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DC Women Kicking Ass

Thoughts, pictures, reviews and other stuff about the women in comics who kick ass. This is a feminist site. Deal with it.
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Jun 6 '11

It’s not the pants

A few weeks ago I wrote a post decrying people saying that Wonder Woman’s classic bathing suit costume look like something a stripper or a prostitute would wear. It’s not that I am particularly enamored of the old costume. It’s more that I am tired of people trying to tie the amount of skin a woman shows to her sex life.

While I’m not huge fan of the classic costume, I’m also not a huge hater. Given the many changes, reboots, and writers Wonder Woman has gone through in the last few years, there’s something to say for the comfort of her iconography. As I’ve said before, I probably wouldn’t have been as opposed to the (now sadly) 1st costume designed by Jim Lee if hadn’t become so emblematic of the first 6 issues of the horrible Odyssey reboot.

But there are other costumes I outright despise. Here’s a hint on one at the top of the list; “Belly Window.”

It’s not the Huntress Hush costume is just ugly, which it is. Or that it took what had been a costume that made perfect sense for the character and made it into a mishmash of the worst of comic costuming including knee pads and pouches. It was that the costume was stupid. It gave a character who had been shot in the stomach a panel in her costume that exposed exactly where she was shot. At a time when Robin had finally got a costume without exposed legs, Huntress got practically everything exposed.

Just look at it.

My reason for inflicting that costume on you this morning is the rumor that DC is going to have all their female characters wear pants in an effort to have more practical outfits.

Holy Huntress, I hope not. That’s just silly. And here’s why.

I know there are number of people who may say, “But Sue, you hate exposed skin.” I’m sure there are folks that will add their usual term of endearment of “you stupid Femnazi” at the end of that.  But that’s not true. For example, I like this costume (And, yes, I know Tim Gunn said she looked like a tramp. Oh Tim.)

It’s iconic, it’s legacy and, frankly, I find it to be a little fun. But as much as I like it as seen above; I don’t here.

Or here:

Here’s another costume with exposed skin that I like:

And here is a cover where I don’t like it:

Adding pants isn’t going to fix these problems. Look here’s Donna Troy in a version of her costume which has included pants for most of her run.

Do you think the pants compensate for her juggstastic top?

Catwoman has worn pants for over two decades. Put a Jim Balent Catwoman cover next to a Darwyn Cooke or Cameron Stewart cover. Do you think the issue is pants? Take a look at the cover for the Catwoman #1, coming out in September, that popped up last night and where she is wearing pants:

Pants don’t fix what is ailing that.

Costumes, for the most part, aren’t the problem.

The problem is artists like March who favor cheesecake, elongated unnatural bodies and a focus on tits and ass. Last year I compared and contrasted March’s style vs. another artist on the same three characters. The costumes are not the issue.

Costumes aren’t the problem with an artist like Ed Benes who manages to have a female character display her ass and boobs in the same panel. The problem is artists who seem unaware of what size most women’s breasts are. Or who use poses for women you’d never see used for a man. Or who you simply question what the hell are they are thinking about when they draw women.

I’m not saying that March and Benes aren’t talented artists; they are. But I would hope that if DC was really concerned with what is at the crux of the idea of “more practical costumes” that they would focus on their artists. How hard is for the edict to go out for “breasts smaller than the average size cantaloupe” and parity in posing for men and women? What does “parity in posing” mean? Check out this post by Megan Rosalarian Gedris.

Should DC eliminate all fan service? I hope they don’t. There’s just as much beauty in Nicola Scott’s Nightwing booty shot as there is Ed Benes’ Black Canary. I just don’t want to see page after page of it either. And I don’t want to see just pages of pants. I want to see art that treats men and women the same and approaches the atmosphere of reality.

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