Do comic books objectify female characters?

Do comic books objectify female characters?

Join the conversation and vote below

The way American comic books portray women has long been controversial. Even powerful super-heroines like DC’s Wonder Woman or Marvel’s She-Hulk are "invariably depicted as alluring objects of desire, wearing the scantiest of costumes.” But others say it's not the job of comics to further feminism, but to entertain and tell great stories. Besides, the industry has come a long way and now offers many new diverse characters that empower women. Are comic books sexist?

The Votes Are In!

Luke McKinney says the comic industry's portrayal of female characters isn't just sexist, it insults readers' intelligence (and knowledge of basic female anatomy):

"Behold five characters whose costumes are so impossibly, illogically sexual that they look like they were designed by M.C. Escher after he didn't get laid for 20 years."

At Fantasy Magazine, one writer argues it's not just the stripper-esque costumes. The majority of female characters are drawn from the perspective of the "male gaze."

This feminist theory was first introduced in the essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” by film theorist Laura Mulvey in 1975. Male gaze is described as “the concept of the gaze as a symptom of power asymmetry.” 
A defining characteristic of male gaze was how the heterosexual male lets the camera “linger on the curves of the female body.” I found countless images of female characters in extremely provocative poses; bending over, arching their heads back, tossing their hair, fighting in the rain, etc. Even the popular characters like Wonder Woman, Storm, Super-Girl, and Jean Grey were not spared. 

Others think we are asking too much of comics. They are not required to be served with a side of social justice.

And some comic fans point to newer characters and series that strive to center women and portray them as something other than sex objects.

There's certainly far more awareness of the issue than there used to be, and more and more women are part of comic creation.

And others ask if comics are so sexist, why is nearly half of their readership female?

Cancel e81adef6e6553af1fd4ae2bf0fb5144e9639f08b71b0987074b13e549d2cbb48


Please provide a valid email