboard abs and sculpted calves and asses so tight you could bounce a quarter off them. You or I could possibly accomplish these feats by spending all our free time in a gym (and some people do) but, while I have known people who despaired over not looking like a magazine covergirl, I’ve never had a friend in the comic-con circuit talk about having an eating disorder because her waist wasn’t as tiny as Supergirl’s.
Why is this? I think it’s because, as much as we obsess over comic book characters and movies and story lines and reboots, we recognize fiction when we see it. Sometimes the cosplayers bitch and moan about unrealistic waistlines and oversized boobs, but then we buy a waist cincher or alter the clothing, buy a push up bra and learn to deal.
And, quite frankly, if my straight female friends get to enjoy objectifying the beefcake males of comic books when they read them, then why can’t I enjoy the same objectification of female super-heroines?
2. Female costumes are impractical and too sexy compared to men’s costumes.
Okay, yes, you have a point. The women are dressed ‘sexier’ than the men (even though all the men are wearing skin tight spandex) and their outfits are not ‘practical’, but once again, they are superheroes. You’re expecting realism in costumes where the women are an Amazon princess who fights evil with the ‘lasso of truth’ and Supergirl from the planet Krypton is invulnerable to everything other than Kryptonite. Honestly, the outfits I wear would be a lot more tiny if I had a perfect body and skin that was invulnerable to damage (or nearly invulnerable and fast to heal like Diana).
There are, I admit, times when the cut-outs and ass revealing leotards can go a little over the top, but overall costumes like this work on female characters in a way they would not work one male characters, the same way a string bikini looks sexy on a woman and would look incredibly disturbing on a male.
In all fairness of course, skin tight spandex from neck to feet would look sexy on female superheroes too, but women in the 21st century regularly wear short skirts and low cut shirts and mid-riff bearing tops anyway, so why can’t Supergirl?
Because, you say, it’s impractical for battle.
Yes, I’m sure it would be, if Supergirl was human. She isn’t, neither is Wonder Woman, or Spiderwoman, or Ms. Marvel (to an extent). Their costumes might offend your sensibilities by being so brief (I thought that was slut shaming in real life) but they aren’t “impractical” in battle, not the way you are implying anyway.
Spiderman and Superman’s spandex would be incredibly impractical for battle with villains wielding machine guns too, if they didn’t have speed and invulnerability going for them. As far as our non-super powered heroes, like Black Widow or Catwoman for instance, They both tend toward a more sensible full cover outfit.
But, I hear you say, it’s still impractical in a fight. It’s just leather/spandex and it’s skin tight, that’s just sexist and unnecessary. Only it’s not. Black Widow and Catwoman both rely on speed and agility, more so than frontal assaults or brute strength, to defeat opponents. A costume that is light weight, won’t bind their movements, and won’t have a chance of getting caught on anything (hence being skin tight and not baggy pants or t-shirts) is extremely beneficial to them.
Their outfits would be very poor defense in a firefight, but the whole point of their skills is that they would be in an out, killing or capturing their target before they even had time to start a firefight.
Keep protesting and asking the comic book industry to change, you are welcome to do so, but don’t be surprised when the all mighty dollar speaks louder.
is just way sexier