Representations of Women in (Mostly Superhero) Comics

Posted: May 19, 2010 in Braak, comic books, Threat Quality
Tags: , ,

This is a thing that comes up periodically, like when io9 finds Disney princesses done up in sexy cartoon “Comic Book Style” by J. Scott Campbell or (just so Meredith doesn’t feel like I’m picking on her) when Chris Sims reviews Jeph Loeb’s Ultimatum.  What happens is, someone says, “Jesus fuck, could there be one comic in which all the women don’t have their tits sticking out all the fucking time?”  Inevitably, at least one person responds to these criticisms with the following argument (and occasionally a few supplemental ones):

“Comics have always been an exaggerated ideal, just like in movies and other forms of media, and besides, they exaggerate men and women equally, so it’s not sexist.”

Refuting this argument is a long and exhausting process, so, to save time, I’m just going to do it here and leave it up so I can link to it when someone (inevitably) says it again.

Okay.  The problem with this argument isn’t just that it’s wrong.  The problem is that it’s SO WRONG that it’s baffling to any but the most thorough refutation.  Peculiarly, these particular ideas are all brought together with the idea that they support each other, despite the fact that the argument would fall apart if even one of these things not true.  But!  NOT ONLY is there one part that is false, ALL OF THE PARTS are actually false.  And, not only that!  Even if all of the parts were TRUE, the argument would still be false.  You can see the problems I might have dealing with it.  So, let’s break it down.

Comics Have Always Been Like That

Is it True?

No.  Here is a picture of Star Sapphire from 1962.

Here is a picture of what Star Sapphire looks like now:

This one's tame; sometimes she has no pants.

Notice any differences?  (Hint:  her neckline goes down to her vagina.)  If you’d like, we can get some more examples, but I think the point is clear.  Whether or not repressing women’s sexuality is good, the fact of the matter is that media, up until recently, often went out of its way to DE-sexualize both women and men.  Especially the comics, which, under the Comics Code, were probably prevented from showing nipples and labias everywhere.  The hyper-sexualization of women in comics is actually a relatively recent phenomenon; it’s concomitant with, though probably not caused by, the rise in superhero comics.  More likely it’s a latent tendency which spandex and thongs permitted.  New advancements in colorization, new lapses in restrictions on content, new changes in social mores have all permitted female characters to have bigger boobs, bendier spines, improbably long legs, and constantly shiny skin.

Would It Matter If It Were True?

Also no.  We did a lot of stupid things in the old days.  Even assuming that tits and ass were somehow some “traditional” part of the comic book style — like naked boobs everywhere were some kind of legacy handed down to us by our grandfathers that we were obligated to preserve — we would still not be obligated to preserve it.  Just because guys did it in Olde Timey days doesn’t mean we have to do it now; I mean, have you seen the way our grandfathers portrayed black people in comics?  Was that okay, just because they did it in the 50s?

All Other Media Does It, Too

Is It True?

Nope.  It turns out that women can have parts in television shows, for example, without being all tarted up like porn stars.  I think I’ve mentioned my affection for actresses like:

Kathryn Erbe

Gina Torres

Mary McCormack

Are they attractive actresses?  Yes, sure.  But the argument — that media always expresses “the ideal”, and therefore every woman that appears should be as supremely sexy as possible — is grossly flawed.  The media can, and does, present women in ways such that they matter for reasons besides their sexiness — that their physical attractiveness is substantially less important than the nature of their characters.  Which is why Mary McCormack’s character always puts her hair up before the goes on a raid in In Plain Sight — just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she needs to have the sexiest possible hair at all times.

Would It Matter If It Were True?

What, the “everyone else is doing it” argument?  Well, here’s a serious question:  if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do it?  I don’t know if you learned this in school or what, but just because everyone else is doing it DOES NOT MEAN IT’S OKAY.

All Women In Comics Are Like That

Is It True?

Well, presumably this just means “All women in good comics” are like that.  And, even if we discount the fact that Frank Quitely’s women are invariably not sexy AT ALL, due to pervasive use of the fish lips technique, it’s STILL not true.

Look here:

Jenny Sparks is awesome EVEN WHEN DRESSED LIKE MURPHY BROWN

Boom-Boom was even SUPPOSED to be the hot one.

Can you like Crazy Jane if you can't see her tits?

It turns out, a female character doesn’t need her ass cheeks sticking out around her thong, or her boobs spilling out of some improbable spandex, to be a compelling character.

Would It Matter If It Were True?

Still no, largely for the reasons stated above.  Especially look:  if the socially responsible thing is eventually going to happen, SOMEONE has to start doing it.  It might as well be you, right?

Comics Do The Same Thing With Men

Is It True?

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking so.  Generally in the comics all the men have broad shoulders and huge arms and square jaws and, yeah, they probably give young boys body dysmorphia, too.  But there are some subtle differences, if you keep your eyes open.  Look at my favorite character, Wolverine:

Notice how hairy and scruffy he is?  He’s also usually short and kind of weird shaped.  Now, who would you say was the female equivalent?  The one who, say, doesn’t shave her armpits?  Yeah, I can’t think of one, either.  Definitely no one on the X-Men team.  Hey, now that I think about it, isn’t it weird how almost all of the standard X-Women are exactly the same height?

Here’s another test:  go through your favorite DC heroes.  Now, think of your favorite DC heroes that don’t wear pants.  How many of those pantsless heroes are women?  Think about Superman for a second:  what if he started going without pants?  Would you think that was weird?  Superman doesn’t need pants, after all, he’s invulnerable.  You would think it was weird, obviously, and why?  Because it would seem a little gay to you to look at a guy’s naked legs while you’re reading your comics.  Because you sexualize naked legs.

Let’s take a look at one more picture:

Ew, gross!  But let’s notice some things, shall we?  First of all, you’ll notice how, despite being cannibalized, the Wasp still manages to have her tits sticking directly out at the viewer.  That’s pretty impressive, and a hallmark of the “tits-out” way that women are drawn in comics — but I’m sure you’ve noticed the same is not necessarily true with men.  Every picture of Captain America doesn’t have his crotch thrust directly out to the viewer.

But notice something else:  the Blob.  The Blob is hideous, and fat, and covered with warts!  And he’s not the only hideous and ugly villain — or even the only hideous and ugly character in comics at all.  So, let’s do an imaginary tally:  of all the ugly characters in Marvel comics (and this includes characters that, like the Beast, just don’t happen to look like people) how many are male?  How many are female?  They’re mostly male, aren’t they.  Why do you suppose that is?

It is because, far from being a particular aesthetic imperative of comics that is devoid of relation to social norms, the style of comics reflects a social double standard — men, because they are relevant despite their physical attractiveness, can be ugly in media; women are so intricately associated with how attractive they are that they cannot be.

Would It Matter If It Were True?

No, not really.  It’s only fair to treat things the same if they are actually the same.  If two things are different, it’s actually UNFAIR to treat them as though they are the same.  So, even if comics equally idealized and sexualized both men and women, the fact that women have a very different experience, and are subject to very different social norms, and are the recipients of very different historical expectations means it’s not necessarily appropriate.  Pretending centuries of misogyny and oppression didn’t occur, and aren’t still a pervasive problem in our society, is not the same thing as “equality.”

The problem is that, to make this defense, you have to treat any given comic book or piece of comic book art as an isolated incident — independent of history and context.  But there is, of course, no such thing as an isolated incident.  Everything is the product of history and context.

Some Supplemental Arugments:

Who Cares, They’re Just Comics; Who Cares, People Like to See Tits; Who Cares, They Aren’t Supposed to Be Realistic; Who Cares As Long As It’s Successful?

These are all bullshit positions:  It Isn’t Proust, I Just Wanted to See Some Tits, You’re Talking About Realism, and Everyone Shut Up and Let Buying Decide, respectively.  I have answered them already, and they can be discarded out of hand.

If You Want to Complain About THIS You Have to Complain about Decades Worth of Misogyny

Okay, I’ll just do that, then.  Consider that this current criticism also INCLUDES criticism of all previous instances of misogyny.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not omniscient, and can’t immediately know when women are being misrepresented in any particular medium.  The fact that I didn’t criticize Lady Death when the series ran SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO when I was TWELVE is not a tacit endorsement for Lady Death.

If It’s What People Are Buying, Marvel Has to Put Tits Everywhere

Shame on you for suggesting that the free market is a binary system; what, everything that’s successful is 100% precisely calibrated to the specific tastes of the maximum number of potential consumers?  The free market is a complex and adaptive system, with flexibility and tolerances, capable of absorbing small and incremental changes, and permitting the recalibration of social norms through that.  For fuck’s sake, where the hell did you study economics?

If There Are All These Examples of Good Portrayals of Women, Then There Must Not Really Be  A Problem

Hahah, you almost had me there with your pedantic sophistry.  But no, again we’re not talking about a binary situation:  EITHER women are misrepresented in comics OR women aren’t.  I’m talking about a general trend, and using specific examples from a small subset to show that the trend isn’t inevitable, and thus that we don’t need the fatalistic position of “Well, if they want tits, we’ve got to give them tits.”

People Know That Comics Aren’t Real/Girls Don’t Look to Comics for Body Image Perspectives

No (and that’s a problem that the major comic companies are struggling with, isn’t it?), but boys do.  And boys grow up to be men (well, to be older boys, at least) who are then responsible for making decisions about comic books, television shows, movies.  They have daughters.  Their expectations about what is normal, what is acceptable, what is sexy, are absorbed into the aggregate collective of societal norms.  Women being insecure about their breasts is a product of men wanting women with big boobs, and men wanting big boobs is a product of…what, precisely?  Are you going to say their parents?  You weren’t going to say that, were you, that PARENTS should be responsible for raising kids to think this is unacceptable?

Let me offer up a little thought experiment, for you:  when YOU decided that you were going to be attracted to big boobs, was it because of a conversation that you had with your dad?  Or was it…wait, whoah, did you learn to behave in society by absorbing images, ideas, and information from that society?  Through the many MEDIA that society uses to convey that information?  Did you pick up ideas from your peers, who ALSO picked up images from those same MEDIA?

I know, weird, right?  If we couldn’t convey anything through art — and if we couldn’t affect people with it — why would we have it in the first place?

Finally:  Credit Where It Is Due:

It’s probably an accident of self-interest and the need for young women readers, but whatever — good things, even if they come from selfish reasons, are still good.  So, good job on DC for bringing Gail Simone back for Birds of Prey.  Good job on Marvel for Girl Comics and Her-oes (despite their terrible names).  Good job on Avatar Press for consistently publishing titles with strong female leads.  Great work Faith Erin Hicks, and all of the other women who are struggling to work in an industry that has the deck stacked against them a bit, and to the women creators working outside the industry (Molly Crabapple, Carla Speed McNeil).

I will admit that I like to look at pictures of sexy women, I won’t lie about that.  Hey, I don’t even dislike J. Scott Campbell; I found Gen 13 to be extremely titillating, especially when I was fifteen.  But I recognize that the industry needs to change, that there are more important things in the world than my personal tastes, and that, perhaps most importantly, I’m also fully capable of enjoying things that aren’t just tits and ass sticking out all the time.

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Comments
  1. dagocutey says:

    You nailed the reason why I, and most women I know, can not get into comic books. I know there’s some good story in there, but it’s always been so obviously soft porn for boys. I’m suprised that some guys who are so crazy about this stuff are also able to see how it’s a tad fucked.

    “. . . the style of comics reflects a social double standard — men, because they are relevant despite their physical attractiveness, can be ugly in media; women are so intricately associated with how attractive they are that they cannot be.”
    Well done, dude.

  2. wench says:

    You’ve brought a tear to my eye.

    I’ve mostly quit reading comics due to lack of availability in my area, but even when I wander into a big-city comics shop I ignore 99% of the product; it’s hyper-sexualized and hasn’t got much plot. Has a lot in common with porn in some respects. (These days, porn for boys seems to include a desire to save the world in a gruesomely violent fashion.)

    I have nothing against porn – consenting adults, freedom of expression, yadda yadda – but can we please have non-porn stuff too?

    I may reference your article later. :)

  3. Mladen says:

    Yeah pretty spot on.
    I imagine I could get behind the whole comics as violent soft-core porn thing if they could even be bothered to show some different female body types. As a man who appreciates small yet well-proportioned breasts (as well as their more bountiful cousins), I feel my tastes are under-represented.

    Though I do feel that the frequent depiction of women in comics with severe spinal deformations is an inspiring rolemodel for the physcially handicapped.

    Comics are progressive like that, and their sensitive and open-minded treatment of men with clear steroid abuse issues should also be applauded.

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    Let’s be clear on the terms we’re using here – we’re talking primarily about superhero comics, and their stylistically related cousins.

    “Comic books” as a general term refers to a medium, not a genre.

    There are tons of comics that don’t feature amazon women in thong-armor. Just…not so much in the superhero genre.

    OK, continue.

  5. braak says:

    Well — this is specifically a refutation of that particular defense. I will concede that that defense is used most often in superhero comics, but the problems that it embodies and the usages it enjoys are not necessarily specific to superhero comics (Lady Death, for example, is not really a superhero). I will concede that the farther you get from superhero comics (which are, in fact, roughly equitable with “mainstream” comics) the less relevant the issue becomes.

  6. Jeff Holland says:

    Can we find a blanket-term for superhero comics that tosses in Lady Death and the other bad-girl horror-adventure books?

  7. braak says:

    Uhh….”Pop-Pablum Comics”?

  8. Jeff Holland says:

    That is probably not going to catch on.

  9. braak says:

    So YOU think of something, then.

    It’s alliterative, anyway.

  10. Carl says:

    Yes, well said.

    There is, it would seem, no apparently solution to the forces that conspire to perpetuate the trend in question. I speak with less authority on the subject than either of you, but I am inclined to think that the demographic that does most of the purchasing in the world of comic-books is biologically disposed (given their time of life and chemical condition) to prefer depictions of giant breasts over moral arguments around the subject of equality (however soundly constructed). There’s always going to be someone willing to draw more flesh than the other guy, and in a more exploitative fashion, if that means a more substantial bottom line (which, I think, it always will.) And, as has been said here, that places severe limitations on who is and who is not interested in this kind of storytelling, which, in turn feeds the trend and tightens the spiral. We can and should object, but I wonder if there is any hope whatsoever in making substantial adjustments to this dynamic.

    If Black Widow had been played by Michelle Horn rather than Scarlett Johansson, would it have hurt the chances of there being an IRON MAN 3? Or better yet, if Johansson had played the role but had appeared in a pancho rather than black leather, would your movie-going experience have been affected?

  11. braak says:

    Well, it’s not all lost — I brought up the credit where it’s due precisely because some of the big players in the industry *are* working to portray women in better ways. Not, obviously, because it’s socially responsible, but because women represent an untapped market. Catering entirely to your core demographic isn’t really sound business practice anyway, because as your approach becomes more specific, your core demo will actually get smaller.

    And, re: Iron Man 2: no one went to that movie to see Scarlett Johansson. Also, why do you know who Michelle Horn is?

  12. Jeff Holland says:

    Good timing – Interview with Colleen Coover on, well, a lot of things, but here’s what she has to say about women’s anatomy in comics:

    “I’ve had this conversation with a number of my male counterparts – that they have trouble drawing ladies because it doesn’t come as naturally to them that [women] have more graceful fingers, or wider hips, or narrower necks. A lot of times [drawings of] women in comics will look really strange because they’re standing as though their weight is hanging off their chest, which of course it doesn’t. We’re balancing on top of our hips. It’s men where it’s hangs from their chest. But it’s something that comes with practice and observation. ”

    http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/05/20/colleen-coover-interview/

  13. braak says:

    It’s so peculiar, because you wouldn’t really think that drawing men would come naturally, either. It’s not like it’s easier to draw something because it vaguely resembles you–you learn to draw something by practicing.

    So, if comic book artists are anything like me, they probably start practicing mostly drawing men. It’s not more natural; they’re just more used to it.

  14. Carl says:

    And, re: Iron Man 2: no one went to that movie to see Scarlett Johansson. Also, why do you know who Michelle Horn is?

    Well, nobody exactly reads comic books for the breasts either, I imagine. Isn’t that the very point though? That there’s something sort of insidious about the repetition of these incidental depictions of women as identical, plastic sex-objects?

    And, from stuff. No, I couldn’t be less helpful.

  15. braak says:

    Well, yes, but it illustrates the contrary point, too: conventional wisdom has it that tits are better sellers than no tits, but that isn’t actually true. Putting Scarlet Johannson in the movie wasn’t necessarily an artistic decision, and it definitely wasn’t a business decision — it was, purely, a decision made by some individual casting guy (maybe or maybe not Favreau; I feel more like it was a producer that made that call).

  16. V.I.P. Referee says:

    I’m a heterosexual woman and actually on the fence about this issue and here’s why; do comic book artists have a difficult time representing a physically fit, athletic female form? And I don’t mean athletes that take steroids, I mean fit, healthy female adults who don’t eat too much or too little, who don’t inject heroin or install silicone implants or chug two boxes of wine a night….you get what I’m saying.

    This sort of goes back to the conversation Chris brought-up a while ago, about tiny ninja-women on television shows and their unlikely abilities. I realize the rare strengths and talents of many comic book characters have nothing to do with human muscle mass and athletic prowess. But if we’re concerned with perpetuating any ideal for our future daughters and loved ones, it should be that taking care of your body, allows you to do some pretty amazing things with it and while you won’t be all powerful, you’ll have a better chance of staying safe and well (and taking care of your body doesn’t mean binging or taking steroids or hormones for non-medical reasons). Most female characters I’ve seen in comic books, look like female body builders who do not take male hormones, thus keeping their secondary sex characteristics with their muscle tone. And Colleen Coover isn’t entirely right about female anatomy; yes, our weight balances on our hips, but it is also balanced a little forward; when a woman is pregnant, this pendulum type set-up allows forward weight to be counterbalanced from the back. When you lift weights, you won’t build pectoral muscles in the way a man will, where the muscle mass builds higher on the chest and connects across the shoulders, you’ll build right under your bust nearer your upper abdomen, pushing the weight slightly forward. Belly dancers–historical belly dancing being a form of fertility dance–actually utilize this anatomical advantage and that’s why belly dancing has traditionally been done by females.

    The “Jenny Sparks” photo above is actually a great example of what a thin, athletic woman should look like. Female characters don’t have to be tall, Amazonian women to seem capable, but in my opinion, they should seem fit enough to at least run away and haul themselves over walls.

    But Jenny Sparks’ pants seem a little cumbersome. Which brings us to all those other outfits–yeah, in context, they’re really stupid. There’s no justification for them except as a means of sexualizing the female form. And invincibile character or not, most of those fashion get-ups look impractical enough to get caught on things while jumping around. But in the eyes of the artist, expression of character style might trump practicality.

  17. braak says:

    VIP, here’s the problem: I’m not a hundred percent sure what you’re asking. Do comic book artists have a problem doing this? I don’t think so. Why would they? They draw all kinds of crazy things — a physically fit, healthy female form ought to be well within the compass of any reasonably competent artist’s abilities.

    Even body shape and type — while important — is less an issue than presentation: it’s not necessarily that all the women in comics are tall, skinny, and have huge boobs. It’s more that they are always drawn in a way to accentuate those characteristics.

    Also, I disagree that Jenny Sparks’ pants look cumbersome. They look like cargo pants. Those are actually the most useful pants that there are. All other pants, in terms of practical value, are inferior to cargo pants.

  18. Jeff Holland says:

    I can see VIP’s pants-complaint.

    John McCrea has a long and storied artistic history of drawing bunchy-looking pants. See: All of “Hitman.”

  19. braak says:

    I am just generally an advocate for cargo pants.

  20. Carl says:

    Putting Scarlet Johannson in the movie wasn’t necessarily an artistic decision, and it definitely wasn’t a business decision — it was, purely, a decision made by some individual casting guy (maybe or maybe not Favreau; I feel more like it was a producer that made that call).

    Just curious. What makes you think it wasn’t a business decision? Maybe she doesn’t do anything for you, but that certainly isn’t the case for most. And how could the decision to put a sexy, young starlet of some significant ability into a film entirely as leather-clad window-dressing, when you are marketing the film to the male 18-35 crowd, NOT be a business decision?

    VIP, what you say about the depiction of female physiques is true enough, but I still think the heart of the matter lays with Chris’s questions in the original post ‘Who is female Wolverine?’ and ‘Where’s the female Blob?’ That’s the signpost for what’s really afoot here.

  21. braak says:

    Let me, Carl, confusingly answer your question with ANOTHER QUESTION:

    Given that Iron Man made a billion dollars without a boobalicious leather-clad starlet, what makes you think she was put into the sequel with the intention that it would then make MORE money, rather than it was because some casting director had a boner for Scarlet Johannsen?

    I guess it could have been a harmless, though ill-considered, business decision. But I think the boner-theory is equally likely.

  22. Carl says:

    Well look, I don’t want to beat this to death, and I am sure I can think of better examples of what I meant than IRON MAN 2. I’m not sure, though, that any questions of artistic merit or content-as-marketing related to IRON MAN 2 can necessarily be gleaned from IRON MAN. They’re different projects born out of different circumstances and operating under differing expectations. But I know that the central principal governing the creation of Hollywood sequels is always ‘bigger, badder, just-plain-MORE.’ If you’re running down the standard checklist of stuff you forgot to cram into your first billion-dollar summer pop-corn blockbuster and “leather-clad starlet” is somehow on it, I think most Hollywood-types would find a way to check that box on the second go-round. I guess I was also just shocked by how little she had to do in the movie. Literally, if she hadn’t leathered-up and gone Jedi on all the guys at the lab, they could have cut her from the film entirely and just had Fury show up and introduce the Avengers plot-line all by himself.

    Actually, come to think of it, didn’t you guys post something in the near-past (or link to something) about your fatigue with boobalicious combat-ready pseudo-heriones? I feel like Megan Fox was involved somehow. Anywhow, my point was in that vein. Or did I read that somewhere else?

  23. braak says:

    No, that’s right, and I’m not defending Scarlet’s Black Widow–I am just a little exhausted from criticising them. The point, though, is that if someone wants to defend misogyny and sexism as a business decision, you’ve got to actually be able to show that just randomly inserting hot chicks into your movie is actually good for business.

    But none of these guys can do that, and why not? Because they don’t check. And why don’t they check? Because they might be stuck dealing with the fact that “Scarlet Johannsen is only good for business under very specific circumstances,” and then they couldn’t justify casting her, and they don’t want to not cast her because they have HUGE BONERS FOR SCARLET JOHANNSEN.

  24. Paul C says:

    I suggest you try Halo Jones by Alan Moore:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Halo_Jones

  25. V.I.P. Referee says:

    I know this post has lingered on, but a couple of quick responses:

    @ Braak : I think it’s more a problem with society, itself, trying to decide upon what a “physically fit, healthy female form” really is. This could make it difficult for artists to draw upon an ideal–which, I’d guess, is what they’re going for in comic book heroines and villians (villianesses?). Many main-stream comic book depictions of women, show a pretty good representation of what a woman would look like if she devoted significant time to weight lifting and did not take supplemental, male hormones, in an attempt to exploit every capacity for building muscle. Basically, a woman with lots of muscle, who didn’t lose her femme fat in the process of building it. Women usually have boobs of some dimension. You build muscle under those boobs and you have…muscle under boobs. That, I’ll accept.

    Now, here’s where I’ll agree with you: Drawing that same body in motion, should be a good representation of the action at hand. Thrusting-out your boobs, while executing a roundhouse kick, would show poor form. And comic book artists do often behave like that camera guy who always happens to catch the most sexually gratuitous shot, every time. For someone not under the spell of a hormone-induced haze, this is a very silly thing to behold.

    The word “gratuitous” is the key to whether or not I’m willing to accept leather-clad actresses, sex scenes, nudity and people bursting-out of their clothing in comics, movies, theater or other art and media: Is it relevant to the story or concept? Does it make sense? I would suggest that “Jenny Sparks” wear spandex cargo pants, even though some people would look at that decision as a means of further sexualizing the female image. But I’d think: “Not only would she be wearing pants that wouldn’t get caught on stuff and those she could easily maneuver in, but she’d also have all those cool little pockets in which to store stuff. Ideal!”

    I know some people have the self-destructive tendency to work against their own interests and those of other members of their exploited group, but really, I’m against misogyny and the hyper-sexualization of the female image in media. I completely agree with what you’ve said about Mary McCormack’s character scruffing-up her hair in an episode because it would’ve gotten in the way of the work her character was doing. I love to see that onscreen; scrunchy, snot-dripped faces when people are sobbing or authentically sloppy attire on people who’ve supposedly been stranded in some underground ruin for a week. Give me a story–with all its evolving and sometimes messy imagery–not a series of fantasy stills from some guy’s mind. The latter is porn.

    @ Carl: ” ‘Who is female Wolverine?’ and ‘Where’s the female Blob?’ That’s the signpost for what’s really afoot here.”

    Ab-so-lutely.

  26. V.I.P. Referee says:

    …did I say “quick responses” ? I meant “not quick responses”…

  27. invisiblevectors says:

    “men, because they are relevant despite their physical attractiveness, can be ugly in media; women are so intricately associated with how attractive they are that they cannot be.”

    I was looking through a “how to draw comics”-type of book in Borders once, and the (male) author actually blatantly instructed, that you have freedom to draw male characters anyway you want (with plenty of examples from his own drawings of men of different body types), but with female characters you have to follow the standard body type (with of course, just a few examples of overly-idealized women).

  28. half-done hal says:

    I had to laugh at the commenter that thought this was a great post and went on to explain “Yes there is a problem with all those big boobs in comics. The problem is *I personally prefer boobs that look some other way and my personal sexual tastes are not being properly catered to* so can we please have some women who, while still only existing for my titillation, have smaller breasts.”

  29. jlg says:

    Regarding female equivalents of Wolverine, there are actually a couple that come to mind. In Marvel, there’s Marrow. She’s a mutant with the power to grow bones, particularly into shields and daggers. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have much control over these powers. Most of the time, she was drawn ugly – bones sticking out, scars, and a butch, tough look (the exception is when they tried to actually make her beautiful for a while, which actually proves your point).

    On the DC side, there’s Pantha. She’s monstrous, like the Beast (and she wears pants too :) ), and not really sexualized at all (in fact, some artists really pushed the monster look). She’s a fun character because she’s tough and snarky. I’d also put forward Cassandra Cain/Batgirl, who wore a similar outfit as Batman that makes her particularly intimidating.

  30. fred says:

    I just don’t buy it. Fundamentally the issue is there is always the assumption that 50% of comic book buyers would be female if it were not for xyz etc. This was also the motivation behind things like the WNBA, but the market revealed the inconvenient reality, women like to claim they want other women to support these things, but don’t actually have any interest themselves.

    Basically, if the article and all those parroting the same ideas were right, they’d have the prescription down for starting a business to cater to this supposed vast uncaterred to demographic, aka 50% more ready willing customers ready to pounce. All they’d have to check off all the marks on the list for a “strong” and “realistically drawn” comic heroine and they’d be printing money. Doesn’t anyone find it strange that no ones jumping at this supposed cash cow market thats being ignored?

    Thats always the issue with these things. Its easy to generate false outrage based on dubious assumptions, but very hard to put down cash investment to test your theories. The WNBA is one test, and it showed exactly what the inconvenient truth was.

    Anyways, as for the supposed points. Comics were more conservatively drawn in the past, but in what cultural context? Everything was more conservative back then, it was a time when women swooned at Elvis’s hip gyrations and parents were outraged at the rock-n-roll. So of course todays comics are more extreme, even Miley Cryus pole dances today.

    The simple fact is that these comics are not meant for women, to claim that they should be is as wrong headed as trying to claim that sex and the city doesn’t have enough fight scenes to bring in men. The japanese have no problems with comics. And they also disprove the theories put forth in this article. Major boobage doesn’t drive girls away from comics in japan, they have learned to cater to each market separately as they should. There are shojo and shonen comics, and even comics for adults. If X rated material is supposed to drive women away from comics, its not working in japan. One of the most popular cross gender comic writers is Takahashi Rumiko of Ranma and Inu Yasha fame. They just don’t make the mistake of pretending that one genders taste should be forced on the other.

    Whether its video games or comics in the west, the reason for the catering to male taste is simply a matter of demographics. People keep trying to warp the numbers to generate false outrage but like it or not, go to any gamestop or comic book store and girls will be scarce. Blaming sexism is the cheap and easy answer, but the real answer is people have different interests. Until people acknowledge this they will totally misunderstand the issue and blow things like this out of proportion. Further more they ‘ll give up perfectly good business opportunities. What comics do girls actually buy? It seems that Shojo manga is rather popular, and some book stores have realized this. That is the solution, trying to force homogenization and political correctness on entertainment/art forms is just wrong headed. It assumes far too much, and deprives us of diversity. Its like saying that all comics should be G rated, and appropriate for 9 year olds…its a type of thinking that just doesn’t fly.

    Furthermore its a false assumption that comics are good, and that everyone should partake. One is talking about this like these are works of Shakespeare and should be for all. Also rather dubious. Your idea of pushing social changes through effectively forced media censorship of taste is just outrageous.

    You call bs, well I call bs. These things are easy to test. If there is pent up demand for feminist super heroes, I’m sure there are countless business people out there that can deliver. Otherwise, this is effectively the WNBA argument again, its something you demand to exist based on faulty assumptions of demand that doesn’t exist.

  31. braak says:

    The problem with your theory, Fred, is two-fold: first, comics aren’t a license to print money even as they stand, so a female-oriented comic business would still be a risky venture. The idea that there’s some kind of “checklist” that you could fill out that would make something instantly appealing to women implies that there’s a checklist that would make something instantly appealing to men, and considering that not all comics sell at the same rate, that doesn’t seem viable.

    Second, there’s already a burgeoning market for comics that women are interested in; the farther you get away from mainstream superhero comics, the more reasonable and realistic representations of women there are. Not only is this market viable, it’s actually growing, which suggests that there is, in fact, a certain untapped demographic.

    I guess, actually, the problem is more than two-fold, because here’s another problem: as I’m sure you can see by the way that I’ve structured the argument, no amount of “actually, this thing WAS true” could possibly be relevant, since I have also shown that even if it was true, the argument would still be false. Those arguments will be discarded.

    There is, to my mind, no bullshit argument that is MORE bullshit than “This is the way things are because this is just how things are.” It smacks of self-absorption and defensiveness.

  32. fred says:

    I still think you are mixing what is really at work. Its not that the female interest comics are simply more interesting to women because they are drawn in a different style, but because they are written from a female perspective, instead of trying to slap a female character into a male genre and role for the sake of so called equality. That comes far before any issue with art style, thats substance, content. This goes back to the early feminist days of when some thought that acting like men was the only way to get ahead.

    Theres no guaranty for anything, but the assumption behind the claims for outrage tend seem to rely on it. Its a list of supposed wrongs that could be made right which would increase the revenue by 50% if assumptions hold. The fixes are relatively simple, essentially slap some female characters in male roles and make them ugly for a start and desexualize everything else, so if true, they should be as said, a prescription for printing cash. Sure its not hand over fist money anymore, but that only makes it more enticing, the fact that comic books publishers are sorta desperate for more readership would only mean they would be only more willing to garner more readership.

    But i’m willing to bet thats just not how things are supposed to work. The model in japan shows how this is best done. It also shows the lie of how adult/sexy comics do not affect or need to have anything to do with a female audience for comics. To each his own, they have shojo and shonen as I said, two different types of comics for the genders, and there are actually even more subtypes, some crossovers like escaflowne, and even comics for adults, not even all pornographic in nature either.

    The defensiveness is about this. You are effectively calling someone elses entertainment morally reprehensible and for corporate bans/censorship, what did you expect? Its actually a bit sexist in itself, like if someone went off on a rant about how twilight revealed the immature and vacuous minds of women and show it should be *fixed* by applying male tastes to the series.

    Twilight shows exactly how wrong headed all this argument over male genre interests are. Stephanie Meyer wen t her own way, she did not haphazardly slap her female character into a male role to spit out a copy of mens entertainment to cram down womens throats, she chose to go her own way, and for that she was richly rewarded. It shows how misdirected all this energy is.

  33. Thank you, thank you, oh god thank you for this. THANK YOU. Particularly the “it isn’t a binary system” part. May I link to this entry from my blog?

  34. braak says:

    @Fred: what makes you think that “superhero comics” are a male genre? Why isn’t it a gender-neutral genre that, due to previous pressures of society and economics, has just skewed towards a short-sighted demographic? They republished this article over on Jezebel and you might be surprised by the number of women who say they like superheroes but have been turned off by all the boobs and thongs everywhere. Moreover, it’s grossly inaccurate–and just bad economic theory–to posit one-to-one relationships between taste, intention, elements, and success. There’s no “conventional wisdom” that says that Marvel can just double its readership by “slapping a strong female character into a male genre”. It’s likewise pretty inaccurate to posit Stephanie Meyer as proof that if women just write women stuff, it’ll be really popular among teenage girls. Not the least because she’s plainly an outlier, and her pattern has been resistant to imitation.

    Also, if you think I’m calling for bans or corporate censorship…well, then I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

    @Rachel: Yes, please go ahead.

  35. Brainna says:

    Does anyone else find it interesting that the only people trying to argue against this are men? Hey, guys we’re not attacking you you can like whatever you like. But, maybe you should ask a girl how she feels about this because the people who are getting the shit end of this stick are us. If we think its offensive to women it might be offensive to women considering your talking about us.

  36. Dynam says:

    I read your article, and I understand your point, but there’s just one thing that bothers me about the entire premise of this article. It would be one thing if this stuff was being forced down your throat and you were forced to read it, but you’re not. In fact, if you dislike the portrayal of women in this manner so much, why bother purchasing the material? But that question really doesn’t matter as my next one kind of refutes any answer to be had.

    Why should an artist be censored on what he can and can not draw (or in this case what a comic book company can or can not draw)? Isn’t that censorship if it was prohibited to portray women in a sexual manner? I mean, how would you like it if someone told you it was wrong to draw a fat, pale, red-headed, freckley man because some men were offended by it? Wouldn’t that inhibit on your personal freedoms?

  37. fred says:

    @braak,

    Why aren’t superhero comics a male genre should be the question. You might ask why disney princesses aren’t popular with young males due to previous pressures of society and economics, has just skewed towards a short-sighted demographic? But we both know that would be silly don’t we. There was a thread of feminism in the past that denied difference in the genders to the point of silliness, but the reality is that it exists. Just how many women are hurting themselves on youtube doing horribly stupid things vs men? Just how many women are in prison vs men? The fundamental differences do exist, and it just goes no where to pretend otherwise.

    I wouldn’t cite jezebel for anything. I commend you for not censoring me for having an opposing opinion, but the comments on jezebel on the other hand are pretty much filtered for “acceptable” opinion. The comments on there are also not at all representative of the general population, in previous jezebel posts on such things as video games, you would think that every girl out there was a counterstrike fiending maniac in secret, only kept down by sexist boys. You should also look at comments on the wnba and such, its very easy to comment on what you think other women should like, but in the end, how many actually went to those games. The market revealed that talk is cheap, comments are very cheap indeed.

    As to business, Stephanie Meyer isn’t so much an outlier as evidence of a route to success that doesn’t involve slavish rehashing of old male genres. Its not grossly inaccurate to assume there is a ripe market ready for exploitation if all the claims of womens objections to comics were valid. Either women are champing at the bit for comics that cater to them or they aren’t. The list of grievances could be used as a business plan by anyone willing to take a chance at selling to this market. Its no guaranty, but no venture is, but if the market has the pent up demand so claimed, the potential for success is very very high, and very very lucrative. If one fears using the market to test their assumptions, something is not quite right with the assumptions.

    Btw i didn’t say there was a conventional wisdom of mindlessly slapping women into male genres, i said it was a conventional mistake, made both by industry, and those who criticize it.

  38. chris says:

    super hero comics are moreso directed at men, fact.

    why would they start making female superheroes when the female audience is a fraction of what it is for men?

    same thing with sports, men are into sports no matter what
    most women are not, that just the way it goes
    im not saying that no women like sports, but they are inclined to different things

    why are women predominantly the cooks in the family?
    because they are more inclined to cooking/baking, and its usually the men who go off to work at their office cubicles daily to provide for the family
    this is due in part to women being more inclined to household choirs (cleaning/cooking/etc) while taking care of the children etc

    its like comparing a male body builder to a female bodybuilder
    the man will ALWAYS be stronger, thats just the way things are

    men are more inclined to read comics and play video games
    which is why most comics feature strong men and sexy women

  39. braak says:

    @Fred: the question persists. Women say they don’t like superhero comics, not because they’re opposed to superheroes, but because they find the way women are portrayed in them to be gross. Look around at all the women saying that. Some of them are saying that right here on this blog.

    I have been commenting on Jezebel for years; some comments are filtered because they’re stupid, but I have never found comments filtered in order to maintain “acceptable viewpoints.” Many, many discussions between people with wildly different viewpoints have occurred on a variety of subjects.

    But using “the market” to test one’s assumptions implies, again, a one-to-one relationship between any given element and market success. You can’t use the market as an experimental model because there’s no way to control it–it is, in fact, an extremely terrible way to test any given set of assumptions. Especially considering that your metaphors aren’t really analogous: demand isn’t “pent up”, the way water pressure is. It is grown and nurtured; especially in media companies, who must necessarily broaden their horizons when it comes to building up demographics.

    And, in fact, one of the reasons why I put in the “credit where it’s due” part is because the comic book industry HAS taken steps to begin to amend their position, and those steps HAVE been successful. So, like many of the defenses of misogyny in comics, the position is both factually incorrect and would be false even if it weren’t; that is, even if it were reliable to trust the free market as an arbiter for quality (which it’s not; the free market has given us 26 movies featuring Marlon Wayons), actual factual evidence has shown that there is a burgeoning and potentially robust market for non-misogynist superhero comics.

    @dynam: Your points refute nothing. Your position is actually a Bullshit Position called “Everyone Shut Up and Let Buying Decide.” It is not an argument at all, but a pointless anti-argument that, were it correct, would mean all discussion of everything everywhere was meaningless, and would therefore obviate both this blog and your comment on it.

  40. Dynam says:

    @Braak: So, what you’re saying is that people should be allowed to have the government censor what they want to draw in a comic book?

  41. braak says:

    @Dynam: I did not say anything like that, at all. No one even remotely suggested anything like that. Only grotesquely insufficient reading comprehension skills could have lead you to such a conclusion, or else the worst kind of sophistry. You should be embarrassed to have made this claim; suffice it to say, it is so thoroughly stupid that I do not deign to engage in debate on it.

  42. Creeky says:

    Neither sex should have a problem with how the other is portrayed in media that caters to the opposite sex. They’re all hypersexualized, which is the point. Media provides a bit of escapism for both genders.

  43. braak says:

    Oh-ho! Behold, Creeky has spoken! Though his assertion flies in the face of both reason and evidence, YET WE CANNOT BUT HEAR IT! What argument remains, what discussion, what consideration now that CREEKY HAS ANSWERED ALL!

    All joking aside, Mr. Creeky, I trust that you can show yourself out?

  44. V.I.P. Referee says:

    (Arrghh…I MUST respond to the “boys do this” and “girls do that” commentors. I know–this has grown into a huge comment thread, but I must, must, must respond…)

    “Gender” is something you perform. It’s not a pre-determined disposition that comes shrink-wrapped with the gear between your legs. There is no “male” and “female” literature, art, blah, blah, blah. But males, females and intersex people might look at the specific form of a human being and have different sexual responses to it. This is why you could run around, jump on rocks and throw sand and grass at your friend “Jack” throughout childhood and he’d call you on your bullsh*t. Then, suddenly, you’re both 11/12 years old and he no longer cares if you throw grass at him, as long as he can put his hands up your shirt while you do it. My female, 12th grade teacher, could’ve been dressed in non-descript slacks and a button-up shirt; to me, she’d be “teacher”, to my heterosexual male friends or homosexual female friends, she could be “hot”. The only thing that’s changed from one perspective to the next, is the hormone induced, rose-colored glasses we see the same image through. This is not the same thing as being chemically pre-disposed to cook, clean, use power tools or anything like that. This is only about being chemically pre-disposed to sexually desire a male, female or both. Both women and men go through monthly hormonal cycles where they are more or less aggressive, depending upon testosterone levels present. Both men and women have testosterone. Having higher estrogen levels than a man, doesn’t make me like Big Machines any more or less; having higher levels of testosterone than a woman, doesn’t make a father unable to cuddle his newborn baby.

    I sometimes liked “Disney Princess” movies as a kid. But my favorite cartoon was “Transformers”. I wore dresses. I used a telescope and and “Legos”. I wore pants and galoshes. I still wear dresses and skirts. Sometimes, I wear ties and male dress pants. I’ve never had the desire to read the “Twilight” series, but I won’t begrudge anyone else their liking it. Even if that someone happens to be male. I’m a woman and I’m attracted to men, not other women, but I don’t think anyone could quickly assume that based on a quick scan of my interests.

    My curiosity regarding this subject, lies with where society stands on defining “health” and how such definitions influence impressionable young women; I think many people get uncomfortable when they see the combination of both fat and muscle on women. They automatically think of it as something sexualized, nomatter how that woman is dressed, even though this could just be the result of interpretation of perceived health and its translation as sexual appeal. In media, we often see very thin women with fat, but no muscle…or muscle, but no fat; we’re also used to seeing images of very athletic women with high muscle mass, but very low body fat levels (women who’ve possibly lost their periods from keeping such low body fat content). If comic book artists are going to idealize a female form, influencing the body images of young women in the process, than a female form that appears to consist of both muscle mass and a healthy body fat level, isn’t an irresponsible choice.

    Defending this choice on the part of the artist falls down, however, if that same character’s body is only ever dressed in a way that capitalizes on sexual appeal, rather than in a way that’s relevant to the storyline. The outfits should make sense within the story and not be an obvious exploitation.

    (Okay, no more. I’ve said everything I need to say on the matter. No more comments, I promise…)

  45. dagocutey says:

    @ V.I.P.Referee:
    “The outfits should make sense within the story and not be an obvious exploitation.”
    Oh I would move to your planet in a second, if such a good and comfortable place existed . . .

    You’re commentary is a truth re: the bigger picture of women’s fashion in general. Why is it that the bigger, baggier and saggier men’s styles get, the smaller, tighter and more unwearable women’s styles are? It’s true for everything from GAP t-shirts to swim wear to formal attire. It really makes me ape-shit!! I can wear those clothes well enough, but maybe, just maybe I don’t want to share my cleavage with hundreds of men other than my husband. It’s beyond ridiculous — this past winter, I actually went on line to see what I should wear to a black tie event, and what I found was that the guys can layer themselves in cotton, silk and/or wool (and all of these, if it pleases them), and they even get to wear socks and shoes! For the women, all of the info suggested wearing something consisting of two layers (if it’s well-made) of silk or some such feather weight fabric, exposing most of the legs, which must be wrapped in the thinnest of nylon, finished off with something strappy and minimal, set on pencil-thin heals. For god’s sake, most of the dresses didn’t even have sleeves! In the winter! In northern Ohio!! Per the fashion authorities. And even certain sports (i.e., skating and gymnastics) do it. Why is it that the male competitors do just fine with their spandex body suits, but the women are flying around wearing thongs and flashing major crotch during their (intended to be) finest moments? And don’t even get me started on the mother fucking circus!!!

  46. fred says:

    I know you think you’ve put up an iron clad case, but its just not that concrete that you can club creeky over the head. It still relies on a fundamentally shaky assumption that there is anything close to equal interest in the media at hand, further more it assumes that one genders interests should be homogenized and censored to suit the taste of the other, even if the other sex has little interest in that media in the first place.

    @braak

    Women don’t have to be opposed to superhero comics. Theres a large gap between really caring, and hatred, most people don’t have interest at all, its called indifference. Saying that women find that depictions are gross in comics is not directly linked to them being real potential customers in the first place. Many people are very capable of being very outraged and outspoken against media they have zero interest in. You see this with prudes, the religious right, and the mommy squads who tend to push moralistic censorship efforts “for the children”. I really wouldn’t use blog comments as evidence for anything, as i’ve said, jezebel is a site which is about as interested in honest debate as a right wing talk show host who filters his call is, they will allow very little opposition, and will filter anything that threatens their position. The comments never actually represent the general population, its self selected. If you go on some right wing or religious site they’ll have all sorts of blogs and comments, none of which actually represent the general population either. If you went by jezebel comments alone you’d have to assume that most every girl out there is a video game fiend, and also a rabid fan of the wnba.

    You might have been commenting on jezebel over the years, but you’ll notice your opinion matches theirs, which just another reason you’ll be promoted and never squelched. Have you never wondered why the comment page tends to be a nearly unbroken string of promoted comments cheer-leading the blog post? It seems people on there always agree! Strange isn’t it. Which only further removes the possibility of using that comment platform as evidence for anything relating to the general population.

    I’m just not sure what you are getting at with the market. Look, folks like to claim that many films and media are created by marketing decisions, like transformers, you justify selling a toy with a cartoon and movie, and you tick off the checkboxes for your target audience. Giant robots, check, hot babe? check, giant explosions? Check, movie sold. I see this as no different from comics for girls if the assumptions are really true. This is how it works, it works with guys, so why not with girls. Theres no 100% chance of success, but its a successful enough technique that its used time and time again already. Pent up demand doesn’t just mean water pressure, but and underlying desire that has not been fulfilled for some time. You are saying it has to be grown and nurtured, but it doesn’t really, the desire has to be there in the first place. You can never grow and nurture sex and the city for guys, it just doesn’t work that way. There has to be a fundamental desire for that media that leads to viral spread. You cannot trick people into liking something, esp if you are relying on word of mouth. In the end the market reveals the truth, its always worked that way.

    You are claiming to have indisputable facts when you have opinions. You say that Marlon Wayans discredits the market, actually it doesn’t, he gets to make more movies because he has fans, and audience, the market revealed something very real. The fact that you don’t like the result does not invalidate it, or give you the right to try to censor his work because you find it to be distasteful. It really comes down to that, you find the work distasteful and are trying to rationalize pushing for censorship based on your taste. Its just not a good road to go down. There have been an endless line of moralistic campaigners for censorship, whether its been rap music, or religious groups against godlessness or sex, they always consider their position one of moral purity but in the end it comes down to taste, and the assumed slippery slope to depravity. It goes like this, I think X is distasteful and so it will lead to total moral depravity. For the religious for instance swearing leads to immorality/criminality/perversion. And in this case, sexy women in comics leads to men becoming sexist. It really doesn’t follow, and is always based on a patronizing view of others. Beyond that its just really problematic when the assumed audience you are offended for probably has very little interest in the niche of media in the first place. As I said, its misdirected energy. In japan they’ve learned to put out different comics for different tastes and genders. One doesn’t affect the other, one doesn’t drive the other away from comics, its a more mature way to deal with the situation rather than reaching for ways to moralistically condemn the tastes of others.

  47. Mo says:

    “Giant robots, check, hot babe? check, giant explosions? Check, movie sold.”

    Okay, that formula works; the studio makes $200 million domestic box office. But what happens when you add “decent story” and “compelling character arc” and “good acting” and “hot guy in moderately revealing clothing”? You get The Dark Knight or Iron Man. You get massive box office and critical acclaim – the kind of stuff that results in a Best Supporting Actor Oscar or launches a Serious-But-Troubled Actor onto the A-List. And you turn people who aren’t men in their teens/twenties – most notably women – into squeeing fans already buying their tickets for the next installment. What I’m saying is that just because a formula works doesn’t mean that it can’t work better. Steam power worked well for many industrial applications, but electric power works as well or better in more applications.

    Oh, and back to the main topic: I’m thinking Marvel should do a larger exploration of the Earth-3490 timeline. There’s so much potential for exploration of the differences in society’s views regarding men and women in business, sexual matters, science and engineering, and leadership, as well as exploring Captain America’s adjustment to 90s-era gender roles and the hypothetical impact a female CEO as big as Bill Gates could have on society.
    Plus, since the story would take place from 1990-ish on, it would allow Cap the opportunity to punch Osama bin Laden in the face. I think we all want to see that.

  48. fred says:

    @V.I.P. Referee,

    Its not predetermined, there are exceptions to every rule, but the general trends are there for a reason. Its why half of the blog posts on Jezbel are snarky comments on celebrities and fashion instead of on windows and the new cpu core stepping by amd. You can’t assume all of a gender are this or that, however you can never assume the distribution of interests is equal either. The idea of the mind as a blank slate has fallen by the wayside for quite some time now.

  49. Andre says:

    I think Fred won this debate.

    If some guy likes his female hero’s in ninja thongs and exposed breasts is he sexist? What if it is some girl that likes her female hero’s dressed the same way? I don’t think they are sexist myself… why would they be? Some arcane belief that they are turning all women into objects or something?

    Are women put off by the sexualized depiction of women? I think this assumption is wrong and suspect the opposite is true based on my experience with MMO’s like City of Hero’s.
    This female player is disgusted with how sexy women are portrayed in comics!

    This pic is female fan repellent!

    Think of how much bigger Britney Spears female fanbase would be if she stopped with all the sexy in her video’s. Wait I was just told her fanbase is almost all women with very few men… I wonder why that is? Maybe some women see sexy as… fun?

    here is some more reading for you if you like.

    An exert from The Daedalus Project
    “Again, it makes sense that when given the choice, most people would prefer to be on the above average side in terms of attractiveness. There was a substantial gender difference though. Men were about equally split between the average and attractive choices, while women were twice as likely to prefer the attractive choice. This helps to partly explain an earlier data point on why women were more likely to pick Night Elves than men in World of Warcraft.”

    And here is more if your interested.

    http://blog.gamerdna.com/blog/2008/10/10/does-your-bartle-typegender-influence-your-class-choice-in-war/

  50. braak says:

    @Andre: So, help me out here:

    Men were about equally split between the average and attractive choices, while women were twice as likely to prefer the attractive choice.

    Why do you suppose that is? Why is it that in a fantasy setting, men are more willing to have a less attractive avatar than women?

  51. braak says:

    @Mo: Hell, Dark Knight and Iron Man didn’t even have hot babes in thongs.

  52. Andre says:

    braak
    “Why do you suppose that is? Why is it that in a fantasy setting, men are more willing to have a less attractive avatar than women?”

    That is a good Q and I have given it a lot of thought and I think the short answer is the importance of physical attractiveness to feelings of power. I would rather avoid the long answer right now if we can. A worthy topic for another day maybe?

    So going back to my hijacked topic for a sec. If women are not as insulted and repulsed by the sexy as me might be led to believe then why do women make up such a tiny part of the fandom?

    Sexist storys? Maybe in part I am sure but take one look at twilight and I think we can rule this out as the likely main culprit.

    Neckbeards looking at my boobs in the comic store? I am sure they are not helping but still small potatoes imo.

    The assumption put forth on blogs that comics are a cesspit of rape fantasy and sexism for man-child’s that read this stuff because they have women issues? I think we are getting closer but still not really there… I mean manga is the inventor of tentacle porn and yet that is a growing market with women… manga not tentacle porn.

    You know thinking about it manga is getting to be damn popular with women. even the superhero ones. It almost feels like all you really have to do is stop calling it a comic so you can dump all the baggage that is associated with it.

    Maybe whats keeping women out of comics is the belief that women don’t read comics!

    Check this out.

    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2006/20061023/gathman-c.shtml

    Here are some of my favorite parts.
    “Sometimes girls are told that they can’t or shouldn’t play RPGs or video games. But more often, I think, they are told that they don’t.”

    “It’s interesting to me that most discussions of why women don’t play games focus on the content: women don’t play games because the games are sexist. They are generally sexist. On the other hand, if you want to see some incredible levels of sexism, you can read a romance novel, and no one seems to be having any problems selling those to women. In fact, the covers of romance novels seem to bear a pretty strong resemblance to the art from video game ads. Men are strong and hulking and frequently wielding weapons; women are scantily clad and positioned subserviently. Men have the obvious physical agency.”

    “I think the perception of some kinds of games as exclusively masculine territory is doing just as much, if not more, to keep women from playing them. Girls and women are discouraged from even trying some games because it’s just not something that “girls do,”

    ” Almost everyone agrees, however, that if you see an improbably busty superheroine in fishnets and a chainmail bikini, she is, without a doubt, a 14-year-old boy. In fact, even women who have a character who is an improbably busty superheroine in fishnets and a chainmail bikini agree on this.

    “I have a character like that,” they say, “but I know I’m just weird. All the others are 14-year-old boys.”

  53. braak says:

    All right, so, let’s consider this.

    First of all, there’s no such things a “the woman demographic.” It’s not a thing, the same way there isn’t a “man demographic.” Lots of different women like lots of different things; some women like romance novels. Some women don’t. The women that don’t like romance novels may or may not also be the women that don’t buy comic books for the reasons that they state that they don’t buy comic books. (Like, the women who commented on this very same article.)

    Yes, a lot of women like Twilight. A lot of women didn’t. Twilight’s popularity is not proof of much of anything, except that there’s a lot of women that like bullshit (hardly surprising; there’s a lot of everyone that likes bullshit). It certainly is not proof that all women enjoy sexist storylines, and therefore there’s no reason for major comic book companies to tone down their rampant misogyny. After all, how many Twihard fanatics also purchase comic books that are equally misogynist?

    Moreover, “Romance novels” are not a homogenous product, either; some romance novels are more or less sexist, as we understand the term. In fact, over the past ten or twenty years, there has been a gradual but pronounced shift in the nature and subject of romance novels, in which more and more often characters and stories are focusing on women having agency in their own lives. Almost as though there is a burgeoning market for women that want to read things that aren’t blatantly misogynist.

    ” Almost everyone agrees, however, that if you see an improbably busty superheroine in fishnets and a chainmail bikini, she is, without a doubt, a 14-year-old boy. In fact, even women who have a character who is an improbably busty superheroine in fishnets and a chainmail bikini agree on this.

    “I have a character like that,” they say, “but I know I’m just weird. All the others are 14-year-old boys.”

    That last quote–which purports to be what women have to say on the subject–isn’t an actual quote at all, it’s supposition by the author of the piece. Second-hand anecdotal evidence is not really evidence of much of anything.

    Of course, I think you’re on to something with the idea that a lot of the reason that women don’t buy comics is because comic book stores are generally thought of as masculine “zones” (manga, after all, is sold in bookstores, too–though not the tentacle porn stuff; even more so than romance novels, there’s nothing homogenous about “manga”; it’s a medium, not a genre). It’s hard to sell feminist comics if women aren’t interested in going into comic book stores in the first place (another point that belies Fred’s suggestion that, if women were REALLY bothered by this, then there’d be some kind of pent-up demand that would make someone a fortune if all they did was make a lest grossly misogynist comic).

    To get back to my point–the question of why it is that, in a fantasy setting, men are comfortable playing an ugly character, but women are much more likely to play an attractive character: you are continually describing the consequences of a social double-standard between women and men. We are as much the product of our society as we are the contributors to it–the idea that “all women will become sex objects if we treat them that way” isn’t some “arcane belief.” It’s actually a verifiable phenomenon, the evidence of which is everywhere. Women are trained to believe that their appearance matters; they likewise train other women in the same way. Patriarchy isn’t a system foisted by men onto women; it’s a system in which both members are active participants. That doesn’t really make it much of a social good, though.

    And, in fact, you and Fred are both wildly missing the point of the article; the point, which I thought was pretty plain, is that the portrayals of women in comics don’t actually do anything to sell the issues to either women OR men. That, in fact, good comics, good television shows, good movies can all exist without grossly sexist portrayals of women. They aren’t necessary elements to profit, and therefore the common defense–on which this entire article is predicated–is meaningless.

  54. wench says:

    I’ve actually found that the graphic novel representations of women in skimpy clothing are rarely accurate, biologically speaking. I mean, big boobs exist, but never naturally in conjunction with ripped abbs unless there’s extreme bodybuilding and silicone involved. And the hip-loin-stomach musculature often resembles a man’s more than a woman’s. So in many ways, these representations aren’t exploitative, they’re just bad art. Or are they?

    They seem to be continuing a very old tradition. If you look at a lot of classical art, from some ancient Greek statuary on to Renaissance paintings of women, a lot of them have women’s faces, shoulders and breasts settled firmly on a guy’s abdomen, hips and legs. Usually a woman’s bum is stuck on the back to make it look vaguely more realistic. It’s the weirdest thing to see – and not many people are going to catch on from just one or two examples – but it might have something to do with the models used and the modesty of the timeframe. It was popular for upper class women to have their faces stuck on classical goddess figures like Dianna and Aphrodite, but not cool to show their body to the sculptor or painter. So some bits ended up being stunt doubles or idealized; and it seems in some cases that an idealized woman’s form is actually… a man.

    Transvestites, you’ve got it right: to men, you really are hotter than the real thing.

  55. Andre says:

    “First of all, there’s no such things a “the woman demographic.” It’s not a thing, the same way there isn’t a “man demographic.” Lots of different women like lots of different things; some women like romance novels. Some women don’t. ”

    Your right that there is no such thing as “the women demographic”, it is broken down into smaller chunks then “all” women.

    “Yes, a lot of women like Twilight. A lot of women didn’t. Twilight’s popularity is not proof of much of anything”

    Sure it is. You said it yourself remember.
    “there’s a lot of women that like bullshit”
    That is kinda my point. There seems to be a lot of women that like “bullshit” in more then a few of the most successful fields of entertainment.

    “After all, how many Twihard fanatics also purchase comic books that are equally misogynist?”

    I don’t know but if I wanted to try and sell that misogynist comic I would start by making it a Twilight comic, then making sure I changed the name to something like Twilight graphic novel or something and then make sure I sold it in book stores… and then I would put something like the Vampire Knight manga right next to my Twilight graphic novel so those hungering for more misogynist vampire action don’t have to look far.

    “Almost as though there is a burgeoning market for women that want to read things that aren’t blatantly misogynist.”
    Yes just like there is a real market for women who seam to enjoy sexy “bullshit” as you say.

    “Second-hand anecdotal evidence is not really evidence of much of anything.”

    And what of the other evidence offered? The ones that show that this tends to be true. The one that shows that women want to play the more sexy avatars and avoid the “ugly” avatars like the black plague? However you already know this is true as you tackle this in your second to last paragraph.

    “you are continually describing the consequences of a social double-standard between women and men. ”

    Yes…. but that is sort of the way that is supposed to work in matters of what we find attractive.

    “all women will become sex objects if we treat them that way” isn’t some “arcane belief.” It’s actually a verifiable phenomenon, the evidence of which is everywhere.”

    So lets see your evidence that tits make women no longer people. My wife puts on something sexy for me…. she is now a object? bullshit.

    Liking sexy women is not sexist. no matter if your a man or a women.

  56. Andre says:

    This boils down the the belief some have that if a women shows her boobs women are less for it.
    I strongly disagree with this belief and object to others wishing to censer anyone’s enjoyment of boobs on the grounds of boobs are wrong/bad.

    Your going to have to prove that sexy depictions of women are much more harmful then outdated beliefs on objectification before anyone’s argument of
    “Jesus fuck, could there be one comic in which all the women don’t have their tits sticking out all the fucking time” are met with more then a shrug.

  57. Mo says:

    Let me just clarify.

    Tits covered in spandex–practical and pretty much the female equivalent of what most dude superheroes wear, and also happens to be sexy.

    Tits that are half hanging out of the spandex, on the other hand, are ridiculous and impractical, and have no other purpose than to be sexy. Seriously, the new Star Sapphire costume makes no sense whatsoever. Does she use fashion tape to keep her nipples covered?

  58. Andre says:

    “Tits that are half hanging out of the spandex, on the other hand, are ridiculous and impractical, and have no other purpose than to be sexy. ”
    So what?

  59. braak says:

    @andre: This boils down the the belief some have that if a women shows her boobs women are less for it.

    Well, I suppose if, in order to discuss an issue, it needs to be simplified into a kind of straw man argument that has little bearing on what I was actually talking about, then yes, I guess you could say that.

    I don’t think it “boils down” to anything; I think the dialectic between art, society, and the individual is complex–but that complexity doesn’t mean we can ignore those relationships, it doesn’t absolve us of social responsibility, or the moral imperative to behave responsibly. “Boiling it down” seems to me to be a way to describe the situation as one that precludes incremental changes or even acknowledging the nature of aggregate social expectations.

    I don’t approve of boiling things down in general; but I certainly don’t think that this boils down into the belief that you describe.

  60. braak says:

    @Andre:

    That is kinda my point. There seems to be a lot of women that like “bullshit” in more then a few of the most successful fields of entertainment.

    So, what, exactly, IS your point? That people should be encouraged to make bullshit, because other people like it? That, what, sexism is okay because it’s popular? Or that it’s not sexism because women also participate in it? As I mentioned, social norms are propagated by both men and women.

    And what of the other evidence offered? The ones that show that this tends to be true. The one that shows that women want to play the more sexy avatars and avoid the “ugly” avatars like the black plague? However you already know this is true as you tackle this in your second to last paragraph.

    I brought this up already; you didn’t want to discuss the possibility that women were avoiding “ugly” avatars as a consequence of them learning their social norms in a society that treats women differently than it treats men. Not only did you suggest I was hijacking your point by bringing it up, but I also talked about it–at length–in the original article. Moreover, what, exactly, is this evidence of? You don’t know why it happens. The very best supposition we have is that women are also capable of being sexist; what bearing does that have on whether or not people should continue to be sexist?

    I don’t know but if I wanted to try and sell that misogynist comic I would start by making it a Twilight comic, then making sure I changed the name to something like Twilight graphic novel or something and then make sure I sold it in book stores… and then I would put something like the Vampire Knight manga right next to my Twilight graphic novel so those hungering for more misogynist vampire action don’t have to look far.

    Yes, I’m sure you’d be rich. Well, except when Stephanie Meyer sued you for copyright infringement. Then you’d have to make your OWN shitty misogynist vampire comic, and you’d probably be very poor, because it wouldn’t sell very well, because Twilight’s success is the result of a confluence of conditions, and since you’ve got no way of controlling all of those conditions, you can’t predict market success. This is what makes the free market a terrible experimental environment, and it’s what makes it absurd to posit a one-to-one correlation between any one aspect of an individual product and it’s viability in the market.

    Yes…. but that is sort of the way that is supposed to work in matters of what we find attractive.

    Supposed to? How so? Supposed to according to whom? In what way? What is the cause of this phenomenon, “supposed to”? Is this a scientific law that you’ve uncovered, or are you just expressing a position that you were taught by the aggregate society in which you live?

    “all women will become sex objects if we treat them that way” isn’t some “arcane belief.” It’s actually a verifiable phenomenon, the evidence of which is everywhere.”

    So lets see your evidence that tits make women no longer people. My wife puts on something sexy for me…. she is now a object? bullshit.

    Don’t be a fucking moron. In what possible fucking way can you imagine that a personal arrangement between two adults is analogous to the aggregate of social expectations? How can you think that YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR WIFE refutes thousands of years of women being treated like property?

  61. Mo says:

    Because it implies that the superheroine herself cares more about appealing to the male gaze than to fighting evil without her boobs flapping out of her top.

  62. wench says:

    @Mo – “Does she use fashion tape to keep her nipples covered?”

    No way, Mo! She uses the violet power of Luuurrrrve!

    ( .)(. )

    …ASCII boobs. Because they’re relevant to the topic of discussion. Or they could be ASCII eyes! And you’ll never know which they really are! MUHAHAhahaha!

    Listen, folks, boobs are fine in context. Nothing wrong with cleavage and jiggling and all that. But damn, can’t we just occasionally be more than cleavage? Can’t women be judged on something besides our hotness and reproductive potential once in a while? Can’t we be people, instead of ultimate fantastical representations of femininity and objects of lust? Honestly, you’re setting the bar a little high if I have to be smart and strong and fun and then, to top it all off, I have to look smokin’ in spandex too.

    There’s a basic test for movies which might apply to comics too. I have forgotten the name, but here is it:
    1) Are there two women in in?
    2) Who talk to each other?
    3) About something besides a man?

    Let’s face it, there’s a logic issue here too. Someone so passionately dedicated to crime fighting as to flout all of society’s norms would probably be only tangentially aware of her appearance, unless she were using it as a weapon. And a weapon is only a weapon if it has a use – if no villain was ever shocked into a moment of weakness by the power of her tits, then exposing them is a vulnerability, not an asset. Unless she did a study and proved that the evil men fight worse because they have boners, she’d probably wear something practical and concealing. Like an Iron Man suit. How come the women never show up in bulky, asexual armor? Or… is Iron Man’s armor not asexual at all, but an extension of his physicality, like a ferrari or a porche? Would a woman in that armor be trespassing on a masculine prerogative and require feminization to become acceptable, like painting her armor pink, or leaving space to show the curve of her waist?

    Bah. Humbug.

  63. Andre says:

    “RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR WIFE refutes thousands of years of women being treated like property?”

    This is about if it is ok if comics show women scantily clad and if not minding makes you sexist not some old man hating grudge.

    You want to talk about bad representations of women in comics then talk about the real stuff like faux action girl or other bad depictions that have some meat to them and knock off your childish war on womens boobs just because it offends you. A women in a silly outfit is not degrading just because it is sexy.

    Powergirls boob window is not sexist, Star Sapphire in a thong is not sexist. It is them not being competent because they are girls that would be sexist. I don’t know anything about Star Sapphire but Powergirl seams pretty competent and fun most of the time, afew times her depictions has been outright sexist and I don’t like it but overall I like the hero, Boob window and all. Your nonsense theory on objectification ended with the berth of the internet and the flood of porn that fallowed.

    In the end your calls that we must portray women in your acceptable manners ends up to just be another person telling women (and men) what they can and can’t do and that is far more harmfull then a comic showing some exaggerated and sometimes empowering female body.

    Stop being so damn self righteous and let people enjoy whatever escapist fantasy they like so long as it is not hurting anyone.

    .

  64. wench says:

    @Andre – Ok, so you’re saying that big boobs aren’t sexist, even when that’s the only body type shown for women. There are no a cups in comics. There are no fat chicks in comics. Only the hottest, bustiest women are drawn, for your pleasure. Men can look however they like, but only pretty girls with big tits are allowed in our picture books.

    And this is not gender-based discrimination how?

  65. Andre says:

    ….because it is adolescent power fantasy. And men can’t look however they like, they have to look how they are wanted to. And the alternative is also gender-based discrimination with a nice big helping of moral guardianship tossed in. How come men get to have exaggerated depictions of power fantasy but women must be drawn under your rules?
    What if I am a women that likes Catwomen for the same resion that a lot of men like Wolverine… Why would you take that away from me? Just because you think I should be offended?

    Let me take a crack at this.

    “There are no a cups in comics. There are no fat chicks in comics. Only the hottest, bustiest women are drawn, for your pleasure.”
    Is this argument even true? no

    and

    and

    Would it matter if it was true? No. As you said this is for our pleasure the men and women who are fans, and no one gets to tell us what we can or can’t have as a fantasy power or otherwise so long as us men and women are not hurting people with our fantasy.

    If your argument was “I would like comics better if they did X and Y makes me feel uncomfortable, then you would have no argument from me and I would even hope they make comics that fit your tastes. However that is not the argument.
    The argument is Your fantasy’s are bad and your bad for liking them… now make them politically correct for moral justice!

    This argument is fun but hopefully will never win.

  66. wench says:

    So you’ve caught me in a sweeping generalization. Perhaps I should have specified that, instead of every woman, it’s merely the broad (pun intended) majority of women who are drawn to stencil, with heaving bosoms and nipped-in waists. Of course you can find a couple examples to suit your argument. A couple outliers don’t really change the statistical sweep, though.

    (Please don’t argue that any of them are “fully clothed”. Those outfits are the next best thing to naked. I’ve seen more modest skin paint.)

    I’m tempted to ask if you can even identify the stout black woman yelling at Batman in your pic. If she has no memorable name, if she’s a one-off nobody, how can you include her as an example of how enlightened comics are?

    Your statement about adolescent power fantasies – I’m glad you recognize what you’re reading, and I agree that they have their place – Tarzan and Gor are two series which I’ve enjoyed reading (although not always for the reasons originally intended).

    The thing is, there’s plenty of adolescent power fantasy already out there. Why must characters who were originally not as sexualized be changed to fit your mold? Why must the modern world be so focused on physical perfection that it alters every character into a shape you like and I find boring? Your desire for more sexed-up stuff does not automatically have precedence over my desire for something a little less sweet and a little more savory.

    My argument isn’t that your fantasy is inherently bad. My argument is that your fantasy is overwhelming perfectly good storylines with sex that doesn’t need to be there. My argument is that I’m tired of stories where the men get to be big or small of hairy or pale or dark or lean or any physical type, while the women are generally stuck being differently-painted clones of barbie. My argument is why do the chicks have to be sex objects? Why can’t they be *more*?

  67. Andre says:

    “So you’ve caught me in a sweeping generalization. Perhaps I should have specified that, instead of every woman, it’s merely the broad (pun intended) majority of women who are drawn to stencil, with heaving bosoms and nipped-in waists.”

    Ok I am embarrassed and apologize. I was mostly just making fun of the method the OP used. I should not have implied that you really made such a generalization and I don’t believe that you think that.

    I am not going to argue your point that a huge majority of the comic women are sexually exaggerated to the point of embarrassment especially the hero’s and villains. It just fails to offend me, passing judgment on others for there fantasy dose offend me however.

    “I’m tempted to ask if you can even identify the stout black woman yelling at Batman in your pic. If she has no memorable name, if she’s a one-off nobody, how can you include her as an example of how enlightened comics are? ”
    I never said comics are enlightened. I said they were fantasy’s that men and women can enjoy without being sexist.

    As for Amanda Waller (the stout black women) I take it your not a DC fan? She was on Smallville and even has her own action figure, she has been around sense before I got into comics. Now that you have her name you can look her up on the wiki if you like.

    “Your statement about adolescent power fantasies – I’m glad you recognize what you’re reading, and I agree that they have their place – Tarzan and Gor are two series which I’ve enjoyed reading (although not always for the reasons originally intended). ”

    I am glad we agree.

    “The thing is, there’s plenty of adolescent power fantasy already out there.”
    Not everyone is into the same thing and people like variety. Almost every kind of form of entertainment is going to play with every kind of fantasy.

    “Why must characters who were originally not as sexualized be changed to fit your mold?” First who is “your”? That “your” encompasses a lot of men and women unless you mean me specifically. If that is the case I am going to go ahead and say it is not my ideal.

    “Why must the modern world be so focused on physical perfection that it alters every character into a shape you like and I find boring?”
    Honestly the answer is your just outnumbered by men and women who enjoy what you find boring.
    However I fully sympathize with your wish to find something that you like. If super sexy is not your idealized power fantasy and it is not offering you a alternative but you really like superhero’s I can understand your frustration and honestly hope we do see change in comics so you can find what your looking for.

    “My argument isn’t that your fantasy is inherently bad. ”
    I am glad we agree because I am all for everyone enjoying there fantasy’s.

    “My argument is why do the chicks have to be sex objects? Why can’t they be *more*?”

    And my argument is that being sexy dose not make anyone “less”.

  68. Mind Factory says:

    […] is -completely- different from how women are represented, though still sexualized) – (a good run-down is here). It probably has to do with the dearth of women who are penciling art – and the surplus of […]

  69. […] is -completely- different from how women are represented, though still sexualized) – (a good run-down is here). It probably has to do with the dearth of women who are penciling art – and the surplus of […]

  70. […] ”The hyper-sexualization of women in comics is actually a relatively recent phenomenon; it’s concomitant with, though probably not caused by, the rise in superhero comics.  More likely it’s a latent tendency which spandex and thongs permitted.  New advancements in colorization, new lapses in restrictions on content, new changes in social mores have all permitted female characters to have bigger boobs, bendier spines, improbably long legs, and constantly shiny skin.”(http://threatquality.com/2010/05/19/representations-of-women-in-comics/). […]

  71. Truth says:

    You haven’t countered the argument that you claimed you would: That BOTH men and women for comics are portrayed at the most attractive and highest aesthetic beauty (predominately). You said you’d counter this in the opening of your page and yet you have not. So that stands.

    BOTH women AND MEN. Sure there are a few non-classical beauty characters like the Thing or Weezey….but not PREDOMINETELY. SUPERMAN ain’t ugly, Bruce Wayne is deadly handsome, even nerdy Peter Parker is handsome, Wonder woman, Storm, Wasp, etc. this aren’t small time characters either. These are the big guns. The highest beauty of a human being in classical physical beauty is portrayed of women AND MEN.

    Movies, DOMINATELY try to get an attractive man or woman. Sure, every now and then you’ll see some actor/actress who isn’t the hottest person, but that’s a heavily outweighed by the majority. So it’s not limited to comics, it’s the WHOLE MEDIA THAT PORTRAYS ATTRACTIVENESS. DUH, idiot. But YOU selectively pick out comics, then selectively pick out women, you lopsided moron.

    And NO, Starphire’s new costume does NOT go down to her vagina, you idiot. You mean to say, all this time you’ve been placing your dick in a women’s belly buttons?????? You should NOT be allowed to operate dangerous equipment or drive a car if you suffer from the mental dementia of not knowing the difference between a belly button and a vagina. That is very dangerous incompetence.

  72. braak says:

    Wrong, numbskull. The argument is that there is parity between the portrayal of women and men in comics, and to refute that I don’t need to show that men are portrayed universally differently or even that they’re portrayed PREDOMINANTLY differently, all I need to show is that there are significantly more options available for portrayals of men in comics than there are for portrayals of women. This I have done.

    As for my comments about Star Sapphire’s costume: those are hyperbole. You can tell, because they are obviously hyperbole.

    It seems to me that before you go around suggesting other people shouldn’t operate heavy machinery, you ought to make sure you can operate your own fucking language without completely embarrassing yourself.

  73. […] must familiarize themselves with the Bullshit Positions, as well as my previous arguments about Representations of Women in (Mostly Superhero) Comics. I will not be re-hashing any of these arguments, and will summarily delete any comments in support […]

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