Ron Marz On How To Write A Strong Female Character

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

If you are a male writer in a male dominated industry (i.e. comics) writing female characters you often deal with some scrutiny from readers who question whether your portrayal of that female character is appropriate and whether or not it is "sexist."

The dictionary definition of "sexism" is A) an attitude or behavior based on traditional stereotypes and sexual roles and B) discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex. And while the definition may seem pretty simple, it's still incredibly broad. When we apply it to the characterization of female characters in comics we are left with a lot of room to speculate whether or not the way a character is being portrayed is in fact "sexist." It's no wonder, either, since for most of the time comic books have existed they have been a little bit, well, sexist. Instead of delving into whether or not this is true (there are plenty of articles online you can read that would reinforce this idea) it's best to step back and ask ourselves what it is that makes writing female characters so difficult for some writers, and how is it different from writing a male character.

== TEASER ==
Marc Silvestri's WITCHBLADE

When a creator takes the reigns of a female character driven title the last thing they want to be perceived as is sexist. They don't want to write a character who is shallow, who is confined to traditional gender stereotypes and whose sole existence is to be "eye candy." But it wasn't always this way.

Much of the comics from the 90's saw success because they catered to this very overly-sexualized image of female characters. In fact, the popular art style of the time really reinforced the over-sexualization of women in comic books. Artists like Michael Turner, Marc Silvestri, David Finch and Jim Lee all tended to draw women in very provocative ways. But it wasn't just the art that reinforced this idea; a lot of the writing implied that women often existed solely to push the plot; that they didn't have any real value to the story.

Take for example, Witchblade in the 90's written and drawn by Marc Silvestri; the books were aesthetically pleasing, but the stories did not do a very good job portraying Sara Pezzini as this very tough as nails, strong female character. In fact, before writer Ron Marz came on board, Sara spent a lot of time having her clothes ripped off in practically every issue.

Some would say Ron Marz revolutionized Sara Pezzini and breathed new life into her character during his run of WITCHBLADE which lasted for 70 issues. You can practically see the evolution of her character based on the covers to WITCHBLADE -- she may have started in a metal bikini, but by the end of Ron's run Sara would suit up in full armor. And when she wasn't decked out in metal, she was in a crew neck t-shirt, jeans sporting her police badge. It wasn't just the imagery that Marz changed, it was the character herself. Sara matured under Ron's pen, coming into her own. She became a Mother and a considerably more self aware cop, too. She was interesting, and very different from her original incarnation. Under Ron, Sara Pezzini was given a chance to evolve. And she did.

We decided to ask Ron how he goes about writing a solid female character and what qualities and characteristics the character would need to have. Check out his response, below.

"I honestly don't approach writing female characters any differently than I approach writing male characters. I try to write individuals, and I try to write them so they're as three-dimensional as possible. Obviously someone's sex is one of the traits that factor into it, but it's certainly not the only one. A believable character needs to have both positive and negative aspects to their personality, so I try to build that into anyone I write."

"If there's one constant in the way I approach writing women, it's probably that I try to write them as more emotionally mature than men. I just feel like that's pretty often the case in real life. For me, a 'strong' character has nothing to do with physical strength, it's about the strength of their will, their resolve. I watched my wife give birth to all three of our kids, completely natural childbirth with no drugs, no pain meds, nothing except her strength and determination. You can't come away from witnessing something like that without a better understanding of how strong a woman can be. That warrior mentality I saw in my wife is definitely something I draw upon."

"But I should add that you have to balance that strength with some vulnerability, or the character doesn't come across as believable. Someone can be an ass-kicking hero and still be vulnerable or even needy at times. The important thing, I think, is making sure your heroine isn't defined by or seen as secondary to the men in her life. That 'damsel in distress' stuff is bullshit. One of the reasons I have a problem with 'Twilight' is that Bella's character is defined by sparkly vampire boy. Her primary character arc is to get a boyfriend. Lame."

I can't speak for everyone, but I have to admit I agree with Ron about the overall goals the character should have. If all she is doing is chasing after some sparkly vampire, I can't say that makes her very appealing.

She should be more than just a girl who is on this quest for a boyfriend. The fact that she wants to be in a relationship shouldn't define her.

Often female character are portrayed as being very sexy. The issue is ensuring that the character maintains her sexuality and her sexiness without being exploited and oversexualized. That is often a big challenge for writers.

For Ron, you can have a sexy woman. You can have a strong woman who happens to work in the sex industry (i.e. Voodoo) but if that's the only quality that defines her, then it becomes a problem.

"Everyone has their own definition of sexy. I think that's one of the reasons it's always such a hot-button topic. One person's sexy is another person's slutty. For me, it comes down to making sense in the story. In Witchblade, it never made sense to me that Sara was running around in, essentially, a metal bikini. So the first thing we did was get rid of that within the story and put her armor. We've still done some sexy scenes, when Sara's been with her boyfriend, or with Jackie Estacado, but it's story-driven. It's a question of who you're serving -- the characters and the story, or the segment of the audience that's apparently too shy to go buy a copy of Playboy. I honestly have no interest in catering to that audience."

"The reaction to the first issue of Voodoo was fascinating to me, because they were people who simply could not accept an issue set in a strip club, and there were people who looked beyond that to see why it was part of the story. I saw the issue was called sexist and misogynist, and I saw it called subversive and smart. Again, everybody has their own definition of what's sexy and what's exploitation. My line is different is different than your line."

"I thought it was interesting that the people who were riled up about the issue were invariably upset about the strip club, and not the murder at the end of the issue. That was hardly even mentioned. Ultimately, as a writer I'm more concerned with what characters are doing, with what they're thinking and feeling, rather than what they are or aren't wearing. If you told a story about Mata Hari, sex would be part of it, but that wouldn't make her any less of a strong woman. Just the opposite, in fact."

Clearly, Marz not only has experience writing strong, sexy women for comic books; but he's done so successfully. And while he is off of VOODOO, we are definitely looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve for the future. What do you think of Ron Marz's perspective? Do you agree with his thoughts on how to write a strong female character successfully?

Be sure to come back next week as we will be posing the same question to writer Greg Rucka (BATWOMAN, WONDER WOMAN) to get his take on how he goes about writing strong women in comics.

#1 Posted by RainEffect (3240 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for the article, Babs!
 
This was incredibly helpful to me, considering I'm an aspiring writer and the protagonist of my trilogy is female. It is ridiculously difficult to try and find a medium between fiercely independent and emotionally vulnerable.

#2 Posted by fishyboy (3 posts) - - Show Bio

Haha, what? Ron Marz writes strong female characters?

I thought Ron Marz wrote hypersexualized half-naked wank fodder for 15 year old boys.

Seriously.

#3 Posted by The_Deadly_Koi (12 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article, very interesting!!! I must say its get very annoying sometimes when you just want a good story and not some chick who cant pull a thought from her own head or keep her clothes on hahaha

#4 Posted by Nasar7 (157 posts) - - Show Bio

Voodoo is so good please Ron come back!

#5 Posted by jsphsmth (1136 posts) - - Show Bio

He has come a far way from the women in fridge days. I will miss his work on Voodoo.

Can't wait to hear Rucka's take.

#6 Posted by MrDirector786 (43494 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice article. I agree with what Ron thinks.

#7 Posted by Mayo88m (246 posts) - - Show Bio

"One of the reasons I have a problem with 'Twilight' is that Bella's character is defined by sparkly vampire boy. Her primary character arc is to get a boyfriend. Lame."

That made me laugh so hard. Ha, epic line if I've ever heard one. Great article though, but not sure you can really use Witchblade as an icon for a strong female. I haven't ever really read the comic (I'll be honest), but everything I've seen from or about it has been pretty much sexual in nature. Could be that she's actually not, but from what I've seen it doesn't look too good.

#8 Posted by jsphsmth (1136 posts) - - Show Bio

@fishyboy: Which begs the question: have you actually read any of his work?

#9 Posted by Mercy_ (92676 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent article, Sara. Love seeing insight like this.

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#10 Edited by KisserNe (404 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the article!

Personally, as a female who doesn't mind, isn't offended and at most times enjoys the sexy image of female characters, I love what Ron Marz said. I don't think I have ever really seen or read any of his work, but I agree with him! A character (male or female) should be considered what they are by the components that makes their personality, thoughts and what makes them more relatable to an audience or the story line in general. They shouldn't be judged on their appearance, much like a normal person shouldn't but because of differentiating opinions... there will never be a character that someone doesn't have SOMETHING to say about.

Of course, in the most honest and blunt way to put things... I probably would not be as much as a fan of OR even believe that Batman is as amazing as he is if he looked like a wuss and had no muscular definition to his body. Even with his intelligence and the technology he has. 'Nuff said. :)

#11 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article. Witchblade was always a character I outright avoided—for years—because I dismissed it as a T&A book based on the art. When I actually sat down one day and read through the trades, however, I was impressed. It's the book that convinced me that "cheesecake" in comics was neither necessarily good nor bad, but rather that it was a stylistic choice. Furthermore, that it was narrative context (and consistent treatment between both sexes) that made a book "sexist" or not.

#12 Posted by Alch21 (210 posts) - - Show Bio

@fishyboy: Way to make yourself look smart bro.

#13 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't disagree with Ron, I just find it really really weird that much of what he says isn't immediately obvious to everyone, at least as some default perspective available. Instead of praising writers for stating the obvious we should track down stupid and dumb people and mock them and their ignorant hypocrisy =p

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#14 Posted by danhimself (22452 posts) - - Show Bio

his Witchblade is amazing and I loved his work on Voodoo so here's hoping that he comes back to the title soon

#15 Posted by fishyboy (3 posts) - - Show Bio

@jsphsmth said:

@fishyboy: Which begs the question: have you actually read any of his work?

Yes, of course I've read his work. How could I give a fair comment if I hadn't? I read his Green Lantern in the 90s, some of his Superman stuff, and I even gave some of his more recent masturbatory material a fair chance before laughing it off as "stuff to make teenagers horny." Christ, I even bought Voodoo #1 to give it a fair shake and that troll even signed it for me.

So yeah, I've read his stuff and I find it hilarious that he's mentioned in the same article with Greg Rucka, someone who actually DOES know a thing or two about writing a strong female character.

#16 Posted by ARMIV2 (8414 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm really liking this article. It hits the nail on the head so many times.

Comic book creators really ought to look to this when designing female characters. Really.

#17 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3550 posts) - - Show Bio

Great editorial here, Sara!!

I don't see a problem with a female character having a strong sense of her own sexuality, but she needs to be the one who owns it. Not someone who worries about being single There is the idea that a guy sleeps with a lot of women and he's a stud, but the very same act makes a woman a slut. That's the height of hypocrisy. Look at how Wolverine sleeps around all the time with different women.If a female character was to do the exact same thing, what would people say?

Much in the same way Catwoman is sexy and sensual without being trashy. She cares about Batman, but that's far from what drives her.

Manga and anime often get boiled down to it's worst stereotypes -- much in the same way comic characters do. That's ignoring strong female characters such as Nico Robin (One Piece), Mikoto Kusanagi (GitS), Olivier Milla Armstrong (FMA), Yoruichi Shihoin (BLEACH), and Roberta (Black Lagoon).

I've been spending a lot of time editing the profiles pages over on Anime Vice of strong female characters to give them more of a spotlight. I even wrote a front page article for Anime Vice titled "The Strongest Women of Anime".

I also don't believe you should treat your female readers as sexless people. In much of my artwork. I wont draw just cheesecake shots. I'll also put in beefcake pictures, and I find that my female audience is very receptive to that and far more appreciative than my male audience is to the cheesecake. Don't just draw your women scantily clad. Also draw your men wearing little. If anything, I get quite the laugh out of seeing how uncomfortable some of my male audience gets over my beefcake pictures.

#18 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article. I agree with what he has to say. Write a 3dimensional character first and foremost. Gender shouldn't be the chief cornerstone of their personality.

#19 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio

Oh and never thought I would do this, but defending Twilight? Yeah, thats totally wish fulfillment style writing. Same way a lot of people buy Superman, Batman and Wolverine (not you *points at individual*) but a massive amount of fans, because Batman is smart and always wins, and usually gets a lot of hot girls, Superman always wins when it matters (if he loses he was holding back probably) and so main character arc can be simplified in Twilight but similarly with Batman and Wolverine, so you can expand it as well. Like Bella wasn't just trying to get a boyfriend. She got one who was essentially a Gary Stu and brought him down to her level before having another Gary Sue fight over her affection and... eventually she ends up immortal and super graceful much akin to Batgod prep status. So that character wasn't designed to be a good female character, but a projection from a female author that would resonate with thousands/millions of other people (aka be popular)  
 
So to savvy comic fans (or savvy any fans), who don't care about wish fulfillment with characters its easy to ignore such characters - but mixing them with characteristics that make them popular? After all the best characters are in books 90% of people on comic sites probably don't buy because they aren't from the big two (and thats okay)

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#20 Posted by kashif1 (40 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mayo88m said:

"One of the reasons I have a problem with 'Twilight' is that Bella's character is defined by sparkly vampire boy. Her primary character arc is to get a boyfriend. Lame."

That made me laugh so hard. Ha, epic line if I've ever heard one. Great article though, but not sure you can really use Witchblade as an icon for a strong female. I haven't ever really read the comic (I'll be honest), but everything I've seen from or about it has been pretty much sexual in nature. Could be that she's actually not, but from what I've seen it doesn't look too good.

From what I've seen the comic is definitely sexual but being sexual does not make it good or bad, its how her sexuality is handles.

#21 Posted by BearMane (8 posts) - - Show Bio

A great article, they really nailed the points. Female characters does not equal eye candy for 14 year old boys with the sex drive of a rabbit.

#22 Posted by Mayo88m (246 posts) - - Show Bio

@kashif1: Oh, I guess I did word that a little weird. I didn't mean the sexuality made it good or bad. I meant that it didn't look good for the writer they were spot lighting as a savior to the female character in comics. Also though, I said I could be wrong since I've not read the comic myself so take what I say with a grain of salt.

#23 Posted by supermanprime6 (111 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd have to say that Barbara Gordon is a strong female character, if not the strongest, especially after the reboot with her being Batgirl again. What I like most about her is that, yes she's sexy, but it's not thrown in your face like it is with Catwoman, Powergirl, or Emma Frost. Barbara Gordon is three dimensional and believable. I can definitely see a commissioner's daughter wanting to take justice in her own hands; she sees the justice system more clearly than most, and understands that it is broken and, therefore, wishes to do something about it. And her outfit/costume makes sense. Much more so than a thief with a whip, a woman with a hole right over her cleavage, or the gravity defying white queen. Also, you can actually describe who Babs is. Try describing the others I mentioned with more than one word. It's hard to do. But with Batgirl, you can really say a lot. Kitty Pryde, Dani Moonstar, and Supergirl are other characters that come to mind when I think of strong female characters.

#24 Posted by Joe Venom (1275 posts) - - Show Bio

I never did like that word......'Sexism' especially when used in comics, they may as well just add "of woman" to the end of the definition because it's already one sided. Kudos to writers that manage to make great female characters when the margin between being creative and accusations of sexism was so thin, and a 'Right On' to those who didn't give a #%$*!

#25 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

There has always existed this problem of having female characters in the medium be both visually pleasing as well as making sense of just how important they can be to the storyline. Fact of the matter is, this also caters back to other things I have written in the past, and that the characterization of an individual in a comic should not matter as to what color they are, what religion they have, or what sexual organs they contain. The best comic characters are the ones that we, as readers, enjoy for their various traits of courage and/or evil. His approach on multi-dimensionality to the character is a good plan to follow, for not only then can our female characters be strong but they can also show vulnerability, which is inherent in ANYONE. Only characters that could not pose any vulnerability would have to be cosmic entities and above, where rationality guides action, and in that sense we have seen some female characters to show their worth in the comic panel page.

Many examples can show how extra dimensions to a female character brings them off as believable beings int he printed page. You have chosen to show Witchblade but for me I think the one that stands out even more is Lady Death. Yes, physically the character is stunning, with a top-heavy hourglass figure that satisfies even the coldest blooded fanboy. And maybe at first she really was nothing more than Satan's b#tch, but with the leaps and strides she has taken in the various adventures she has had, she has shown to be a character who can be all bad-@$$ and then some. And does she have vulnerabilities that can make her believable? You bet she does!

Oversexualization is an unfortunate byproduct of the inter-correlation between physical looks and deeper meaning in the written word. Whether in sensual drive or looks, its hard for us as readers to take female characters seriously sometimes (i.e. Power Girl, Starfire, etc.), but that is hardly something that needs to define such characters to the ones that read them. That is the reader's mistake, and just as Marz has said here constantly, everyone has different definitions of sexuality in comics. Some are harder critics and think it takes away from a character's worth, whether it is the famous O-cleavage of Karen Starr's suit or Purgatori's sexy wares she does. I've read both characters and find them to be strong characters regardless of physical appeal and/or personal issues they might have.

Word to the wise: take the characterization at face value, and then determine for YOURSELF whether you think it is a good representation of female characters or not. Do not impugn the writers and artists for what they do lest you think you can do better...and I will say with certainty those that only criticize more often than not CANNOT do better. Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, and I take each female one character at a time...and everyone else should do the same.

#26 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

I read twlight in class once, got in trouble for not paying attention in class. "PUT THAT TWLIGHT BOOK IN UR BAG PLEASE."Everyone turn to look at me and never felt embrassed in my life =/

#27 Posted by danhimself (22452 posts) - - Show Bio

I wish that people would get over this sexism in comics trend....it's ridiculous...it's not ok to show women who are eye candy but it's fine to characters like Namor running around? again....ridiculous

#28 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio
@danhimself said:

I wish that people would get over this sexism in comics trend....it's ridiculous...it's not ok to show women who are eye candy but it's fine to characters like Namor running around? again....ridiculous

 
A lot of them probably could, its just as a general rule, most people are stupid and simple and usually miss each others arguments or are guilty of oversimplifying or creating straw man arguments. Then usually even the smart people only address the stupid people's arguments and never the more solid reasoning and arguments because most people just prefer being right or perceived as being right in any situation, rather than having a fruitful and respectful conversation designed to make things better.  
 
Emma Frost is eye candy for example, but most of her depictions show her as eye candy with balls to the wall, confident, honest, sardonic, intelligent, domineering attitude. Then you have Greg Horn cover of her pouting and trying to stick a rose flower up her crotch. So Emma Frost like Namor (more eye candy), both are great running around being all awesome and my favorite characters. I just don't see many Namor covers that show him trying to stick flowers up his Imperious Rex. Not that is a bad thing either, lol Its just interesting to observe and note and make points over. 
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#29 Posted by jrock85 (2874 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome article.

#30 Posted by A-Strondinaire (370 posts) - - Show Bio

@fishyboy:Don't waste your time these are the fanboys of Babs who think she can do no wrong and if you don't agree with her your an idiot. From the images I've seen in the article I wouldn't be surprised if the art wasn't just as bad as Greg Lands women. Writing for a strong woman is simple write her as normal as possible then setup certain aspects in a woman you would not want your sister or mother doing (you know dressing or acting like a tramp, being a man's equal, not treating her like glass) basically write her as one of the guys but give her the emotions of a woman to make her standout.

#31 Edited by lykopis (10753 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting you chose Witchblade as an example of a female character who started out as eye-candy and who evolved into something more substantial. While it could be that it was a matter of changing with the times (many other female characters followed the same type of growth over the years), Sara Pezzini was one that I was particularly unhappy with and avoided because of her hyper sexualized image. I enjoy reading Mr. Marz's take, but at the same time - am a little wary. Sounds like he's had some growth himself over the years and its good to see it be applied in his work, but like all visual products, sex sells and that will always be part of this industry. It's finding a writer (and artist) that can juggle both expectations that matters to me and so far, there have been a few.

Great article Babs. :)

#32 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@A-Strondinaire said:

@fishyboy: Writing for a strong woman is simple write her as normal as possible then setup certain aspects in a woman you would not want your sister or mother doing (you know dressing or acting like a tramp, being a man's equal, not treating her like glass) basically write her as one of the guys but give her the emotions of a woman to make her standout.

"I honestly don't approach writing female characters any differently than I approach writing male characters. I try to write individuals, and I try to write them so they're as three-dimensional as possible. Obviously someone's sex is one of the traits that factor into it, but it's certainly not the only one. A believable character needs to have both positive and negative aspects to their personality, so I try to build that into anyone I write." - Ron Marz

#33 Posted by A-Strondinaire (370 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs: So Ron agrees...

#34 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio

Look, I didn't really read the article, but I read the images, but just wow, so wrong you and your fanboys, wow, someone disagrees and suddenly they are wrong. No discussion at all? Blindness. 
Just write female characters like they are men, but then remove the goatees because I am not weird and make hair longer. Presto expresso mocha latte all sorted. Don't make her a pimp or ho (unless its a male pimp or ho, thats a women, thats a man... uhm...)  
  
 
@lykopis:  Great post, I agree! Wait.. did you say Lady Mechanika?  :)
 
 

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#36 Posted by ALdragon17 (126 posts) - - Show Bio

I know that women can be over-looked, but also you got to realize that women do the same thing to men. They have categories for men and what their status is in life is. In some ways, I wish there was a almost a Camelot for women, meaning how to be just and be loyal to the right people. Anyways, before I start to saying anything further on the subject. I think its time for the women to shine, but not in a light were it belittles a men, meaning to be the adult. I think its okay to reverse roles, in some ways. Were a woman saves a man, but the man still is the tough guy, but a little hand in need will help indeed(kind of like a combat buddy). Anyways, theirs too many heroes out there, we need heroines as well. I mean, don't throw them away, but have a good wave of females out there as well.

#37 Posted by kimeraevet (188 posts) - - Show Bio

1. Why are so many of you commenting on the article or the man's work and haven't read either?

2. Why is there a perception that females in comics are generally written bad? Most characters in comics are males and they are almost always written horribly; from their names all the way through into their dialogue.

It is attributable to bad writing and nothing else. Neither male nor female characters are immune from it. Bad writing affects it all. Also, sex and sexuality in comics is as risque as it is on television. Grow up. Calling something "masturbatory for 15 year old boys" is quite ignorant. You can say the same to the Victoria's Secret catalog or most programming after 8 pm on any given night. I don't devote my reading time to devouring overtly sexual comics or ridiculously violent ones. However, sex and violence have their places in the medium. It depends on the tale being told and the material used to tell it.

This article reminded me of the ones I have read concerning shows like ROME, Spartacus or Breaking Bad. The shows have their content because they are made for mature adults, not juveniles. It is ridiculous that unless a comic says "For Adults Only 18+" it is assumed to be for all ages. Top Cow comics have never and will hopefully never be all ages. Comics like Witchblade are not meant for children or really even young teens. They are written with adult themed content and should be treated as such.

#38 Posted by Sekele (276 posts) - - Show Bio

@fishyboy said:

Haha, what? Ron Marz writes strong female characters?

I thought Ron Marz wrote hypersexualized half-naked wank fodder for 15 year old boys.

Seriously.

When will you people learn that you can be both things at the same time

#39 Posted by KainScion (2973 posts) - - Show Bio

NEXT: Ron Marz on how to write a "strong" (he means popular *wink*) female character, that's not in a bikini and does not have a huge rack.

#40 Posted by Darkmount1 (1274 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, after reading this, I know what direction my fancomics (when I get around to producing them) are going to take--not a single 'sexy' shot will ever appear, and not one character will have a dumbed-down portrayal more than another. I do agree with a lot of what Marz said (and have met the guy, real nice guy, managed to sign my Total Justice Kyle Rayner figure).

#41 Posted by AwesomeAquaman (153 posts) - - Show Bio

@danhimself said:

I wish that people would get over this sexism in comics trend....it's ridiculous...it's not ok to show women who are eye candy but it's fine to characters like Namor running around? again....ridiculous

Agreed. It's a double edged sword. When they stop drawing men in skin tight outfits with bulging muscles, maybe I'll feel different.

#42 Posted by lykopis (10753 posts) - - Show Bio

@AwesomeAquaman said:

@danhimself said:

I wish that people would get over this sexism in comics trend....it's ridiculous...it's not ok to show women who are eye candy but it's fine to characters like Namor running around? again....ridiculous

Agreed. It's a double edged sword. When they stop drawing men in skin tight outfits with bulging muscles, maybe I'll feel different.

Maybe when they show men in sexualized positions, maybe I will feel different. But then, that would be even worse because we'll be going backwards instead of forward. Either way - to each their own, I respect your take on it.

#43 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio
@lykopis said:

Maybe when they show men in sexualized positions, maybe I will feel different. 

 
Personally, I'd be okay with floral arrangements looking like they are about to take a Certified Course in spelunking, right into male characters Mariana Trench. Especially has to be the male characters pouting as well. Variety you know? Can't just have Greg Land style orgasm grins? I want my Galactus to be coy and playful, just like Ms November (where as Greg Land coincidentally traces the more carefree and grinning Ms July) 
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#45 Posted by KingofMadCows (345 posts) - - Show Bio

The problem with writing women in any medium is that there are social norms that are very difficult to overcome. The very idea of "normal" is a culturally defined concept that we can't help but treat as universal because of our upbringing. The fact is that we are not comfortable with behaviors and practices that break our standards of "normal." For example, we rarely take offense to stories about a male hero who rescues a helpless damsel in distress because we've heard stories like that all our lives and that's an accepted cultural norm. However, if the roles are reversed and it's a heroine who rescues a helpless man, then people claim that the story makes the heroine look better at the expense of the man even though the stories that we're used to do essentially the same thing. The hypocrisy is not intentional because one is an accepted scenario that we've grown very used to and therefore don't really analyze very thoroughly, while the other is a scenario that we don't encounter very often so we're more critical of it.

In terms of how characters are drawn and issues of sexualization, it's a matter of there being a much greater range of acceptable body types and behaviors for men than there is for women, as well as the traits those appearances and behaviors are associated with. Heroines often have body types that are more associated with sex while heroes have body type that are more associated with power. For example, the heavily muscled bodybuilder look that most male heroes have are far more associated with the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone action hero while the voluptuous hourglass look that that most female heroes have are more associated with the seductress archetype. However, that really stems from the problem of how there really is no female body type that's associated with the action hero. It's just easier to use an established and accepted body type with positive associations than to re-appropriate or redefine another one.

#46 Posted by Outside_85 (8569 posts) - - Show Bio

Think I'm (when I write my own stories) in the other trench, since my stories tend to have a certain female in the lead, I actually wonder if I am overdoing her competence to the degree of making those around her seem like incompetents, or that I am not devoting enough page space to properly characterise them without the lead lady being near by.

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#47 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

Also, you can have them kick all sorts of ass and taking names without having these ladies wearing barely a thing! Give 'em kickass costumes like Batman or Thor, no need to always present them in silly bikinis!!

@SC: Lady Mechanika is a pretty fun and kickass lady! :P

#48 Posted by RainEffect (3240 posts) - - Show Bio

This is why I liked the Pre-52 Wonder Woman outfit - the one with the pants and the 'Roman' look. It meant there would be less attention paid to her appearance and more to the important part; her awesome character.

#49 Posted by RazzaTazz (9579 posts) - - Show Bio
@lykopis said:

@AwesomeAquaman said:

@danhimself said:

I wish that people would get over this sexism in comics trend....it's ridiculous...it's not ok to show women who are eye candy but it's fine to characters like Namor running around? again....ridiculous

Agreed. It's a double edged sword. When they stop drawing men in skin tight outfits with bulging muscles, maybe I'll feel different.

Maybe when they show men in sexualized positions, maybe I will feel different. But then, that would be even worse because we'll be going backwards instead of forward. Either way - to each their own, I respect your take on it.

I might add that the image of a musclebound male is one that is highly desirable to most men, whereas I only know a few women that would want to look like the extremes of comic book women.  
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#50 Posted by SC (12914 posts) - - Show Bio
@Eyz said:

@SC: Lady Mechanika is a pretty fun and kickass lady! :P

Agreed!  
 
 
@RazzaTazz said:
@lykopis said:

Maybe when they show men in sexualized positions, maybe I will feel different. But then, that would be even worse because we'll be going backwards instead of forward. Either way - to each their own, I respect your take on it.

I might add that the image of a musclebound male is one that is highly desirable to most men, whereas I only know a few women that would want to look like the extremes of comic book women.  
 
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You can't say those things! People will lose jobs. Think of the children!! 
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