This has made the rounds on the interwebz earlier this week, but I thought I’d chime in anyway.
This is the variant cover for Justice League #1, out in September.
Now, when I look at this cover my general impression is it’s a pretty standard cover. I mean, it’s kinda bad-ass, but it’s basically just a team line-up. But nothing really sends up any red flags. And looking at Wonder Woman specifically I’d probably say, I like that she’s front and center, but she looks a bit tiny (which I’m kinda OK with ’cause I’m tiny).
Suddenly, the difference between how male and female superheroes are typically drawn becomes really apparent. And the way these women (and sometimes girls) are sexualized becomes abundantly clear. The other reason I like this image is because it points out that it isn’t just about physique. I will be the first to admit that male superheroes have just as impossible body shapes as their female counterparts. There are a lots of wash-board abs and belly buttons in comics. Even on the people wearing full-coverage costumes. I’m not arguing that (right now, anyway). This is an issue of men looking strong and powerful, and women standing there in sexy poses. Or as the artist herself says:
“The point of contention still is, as it always was, that people are getting tired of seeing all of the female leads drawn with body language and uniforms that make them appear less heroic, powerful, legitimate, and all-around able to be taken seriously than their male counterparts.”
And the worst part is, I wouldn’t have noticed there was anything “wrong” with this image until I saw the gender roles reversed. I was thinking this is an OK cover. I mean, compared to how we’ve been seeing Catwoman lately, or the Sue Storm Women of Marvel cover, this barely registered. And that’s a problem. That’s a big problem. It means I’m becoming desensitized to this kind of thing. And while some would say I need thicker skin, I think they’re ignoring the larger issue.
I mean, am I going to stop buying comics because of these kind of images? No. It’s pretty pervasive, not only in comics, but the majority of mass media. But I am going to point it out. Because the more people talk about it –> The more people identify it as something that is kinda damaging –> The less likely it is to keep happening.
That’s the hope anyway.