Black Widow, WonderWoman, Scarlet Witch and Cat Woman. These might be the first characters come tomind when it is asked about female super heroes of our time. Just picture them in your head and what arethe wearing? A spandex? A bikini? Or something else that expose their body.Superhero movie industrygetting larger and larger each year since (I would say) Marvel published itsfirst Cinematic Universe movie in 2008, Iron Man. These movies were always funto watch but when you think deeper you realize that there is something wrong. Characterization of female heroes.
The movies include superheroes are mostly based on comics written and publishedin twentieth century. Thus female characters in comic books are sexually objectifiedthrough their tight outfits, names and gender ratio. These might cause by thetarget audience of comic books at 20th century which is mostly youngmales. However as the years pass women are gaining more space in comic bookuniverse which causes comics to become more gender equal and diverse abouttheir female characters. Or are they? The saddest part, I think, is that eventhough there is a sexism in the comics most of us do not know about them. Ifyou want to get more information and see the truth hiding right before you scrolldown and see.
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Here are the ways that comics use to sexually objectify femalecharacters. Let’s dive in…HOW TO DRESS A CHARACTER? Outfit of a character can tell many thing about thesuper hero. For example the symbol “S” on Super Man’s chest represents hope orCaptain America’s shield resembles with U.S. flag which is completely makessense since he fought in WWII against Nazis and it also reflects his patrioticside. But things change when it comes to dressing a female character. Thinkabout Wonder Woman.
What do you see? How did she dressed? In a bikini with fewmetals and star signs on it? Outfit of super heroines are mostly made ofnothing but a few clothes or very tight dress. Many female characters mightwear a clothing which are iconic for them but they are fighting right? How arethey planning to protect themselves from any coming danger while fighting? As the time change manyreformations done in comic books due to people being more aware ofobjectification of women, and increasing feminist movements in Europe and U.S.These movements in feminism caused companies to make a little changes in wardrobes of super heroes.
As itmentioned about Wonder Woman’s clothing above let’s stick with that. In Wonder Woman#41 Vol.4 published in August, 2015 outfit of main character, Diana,changed completely as it can be seen above. Her old outfit replaced with a newthat carries her iconic colors in addition with more armor for protection as afighter would wear when going into a fight. The new design covers most of herbody -which was completely left naked- by only leaving her face and hands bare.But as always there was an opposition from critics sayingthat it was not suitable for nature of the comics due to lack of showing skin.Which doesn’t make any sense. Captain Marvel for instance, only her face can beseen at the times when she is not wearing her mask and she is loved by thefans.
WHAT SHOULD WE CALL HER..? We are in a middle of super heroine golden age wheneven Cake-girl can have her own comic book. But when we look to the old timeswe see dismal truth. Names of female characters in story arc mostly are the ripoffs of their male counterparts. Superman- Supergirl, Batman-Batgirl, Hulk- SheHulk, etc. I can hear you saying there are original names given to femalecharacters as well such as Cat Woman, Hawkgirl, and Invisible Woman.
We are notsaying you are completely wrong but there is still a problem regarding this.Maybe some of you already noticed but for the ones who don’t here it is.Although these super heroines have their own original name they are not verygender neutral. Why writers bother to emphasize the name of a female or somemale characters with man, woman, girl or boy? Can’t they just use gender freenames as they use for others such as Arrow, The Flash, Gamora, Energy, Electraand many more. CLONING After learning bit ofsexism in comic books above we think you can easily guess what is next? We’vetalked about how female characters dressed and named now let’s take a look atthem one more time but this time comparing them with their male clones. Thenumber one is Supergirl.Superman could be themost iconic superhero of all the time. His dress with red underwear worn over ablue pants and waving red cape will always be in our memory.
If we look atoutfit of Supergirl it is exactly the same, with the exception of skirt. Thecolors, symbol on the chest style of the dress is the same with her maleduplicate. But it is not limited with just the look, also the powers are thesame.
GOLDEN RATIO “Avengers Assemble!” is a catch phrase used inAvengers comics and movies. As fans we love to see our favorite super heroes tocome together and team up for greater good or just to defeat the bad guy. Theyare full of action scenes and breathe taking scenes but why do we see more malecharacters than females? Justice League (DC comics) and Avengers (Marvelcomics) only have one or two female characters as oppose to five or six malecharacters? We are leaving in a world where the gender distribution is almost 50/50 but I guessit is not the same for the comics. I don’t believe that it is really hard tocreate a strong female character with a gender neutral name and decentclothing. Sexism and sexualdiscrimination were very dominant at the time comic books are written.
Back in20th century women were not seen as equal with men and they weretreated in that way. But as the time changed people changed. Today althoughthere is a lot of way to still go comic book companies and hopefully rest ofthe world are changing in a way that they now how to treat a lady equal. Moreand more solo superheroine movies, TV shows and comics released each year.Total equality is coming and comic book companies actingaccording to this change by changing the representation and diversity of theirfemale characters in more gender neutral way in fiction.What do you think? Doyou agree with us? Leave acomment below Bibliography Finch, D.
(n.d.). Wonder Woman Vol 4 41.
Balance. DC Comics. Maltin, L. (2017, November 2017).
JUSTICE LEAGUE: HEROES WORTH IDOLIZING. Retrieved from leonard maltin: http://leonardmaltin.com/justice-league-heroes-worth-idolizing/ n.d. (2015).
AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON 2015 MOVIE. Retrieved from hdwallpapers: https://www.hdwallpapers.
in/avengers_age_of_ultron_2015_movie-wallpapers.html Tremeer, E. (2017, April 27).
Not Just A Flyby: Superman Returns To ‘Supergirl’ In Leaked Finale Set Photos. Retrieved from Movie Pilot: https://moviepilot.com/p/superman-supergirl-season-2-finale-photos/4256094