Off My Mind: Are Men Supposed To Stare At Revealing Costumes?

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Posted by G-Man (34944 posts) - - Show Bio
Back in June I asked the question whether or not female costumes were practical or exploitive. We can agree that about 99% of all heroes, male and female wear tight outfits. There's been the joke that revealing costumes, like Power Girl's can be used as a distraction against enemies (provided they're interested in looking). I understand that the tight costume may have some practical reasons such as mobility and not having to worry about getting caught on things during a fight. My question is, if a female character chooses to wear a revealing costume, shouldn't they expect people to stare at their bits? 
 
I'm going to use Donna Troy as an example here since this idea came up when reading this week's Justice League of America #49. Looking above, you can see two versions of her recent costumes. Currently she's going with the low cut one on the right. I'm not here to talk about whether or not showing cleavage is good or bad, but I think that if you choose to wear something low cut, there are going to be certain types of people that will blatantly stare. I don't want to speak on behalf of all women (and I did consult my wife last night about this), but if Donna chooses to show off her cleavage, should she get upset if someone's gaze lingers upon it? 
 == TEASER == 
In the issue, Donna has to talk to the creepy Bogeyman, a Teen Titans villain that I don't seem to recall. When Donna has to talk to him while he's locked up, she makes the following comment: 

I am not saying Donna shouldn't be allowed to wear what she wants. Yes her costume is tight and low cut but, I wouldn't necessarily say it's trashy (we all know there are far worse costumes out there). Again, not trying to speak for women, but I think that part of their confidence is being comfortable wearing whatever they choose. It's just the fact that if they wear something low cut or revealing, most guys (and some women) will probably be tempted to look. That's something that women have to be aware of. It's not like it's a secret. There is a difference between a glance and a lingering stare, but I feel if a female is not comfortable with someone staring, maybe they should reconsider their outfit. While I do think it'd be creepy to have this Bogeyman guy staring, I think Donna might've overreacted a tiny bit. Then again, she did mentioning him 'licking his lips.' 
 
So here is where the debate begins. I feel we should tread lightly here, perhaps a little. If a woman wears something low cut, should she expect certain people to stare? I'm not saying it's an invitation to just sit there and gaze and what is being displayed. I just think that if you choose to wear certain outfits, you have to accept that there will be some looks. Where should the line be drawn? 
Staff
#1 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
I think the "licking the lips" does it. And it's not like you (Universal "you") wouldn't have a quick glance. I think that Bogeyman is supposed to just be sitting there eye-doing her; which is a bit different. 
 
 Donna may have her cleavage showing to assert her confidence and/or femininity to the superhero community, but that doesn't mean that she wants some jerkhole playing with himself to her image in his jail cell.
#2 Posted by grimlock (1571 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt: but what do the supergirls expect? its natural for a guy to look but the licking the lips part is a bit perv.
#3 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@grimlock: Yeah, exactly. That "crosses the line".
#4 Posted by ComicMan24 (147093 posts) - - Show Bio
@grimlock said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt: but what do the supergirls expect? its natural for a guy to look but the licking the lips part is a bit perv. "
I agree.
#5 Posted by xscarletkittie (594 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" I think the "licking the lips" does it. And it's not like you (Universal "you") wouldn't have a quick glance. I think that Bogeyman is supposed to just be sitting there eye-doing her; which is a bit different.    Donna may have her cleavage showing to assert her confidence and/or femininity to the superhero community, but that doesn't mean that she wants some jerkhole playing with himself to her image in his jail cell. "
This.
#6 Posted by Black Lantern Mar-vell (2040 posts) - - Show Bio

There should be some expectation that people WILL be looking.
#7 Posted by Aspenite (892 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe she is provoking villains to stare at her chest so that she has a reason to kick their butts...

#8 Posted by Danial79 (2351 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this is a hard question to ask males. We think much differently. If I looked like, say, Captain America, I would love to be checked out going down the street, no matter which part of me was attracting the most attention. I have very low self-esteem, so such attention would give me a much-needed boost. I don't think women like this sort of thing though. Maybe I'm wrong, but still, I think it's a question that only women could answer with any authority.

#9 Posted by crusader8463 (214 posts) - - Show Bio

Not going to touch this can of worms or the fem nazi's will be out in full force. I will say that, man or woman, if you wear revealing/tight clothing you forfeit the right to get pissy when people look at the very thing you are trying to highlight with the clothes you wear- in my opinion.

#10 Posted by DEGRAAF (7886 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man:
You mentioned you asked your wife. What was her opinion?
#11 Posted by Precise (22886 posts) - - Show Bio

How could we not look?...

#12 Posted by Secret Identity (223 posts) - - Show Bio

Guys will look whether the clothes are low cut or just tight fitting. It doesn't make a huge amount of difference. What I expect is that there are different allowances made for different people. If Grayson's eyes are drawn down, for example, it's unlikely that Donna would fly of the handle but if a super villain she is disgusted by in the first place does it that would freak her out and she is more likely to act more aggressively towards them.  
 
The "point" of the costume though? What point? Super hero costumes are rarely designed for function and nor should they be. If they were then most characters would run about wearing brightly coloured flack jackets and combats. That would be functional. Superhero costumes(as a rule) are not functional.

#13 Edited by xscarletkittie (594 posts) - - Show Bio

To go further: Revealing clothing is meant to attract attention. To say otherwise is just denial. Women (and men) should expect certain people to look. Of course, there are different levels of attention they can get. An appreciating glance is a bit different from a perverted and prolonged stare. I may like a guy checking me out, but if I see them licking their lips like I'm some piece of tasty meat like Bogeyman did to Donna, I would threaten violence too.

#14 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (701 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with you G-Man, If a woman wears an outfit that is revealing, It would be completely naive of her to expect people to not look.  However, peering looks, licking lips, and wolf whistling is flat out disrespectful, no one should have to put up with that.

#15 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

apparently superhero costumes were based off of circus costumes in the earlier years, and circus costumes apparently dont cover up very much. I believe Donna Troy's costume change was to make her look older. Most women in comics that are older have more revealing costumes. It helps make her look older when she has this kind of costume change.  
Writers try to find other reasoning for these costumes because people are always complaining about them.

#16 Posted by Fobius (3 posts) - - Show Bio
@crusader8463 said:
" Not going to touch this can of worms or the fem nazi's will be out in full force. I will say that, man or woman, if you wear revealing/tight clothing you forfeit the right to get pissy when people look at the very thing you are trying to highlight with the clothes you wear- in my opinion. "
exactly! 
#17 Posted by SUPER-MAN 23 (2089 posts) - - Show Bio

They could always wear that Wonder Woman suit from the "52" story line. That could help, it seems mobile enough for no one to just gaze. And the suit seems really flexible and comfortable. 

 The one on the far left
#18 Posted by KRYPTON (1891 posts) - - Show Bio

I think writers create this for people to just "GAZE" into the revealing costumes. Making readers want to buy the next issue.

#19 Posted by Joey Ravn (385 posts) - - Show Bio
@Fobius said:
" @crusader8463 said:
" Not going to touch this can of worms or the fem nazi's will be out in full force. I will say that, man or woman, if you wear revealing/tight clothing you forfeit the right to get pissy when people look at the very thing you are trying to highlight with the clothes you wear- in my opinion. "
exactly!  "
I could do without a certain term crusader8463 used, but I mostly agree with him. Sure, you may be making a statement, but if you do so, expect consequences. If you're bothered that much because people look at your clevage (or package, to be fair to both sexes), then don't go around showing it in the first place. 
 
Personally, I find these "sexy" costumes disgusting, and far more sexists than, let's say, appearing or not appearing in a certain piece of merchandise. But I guess things are the way things are.
#20 Posted by seanbooker (2 posts) - - Show Bio
@crusader8463 said:
" Not going to touch this can of worms or the fem nazi's will be out in full force. I will say that, man or woman, if you wear revealing/tight clothing you forfeit the right to get pissy when people look at the very thing you are trying to highlight with the clothes you wear- in my opinion. "
This.
#21 Posted by Bigheart711 (2206 posts) - - Show Bio
@grimlock said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt: but what do the supergirls expect? its natural for a guy to look but the licking the lips part is a bit perv. "
I also agree, except I think "Licking his's lips" is far worse than just looking at the supergirl/guy's attire. In my point of view, I think some of said attire looks like they overdo it and can turn from "sexy" to downright nasty (which can also appear on any other media if you ask me).
#22 Posted by CrimsonTempest (307 posts) - - Show Bio

Uhh. Not this again. If it's bound to happen that someone like Boogeyman wants to eye-bang Donna, it's bound to happen. If not, that's good on both their parts. This is essentially a slippery slope.

#23 Posted by Terrific_T (130 posts) - - Show Bio

Hmm... I'm a girl and I definitely think there's a fine line between "I am woman, hear me roar!" (Wonder Woman's costume) and "Hey everybody, look at my ginormous boobs!" (Powergirl's costume)

 
I think Donna Troy's costume leans more toward the "I am woman, hear me roar side." It certainly doesn't hide her femininity, but at the same time, it doesn't exploit the fact that she has boobs. The thing is, though, as G-man, she's putting something, maybe not everything, but she is putting something out there. It's a little hypocritical of her not to expect people to look, and its not like she gets to choose who's allowed to look and who's not. Though, I completely understand why she reacted that way. Lip-licking is just insulting.

#24 Posted by G-Man (34944 posts) - - Show Bio

Also, this isn't to say that Donna shouldn't be allowed to wear her costume of choice. But since she knew how creepy he was and that his gaze would bother her, maybe she could've asked for a jacket or something to put on over her top? (She didn't know she was going to meet with him when she was called in).

Staff
#25 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man: But Wonder Woman wears a jacket now and people are rioting! haha
#26 Posted by DEGRAAF (7886 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt:
thats just bc its supposed to be a new outfit and the jacket looks like it came from the 1980's. With out the jacket her outfit looks much better, if they gave her a normal jacket i dont think it would look bad, but she would still take it off every time she fights so she might as well leave it off
#27 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23334 posts) - - Show Bio
@DEGRAAF: Heh, I know, merely some observational humour :)
#28 Posted by Proverb (32 posts) - - Show Bio

Cleavage sells comics. The insistance on in-character rationalisation is just embarrassing.

#29 Posted by MisterMollusk (103 posts) - - Show Bio

Tinted shades dude.

#30 Posted by riotman (716 posts) - - Show Bio

Having a couple of little glances won't hurt but if you stare and lick your lips I'm sure any woman would know hat your thinking of and get mad.

#31 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like the skimpy costumes are just purely for our benefit as readers, and not for practicality.

#32 Posted by Jynxnet (44 posts) - - Show Bio

Generally speaking I think most people hit the nail on the head, if this creep is staring at whoever licking his lips, especially a super-hero, they are asking for an extra hard beat down. When it comes to ogling woman there is a not so subtle line between creepy stalker stare and the natural male glance that should be expected if a woman has a revealing outfit. 
 
~Jynx

#33 Edited by nyx (114 posts) - - Show Bio

Anyone wearing something with a good deal of flesh showing should expect to get oogled, in essence showing flesh is meant to get attention, say a single woman at a club.  Of course, you flirt with the dangerous line of, 'She's dressed that way, she obviously wanted it.'  It's human nature to look, I'm afraid.  However, this goes back to the exploitation thing, these characters are not real people making their own decisions.  These are men drawing women in scantily clad costumes.  When a character is young, they covered her up like a nun because, let's face it, to do otherwise might violate one or two laws.  But as an adult, sure, butt floss and two band-aids are oooooook!

#34 Edited by countvontrey (419 posts) - - Show Bio
@Proverb: Yes. this is the real point here. Most comics are written and read by men. The publishers are just trying to give men what (they think) they want. It's difficult to rationalize how the characters would feel because the entire reality is somewhat slanted from a male perspective.  
 
If super-heroines were real, do you think they would wear such revealing outfits? 
#35 Posted by Joey Ravn (385 posts) - - Show Bio
@countvontrey said:
"If super-heroines were real, do you think they would wear such revealing outfits?"
They'd obviously do. Think about it. Why would, let's say, Red Sonja wear a full set of armor in battle when she can protect only her nipples? :P
 
/sarcasm
#36 Posted by kitsuneconundrum (208 posts) - - Show Bio

let's be honest, yes, why? women are beautiful.

#37 Posted by The Devil Tiger (1263 posts) - - Show Bio
@Angel_Gamer said:
" @crusader8463 said:
" Not going to touch this can of worms or the fem nazi's will be out in full force. I will say that, man or woman, if you wear revealing/tight clothing you forfeit the right to get pissy when people look at the very thing you are trying to highlight with the clothes you wear- in my opinion. "
This. "

And that.
#38 Posted by G-Man (34944 posts) - - Show Bio
@nyx said:
" Anyone wearing something with a good deal of flesh showing should expect to get oogled, in essence showing flesh is meant to get attention, say a single woman at a club.  Of course, you flirt with the dangerous line of, 'She's dressed that way, she obviously wanted it.'  It's human nature to look, I'm afraid.  However, this goes back to the exploitation thing, these characters are not real people making their own decisions.  These are men drawing women in scantily clad costumes.  When a character is young, they covered her up like a nun because, let's face it, to do otherwise might violate one or two laws.  But as an adult, sure, butt floss and two band-aids are oooooook! "
That's exactly the point I wanted to avoid. I'm glad you brought it up. I don't think dressing a certain way implies anything physical. It's not an invitation to be complete scum and try to do anything else. I just didn't want this to turn into that sort of debate. This is just about glancing and staring. 
Staff
#39 Posted by theik2 (207 posts) - - Show Bio

Clothes do have consequences and they make a statement about the wearer.  There's no excuse for licking lips, etc.

#40 Posted by Mumbles (846 posts) - - Show Bio

the outfit looks better low cut on donna troy.

#41 Posted by sora_thekey (8176 posts) - - Show Bio

In the US a woman could sue a man for staring at her legs because she is wearing a short skirt. In a court that would not be taken lightly as the man would probably get accused of some kind of abuse.
In Mexico if a woman  were to try and sue a man for staring at her legs because of a short skirt, the jury and court would not punish the man, rather they would tell the woman; "If you don't want people to stare at your legs then wear a longer skirt"
- True Story

Moderator
#42 Edited by comicboy12 (32 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sorry but Donna Troy is a fictional character. There's no decision or choice in want she wears, it's decided on by a bunch creators who do it because they want to make her appealing to their market. Any other justification other than that is complete and utter BS.  These are fictional character folks, they can hardly decide what words come out of their mouths let alone what to wear.

#43 Posted by RhysPengelly (15 posts) - - Show Bio

OK, hopefully this doesn't spark anything to big and I just want to say from the beginning I am not trying to offend anyone or start an argument.
 
As a guy I admit that if a woman is wearing revealing clothing, then I will check her out for a bit longer than if she was wearing 'normal' clothing, and I myself have never wolf-whistled or licked my lips, etc while checking them out. 
 
The problem is though that there are people out there that would, and bearing that in mind, if a woman goes out in revealing clothing there is a chance one of these things may happen, and while I don't condone this behaviour there is nothing much that
can really be done about it. So when it comes down to it they really have to decide whether they want to 'take that risk' of something like that happening to them and just hope it doesn't.

#44 Posted by Jordanstine (907 posts) - - Show Bio


Doesn't society know by now? 
 
A) Women who try to show and flaunt their sexiness = SLUTTY  
Not to mention, hard to take serious. 
 
I.e. Power Girl  
    
 

B) Women who try to cover up their sexiness = REAL SEXY
Not to mention, even classy and respectable. 
 
I.e. Jean Grey 
 
    

#45 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Donna Troy's costume.

#46 Posted by Dr. Detfink (460 posts) - - Show Bio

Wait, it's not because it's draw and written by a sausage farm of writers and authors many of which are in their thirties, single, and cater to a crowd that aren't particularly ladies' men? Most geeks do settle down and find their loved one but y'know this audience is not built for that.

#47 Posted by alicemalice (74 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd have to agree.  As a woman whenever I wear a sexy outfit some people are going to look or stare.  Admittedly, the only thing in female costumes that ever piss me off are the ridiculous heels.

#48 Posted by SupremoMaximo (209 posts) - - Show Bio

a question could also be,,, how come ugly people (not counting deadpool) don't get super powers... 
 
Because sexy sells

#49 Posted by Jordanstine (907 posts) - - Show Bio

Example of sexy with no reveal:

 
 
No cleavage, no bathing suits, no belly button exposed, no fishnet stockings, yet... it's SEXY (not to mention pretty classy too)! 
    
#50 Edited by bybeach (10 posts) - - Show Bio

No lip licking! 
 
And 'Power Girl'..what creative genius came up with that name? 
 
I prefer most anything over blond, so Ms. Troy looks much better to me anyways.
And IDK anymore, that one wonder woman is showing a fair amount of of butt up there, is that conducive to nabbing bad guys, or nabbing someone she wants to be with. Is it whats right for the job, or whats right for the  adolescent young man who will be driven to holding the issue up with one hand. Poor kid! 
 
I'm not being crude. What does it all mean?

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