Remember in my “Meet The New Intern” post when I mentioned that a lot of my interests are pretty nerdy? Allow me to demonstrate:
In the minds of many, graphic novels (comic books) are not exactly the most respectful and pro-women form of literature. To many, the (often ridiculous) attire and improbable physiques of women are not encouraging. Groups of superheroes (and supervillains) in which there are one or two “token” female characters in a sea of men seem artificial and extremely male-centered. I understand that people would have a problem with fictional universes in which the heroic women are “objects” of contention between male protagonists, and villainous women are either femme fatales to tempt male heroes or only supervillains because they are getting back at a man who wronged them,* or not-genuinely-villainous antagonists whom men can seduce away from the “real” villains—who are male.
The most important thing to remember about this is that a lot of these graphic novels are outdated. Some of them were created when there were still restaurants in the United States that wouldn’t serve to women during certain times of the day. This does not make them okay—I do not buy the “it was a different time” argument.
But graphic novels are different, now. Not all of them—some writers are misogynists. Others are not. I think that it’s fair …
DC Comics has a department called DC Women Kicking Ass, and that alone is pretty kick-ass. However, what they’re doing is even better: tdhe brilliant ladies over at DC Women Kicking Ass have posted a bunch of images from an ad campaign for a Mozambique breast cancer awareness organization. They feature Catwoman, She-Hulk, Wonder Woman and Storm giving themselves breast exams. Says DC Women Kicking Ass:
“The images are quite striking. The faces of the characters are only partially seen, but the characters are easy identifiable. And while we often see women feeling or touching their breasts n comics, the art here is not sexual or exploitative and has almost a solemn feel to it.”
There is something still really beautiful and striking about the images and it really helps to reach a new audience. Breast cancer awareness has always had a lot of fun with its publicity, and this is really just another branch on the tree, albeit a very innovative one. The images show only the comic heroine’s mouth, and the girls are fully clothed, so as DC Women Kicking Ass stated, it’s not sexual – there is no come-hither stare; the girls’ mouths are firm and serious.
I’m really glad comic are taking this approach, a lot of people have a lot to say about women roles in comics. Some say it’s anti-feminist and they set a bad body image. But these girls kick ass, and they look good doing it. I’m a comic fan, and a fan of any message that tells women or men that checking your breasts is an important thing to do. So, DC Women Kicking Ass, I salute you!