Recently, there has been a backlash related to the designs of some female fictional characters, specifically Merida from Brave in the wake of her induction into the Disney Princess line, and the women of superhero comics, with cries of “sexism” “objectification” and “male gaze”.
The Merida part of it is one of the biggest non-issues I’ve seen in a while. There is nothing “sexy” about her design…an off the shoulder dress does not show cleavage. Personally, I like the addition of her clan’s tartan on her belt.
The superheroes one, however, is the more pressing matter.
I came across this article today, and it has thoroughly rustled my jimmies. Not only for the author’s arrogant, entitled, and immature attitude, but for her mentality that “fully-covered = good design”.
While the art, by Kris Anka and Meredith Mcclaren, is nice, the designs, mostly Mcclaren’s, don’t grasp who most of these characters are.
Making female characters androgynous is not how to end objectification. In fact, this sends the message that the very concept of femininity is wrong.
There is nothing wrong with sexy women, or sexy men. Sexiness often goes hand in hand with physical, social, and societal power.
I like looking at sexy women. Seeing a cartoon woman in a bikini does not intimidate me, because I know it is a stylized depiction, and anyone who turns to drawings to validate their identities is probably insecure.
While not all characters should conform to this mold, too many of these kinds of redesigns try and strip any and all sexuality from the characters, regardless of its context.
And to Kelly Thompson, I feel that you did not handle this situation in the best way
Just because the majority of responses to the designs are negative does not mean that any and all dissenters are “basement dwelling socially inept comic book fans”, or the especially insulting term “dudebros”.
By disabling comments it proves that you do not want to spark discussion…you only want a self-serving echo chamber. And echo chambers will not change the thoughts of readers, artists, writers, or the comic book industry.
Sometimes I think people like you don’t want comic books, video games, or other media to change at all…you just want to feel oppressed, feed your victim complexes, and take no responsibility for what you say or what you do.
And that’s a damn shame.