Women in Comics

I love comic books (in case you hadn’t already figured that out). But to get right to the point: I hate how women are depicted in comics. I mean, not all women in comics are bad – and I’ll define “bad” shortly. All I mean is that there are discussions about women’s depictions within films and music which is excellent. Violence against women or over-sexualized women for no reason should be put to an end. However, arguably because they are considered juvenile to the masses, comic books get ignored, and thus women can be depicted however they want to be.

Now by “bad,” and what I want this topic to be primarily about, is that women are more and more drawn ridiculously sexual in comics. It’s over-the-top sexual. And it has to stop.

In my own opinion, I find movies less credible if they have unnecessary nudity in it – whether it be a random topless woman or a woman wearing white while it’s raining outside, etc. And as such, I feel angst against comic books which place women into those situations. The same goes with men too – but that will all be going in another blog down the road.

While I don’t mean to pick upon Marvel, I do read their comics primarily. But other comic companies such as DC with Wonder Woman, Super Girl, or Power Girl are just as guilty.

Case and point with these pictures (click on pictures for larger view):

Emma Frost:
X-Men #131 (March. 1980) to Emma Frost #1 (Aug. 2003).
xmen131     emmafrost1

Marvel Chillers #3 (Feb. 1976) to The Mighty Avengers #3 (July. 2007).
tigra3 tigramightyavengers

“But I thought Ultron was a male robot?” you ask. “No. He’s now a naked woman,” I reply.
Avengers #202 (Dec. 1980) to The Mighty Avengers #2 (June. 2007).
ultron202      ultronmightyavengers

I will mention that the Emma Frost comic is rated PSR+ (Parental Supervision Recommended), while both The Mighty Avengers comics were Rated A (All Ages). Odd, eh?

However, you can clearly see how the women in these comics, within a timespan of about twenty years, are unnecessarily over-sexualized.

Despite my love for X-Men, Emma Frost’s clothes are completely unpractical at all-times.

As for Ultron, I’m sure you’re as shocked as I was upon noticing it. Ultron first appeared in 1968, and up until 2007 was a robot and arguably a male.

Then Moonstone as Ms. Marvel during the Dark Reign series – all she seemed to do was try to sleep with and manipulate every one on her team.

And don’t get me started on Loki either.

Let me breathe for a second.

Firstly, I do not condemn the characters. I love Emma Frost’s character. Her and Cyclops are great together in comics.
Tigra has been on the back burner for popularity as of late, but she has always been an Avenger who has held her own.
Moonstone was still bad-ass in the comics and an essential part of the Dark Avengers.
Loki’s a shape-shifter, so he does what he pleases and it screws with everyone.
Ultron is considered one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe. (And yes, I know recently he has been shown as a “male” robot again.)
These women (and men as women), by all rights, are strong, important characters.

But! They all are entirely inappropriate for their audience. “Their” audience being comic book readers of all ages, as they are accessible to everyone. Male or female. As a male, I am shocked on how far comics will go for the unpractical. Sure, comics are already imaginary worlds where the impossible happens – but they also reflect our society and to some extent – our values. But how women are depicted in some comics are blatantly degrading.

It just seems unfair for these women to be forced in and subjected to male scrutiny. Ultimately, it is manipulating what societies values are – both within and outside the comic realm.

Emma Frost is always talking about her plastic surgery which has been done – and how she is “beautiful” because of it. Tigra has rarely put on any clothes, while Ultron did not wear any at all! These individuals are strong characters and are vital to their stories – but they do not value themselves.

And that’s not their fault, either. They are being written and drawn by someone who does not stop to think.

With the increase of fake people and abuse from ads, to the children they are affecting, we cannot let this go on any further.

Although my message may get muddled in the sea of many voices, I feel like I should address this issue. Albeit, I’m not the first one, it just needs to be changed.

Our world is not a comic book, so stop trying to make it one.

‘Nuff said.

15 thoughts on “Women in Comics

  1. WOW, now THAT is one hell of a post!

    Love it. /agree

    Although Tigra looks more Neytiri now than Thundercats… which is kind of cool? (pose excluded)

  2. JustSayin'

    I agree with you on most points. However, besides Emma Frost, your examples were lacking and you did not mention any of the stuff that marvel does to put females in a positive light.

    With your Tigera example, you picked a picture of Tigera just before she was about to have sex with Hank Pym. Obviously you could add this to your argument about women being used as sex symbols, but I thought it was done in good taste as it was used to further add to the complex relationship between the Pym’s (who were recently separated at this point).

    With your Ultron example, you brought to question the fact that he is suppose to be a guy, but for some reason they made him a girl. They did not make him a girl just for the sex appeal, they made him Janet Pym a reason. I will skip the “how” as it is not important, but the “why” is to further the story of Hank Pym, who created Ultron. Ultron, able to transform himself into any body of his choosing, thus turning himself into Janet Pym due to the fact he was programed to love Janet by Hank.

    Both these examples happened in the same comic so it is arguable that the writer really wanted to add to the story of the Pym’s. Which ended up becoming very important during the Skrull Invasion.

    The examples that put females into a positive light in marvel are Janet Pym, Cloud 9, Mary Jane, She-Hulk, Pepper Pots, Aunt May, Mrs. Arbogast and I would also argue Maria Hill and the Black Widow.

      1. JustSayin'

        Ha! True. This is the sixth blog/article I have seen about women in comics this week and I was so angry with their general conclusion that I couldn’t be bothered to read what I thought was another opinionated piece about women being only eye candy without a proper character development. I read only the first paragraph of your blog when I hit ‘comment’ and decided to let lose.

        When I saw the pictures and noticed it was from marvel (which I too primarily read) I jumped to conclusions. After actually reading your blog I definitely have to agree that women are very ‘sexed’ up in comic books. But so are males (save for The Blob) so it makes it an even playing field I think.

        If you click on some of the randomly generated links (which is how I found your blog), I think you will find that most arguments are more on the role of women in comics, rather then the appearance. I guess I should not excuse myself for skimming through your work though.

  3. This was a really good read. My only criticism would be that you’re barely scratching the surface. There are a lot more problems and examples that could have been illuminated, unfortunately. Depictions of women in all media is lacking, but it really seems the “boys club” of comics is near the bottom of the barrel (along with other male-fan dominated fields like fantasy, horror, etc).
    Basically, I’m trying to say “good job” and “I agree!”

    1. I entirely agree with you. And I do want to tackle and bring forward more examples of this. I know it’s a problem out there and there’s tons to discuss.

      I really wanted this to be a template to how I’d set-up the rest of my future blogs. Believe me, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of this topic. I am already brainstorming an extension for this.

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