Superheroes are already a massive hit with today’s audience and not just with kids. They have gained this cult status and are often held in a position higher than most of the law protectors who are real. They emerged from comics and now are made into major motion pictures. But how morally correct are people when they adorn their heroes with reverence and respect when super heroines are dressed in skimpy clothes and seen as sex symbols to say the least? The idea is not so wild after all. We have Spiderman, batman, superman, antman, Aquaman and what not, dressed fully and covered in superhero costume from head to toe. But what’s up with this accentuated sexism towards depiction of super heroines?
Image Credit: Movie – Wonder Woman
Well, if you do not agree with this you are clearly either a thriving misogynist or are living in denial. Kids rarely grasp the significance of the disparity in portrayal of the two genders and they grow up to think that batman has a batmobile and is the epitome of strength while wonder woman is special only for her exaggerated bosom and her oh so perfect figure. That’s not all. Super heroines are deemed more powerful when they are wearing least clothes, exposing most parts of their body as if somehow the source of their power are their bodies.
Shreya Arora, a 21 year old graphic designer has taken a giant initiative to change this perception about super heroines in general and women in particular. She has drawn sketches where Spiderman is wearing a thong and superman is seen in a skimpy leotard. Her depiction has opened dialogue if not completely changed the notion of women in sexually suggestive postures and dressed scantily which is exactly what she wanted. Although the comics have still been attuned to modern sensibility and are supporting women empowerment to a greater degree their covers are dreadful are scary to look at for women all around the world. They promote body shaming and commodifies women something that Priyanka Chopra has talked about extensively in an episode of the little black book.
Cover #3: Original: She Hulk #40 by John Byrne The cover was prelude to a story where the first 8 pages the book are She Hulk jumping rope naked. (You can not make this stuff up) It is later revealed that she was wearing a skimpy bikini which is hidden by the artist's blur lines. Any illustrator with even a minimal amount of training knows that body language is a huge part of what you portray. In the original cover, She Hulk is clearly humiliated, scared, and unwilling. None of these things should ever be sexualized. And Marvel's cover does exactly that. Moral of the story: Marvel will do literally anything to make a sale (To straight men, that is) #dsgnfbrc #comics #illustration #hulk #shehulk #marvel #HGart #inspiroindia #womenwithpencils
Superheroines are given less dialogues and are portrayed as objects of desire in the thoroughly male dominated Marvel and DC universes. Marvel and DC have for the longest time ignored colored and blacks and have refused to portray them as protagonists. Only 27% of all the comic characters are women. Let’s not even talk about Indian comics where women are either annoying wives or just simply annoying and this is precisely what Arora wishes to change. Let’s hope this 21 year old changes such toxic notions.