Thursday, March 1, 2012

Equal Poses for Equal Genders!

In looking around for sexism in comics, I came across this fake cover, where an artist took a cover of a comic that originally had scantily clad, seductively posed women, and drew it with men instead. This has been done with costumes before, taking men and dressing them up in the skintight outfits that superheroines always wear, but this drawing takes it to the next level. It makes me uncomfortable to look at, which says something about the original drawing. It was completely inappropriate in the first place, and when men are substituted in the place of the women, it is still disturbing but also blatantly ridiculous. The man kneeling is wearing almost no clothing at all. On top of that, the pose he is in, while it is supposedly one of attack as he is holding a sword, seems like a completely submissive kneeling, like his hands are tied above his head when in fact they are not at all. But who is the pose supposed to be submisive to? The (male) reader, who wants to see women like that. In addition, the other man does not seem very convinced about attacking with his sword, but more concerned with flashing his bare butt at the reader.

Here is the original, which honestly (and unfortunately) does not seem as ridiculous to me. While, yes, it is extremely sexual and they are also wearing very little clothing, I don't scoff at it the way I do when it is men. It's almost as if it is more acceptable because it's women. Now I'm not saying that I think this portrayal is ok in any way, just that it is so common that it barely seems to have an effect on me. The constant conditioning of this sexualized view of women in our society dulls its shock value. However, when it is men portrayed like this, it definitely still contains the shock value for me.

Do you guys agree with me that the male version is more unexpected, and therefore more effective in showing the absolute ridiculousness of the poses? Or does the female version shout that at you just as much? Which version offends you more?


  1. I totally agree that the male version completely horrifies me whereas the female version didn't really have an affect. It's shocking to see how far our society has come to where this blatant sexism doesn't even seem to phase us. Even while reading Promethea there are several references to female strippers/hookers along the streets that Sophie walks, but they don't even strike me as out of place or unusual. Take for instance the movie Pretty Woman. I absolutely love the unusual relationship between Richard Geere and Julia Robert's characters, but the movie portrays being a hooker as something that is "ok" if you're in a desperate situation, and may even allow you to fall in love with an attractive and wealthy man. Female promiscuity and sexism definitely needs to be addressed in our society, but I'm not sure how much we can regress at this point.

  2. Definitely not horrified at the first cover. In fact I think it's awesome, both because of the statement it's making and because it's unexpected. There's nothing wrong with sexually submissive men, but I'm glad you pointed out that he's holding a sword, because I thought he was just tied up.

    To the commenter, there are problems with Pretty Woman, but whoah on the puritanical "female promiscuity needs to
    be addressed in our society." As a female, I personally didn't realize that whether or not I have sex with different people was a societal problem. It seems that it's more a problem that I'm made to be a sex object whether or not I consent and that any expression of my sexuality is construed by both men and apparently other women as a social problem rather than a personal choice.

  3. These two pictures remind me of those that Professor Lirette showed in the beginning of the semester, in which Superman and other revered superheroes were dressed in female costumes. The male version of the picture is definitely disturbing,. It seems so ridiculous that it almost looks funny. I agree that dressing up men in overly sexualized outfits and positioned as they are does highlight the absurdity of the whole cover. However, I find that both pictures are lewd and inappropriate.

  4. While the male cover is more unexpected than the female cover, I think that both are shocking. Even some of the more extreme panels and covers we have seen in comics do not compare to either one of these. It is rare that so much skin is exposed or the characters are in such blatantly submissive and sexual poses. I think that much of the problem comes from the outfits the characters are wearing in these poses. The poses seem to highlight the lack of fabric and show as much of the body as possible in a way that does shock the viewer. I am not sure which one I would say offends me more, as both are an extreme take on the way comic books are drawn.

  5. We have been to habituated to scantily clothed women on covers of media, whether it be comics, magazines, or movie covers. I feel that this is the main reason why the original cover doesn't shock most of us the way the reversed male one does. Yes, they both SHOULD be shocking, but for some reason, only the male one is. That is my only explanation for that.
    As an extra note, I'm glad you posted this. I have been coming across more and more pictures (mostly memes) of playing off comics that switch the genders. I think its funny how many others all over the world have noticed this injustice in subjecting women in media and have made it a point to reveal the irony. Society is trying to take a step forward; it will just take some time.

  6. I agree with the last comment that these costume/pose switches have become more common because of the shock value. I believe the male cover has more shock value, but not simply because they are males. The distinction is that the male cover gives the shock that then allows us to see the sexualization of the females in the same poses. Society has become desensitized to half naked women (anyone been to the beach lately). In response, to bring awareness back, there must be something that still has "shock value", in this instance the men in the pose. It's weird that dudes are posed like that but the key is that it shows the ridiculous standards acceptable for women and brings the hypocrisy to light.


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