Black Widow, Wonder
Woman, Scarlet Witch and Cat Woman. These might be the first characters come to
mind when it is asked about female super heroes of our time. Just picture them in your head and what are
the wearing? A spandex? A bikini? Or something else that expose their body.
Superhero movie industry
getting larger and larger each year since (I would say) Marvel published its
first Cinematic Universe movie in 2008, Iron Man. These movies were always fun
to watch but when you think deeper you realize that there is something wrong. Characterization of female heroes.
The movies include superheroes are mostly based on comics written and published
in twentieth century. Thus female characters in comic books are sexually objectified
through their tight outfits, names and gender ratio. These might cause by the
target audience of comic books at 20th century which is mostly young
males. However as the years pass women are gaining more space in comic book
universe which causes comics to become more gender equal and diverse about
their female characters. Or are they? The saddest part, I think, is that even
though there is a sexism in the comics most of us do not know about them. If
you want to get more information and see the truth hiding right before you scroll
down and see. Here are the ways that comics use to sexually objectify female
characters. Let’s dive in…
HOW TO DRESS A CHARACTER?
Outfit of a character can tell many thing about the
super hero. For example the symbol “S” on Super Man’s chest represents hope or
Captain America’s shield resembles with U.S. flag which is completely makes
sense since he fought in WWII against Nazis and it also reflects his patriotic
side. But things change when it comes to dressing a female character. Think
about Wonder Woman. What do you see? How did she dressed? In a bikini with few
metals and star signs on it? Outfit of super heroines are mostly made of
nothing but a few clothes or very tight dress. Many female characters might
wear a clothing which are iconic for them but they are fighting right? How are
they planning to protect themselves from any coming danger while fighting?
As the time change many
reformations done in comic books due to people being more aware of
objectification of women, and increasing feminist movements in Europe and U.S.
These movements in feminism caused companies to make a little changes in wardrobes of super heroes. As it
mentioned about Wonder Woman’s clothing above
let’s stick with that.
In Wonder Woman
#41 Vol.4 published in August, 2015 outfit of main character, Diana,
changed completely as it can be seen above. Her old outfit replaced with a new
that carries her iconic colors in addition with more armor for protection as a
fighter would wear when going into a fight. The new design covers most of her
body -which was completely left naked- by only leaving her face and hands bare.
But as always there was an opposition from critics saying
that it was not suitable for nature of the comics due to lack of showing skin.
Which doesn’t make any sense. Captain Marvel for instance, only her face can be
seen at the times when she is not wearing her mask and she is loved by the
WHAT SHOULD WE CALL HER..?
We are in a middle of super heroine golden age when
even Cake-girl can have her own comic book. But when we look to the old times
we see dismal truth. Names of female characters in story arc mostly are the rip
offs of their male counterparts. Superman- Supergirl, Batman-Batgirl, Hulk- She
Hulk, etc. I can hear you saying there are original names given to female
characters as well such as Cat Woman, Hawkgirl, and Invisible Woman. We are not
saying you are completely wrong but there is still a problem regarding this.
Maybe some of you already noticed but for the ones who don’t here it is.
Although these super heroines have their own original name they are not very
gender neutral. Why writers bother to emphasize the name of a female or some
male characters with man, woman, girl or boy? Can’t they just use gender free
names as they use for others such as Arrow, The Flash, Gamora, Energy, Electra
and many more.
After learning bit of
sexism in comic books above we think you can easily guess what is next? We’ve
talked about how female characters dressed and named now let’s take a look at
them one more time but this time comparing them with their male clones. The
number one is Supergirl.
Superman could be the
most iconic superhero of all the time. His dress with red underwear worn over a
blue pants and waving red cape will always be in our memory. If we look at
outfit of Supergirl it is exactly the same, with the exception of skirt. The
colors, symbol on the chest style of the dress is the same with her male
duplicate. But it is not limited with just the look, also the powers are the
“Avengers Assemble!” is a catch phrase used in
Avengers comics and movies. As fans we love to see our favorite super heroes to
come together and team up for greater good or just to defeat the bad guy. They
are full of action scenes and breathe taking scenes but why do we see more male
characters than females? Justice League (DC comics) and Avengers (Marvel
comics) only have one or two female characters as oppose to five or six male
characters? We are leaving in a world where the gender distribution is almost 50/50 but I guess
it is not the same for the comics. I don’t believe that it is really hard to
create a strong female character with a gender neutral name and decent
Sexism and sexual
discrimination were very dominant at the time comic books are written. Back in
20th century women were not seen as equal with men and they were
treated in that way. But as the time changed people changed. Today although
there is a lot of way to still go comic book companies and hopefully rest of
the world are changing in a way that they now how to treat a lady equal. More
and more solo superheroine movies, TV shows and comics released each year.
Total equality is coming and comic book companies acting
according to this change by changing the representation and diversity of their
female characters in more gender neutral way in fiction.
What do you think? Do
you agree with us? Leave a
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4 41. Balance. DC Comics.
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Tremeer, E. (2017, April 27). Not Just
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