11/25 What a 7 year old thinks about how women are drawn in comic books.

Why are female superheros drawn like this, but male superheroes never are?

Okay. For today's discussion, first, read this article (It's short and pretty easy):
A 7-year-old girl responds to DC Comics’ sexed-up reboot of Starfire

Then, come back and read the below excerpts from this post on Ms. Snarky's Awesometastic Comics Blog:

"For twenty years – roughly two thirds of my life – I have been a loyal fan of comics. But time and time again, I have been told that these comics, ... are not really for me. ... Anytime I go into a new local comic book shop, I enter with trepidation, wondering how I’ll be received. Will someone ask me if I’m buying something for my boyfriend/brother/husband/son? Will someone look at me with disdain and then use his body to block me from the comic I want to read because hey, girls don’t belong in here? Will someone ask me if I’m only in there because I think an actor in a comic book movie is hot? Will someone turn to me and tell me with a snide look that they don’t sell “any girly manga” in there, so I should just leave? It could happen. All of these things have happened. To me.
...
Sure, I can read the comic if I really want to, but it’s not really for me. It’s for a single-gender audience. It doesn’t matter how much I love comics, how much I’m willing to spend to keep them in business, or what they mean to me as a fan for the last twenty years. Because I was born a girl and not a boy, I will never be part of the real, intended audience. And that sucks.
...
I’m told that in order to be a comics reader, I have to be complicit in my objectification. And you know what? I’m not okay with that. And as a person who likes to be treated [as though I'm a real human being], I have the right to be upset about that.

However, a lot of people don’t seem to think I do have that right. I’ve read several comments over the last couple of days that I can mostly lump into a few basic questions, which I’d like to take the chance here on my own blog to respond to:

• If you don’t like what’s happening in comics, you don’t have to read them.
No, I don’t have to read them. But is this really the ideal solution? Nope. ... I love superhero comics, but [if I] feel like I’m being alienated as a reader because of who I am, then why should I just shut up and not read them? If I’m not okay with the status quo, then I don’t get comics? Those are my choices? Yeah, no. I’m not going to shut up and turn my back on on something I want to enjoy just so someone else can look at cartoon boobs.

• What are you so upset about? It’s just a sex scene! You must be a prude.
I’m not a prude. I don’t care if Catwoman wants to have sex with Batman. I don’t care if Catwoman wants to have a threesome with Batman and Alfred in the Batmobile while Nightwing watches. What I do care about is any female character becoming a sexual object instead of an actual character. ... I was bothered from the very beginning, when it was clear right off the bat (no pun intended…) that it was about Catwoman’s T&A, and not about a developed character. That comic existed to sell an image of sex to men, and the female readers who hey, might actually enjoy a story about Catwoman, were left completely in the cold.

• You must have a problem with sexually liberated women.
A lot of the commenters ... seem to be forgetting is that Starfire is not a real person who made the choice to have lots of anonymous sex on her own. She is not a “sexually liberated woman.” She’s a character, who was written by a person – specifically, a man. Starfire’s preening in a bikini and talking about how she wants to have sex with people whose names she won’t even remember is not about celebrating the sexually-liberated woman of the Twenty-First Century, throwing off the shackles of male oppression. It’s about giving men the chance to fantasize about having a hot chick with big boobs want to do them without any consequences. Don’t believe me? Look at the responses to Starfire’s “liberated sexuality” by the male characters in the comic. They ogle her and they discuss their own sexual conquests of her. It’s not about Starfire and her adult choices regarding sex. It’s about male fantasy.

• It’s just a comic. Geez, why are you so upset over something that’s just entertainment?
This is a problem on two levels. For starters, why are we cheapening comics? If anyone says that comics aren’t art, or that they’re a throw-away medium, there’s a lot of ire on the Internet. Yet if someone then says that comics should be better than their most base form, we all need to shut up and accept it’s “just entertainment?” We can’t have it both ways. Either comics have the ability to be more than cheap thrills or they don’t.

• Well, Catwoman’s a villain, so really, what does it matter if she’s all sexed up? She has no morals.
Catwoman ... is not being objectified because she’s the bad guy. No one’s putting the Joker’s leather-covered butt in our faces. She’s objectified because she’s a woman.
Also, it’s not like the problem is just with Catwoman. ... This isn’t the first time this has happened in a comic and sadly, I’m positive it won’t be the last. It doesn’t matter who’s being objectified this time. It only matters that once again, it’s happening, and once again, female comic book readers are just supposed to accept it as the status quo and part of their experience as fans. It’s beyond gotten old.

• I understand why women get upset, but this is always going to be in comics, and women have to understand that, too.
You know what? No. I am sick and tired of being told that what I want and need from my comics comes second to what men want to read. I have been a fan of comics for almost my entire life. I’ve paid my money for not only the books themselves, but the movies, the toys, the clothes. I’ve spent hours reading comics, discussing comics, loving comics. Why on Earth is my opinion and what I want to see in comics so much less valuable than someone else’s? Just because I was born with a different set of reproductive organs, I have to be passive in what I read, while a certain sector of men get to be catered to? That’s bullshit, plain and simple, and I am not okay with it. Yeah, this is the Twenty-First Century, and I am liberated with a mind and voice of my own, and I’m not just going to sit down, shut up, and be reduced to my parts because hey, comics are really for boys. ... Batman isn’t all about his biceps, so why is Catwoman all about her boobs?"

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