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

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#151 Posted by Ippy (179 posts) - - Show Bio

 As a female reader, I actually enjoy seeing so many female characters be a little risque every now and then. Personally, if I was a superhero myself, I would have a more "distracting" costume as well because I think a lot of guys don't realize how empowering feeling sexy can be. 
 
Besides, spandex and superhero costumes belong together. I wouldn't have it any other way.

#152 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@Blackestnight said:

" @HexThis:
@texasdeathmatch:   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.  

I don't feel at all inferior or intimidated by the visuals nor do I need them to be role models for myself per se, I would actually much prefer to read interesting stories about compelling characters more than anything else. Putting these heroes up on a pedestal of extremes dehumanizes them and to a certain degree there's a bit of idolization I'm willing to put up with but these images of women far past any rational objectification is just not cool by me. Has nothing to do with what I want for myself but rather more so with what standards everyone should hold themselves to in this day in age. 
 
This isn't beauty to me and it has nothing to do with aesthetics, we're following characters, 3-dimensional people on a very complex landscape. It's not only artists who portray comic book characters, it's writers, it's editors, it's actors, they completely transcend being solely "products". And when I look at a visual of a woman I find offensive, it's not just because the outfit sucks it's because it's a character, it's a culmination of efforts from many people reduced to something that I think is disrespectful of that. 
 
 

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 

Jealous? I've seen this a few times over, "body issues" and "jealousy", it's interesting to me that people assume this assertion comes from some insecurity. Well it's not, I'm not trying start a crusade against beauty, I'm not trying to insist that women all be frumpy in comics, what I'm saying and what most people on my side of things are saying is that we see examples of sexism and chauvinism (or even misogyny) and we don't like it.
 
I don't necessarily blame men, how could I when I girl remarks right after you that she enjoys this kinda crap?  But this article was written by a man, plenty of men have defended my point, and I know plenty of men who agree with me. This isn't a battle of the sexes in the slightest, I love men. And if you don't think I'm just as offended by disgustingly muscular male characters you're wrong, I find that to be equally repulsive at times. 
 
 


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. 
  

So you're saying these examples we've been showing are actually images of enhanced women? See that just exposes the chauvinism, how does it enhance a woman to be running into the battlefield with next to nothing on while her male co-horts are under layers of armor with big guns and loads of ammunition to conceal in their costumes? 
 
Again, it would be pretty irrational of me to insist women not be hot or sexy but to me, the images I've seen in this topic aren't pretty or hot or cute or sexy, they're demeaning to the women they're supposed to portray. Too see Storm, Psylocke, and Kitty bound and gagged in bikinis with men prodding at them like cows from behind...that's not hot to me AT ALL. 
 
 

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.

But who doesn't like beauty? It's not about that at all. No one here has suggested people are "too pretty", we mostly find the depictions sleazy and disrespectful. It's not offensive because it's  "sexy", it's offensive because it's dumb, because it's uninformed. Having Psylocke in a thong is dumb, Powergirl's flimsy reasoning for putting her bust out is dumb, Milo Manara's o-faced women look dumb, Huntress's glorified stripper-wear...dumb. Not of-low-mental-capacity stupid necessarily but so primitive and simple in concept that we should really hold ourselves to a higher standard.
#153 Posted by foible (3 posts) - - Show Bio

In a reality where the most bright, garish, obnoxious day-glo colors and color schemes are the norm; where ridiculously large shoulder pads,capes, or horned helmets don't raise eyebrows;  where characters walk tight-ropes or perform Olympic caliber gymnastic in stiletto heels--in such a reality, "modesty" is the least of issues when considering the absurdity of it all.  But people don't read comics for the "reality", they read them for an escape from reality.

#154 Posted by lilmikeegee (4 posts) - - Show Bio

look how women dress in reality. Let's take celebrities. They show as much skin as they want and it suits them. That is the mindset of some women and our society in general. Yes, these costumes usually make no sense and are impractical, but they are still a reflection of our society as a whole. If our society was different, perhaps these female crimefighters would be wear burkas or schoolgirl outfits...

#155 Posted by LP (671 posts) - - Show Bio
@comicboy12: Yeah, this is true as well....
#156 Edited by LP (671 posts) - - Show Bio
@comicboy12:


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.  

 
So do we just need a real variety of creators?
#157 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27082 posts) - - Show Bio

You know what, not to be rude to all the passionate posters out there.... but seriously... its a freaking comic book, not the bible. 
 
How about we just move on and find far more interesting topics to get excited about hmm?

#158 Edited by COBRAMORPH (1408 posts) - - Show Bio

  I find the point of this to be an utter waste of time. If you look at how women dress out in public, (not while working [ in an office:) ])they are tight jeans, mid-riffs showing, bra straps. They dress like sluts in real life, so why should anyone B&Moan when they look like whores in comics.
 
I honestly feel that if women got super powers, or did bat-training, they'd "wear" the same kind of suits. The super power girls dont really need to have the suit for armor, & if Batman has the yellow chest symbol to distract from his head, then Huntress does the same with her outfit. Also, lets not forget that the costumes are made out of the same materials for both genders. And the guys ARE all 'roided out. Yet no one ever seems to bring that up that its not a good portrayal for young boys. Just girls. boo hoo.
 
As for comics being mainly for guys, it is true, my sister is the only girl in our family other than our mother & one related aunt, the only girl in our level of the family tree of 10, she had no exposer to the "feminine" world growing up, & she still had no interest in anything us brothers or her cousins liked. Toys, shows, movies, books, clothes. She is still as girly as any of her friends, except she'll punch you out. She had no interest in seeing Iron Man2, or Prince of Persia, & I asked her if she'd like to see a Wonder Woman movie, & she still said she wouldnt. She's not into those kinds of movies.

When I saw Prince of Persia a few nights ago, a guy brought his GF, & the entire time she was B&moaning about being there & watching it. So this nonsence of having love interests in these movies like PoP or Pepper Potts in IM2 so that the ladies have something to like in the movie is untrue. Sure there are some female fans, just like some guys like the stuff most females are fans of, but its not enough to justify ruining the movie of either group to try & get some from the other. Is the money from a few women really worth ruining the movie with an aweful "love story" in PoP?


The only reason a supergirl or a batgirl were ever made was to cash in on the sex appeal. And lets not forget that Powergirl was created with an ever expanding tits. In real life, we have just about every actress or female athlete posing in maxim & FHM. Playboy even. Even IF the female heros of DC/Marvel & Top Cow wore the same outfits as the men, they'd still be half naked in some magizine first chance they get.


If I sound too angry or whatnot, I dont mean to, but while writing this I realized that next week I'll have to spend 4 days listening to a bunch of women B&moaning complaining aout the sexist outfits at Anime Expo2010, all the while MOST STILL WEARING SAID OFFENSIVE outfits.

This topic is just like the women in refrigoritors. An irrevivent topic used by a small minority to imply something is there when its not.
 
& lets talk about anime. Watch  Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. No matter how strong or skilled the famle, she will never be treated as an equl. In that show, Kenichi refuses to ever fight female fighters who are of his skill or mostly better than him. He never will. & its brought up several times in that show. & honestly, its the one reason why I hate that show. Plus some of the girls actully think its admirable. Makes me sick.

#159 Edited by Gothic Storm (842 posts) - - Show Bio

The bottom line is the suit makes the man.. or shall I say the superhero? If superheroes wore the same outfits they would either be in the police force or in the pages of Classic X-men. There are many male superheroes who also dress a bit 'unconventional' as well, but our lady fans certainly don't mind right? Practicality can pretty much be tossed out the window when you're looking at what moves your book off the store shelves and magazine racks. I work in the furniture business and my company's website displays it's furniture with families sitting around laughing or guys sitting around cheering and watching a football game. You push what sells... or you can say goodbye to your job. Talk about practicality of superhero outfits all you want, but if a title is selling then sorry ladies... You're just gonna have to learn to live with fighting in those stiletos, fishnets, and bikinis. Do the artists and creators have to explain why their characters are dressed like they are? Not really. Most of their characters have been dressing like that since the 80s. Like they say, if it aint broke then don't fix it.

#160 Posted by RogueVampire (182 posts) - - Show Bio

Personally I don't care how the comic book artists draw female characters. It's the fan art I have a trouble with. The fan art who show characters like Rogue or Wonder Girl with triple D boobs in little to no clothing. And don't forget the nipples! So many good artists draw these characters fine but then have their nipples sticking out. It is very offensive to me as a female to see women drawn in these pornographic outfits and positions. We are more than a set of boobs or a hole to shove "junior" in. Those pictures make me feel like guys see us as nothing more than whores.

#161 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead. said:

How about we just move on and find far more interesting topics to get excited about hmm? "

Splendid idea. Go run off and find something more thrilling to talk about elsewhere = )  
 
@COBRAMORPH said:

"   I find the point of this to be an utter waste of time. If you look at how women dress out in public, (not while working [ in an office:) ])they are tight jeans, mid-riffs showing, bra straps. They dress like sluts in real life, so why should anyone B&Moan when they look like whores in comics.

You inadvertently help my point so well. 
 
@Gothic Storm said:

" The bottom line is the suit makes the man.. or shall I say the superhero? If superheroes wore the same outfits they would either be in the police force or in the pages of Classic X-men.

 Don't think anyone is calling for that at all, I don't necessarily want female characters in firefighter gear nor do I believe G-man does. Do they need to be dressed like Rock of Love contests on date night though? Is there no happy medium between functionality and sex appeal? Can't a female character be sexual without going so terribly far in that direction? 
 
 

here are many male superheroes who also dress a bit 'unconventional' as well, but our lady fans certainly don't mind right?
 

Do you believe female heroines are wearing less and less clothing because artists are continually saying to each other "I have an idea let's be unconventional and have her be more naked than the average woman". Conventionality is neither the motivation nor the concern and this isn't a men vs women issue either, the article's written by a guy. And anyways, the percentile of scantily-clad men versus scantily-clad women as well as sexualized men and sexualized women is largely disproportionate. 
 
 

You push what sells... or you can say goodbye to your job. Talk about practicality of superhero outfits all you want, but if a title is selling then sorry ladies... You're just gonna have to learn to live with fighting in those stiletos, fishnets, and bikinis. Do the artists and creators have to explain why their characters are dressed like they are? Not really. Most of their characters have been dressing like that since the 80s. Like they say, if it aint broke then don't fix it.

Women are 53% percent of the population and the revenue from comicbooks is far from lucrative, most titles like Marvel and DC actually could stand to do better in terms of comicbook sales and I would think trying to appeal to a population that amounts to half of our nations would be kinda smart. 
 
Suppose Marvel was making money of money for women in bikinis though, why should any of us care? Are you shareholder? Cause right now most of us give our money and I don't think it's wrong to question what the return is.
#162 Edited by Blackestnight (640 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis: 

So you're saying these examples we've been showing are actually images of enhanced women? See that just exposes the chauvinism, how does it enhance a woman to be running into the battlefield with next to nothing on while her male co-horts are under layers of armor with big guns and loads of ammunition to conceal in their costumes?

  Well that's bull because their male cohorts are also in spandex. Comics started with men in their underwear which they wear on the outside for no real reason. And the examples here are cherry picked. You can find the same stuff from the guys. The question posed was about exploitation and function. The explanation is that being dressed is in a sexy way isn't exploitation, it's just extra on top of characters whose whole purpose is to be "super" in all aspects. As for function, the tight clothing is functional the heels are not. A lot of it is copying male character as about a forth of female characters are female versions of males like spiderwoman, super girl bat girl etc.
 
Again, it would be pretty irrational of me to insist women not be hot or sexy but to me, the images I've seen in this topic aren't pretty or hot or cute or sexy, they're demeaning to the women they're supposed to portray. Too see Storm, Psylocke, and Kitty bound and gagged in bikinis with men prodding at them like cows from behind...that's not hot to me AT ALL
 
Those images are supposed to be negative. That was the context of the story, you're supposed to hate those guys. To you a woman is "sexy" when she kicks ass as you said with Kill Bill you're favorite film.  To me, and I am a man, a woman is sexy when she is sexy and if she can kick ass that increases her sexiness. For you if she shows how hot she is visually then it decreases her sexiness. And I say that is a prejudice. The main taboo against sexual liberation was never as much from man to woman, as it was from women to other women.  Obviously the comic characters are sexy both the men and women. And they would be in clothing or spandex or whatever. They all have perfect faces and bodies. It seems like the main issue is about tight outfits on T&A.  It's not demeaning to women. Covering up in a veil head to toe is demeaning. A comic book characters can be dress however the artist wants. Sexy sales more books.
 
 What all is sexy is subjective. And you're in the minority. Most people who claim that characters are not role models or representing the real world don't take offense at what they wear. They don't care. If you are mad when the guys are wearing thights you're in a minority there too. Most normal people comfortable with their self image do not even think for two seconds that Batman is wearing underwear on the out side or gray tights with a teenage boy fighting fully clothed bad guys. The entire justice league could be the underwear league.  Jonn, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all wear speedos and flash and green lantern are in full body tights. Heman is in a lion cloth, silver surfer is basically nude, Spiderman is in spandex, Namor is in nothing but nuthuggers, Iceman wears only ice sometimes. It was like that for decade before they even bothered with female heroines. But that's ok because having perfected athletic bodies is inspiring. It doesn't shame them or demean the characters on the contrary it shows an extra reason why they are a cut above.  Is sue Storm lesser than because she dresses like the rest of the F4? Or is she the same only she happens to have breasts, so what. It doesn't change their stories it doesn't make her less of a mom or a heroine. 
 
Most people want to see the muscles on the guys, be it insane like the hulk or big like superman or fairly big like daredevil. It's not for sexual reasons, at least not for guys, it's better looking period even from a nuetral point of view same as a healthy animal would be compared to a sickly one. 
 
If you put the guys in tights and clothed all the women up someone would complain about that too and how it wasn't equal and women had to be ashamed etc. Normal clothes are boring. If they were just wearing jeans and stuff is would be less interesting. A uniform has another purpose in marketing. By wearing the same thing over and over they are iconic. If they all change all the time its harder to follow and they are not so iconic.   
 
We've got characters being beaten, burned, killed, stabbed, etc and we have them dishing out the same, but none of that gets as much of a rise as oh her waist is too small or her boobs are too big. The real problem here is with envy over what other people think is sexy because you don't share in it.
 
Marvel and Dc are doing swell. if you want to see a good example of poor role models and bad stories for impressionable women, then look to Disney's own creations of basically perfect female teenagers with loving dads but no moms, whose sole purpose in life is to get a guy they don't really know and get married. 
 
Little Mermaid, Father was a king and no mother the only other female role provided was the enemy, got married. Beauty and the Beast, loving inventor father no mother, got married. Aladan, Jasmin's father was the sultan, no mother, got married. Finding Nemo, no mother, father finds the lost fish. Pinoccio, loving father makes him out of wood, no mom. Jungle book, boy raised by a bear father figure and no mom. Snow White no parents, enemy is a woman jealous of beauty, gets married. Sleeping beauty same thing. Cinderalla had a mom well a step mom but she was evil, gets married with guy she knew one night. Sword in the stone, no mom, just a dad and a wizard like father figure, the adult female mad maden mim is the enemy. 101 domations, the enemy is a adult woman, the puppies do have a mom, but really only as an explanation to how they got there, the dog parents aren't really in the film. Pocahontas, has leader for a father again but no mom and gets married. 
 
The stories offer one type of female character, a teen to be married or a witch. Some like the mermaid I guess get skimpy but most of them don't.  But I find them much more offensive that Elektra kicking the crap out guys even if she is showing a lot of leg while she does it. 
#163 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@Blackestnight said:

  Well that's bull because their male cohorts are also in spandex. Comics started with men in their underwear which they wear on the outside for no real reason. And the examples here are cherry picked. You can find the same stuff from the guys. The question posed was about exploitation and function. The explanation is that being dressed is in a sexy way isn't exploitation, it's just extra on top of characters whose whole purpose is to be "super" in all aspects. As for function, the tight clothing is functional the heels are not. A lot of it is copying male character as about a forth of female characters are female versions of males like spiderwoman, super girl bat girl etc. 

Comics started with men wearing underwear over stockings, underwear with virtually no suggestion of exposure in terms of private parts. With women we're talking skin, exposed butt-cheeks, dipping cleavage...do you see any equivalent with men? 
 
I brought up Milo Manaro's fetish comic "Marvel Girls", anything like that in terms of men? How often do we see men near-naked? Men in leashes or in bondage? Or sexualized to the point women are at all? 
 
 

Those images are supposed to be negative. That was the context of the story, you're supposed to hate those guys. To you a woman is "sexy" when she kicks ass as you said with Kill Bill you're favorite film.  To me, and I am a man, a woman is sexy when she is sexy and if she can kick ass that increases her sexiness. For you if she shows hot she is visually then it decreases her sexiness. And I say that from prejudice. The main taboo against sexual liberation was never as much from man to woman, as it was from women to other women.
 

It's the context of the story literally but subliminally or, well, quite overtly isn't it convenient that they're gagged and tied up in such a way? He's a fetish artist, look up Milo Manara. It's basically softcore porn. There's a context, storylines and all, to that too but does it make it anything but softcore porn? Does it change the fetish? No. Am I against softcore porn? Not necessarily. For the X-women though? Of course I'm against it, of course I am because I don't want their images exploited to serve that purpose with Marvel as a conduit. It's wrong on so many levels.  
 
Also, I wasn't viewing the Bride in terms of sex appeal, I was trying to give an example of a compelling and attractive female who brought in the numbers without having to wriggle herself into a corset or something. Of course beauty and sexuality are objective but when you're dealing with the masses and society as a whole, some images conjure up the discussions. Yes, at face value they may be sexy but where's the line?  
 
 .

Covering up in a veil head to toe is demeaning. A comic book characters can be dress however the artist wants. Sexy sales more books. What all is sexy is subjective. And you're in the minority. Most people who claim that characters are not role models or representing the real world don't take offense at what they wear. They don't care. 
  

When did I suggest covering anyone from head to toe? I don't think anyone is saying there should be no exposure, I think people just think excessive, tasteless exposure is a bad idea but I have yet to hear anyone suggest they wear berkas all of a sudden. They can still be sexy but looking like FHM spreads? It's just senseless and ridiculous, all too much of both even for comic books. 
 

 The entire justice league could be the underwear league.  Jonn, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all wear speedos and flash and green lantern are in full body tights. Heman is in a lion cloth, silver surfer is basically nude, Spiderman is in spandex, Namor is in nothing but nuthuggers, Iceman wears only ice sometimes. It was like that for decade before they even bothered with female heroines.

Is that what you or most guys would wear for underwear? Full body-stockings? Because the last time I checked, most men wear far less. Again, it is spandex but interestingly it's not at all as distorted or exaggerated as female parts in latex. 
 
Iceman isn't anatomically correct in his iceform and have you ever seen much of suggestion of Namor's junk or his butt-cheeks in that speedo? No. But Ms. Marvel or Mystique or Storm or Psylocke have started off with bathing suits and ended up with thongs that sometimes even cut slimly around their crotch. 
 

 Most people want to see the muscles on the guys, be it insane like the hulk or big like superman or fairly big like daredevil. It's not for sexual reasons, at least not for guys, it's better looking period even from a nuetral point of view same as a healthy animal would be compared to a sickly one.
 

But at least with regards to the muscle there's a purpose and a reasoning to that. What heroine, designing her costume decides "You know what? Since I'll be saving lives, this should be low cut and the fabric on the one-piece should sneak up my crack so I can booty clap". Of course they'd need muscles but how does looking like a video-ho amplify a female heroine? 
 
 

If you put the guys in tights and clothed all the women up someone would complain about that too and how it wasn't equal and women had to be ashamed etc. Normal clothes are boring. If they were just wearing jeans and stuff is would be less interesting. A uniform has another purpose in marketing. By wearing the same thing over and over they are iconic. If they all change all the time its harder to follow and they are not so iconic.  
 

First of all, like I said, the tights aren't nearly as revealing but I also never suggested I want anyone in civilian clothes. And plenty of female heroes have become iconic and marketable without having to go that far. Ever see Jean Grey in a revealing costume? Sue Storm? Not really. 
 
 

We've got characters being beaten, burned, killed, stabbed, etc and we have them dishing out the same, but none of that gets as much of a rise as oh her waist is too small or her boobs are too big. The real problem here is with envy over what other people think is sexy because you don't share in it.

I don't think I would want to share it and frankly the implication this has anything to do with envy is ridiculous. Of course opposing anything with feminist perspective must lead to some deep-seated insecurity, right?  Or could it be that the crushing reality that women don't really want, need, or desire to look like this for men let alone themselves be the thing that brings out insecurity in others?
 
Plus, you've not the faintest idea of who I am or what I look like or what I'm secure or insecure about, it's a dead-end argument unless you want to analyze my writing in which case you'll likely distract from the argument you're trying to make in the first place.
#164 Posted by Anaria (18 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't read through all the comments , but a few thoughts -
 
I don't have much of a problem with the outfits women in comics wear, I've seen some shocking outfits at the mall. Look around at the women in a gym - they're wearing short shorts and crop tops. I know I don't like to wear a lot of clothes when I'm working out, even lycra gets hot.  It's the bodies underneath that are unrealistic. You look at athletes, they're not big busted unless they've had surgery.  

#165 Posted by comicnerdy (256 posts) - - Show Bio

I just think it's kinda degrading to women, not to mention some of it is unnecessary.

#166 Posted by .Mistress Redhead. (27082 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis: and yet you completely ignored my advice. 
#167 Posted by dondasch (925 posts) - - Show Bio
@Golden Cod: An interesting idea on the Punisher, however I feel that his costume is designed more in line with Batman's, which is more psychologically based.  A criminal sees the Bat logo or the skull and automatically knows that his adversary is not to be messed with
#168 Posted by Trnck (16 posts) - - Show Bio

Is anyone as shallow as I am?
I love sexy ladies. It's always a plus to have sexy ladies in my comics.

#169 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead. said:
" @HexThis: and yet you completely ignored my advice.  "
Likewise.
#170 Edited by .Mistress Redhead. (27082 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis said:

" @.Mistress Redhead. said:

" @HexThis: and yet you completely ignored my advice.  "
Likewise. "
Watch how you speak to people please. 
 
EDIT: 
 
While your opinion is of course valid, sometimes we need to simply let things go, that was the point of my suggestion above, you choosing to ignore it is your decision of course, but please refrain from attacking moderators when they ask for things to chill out. 
#171 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@.Mistress Redhead. said:
" @HexThis said:

" @.Mistress Redhead. said:

" @HexThis: and yet you completely ignored my advice.  "
Likewise. "
Watch how you speak to people please.  EDIT:  While your opinion is of course valid, sometimes we need to simply let things go, that was the point of my suggestion above, you choosing to ignore it is your decision of course, but please refrain from attacking moderators when they ask for things to chill out.  "
I admit it was snappy but I felt that the remark from before was dismissive about you being bored with this topic, what's wrong with a prolonged discussion? Our posts on both ends were impassioned but I think both sides are presenting compelling arguments with full-bodied dialogue, why put an end to that? The article was thought-provoking and thus far we've managed to stay on topic, we're definitely not in flame-war territory.
#172 Posted by X-93 (234 posts) - - Show Bio
@Trnck: I agree I like the sexy girls in comics.  I especially like the fact that the books now are rated.  They did not do that when I was a kid and my mother was a little mad at some of the sexy drawings in the comics.
#173 Posted by Gothic Storm (842 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis: Your opinion is a valid one. But, the truth of the matter is these are FICTIONAL characters. Jim Lee, who is one of the more recent artists who reintroduced many of us to comic books and has bridged generations due to this, draws some incredible females. Gen 13, which flew off the store shelves faster than long standing titles such as Spider-man and Batman back in the mid-90s, had neat little storylines and... well... scantily clad women AND men. Yes, their costumes were very tastefully done (some would exclude Fairchild and Grunge from this), but THE ART IS WHAT SOLD THE BOOK! No, I don't think most well-known artists sit around asking, "Should we dress her (or him) with less clothes to sell our book?" Although, it's funny imagining that right? My point is this, you use what sells your book and what appeals to your CORE audience. Several of my lady friends who read comics actually love the sexy ladies in them. I know there are more women in this world than men (although that's beginning to change due to artificial insimination), but a larger majority of guys read comic books than girls... I know, it's heartbreaking to admit. Thanks to whoever backed me up by displaying pics of the scantily clad men in comics.  I actually prefer my superhero ladies to be dressed more like Black Cat or even Hawkwoman. Don't get me wrong now, I'm not one to go drooling over pages and pages of drawn-up fictional women. I do however find it funny how our mothers, grandmothers, and some great-grandmothers, fought hard to wear what they wanted and not be discriminated against for it. Should we not take the notion from them and continue this? Most of us here do live in "free" countries don't we? I... use the term free loosely of course, Uncle Sam. 
 
*checks his wallet*
 
 Face it, HexThis, the bar sits about even... You just need to remember that guys are more prone to be turned on by sight and girls are turned on more by touch (along with creative romance novels). That right there is money in the bank for comic book publishers. Waitaminute... Did you ever work for the Comic Book Code Authority? ;)
#174 Posted by E.I.S.A.M. (369 posts) - - Show Bio

I believe that women in comics, and pop culture on a whole, should have more respect. Young girls need heroes just as much as young boys do. Maybe more, and they're not gonna find em' with Paris Hilton, or Lindsay Lohan. 
As far as changing a comic book character's image, it can be tricky. Most people might respond negatively to getting rid of Power girl's *ahem* hole. But, if you replace it with a cool symbol, and keep her iconic look, and not put her in that stupid red white and blue thing with the headband again, then I think people will make it work. 
It's not the 90's anymore. We've moved on from the suits made of pockets, and the armor, and the shoulder pads. It's time to move away from exploitation too. 

#175 Posted by HexThis (852 posts) - - Show Bio
@Gothic Storm said:
" @HexThis: Your opinion is a valid one. But, the truth of the matter is these are FICTIONAL characters. Jim Lee, who is one of the more recent artists who reintroduced many of us to comic books and has bridged generations due to this, draws some incredible females. Gen 13, which flew off the store shelves faster than long standing titles such as Spider-man and Batman back in the mid-90s, had neat little storylines and... well... scantily clad women AND men. Yes, their costumes were very tastefully done (some would exclude Fairchild and Grunge from this), but THE ART IS WHAT SOLD THE BOOK! No, I don't think most well-known artists sit around asking, "Should we dress her (or him) with less clothes to sell our book?" Although, it's funny imagining that right? My point is this, you use what sells your book and what appeals to your CORE audience. Several of my lady friends who read comics actually love the sexy ladies in them. I know there are more women in this world than men (although that's beginning to change due to artificial insimination), but a larger majority of guys read comic books than girls... I know, it's heartbreaking to admit. Thanks to whoever backed me up by displaying pics of the scantily clad men in comics.  I actually prefer my superhero ladies to be dressed more like Black Cat or even Hawkwoman. Don't get me wrong now, I'm not one to go drooling over pages and pages of drawn-up fictional women. I do however find it funny how our mothers, grandmothers, and some great-grandmothers, fought hard to wear what they wanted and not be discriminated against for it. Should we not take the notion from them and continue this? Most of us here do live in "free" countries don't we? I... use the term free loosely of course, Uncle Sam. 
 
*checks his wallet*   Face it, HexThis, the bar sits about even... You just need to remember that guys are more prone to be turned on by sight and girls are turned on more by touch (along with creative romance novels). That right there is money in the bank for comic book publishers. Waitaminute... Did you ever work for the Comic Book Code Authority? ;) "
I remain unswayed. And if you've read anything I've said there's a response for all of that anyways. = )
#176 Edited by Gothic Storm (842 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis: I wasn't trying to sway you in the first place. I thought this was a message board after all and not a political platform. There's a response for everything on these boards... Yes, even to those whiners who complain about female superheroes not wearing enough clothing. I enjoy discussing things with my fellow comic book fans and I never try and sway anyone into following my own beliefs. Yes, some of the clothing on fictional characters (male AND female) wouldn't protect them from crap. Then again, many fictional characters are written into stories and given powers to where they really don't need much protection. Seriously, if Supergirl, Superman, Hulk and She-Hulk really wanted to they could run around in the nude. Whose going to stop them? (Who would want to stop them?) Alright alright that was a bit far fetched, but you get my mid-drift.  ;) 
 
Anyway, Good to see you posting your opinions on the boards though, HexThis,... Many people don't seem to come around and post much unless provoked. This is a decent thread and there are some good opinions and responses. To keep the thread going though I'll ask anyone: How practical are stilletos? Can a woman actually fight in them? Just curious. I know it's all fictional, but I find it funny to see female characters wearing them while running.
#177 Posted by obscurefan (274 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to come down on the side of saying they're exploitative. I mean I'm shocked that marvel is trying to draw in female readers this year, and yet they still dress their female characters like this. If they want to get female readers, put pants on Ms Marvel.

#178 Posted by DEGRAAF (7811 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it started out as stylized and worn for better movement.

 Black Canary Golden Age

 Black Canary Modern Age
not a big difference between the two out fits besides where the leather ends on her hips, they used to look like short shorts not its like a thong.

 Supergirl Golden Age

 Supergirl Modern Age

again not a big difference but a large midrift and a shorter skirt

 Wonder Woman Golden Age

 from a skirt to a thong and a bigger chest

none of these seem to be huge changes they are just making the changes and alterations in the right places to look more provocative.
 
 Star Sapphire Lantern Original





 This has to be the biggest change from the original.


most of these arent actually that bad but i agree they dont have alot of practical use to them when it comes to fighting (except for Wonder Womans of course) 
 
I think it is more that when these women were created, their outfits were provocative from that era and as time moved on and people became less sensitized to riske' attire and nudity the more men just blocked these women out, so to get these women back in the public eye they just tweeked the outfits a bit to make them more interesting. Before the only reason alot of female characters were out there was for guys to look at but as comics become more for both sexes  men and women are starting to notice the characters for who they truly are and what good (or evil) they could possibly do, which in turn makes us notice how rediculous they look in some of their outfits. we know it wont protect them and the ones who really care about these characters and their stories would like to see them taken more seriously and taken better care of. Would we rather see Black Canary in a bikini with bullet holes in her or would we rather see her with a kevlar suit that looks like spandex that covers from neck to toe.  I agree that not all of them should be totally covered but atleast give them their dignity and respect as a real super hero that is taken seriously, i think Power Girl would be a much more liked character if they covered the hole and turned her in to the more lieutenant General military attitude training ive seen recently in the JSA All-Stars
#179 Posted by ReverseNegative (2729 posts) - - Show Bio

 exploitive. aboslutely.

#180 Posted by JamesM (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Firstly, and admission: I am not a comic reader. I arrived at this article after idly clicking around the sister site links at the bottom of Giant Bomb. I have nothing against comics as a medium, but I didn't grow up with them, and have not (yet) investigated them much. Perhaps my perspective as an outsider is valuable, but really all I have to say could equally apply to depiction of women in video games, of which I am an enthusiastic player. This is all indicative of culture-wide trends at work in all corners of society. But rest assured, I have no interest in telling anyone off – after all, I'm no saint myself – I just think it's valuable to have a clear view of the issues at hand, and why they matter.
 
When a concern is raised about a medium with an audience as passionate as comic book fans (or gamers),  the response is generally a series of reflex defences of their beloved hobby. These dismissals are often rather weak. For example, the mantra that "sex sells" is only relevant to those doing the selling. Buying into this maxim wholesale is submitting yourself cynical exploitation. Of course, there is nothing wrong with an interest in sex, and I wouldn't want to deny the world what it currently has in the comic book depiction of women, but the problem is when that becomes the norm, rather than the fringe it should be. To excuse the wholesale objectification of women on purely financial grounds is to sacrifice any claim to artistry or integrity or anything beyond consumable goods; indeed, it dismisses the work of the artists and writers to an elaborate marketing exercise. Of course, comics must sell, and those by major publishers have a greater commercial impetus. The question of why women are presented the way they are is trivial to the point of irrelevance. It's obvious. Absolutely nobody is confused about it. Yes, it's because sex sells. But this ought not be at the expense of the respect the author has for women, or for the reader. 
 
In short, if shit sells, that doesn't mean we should be happy with shit. 
 
The argument that women dress provocatively in order to distract their opponents is ridiculous. Well, you can use that excuse once. After that, it's either a chronic lack of imagination akin to leagues of spidermen blotting out the sun with web, or it's just a feeble excuse. Besides, it doesn't explain the natural good looks and ridiculous proportions these women all have. Did they decide to grow enormous gravity-defying breasts when they set their respective hearts on fighting crime? Or did none of the more homely prospectives make the cut, lacking that vital edge of distraction? Why aren't their more distraction techniques at work? Why aren't there male superheroes with enormous bulges in their pants? Why doesn't anyone have confusing slogans on their chest to bemuse their foes as they strike? Why don't sidekicks throw the forces off-balance with a sudden blast from a vuvuzela? It's an astonishing coincidence that they should all choose a method that happens to appeal to adolescent male sexual fantasies. 
 
Another response is the claim that the sexualization is evenly distributed, and that the men are also fine physical specimens. This is less immediately ridiculous, but is perhaps quite telling of the problems underlying this whole issue. Now, I am a man, and as such I cannot speak with authority on the female perspective, but as far as I can tell, all these portrayals are from a distinctly male perspective. It seems to me that the women exist entirely in relation to men, and in terms of male agenda, whereas the men have a more self-sufficient identity. 
 
It all boils down to titillation. A bit of titillation is fine, but when it's so rampant in a comic and comic books as a medium, it reduces the whole thing to an appeal to the groin. At that stage you might as well stop beating about the bush and sell it as such: "BOOBS AND EXPLOSIONS!" or whatever. Or at least address it in the plot: if a character is going to look so outrageously attractive, make it relevant to the plot in a meaningful way. Before you say anything, distracting villains is not meaningful. 
 
Again, all this could apply to several games I otherwise enjoy, and it really hurts my respect for them.
 
The point, ultimately, is to improve the characterization and storytelling. A woman defined by her chest measurement is more of a prop than a character.
 
I'm not saying exorcize sex from comics. Titillation is titillation, fun is fun. It's just a matter of balance and perhaps an element of realism here and there, and perhaps some kind of acknowledgement of context. You know, the sexual tension generated by an actual relationship between characters, rather than an indiscriminate broadcast of one's sexuality to the entire universe. It'll help you take things seriously, which is I'm sure what a fair number of you want. Of course, the chances of real change are slim, but it's still important to discuss these things, I think. 

Anyway, as I said, I'm not familiar with comics in anything but the most rudimentary of respects, so please excuse and correct any factual inaccuracy, although if my preconceptions are really that far off, you have to wonder how effective a job comics are doing in the PR department. Again, I'm painfully aware that games suffer from some of the same public image problems. Still, I've probably been a little unfair in places, and for that I apologize. I hope you can find something of worth in this tl;dr sprawl.

As a final note, I encourage anyone interested in the portrayal of women in the media (in this case film) read this article: Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women. It astutely sums up some things I've been thinking for some time, and cuts through a lot of the faux-empowerment crap (to surmise: no, Megan Fox's "strong female character" in Transformers is not a good role model, mainly because she's completely unreal).

Thank you for reading, if you did. I hope I didn't tread on any toes.

#181 Posted by Solitaire (45 posts) - - Show Bio

After I read this article, the first thing that came to mind was the first Ghost in the Shell movie. The Major is completely naked for, like, 90% of that movie, and the excuse they give is that it allows her to move more easily. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing movie, but come on, Really?

#182 Edited by comicboy12 (32 posts) - - Show Bio

on an interesting tidbit   J. Michael Straczynski commented of the different between female and male costumes in recent interview   
 
http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/06/30/j-michael-straczynski-wonder-woman/
 

CA: Do you think that more female superheroes should have costumes that focus on functionality and style rather than designs that highlight sexuality?



JMS: It's not a case of either/or. What I found fascinating recently was a Wonder Woman reader, a woman, who pointed out that the difference between male and female superheroes is that male heroes are idealized in their appearance (muscles, skin-tight, but not being overtly sexual or posed in sexual ways), and women heroes are objectified (the posing and what's shown is more overt). I thought this was absolutely fascinating, and dead on. So what we've really done here, I think, is move her from objectification to a more idealized appearance. But she remains strong, and attractive, and, I think, that makes her even more sexy, in a tough-minded way.
#183 Edited by Blackestnight (640 posts) - - Show Bio

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Tc4K7sEnU 

  Costumes on the men and women are neither practical or exploitative. 
A few are practical the the Punisher's get up or Magneto with his helmet but otherwise they outfit are for us to identify them and remember them.
 
@HexThis:   

 Ever see Jean Grey in a revealing costume? Sue Storm? Not really.   

 Actually yes, Jean Grey and Sue have perfect bodies and wear skin tight spandex.  And ever compared their marketability Icon wise to that of Wonderwoman or Storm?  I guess the 4 symbol and the X go with their teams in general. The other three in Fantastic 4 wear the same stuff and the X-men are sporting spandex too.


 
 
 
 Jean Sue and Jean again.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@JamesM:


"
In short, if shit sells, that doesn't mean we should be happy with shit"


 
Except that unlike Maxim or playboy, these characters aren't really people, they are fictional creations made of ink and they actually ARE products. I don't see why people have such a hang up on appearance, but not on the abilities, and actions they take. No one cares when someone is really smart or really fast or strong, those are all admirable qualities. But if they are really attractive that's when the shit hits the fan because that is when  inferiority complexes really shine. It's awesome when a girl is strong, but if she is hot too then that's not allowed because its unrealistic to look like barbie waa waa. But it's not unrealistic to pick up cars, block bullets, come back to life etc? Peopel dipped in acid, people eating one another, massive deaths sometimes of entire planets, stuff like that doesn't get a rise because again it's fiction, even if people have invested feeling in the characters, but pull the booty shorts up to high and suddenly it's 1565 subjugation of women. You know jumping on a feminist badwagon doesn't prove you're not sexist, it shows that you are in doubt. Being hyper sensitive about these superficial things shows insecurity. It would be like crying that when a mob guy in comics happens to be Italian or some villain is of whatever minority, that its an attack against "them all" which is typical of how a collectivist thinks. You know they always portray Japan like it is the samurai era with ever lasting cherry blossoms. That's not racist toward Japan though it's just stupid. Kind of like the announcers on the world cup calling Japan's uniforms samurai blue on about 7 occasions. No body on japan think about samurais and ninjas and crap like that anymore than a 2010 America thinks of himself as a pilgrim. Every pirate in comics in black beard. and so on. That's still not prejudice though, the writers are just being lazy and pick exaggerations on purpose because that is how comic books are, they revolve around Icons. Like the Bruce Lee character in every fighting video game and in Marvel as well. The person that has to see race and sex in everything and then attributes it to mass culture at large is the same kind that is insecure about the issue they preach. Comic book characters have always been of perfect forms men and women and even the handicapped get special powers. They're actually the easiest to draw as well. I don't need characters to look average for my own sense of well being with the world. If they started to be draws average I'd say its because of hyperly PC liberal types that feel like no one is allowed to be superior because in doing that then someone else is inferior and the we all must be equal cult comes from the weakest and most resentful among us.
#184 Posted by Heml0ck (24 posts) - - Show Bio


The thing I love about comics is there not pratical, and they have something for everyone. If people dont like the way a char. looks i think they should read something diffrent I know there is something out there for them. Im a fan of Wonder Woman and i liked her the way she was and its nothing to do with her showing off her body you just have to respect her as a woman if you read her books I need not explain futher.  If you just cant take it and they have to have more clothes on read X23 shes always coverd up... ok shes a bit crazy but you have to love her. I also love Power Girl  and Ms. Marvel, Power Girl because shes a bad ass and Ms. Marvel.... shes just awsome  shes an officer in the Air Force  shes a fighter pilot for hevans sake you have to respect that. ......... I think people that dont take female char. for no more than what there wearing and how sexy or plain they look should stop lookin at the pictures and start reading there comics.

 
Oh I didnt add in a good DC female char that stays coverd up thats an awsome char, so heres ya one to think about  one of my favs. Batgirl... another awsome woman the total package smart and pretty.

#185 Posted by gunjin (716 posts) - - Show Bio
@ReverseNegative said:
"  exploitive. aboslutely. "
#186 Posted by aeracura (1 posts) - - Show Bio

 I am a female, and I also love to draw the female figure. I hate to cover the female bodie because it is such a beautiful creation. Women in comics are depicted as strong, intellegent, athletic, sexy and perfectly capable women. I can not fathom why females are against this, but will pick up a womens magazine and ignore the many anorexic models that adorn the pages. I dont believe "practical or exploitive" are the only two options in this argument. Is the man with the rippiling abbs, long flowy hair, and thick foregin accent in the romance novel "practical or exploitive" ? Maybe he's just a fantasy, an escape from reality and we as women can imagine him however the hell we want! ... Men have comic books for their desires.. and if men are fantasizing about strong kick ass women who can put a man in his place then I am proud of them!  

#187 Posted by 614azrael (10242 posts) - - Show Bio

this subject and vilence r the 2 bigest controversies in any medium 4 starters. However its allways depicted as fair in comics there = in abilities and outfits r very similar  

typhoid mary outfit stylized n sexual in nature in no way is she xploited as week or incapable 
    
and heres wolverine notice how his outfit is skin tight and xploitive he isnt week 
are women more sexualized? yes but arent they in all other mediums? and lastly show me a comic that seriously portrays its characters and is simply xploiting its female charaters
#188 Posted by treefreak32 (27 posts) - - Show Bio

@aeracura:This, but i'm a dude

#189 Posted by PowerGirlFan (245 posts) - - Show Bio

Don[t like it, don't buy it. Write and draw your own comics.

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