[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman, so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like the romper!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]
We all grew up wanting to be supergirls – maybe not with all of the superpowers – but to be strong, smart, independent chicks who could handle themselves and still wear rockin’ heels. But the world of the superhero has always been a boys club (Wonder Woman famously started out as the Justice League’s secretary). Next week one of the most famous comics in history will have a female hero for the first time; and not just your run-of-the-mill, butt-kicking woman; but a hot, rich, Jewish, lesbian, butt-kicking woman.
But is this kind of character a blow for women’s rights, or are comics really just holding back the female image?
One of the concerns over women in comics has always been that they are hyper-sexualized, which some say gives many of the people (especially men) who read them, the wrong idea about women’s bodies and their functions in the world. And it’s definitely true that the world of superheros seems to be populated by a race of supermodels with Barbie-doll proportions and a propensity for leather. Catwoman is practically the poster girl for fetish garb, and even the great Wonder Woman can’t get rid of the freaking bustier (no matter how hard her writers try)! I mean, have you ever seen Powergirl? Apparently her “powers” are housed in her cleavage.
Ok, so from the looks of girls in comic books, guys are definitely getting the wrong idea about women and their bodies. But, on the other hand, it’s hardly just the ladies who get oversexualized in comics; any real guy with Superman’s physique would probably crumple under the weight of his own torso, so it’s hard to say it’s a one-sided problem.
And while the outfits may leave something to be desired in the coverage department, you can’t say that the women of superhero-land aren’t powerful. Supergirl could take on her Kryptonian cousin any day of the week and the girls of the Marvel Universe – well the X-Men alone have three ladies who could bend the planet to their will, all by themselves. Heck, even Lois Lane, without any powers at all, will jump right into the fray to get her story.
So if we assume that comics really are trying to tell the world what women are supposed to be like, can we really be mad that one of the major facets of these women is that they’re incredibly strong and self-sufficient? Isn’t that something we’ve all been fighting for the world – particularly men– to see about us for a long time? Which would mean that these “BAM! POW!” ladies could actually be helping our cause.
So what do you think?
Are all of these “super” girls just sad, over-sexed reflections of what men want to see? Are they holding us back? Or could characters like Batwoman be the heroes of the future – smart women who can take care of themselves and their cities, while still looking sexy?