« 300 and Frank Miller | Main | Tired and Empty »

They Just Don't Get It.

DC, in another move to alienate women comic book readers, have decided not just to turn Mary Marvel into a villain but into a skank. Oh, you poor stupid, stupid men at DC. You really need a good smack upside your heads. You have to grow up and realize that half of the worlds population are female and you are loosing a huge chunk of change by being juvenile sexists.
Come on, just look at this:


Just look at that! If a costume is so tight you can see her belly button, will they be drawing her areole? And that skirt? You'd see her pubis every other step. Come on, illustrators, grow up. Stop thinking with your penises. Sexy doesn't have to be slutty. Of course, seeing the way the teen aged Supergirl is drawn, that lesson is obviously lost on you. That she's a superhero is a great way to play out your fantasies about your teen aged daughter's friends.
By the way, crop tops are passe. They were out of fashion about 7 years ago. Belly button tops went out about 2 years ago. That style of skirt is on the way out, if not already gone. Your illustrators should subscribe to Elle, Glamour or Flare to keep a little bit current.

Getting back to Mary Marvel, they are taking the nice Girl-Next-Door Mary Marvel and attempting to "sex her up." So by becoming evil, in the minds of the writers/editors/illustrators, Mary exerts her sexuality as a weapon. The whole sex-as-a-weapon thing is stupid. This is Mary Marvel!! She's one of the most powerful beings in the universe!! She doesn't need to flash panties to be dangerous. The writers are also stuck on the idea that being sexy is empowering to a woman. Yes, being sexy is. Being a blow up doll isn't. That about sums it up. Female characters in comics are wank images and Mary just wasn't giving the wood to the boys out there. So take her out of her loose white linen robe and stick her in black pleather. Good girl goes dominatrix.

I know there is always someone say "just a comic, too serious, harmless blah blah blah." Yeah, well, once upon a time, actors in black face was acceptable on stage and screen. I don't agree that it's "just a comic." These comics are read by millions of impressionable boys and it does help them form an opinion regarding women. This is often the wrong opinion and seems to be formed by the more socially inept male comic book readers. (And we all know that these individuals make up a very large percentage of comic book buyers.) Every woman who buys comics will have at least one story of walking into a comic store and having all the "men" stop talking and stare, or being unable to speak to her to answer a question she might have, or being patronized by male workers who think she knows nothing and must be in there to pick up something for her boyfriend.
Superhero comics are read by a lot of girls and the way women are presented here doesn't do much for their psyche either. I know the male characters are drawn exaggerated but they aren't draw in the same sexualized manner. It seems that wherever they can, the illustrators draw an improbable pose for the women, often including completely unnecessary tit or ass shots. A male character doing the same action doesn't get quite the same "camera angle" of the action.

This is a case where Marshall Mcluhan's quote "The medium is the message" is pointedly obvious. The medium is images of women being treated differently than their male counterparts. The comic industry shouldn't need someone to stand over their shoulder and look at every image of a woman and ask "Now, is that how you would draw Batman in that scene?" But they are proving that yes, yes they do.

Posted by Marmy on March 24, 2007 12:34 AM


as somebody who bought their last comic around 1982 but who is facinated by pop culture in general, i was wondering if there are any strong, interesting female comic book heroes who aren't dressed like strippers/dominatrices? (yeah i had to go look up the plural of dominatrix, i'm not too proud to say it.)

my view of comics is coloured by boyish nostalgia. i liked them alot but being prepubescent i either wouldn't have noticed the sexual aspects or, more likely, been confused by them.

is the genre of comic books like the rest of popular culture wherein the mainstream top forty tends to be hypersexualized (acting:pam anderson, music:pussycat dolls, video games:GTA) but you've got to dig deeper into the alternative, subgenres to find examples of real female characters?
(that's not a retorical question. i really don't know. and as an outsider the whole comic book culture seems like a subculture to me.)
just wondering.

Posted by: joe at March 24, 2007 01:03 PM

One of the problems with the image is that DC got Jim Lee to draw it, he draws all his wymmins in an overly sexualized manner. In fact, it's possible he's singlehandedly responsible for the sexualized look of many of today's comic book heroines/villainesses.

Posted by: Turbo at March 25, 2007 03:43 PM