Female Super-Hero Characters and Sex: Creators Explain How Comics Can Do Better
Kurt Busiek (Kirby: Genesis, Astro City): My argument, over and over, is that “sexy” isn’t the problem. Sameness is the problem. Don’t make all women look the same. Don’t make them act the same. Give us a range of portrayals, like the men. I think Power Girl’s a terrific character — she’s brash, she’s loud, she’s aggressive, she flaunts her sexuality and she doesn’t take any shit about it. As a result, she’s visually distinctive, she’s got a strong personality that goes with the visuals — she stands out. She’s a vivid and memorable character, which is pretty good for someone who’s core concept is that she’s a variant version of a derivative character.
I don’t have a problem with Voodoo being a stripper. Could be an interesting world, an interesting background to build on. I don’t have a problem with Starfire wearing a skimpy purple metal outfit. It fits the character as Marv and George designed and presented her. I have a problem, though, when the debate is posed in a way that says that either Power Girl should be toned down, or else it’s okay for any female character to be like that. Really? If Batman is all grim and dark and obsessive, is it okay for Superman to be the same way? For Spider-Man? Booster Gold? I don’t think so.
One of the things that made the original Starfire work so well was that she was on a team with Wonder Girl and Raven. Starfire was the sexy bombshell without any body issues, and that helped her stand out and be distinctive, standing next to the more conventional Donna Troy and the reserved and repressed Raven. There was variety, there was a range, and it made the characters memorable. What was important to Marv and George was making these characters distinctive and memorable, the women as well as the men.
And that was a nice step forward from the ’60s, when most female characters seemed to be cut from the same cloth, with rare exceptions. But in recent times, it seems female characters are being cut from the same cloth again, just a different pattern than we used to get. Now, they’re all Victoria’s Secret models, cocking their hips, arching their backs, pursing their lips and teasing their hair. I saw a team shot recently that looked like a varied bunch of male heroes and three clones of the same woman, just in different costumes. Women should be varied. They should look different, think different, act different, talk different… Just as surely as the men, because they’re all individuals and we want the characters we read about to be distinctive and memorable.
Ms. Marvel/Warbird/Carol Danvers: She’s ex-military, a tough, no-nonsense fighter who’s endured sexism all her life, starting with her own father. Should she pose like a model? Or should she straighten her spine, square her shoulders and her jaw and act like an officer? One’s the generic choice, and the other says more about who she is as an individual, so I go with the one that’s distinctive.
There’s nothing wrong with sexy. I don’t want to change Power Girl. She works really well as a character. What’s wrong is when everyone’s sexy, and in the same way, too. Playing it that way even hurts the characters who are meant to be sexy. If Storm and Kitty Pryde look and stand and act like Victoria’s Secret models, then how do you make the White Queen, who is supposed to be strikingly sexy and vamp-ish, stand out? Make her look like a Hustler model? That doesn’t come off as sexy; it comes of as ludicrous. But if everyone gets presented the same way, it’s harder and harder for the characters to be distinctive, even the ones who _should_ be presented that way, because it’s no longer possible to tell that that’s a choice, not a default. No range, no distinctiveness. Would Catwoman need to hump Batman on a rooftop to establish how hot and sexy she is if everyone else wasn’t crowding into the “sexy” end of the scale?
Mine is more a craft argument than a political argument, but the political statement hiding underneath it is: Women are individuals. The trick to treating them well is to acknowledge that, and seek to bring that individuality forth, rather than going with the generic. It doesn’t matter if the generic is “Sports Illustrated swimsuit model,” like today, or “fainting overwrought female” like much of Sixties Marvel — if it’s generic, it’s lazy and undistinctive and dumb. Let’s go for distinctive. Let’s go for variety.
Let’s see Power Girl and Voodoo and Catwoman, fine, but let’s see nerdy women, too — and funny women and repressed women and confident women and everything in-between and beyond. Give us the strippers, but give us the librarians (and not just the “sexy librarian,” either) and the Congresswoman and the cop and the junkie and the single mom and on and on. And even within those roles, not all Congresswomen are the same. Not all single moms, not all biker chicks, not all grad students.
[And if your female cop looks indistinguishable from a cop in a porn movie who’s about to handcuff the lucky burglar and have her way with him, maybe you’re doing something wrong.]
One size shouldn’t fit all, because that’s boring. So my answer to the question of how comics can do better with female characters is, stop looking for ways to fit the mold and start looking for ways to stand out. Look for what makes them individuals, not what makes them generic. If nothing else, it’s a whole lot easier for an orange-skinned babe in a purple metal bikini to stand out as sexy with just a line or two if everyone else isn’t wearing as little as possible and looking as breathy and bosomy as possible too.
I don’t want to tone down Power Girl, because she’s fine as she is. We just need female characters as distinctive as she is in other ways. Let’s not limit the portrayals, because that gives us less. Let’s have more, instead. More variety, more distinctiveness, more individuals.
Read more at ComicsAlliance.
A problem with PayPal payments:PayPal changed their fee policy. Now, if we want to receive money WITHOUT being taxed, the person has to already have a PayPal account and be paying under “sending money to family or friends”. If they don’t have a PayPal, THEY get charged .59cents, or they can choose that we, the seller, get charged .59cents.In other words: now you have to have a PayPal in order not to get charged for sending money. If you don’t have a PayPal, either you or the seller will be charged.
Please be aware everyone.
SIGN THIS PETITION Or AT LEAST rEBLOG AND LET OTHErS KNOW!!
I AM NOT SHITTING WITH YOU GUYS. THIS SHIT IS PISSING ME OFF ALREADY. FUCKING SIGN THIS SHIT OR I’LL MAKE SURE I WALK TO MY SERVICE PROVIDER AND SHOTGUN HIM IN THE ANUS IF MY MOTHERFUCKING INTERNET GOES OFF. SOPA AND CISPA HAS BEEN ON MY NERVES TO THE POINT I’M RAGING ABOUT THESE BEING BROUGHT UP AND VALUABLE RESOURCES ARE BEING USED. SIGN THIS SHIT GODDAMMIT
cmon bitches we have work to do
PLEASE sign. This only needs a few hundred more.
Actually, ~600 is how many it currently has. It needs like 99k more. LET’S DO THIS.
please sign or at least reblog
you need an account on the site to sign it, I know it’s SOOO TEDIOUS TO SPEND A COUPLE SECONDS MAKING AN ACCOUNT
IT’S NOT LIKE THE ENTIRE INTERNET IS AT STAKE BY MARCH 25 OR ANYTHING
Remember that petition about organ transplants being denied for autistic people that was going around about 2 weeks ago?
During those two weeks, it’s gotten maybe 2,000 signatures.
In the next 4 days (by Friday, December 14th) it needs 16,457 more.
Or it doesn’t pass.
Now, what I want to know is, why are you not signing it? Seriously, it takes what, maybe 2 minutes? You can spend
hoursnearly the entire day scrolling through thousands of meaningless pictures of thin girls, big sweaters, coffee cups, cat gifs, shirtless guys, witty text posts, and porn, but you can’t take 2 freaking minutes to sign something that has the possibility to save someone’s life?
Please sign, this is really important! D8
Dammit, I thought that update going around sounded too good to be true.
41 hours left at time of posting
Reblogging for the afternoon crowd. I’ve been watching this issue for weeks, and have gotten pretty emotionally invested in it. But I think more people need to be emotionally invested in it. It’s a fucking travesty and a crime that they need to BUY back their land in the first place.
read & donate if you can. signal boost for sure !
32 hours now
there’s been some confusing info going around saying the money’s no longer needed. that’s not true. the public auction has been cancelled, and the tribe has put down earnest money, but they still need to come up with the rest or the deal is off.
i’m kinda broke right now, but i was able to come up with something. every little bit helps, right? even if the political or religious ramifications of the situation don’t move you, it’s worth it just to keep a whole lot of people from feeling really terrible.
imagine if everyone who donated to hussie’s kickstarter donated to save pe’sla
I have no problem with people going, “oh, I’d like to see this project related to my fandom happen! I’m going to donate to help make sure it does (and maybe get some cool swag as a reward). Hell, I’m excited about the idea of a Homestuck game, and if I had any money right now, I might have donated.
(And to clarify, I’m not saying that’s necessarily what you think; I’m just throwing that out there in a general way.)
But…the Homestuck fandom raised that fuckton of money so quickly. I’d love to see that sort of momentum go toward saving Pe’Sla.
Like I said, I don’t have any money right now, so I can’t afford to donate. What I can do is signal boost.
SO. To anyone who is reading this (but especially anybody who donated to Hussie’s Kickstarter and can spare a few bucks more for a seriously worthy cause):
The auction of Pe’Sla, the sacred Lakota land, was cancelled, but the land is still for sale. The Lakota, and other people of the Great Sioux Nation, are trying to raise the money to buy the land. If they don’t, the state will probably build a road through it. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s completely fucked up.
From the Pe’Sla Indiegogo page:
Do you see what the problem is here?
Homestuck fandom just raised over $700,000 in two days. That’s pretty incredible.
I bet we can do it again.
Fandom is capable of incredible things. Prove me right.
whoops i forgot to reblog this but fern actually made this into a quality post, thank you fern!
I don’t usually reblog stuff like this to my art blog but this is something that i have been thinking about A LOT and even if you can’t afford to donate to this, please signal boost it! This is really important and any donation helps.
Hello! I’ve made this post out of my desperation to move cities. I’ve been living in a small town in Australia for most of my life, a town that is well known in Australia to be too expensive and full of assholes. I’m 18 now and the time has come for me to move out of home and start my life anew. I have a job but I barely get over $250 a week, I have to pay $50 board to my parents a week also and my internet and phone bill on top of that a month. I don’t have much to save and with the little money I get a week it will take well over a year and my hope of moving isn’t very high.
Point is, I’m sick of living where I am. It’s doing no good for my mental health, I want to start new, I want to actually build myself a life. I know that there are other people out there who need money for medical emergencies ect. and I feel terrible and selfish for asking this, but if any one could please just donate at least $1 to me to help me fund some money to move that would be very very appreciated.
>have to pay $50 board to my parents a week
Followers, that’s $200 a month to her own fucking parents, that’s ridiculous
If you can spare any money, please donate to babu }:<
Help!! I was made aware of this the other day by a friend out that way and this location is extremely important. I’m glad to see there is a fundraising campaign going on. Help out if even a little or at least spread around! Don’t let history repeat itself in situations like this, because that’s the fear!
Help out if you can. The Red Cross is currently taking donations.
If you’d like to help out in other ways, check this link out.
TW: Self-harm, rape, homophobia, transphobia
Hello, everyone that reads this!
So. This isn’t a particularly happy note, and for that I apologize now. Thing is… life at home has become unbearably difficult for me.
I’ll give you a little insight on who I am.
I’m 17 years old, born in San Diego, lived in Kenya for 4 years of my life, and I’m currently back in San Diego. I’m a senior in high school this year, though I shouldn’t be, considering I’m a year behind in school due to multiple hospitalizations and severe depression and anxiety. My depression was so bad, that at one point, I couldn’t function properly on my own. I couldn’t get up and change, or brush my teeth in the morning. Showers consisted of just standing in the water, sometimes fully clothed. I would literally cry myself to sleep at night, and sometimes I still do. It’s been only a year since I was at that point. During that time, my parents took me out of the country to Kenya again, and I was literally imprisoned in my home for 2 months. During that period of time, I was psychologically abused by my parents (without their realization of them doing so). It was some of the worst 2 months of my life. I’d never felt that alone, and hurt. I was so broken. I ended up cutting all of my hair off, and self-harming to the point that my arm was completely covered in blood, and dripping on the floor. My father hit me multiple times that night, and told me he wanted to send me to an African mental institution and leave me to die. I lost all love and respect for my father that night. I had also come out to my family as a lesbian during that time (out of anger), and it was not taken well by my parents. My sisters are the only two people in my life that have always been supportive of my decisions, and who I am as a person. I was also recently on a trip to Costa Rica, where I came out to the mentors as a transman, and they came out to my mother for me. Since I’ve gotten home (I was sent home early because of my depression), my mother has been increasingly hostile towards me.
When I was 13 years old I was brutally raped, and witnessed the murder of someone I was trying to help that night. It took me 2 years to be able to talk about it, and tell my parents. My mother has repeatedly victim-blamed me, and continues to make hurtful comments about what happened that night. Her attitude has become increasingly negative as I get older, and mature, and make my own decisions. Her constant negativity towards me has become something that’s building up suicidal thoughts in me again; something I haven’t felt in quite some time now. The buildup of tension between my parents and I has been going on since we initially moved to Kenya, and it’s becoming worse ever since.
It’s now at the point where I can’t stand living at home anymore, I can’t take it. I know I need to get out of this fucking house, or I’m bound to either end up in the hospital severely injured, or dead. I cannot stand my parents. I cannot love them anymore. I try so hard to find a place in me that will, but I can’t anymore. I’m so exhausted by all of this shit they’re piling on me. I need to leave, I need this for myself. I have no money, I have no place to stay. My only source of income right now is selling buddhist prayer beads, and I haven’t made a sale in 3 months now. Other than that, there’s nothing. I have no income whatsoever, and I desperately need a place to go. I have friends that are willing to take me in, but I can’t bring myself to accept their offer without being able to contribute in some way or another (rent, groceries, etc.)
This is THE last thing I want to do, honestly… but it’s gotten to the point that, this is my only option left. I’m so, so, so, sorry, and so ashamed to be asking such a thing, but… fuck, I’m in desperate need of money to get out of this horrible situation I’m in. Honestly, everything I’ve written here, is only half of what I’ve been going through. I’m so overwhelmed with everything right now, that I can’t even think beyond it. I just. Oh, god, I can’t believe I’m asking this of any of you but; donations. I would be so appreciative of receiving donations to help me get on my feet, and on my own, I would be forever grateful, and forever in your debt if you could contribute as much as you can, or signal boost if anything. I am so desperate at this point. I hate myself for asking this, I really do. :/
Or, maybe not even a donation, if you want to buy prayer beads, tell me, my website is www.seryve.com, but don’t purchase from it directly, let me know which one you want (my cart isn’t set up properly yet).
I don’t even know. I just need help. I hate asking for help, I hate asking for money, especially from people I don’t even know. I’m just at the point that.. this is my only option left.
I’m really sorry I’m asking, but thank you so much for at least reading this, it means so much to me.
guys, please. i love xayn a ridiculous amount: he’s one of the most amazing people i’ve ever met. it kills me that i can’t just fly him out here to stay with me, but if there’s anything you can contribute, it’d mean the world to both of us.
hey there followers. Just a quick reminder, since there’s new ones since the last batch, and I reblogged my epilepsy awareness post.
I’m epileptic. this is my medical alert bracelet. I’m light sensitive and I’m more than slightly masochistic in my choice to read homestuck, but I have precautions for that. I wear goggles when I go to mspaintadventures.com, but I also have my friends check the updates before I read them.
I don’t keep my goggles on all the time, I don’t wear them for fashion, and I don’t think of wearing them when I come on tumblr, because there’s this nifty thing called tumblrsavior that adds on to your browser and allows you to block out certain key words. I block out ‘epilepsy warning’ and ‘flashes a lot’, I’m adding ‘Lord English’ to the list, because, well, Lord English. Not another word needs be said.
There’s an area of damage I got to see on my MRI as I was walking out yesterday. it’s about this [——————————-] big on the front right side of my brain. I don’t know what it means, and it worries me, but I know it’s bigger than it was three years ago, and every time I have a seizure, the damaged area grows a bit. So…
I’d ask this of you, ever so kindly. If I’ve followed you back, please tag anything that flashes appropriately. If you have to question it, if you wonder about it even a little, please, by all means, simply tag it. It’s a good rule of thumb to live by, since you never know who’s got a light sensitive issue, or who has a migraine.
Epilepsy is damaging, the effects are long term and lasting. The effects of a seizure don’t go away once the aura or the after migraine are gone. I have to take medication to function on a level comparable with a normal, healthy teenager(and I’m 25) and I spend most of my life wondering if I’m doing it right.
Help prevent damage, not only to me, but to who knows how many other people around you. Please tag your posts appropriately. This goes for anything that can trigger people. PTSD is as bad as epilepsy, sometimes even worse. You never know what’s going on with your friends, so err on the side of caution. It’ll save a lot of drama.
Thank you in advance.
I’m refunding everyone’s money as fast as I can but I have the abortion scheduled for next Monday so I need the money.. I’m going to post this again. Please reblog or give anything you can. Me and my boyfriend have been seeing each other for about a year now and I recently found out I’m pregnant.. It was the scariest thing of my life.. I was paralyzed with fear. I wish I had the means to keep the baby but I just don’t.. We aren’t ready to be parents and adoption would mean my abusive dad finding out. I fear for both my life and my boyfriends if this were to happen. So we decided together the only option is to abort the pregnancy. I’m so scared and lost. I have cried for nights about this, don’t think I’m heartless. Please understand, and help me. The link is on my tumblr. I just don’t have the money.. The abortion will be $500.. There is no funding in my state thanks to Scott walker. Donate $1 and help me out, I will forever be in gratitude. I love you all.Okay guys the new link is on my tumblr! I love each one of you so much (:
Because she wasn’t 18, she couldn’t have a paypal account, apparently. The new account to donate to is under her boyfriend’s information. Anything you can do helps, and, of course, please signal boost.
Hi there, paypal! You fucking SUCK.
Reposting and redonating.
signalboosting, hope you recover quickly from all this. shit sucks, sister.
“The demand for shark fins is driving some shark species to extinction. Tens of millions of sharks are caught each year for their fins, and in some places these sharks are finned alive, a brutal practice in which a shark’s fins are hacked off at sea, and the animal is thrown overboard to die.
New York is currently the largest importer and exporter of shark fins on the East Coast, but if we act now, these facts could be history. The New York Senate and Assembly are considering bills that would ban the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins within the state. Sharks are vital to the health of the oceans, and the worldwide shark fin trade is killing them. California, Oregon, and Washington have already passed similar bans – now let’s have New York lead the charge on the East Coast.”
If we could ban the shark fin trade in NYC, that would be really awesome! Here’s a message you can send to NY legislators, all ready to go, by OCEANA!