(Photo from Google Images)
I like boobs.
As a heterosexual male, I find boobs, breasts, mammaries, tits, jugs, bewbies, et. al., to be just doggone awesome. Can't help it. Having said that, I'm also something of a misogynist. I intensely dislike stupid women. This may have come from working at various bars or making the mistake of going to college in my thirties when one is more acutely aware of stupidity. Let me make myself clear, I don't hate women; I despise stupid women. And stupid men, for that matter. But we're focusing on the ladies this time around.
Prior to my marriage to a wonderful woman, I always felt I wasn't playing hard to get, I was playing hard to want. I was the last person my friends wanted as a wing man in a "target-rich environment" (Thanks, Top Gun!). Quick story: I was living in Jacksonville, Fla., and a friend of mine and I were at a local club. I had zero interest in cruising for chicks and I was sober. I was more out of place than a man named L'Kwan Goldberg at a Klan rally. My friend was about to seal the deal with a young lady and her friend was with me in my car. All I had to do was keep her entertained for 15 minutes while my buddy and his target of choice slipped away.
I tried. God knows, I really tried. After listening to her blather on and on, she asked me to play some music. I showed her the CDs that were in my collection and she began flipping through them, saying "Crap" or "Never heard of them" after each CD. When she reached Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, she said, and I quote "Who is this? It looks like he plays elevator music."
The gist of my next remark was "I don't think this is going to work. You probably need to get out of my car and find your friend." As I was told by my friend later, what I actually said was more like "You're fucking retarded and since I don't have a gun on hand to kill either you or myself, you need to get the fuck out." I would say it's a mixture of the two. Nah, fuck it. It's probably 90 percent the latter.
Anyway, the point I'm making is, I would never treat a woman like that who didn't deserve it. I love my wife and my daughters and I treat them with the utmost respect. I've worked with and for women who continue to be some of my best friends and colleagues. The fact I love the female form, preferably as scantily-clad as possible, doesn't make me a bad person; it makes me a heterosexual male.
Now, look at the pic posted above. The well-endowed lass is a super heroine in the DC Universe called Power Girl. She's a cousin of Superman. The uncomfortable-looking young lady is Supe's other cousin, Supergirl. According to a lot of female comics' fans and literary critics, Power Girl represents everything that is sexist and wrong about comics.
They're mostly right.
Kelly Thompson of ComicBookResources.com wrote a great article today on the consistent sexism in comics. I read it and felt compelled to write something about it from a male point of view. I'm not going to say for a second that I don't enjoy seeing hot chicks in skin-tight latex/spandex/whatever in comics. I've been reading comics for more than 30 years and the buxom ladies, good or evil, has always been a mainstay. On this very blog recently, I penned a post asking readers whom was hotter: Batgirl or Catwoman. It was probably a bit (a lot) on the sexist side, but if you are one of the four people who read it (Thanks Mom!), you'll see my choice was Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. I chose her because she is pretty, smart, and doesn't have to show off her taters to get shit done. She'll out think you, then whip your ass. I dig that.
With the release of the New 52, there has seemingly been more criticism regarding the appropriateness of women's attire in comics. I am of the belief that folks thought since it's 2011 (when the DC-wide relaunch took place), the need for nearly-naked female super heroes is at an end. Now, does that mean ALL hot women are going to disappear from comics? Hell no! I do think, however, most people, guys included, thought we were beyond this as the standard bearer for powerful women:
(Look at how smart I am. Photo from Google Images)
I have always had a problem with Emma Frost, the White Queen (seen in her Sunday best above), especially when she became the headmistress at Xavier's School. I understood she was supposed to represent the femme fatale and whatnot, but who dresses like that outside a titty bar? Seriously? Especially as the head of a highly-reputable school. Yeah, I know, who has telepathic powers? There is a certain suspension of disbelief when reading comics but there has always been a link between the lack of clothes and the increase in super powers re: women in comics. Psylocke is a great example. When she was first introduced, she was a very quiet, demure Brit who was a powerful telepath, yet depicted as somewhat frail. When the X-Men went through the Siege Perilous, she came out the other side in the employ of Mandarin as a kick-ass (and barely-clothed) ninja assassin.
Was there a need to shed her clothes? I've never seen male ninjas showing off their junk while battling whomever it is ninjas battle. The argument has always been that women dress that way to distract men during a fight. I don't buy it. It's because back in the day, the biggest audience for comics were young boys suffering through puberty. If your old man's porn stash wasn't available, you could always take a close look at what was behind Wonder Woman's, ahem, wings, and do it to it.
That is no longer the case and hasn't been for awhile. Almost all comics are aimed at an older audience, but that audience is still predominantly male, especially now with the prominence of the internet and the infamous Rule 34. Even the comics that are purportedly aimed at women, such as Wonder Woman and Catwoman (New 52), are unrealistic at best, softcore porn at worst. I enjoy reading Batgirl because it's a well-written comic about a strong central character, not because she's wearing an outfit showing off her tits. In the Marvel Universe, I was always a big fan of Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde. Both were strong characters and neither were displayed in an overtly sexual manner. For the most part.
The portrayal of women in comics is due mostly to the stereotype of the comics nerd; a fat, thirty-something white male living in his mother's basement, reading comics in one hand and beating his schlong like it owed him money to internet porn with the other. Yes, those people exist, but they do not define the genre of comic book fans. And yes, if you're pushing 40 like I am and still reading comics, you've probably seen some of the fan-originated pics of everyone from Power Girl to Alice In Wonderland done up in a Rule 34 fantasy. Probably been titillated by it as well. No harm, that. Well, no harm in it if you haven't punished your dong more than ten times a day for a month or so to said images.
Finally, given that the majority of comic book readers are heterosexual males, there isn't going to be a huge push to have the clothes put back on. I will say, though, if comic book artists began covering the girls, I don't believe there would be any blowback. At all. Readers of comics read for the stories primarily. S'truth. Some characters do need to be drawn the way they are; Catwoman SHOULD look like a biker slut. Black Canary, the Huntress, Wonder Woman, etc., should NOT. Seriously. Catwoman is a thief and can/does use sex as a weapon. The latter group of women are natural badasses and do not need to use sex. They have super powers. They don't need The Window of Titties (Yes, Power Girl, I'm talking to you).
The entertaining side of this argument is the half-hearted defense some guys give. They claim that MEN are objectified in comics. These are probably the same guys who ask every February why there is no White History Month. Male heroes are drawn extremely well in comics, but that, again, addresses the male fantasy. No fat guy imagines himself as a super hero; he imagine himself as Thor and Thor is built well. Ask my wife. She was damned near hypnotized by him in the movie. And I'm sure there have been women who have read a comic, have seen a male character shirtless and thought, "Yeah. I'll have me some of that."
(Can't you please just see me as a man? Now if you'll excuse me, I have to wash this shirt on my abs. Photo from Google Images)
I'm sure I'm going to get some uber-male comment either on this post or via DM/PM that I must be a fag or I'm pandering to women. I'm neither, although I do find myself looking at that pic of Thor in a decidedly uncomfortable manner. The fact is just because you're suspending disbelief enough to consider meta-powered humans/aliens existing in the "real" world doesn't mean the females in said world need to all be Amazonian Victoria's Secret models who lust after nerds and desire your geek seed. I'm not a prude by any standards, but it just seems ridiculous in the age we live in, our comic book women are still aimed at a group of readers who are in the minority. Titties and ass in comics should be an insult to the writers because that tells me the artist doesn't think the writer is strong enough to carry a story without some eye candy. Based on what I've read of the New 52 and most of the comics I've read over the years, that's not the case. At all.
Just remember: It's always sexier to conceal than to reveal. Besides, if you want to see Power Girl's knockers, there's always Rule 34.