Are Women in Comics Depicted So Differently Than Their Male Counterparts? | HERETICPRIME, Misc.

Beauty and the Best

Are Women in Comics Depicted So Differently Than Their Male Counterparts?

by Jason O.N. Roberts aka HERETICPRIME of Otaku no Baka
In the last two weeks or so, I've seen a few interesting pictures and articles about the way female comic book characters are depicted in contrast to male characters. I think that the general consensus is that women are depicted in sexy poses, rather than practical poses, and wear outfits that are skimpy rather than protective. At first I thought that these critics were on to something. However, with some reflection on this subject, I realized that this sentiment might not be so valid. In the same light-hearted tone, I will offer the counter-arguments that the comic book males are depicted in a worse manner than the females.
Argument 1) Women Are Exploited by Their Costumes More Than Men Many of the critics of comics are saying that female characters are given costumes that do not protect them and are basically designed to show-off their physiques. To this I say: Are you effing kidding? How long have you been reading comic books? The basic male superhero costume motif is based on Superman. Superman fights crime in a bodysuit with underwear on the outside. That's basically dressing like Madonna and Lady Gaga.
Other heroes like Spiderman and Daredevil also sport skin-tight bodysuits. The Hulk loses everything except his pants and the Silver Surfer is naked. However, nobody has impractical costumes like the sidekicks, namely Robin. His costume is so revealing that many jokes about Bruce Wayne and the relationship he had with his ward are legend. Robin is not alone for pants-less fashion. Honourable mentions of "underwear" heroes include Plasticman, The Original Black
Condor, Black Vulcan, Samurai, and Dollman...yup, ALL DC heroes.
Argument 2) Only Women Use Their Sexuality As a Weapon
This is an argument that seems obviously true, when it is actually the opposite. Yes, certain female characters use their sexuality to accomplish their goals. Both Black Widows, Viper, Madam Hydra, and the Black and White Queens use their attractiveness to their advantage, but then again, they will use anything to gain the upper hand, and do not just depend on having a hot body or pretty face. Without their commendable skills, they would be no better than molls and damsels in distress.
I would also like to point out what many don't realize: The male characters use their sexuality as weapons too. I can hear the eyebrows arching. Let me explain: Think about every male comic book character that plays it cool, tough, or macho. These characters are doing what a lot of women consider sexy, or at least what we think a lady's man would do. In fact, these character traits led to a whole new type of hero: the anti-hero, who always gets more women. Ask any woman who's sexier: Batman, or Superman? How about Spider-Man, or Wolverine? Superman and Spider-Man is like their father and the best friend that likes them, but never gets a shot. Batman and Wolverine are the bad boys that girls' fathers hate, and therefore, they
Hawkeye Daken Kiss
There are also smooth male characters that use sexuality to seduce, like Paladin and Nick Fury. Look at the old Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic books. Not only were they trippy and psychedelic, but they were pretty spicy, too. Other male comic book characters that use sexuality as weapon include Starfox, Guy Gardener, and Daken. Oh, Daken is a Dark Avenger and a son of Wolverine. He likes to seduce both men and women. You might say he fits the "sexuality as a weapon" bill in ways that even the ladies usually don't.
Argument 3) Only Women Take Sexy Poses
Once again, I will rely on the same logic as Argument 2). A lot of the poses that male comic book characters use are sexy and impractical for men, not women. Think about how many pictures you've seen of muscle-bound he-men posed flexing in weird stances, or blowing everything away with guns as big as the ones they call biceps; what else do you call this? Male comic book characters do this so much, that the Japanese digested it with the rest of our animation and comic books and interpreted in their versions. 'Don't believe me? Just think of the Power Rangers, Ultraman, Spectreman, and, my favourite, The Ginyu Force.

Argument 4) Women Make Poses and Have Bodies That are Anatomically Impossible
Rebecca Eisenberg wrote an article on Upworthy titled Oh, So You Really Think the Female Body Works Like That? In her article, she shows how some female comic book characters are drawm to look beautiful and graceful, but would be impossible or uncomfortable to be in. She also has some pretty funny pictures of Hawkeye getting his "'female empowerment' on" by being drawn in some of those poses. I think she would probably also agree with other critics, that comic women are also proportioned in ways that real women could not hope to be without surgery.
My responses to her would basically be the same explanations for Arguments 2). If you don't believe me, just look at some of Rob Liefeld's, any other former Image Comic creators,' anatomically incorrect manly poses. No one has muscles like that. I can also give an example that blows her argument away in one word: Spider-Man.
That guy has the most difficult poses and movements in the business. He hikes his knees a whole foot above his head, with his legs froggy-style spread-eagle, with finger-action as difficult as Mr. Spock that shoots webbing. He has the powers of a spider, but nowhere does it say that he is penta-jointed. Yup, once again, the men have it worst, if you want to consider something like this bad. *shrugs shoulders*
In Conclusion
So you see, it can be argued that men are just as sexualized as women. The thing that makes a lot of those Hawkeye "female empowerment" pictures so funny is that they have him holding himself like a woman. Now some of you are going to take offense with me saying that, but I think it is a sadder world we live in when it is considered politically incorrect to celebrate, or even acknowledge the differences between men and women. Women do carry themselves differently to be pretty and graceful. Men do the same to look handsome and powerful. The comics are just doing what they do with everything else. They kick it up a notch. Despite this fact, if you look at some of these "empowerment" pictures, you realize that the females are not depicted so badly, if at all, and the Hawkeye pictures give him the body and clothing of woman. Are these "empowerment" pictures fighting sexism, or punishing femininity and masculinity at the same time?

I remember as a young boys, we could have been intimidated by the larger than life physiques and manlier than manly attitudes of many comic book characters. Did we complain, point fingers, or cry about how comics were making an unfair picture for little boys to grow into? No! Did we complain about damaged psyches and low self esteem? No! We did the mature thing! We put on our Underoos and became our favourite superheroes yelling, "Superman!" and "Spider-Man!" We did not blame the comic book creators for making interesting and powerful characters to entertain and stimulate imaginations. We loved them for it.
Yes, people, I am kidding, but, like I always say, there is truth in every jest. This topic is one of trivial academia, for most, and not worth getting heated about. For all you women and female feminists that are bent out of shape by this topic, think about this: You all probably look a
lot more like your comic book sisters than we look like our comic book brothers, for as Rich Koslowski, writer and artist for How to Pick Up Girls If You're a Comic Book Geek, communicated, if you are a guy that reads comic books, you probably have a body like the Scarecrow or the Blob. Comics are for fun, so enjoy them.

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