So, in post 253, I linked to the ShortPacked comic, where the female artist character demonstrates what Batman would look like if he were a female sexual fantasy instead of a male power fantasy. The reason that comic is so important, and so often cited, is that when we start talking about the sexualization of female characters and how limited they are in comics, one of the first cries, right after “You’re just a jealous fat bitch!” is “Male characters are unrealistic, too!”
Well, yes, they are. However, the unrealism of those male characters is not the fault of women. We are, by and large, not the ones who invented them and who keep drawing them like steroid monkeys. Those male characters are male power fantasies, not female sexual fantasies. What does this mean? Well, go look at that Shortpacked comic, and take in what the female character says about what Batman would look like if his main purpose was to appeal, sexually, to women. Now, compare that to how the majority of male comic characters look. How many of them meet the “female sexual fantasy” criteria? Not a whole hell of a lot. The ones who come close, like Nightcrawler or some renderings of Gambit, tend to have rabid female fanbases, in case you hadn’t noticed.
I mean, I dig on the Punisher, as a character, but not like I do Nightcrawler or Gambit. And yeah, some girls are going to go for the ‘Roid monkey look. It does happen, but by and large, we really don’t go for it, and if you ask women, “Huge, unrealistic muscles” is generally going to crop up fairly low on their list of desireable attributes in someone they want to date, or even just bang, if at all.
So, you can’t point to the way that male heroes are depicted and say that is exactly the same as how female characters are depicted. And I’ll run down that list of why for you again. A. Women aren’t the ones (for the most part), inventing or drawing these characters. B. Male characters, even in the realm of being male power fantasies, STILL have a far wider variety in body types and shapes than female characters get. C. Male characters are almost always more clothed and have armor that looks like armor and not just very uncomfortable lingerie.
Until fairly recently, I don’t think anyone could name more than one female comic writer or artist. I know as far as the Big Two, I stall out at Gail Simone. And I actively look for female creators to support. Indie comics do have a far larger female presence. So women are not responsible for how most of our big name superheroes look. That is all on the dudes. Superman, Batman, the X-men (most team incarnations), that was all dudes. Dudes drawing and writing for dudes.
Male characters have a wide variety of body types. I can, off the top of my head, come up with multiple male characters that have different body types. You have the Wolverine, short and stocky. The Nightcrawler, short(-ish) and more slender, but still pretty muscly. Colossus, Sabretooth, or Superman, big and really muscly. Cyclops, average dude height and really well-muscled, if not as hugely muscled as the Colossus mod. Doug Ramsey, skinny nerd (Woo! One non-muscly male character!). But when you look at women, as I’ve said before, you’ve got tall and willowy with big tits, or short, lithe Asian woman or teenaged girl. Or Aunt Mae.
That’s it. For a few issues of the New Mutants during the Asgardian Wars, Karma is “cursed” with being monstrously fat.* But then she gets skinny again, and we’re back to slender, lithe Asian girl.
And finally, for the most part, the dudes get to keep their clothes on. And if you’re going to start shrieking Namor at me, just realize that you look like a big giant tool when you do that, because for every Namor, there are a dozen Starfires, Storms (her early costume), White Queens, Psylockes, Electras, Wonder Women, etc…
So, that, my friends, is false fucking equivalence. Male and female characters look that way based on male fantasies, not female
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*Believe me, this is a whole other rant for another time, especially when she says she’d rather die than stay fat. Holy fucking shit, beauty myth baggage much?