One of the most tiresome ongoing internet debates is the representation of women in various forms of media. While I would certainly argue that this is an issue worth addressing, the tiresomeness stems not from the topic itself, but from the approaches of the people doing the debating. Exhibit A: the recent kerfluffle regarding artist Milo Manara’s variant cover (shown above) featuring Spider-Woman in a classic Spider-Man pose in what I like to call the Spider-Woman Initiative.
The cries of sexism began long before the issue hit the stands, with the entire premise being that NOBODY would EVER draw a MALE superhero in that pose -the obvious response to anyone who has ever read a comic book being “whaaaaaaa?” because anybody who knows who Spider-Man is (a popular comic book character) and what Spider-Man does (whatever a spider can, I hear) has likely seen him in that pose, which is presumably meant to accentuate the spider-ness of the man (or woman in this case), countless times. I own a t-shirt that has Spider-Man in that pose. Well, that was easily settled. Thanks for playing.
But the hate kept coming….and coming…..and coming. It became so intense that Marvel Comics actually fired the artist from the upcoming projects he was slated to work on. And that’s exactly where I’ve personally got to draw the line. Internet shit talk is one thing, but damaging peoples’ careers is just plain wrong unless they are violent offenders like certain professional athletes. But spiteful crushing of another human being’s livelihood aside, the real issue I’m wondering about today is why is it specifically comic books that are singled out for sexualization of the female form when this is clearly an across the board kind of deal? We’ll get to that later. First, some observations.
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