After reading Catwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman the other week I was surprised and more than a little pleased with the internet community when I discovered that I was not alone in thinking DC had missed a huge opportunity with the relaunch to treat their depiction of women better. Instead they seemed to go down the opposite path and pushed as hard as they could in the direction of treating female characters as props for the entertainment of younger males.
For some reason the word empowered over in the halls of DC means “has lots of meaningless sex and wears no clothing”.
Of course some people don’t see this as a problem, some think that it’s the way things are done and we don’t need to consider the role models we are setting not only for young women but also young men. I was going to write up something lengthy around my thoughts on the matter but to be honest some people have already done the heavy lifting for me and whilst I don’t agree with every single little point I do agree with the overall thoughts expressed in these articles:
My favourite is Dear DC Comics because I think DC comics should listen to a 7 year old girl who seems to have more sense than DC. Which is supported by the following Shortpacked! comic:
I have friends with young kids who are beginning to discover the awesomeness of comics but I can’t imagine which of the DC 52 I could recommend to a still forming mind that’s not specifically a children’s title like Tiny Titans (that’s not to say that I’ve got one for Marvel either at the moment). But even for those kids who do read Tiny Titans and then want to move to Teen Titans, the jump is pretty huge (in fairness I haven’t read TT#1 yet so I am assuming it’s a jump – it certainly would be to any of the titles I have read).
***Update*** Just read Teen Titans #1 and so far it’s reasonably family friendly and Wonder Girl is wearing clothes
These articles are all good reads around the subject:
- A Response from a Female Comic Book Fan
- No More Mutants: 52 Problems by Andrew Wheeler
- The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their ‘Liberated Sexuality’
- The Devin’s Advocate: DC’s Sleazy New 52 And The Rape Of Starfire
Andrew Wheeler’s description of the Catwoman cover is particularly delightful:
We’ve known for a while that the cover to the Catwoman reboot has the character lying on her back barefoot with her legs in the air, baring her cleavage and pouring sparkling white droplets over her boobs. It’s very tasteful. It sets the tone. She’s a thief, you see, and that’s what thieves do; at the end of a long day of thieving they lie on a rooftop and throw diamonds away. Erotically.
The problem is and a lot of people seem to be missing this is that we’re not saying don’t let characters have sex or discuss mature themes, it’s probably not appropriate for every book though and female characters should occasionally be an actual role model rather than a sex prop. It’s important for both sexes to see this because boys need to learn to be men and girls aren’t props and shouldn’t have to see themselves as such.
Also a good read:
DC did respond via Twitter to the complaints about Starfire:
We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.
In fairness to DC they are right, a character who has been predominately pushed to a younger market is now in a comic book that is rated T for Teen which means 12 or older and parents should know what it is that their kids are reading and work out if it’s cool for them or not. I would argue that the depiction of Starfire though isn’t really for a 12 year old and even if it was is this still the best use of DC’s writing and artistic talents?
Would love a conversation about this in the comments but note that ignorant comments will be treated as such