Friday, 8 April 2016

Sexy Ladies and Comic Books

My favourite bit of the online argument between Anita Sarkeesian and Sargon of Akkad is when they talk about butt coverings. Of course, Sarkeesian has been exposed as dishonest in her dealings, what with her not playing games long enough to discover that you can actually see Batman's butt beneath his cloak and failing to deliver on her promises of loads of videos. Sargon, on the other hand, did spend ages and was rewarded by a glimpse of Batbutt, allowing him to do that creepy lecturer voice over the top of game footage.

Everything in the debates about feminism and gaming feels so received, anyway: the same points and counterpoints, repeated in different sneers, then Sarkeesian's recital of really obvious points, then more sneers and clever rhetoric and shouting and so on and sneering and smarting and butt-hurt and pictures of ladies in sexy outfits and...


Now, I wish to declaim on the matter of 'women's outfits in comic books'. It's a variation on Battbutt, in that it follows on from Sarkeesian's undeniable comment that, in games, women frequently wear outfits that are highly sexual. Sargoon (other male commentators are available to say the same thing, more or less) replies that it is the result of market-led trends. He does not deny the existence of sexy outfits on female characters - although he might put up a picture of He-Man or something to show that men, too, are held to impossible standards. He simply defends them as appealing to the demographic of gaming. 

No stereotyping of teenage boys going on here at all.

Anyway, I'm not a gamer, but the same issue exists in comic books. Apparently, there's a load of adult comic books now, with all sexy bits and bobs on show, but I'm talking about standard superhero fare. 

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