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Wednesday, August 22, 2018 

BBC accuses comics covers of all being "sexist"

The BBC wrote a hit piece on comics cover illustrations, citing an artist in India who's redrawing what she considers "sexist" covers featuring women with men in similar poses (and I can't even begin to describe how stupid it already sounds):
An artist in India is challenging sexist drawings of women in comic books by parodying them using male heroes in poses typically associated with women.

She-Hulk has superhuman strength and speed and is one of the most formidable hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel world.

Like Hulk, not only does she have physical power, she's also completely green.

Yet, on a 1991 comic book cover, she is shown in a seductive pose, wearing a G-string bikini, with her curves sharply accentuated.

Indian artist Shreya Arora was shocked when she saw the image.

"For Hulk, the visual representation focuses on his strength. For She-Hulk, all we see is an emphasis on sexuality," says Arora, who grew up reading comic books.
That so? Because in the original 1980-82 series where Jennifer Walters first debuted, she was shown smashing into a bus on the cover of the 2nd issue. And on the cover of the 10th issue of the 1989-94 series, she's shown holding up an overpass bridge girder to prevent it from crashing onto a busy street. And on top of all that, the artist entirely misreads the 2nd series' whole approach, which was breaking-the-4th-wall parody. So what's her dumb point?

Furthermore, if she really didn't like what she saw, then she should've just dropped the whole hobby and taken up a different one. She may have grown up reading the medium, but it's clear she's not a fan and has no appreciation of the artform either, let alone the idea of a girl being sexy. Besides, Stan Lee, who created She-Hulk just like he did the Hulk, certainly had no issues with depicting Jen in that pose, and if he didn't, then the Indian artist shouldn't even be calling herself a fan.
The 21-year-old graphic designer decided she wanted to flip the narrative.

Her artwork draws inspiration from comic book covers but parodies the male superheroes using body language typically associated with women.

The result - covers with familiar characters, such as Superman and Batman, in strikingly unusual poses and outfits.

A scantily-clad Spiderman is pictured in only a thong, a coy Hulk covers himself with a newspaper, while an Iron Man with prominent buttocks crawls on a ledge.

"The way female heroines are drawn would never be applied to men," Arora tells BBC 100 Women.
No kidding! Because there are times when Spidey was depicted in suggestive stances, and I recall a time in the early 2000s when Sub-Mariner was depicted near-naked on the cover of one of his series. Even Ben Grimm as the Thing had moments where he'd be shirtless. Why, there might even be some with Hawkman and the Legion of Super-Heroes' male members that do what she talks about. It's just a matter of looking them up on the web, and if she'd tried, I'm sure she'd find some. Even Wonder Man may have some poses like what she speaks of in the pages of West Coast Avengers.
Marvel, DC and other publishers in the comic world have been accused of sexism before.

But Arora, who is in her third year at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, says she only noticed the issue while she was studying in France.

"Maybe seeing comics with text in a language I wasn't familiar with, made me focus more on the visuals," she says.
The irony is that, whenever Marvel and DC were accused of sexism by the mainstream press, it was just for character design, not for how the women were treated physically and such, as seen in Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled, or even the terrible handling Mary Jane Watson got post-One More Day. Sobbing about covers that are no different from the average model photo on a fashion magazine is petty, and she probably knows it. It's just like the BBC to waste so much energy on trivial issues like character design and cover illustrations than on more challenging moments in history.
Part of the problem is that "comic books are very often drawn by men, for men to enjoy", she argues.

"The current depiction of superheroines exists because of this vicious cycle. Companies decide on a specific target market and then use that demographic as a reason to continue the same problematic process of content creation.

"I wish comic book publishers would see that there is definitely a market for more inclusive comics."
Another moment of comedy gold. What about Ramona Fradon, Nicola Scott, Marie Severin, Jan Duursema, Trina Robbins and Wendy Pini? And again, let's not forget Robbins co-created Vampirella in 1969. And if she's so concerned about such a pathetic cliche as "inclusiveness", well then make your own comics, for crying out loud! In any event, there's tons of corporate and creator-owned comics alike with inclusiveness. It goes without saying that, if the past few years are any indication, it's been anything but what that blabbermouth from India says, as Marvel - and DC - have been dumbing down their character designs out of pure cowardice to please a market that isn't there, not even the Indian artist herself. Her accusation of problematic process is also false, because hot character design has a market and even impresses upon women themselves, including J. Scott Campbell's audience. What does she think, that everybody wants to be overweight and dress only modestly? What a disgrace.
Her project has been criticised for not acknowledging that comics show not only female characters with unrealistic body shapes and poses, but male ones too.

Arora maintains the comics are misogynistic, particularly on the front covers.

"Body standards for men, with huge biceps and rock-hard abs, exist to make them look strong and powerful, which superheroes are known for," she says.

"The body standards for women are tweaked to make them look sexy.

"People deem the body types of real-life athletic, strong women, like Serena Williams, 'too masculine'.

"If creators wanted to make superheroines look strong, they have plenty of real life inspiration to choose from."
Ah, I see! So she wants the women to look masculine?!? Now I've heard it all. That's just what's been happening of recent, along with the dumbing down of character designs to suit the beliefs of SJWs like her, and it's quite disgusting. Anyway, nice to know there's been criticism of her boring, ignorant "project", because it also ignores that not all male heroes are depicted as bulgy bodybuilders. When C.C. Beck and Otto Binder first created Captain Marvel for Fawcett, they wanted his physique to look more athletic than muscular. Even Peter Parker doesn't always look muscular per se as Spider-Man. And it's clear the artist from India despises how William Marston created Wonder Woman, and Binder and Al Plastino created Supergirl. Point: even female bodybuilders don't all have the strength to lift tanks and skyscrapers, and some actually do look quite feminine despite having larger, heftier muscles. (I once watched both Pumping Iron documentaries, and there were some in the latter, so I should know.)
Arora is working on other projects that look at sexist representations of the female body and gender imbalance in media.

She is behind a bogus magazine ad showing a woman with zipped-up lips, unable to speak out against domestic abuse.

Her image of a magazine cover has the headline, "Why getting sexually assaulted is your fault" - a prompt to start a conversation about victim-blaming.

"While there are a lot of young, passionate artists currently working on social issues and starting important conversations, even these conversations have a privilege bar - people with access to the internet, fluent in English, and to an extent, visually literate," says Arora.

"But there are people in India and other countries, who do not fit these criteria. I want to bridge the gap between all this good intent, and the lack of impact at a grass-roots level".
Why do I get the feeling this is an even worse project, and that the headline's not exactly ironic? Because if physique is all she cares about, that's enough to feel worried whether she knows what she's talking about. It is the minds of physically abusive men she should be focusing upon, not how women look, and it goes without saying she fails to consider how women are born that way, which makes her yammering about cover illustrations tantamount to body-shaming. The part about the covers being misogynist is particularly fishy, suggesting she's never looked deep inside, or she would've found examples from Brian Bendis and Brad Meltzer, and even Dan Slott, worth considering and raising as discussions on the BBC. Indeed, there seems to be a whole cottage industry for judging books by their covers, but never the interiors, if at all. That's all you need to know why these clowns aren't serious.

But of course, you can't expect the BBC to acknowledge she's just another feminist disappointment, can you?

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