"Hypersexualized" or "Liberated" Female Superheroes?

Here is what I don't understand about this stuff. Have you guys ever at the Barns and Noble gone down the chick lit section or romance section? It is all hypersexualized visions of men. This stuff is for women. We don't have a problem with it because it's target wants this stuff. Why should then we care that DC is making a comic books for young men and boys who want this stuff? Why does everything have to be for everyone? TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

Ulairi wrote:
TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

This is the most hilarious thing you've ever posted.

That'd be a valid argument at all if anyone at DC or Marvel would go ahead and just say "look we're targeting 16 year old males who think this is what women are for." But they keep insisting it's for a larger audience.

Ulairi wrote:
Here is what I don't understand about this stuff. Have you guys ever at the Barnes and Noble gone down the chick lit section or romance section? It is all hypersexualized visions of men. This stuff is for women. We don't have a problem with it because it's target wants this stuff. Why should then we care that DC is making a comic books for young men and boys who want this stuff? Why does everything have to be for everyone? TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

Because chick lit isn't actually 'lit', it's the equivalent of porn for men? If porn had less character development and quality of plot?

I think it's that we don't have a problem with trash that doesn't pretend it isn't trash.

Basically, the solution here is just to let Gail Simone and Grant Morrison run things, they're apparently the only intelligent people working at DC at the moment.

Also, i'm certainly not against Oogaba (see profile picture), but I am against terrible, reductive, idiotic depictions of women/minorities written by people who are barely even trying. Literature doesn't have to "be for everyone", but it's not above criticism if it reduces characters to one-dimensional tired stereotypes.

Ulairi wrote:
Here is what I don't understand about this stuff. Have you guys ever at the Barns and Noble gone down the chick lit section or romance section? It is all hypersexualized visions of men. This stuff is for women. We don't have a problem with it because it's target wants this stuff. Why should then we care that DC is making a comic books for young men and boys who want this stuff? Why does everything have to be for everyone? TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

I think the other difference is the ability to actually... do stuff?

Men in romance novels still have agency, and are more than just posing porn statues for our edification. It's their actions, as much as their appearance, that is the sell.

This Escapist video (which explains it in terms of games and comics, though it could easily extend into many visual media) goes about explaining how women who are used for these purposes are often done so in a vapid sense that gives you no other information than that they are sexy. The difference is largely in how it's presented, and how those women come across.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

This is the most hilarious thing you've ever posted.

Without taking much of a side here, he's got a point, doesn't he? Women are the sex responsible for the majority of retail purchases in america, and advertisers know that, so it would follow to cater ads -and the shows around those ads - to women.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

This is the most hilarious thing you've ever posted.

A bit hyperbolic, But, over the last ten years or so, tv and movies have gotten away from only men 18-35 as a target audience. Tina Fey has risen, Buffy, Powerpuff Girls. I doubt Bridesmaids gets made 20 years ago.

It may not be Legion, but it is much better than in the 70's and 80's when most of us were kids.

Ulairi wrote:
Your daughter is six. I don't think they'd be selling these books to six year old anyways. When your daughter is 16, I doubt she'll still be reading comics.

Not if all of the comics geared towards older people depict women as hollow 90% naked women throwing themselves on the nearest men she won't.

Yonder wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
Your daughter is six. I don't think they'd be selling these books to six year old anyways. When your daughter is 16, I doubt she'll still be reading comics.

Not if all of the comics geared towards older people depict women as hollow 90% naked women throwing themselves on the nearest men she won't.


I want to say Invincible, but it is gory. I think Ulari is right to focus on older stuff. X-Men in the 60's and 70's. Green Arrow Black Canary was a good run. Ultimate Avengers does not tart up the women much-if you can tolerate cat suits.

KingGorilla wrote:
Yonder wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
Your daughter is six. I don't think they'd be selling these books to six year old anyways. When your daughter is 16, I doubt she'll still be reading comics.

Not if all of the comics geared towards older people depict women as hollow 90% naked women throwing themselves on the nearest men she won't.


I want to say Invincible, but it is gory. I think Ulari is right to focus on older stuff. X-Men in the 60's and 70's. Green Arrow Black Canary was a good run. Ultimate Avengers does not tart up the women much-if you can tolerate cat suits.

And extreme angst.

Sorry, forgot, Joss Wedon only there. I have heard good things about the recent Buffy runs. Fables, a favorite of mine, has fantastic female characters as well. Snow White is a bad-ass.

KingGorilla wrote:
Sorry, forgot, Joss Wedon only there. I have heard good things about the recent Buffy runs. Fables, a favorite of mine, has fantastic female characters as well. Snow White is a bad-ass.

Not to mention that the most badass character is not only a women but an old women. NO ONE is more badass than Frau Totenkinder. Cinderella is another great female character with her own spin offs.

When I think about what I've read regarding the new Starfire, when I start thinking about "Exactly what sort of character development could this be setting up for" is when I start getting really annoyed.

The best light I can put on this character concept is that Starfire is emotionally detached because of her past experiences (alien sex slave, whatever). Presumably over the course of time she will learn that not all men are evil, find the guy she's fated to love, and let her emotions out (raising her power level over 9000 or the like). I'm pretty disturbed by that arc, because it's an old one, and an offensive one. It's the "sexual abuse turned her into a slut, but she'll be okay once she finds the Right Man" story, and it's not even leavened by having the character be about other stuff. It carries the implications that sexual abuse makes girls into sluts, that sex is about being a slut, that a girl who enjoys sex must have something wrong with her, that sex within monogamy can make a bad girl good, and that a girl is defined purely by her sexuality.

And then the double standard that from the guys' side having attachment-less sex with a slutty bad girl who was sexually abused is apparently fist-bumping "I never thought it would happen to me" fantasy territory.

It's just awful.

This is one of those ways in which I think American companies don't get why manga is so mainstream. They copy the style they perceive ala Teen Titans (the series), but they don't copy the essentials.

Everyone knows that men and women have different tastes. If DC wants to capture a larger demographic, then their fault isn't that they hypersexualize women - their problem is that they don't have a wide enough variety of sexualized women (and men) depicted in these comics.

Oh, and that their artists are so bad that they draw their subjects in gosh darned poses all the darned time.

You gotta give the people what they want. You already have Starfire for that big-bombshell sexy character. Why not make Catwoman a shyer, more cerebral lady with a different body type? This is not to make her more appealing to women - it's to appeal to men who like that kind of woman.

Even the most lurid, most graphic, and basest sex manga has a variety of women characters who all have varying sorts of sex appeal (moe) and differentiating personality characteristics besides. Surely, it wouldn't be bad for DC to diversify their sex stable?

And you know, maybe have some comics for women, too?

Ugh. That's just nasty. Like, clear perspex stripper platforms nasty.

Want to see it done right? Matt Fraction's take on Iron Man was pretty awesome. Pepper Potts and Maria Hill both pretty awesome characters in that.

Yonder wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
Your daughter is six. I don't think they'd be selling these books to six year old anyways. When your daughter is 16, I doubt she'll still be reading comics.

Not if all of the comics geared towards older people depict women as hollow 90% naked women throwing themselves on the nearest men she won't.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

-Comic books creators rarely provide content to the female demographic.
-Females don't buy comics en masse because there's very little for them to read.
-Females bring this lack of content to the attention of comic book creators and readers.
-Comic book creators and readers say that content doesn't exist because females don't buy comic books.
-Females gather at Barnes & Noble and read manga instead.

+1000

Or just, you know, real books.

Honestly, from what I can see, you're not missing much, by and large.

I was looking for something else and just found a couple stray Usagi Yojimbo volumes. That'll take the taste of the whole thing out.

Aeazel wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
Here is what I don't understand about this stuff. Have you guys ever at the Barns and Noble gone down the chick lit section or romance section? It is all hypersexualized visions of men. This stuff is for women. We don't have a problem with it because it's target wants this stuff. Why should then we care that DC is making a comic books for young men and boys who want this stuff? Why does everything have to be for everyone? TV now is dominated by the woman market from cartoons, sitcoms and everything.

I think the other difference is the ability to actually... do stuff?

Men in romance novels still have agency, and are more than just posing porn statues for our edification. It's their actions, as much as their appearance, that is the sell.

This Escapist video (which explains it in terms of games and comics, though it could easily extend into many visual media) goes about explaining how women who are used for these purposes are often done so in a vapid sense that gives you no other information than that they are sexy. The difference is largely in how it's presented, and how those women come across.

Those romance novel covers do show an awful lot of skin - guys with their shirts open, showing off perfectly sculpted pecs and washboards abs...and sure, lots of women (me included) can appreciate looking at it, but the women on the covers of romance novels - novels that are largely marketed to women readers - are nearly as bad as the super-boobs comic ladies! Heaving bosoms, eyes at half-mast as they swoon into the arms of some muscular man riding a horse or whatever. Even on these covers, women are delicate, fragile, and swooning creatures in diaphanous dresses who are just aching to be carried off and sexed up/rescued/bossed around for their own good.

I know there are lots of romance novels with strong female characters and I like those ones, but for every one of those, there are far more whose only purpose seems to be to give the guy something to do (rescuing, screwing, fighting, whatever...).

When it comes to comics (and novels too!), I want a story - a good one. I don't have a problem with boobs in comics, everything is pretty over the top in comic books anyway, I mean look at Batman's abs - I could scrub my clothes clean on those! But Batman has a story, a history that is more interesting than, "I was a beautiful sex-slave, and now I'm just confused and slutty." Batman has character, he has goals, he has opinions on how the world should be and what he's going to do to make it that way. He's well-rounded.

So are Catwoman and Starfire - but they are well-rounded in the fan service sense which does them a disservice when it's at the expense of their characters and story.

I think the boobs can stay, but they shouldn't be the focus. I'm more than my cup size and sexual appetite - why can't the female characters in comics be more than that too?

I admit the best thing about this thread thus far is introducing me to Fables. Thank you for that!

But if I was going to go out and roam town looking for a place to run out of chewing gum in a skin-tight patent leather outfit then that's not what I'm wearing under it. At least not if I ever want to get the leather back off; not enough baby powder in the world to deal with that

Lol, as a married man I was thinking the same thing. That is, I've never seen my better half break out the Victoria Secret's oh la la when it comes to doing hard physical yardwork or going on a serious workout.

As far as manga/anime is concerned, maybe it's just my experience but I've seen a lot, lot worse from from Japanese comics than anything that DC has been pumping out lately. After watching "Legend of the Overfiend" and "Adventure Kid" (which features WW II zombies raping then eating a hospital full of barely clad nurses), all of this stuff seems pretty tame. Maybe the one thing that anime and manga gets right is it does have series dedicated to a mixed or predominately female audience.

jdzappa wrote:
But if I was going to go out and roam town looking for a place to run out of chewing gum in a skin-tight patent leather outfit then that's not what I'm wearing under it. At least not if I ever want to get the leather back off; not enough baby powder in the world to deal with that

Lol, as a married man I was thinking the same thing. That is, I've never seen my better half break out the Victoria Secret's oh la la when it comes to doing hard physical yardwork or going on a serious workout.

As far as manga/anime is concerned, maybe it's just my experience but I've seen a lot, lot worse from from Japanese comics than anything that DC has been pumping out lately. After watching "Legend of the Overfiend" and "Adventure Kid" (which features WW II zombies raping then eating a hospital full of barely clad nurses), all of this stuff seems pretty tame. Maybe the one thing that anime and manga gets right is it does have series dedicated to a mixed or predominately female audience.

I actually know a woman who would immediately go out and buy "Adventure Kid" based on that description.

See...it's not so much about the sex or the nudity or anything but the gratuitous nature of it, of when it seems like the authors stop thinking about anything else other than pornogrifying something that doesn't call for it. That's my understanding of it, anyway.

jdzappa:

Let's not go all crazy on the manga/anime worship. Each manga isn't perfect, but taken as a whole, the body of manga works is surprisingly diverse in its offerings of sexual content. Western comics? Not so much. That's the ingredient that's missing - not the style, not the conventions - the practices and the market variety.

Legend of the Overfiend caters to a particular market, so that's why it is the way it is. There are also anime that host a lot of incest, a surprisingly comprehensive amount of S&M and a number of things that are way tooo nasty to get into here. And there are anime that have sweet stories that still include graphic sex, and there are anime that don't have any graphpic sex at all.

It's diverse, so there's something for everyone.

You want a period Victorian romance that goes crazy into setting detail with complex characters? Emma's got you covered. Sexy booby ladies fighting zombies? That's Highschool of the Dead. The "harem" format generally covers a bunch of sexual desires and wants, of both kinds. A "for men" harem will include sexy booby women, athletic women, flat-chested and creepily underage looking women, long haired reserved women, and so on. Likewise a "for women" harem will typically include the intellectual guys, the athletic guys, the child-like guys, a strong silent type...

Variety, right? It's the spice of life. DC could use more variety in their depictions of sexiness.

Seth wrote:
I admit the best thing about this thread thus far is introducing me to Fables. Thank you for that!

I love you too buddy.

LarryC wrote:
jdzappa:

Let's not go all crazy on the manga/anime worship. Each manga isn't perfect, but taken as a whole, the body of manga works is surprisingly diverse in its offerings of sexual content. Western comics? Not so much. That's the ingredient that's missing - not the style, not the conventions - the practices and the market variety.

Legend of the Overfiend caters to a particular market, so that's why it is the way it is. There are also anime that host a lot of incest, a surprisingly comprehensive amount of S&M and a number of things that are way tooo nasty to get into here. And there are anime that have sweet stories that still include graphic sex, and there are anime that don't have any graphpic sex at all.

It's diverse, so there's something for everyone.

You want a period Victorian romance that goes crazy into setting detail with complex characters? Emma's got you covered. Sexy booby ladies fighting zombies? That's Highschool of the Dead. The "harem" format generally covers a bunch of sexual desires and wants, of both kinds. A "for men" harem will include sexy booby women, athletic women, flat-chested and creepily underage looking women, long haired reserved women, and so on. Likewise a "for women" harem will typically include the intellectual guys, the athletic guys, the child-like guys, a strong silent type...

Variety, right? It's the spice of life. DC could use more variety in their depictions of sexiness.

Good points. I thought part of the argument was that American comics were becoming completely creepy and perverted. I just wanted to point out that DC is still extremely tame compared to what's out there.

If women of the comic industry are disgusted with how things are going, they should band together and put out adult-themed comics that have a more nuanced view of sexuality. I personally think that's the more proactive and market-driven solution than simply protesting.

Why adult themed? Why care about sexuality?

Women should not band together to put out a comic as a form of protest. That's just weak. If they want to band together for a cause, then it makes more sense to do it along sustainable and profitable lines. They're women so they know their own sexual tastes and desires and presumably how those tastes fit within the greater population of womanhood in their bailiwicks.

Let's say Chris McDougal has a thing for men with chest hair. She can do a more-or-less-normal romance comic about a protagonist who gets wooed or otherwise surrounded by a succession of men, most of which have chest hair of various kinds. They'll be for eyecandy and for fanservice, of course. And she can throw in the occasional brainy dude or sun god for her other readers.

That'd work, right?

Doesn't necessarily have to be nuanced, you see. Just need to have more stuff on the market other than busty, posing, brainless bimbos.

Of course, I have nothing categorically against a comic with a nuanced and complex view of sexuality, but my understanding of people tells me that there won't really be a large market for that kind of content. I'm not entirely sure whether or not that's tragic.

That's the worst criticism possible of an entertainment product! Sounds pretty dire for that line.

I wasn't just talking about a protest one-off, but rather trying to create series similar to what's available in Japan. That being said LarryC, I agree there's probably not a market for it here in the States. Manga is so varied in part because the majority Japanese people actually read on a regular basis. Americans probably read the least of any industrial country, which means comics are already a niche market.

I'm not sure if the current DC storylines are going to succeed either. I love campy, stereotypically guy stuff like the Man Show, Howard Stern or Duke Nuke'Em. But from what I've seen of the new Cat Woman/Starfire series, they're not particularly sexy, interesting or fun.