Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fashion Fail

If you read comics or play video games, and you're female, you have probably wondered why the female characters are so... briefly... clad. If the male characters were similarly dressed, what might that look like?

Some artists have imagined just that very thing, and some of their imaginative illustrations have been collected in this post over at Comic Book Resources. Here's a preview of some of the Fashion Fails in that post:
The artist for this one is Michael Magtanong. His illustration (used here with permission)
of Hal Jordan in Star Sapphire's getup was part of a challenge directed at artists.
You can find Mic?'s blog here: (and here's his original post).
Honestly, the more I look at this, the more ridiculous it gets. Bravo, Mic?!

Wow. Serious fashion fail, there. And so is it when the ladies have to wear that crap too! When fighting crime, or monsters, or wreaking havoc, why do we have to do it half-naked or in skin-tight outfits?? And haven't these illustrators ever taken an anatomy for artists class? They do realize that women have spines, too, right? Do they not know what spandex does to flesh? (Here's a hint: it flattens.)

Tight costumes, such as the sort of things the women (and men!) are often seen wearing, would mash down soft tissue (AKA boobs). It would not look like the woman was naked with the costume painted on. I'm pretty sure those heroines and villainesses are not wearing painted-on liquid latex, so therefore boobs are gonna get smashed down in those costumes.

High heels? Really? Women who are accustomed to wearing them can run in them if they need to. But I can't imagine a woman who knows she's probably going to encounter a fight at some point in her evening, would choose to wear heels when there are far more practical options. Not to mention the risk of snapping the stiletto off somewhere...

Long hair is glamorous and sexy. I love having long hair, but I rarely wear it loose because it's hotter than hell, tangles, and gives an attacker another way to grab and control me. (I know this from personal experience, y'all: you do not want to give a mugger something to grab hold of and control any part of your body, especially your head.)

Look, I know that men and boys read comics, and are the majority demographic, but you do not have to have the costumes be so brief, that readers are holding their breath, wondering how many panels before the thing falls off. Sexy does not equal nearly-nekkid. No, really! And if that's all you're looking for in a comic, I think you should consider some of the adult titles. Those at least are up front with what they're doing. Emma Frost should not model for Frederick's of Hollywood, Catwoman should not be posing for Hustler. Or if they do it should be some weird plot point, not just they way they look all the time.

I like looking at attractive women. I like looking at attractive men. The human form can be very appealing, but I don't think that the sexed-up women in comics today are showcasing the best of what those artists can do, or how sexy and powerful and strong a woman can look, and still be fully dressed.

Clearly, I am not alone in how I view this. A lot of the other rants are also coming from women who are all like, WTF? Some men seem to agree with us. If you read any of these other articles, be sure to read the comments, too.

Fashion Rants, select links to other articles about the State of Dress in comics
She has no head! - No it's not equal by Kelly Thompson
The big sexy problem with superheroines and their 'liberated sexuality' by Laura Hudson
Art can make a difference: responding to the "just don't read it" defense by Kate Leth
Dear DC Comics [a writer's 7 year-old daughter responds to the new Starfire], by Michele Lee
DC Comics: bad at math, David Willis' Shortpacked! cartoon about the Starfire problem
No more mutants: 52 problems by Andrew Wheeler
A response from a female comic book fan by Ms Snarky
Ker-Pow! Women kick back against comic-book sexism by Ben Quinn
It's not the pants by DC Women Kicking Ass
The myth of sexy superman and the search for superhero beefcake by Andrew Wheeler

For more artistic Don'ts, check out Escher Girls!


Nina Potts said...

I spent a good portion of the new resident evil movie complaining about Ada Wong's outfit. I know its similar to what she wears in the game, I don't care. Also, my theory on Jill Valentine is that the costume dept gets to her last, so the just get some tape and fabric scraps.

I do have to say, at least in the Left for Dead games the female characters (one girl per game) wears pretty normal clothes.

Also I just discovered your blog, so sorry for the excess of comments. :) Do you have twitter too? I'd like to follow you. In the mean time I'm @honestlynina

Wendy said...

I have griped quietly about the state of dress of women in games and comics for years. It's really nice to hear other voices complaining about the same thing; maybe something will actually get DONE about it!

I do have a Twitter account. :) I'm @cameragrrl.