Sexism In Comics:

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Yes, that's right. I have set up a conversation on a subject in Comic Books that has been around for a long time, and is bound to hit some sore spots.

Rather than go into a long rant about how bad sexism in comics is, why don't I show you this article brought to you by Comic Vine?

Eric Stephenson, the publisher of Image Comics, has a simple suggestion for fighting sexism in comics: the comics you have a problem with, ignore and do not buy. Refusing to pay money for the comics you have a problem with will impact the comic industry, because of Money, Dear Boy, which is their biggest weakness. Go ahead, punch them as hard as you can in that area! I have no problem following that suggestion, because I have only paid for a small handful of comics in my whole life! [lol]

edited 2nd Oct '11 8:23:28 AM by TiggersAreGreat

Oh, Equestria, we stand on guard for thee!
[up]thats a fairly good idea, but the problem is identifying sexisum. for a start, i dont consider red hood to be sexist. starfire is a promisculous slut, yes, but it makes sense for her new characterisation- she was a political slave for a militant race, now she is free to make her own descions, her own choices. if she wants to dress like that and have uncondition sex, that is her own descion. she is also the one in controll- she is the one who suggests it, not roy, and in the aftermath scene she is shown to have been clearly on top. heck, starfire says as much in the comic- "i am free to do what i want when i want". if anything, it could be assumed sexist against men by implying that all men want sex.

however, thats my oppinion on a very subjective matter- there are many people who will read it and think the point is that starfire is female, therefore only good for sex or something similar.

this handily covers up the real problem with red hood- good characterisation and background, applied to the wrong character. if lobdell (the writer) had used a new character instead of starfire (whom i rembere being a puppies-and-kittens-lets-all-be-friends type character from the cartoon), it might work better.

despite all this, i enjoyed the comic and will continue to follow it.

edited 2nd Oct '11 9:36:00 AM by TheoneandonlyJoseph

3 SKJAM2nd Oct 2011 09:43:25 AM , Relationship Status: Baby don't hurt me!
Voting with your dollars is a good start. However, it's certainly not sufficient because what many producers of popular culture will then do is simply write you off as a market. "Since most women/feminists/people with good taste won't read my comics anyway, I can go ahead and be as offensive to those groups as I want. My primary demographic will be pleased, so I'm not losing any money this way."
[up][up]Her decision? It's a fictional character, they can't make decisions. The reason Starfire is the way she is has to do with the writer choosing to write her like that.

Anyway has far that suggestion is concerned, I don't think simply ignoring a problem has helped with any social issue before, so there's not really a good reason to start now. Ignoring an issue like this (if you feel it's an issue) doesn't make it go away and even it gives off the impression that this kind of content is acceptable.
[up][up]so basicly, by not buying sexist comics, they are removed from the mainstream and devlope a smaller and more sexist demographic. thats certainly one point to conisder, especialy since not buying sexist materials is not going to remove sexisum from our culture- that has to be a larger, national effort.

[up] sorry, i have a tendancy to disscuse fictional characters and situations as if they were real. but still, my point is that with her new background, she is not out of character (unless she had been raped, at which point i would expect her to avoid all phyisical contact like the plague), so the writer isnt nessicalry writing her like that because hes sexist, but beacuse thats what that character is expected to if she was a real person in that situation.

also, i just thought of something else- innitialy, it looks like supergirl is wearing trousers, but she isnt, she has a leotard that leaves her legs bare up to the crotch (see issue #1, pg 13 for an egreious example), yet i have heard no word of controversy over it- is a busty 16 year old in a tight fitting leotard and legs up to my eyebrows realy more aceptable than a slutty space babe?
6 Maridee2nd Oct 2011 10:05:28 AM from surfside , Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
[up] In comparison to other outfits, it's really modest.
ophelia, you're breaking my heart

She's a fictional alien princess, there's no need or reason to write her has real person, she's not human. It's pretty telling though, that DC decided to reboot her character and they went she that background, that personality and that outfit.

As far supergirl goes I didn't see anything that stood out as sexual. Her leotard looks weird but there's no cleavage window, it doesn't seem to be riding up her butt crack, nor does it look painted, perhaps you can show which scene was a issue.

pg 13, when the explosion blows her forwards, causing her crotch to thrust out and clearly showing her pelvic bones. or maybe in this instance i am just being prudish.

and with starfire, is your point that ailens have different cultures, so realistic characterisation as expected from a human is not apliciable? or have i missed the point?
You mean this? I'm not really seeing anything gratuitous here?

As far as starfire, all I'm saying is that a human will never be able to come up with a realistic characterization for an alien character because aliens aren't real.

edited 2nd Oct '11 11:53:49 AM by captainpat

no, but we can observe other human cultures and animal behaviour, throw in some envrionmantal factors and make a pretty good guess at how alien socity, and by exetension individuals within that society, will act. for example, in animorphs, andilites look down on cripples because they are a herd species, and in herds the cripples are eaten by preadtors. its just applied fridge logic.

and i have just realised that this thread on sexism has been hijacked by a debate on how aliens should act. apologies.

and concerning the supergirl thing, i guess i am just not accustomed to compleatly bare legs like that and i am being a little prudish.
My sense is that there's something pretty seriously wrong. The issue is not female characters having sex, it's that the way that is written and drawn comes across as pandering to male readers, not genuinely trying to portray realistic female characters.

I think this blog article gives a very good analysis of the subject, ffom someone who knows more about comics than I do:
13 Maridee2nd Oct 2011 07:33:34 PM from surfside , Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Put characterization and story before showing off her assets.
ophelia, you're breaking my heart
Intentionally showing off her assets is part of characterization.

And I'm sure that plot happened outside of that one scene.

What everyone is saying is—

So what I'm asking is, what could they have done to characterize that better?

edited 2nd Oct '11 7:49:00 PM by KingZeal

Raven Wilder
The complaint I usually hear about comic book women showing off their bodies is that they're doing it for the reader rather than for characters in the story. That is, women in comics will often contort their bodies into impractical/uncomfortable poses so that we, the readers, get a good, lascivous look at them, even when a) there are no other characters around to see them, or b) the other characters in the scene are watching them from the wrong angle to actually appreciate the sexy pose. In either case, for a lot of people it breaks their Willing Suspension of Disbelief to see women putting so much effort into looking sexy for the Fourth Wall when there's no in-story reason for them to do so.

That, and they get frustrated that there's so much cheesecake but so little beefcake.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
b) the other characters in the scene are watching them from the wrong angle to actually appreciate the sexy pose.

As common as that is, it's also a trivial non issue to fix. Just show that the other characters are actually looking at them from the appropriate angle.
Based on the arguments I've seen on sexism (discounting the stuff which can just be attributed to Unpleasable Fanbase), there's a couple things I've noticed that need fixing.

  1. Bodytypes are too generic. Women are all lithe and shapely, with the only variation being in how much more improved one woman's fetishistic qualities are over another. (One woman has a larger bust, bigger butt, shapelier legs, poutier lips, wider hips, etc. than the other.) The women who possess body types outside of the norm are not sexualized to the same degree. When was the last time you saw a woman with a larger body type portrayed in this sort of manner, without her being a Gonk, Fan Disservice or used as a tool of irony or satire? A lot of the problem isn't just that women are objectified, but that they are also too pigeonholed into the same barbie doll mold.
  2. Beautiful women are an Unusually Uninteresting Sight in the realm of superheroes. It isn't that every man should comment on how amazing Power Girl's cleavage is or how Stripperiffic Starfire is, but that it's no big deal for women to just want to leap out into the world like that. Why is a woman's first thought when she gains superpowers to throw on Sensual Spandex or a Thong of Shielding? And no, retroactively justifying it (as with Power Girl's pitiful attempts to claim it "distracts" her opponents) doesn't help. What reason did she have for making that outfit? Okay, in Starfire's case, she's a nudist. That works. And Catwoman is a Femme Fatale. But, what practical reason did Psylocke have for wearing this? Why was it just no biggie?

edited 2nd Oct '11 8:41:27 PM by KingZeal

I need a drink
[up] Because ninjas wear bright primary colours and next to nothing. Didn't you know that?
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
But Elizabeth wasn't a ninja. Remember, she got that body from Kwannon in a "Freaky Friday" Flip. Elizabeth was a mousy little telepath that had barely been trained in any form of combat.

Although, having just looked it up, it turns out Betty was originally some sort of bikini-shoot supermodel.

So, maybe she isn't the best example.

edited 2nd Oct '11 8:49:12 PM by KingZeal

20 Cider2nd Oct 2011 09:31:54 PM from Not New York , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
The Final ECW Champion
They could start with more full face masks. It worked in Mexico. Give them practical costumes. If you want fan service, then do it out of costume or if you're really depraved, Clothing Damage but when the default image has visible butt cheeks, worry.

Look at a similar industry. Wrestling gets taken to task to how it treats its women all the time but unless the complaint is about implants they can safely say shut it.(or maybe a pregnancy angle if you're particularly unlucky)

American comics can't do the same. Where are all the exaggerated bulges in the pants to counter the inflated chests? Wear are the Lady Killers and Casanovas to balance the all the sluts and seductresses? Why do the women always go minimalist on the mask?

Stop buying comics that upset you? Brilliant! Go to CMLL and Chikara for all your superhero needs!
Modified Ura-nage, Torture Rack
Lady Killers and Casanovas don't carry the same weight. Tony Stark, for example, is frequently characterized as a womanizer, but all this does is make him a male Escapist Character. Likewise for Longshot, Gambit, Nightwing, and the Hulk (especially the gray version). Remember, Double Standards concludes that women are sluts, men are players.
Her with the hat
To combine Raven and Kind Zeal's comments, the issue basically comes down to the fact that male characters are treated like someone who you would want to be. Female characters are very often treated as someone you should want to look at.
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Raven Wilder
We're not really talking about how much/how freely characters have sex, but how much they show off their sexuality for the reader's tittilation. A character can be a virgin and still be a super-sexy bombshell whose sexual anatomy is put on full display, and a character can be massively promiscuous without actually showing the reader much of anything.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
What is this
. Refusing to pay money for the comics you have a problem with will impact the comic industry, because of Money, Dear Boy, which is their biggest weakness

The problem is that for every person like me who doesn't buy a comic because it's sexist, there are five horn dogs who will, and the comics industry, being incredibly insular, fails to see what readers they lose from solving this image problem which is pretty easy to fix.

Then again, we're talking about an industry that had fans whining when it was declared that Supergirl would be wearing biker shorts under her skirt... >_>
"Everyone wants an answer, don't they?... I hate things with answers."
Grant Morrison
I need a drink
So...I'm not the only one who thought that was good idea.

Theres nothing I can really add to this really. I've gone on about how I think more varied body types are needed, greater consideration in design yada yada yada. What I really think is holding up the industry is the lack of oestrogen in the industry. Seriously, where are the female writers?? Why are comics an all boy club??
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.

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