Comics & Girls: We want to kick ass

It has been said that super hero comics are male fantasies. I don’t remember when and I don’t remember where, but it’s true. So when Hope Larson posted the results of a survey on what women want from comics, it was clear that every female who read those results was hoping to see more comics that satisfy female fantasies.

Girls and women want mainstream comics to change to include them. By include them, I mean that Marvel or DC shouldn’t be creating separate comics for the ladies (which is terribly sexist), but to allow female readers everywhere to read a comic without cringing at a super heroine who looks like a Barbie doll who’s gone under the knife or sighing at stories where women take a backseat to a more powerful male hero.

That isn’t to say we want all those male heroes to be replaced by strong women in outfits that don’t make them look like hookers, but that we’d really like more of a team dynamic. More ladies stepping up to the plate would be nice. If we can look up to those ladies and not see someone who looks like her primary function is to make guys horny and isn’t kicking ass as much as she should. Below are my suggestions to help make super-hero comics more accessible without compromising what makes them popular in the first place…

1. Stop with the Porn Star Barbie: I get that guys want their eye-candy, but to be honest it grosses me out (and a lot of other girls I know) to see the way most ladies are drawn in comic-books. It’s actually one of my main complaints about comic book art is that everything is so grossly over-exaggerated and 0ver-stylized. I am not saying that needs to change drastically, but it would really really be great if got to see some thick girls (they don’t have to be fat girls,  some girls are just naturally thick at their healthiest weight) or girls that can fit into bra sizes regularly sold at Kohl’s or someone who wears sneakers with their crime-fighting garb instead of some ridiculous heels. Don’t force everyone to show off their tits either. Let a girl cover her chest up. Maybe then she can show off her J.Lo booty. Maybe there are some male readers who would really like to see some J.Lo booty. And a lot of girls with big butts ARE proud of them. Anyway, you don’t have to change Emma Frost’s bra size. Just stop turning her into some exotic dancer whenever she puts on a costume. It would actually be way nice to see the men toned down too.  The one really nice thing about Kick Ass was that Mark Millar did not force us to believe that Kick Ass was anything more than a normal guy with a normal body type. And let’s face it, few people are instantly attracted to men with monstrous muscles when they walk down the street but intimidated!

2. None of this: If you clicked on that link, you just saw a bunch Disney princesses and other characters in various states of sexy pin-up girl. They are also in various states of vulnerability, with the exception of Maleficent, and undress. Guys, your first reaction may be “so what?” but there are tons of women out there who look at something that has art like this and choke down guilt for buying something so demeaning just because they like the story or a character. It’s like making a girl buy condoms when she would never ever make you buy her tampons or pads. It’s uncomfortable and what if someone notices? Awkward! In this art, these female characters have to pose like models when most of them AREN’T models. Do you ever see the guys pose like that? No. Because that would look (excuse my language) gay.  So they get action shots or power stances when they’re on a cover, but when a woman (or women) gets one, she’s more likely to look like she’s auditioning for Victoria’s Secret.  Where are the ladies’ power stances? Just once, I’d like to see a bunch of women on a cover with no tits pushed out for the world to see!

3. No more sexual violence: Like the above, it makes women in these comics vulnerable. And do we ever see a male super hero become the victim of sexual violence? Uh, no. That would be emasculating. Guys wouldn’t respect Batman anymore if he had to reach for the soap in a prison shower. Even gay characters don’t have to deal with that kind of violence. So why is it O.K. for the ladies to be the subject of that kind of violence? It isn’t no matter how you put it. If you can’t make it happen to both men and women without turning off your readers, THEN DON’T DO IT. Figure out some other way for a character to be humiliated and shamed. It’s not impossible.

4. Treat your ladies like they are your bros: Not every woman in super hero comics has to be so much a part of the team that she only dates/marries/sleeps with/etc. with other super heroes. There are plenty of girls who wouldn’t even think of dating some of their guy friends because they don’t want to ruin that friendship or make it awkward. And where are the great romances between super-heroines and their civilian partners? I can’t think of any that are as well-known or long-lasting as Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson or Clark Kent and Lois. Sure, it’s normal for a group of close friends to have hookups, but that can easily lead to the kind of drama you left back in high school. Do you really want to read about that AGAIN? Wouldn’t it be cool for more super heroes and heroines to find love and acceptance outside the world of capes? Yeah. Wouldn’t it be cool for them to still be totally active as a super hero with super hero and non-super hero friends? Oh yeah.  I want to see more super heroes and heroines just be great friends who plan parties and go drinking with the X-Men AND people outside the JLA.

5. Let the ladies kick ass and take names: It’s not that they can’t, it’s that men so often steal the spotlight. Letting a lady shine every once in awhile will probably make her more popular. Then all the much-ignored super-heroines might be able to become the stars of blockbuster movies and whatnot. That seems like a really great way to monetize the ladies. Either way, if publishers depend on what they know will interest the readers they already have, they lose a lot of opportunities to create interest where there wasn’t any before.

6. Don’t make your super hero comics about romance: Let’s face it, if women were getting into capes because we wanted to squeal about such and such with so and so, we would probably avoid all the issues that didn’t focus on a romance. Ladies like action too! That’s why any devout female reader buys comic books.  We know where to get our romance fix a lot faster and a lot cheaper than collecting tons of issues of comics. That isn’t to say you can’t include romance at all, but include it in such a way that a reader is getting a glimpse of the life outside super hero life. Let them do their laundry on top of going out on a date. Show real life when you’re showing real life! Super heroes need to make dinner too! In the end, you should be creating your super hero comics for everyone. Not just women, not just men, not just children. Expand your market as much as you can and you’re more likely to get more readers. It can’t hurt to try. What have you got to lose? Readers you didn’t have before anyway?

By starting to cater to more than just grown men and children, comic book publishing companies will be fulfilling not just male fantasies, but female ones as well.  Not just women, but catering minorities or other ethnicities will probably have more of an impact than most publishers would think. I know the way the Jewish community works, anything that involves Jewish people some way somehow gets talked about in Jewish papers worldwide. I doubt other communities are much different. If a comic book company does it right, they’ll get good press with an untapped audience. People will probably buy their stuff just because it’s got an Armenian or Cambodian or transgendered super hero or heroine. Why? Because  people will think it’s cool that someone in the mainstream media is finally paying attention to THEM.

What we have now is a world of fans that would love growth, but an industry that relies too much on a world of fans who are stuck in their ways. Just look at the comments of this interview with Hope Larson, who did her survey in order to better reach more people who would want to read her comics. The misogyny, hatred and arrogance of some of the commentators will just make super hero comics a dying breed because people will start moving over to where their fantasies are satisfied.

It’s time to get with it. Starting with the ladies and working our way through everyone else.

Another great read on the subject:

The Problem with Representations of Women in Comics – Jezebel.com

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59 Comments

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59 responses to “Comics & Girls: We want to kick ass

  1. Couple quick comments: I’ve gotten some eye candy out of a mainstream comic. There’s an issue of New Avengers where Clint Barton/Hawkeye/Ronin is kidnapped by Norman Osborn’s people, and (although it makes NO SENSE), they’ve got him tied up to a chair NAKED, interrogating him. That was nice. Though I was a little conflicted, because I didn’t understand why he had to BE naked. But in the end…that’s just doing with the guys what they already do with the girls. Do we want to make them objects, too? Is it OK just because it would go both ways?

    Black Widow got her own comic book. In the FIRST ISSUE, she gets knocked out and kidnapped. Poisoned even, I think. And she has to be saved by the big boys. What could have been an awesome series was ruined in the first book.

    Dan Slott had an amazing run with She-Hulk a few years ago. She was an awesome ass-kicking, intelligent, sexy superheroine. He wrote her as a superhero lawyer, and it was great. Then Peter David took over and she was another generic sex pot superheroine. :(

    LOL@Emma Frost. She has a costume that is quite literally just her underwear and a cape. It’s a corset, panties (well, bikini bottoms, but whatever), and a cape, plus high-heeled boots.

    BTW, several DC characters have been married to normal people. I can’t think of many Marvel characters that have been. But, to be fair, it’s hard to be a superhero married to a civilian. They’re in constant danger. It’s easier if they’re super, too. Otherwise they could end up like Gwen Stacy.

    Again, to use New Avengers, there was a recent issue where the ladies took center stage and kicked amazing ass without the guys around. They ran off on their own (I think they were actually out to save one of the guys) and just whooped some butt. In fact, New Avengers (up until last month when the main title ended and was split up into several) had a good balance of male/female characters.

    Huh…there was something else I wanted to say, but I can’t remember any more. :(

    • Well at least it happens… but I still don’t think it’s right to do that sort of thing period. It gets on my nerves because whenever it’s a woman, she gets threatened sexually, if not worse. A man is just naked and has to worry about getting his balls kicked in that sort of situation, I doubt anyone will write in anything worse.

      Auuugh that sucks about the Black Widow and She-Hulk! That’s sort of what I hate most: any chance at awesome the heroines get is stifled by another writer or something else really dumb. This is probably why there needs to be more female writers so that they can take over the awesome and not fall into sex pot so much. Emma Frost’s costume makes me especially mad. The X-Men are one of the few superhero teams that allows most of it’s female members to at least cover up and quite a number of them have different body types too, but she always looks like a hussy. T___T What an impractical costume too… Corsets are hard to move in!

      I know there’ve been couples with one half outside the super hero world, but how many of them involve superheroines? And I’m really sick of the “I can’t date you because I’m a super hero” plot. It’s way overused and isn’t half the point of superheroes that they’re supposed to keep their true identities secret? I know it’s not applicable to all, but there are a fair number who do have secret identities! Anyway… I’m just more or less pissed that super heroines almost always get mixed up with super heroes or that there’s way too much angst if they get with a civilian. Such a boring plotline nowadays.

      New Avengers sounds like a great example. It’s good to hear that there are shining moments, if only brief ones, in super hero comics that counteract all the awful, sort of sexist stuff.

  2. Oh, now I remember. Because I just edited one of our columns that has a perfect example of this….

    Zenescope Entertainment. Publishers of The Waking, Grimm Fairy Tales, Escape from Wonderland, Sinbad…. Gorgeous art, decent writing, and the guys that run the company are really nice. BUT. All of their covers look like pin-up posters out of a Playboy magazine. That link up there to the Disney princesses? That’s like every single cover they make. To be honest, it’s hard to take them seriously as a publisher. When you look at the outside of the books, you don’t expect there to be much substance inside (even though there often is). So either that cover is going to pull attention to itself (which it will, for the guys), or completely turn someone off (so they’re in danger of not attracting female readers).

    You can see plenty excellent examples on their front page: http://zenescope.com/home.htm

    But the thing is, what’s inside, although still sometimes full of more cheesecake, is not horrible. Their Grimm Fairy Tales books are actually rather interesting. But those covers….. They’re the worst (or maybe best?) examples of what you’re talking about.

    • Yargh! Even when those ladies are in fighting mode they’re all tits squished together… That’s just awful and just like those horrible Disney princess pictures.

      They even have a “girl of the month.” Guess who they are not trying to market to!

  3. Great article! I also like reading comics and manga with realistic girls and your blog covers every problem ive always had! And personally i dont like exagerrated male superheroes (thats why i like kick ass) thus the females also need to be toned down. Big up for the blog! :)

    • Thank you! :D
      I’m glad I’m not totally off the mark. Manga is definitely what I read the most and I neglect comics a lot so I was a little worried about this post.

      I just want to see something different from the norm. So many super hero comics just reuse and reuse with only a little bit of change. We could use a little bit more change to punch things up a bit and open up the medium to new readers.

  4. Actually ur alot like me! Ive *tried* reading comics but they dont hold the same interest as manga. So far ive only finished kick ass, Y the last man and ctrl+alt+del (tho im sure it doesnt count :D) and im currently trying to get my hands on freak angels

    • Well, I actually do want to read more comics, but I am a manga devotee. I’ve read a lot of graphic novels and picked up a few super hero co mics here and there. Persepolis, Y the Last Man, Watchmen, Sandman, Scott Pilgrim, Fables, Blankets, lots of things really. It’s hard to know where to start with comics sometimes.

  5. Andre

    Yes yes the same old tired checklist of what girls want in comics… lets see what we got this time.

    1. Stop with the Porn Star Barbie:
    The “we don’t like boobs” bandwagon is a lot like recycling, everyone will say they do it but the truth of the matter tends to be a little different. Comics are about power fantasy’s most of the time. Men like sexually powerful men… what makes you think women would not want sexually powerful women?

    2. None of this:
    …. your joking? So men can’t have naked women in playboys if some women would like to read the articles? I don’t much care for such censorship myself. Still your right if all your saying is such art is probably not helping sell playboys to women.

    3. No more sexual violence:
    …I do think this is used far to much but lets stop with the nanny crap. Sexual violence is going to piss people off or be part of a good story with little in the way for middle ground. Cutting it off hurts storytellers and helps only the few who freak out about it. Do you know how often rape shows up in popular story’s that women consume?

    “And do we ever see a male super hero become the victim of sexual violence? Uh, no. That would be emasculating. ”
    It is a bit more common then you might think I am afraid. It just tends to be used for comedy or completely ignored in the case of men as opposed to women.

    “Sure, it’s normal for a group of close friends to have hookups, but that can easily lead to the kind of drama you left back in high school. Do you really want to read about that AGAIN?”
    …do you know what a soap opera is? have you ever noticed that comics are kinda just like soap operas but with more lasers? The stuff you don’t want has a lot to do with storytelling this kind of format. If you don’t like it then fine but it sure seams like other women have been consuming this stuff with a starved passion… and so do us boys.

    5. Let the ladies kick ass and take names:
    …agreed. If Batwomen can’t do shit in her own book without Batman then few people are going to be enterested in her for long… on the other hand is this happening? If I pick up a copy of powergirl is she going to be the star of her book? If yes then we really don’t have a problem unless it is the teamups that are robbing the heroes of there chance to shine.

    6. Don’t make your super hero comics about romance:
    Or do go ahead and do that but just make sure it is also about Super hero’s. The TV show charmed can be all about romance… but it needs to be told in the context of three witches saving shit from the Big Bads.

    Here is my guess as to why women don’t read more comics.
    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2006/20061023/gathman-c.shtml

    • You know, people would be more receptive to your ideas if you framed them a little nicer. Starting off by insulting my post? Not the best tactic.

      1. Where you misunderstood here is that women don’t need to have power fantasies with women who look like porn stars. Sexually powerful women can be any shape or size and the ladies actually appreciate that more because it helps them come to terms with their own physical insecurities. Porn star Barbie types just make them feel like they have to fit someone else’s ideal to become sexually powerful. That’s harmful to anyone’s self image.

      2. Again you missed my point: those illustrations placed those women in vulnerable poses. That’s what sucks about them. If they were all huge tits and in less vulnerable positions, that would be way better. I would accept that. Like I said: you rarely see the guys put in positions of vulnerability like that. What would really be nice is for a girl to buy a comic and not feel like she IS buying porn. Because most comics aren’t porn. (And while adult comics are fine by me, mainstream capes stuff really shouldn’t be porn in sheep’s clothing for many many reasons.)

      3. To be honest, I would be more fine with sexual violence if it was a) not so over-used and b) done with both genders on a more equal scale. Since this is unlikely to happen because DC and Marvel and lots of other publishers have decided to cater to pervy dudes who won’t want to see their male heroes get raped, it shouldn’t happen to EITHER gender. As a writer myself, I can think of many ways to psychologically destroy and humiliate a character without resorting to sexual violence. I’ve also seen it done it comics before. If a writer is stuck with nothing to write but sexual violence it means they should have exhausted all other options unsatisfactorily or that they are uncreative. That goes for all kinds of writers, not just comics writers. Saying it happens more often in books read by women is rather untrue and sexist. Most women don’t really want to read about that kind of stuff. No matter what gender you are, it makes you feel uncomfortable.

      4. If you describe comics as a soap opera then you could describe a lot of other things as a soap opera, but you’re missing the difference between soap operas and what makes ANY story dramatic. Relationships are dramatic, that’s just how it goes. But hooking everyone in a certain group up with each other reeks of after school special. Also, not every woman watches soap operas. In fact, a lot of women hate them. Please stop assuming such sexist things, it totally derails your arguments.

      5. It is, in part, the team ups that don’t allow women to shine, but all too often the super heroines get turned into dumb bimbos in their own stories by bad writers who just want to pander to a small core of readers. That needs to stop if the publishers want to expand the size of their audiences.

      6. You could do that. Or you could make your super heroine’s story about ALL of her life. Her battles as a super heroine, her struggles with other issues in her life AND her romances. It can be done well AND people left and right will eat it up. I’ve seen it happen and those particular stories are quite revered by fans.

      I think what you miss here is that a) women read comics as they are now, but aren’t necessarily happy with them, b) women don’t always read romance novels and watch soap operas and c) women have a different perspective than you do.

      I tried my best to not make any assumptions about what men consume, unlike you, because I know there are men out there who cringe just as much at sexual violence or super heroines who look like they’re made out of plastic as there are men who are stereotypical and just want to get off on everything.

      It would be nice if you would stop assuming things and realize that some women may want bad-ass actions scenes instead of sappy romance and soap opera drama, or at least more often than those. That maybe women don’t read comics because they’re like soap operas with more lasers, but because they are more exciting than ANYTHING that’s on Lifetime. And that maybe there are women who want both action and romance, but not necessarily from the same entertainment medium.

      Either way, if any big comics publisher wants to expand, they are going to have to start allowing their stories to go in different directions than they are now and not just throwing a few scraps of mediocrity at women when they feel like it.

  6. Andre

    “You know, people would be more receptive to your ideas if you framed them a little nicer. Starting off by insulting my post? Not the best tactic.”
    Sorry. this always turns nasty and I jumped the gun.

    “Where you misunderstood here is that women don’t need to have power fantasies with women who look like porn stars.”
    Yes your right they don’t need it but it sure seams they want it.

    “Again you missed my point: those illustrations placed those women in vulnerable poses. ”
    Right. The Vulnerable poses are ment to titillate a male reader. Those pics really are just pinup art. Saying people can’t draw pinup art is censorship. You don’t like them? well to quote Doc Frankenfurter ” I did not make him for YOU”. Such images are part of the adolescent fantasy, and people are allowed to have there fantasy’s. However I am sure such art like the above is not going to up your sales to women… On the other hand the only people I know IRL who bought that comic were women, so there is some anecdotal nonsense for you.

    “To be honest, I would be more fine with sexual violence if it was a) not so over-used and b) done with both genders on a more equal scale.”
    It is used to much. I blame this on sloppy storytelling or even sexism. The problem with B is that it wont work because it is funny. Rape is funny when it is guy on guy and rape is ok when it is girl on guy. This is very sexist for us guys and I doubt you have any clue how common it is.
    Nightwing and Thor has been raped like 3 times each already. How many times has wolverine had someone sexually assault him?
    I agree it happens to much but I am not so sure anyone knows how often it happens to men and no one cares or even thinks of it as sexual assault most of the time.

    “Please stop assuming such sexist things, it totally derails your arguments. ” What am I assuming that is sexist? That women watch soap operas? That women read Twilight? I think your confused about what is sexist, or your tossing out the word as part of a Ad hominem effort. Maybe your just upset about generalizations. If that is the case I will strive to add a qualifier before each use of the word women.

    “It would be nice if you would stop assuming things and realize that some women may want bad-ass actions scenes instead of sappy romance and soap opera drama”

    I never said they did not want Bad-ass action scenes. I said that it would seam they do however want sappy romance plots… something you called for an end to.
    Of the qualifier before I forget and get called sexist or something!
    Them = the majority of women who consume similar forms of entertainment.

    I apologize for my generalization made before. Just karma having a LOL at me.

    • I know we’re breaking this up into smaller chunks, but your initial comment was relatively polite aside from that initial sentence. It was a little baffling. I’m sure our argument is/would be going just fine, but that did start it off poorly.

  7. Andre

    Lets do this in smaller bits so that maybe we can get someplace.
    Lets start with 1: The big one
    1. Stop with the Porn Star Barbie:
    Your argument is they should stop drawing women like that because it chases would be female readers away?
    Or is your argument that you just want the women to look a way you like better?

    If it is the former then we have a argument, if the later then this part of our argument is over.

    • OK…

      I think that hypersexualized art chase away women. There are plenty of other things in comic book stores that look more friendly than super hero comic book covers with heroines in full scantily clad pin-up mode and newer female readers are more likely to shy away if they think they’re buying something pornographic.

      • I don’t think it’s simply the hypersexualized art on the covers that chases away women, but the meaning behind the art. Look at romance novels; their covers are always risque. The difference is that once you turn the cover, the art is gone. This is not the way in comics. It’s there, always, and vivid to the point of discomfort. Women and men are very different in the way they think. Men may be able to fantasize themselves as the main character, with rippling muscles busting from his cotton shirt. But women are different. We don’t see ourselves in Lingerie wearing 4″ stilettos and kicking butt. Want to know why women buy lingerie in pairs? Because if there are two of us, we can dispel our unease with laughter.

        • Yes, thank you! I have been unsuccessfully trying to add that into my rebuttals! It definitely doesn’t end with the cover art. The inside art is just as bad. A woman’s tits lead her body instead of her hips, flesh is bared and costumes are ridiculously impractical! It definitely doesn’t compare to romance novels which try to make the main character believable enough for most women to slip comfortably into the fantasy.

      • Andre

        Are women put off by the sexualized depiction of women? Only in the most extreme cases and powergirl not being one of them.

        http://portal.uni-corvinus.hu/fileadmin/user_upload/hu/tanszekek/tarsadalomtudomanyi/mki/2008/Segedletek/SexualObjectionofWomeninadvertising.pdf

        Based on my experience with MMO’s like City of Hero’s or magazines I suspect sexy is populer with women. You might be surprised at how hard it is to tell if one nekked pic is from Cosmo or maxim. We can play spot the porn if your not convinced? It could be fun!

        Lets look at player avatars in MMO’s and see if this still rings true. This is a great example because women have the choice of how they look.
        This female player is disgusted with how sexy women are portrayed in comics!http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/6450225134622113.jpg

        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/
        Turns out women much prefer sexy avatars.

        How about something other then an avatar. Lets look at music.
        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 or empowering?

        turns out that is the case.
        “Recent trends in both feminism and pop culture have encouraged young women to equate beauty and sexuality with power (Drake, 2002; Kilbourne, 1999; Wolf, 1992). Young women view sexualized images as role models and their own sexuality as their primary tool for self-efficacy (Baldwin, 1999).”

        We can look at other consumed entertainment if you like but I strongly suspect we are going to find the same trend of sexy women in the most popular TV shows and movies.

        • All I have to say to all this is that there are still tons of women reading comic books who would like to see less sexy art in comics. I linked to a few blogs BY WOMEN in my post and I know there are many more out there that I did not link. And those are just the women with blogs.

          Think about it.

        • First of all, Britney Spears give me the creeps. I’m a woman and I can’t stand her. Neither can the other women living in my home, my friends, or my brother’s girlfriends. There’s a good 15-20 women who don’t like Britney Spears right there.

          But let me point out something you’ve quoted: “Recent trends in both feminism and pop culture have encouraged young women to equate beauty and sexuality with power.” The key words here? Young women and pop culture. Women who are not yet women, but still impressionable youth who have been shown through mass media (aka pop culture) that this (provocative, revealing, slutty) is how a young woman is suppose to act and look.

          Yes, you will find “sexy” as the main staple for young women in mass media for one simple reason: money. To be “sexy so all the boys want you” you have to buy makeup, clothing, and listen to popular music. That’s truly not what women want, that’s what a brainwashed society of young women *think* they want. That is until they grow up and say “wait, none of what I watched on TV or read was true!”

          Yes, women do see sexy as empowering, because it is shown as empowering. It IS empowering. But the bottom line is that it’s not healthy, it’s not safe, and it’s not entertaining to everyone.

  8. J R Massey

    (Here via WFA)

    This is an interesting piece, but I think you err in a couple of instances by speaking in extremes and absolutes. Two examples:

    “None of this.”
    Good-girl art has its place both in comics in general and the superhero genre in particular. While I welcome the entry of artists with different styles into the genre (Amy Reeder’s work on Madame Xanadu has made her a new favorite of mine), I cannot support the wholesale banishment of cheesecake from the racks. For every tacky practitioner of the form you might excise from the industry (such as Greg Land), you would lose two brilliant artists (like Amanda Conner and Adam Hughes).

    “No more sexual violence.”
    Here I’ll freely stipulate that rape/sexual violence is an overused plot device and has been utilized poorly by several untalented writers. That said, its misuse in those instances does not justify removing it from the creative toolboxes of all writers working in the genre. When the choice is between creative freedom and the sensibilities of the easily offended, I’ll side with creators every time.

    I also find your alternate suggestion, that sexual violence happen equally to male and female characters in comics, to be quite flawed. Women are exponentially more likely to be the targets of sexual violence than men, and any comic that suggested otherwise would take more suspension of disbelief than believing a man (or woman) can fly.

    I’m certainly not advocating for the widespread use of sexual violence in comics. In fact, I’d like to see its use as a plot device somewhat curtailed. However, there are some comics, even superhero comics, that ought to be able to go there if/when the writer’s creative impulses lead them in that direction. I don’t want to see Superman battling rapists or Lois Lane fending off sexual aggressors, but heroes like Batman and The Punisher, who contend with the worst humanity has to offer on a daily basis, can reasonably be expected to encounter rapists and/or purveyors of sexual violence.

    Lastly, the preference you state for heroines with ‘civilian’ boyfriends/husbands/etc. over those involved with other superhumans strikes me as just that: A (totally reasonable) personal preference, but one with no real implications for sexism whatsoever.

    • You have excellent points, J R. I was speaking in extremes and those were faults in my own writing.

      I can see why your point where cheesecake and good girl art belong in comics. The problem, really, is that is done rather distastefully now. I personally like a lot of pin-up art from long ago and nothing I see on some comic book covers doesn’t even come close to being classy. That and it would just nice to see a super heroine not in a model-y or pin-up pose more often.

      As for sexual abuse in comics, you’re pretty much right again, but I do believe it should be the LAST resort a writer comes to unless they would be as willing to do it to a male or a female character.

      As for what you say about women more likely being raped than men, you are only so close to being wrong. 1 in 4 women get raped and 1 in 5 men get raped before the age of 18. Here’s a site for you: http://www.aest.org.uk/survivors/female/

      Mostly, however, I was talking about heroines or relatively important characters being the target of such abuse. It’s awesome to see Batman or the Punisher going after such criminals, but I think a lot of female comics readers (that I have heard talking on other sites) are sick of, say, Wonder Woman getting raped when she SHOULD be able to defeat her attackers with ease and does so on other occasions!

      What I meant by that heroines (or heroes, really) with civilian significant others was because too often these women (and men) agonize that they can never be accepted by normal people. The implications are that these women (or men) are so skewed or flawed or somehow undesirable down to the very core of their being that NO ONE but another person as flawed as they are could accept them. Making these characters believe that is a little prejudiced no matter what the gender is. Do you mean to say if someone was really a super hero like Batman or Superman, no one outside a super hero world would be able to love and accept them? Why? It makes no sense. Why should a team of super heroes just hook up with each other just to save themselves the pain before they even try? It makes for some weak characterization. So no, it’s not really preference at all, its a bit more than that…

      • J R Massey

        “As for what you say about women more likely being raped than men, you are only so close to being wrong.”

        Heh. I give you a hard time for speaking in extremes, and then I shoot from the hip w/r/t sexual violence and the gender gap. Serves me right, and point taken.

        “I personally like a lot of pin-up art from long ago and nothing I see on some comic book covers doesn’t even come close to being classy.”

        Look, there’s a lot of bad cheesecake/good-girl art on the racks. No argument there. But there are some really talented folks working in that vein too: Amanda Conner (from DC’s current Power Girl series), Adam Hughes (who has done a ton of spectacular covers for Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and other assorted DC titles), Stephane Roux (artist of Paul Dini’s just launched Zatanna series @ DC), and Terry and Rachel Dodson (who are still working on X-Men stuff @ Marvel…I think). All those artists produce work that is fun and in the good-girl vein, but IMHO isn’t crassly sexy or gratuitous. If you throw in artists that work in that mode occasionally (such as Aaron Lopresti, who just wrapped up a stint on Wonder Woman’s interiors) or whose work is usually fun but can sometimes go a little over-the-top (like Frank Cho of Liberty Meadows and various Marvel projects fame), the list gets even larger.

        I’d argue that there’s *almost* as much quality good-girl/cheesecake art in contemporary comics as there is really awful material in that vein, it’s just that the bad stuff is *so* bad that it appears to be more prevalent than it actually is. A cover that isn’t your scene (but also isn’t offensive) won’t make much of an impression, but a mind-scarringly bad one will endure in your memory for some time.

        All that said, I agree with you that some additional variety is needed. I like pin-up/good-girl art, but I don’t need to see it every time (or even most times) a heroine is featured on the cover.

        “Do you mean to say if someone was really a super hero like Batman or Superman, no one outside a super hero world would be able to love and accept them? Why? It makes no sense.”

        I think I see what you’re driving at here, but I still don’t see it as gendered trope, since (as you note) male heroes are roughly as likely to play the ‘she won’t understaaaand my super-hero angst/pain’ tune on their personal violins as their female counterparts are.

        Some characters would indeed be better off with a ‘civilian’ love interest in order to ground them in some semblance of normal life, or because they had a pre-powers relationship with said love interest, or simply because that person is right for them.

        On the other hand, a heroine or hero in the tradition of Batman or one of the X-Men (with a large number of foes with documented homicidal tendencies) might do well to make a conscious effort to date superpowered or costumed peers so that they can find happiness with a SO who can also throw down if/when their archenemies come knocking.

        Other heroes and heroines might not *need* to date other costumed crimefighters for reasons of safety or survival, but might still opt to do so because of shared values and experiences. I’d argue that most ‘civilian’ paramours might have real trouble wrapping their heads around the realities of their SO’s superheroic life. Particularly wise and perceptive ones could sympathize, but none of them could really empathize — and some heroes and heroines might be looking for that sort of common ground in a relationship. I can buy a disproportionate number of hero/heroine hookups for the same reason many actors marry other actors and rock stars and models are so prone to hook up. Folks like that have high pressure jobs with weird hours and lots of travel, the sort of stuff that would seem alien to somebody with a more conventional career/lifestyle — who better to understand, forgive, and appreciate them than somebody who faces similar demands? IIRC, statistics say that many romances begin in the workplace these days, and this would really be no different.

        Also along those lines, I imagine that a lot of costumed folks hook up with one another for an even more obvious reason: Most superheroes, male and female alike, are far, *far* above average in the looks department. I suspect that many superheroes date among their own kind for the same reason Simon LeBon of Duran Duran has said rock stars date supermodels: “Because they *can*.”

        • It’s ok. I wouldn’t have known about those stats except for the fact that they held a number of assemblies on it when I was in school. I remember being a little shocked by the number because you don’t normally think of guys being the victims of sexual violence outside of prisons…

          Back to the subjects at hand.

          I would say that you’re right again. For the most part. I have seen some decent cheesecake and good girl art, but at the same time the shown sexuality of women in comics is just really wide-spread. Just today I saw a cover of I don’t remember with Barbara Gordon on it. Fully clothed. Nothing too risque in the posing, but her boobs looked like they were going to explode from her shirt. She wasn’t even trying to press them together. It’s stuff like that which is more subconscious and the fact that such overt “sexiness” goes beyond the covers that really ticks of a lot of female readers. Most ladies in comics don’t get the chance to act like normal women. They have to show off what they got all the time whether in costume or not. That they even have to fight in costumes they could break an ankle in or have a wardrobe malfunction in easily is irksome. You’re right about the bad staying with people longer than the good, but what bothers me more is that it’s so prevalent. Why should Emma Frost have to fight in a stripper’s costume in the first place? It’s just going to shut more readers off to comics when publisher really should be looking to expand beyond readers who can get hard.

          I get your point about super hero relationships, but there’s just kind of insulting about it that’s hard to explain. A lot of people subconsciously look for SO who help them in some way and while it makes sense that super heroes can help other super heroes, it doesn’t seem to me that other super heroes are necessarily good at helping others beyond what it takes to fight the enemy. At the same time, there might be civilians perfectly capable of fending off attacks by certain villains. Certainly not all of them, but still. Why can’t their SOs be almost as badass as they are? I just don’t get it.
          Also, I find that the analogy of other actors/musicians/etc. dating people in their same line of work doesn’t always hold up. You see some of the highest rates of divorces or split ups! Sure, there are a good handful who stay together, but there’s a lot more entertainers who manage to stay with their “normal” SOs longer if not forever and having that normal SO allows them to return to normal lives which can be comforting to them.
          I feel like people who date other people just because they *can* usually find those relationships failing. It’s exploitative and it would take someone as thick as a brick or just as bad to stay with that kind of person.

  9. Andre

    “All I have to say to all this is that there are still tons of women reading comic books who would like to see less sexy art in comics.
    Think about it.”

    So we are in agreement that Sexy women don’t really seam to act as female fan repellent to the majority of women?
    I could break down the data for you if you like? Maybe link you some more if your not convinced that the most popular forms of entertainment for women almost always have a sexy female lead.

    We can look at manga or blockbuster hits like Avatar? Maybe something a little more female centric like Romantic Comedy’s? We could scope out Art galleries if you like?

    Look… I can get all my friends to blog about how much we would love DC to make Justice league furry comics but that dose not make it a good idea for DC to do it.
    It is the same way here. The majority of women WANT sexy female leads…. you don’t. What makes your smaller market more important then the other women?

    • Sexy women in comics isn’t strong ENOUGH of a repellent for those women who truly love mainstream comics. They still love comics and are willing to put up for such art FOR NOW because there’s other stuff they love about comics. New female readers, however, need a more friendly environment to jump into. Marvel, DC and other such publishers should pay more attention to this if they EVER want a hope of expanding their audience.

      Don’t break down the data for me. I understood it. I’m not that dumb, thanks.

      Shall I break it down for you? You are TOTALLY wrong about manga. I don’t think you’ve ever read one, frankly. You clearly don’t know about shojo manga where the female lead is RARELY sexy like women in comics (Even in ones geared toward women!) or is purposefully plain. There are manga that don’t even TOUCH sexuality or romance at all. If you want to question me on that one, I suggest you take a long hard look at my About page.

      Movies like Avatar or romantic comedies aren’t made for one audience. The creators of such movies are smart enough to figure out how to get people in OTHER than their target audience because they want to make as much money as possible so everyone is relatively eye-pleasing to some degree. Most ladies go to see Iron Man because a) it’s damn good and b) Robert Downey Jr. is hot, not because Gwyneth Paltrow is. If they do see go see it for Gwyneth or Scarlett is because they think they’re “pretty” not “sexy.” Marvel and DC have definitely not figured THAT tactic out otherwise they’d make the stories and people relatable enough for everyone to consume. Oh and the thing about romcoms? Kind of irrelevant considering how neither the male or female are tarted up as much as female super heroes are. Art galleries? Don’t make me laugh. You probably don’t even go to any art gallery that doesn’t have some relation to comic books or illustrations of sexy ladies. Not every painting, sculpture or photograph is taken of a person let alone a SEXY person. Get a fucking clue.

      On to the topic of furries… Which do you think the world contains more of: women or furries? I’d say women. Even if my market is currently smaller, are you taking into consideration the thousands upon thousands of women who might be more open to reading comics if we just made them more friendly to them? I don’t think you are.

  10. Andre

    “On to the topic of furries… Which do you think the world contains more of: women or furries?”

    You miss the point.
    The furries = women who are repelled by sexy.

    “Sexy women in comics isn’t strong ENOUGH of a repellent for those women who truly love mainstream comics.”

    Saying that without proof won’t make it true.

    I have shown you that if given the freedom to CHOOSE a female lead in a game that women will pick the nightelf. Do you disagree?

    I have shown you that Britney Spears (And more then a few others) who’s fanbase is almost all women dials up the sexy to 11.

    I have shown you that those that study such things have found that teens find sexy empowering

    If your still not satisfied then I give you this. A study on if women found sexually objectifying images of women offensive… but I kinda doubt anything showing something you disagree with will be any good changing your mind.

    I ask you to stop just saying that sexy is chasing away women and stop and look at TV adds for women, Stop and look at what women are consuming. Only then can you take a guess at how to take money from the majority of them.

    “Shall I break it down for you? You are TOTALLY wrong about manga. I don’t think you’ve ever read one, frankly. You clearly don’t know about shojo manga where the female lead is RARELY sexy like women in comics”
    Insulting me wont prove your point. Let me show you how to do it.

    Name the most successful manga targeted to women in the USA.
    If it is not sexualized you make your point… but if it is….

    BUt you know I am kinda out of date on manga targeted to women.

    Could you fill me in on who the girls are in this pic of sailor Moon in the black Bikini’s at the top right and left of this pic?

    • Andre

      Also who are the Doom and Gloom Girls? Did they show up in the manga or just the popular cartoon?

      I admite I don’t read much Shojo Manga and I am sure there is lots out there that gets rid of all that unwanted sexy. But my point still stands strong. Women are not so put off by boobs as we are lead to think.

    • All the furries I know are male and most of them are gay. Most of the furries I’ve seen walking around at cons are male too.
      You also missed the point that I wanted LESS sexy art in comics. All we really need is enough to stop repelling other female readers who are not into comics yet. Current female readers will also be satisfied that If you’d like to suggest once again that I am someone who cannot be compelled to find something, anything sexy, you are dead wrong. I suggest you take this argument off the table because you’ve missed my point and you don’t know me and what I personally consume as entertainment.

      I don’t play World of Warcraft, but having seen pictures of night elves compared other races you can choose: night elves are the prettiest whether you take into account their scantily clad-ness or not. Since most of the ladies in the game seem scantily clad no matter which race you choose, I am going to assert my general knowledge of how female minds work because I am one and say that ladies choose the night elves because they are PRETTY. Do you understand this concept? It’s much different than that of sexy. I hope you do.

      Britney is pretty damn passe. If you’re going to talk about sexy pop icons, can you at least switch to Lady Gaga? She’s getting more attention than Britney has been getting for YEARS. Either way, Britney does not play up her sexuality for the ladies. The ladies could almost care less. (Again comes the “pretty” factor. Britney is very pretty, but it doesn’t matter to most women whether she’s naked or not.) Britney’s prancing around naked half the time because her record company is hoping that guys won’t turn off the video when it comes up on MTV or Youtube and that they’ll buy her music video on iTunes or her music. Or anything of hers. That is the point. She most likely gets a lot of her success from old fans who have been with her from the start anyway.

      You still seem to miss the point between sexy and pretty once again. Do you truly understand what girls find to be sexy and what is objectifyingly sexy? I don’t think you do, so even if I read all your studies AND agree with them, I still think you’re wrong because you don’t understand that difference.
      What the women who are speaking out against objectification of women in comics want is for all that sexy art to be TONED DOWN, not taken away. We’re fine with certain amounts of sexy, but when it’s just about every single woman in comics? That’s NOT cool.

      As for manga, I would have to say Black Butler is the most successful one aimed at women right now. It’s not overtly sexualized, but it’s full of hot guys and there is some sexualization that largely comes from implied actions of the characters and the minds of the readers. Since every single volume released in the U.S. so far is on the NYT bestselling manga list currently, I’m going to say it’s more successful than Black Bird (which you are probably going to argue is more successful) which hasn’t had the long runs on the NYT list that Black Butler has had even though it’s currently at the top, I believe.

      Either way, most manga targeted at women in the US is not that sexual unless you would like to include Yaoi/BL, which deals with the sexual objectification of men. Black Bird is an exception to the norm, NOT the standard.

      Now for your dirty tactics using photos from Sailor Moon to try and convince me otherwise. You see all the other characters? They don’t have bikini tops on. Do you know why that’s fine? Because not every girl has a bikini top. Simply as that. They don’t take it over the top and only a few characters are wearing anything worse than a mini skirt. Those other characters you showed me? They’re villains. They’re made out to be bad girls right down to their character designs. Even in Japan the idea is that bad girls dress skimpily. You don’t want to be like the bad girls, they’re villains. Sailor Moon isn’t friends with the villains.

      Do you get it? There’s a LIMIT whether it’s in manga, comics, movies, pop icons, whatever. Girls don’t mind sexy as long as you’re not shoving it down our throats. Comics has done too much of that. It’s on the covers, in the interior art, it’s even written into story lines. That’s why we’re complaining. We’d like to enjoy comics that are so well written and well drawn that it DOESN’T MATTER who the sexual fantasy belongs to. It should be open enough to reach men AND women. Get it?

  11. The only thing I’m put off by is when it’s so overly done. IE: Emma Frost running around in nothing but panties, a corset, boots, and a cape. That’s not necessary at all. Or using Starfire’s planetary origin as an excuse to draw her nude (or at least with barely anything on at all).

    The guys love it, and maybe some of the girls don’t mind it, but it’s saying “It’s OK to view/present women this way.” Which drives male fantasies, and makes women feel they have to be that way to be sexy.

    My husband tried to argue something with me the other night, that male characters in comics are drawn muscular and attractive to please female readers. They’re not. They’re drawn that way because men don’t want to read about fat, out of shape, ugly superheroes. If you’re going to fantasize, you’re going to want to look more like Captain America than say…The Blob. Marcus Fenix is an extreme version of what Americans view as the male ideal…and Gears of War is definitely not a video game targeted at women.

    Daniella, in manga (specifically shojo, like you said), the girls may not be overly sexualized, but they’re still pretty. Even the “plain” ones are often better looking than characters around them. And though this isn’t a manga (though I guess it is now), Bella in Twilight is an excellent example of this. She is completely unremarkable, but guys are throwing themselves at her.
    In manga, it’s called a harem story. And only rarely are the stereotypes broken (ie: where the female/male lead is a strong character).
    Some of it is cultural too. In America, it’s all tiny waists and huge boobs. Japan has different standards for women (and men).

    • The thing is that sexy art in comics is usually so over done. That’s the complaint: it’s too much. Emma Frost and Starfire are just two really good examples, but even Barbara Gordon who you wouldn’t think would be the subject of objectification has had boobs practically exploding out of her shirt on recent covers. If it didn’t look so ridiculous or out of place, it wouldn’t be objectifying, but she wasn’t even posing like a model and there was a boobsplosion. It’s that kind of constant subtlety throughout the art that makes it fine for guys but less and less OK for more and more women.

      You’re right about what your husband said. Those super hero guys aren’t that sexy because they look just as ridiculous. Chances are most women who read comics aren’t even attracted to guys who are built like that. They’re totally that way so guys can self insert onto someone who looks like an ideal man to them.

      In manga, I would have to say that there’s a huge difference in the “pretty” that most female leads are and the way women in comics are drawn. It’s the same reason why men are drawn a certain way in comics, so that the girls can self-insert and feel like an ideal. Still, they come nowhere near the sexualization of women in American comics even if the women-oriented manga is on the smutty side.

      I agree with the cultural difference, but it’s still quite clear that female-oriented manga does not objectify women the same way male-oriented American comics do, which was the point Andre was trying to make.

    • Greg

      “Or using Starfire’s planetary origin as an excuse to draw her nude (or at least with barely anything on at all). ”

      I almost universally dislike the sexualization of comic characters, but I’ve never been bothered by Starfire’s nudity. I think I see it the way she sees it – as natural, not sexual; the other characters have a problem, not she. It probably helps that my parents are semi-nudists, so I’ve never really come to equate nudity in general with sex.

      Emma Frost, meanwhile has always bothered me, even after I found out why the Hellfire Club dresses the way it does. (The concept was stolen from an episode of the British series “The Avengers” in which the female and male characters of a semi-secret society dressed much like the members of the Hellfire Club, sans capes/cloaks; the episode was originally banned in the United States.) I much preferred her appearance in early Generation X issues. Her costume: http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/8134/203063-87718-emma-frost_super.jpg In action: http://www.emmafrostfiles.com/wp-content/gallery/generation-x-1995-2001/Uncanny_X-Men_331.jpg Downtime: http://www.emmafrostfiles.com/images/scans/genx19-6.jpg

      One important aspect of readership growth that I think is often missed in discussions like this is the one I suspect is probably the most important. Pre-tween readers of comics are the most likely to approach and experience a comic on objective terms, when it’s placed before them. These readers, however, do not have sexually-based fantasies, and heavily sexualized content is likely to alienate them. Their interests are elsewhere.

      • Hmmm I think Starfire for me is not just the nudity so much as the nudity piled on top of the ridiculous Barbie doll-like figure that too many super heroines in comics have. I’m not THAT pissed off by nudity that much, actually, but when nudity is coupled with a sense of vulnerability in the posing, or model-like poses or skimpy clothes…That’s when it grates me.

        Even if they were referencing something from the Avengers… I wish they could have made her a femme fatale without the layers and layers of sexuality. Why can’t those kinds of women be written so they’re inherently sexy without relying on body type or risque clothing? It certainly boggles me.

        I think that addressing pre-teens or tweens or however you might call them is a great start. I feel like covering the ladies up or changing up their body types is another good method. The girls would probably like a super heroine who they can relate to like that. They certainly don’t need the sexually-charged fantasies or other “ideals” that are pushed in comics, let alone have serious interest in them.

  12. Andre

    “All the furries I know are male and most of them are gay.”
    :smacks forehead: Forget the furries. It was an analogy to point out that you don’t pander to a tiny market at the expense of a bigger one.

    “You also missed the point that I wanted LESS sexy art in comics. ”
    I did not miss this point. I don’t care about what YOU want, I care about what the majority wants.

    “Since most of the ladies in the game seem scantily clad no matter which race you choose,”
    And if that is not true? What about other MMO’s as well? What about city of heroes?

    “Britney is pretty damn passe. If you’re going to talk about sexy pop icons, can you at least switch to Lady Gaga?”
    If you want to look at Lady Gaga go right ahead but dismissing Britney whos latest record womanizer has been a huge success.

    “Britney does not play up her sexuality for the ladies. The ladies could almost care less. ”
    And your dead wrong.

    ” The ladies could almost care less”
    You missed the part about women seeing sexy as power I take it….

    “As for manga, I would have to say Black Butler is the most successful one aimed at women right now. ”
    Black Butler is dwarfed by sailor moon.

    “Now for your dirty tactics using photos from Sailor Moon to try and convince me otherwise. You see all the other characters? They don’t have bikini tops on. ”
    No… they also don’t have pants on, in fact with skirts that short you could only get away with that in a drawing. Still it would seam there is plenty of nasty sexy to go around in sailor moon thanks to a long list of sexy badguys.

    “Do you get it? There’s a LIMIT whether it’s in manga, comics, movies, pop icons, whatever. Girls don’t mind sexy as long as you’re not shoving it down our throats.”

    Yes there is a LIMIT… and I posted a study exploring that limit. Turns out that limit is higher then Powergirl. Turns out marketing has been shoving sexy nekked women down women’s throats for a long time because it works. Pick up a magazine and look for yourself. This has been pissing 2nd wave feminists off for some time but it is still true.

    • 1. Women comprise about 50% of the world’s population. I’d say that’s a relatively equal market of that of the men.

      2. Point you’ve missed previously: comic book market needs to expand. That is a fact if they want to survive. Making changes (i.e. less sexy art) is going to help that happen. I am not the ONLY woman who wants this, just one of many. See links in this original post.

      3. You again miss the point of what women think of as pretty v.s. sexy. It can be the same thing at times, but sexy does not always mean the same thing in a girl’s mind than it does in a guy’s. So yeah, girls are going pick what they think is the prettiest in every MMO out there whether it’s sexy or not.

      4. Lady Gaga is a much larger success right now. Did Britney make Time Magazine’s Top 100? No. Also what girls really want when they look at Britney isn’t her sexiness so much as her popularity. Define that as you will, but as a woman, it’s one of those things I know to be true. Some talk on my twitter account with other women has confirmed this.

      5. You’re still missing the point too. Ladies see sexiness as the ability to manipulate men to their will. We want to leave you in the fucking dust, basically.

      6. Sailor Moon isn’t even in print in the U.S. right now. It’s a classic, but most American consumers haven’t even read it. Don’t even bother talking to me about manga anymore. It’s more than clear you know almost nothing about it.

      7. So what? Those skirts are still covering more skin than most American super-heroines get to cover EVER. As for “sexy” bad guys, shojo and other women-oriented manga have a long history making boys prettier than reality. Do you know what that’s not exploitation or objectification? Because those manga are written to show that the guys are ALSO people instead of just flaunting them as little more than sex objects like American comics do to women.

      8. I’d have to say magazines are tame in comparison to comics at shoving sexy women down our throats, naked or not. Either way, naked isn’t always a big deal because there’s differences between naked and nude. Naked (or close to it) is what you get in comics. Nude is what we get in ladies’ magazines. That’s why it’s not a big deal and we have little problem with it. DURHUR. Please get a clue and stop arguing about pop culture that has NOTHING to do with comics.

  13. Andre

    “1. Women comprise about 50% of the world’s population. I’d say that’s a relatively equal market of that of the men.”
    …. your just being stubborn and failing to understand on purpose.

    “2. Point you’ve missed previously: comic book market needs to expand. That is a fact if they want to survive. Making changes (i.e. less sexy art) is going to help that happen.”

    Yes comics need to expand but I don’t think boobs or the lack of will help that.
    THIS is what needs to be conquered.
    http://www.strangehorizons.com/2006/20061023/gathman-c.shtml

    “3. You again miss the point of what women think of as pretty v.s. sexy. It can be the same thing at times, but sexy does not always mean the same thing in a girl’s mind than it does in a guy’s.”

    Your just making excuses but lets run with it.
    Look at this pic.

    No really look at it and don’t just say you looked at it.

    According to you this is the sort of pic that would drive women away right? If not then why not?

    “4. Lady Gaga is a much larger success right now. Did Britney make Time Magazine’s Top 100? ”
    ….If you want to “disqualify” Britany go right ahead and we can look at Gaga.

    So according to you this is the sort of look that would drive women away right? If not then sexy is some pretty weak ass female repellent.

    “5. You’re still missing the point too. Ladies see sexiness as the ability to manipulate men to their will. We want to leave you in the fucking dust, basically. ”
    ….I am just going to pretend you did not say this or you don’t really mean it because it is one of the most sexist things I have seen in some time… and it is also wrong but I am not going to argue this with you.

    • 1, 2. You know what? Yes, I am being stubborn, but I understood the first time and I’m just unwilling to directly address such a horrifically misogynist remark. More women can and will read comics if you make comics more like something they want to read. I’m not saying it has to be Twilight (because that shit’s terrible), but they at LEAST have to be less sexy. But in the end, that’s only ONE thing comics needs to change in order to expand it’s audience successfully. I’m sorry that’s not what YOU want, but there are other people in this world than you. (Oh, and it’s not just something *I* want. I’ll direct you to the survey that Hope Larson took of female comic book readers. You’ve clearly missed it.)

      3. Since you don’t understand the concept of what girls see as “pretty/sexy” then I’m not going to bother repeating myself. How hard is it to grasp that girls like pretty things? Besides, even though that figure is scantily clad and her weight is shifted in the wrong place, (women walk from their hips, not their chests) it’s not as demaning as this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e2/Emma_Frost_-_1.jpg Why? Because that scantily clad woman’s every move doesn’t look like she’s a stripper, unlike Emma Frost’s every move.
      I’m sorry you can’t see the difference between “pretty/sexy” and just plain “sexy.” But there is a difference and you can ask any female. If you don’t botch up the asking that is.

      4. The thing about Lady Gaga that you don’t understand is that she is a) unconventionally sexy. She doesn’t have big breasts or a huge ass or something else that she flaunts outright. She just makes her whole self sexy in one way or another. b) She’s sexy for EVERYONE. She loves all her fans and tells them so regularly. She wouldn’t care if you were a chick or a dude, fat, skinny, gay or disabled, she’d take you on and love you. She wants people to accept who they are and others who are different. That’s nothing Britney does. Britney is just sexy to sell records. Lady Gaga is trying to make you accept sexy in all forms. And in actuality? It’s really obvious to most that no matter what Lady Gaga wears, no matter how revealing or risque, she’s wearing it because she wants to. Even when she gets naked in her music videos. The difference between Britney and Gaga is that Britney is a tool and Gaga is herself. THAT’S why she’s on the Time Magazine Top 100. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1984685_1984940,00.html

      5. Is that really that different from some of the misogynistic things you’ve been saying? I mean… you’ve pretty much been trying to force me to accept that girls don’t see sexy things as “pretty.” I’m a girl myself, you think I don’t KNOW what I think? Do you think I haven’t talked about other girls about what they think is sexy or pretty? Why can’t we want to be a knockout babe if only to wrap you around our little fingers and use you? It’d be so USEFUL to us ladies if we could just do that. Then we wouldn’t have to bother with misogyny or conversations like these. But you’re denying it because you don’t WANT it to be true. Because the thought of women being dominant in society SCARES you, ESPECIALLY when we’re in a form that you desire so much. You can keep telling me that I’m wrong or that you’ll pretend not to hear me because it’s “sexist”, but it’s also TRUE. Women want to control men as much as men want to control women. You can accept that and just try to live as peacefully together as humanly possible by respecting women and thus allowing them to respect you or you can be a misogynist bastard the rest of your life pining after women who are so pumped up on plastic surgery and cocaine to care who the fuck you are.

  14. Andre

    “1, 2. You know what? Yes, I am being stubborn, but I understood the first time and I’m just unwilling to directly address such a horrifically misogynist remark.”

    LOL Yah saying that women (As a generalization) find sexy empowering is horrifically misogynist. Your trying to discredit my argument by screaming “sexist”.

    “I’ll direct you to the survey that Hope Larson took of female comic book readers. You’ve clearly missed it.”

    Yes that really is all you have for a argument and it is a good one expashaly compared to your other arguments of “my hive vagina says so!”sadly if you actually read some of those links I posted you would see a similar trend of women saying just that but turning right around and not really caring.

    Moving on to the attitudinal section, young, educated women were neutral to slightly agreed that there was too much sex on television
    programs (M = 3.787) and that there was too much degradation of women and men as sex objects in the media (M = 4.277). They
    disagreed that they liked or accepted the use of sex in advertising (M = 2.564).

    Based on these data, we were able to accept Hypothesis H1: young, educated women agreed that the
    specific advertisement viewed in this study uses sex, but they viewed it as culturally acceptable (i.e., did not perceive it as offensive or
    negative) (see Table 2).

    These results led us to accept Hypothesis H3: contemporary females will be more likely to maintain an existing
    positive view of a brand and will be inclined to purchase and use it, regardless of any sexual portrayal of women in that brand’s
    advertising.

    CONCLUSION
    Today’s college females were raised in a very sexualized world. Sexual content dominates the media, and new feminists see female
    sexuality as power. It would only naturally follow that advertisements portray women as sex objects. These portrayals apparently do not
    offend young, educated women because of this culture. They were and are constantly surrounded by sexual images of females, and many
    have adopted views of third wave feminists, which interpret these formerly negative and sometimes harmful images as acceptable ones.

    Stop dodging the question.
    Is this pic going to drive women away.

    “Why? Because that scantily clad woman’s every move doesn’t look like she’s a stripper, unlike Emma Frost’s every move.”

    I already did ask a women. This one in fact.

    She was going to a con and dressed up as her FAVORITE superhero. She must have missed your memo.
    I remember her well because she was attacked for her outfit by men who insisted she was being sexist and demeaning to women. Maybe it is just me but I don’t find a women being sexy as “Less”.

    “That’s nothing Britney does. Britney is just sexy to sell records.”
    And sells them very very well… to women. Kinda screws with your argument and helps mine. :Grin:

    “5. Is that really that different from some of the misogynistic things you’ve been saying? I mean… you’ve pretty much been trying to force me to accept that girls don’t see sexy things as “pretty.” I’m a girl myself, you think I don’t KNOW what I think?”
    …Ummm first, Yah it really really is.

    Second: Disagreeing with you and bringing evidence and examples to back up why I disagree with you is not sexist.

    Third: You do know what a generalization is don’t you? I have to assume you don’t as that would be the only way you could think I am talking directly about you.

    Forth: Are you really arguing that your sexist comment is ok because I supposedly made one first….really?

    • A woman? Just one? Did you ask anyone else? Why not take a larger pool? As for the one dressed up as Emma Frost, I wish she hadn’t gotten any jeers whether they were degrading to her or coming down on her for being degrading. Neither should happen. She should be able to walk around dressed like that if she wants to be, especially at a convention.

      I have one other question for you: did that study of your ever ask the women they studied what they thought sexy was? Probably not. If they did, they’d probably have a very messy study on their hands. So you’re also assuming sexy means one thing and when I tell you that no, it does not, you don’t listen because you have evidence and that clearly makes you right. Well, I have a hole in your evidence. No one asked the women what they thought sexy was.

      Finally, I was telling you a truth. A truth does not have to be politically correct.

      This will be the end of our conversation unless you want any future comments marked as spam and your present comments deleted. I’d rather keep this argument up here for posterity, but it’s rather clear that we’re not going to get any where or agree with each other on anything substantial. I am rather tired with it and I’d hoped you’d left of your own accord already. I had hoped to never have to moderate comments on this blog, so please see this as a threat only if you choose to comment here again.

  15. Andre

    If your going to censor me then go ahead and do it.

    As for your “hole in your evidence” nonsense.
    They did ask the women if they thought the pic was using sex to sell… so yah it did.

    You still dodged the question :Wink:
    Is this pic going to drive women away.

    • I believe I have figured out a way to mark your further comments as spam without deleting your present ones. So that’s what I’ll be doing instead of taking down our entire conversation.

      I hope you have a good day, sir.

    • BTW, I find that picture creepy. She’s not pretty, she’s evil. I know I wouldn’t play her. If I was going to play a character in an online game, she’d look something like this: http://screenshot.xfire.com/s/88642928-4.jpg Oh, wait. That’s me!

      And just a quick bit on WoW. (http://www.personalizemedia.com/15-great-myth-busting-women-vs-men-stat-articles-about-games/)

      The demographics of World of Warcraft (useful but old 2005 data from Nick Yee)

      * The average age of the WoW player is 28.3
      * 84% of players are male
      * 16% are female. Female players are significantly older (32.5) than male players (28.0)
      * On average, they spend 22.7 hours per week playing WoW.
      * There are no gender differences in hours played per week.

      So a good chance that at least half those female elves you see running around the WoW universe are actually males. This makes sense, as a number of pro-gamers and game reviewers personally advocate creating female characters because “who wants to look at the ass of a buff guy when you’re running half naked through the forest? If you’re going to play the game, at least enjoy it.”

      • Hey Amber, just so you know, I blocked the person you’re replying to because it became quite obvious that he was a troll and because there was no way we’d ever agree.

        You do make some excellent points and bring in some great evidence that I didn’t know where to find, so thank you for that. ^_^

        • Yes, I noticed but I still had to put that up, just in case he was still following or if anybody else was.

          I took a class on Mass Media and Society and sexism in pop culture (which includes the internet) was one of our topics. ^_^

          • I don’t know if he still is notified about replies… I don’t see why not!

            Yeah, sexism in pop culture is a funny thing. We talked a little about it in an advertising class I took (amongst other classes, but on a different level) and the all-female class decided that a) women had embraced a certain kind of sexiness in media and b) there was a line that could be crossed. Then we started talking about what crossed that line and what didn’t. It was fun stuff.

            • I always knew there was a reason you where required to take those sort of classes in college. Always interesting after the fact ~_^

              • Totally. If only that kind of thing was admissible as evidence, but I’m afraid my memory’s terrible and I wouldn’t be able bring up too many examples from that particular discussion. One thing I do remember is that everyone thought the AXE Body Spray ads were terrible and that Red Spice had way better ads that catered well to both women and men.

                • I think the AXE Body Spray ads are a staple to every Mass Media class. It’s truly sad that they are so popular not because they are a superior product, but because they have “enticing” ads. *Shakes head* It’s a form of miss-information: fueling false fantasies to sell an inferior product. Truly sad.

  16. Speaking of women in comics, what are your thoughts on the women of Claymore? They kick ass, but unfortunately, the story does suffer some setbacks in terms of being sexist in certain scenes.

    I wrote something about them and comparing them to women in the military. You can check it out at: http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/674561539/womenofclaymore

    • I’m actually not familiar with Claymore at all. I read your post and it seemed like the anime does a relatively good job of trying to realistically portray female soldiers, but it seems like it falls into some of the pitfalls of relationships that interfere with work and sexual violence against women.

      • The violence against them is more violent than sexual. The problem is that it feels so violent that it seems like rape. The mangaka just needs to do a better job in fixing it, though I don’t know if he will.

        • It sounds like he does… It really pisses me off that a good portion of shonen or seinen creators feel the need to include unbalanced violence like that. I guess that’s why I’m not a huge shonen fan. (Although seinen’s definitely got some good stuff.)

          • Claymore is borderline seinen. It’s still a pretty good manga though. Not too many manga series feature strong female characters as the majority, like Claymore.

            • I don’t know… I haven’t read the series, but it seems like there’s a serious dichotomy between these strong women and serious violence against these women. It makes me wonder how strong these characterizations really are.

  17. This article says it all:

    http://joykim.net/posts/women-warriors-and-the-male-gaze-in-claymore/

    Just a lot of over-sexualization. I wondered if this was really a shonen series I was reading and not a seinen.

  18. Pingback: Happy 1st Blogoversary, All About Manga! « All About Manga

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