Recently DC Comic’s Artist Guillem March went and got himself in a load of soapy bubble with his anatomically impossible rendition of Catwoman for her upcoming #0 issue:
The internet had a complete breakdown as the hot topic of horrible female misrepresentation spawned further into the realms of impossible standards, overt sexualisation, sluttish renditions, negative role models, reinforcing male chauvinism in a male dominated industry and so on.
And comics have been representing women in a way that could be reflective of any of the above statements for a while now. Take these popular covers and renderings below for example, featuring some of the comic industry’s most popular female characters from Witchblade to Wonder Woman:
Now the question isn’t just one of are comics sexist towards women. They clearly are. The question is also one of where does that sexism begin and end?
A lot of fans are okay with the sexualisation of their favorite characters, indeed it would almost seem part and parcel of the fantastical and mostly unrealistic nature of comics themselves. The easiest way to show this is with Cosplay:
With Cosplay fans get to revel in the sexy appearance and nature of the fantasy characters they enjoy reading about. They get to flaunt that freedom and regularly attend cons to do so. So at what point does an artists rendition of an overtly sexy comic book character become chauvinistic, sexist, harmful etc.
Is it at the point where they are depicted in a pose that is unrealistic like Guillem March’s Catwoman above? Or is this just an isolated attack on the artist based on artistic liberties he’s taken in an (albeit changing) industry where fantasy renderings like this are the norm?
Is it at the point where the characters are overly sexualised and objectified? Or is this argument nullified by the same characters being showcased by enthusiastic cosplayer’s who enjoy them in comics and enjoy the freedom of showcasing their own sexiness?
Or is it at the point where male creators have taken liberties with female characters in an industry that is mostly male dominated? And if so does this mean that female creators, fans and Cosplayers are also culpable for their continued support and endorsing of an industry that has been shown itself sexist?
This issue is clearly a biggie, so sound off and tell us what you think about it.
Tags: Catwoman, chauvinism, cosplay, guillem march, sexism in comics, sexy