hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
[personal profile] hradzka
I've thought for a while that scanty female clothing in comics isn't nearly as much of a problem as the porntastic posing. There are male superheroes who wear scanty clothing, but the way they're posed is athletic or dynamic or casual, whereas the women are invariably lightboxed out of Maxim or some such. (Also, as I've mentioned in a post I can't find now, it's interesting to note that the male characters who go about scantily dressed are monstrous (Hulk, Thing), or they look weirdly alien (Hawkman, Martian Manhunter), or they're from Somewhere Else Where They Dress Funny (Namor, Hawkman sometimes, Thor). I figure that this ties into the cultural issue that women can show more skin in everyday life without getting laughed at than can men, so the "here and now" male characters show little skin compared to the freaky dudes or the dudes from Somewhere Else. Meanwhile, male artists who like hot women amp that up to eleven. It's amazing how much better women were drawn before the sexual revolution.)

I've mentioned on Twitter that if I were a superhero comic artist in search of reference, I would *screencap the shit* out of female athletes at the Olympics. Not just for the different body types and emphasis on athletic over hot, but for the action poses. Case in point: I just ran across this 1988 Steve Landis picture of Florence Griffith Joyner, and I've seen a lot of "women crouched over" drawings in comics, but they invariably tend toward the sexy and FloJo is in a pure action pose. It's a seriously great picture; somebody should photoshop it so she's wearing a Wonder Woman costume.

(This is me passively-aggressively linking it so somebody can do that.)

Date: 2012-04-26 10:52 am (UTC)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
From: [personal profile] synecdochic
I don't think you can break the problem down like that, though. Yes, the fact that women in comics are almost never allowed to be posed in a active or dynamic manner is a problem, but it's part of the entire ball-of-wax problem: the unrelenting, extreme enforcement of an extremely narrow set of binary gender roles, and particularly the enforcement of gender roles against women in a sexualized fashion, in a way that defines the comics audience as a very narrow subset of humanity and then markets exclusively to them in an exclusionary fashion.

It isn't just the costumes. It isn't just the poses. It isn't just the storylines. It isn't just the use of women's bodies and women's lives as a goad to power the storylines of men. It isn't just the refrigerators. It isn't just the way that, over a large sample size, men are allowed to make their own decisions and women aren't. It isn't just the fact that any time any of this gets brought up in a critique of the comics industry, fans (historically more likely than not to be male-identified) who think their favorite creator can do no wrong start spewing misogynist bile at the person (historically more likely than not to be female-identified) within, usually, about five or six comments and it immediately turns into every internet discussion of sexism ever (the creator's site is down right now, dammit, which sucks, because the whole thing is genius).

It's all of those things taken together and it's why I stopped reading comics, because every page tells me that it's Not For Me, It's About Me, and I'm not the audience, I'm the commodity being sold.

That having been said, yes, that pic of FloJo is beautiful. :)

Date: 2012-04-26 11:15 am (UTC)
grey_bard: (Default)
From: [personal profile] grey_bard
I... Now want to tape the Olympics for the first time ever. Not just for women (though primarily) but also for men. I mean, hell, where better to get a wild variety of action shots?

Date: 2012-04-26 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hjcallipygian
You know who always has amazing legs? Hurdlers. It's ridiculous.

The Rhonda Rousey vs Meisha Tate fight had a lot of interesting sexy/athletic/violent juxtaposition as well. Both are very attractive women, in great shape and muscular but also curvy and pretty in a classical sense, and neither one wore a whole lot of clothing during the fight. Of course, the fight then ended with one of the most grisly arm breaks in MMA history.

Date: 2012-04-26 08:53 pm (UTC)
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)
From: [personal profile] elanya
Have you seen these images?

Athletic body diversity reference for artists - its not dynamic poses, but it is a pretty big start in showing, at the very least, that there is more than one kind of "athletic" form to work with, for men *and* women...

Date: 2012-04-27 10:19 am (UTC)
leftarrow: (arrow)
From: [personal profile] leftarrow
I've thought for a while that scanty female clothing in comics isn't nearly as much of a problem as the porntastic posing.

Right with you on this. While Synechdochic makes good points above about the extensiveness and complexity of the larger issue of objectification, I still can't help but think that if all the women in sex-poses in comics were magically replaced by women in actual action poses (with bonus points for them having bodies that could believably belong to athletes) it would make a staggering difference to the overall objectification-quotient, no matter what they were(n't) wearing.

This is always something that frustrates me extremely in discussions of body-image in comics: people only object to huge-boobed skinniness because it's really unusual to find in real life without extreme combinations of genetics and surgery. And that's certainly a valid objection in the case of visual portrayals of women in the media-at-large, but a much more immediate one in the case of superhero comics is, "But how is Black Canary/Catwoman/Batgirl/etc. supposed to be doing all this rigorous physical hero-ing with a body that doesn't look like it could do a push-up, let alone climb a wall, knock out three bad guys, run 4 miles, hop a train, and rescue 6 children from drowning all in the course of a single night?"

Maybe having been a serious athlete for my entire life has skewed my perceptions and given me unfair insight into something most of the population of the western world is completely ignorant of, namely that TONS OF WOMEN HAVE BODIES THAT CAN DO THINGS BESIDES FUCK AND HAVE BABIES.

I just . . . I would probably pay 10 times whatever standard comics cover price is now for a book about lady!vigilantes who look like fighters. Or gymnasts or runners or weightlifters or whatever else; I've abused google images enough for one comment box, but my point is: Olympians and professional athletes! The closest thing the real world has to Superheroes! A great number of them are women! AND THEY LOOK AWESOME!

Date: 2012-04-27 10:24 am (UTC)
leftarrow: (arrow)
From: [personal profile] leftarrow
(d'oh, Synecdochic, sorry, random extra letter is random.)

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