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Off My Mind: Female Superhero Costumes - Practical or Exploitive?

Is it about comfort, style or getting readers excited?

When reading the recent issue of Birds Of Prey, I started thinking again about the practicality of the female superhero costume. While spandex has pretty much been a requirement for all superhero characters, sometimes it feels that the female characters are forced to cross the line with what is practical.
I don't have a lot of experience wearing spandex. I have worn a pair of spandex shorts underneath my running shorts back in high school during my track & field days. Spandex is said to have some practicability. Looking at two of the Birds Of Prey, I have to wonder how Huntress' "window" showing her tummy or Black Canary's one-piece bathing suit look (with the fishnets, of course) helps them fight crime.
"Comics are mainly written for boys." Whether or not that's the case, what is the message being conveyed? 
 == TEASER ==

I believe it's been said before that the reason Power Girl chose her costume design was for distraction purposes. This would allow her to knock out the bad guys when they weren't paying attention. If that's the case, I would question why someone with her strength and speed would need a distraction. 
I've heard from some female readers that the way women are portrayed can be a turn off to comics. Most heroes are drawn in a idealized but why are certain parts of female characters focused on and certain parts of male characters are not? There are other times where certain body types simply look impossible. Yes, I know you can say that "superpowers" are also impossible but the laws of physics and gravity say that some things just couldn't happen (see image to the right).
It may be that society wants to see "pretty" people. In most TV shows and movies, 95% of the people have a "Hollywood" look. In comics, most characters have "perfect" bodies (must be a side effect of gaining superpowers naturally). With female characters it seems the focus is often placed on their bodies rather than their character. Power Girl, Huntress, Black Canary...they're all strong female characters and I'm not talking about physical strength. Perhaps some women feel empowered wearing certain outfits but I don't feel it's absolutely necessary. Does wearing skintight or revealing clothing make a character better? Perhaps a better question is would you be comfortable reading a comic in public with these stylized women on the cover? Those unfamiliar with the comic might wonder what type of book you're actually looking at.
I'm not suggesting we do away with the revealing costumes altogether. I understand that some readers might really enjoy comics or characters that have them. I just think that there should be more to the characters, especially to the female ones. They deserve to be seen as more than just a body. Often, female characters that can literally kick ass are not taken seriously. I don't buy comics just because there's a female wearing a revealing outfit. I'm buying comics for the characters and stories. 
I'm also not suggesting all female characters should cover themselves up and wear big bulky trench coats either. There may be practical purposes to wearing tighter clothing to allow for more movement during combat or in stealth situations. But what practical purposes are there to Huntress' tummy costume? Am I the only one that thinks female characters should get a little more respect?
189 Comments Refresh
Posted by comicboy12
@ForbushBug said:
" @comicboy12 said:

"In all of the piece of art you post not one of them have a male character posing in a sexually submissive manner, nor are we suppose veiw them as sexual objects . "

 I find it rather sexist to think that a woman in a sexual pose is sexually submissive. I've known plenty of women comfortable with their bodies and sexuality that are definitely not submissive. I don't find PowerGirls ortheMarvel Divas to be looking submissive.  "
I never said that and if I did it was probably a mistake on my part. I'm saying that sexual submissive or not women in comic books are designed and posed in such a way to highlight their sexuality above all other traits. I don't find that Power Girl or Marvel Diva cover to be sexually submissive but there's no way I see the females in both cases being positioned as heroes.   
Posted by comicboy12
@Onyx said:

So I believe that showing skin is not a bad thing with female comic characters, just showing skin for the wrong reason is where I have the problem The one character that comes to mind that gets a free pass for a less then practical uniform is Wonder Woman a bathing suit and red high heeled boots does not speak powerful Amazon Princess to me but yet her look just seems to work...

Greg Rucka and Jodi Picoult  actually comment the issue a while ago  

"I tried to get the costume changed from the start. Even had a story built around it. Despite repeated attempts, the response was a resounding no, and the arguments made were always commercial and economic ones, rather than those of story or content... the fact is, she's been hyper-sexualized from the moment of inception, and there's no likelihood that portrayal will ever change, no matter who's writing the book, nor who's drawing it. It's not unique to that character, though she is, I think, by far, the most visible example of it. "
-Greg Rucka 
" [R]ight off the bat, I tried to get her out of her bustier, 'cause let's face it, no woman would ever fight crime in one. But that was a no-no. (Laughs) "
- Jodi Picoult
Still I definitely agree with you Wonder Woman for whatever reason makes that costume but I still think a change to something more conservative with be a little better
Posted by anunsi

one word puberty

Posted by RedHurricane24

This poking of Pandora's box was really unnecessary. As long as guys have wangs and eyes and have a precocious mind (same with girls if they're lesbians), this is continuously happening. So what if PG or Huntress' outfits aren't PC? Big deal! They're not being reduced to be damn sex slaves.
Making this thread was an incessant mistake.

Posted by comicboy12
Not my words but......... 
 Men can’t help themselves! Why are you punishing us for our biology?

Wow, and people say feminists hate men. If you genuinely believe men just have to objectify women, because it’s hardwired into them to regard those possessing vaginas as occasionally entertaining fuckdolls rather than people, and that objectification just has to ooze all over the pages of stories about good costumes vs evil costumes (plus explosions!) then you have a really, really low opinion of men.

I assume that since you have an internet connection, you’re not sitting in a tree eating a raw rat and grunting suspiciously at interlopers. I mean, I could be wrong. These are big internets, and there’s probably at least one person into that. But if you aren’t that person, and you make this argument, I feel bound to remind you that fully functional humans are totally capable of overcoming biological imperatives in favour of ethical standards and social justice and have been for hundreds of years. If you can’t be bothered to make the effort, then I’m not convinced I should consider you a modern human being at all.

Posted by Nerd Of A Hero
Edited by Trylks

Let me be the devil's advocate here. 
Tight clothes are not practical but a must if you want to keep them under your regular clothes, like superman, spiderman, etc. The same happens with male characters. Also many of them have very revealing clothes, what about Hulk? Beside of bunches of Tarzan and Tor like characters. I think it is a tie wrt revealing in male and female.
They are very sexy and fit, because they are superheros, male characters are very muscular too, with rare exceptions, so no big difference. I think the fitness and sex appealing factor is on pair too. 
If looking for examples, what about Mystique? Allegedly she has to be nude to use her superpowers. What about Motoko Kusanagi? She has to be nude to get invisibility too, yet she does not reveal her body ever since she doesn't have an actual flesh body :P 
To finish up, I don't know why female characters should be taken any less seriously or considered as "just a body" even if they were nude, does this happen with Dr Manhattan? Not at all, thus the whole point fails. 

Posted by DH69

if super heroines dont want to run around in skimpy outfits, they can just run around naked for all i care. same goes for the dudes....WHY ISNT THERE A NUDIST SUPER HERO TEAM?!

Posted by RedHurricane24
@comicboy12: To each their own, boyo. I'm just saying that I'm not going to sacrifice my well-established way of thinking, just to be in the good side of a certain consensus. I've done that before, and it's not rewarding at all. If anything, I respectfully and honestly tell to bite me.
Posted by Son_of_Magnus

Power Boy and Namor dress scantily clad

Posted by ofaaron

Femininity and masculinity obviously mean many different things to different people, but comics take the stereotypes of both and go to the extreme. Men are not drawn in the same ways as women, but they are certainly not drawn any more realistically or any less idealized. And that is the whole point of heroes, as they descended from Greek gods. They are what people think of as the ideal human, and people certainly don't think of the ideal male and the ideal female as being indistinguishable. And sorry if you don't like it, but in our societies eyes, women are much more sexual creatures than men. That part has certainly changed since the Greek times, when the male form was far more sexualized, but "thems the breaks." Take solace in knowing equality exists in how absurdly exaggerated both sexes are. Just differently.

Posted by CaptainGenisVell
but tony mentions lady deadpool who is also covered, trying to point out that all these suits emphasize certain areas of the female anatomy
Posted by Undeadpool

Tim Gunn actually did a whole thing on superhero costumes, and his opinions were some of the most interesting, fanboy-devoid things I've ever heard. On Power Girl, he said that the costume works because it's her owning her own sexuality. He said the character just had that vibe. I believe he called Black Canary a whore...

Posted by ILuvMsMarvel
@Trylks said:
" What about Motoko Kusanagi? She has to be nude to get invisibility too, yet she does not reveal her body ever since she doesn't have an actual flesh bod"

Not because she had to be for her Therm-Optic Camo to work. She was running around with  nothing else on because she wanted to. Puppet Master was also seen nude along with the Major.

Anyway, does it really matter what a costume shows or doesn't show? Who bases their opinion solely on what the character looks like?

My favorite characters are Ms. Marvel and Power Girl. Is it because they have sexy costumes? No. It's because they are well written, strong female characters.

Enjoy comics for what they are and don't get hung up on all this.

Posted by Timm
Posted by Shanana
@Nova`Prime` said:
" @comicboy12 said:
She actually looks dead in that picture. Maybe she got caught in the oil spill? "

excuse me lord for thinking that comment was funny
Posted by megachan18

My problem is not with comic book artists drawing women in a sexy way or even in the skimpiness of the costumes but the shear ridiculous and unrealistic way in which they are drawn (perfectly spherical cantaloupe shaped breasts...ahem). It is an insult to how sexy the female body really is to draw it in that way (above lady deadpool picture is a perfect example) Some artists make me wonder if they have ever seen a woman's anatomy that hasnt been under the knife and then put into a magazine centerfold. Often these spandex costumes look as if they are painted on rather than the artist taking any time to think about how that material would ACTUALLY fall and stretch on a body. Lets take our female athletes as examples...dont you think women superheroes would wear sports bras? 

Posted by Ororo19

If you got it... FLAUNT it

Posted by Nova`Prime`
@Sha said:
" @Nova`Prime` said:
" @comicboy12 said:
She actually looks dead in that picture. Maybe she got caught in the oil spill? "
excuse me lord for thinking that comment was funny "
You don't need to be excused for having a sense of humor, especially when its true. I defy anyone to tell me it doesn't look like she is floating in an oil spill.
Edited by greenenvy

Marvel and DC is a modern mirror of Greek myth where the first superheroes like Hercules and the gods where completely nude in battle or as statues. The body is a beautiful thing from God and shows how brave without any armor and any clothing to show how heroic and powerful they really are. Naked superheros don 't bother one bit and its really nudism not lust or sex unless they temped you personally. There is no reason to cover up. Show it and be heroic!   

Posted by kitsuneconundrum

its great how they're boobs are all drawn as if they're nude under the spandex. If you think about the actual tailoring of such an outfit, it means that there are specific tailor made boob-slots for the suit.

Edited by Nerd Of A Hero
   *  Can someone tell me what's happening with the Off My Mind topic; Females Superhero Customers - Pratical or Exploitive? I can't seem to read the rest of it other than commenting here. When I click on the page, for some reason the page is just blink and the title's there.  Does someone knows whats going on, or is it just me that's happening to only? Thanks.
Posted by G-Man
@Nerd Of A Hero: What browser? I'm seeing it all on Firefox and Safari.
Posted by Nerd Of A Hero
Internet Explorer
Posted by Shadowdoggy
true, they aren't wearing much clothing 
but they aren't posing like they're about to get shot for a "casting call" that ends up on some straight bait gay porn site 
half the chicks dressed as skimpy as that are also being drawn in positions and situations that are....not very superheroic
Posted by cbeavers2

I agree completely understand what g man is saying. I mean i'm a 19 year old male so i completely understand wanting to see stuff like well this... 

Dawn wearing pretty much nothing... However with all the alternate realities out there in both the dc and marvel it would be really fresh and profoundly startling in all honestly if one of our flagship comic company to start championing some new characters with superb abilities and average appearances. Phat, Skin, Morph, Mystique, Shazam; they all have one thing that has allowed them to captivate the audience. They can be someone they're not. But overall they're probably rather normal people aside from their powers. I think a world were Rogue was a little bigger or maybe Spidey's webs had a little more stress on them would throw some seriously needed humanism to characters.
Edited by MisterMollusk
@Golden Cod: I think all superheroes should just fight naked and try to manhandle all the villains. that should be plenty distracting. 
@Nyogtha:  There's a difference between wearing something that is form fitting and something that is specifically meant to try and arouse you.    
Posted by KRYPTON

The real reason artist draw women like that is to sale comics. More people will want to see that if they keep buying the comics

Posted by Agent9149

well if they had more men in exploitive outfits there wouldnt be a problem would i say exploit everyone

Edited by texasdeathmatch

  Yeah, although this type of artwork really entraps a specific gender type, I don't think comics are going to attract a majority of the opposite sex any time soon (with the exception of Babs and other gals, which still continues to baffle my mind). Comics is a man's sport, sad to say, but I think we've all accepted that years ago. That being said, I believe it is pretty offensive the ridiculous boob and waist sizes that artists give to these women. I used to date a self proclaimed militant feminist (which she hardly was), so I was able to gain some "perspective" of the offensiveness of this art, haha not that this gives me any credibility.  But her main theory was that if all men and women were projected in the same fashion on the media (half naked with their asses hanging out), there would be no problem. Of all her uneducated half-retarded arguments, this one I actually agreed with. Unfortunately, though there are some males portrayed this way in comics, there is definitely an imbalance. 
I think comics need to definitely incorporate more realistic women body types and stop exploiting body parts, because it gives a lot of these fans, especially young ones, a misconstrued idea of how to view women. And let's be honest, these are comic book fans we're talking about; for the majority of them, they're gonna need all the help they can get. Comic character creators have to stop creating sex symbols and instead, appealing characters. More Storm's, less Power Girl's. And what's with giving teenage girls huge chests (Black Alice and such), that's really just creepy. 

Posted by copymanrules

sex sells or what ever you want to call it. whatever makes the characters pop out to make comics get bought. now imagine what bats would look like if he was in a skimpy outfit would that sell? no matter how you see you gotta have that sex symbol to help sell the comic even if their is a good story that goes along with it. besides  they show off power girl twins eyes up here chatting to ya why don't they show the crotch shot of male superheros other then their muscle bods or bony butts then complain or wine  bout it professionally. you gonna have subjected individuals or make them as a sex symbol in comics or movies.

Posted by jakob187

So where's the inverse to this?  If we stopped having revealing clothing, there would be women that would complain that female characters all of a sudden aren't allowed to be sexy and show off their bodies. 
It's a vicious cycle.  Personally, I don't think they need to do anything with the outfits (although they could stop using certain angles with Huntress in comics, like one particular angle at the beginning of Birds of Prey #2).  I think they just need to write the characters better. 
Wonder Woman is a great example of a beautiful woman with a revealing outfit that also happens to be an incredibly strong female character. 
One way or another, women will always be objectified by someone, and you nor me nor most people can't stop that.  We can't say to someone "oh, you aren't allowed to look at that person and wert whirl".  However, if the writers were making sure that they wrote these characters with a purpose, direction, and strong capabilities, then it would be less offensive in many cases. 
Look at Huntress and Power Girl.  They KNOW they have slammin' bodies.  That's why they have the outfits they wear.  They WANT people to look at them. 
Like I said, it's a vicious cycle, a double-sided blade.

Posted by Blackestnight

Well I don't think its exploitation since they're all fictional people.  Having them with tights around their boobs isn't any more exploitative or wrong then having them beaten on, imprisoned, killed, or even the reversal when they kill, beat on people or send them to prison. They're not REALLY in any danger because they're made of ink. Tights are how its been for men and women. Look at Namor for example, one of the oldest characters. Or Robin.  Peter Parker was naked for 5 issued in a row. Being sexy should be a positive thing. It should be seen as admirable just like being strong is.  If you got it, work it.

Posted by HexThis

Well, I would like to find the male equivalent of this issue of "Marvel Girls", a part of the "Women of Marvel" campaign and written by Chris Claremont (strangely). Essentially, it takes female X-women and puts them in situations where they're conveniently in skimpy clothing or satiating some sort of fetish, usually at the same time. 
Splendid, some of my favorite X-women reduced to humiliating scenarios sketched by an artist, Milo Manara, known mainly for just drawing porn. Uh-huh, I'm really feeling Marvel's regard for their female characters with this one.  


Posted by Ryonslaught

Who cares about practicality? if I wanted that I can look outside my window..... give me some skin! dwl

Posted by mistrx75

The distraction idea is interesting since, while it might not make sense for Power Girl, it might for someone like Huntress since she's basically a fighter.  Thinking about it, though, just taking her personality into account, the exposed abs wouldn't be the most expected thing.  I think it might make more sense if they weren't out there.

Posted by comicboy12
@.Mistress Redhead. said:
" The thing for me is, I love the costumes, I adore the fantasy of it all but what I don't like is the readers creating the sexual innuendos. The women most of the time are drawn with class, but readers do their own art that sexualises them far to much. "
Do we?


Posted by comicboy12
@Icemizer said:

Most villians they fight are male. Males are distracted by tummy window. Male loses fight to scantily clad woman. 
Ok maybe thats a tad simple after all they do fight female villians. However distraction is a major part of fighting whether you are feinting a punch, flapping your cape, using a smoke bomb, or bouncing your plentiful assets in your opponents face.

Now that I have made these costumes seem almost reasonable lets face the fact that most artists are men and most men love the female form. That they endow these women so well must be working because the books continue to sell. And that after all is what it is all about. If super skinny, blue haired, three fingered women sold comic books I am sure that is what you would see drawn.

Compare the number of times a female character's sexuality has been used as a distractions to the number of times those other techniques you listed, especially smoke bombs. For what reason does a character like power girl need a distraction, when someone like superman doesn't? After all she has a the abilities and strength of superman. It's the same with almost all female character.
I get it, most people who work in the industry are male, which is a another huge problem that warrants discussion, but they're also humans first. We can control our sex drives, so I refuse to believe that being a male is somehow a good excuse, as many males in other other mediums and industry have produce works with non-hyper sexualized and non-scantily-clad woman. In fact the comic industry used to be one of those industries a few decades, and sales where a lot better than they are now. I'm not saying that there aren't a truckload of other reason for the declines of comic book sales but I'm saying there are other ways to sell a comic other than sexualization, beside forall  the hyper-sexualized women in comics, very few of them (this goes for female characters in general) can barely hold their own series.  
I'm not saying that we could get dress down all scantily clad women character, some of them like power girl and wonderwoman really work, but they should be exceptions to the rules. There's obviously a gender problem in comics, look at the audience and the creative side. It's 90% white adult male audience that grow up with comics being catered to by a  90% white adult male audience that grow up with comics. Compare that to manga which has an even split as far as gender goes and benefits from that.
Posted by BatChaz

superheroes are super, it sounds stupid but think about it. super basically means better than normal, so whether they have powers or not all crimefighters are superheroes, this is the reason i use most often when arguing with friends about whether batman is a superhero.
perfect bodies are more appealing than standard bodies, every part of a superhero exudes 'superness' so its only fair that they all have bodies like models. people are complaining about female costumes but stop and think, if it weren't for underwear batman, superman, the flash, green lantern, spider-man (need i go on?) they would all be showing their junk. a woman's is just that bit more obvious, even without the spandex. 
spandex is lightweight and very difficult to grab a hold of, baggy clothes would forever be getting pulled by criminals or caught on barbed wire leaving the hero/heroine stranded and open to attack. the ability to cope with a cape only comes with superior training, and some may claim they are superfluous and dangerous (edna mode) but they can be extremely useful when utilised efficiently.
female's without superstrength (black canary, huntress, batgirl etc.) will not be as strong as a man in the same position, even after years of training, and if they still wish to blend in with the crowd when in their civilian identities they can't walk around inconspicuously if they look like a female-body builder.
as for those heroines with superstrength, any advantage over an opponent is welcome, most criminals will be male, if they don't act because they are distracted by a cracking rack or because they underestimate a woman it makes the heroines life easier. for a male equivalent look at dick grayson's robin, y-fronts and pixie boots, he didn't need an advantage but if it takes less energy to dispatch a villain it can only be a good thing, more efficient crimefighting.
at the end of the day comic books are a form of entertainment, and if people are entertained watching 'normal' people strolling around they should watch the travesty that is Big Brother. but i hate to be the bearer of bad news, 'normal' for both america and the u.k. is overweight. fact. if you want fat superheroes stop reading comic books.
rant over, keep the sexy outfits, they are an advantage, stop complaining. the characters are not weaker because they show flesh, its just another route writers can take to get a laugh. as can be seen at the link below (image from superman/batman : public enemies).

Posted by chaos.c

I agree with a lot of the comments - though I didn't read them all. I think that some of these superheros are just a little too reviling. I remember one year I wanted to trick or treat as a superhero but decided not to because I didn't want people who didn't know who I was to think I was going as a slut (since this was one of the characters who wore a leotard, and only one of my friends liked/knew superheros). But, I also think that spandex in general has practicality. If you are being stealth or moving through tight spaces a baggy t-shirt might snag or be in the way. And I agree with cbeavers2. Comic books are generally directed toward the teenage male public. I haven't met very many teenage girls or women, like myself, in general who like to read comics.  

Also, as a note, men are much more visual than women. I personally think, if men showed off or emphasized their "stuff" so to speak, I wouldn't be as interested (since I read comics for the stories) and wouldn't be caught reading them in public!! You would probably sell more comics to gay men that way, simply because most women are not as visual.

Posted by .Mistress Redhead.
@comicboy12: I am not sure what your point was....  
I was referring to the images that are basically them naked, playing with themselves etc that you can find in galleries like MJs
Posted by CrimsonInuTears

Finally, I have been tryin to read this article for DAYS. 
So here's the thing, don' let the Damian/Robin fool ya, I am a girl that loves her comics. But Power Girl really is one of my own biggest pet peeves. I personally don' care how much skin a girl shows, but really Power Girl's outfit makes it so hard to take the comic seriously (not that it's own content helps ANY at times) Over the top boobs with nice round cutout cleavage, not even just tactical disadvantage, just a pin-up model. But again, that could be said for, at this point I'm gonna say MOST heroines. Sure there are some exceptions like Batgirl (3 main versions, three fully covered up hotties), but then there is still those other 99 ya could name off around her in bathing suits an underwear. Yes, comics are made mostly for guys, cause most girls seem to think they have better things to do than read awesome kick-ass action, but hey, there's tactile, an then there's just scantily clad.  An most guys I know don' care if she's half naked or fully covered, as long as she's hot~
Though I will say I do love Canary an Huntress' outfits, myself~ ^_^

Edited by comicboy12
@.Mistress Redhead.:   
My point is that with comic books being so gratuitous as far as sexual content is concerned and female characters being so garishly designed, pornography isn't really taking things too far at all. Yes, there's pornographic materials of superheroines, but hey, there's pornographic material of every fictional character that ever existed, the internet allows people to publish that work, but don't be fooled into thinking these people are in a majority
Anyway back to the general topic.  
I've always thought the practically spandex at this point was kind moot. Most superhero's can fly, they wear other cumbersome accessories like capes, high heels and what-not, very few of them are particularly stealth (nor have to be), and as huntress in No Man's Land proved, they don't provide any sort of adequate protection. Oh and speaking of huntress I'm surprised to see people coming out the wood works to defend her tummy hole considering she's been shot her stomach four times.
I guess one important question that needs asking is this: Comics like Birds of Prey, Power Girl, Red Sonja, and such feature strong, independent, intelligent women. However, could you (anyone is free to answer) in good conscious show them to your average female who is to not into comics and has never read comic book before?     
Edited by LP

C'mon we all know that these costumes are impossible use in any pseudo-realistic situation. Of course you can say that because it's a fantasy (an adolescent male one at that) it's not a concern, but the more I think about it and see articles like this, I end up shaking my head. It's extremely exploitative to women and to the kids it's being sold to. But... one could also say that it's a matter of sexual liberation. In that case, women are a victim of their own success?..
Posted by comicboy12
@LP: The only problem is that kids don't read anymore. Your average comic book reader nowadays is a adult white male who grow up already reading comics. Most kids nowadays are either reading a regular book or novel or manga, can't blame them, the such caters towards them and quite frankly if I were a parent buying comics, just looking at the cover art for stuff like BOP or Power Girl blatantly tells me it's not for kids.
Posted by .Mistress Redhead.
@comicboy12: Again though, how does that not come back to what I said, the actual characters are fine, yes raunchy but it is FANTASY it is the pictures of them in pornographic poses that makes them outright sexualised. Sex is in everything, does not mean it is porn. 
Why would I have a problem showing any of the books you mentioned to anyone, I have and proudly do share my interests with friends and family members and recommend the amazing BOP girls as powerhouses for women in the comic world, just cause they are sexy and dressed in outfits that leave little to the imagination does not make them porn stars. 
Also kids these days are exposed to far more sexualising in your (avatar) type manga than anything else, and aside from that kids do read, very few of them I have dealt with (my career as a child care social worker) are messed up because they read a comic where the womens tits are popping out, the characters behind the outfits are amazing power houses full of passion and strength, love and heartache.  
AND Then on top of that Of course they are not for kids though, they are not made for kids, we have comics aimed at kids! these are for teens-adults... 
Posted by LP
@Xenozoic Shaman said:
" Aside from the debate as to whether or not they are too "sexified" and lacking focus in more respectful areas such as character, there's one thing that has always bothered me about this trend.  I don't like obvious attempts at luring me in with overly sexy imagery.  It's like they're saying, "You're a primitive without any self-control, so we're going to get you to buy this item by putting a scantly clad woman on it!"  I don't like knowing that I'm being manipulated!  Trick me without being so obvious, but don't insult me. "
That's exactly my problem.
Posted by LP
@hdorman1: MUY BUENO LMAO!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by HexThis

I'm dead-tired of this "it's a distraction" explanation.
 Do you honestly think any man willing to hit a woman really cares what she's wearing? As a matter in fact, I think a scantily clad woman is the perfect punching bag for a resentful, misogynistic man. It's a moot point, have you ever talked to a girl about riding the subway or walking past construction workers in a skirt or low-cut shirt? Men feel entitled enough to shout out obscenities to a woman at risk of offending her, take it a few steps further and would you really think a man would pull a punch because the girl he's beating on is just soooo hot? Men beat the crap out of attractive women all the time. I really, highly doubt that and I also don't think very many women would need or want that sort of attention in a combat scenario. 
The whole "fantasy" argument is pretty flaccid too, I mean it's quite obvious comics aren't set in a 100% realistic environment but somewhat like the gods in Greek Mythology, comic book characters are supposed to be human ideals that demand a certain kind of respect. Honestly, women who are banking in on their sexuality all the time in hopes to advance don't get respect. You could say it's a feminist issue but I would actually go so far as to say certain chauvinistic male characters who are always banging a different girl don't really deserve respect either. It's just a cheap avenue for any likable character to go down.  
I also think it's interesting to that in an effort to create strong female characters a major motivation has been to make them comfortable with their sexuality and yet does it come out as anything more than just trying to appease the opposite sex on some level? Read early Wonder Woman comics, she was fulfilling every sort of fetish for men, comic book heroines have always been allowed to be very sexual, nobody even speaks of the 70's Wonder Woman series without talking about how hot Lynda Carter was. I would say comfort with one's own sexuality means not having to exploit or fixate on it, wouldn't you?
One of my favorite movies is Kill Bill and in spite of the fact Quentin Tarantino is always being deemed "macho", he presented us with a woman who was stylized, strong, full of conviction, intelligent, and complex quite successfully. No sex scene, no skimpy outfit, no nonsense, she just beat the tar out of anyone who stood between her and her goals. Women loved it, men loved it, and it hit all the spots in fantastical setting because it was engaging, it may have been a variation of exploitation films on some level (like many of Tarantino's work) but it didn't go for quite the same cheap thrills with regards to the main character's sexuality. Is there any denying The Bride/Black Mamba was a worthy opponent? No. Was Uma Thurman still sexy? Yes. 
I think the key with female heroes is that they should be full of the same vigor and intensity of any male hero to a point where they don't need to think about a man's perspective when thrashing their enemies, they don't need think about the perception of everyone else when they tear it all down. All these examples of female heroes driven past the point of believability in terms of sexuality look so self-conscious and pathetic being reduced to hopping around in crappily designed, trampy outfits. A little skin never harmed anybody but taste distinguishes the smut from the triumphs for sure.

Edited by Blackestnight
Beauty isn't exploitation.  Exploitation is when you use someone like a product. Fictional people can't be exploited since they actually ARE products and not people.  So you can make them as buff or sexy as you want as fast as you want, and powerful as you want. It's fantasy, the extremes of beauty, might, intelligence, etc are why comics are attractive.  Instead of feeling inferior to these characters, be inspired by them. I'll never be as smart or strong as batman and I'll never have his money or resolve. But that is not a downer for me. I want/need icons like that to act as a role model. Being unreachable isn't failure for me. We strive for excellence by aiming at perfection. These heros are projections of our own potentials.  I don't want an average looking character. I want an interesting one, be it extreme beauty or something else like the thing made of rock, or Mr. Fantastic you can stretch his body. These characters are not representing reality, they bring about justice (something we wish was true in reality) they are physically, morally, and intellectually superior. something we'd like to be ourselves.
I got into martial arts when I was 10 after I had an eye injury that put a bit of asphalt through my right eye. I was inspired by daredevil. Will I ever be as good as he is jumping off of rooftops killing multiple magic ninjas? No way. But I got good enough to get a bronze metal and now I'm an instructor. To aim high we need the highest portrayed. 
No one seems to get so jealous of super strength, ideal male bodies, wealthy characters etc. It's just the girls and just looks. For when a female is a bad ass fighter or something everyone loves that when she is strong or smart, but if she is hot that don't like it. That just shows the envy of some shallow female readers who can't handle it in comics, models or anywhere. They don't want anyone to be pretty and don't want anyone pretty to dress sexy. That's their own immaturity and insecurity. Of course they don't blame themselves, they blame men and ignore all the ideal men in comics that out number girls 3 to 1
 Don't say a woman is reduced when she is dressed in a sexy way. She isn't reduced she is inhanced. It's only sad, when that's all she has going for her and the only weapon she has. There is nothing wrong with an ugly person kicking ass either. But there is also nothing wrong with someone having both and being hot and powerful. There beatuty like it or not also helps us care about them more.  In the end it is a market. I agree with one thing. I don't like wonderwoman comics not the early ones anyway. i feel like she was nothing more than a sexual fantasy for S&M. But that's just her and she's changed.  I wouldn't view Elektra that way or Black Widow. Yeah they are both attractive but so what. Why not be. 
A crappy hot character with no brain would be someone like Harry Osborn's girl or the little tramp that tried to hook up with Peter to be in his posse. So they have shallow bimbos shallow because they are shallow not because they are beautiful, and they have super heroines who are also hot but not shallow. You can't just use beauty as a prejudice and say it detracts from everything else they can do. That kind of thinking is very green.