…But, see this kind of approach doesn’t take into account many things.
The major of which is that it doesn’t take into account the homosexual, or bisexual gaze. This interpretation is focussed on a male sexualising gaze, which, in some contexts I think is exploited and exaggerated.
The thing is, this kind of imagery is everywhere. With the exceptions of porn-star like prints (most notoriously spoken of are Greg Horn’s Powergirl bootcamp print, or Catwoman drinking milk prints which absolutely go beyond the line of ‘sexualised beauty’ to ‘porn star sexual’ and I’m pretty disgusted by), most comic book imagery looks exactly like the way the media will portray a beautiful woman, and this imagery is everywhere, and readily accepted in daily society from advertisement, television shows, movies, books, theatre.
Everywhere women are exploited for their looks, this is nothing new.
But, I call myself a strong independent woman, I am not threatened or up in arms over this imagery because I like women, and I enjoy seeing beautiful women in my comic books.
One of the main come backs as to why a woman can’t be both sexual and powerful is because she is sexualised for the male gaze and therefore gives the male that power over her (something to be passively ‘looked at’). But it completely discounts the minority where she could be seen as sexual and powerful to other women. Sexualising a subject (to a certain, reasonable extent) doesn’t offend me because I like it, I’m inspired by seeing such a strong woman, in charge, sexual, beautiful.
I like seeing beautiful, strong, sexy women in my comics.
& many comics aimed at specifically women, such as Wonder Woman (specifically ‘The Circle’ which is what I’m reading now) contains a male character who looks like he just fell out of a womans wet dream. Blonde sandy hair, big biceps, rippling abs, big eyes, and soft kissable lips with a small bit of stubble…. Just the description makes my mouth water, he’s tailored to women’s appetite…
I just think that it can’t be so extremely biased to accuse men of objectifying the women when anything can be read several different ways.
To say a woman changes her appearance to look attractive could be called manipulating herself for men to think she’s attractive, but if you say that to that woman she’ll say she does it for herself, or for other women. There’s always other angles, and just because a woman can look sexually beautiful in a comic book, doesn’t mean that any and all power is taken away from her.
Again, this is within reasonable anatomical body proportions, but I don’t see what’s so wrong about making a woman attractive to the reader, when the same is done to men in the reverse circumstance. Must all storytelling be done in a way that is universally inoffensive? I can only imagine the dull, polite narratives to come from the point of view where everything and anything will step on someones toes. There will always be a way to misconstrue imagery, since each response is subjective.
I’m sucking it up, putting on my courage and finally putting my thoughts on this issue out there. I’m not looking to offend or put down what others think, this is my opinion, and my response to this kind of imagery. The debate will rage on forever, but this is how I feel about it. As I said, I’m a bisexual, consider myself strong and independent, I’m a feminist to the point where I believe in women’s rights, but I think while some theories can apply, that there are many faults in the ‘male gaze’ theories, and that this is one of them, because I’m a woman, I like to look at other women, and I’m not afraid of my sexuality or sense of attractiveness anymore, I don’t want my comic women to be.