Posing Like Wonder Woman

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).

Then Bleeding Cool posted this image by Kelly Turnbull.

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.

One Response to “Posing Like Wonder Woman”

  1. Travis says:

    For my part, I look at that image and see six strong and powerful people. Wonder Woman’s pose is sexy, but that doesn’t diminish her standing. It’s a sexy pose but it’s also a very dominating posture, which I suppose is part of what makes it sexy.

    It’s probably hard to draw an Amazon goddess in a one-piece bikini with a lasso in an authoritative posture and not have it be a little sexy.

    The rest of the League are in very authoritative postures as well. Flash and Batman have that “stand up straight and flex” stance (and WTF is with Batman sucking in his stomach?), GL is holding his fist up, Aquaman looks like he’s two seconds away from impaling somebody, and Superman is pretending to be Jesus.

    I think if there’s an issue to be taken with this is that Wonder Woman seems to be the only character the artist went out of their way to make extra sexy, so what we really need is for Aquaman to be working that spear a little bit more for the ladies.

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