Quantcast
subscriber help

artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

why do women wear sexy cosplay costumes, anyway?

ladycrimefighter

Um, why are you asking me? I’m not a cosplayer. Never have been. I can’t read other people’s minds. If you want to know why a woman might go out in public — like at, say, a comic-book convention — in very revealing fantasy fancy dress, you’re best off asking her. I’m sure you’d get as many different responses as there are female cosplayers.

(Pro tip: If you’re gonna ask a cosplayer about her costume, don’t be a jerk about it. Asking “What are you doing out and about got up like a nasty dirty slut, young lady?” will probably not get you a serious answer, and it might get you a punch in the face, which you will have earned. Try something like, “Hey, I really like your costume. What made you pick that character to emulate?” And make sure you’re not leering when you ask. Also be sure to look her in the eye, not in the boob.)

But when a reader recently asked me on Facebook what my “take” was “on women dressing in bodypart-emphasizing costumes” such as at Comic-Con, and I informed him that I didn’t have one and that it was none of my business how other people dress, he wouldn’t buy it.

So, okay, fine. Here are a few guesses — and I stress, these are guesses, if educated ones — on why a woman might engage in cosplay that has her half naked.

• She enjoys being half naked, and enjoys appropriate attention from other interested parties. That is, respectful appreciation and any mutual flirting that might ensue, not catcalls, wolf whistles, or random invitations to sit on your dick. No matter how a woman dresses, cosplay or not, it is always primarily for her enjoyment, not yours.

• She wants to honor and respect a character whom she admires and identifies with, and this sometimes necessitates dressing in skimpy attire, because the artist(s) who drew her was a sexist asshole.

• She wants to experiment with wielding one of the few powers our culture grants women: the power to be “sexy.” (Cuz, you know, if you Google “sexy cosplay,” the results are all about looking at women. “Sexy” is presumed to be something that women do for men. Which is bullshit, but there it is.) Perhaps this is not a power she feels she gets to enjoy in her everyday life. Perhaps it’s a power she does not typically feel a need to deploy. (Kind of like how a male cosplayer dressed as Wolverine, for instance, might want to experiment with stereotypical male characteristics — physical strength, endurance, and stamina — that he might not typically feel when he is not dressed as Wolverine, or that he doesn’t typically feel drawn to expressing.) Cosplay can be a literal form of playacting at things that one doesn’t necessarily want to really enact in real life.

• She is inviting you to consider how an actual, flesh-and-blood human woman dressed for crime-fighting in flimsy lingerie looks, compared to the cartoonish expression of such on a comic-book page.

• She is being ironic, or making a satirical statement on how genre media treats women. Like these Starfleet bunnies, who are barely more naked than female Starfleet officers — that is, educated professionals in their work environment — in the original 1960s incarnation of Star Trek:

starfleetbunnies

(That’s from the just-wrapped San Diego Comic-Con, via io9.)

I’d love for some female cosplayers to check in here, and let us in on why they cosplay as they do. Anyone?

Your own guesses as to why women cosplay in “sexy” or revealing costumes are welcome. But anyone being a sexist jerk will be treated with all the respect they deserve.

photo at top by Lone Star Pin-up


  • Speaking of jerks getting what they deserve, Adrianne Curry was taking photos as comic book Catwoman at SDCC 2014 when a creep grabbed the tail of her friend dressed as Tigra and ripped down her bikini bottom. When the little fool ran off, Adrianne caught up to the little ass (she’s in fantastic physical shape) and gave him more than a few lashes with the handle of Catwoman’s bullwhip, which was easily the more forgiving end he could have earned. So be warned: look on and appreciate, but if you touch you will be touched back…and that may only be the beginning of your world about to go horribly wrong.

  • Bluejay

    Here’s a cosplayer’s take. Key point:

    Cosplayers are complex. People are complex. While I understand that snap judgments come to us unsolicited at times, what marks you as a better person is making the choice not to act on them.

    Another:

    …if you ever wondered why so many female cosplayers dress so provocatively, consider the notion that maybe as young girls, we grew up reading these comic book characters’ stories, watching Princess Leia kill Jabba the Hutt despite being in a SLAVE outfit, and admired Jessica Rabbit’s loyalty and love for her husband despite being the embodiment of a male fantasy. Maybe, as young girls, we were inspired to pay tribute to these characters. Maybe we also wanted to be strong like them. It takes courage to walk out in public in a costume. It takes even more courage to walk out in a revealing costume.

  • Says it much better than I could, because I am not moved to cosplay.

  • althea

    How I love to hear and read observations like this – and MaryAnn’s – knowing how simple and rational they are. How little brain work it takes to arrive at these conclusions, and how they inspire good feelings in me. As opposed to the kinds of conclusions that men draw that inspire them to be vulgar and salacious. Not to mention shallow and stupid.

  • althea

    I do love that picture. And envy the creativity.

  • Robert P

    because the artist(s) who drew her was a sexist asshole

    Would you clarify what you mean by sexist and how you feel it’s manifested in what the artist is doing?

  • Danielm80
  • Robert P

    Hi Daniel, I’ll wait to see if MAJ addresses the specific question rather than rely on a self-appointed proxy.

  • Which artist? I didn’t reference any specific artist or any specific character?

    If you mean, what could possibly be sexist in how female superheroes are drawn, I can only conclude that you are being deliberately trollish.

  • Hi, Robert P. While I do not “rely” on “proxies” to speak for me, the links Danielm80 directs you to are entirely on point. Check them out.

  • Robert P

    You weren’t referencing a specific artist – “The artist(s)” as referenced in what you said here:

    She wants to honor and respect a character whom she admires and identifies with, and this sometimes necessitates dressing in skimpy attire, because the artist(s) who drew her was a sexist asshole.

    I’m looking for you to clarify what you mean when you say “sexist” and how this is manifested in the way the character is drawn.

  • Robert P

    No not being trollish, looking to clarify terms.

  • Robert P

    I didn’t think you rely on a proxy – ergo the “self appointed” bit. I’ve noticed an annoying tendency of a couple of people who seem motivated to answer an inquiry that was clearly specifically directed to you. I’m looking for what definition you give, not what someone else assumes you mean. And those links still don’t define terms.

  • Bluejay

    This is an open forum and anyone is free to respond to anyone else’s comments, if they feel they have something to contribute. You’re free to ignore comments from people you don’t want to talk to. But if you want a private conversation with MaryAnn with no interruptions, send her an email.

    As for “defining terms”: Dude, the issue of the male gaze and the sexist depiction of female superheroes is well-documented and discussed and analyzed all over the Internet. If you’re not familiar with the issue, do a couple of Google searches and go educate yourself.

  • Robert P

    “Dude” – again, I’m looking for what MAJ means when she says it not what you or anyone else assumes she means. The only one who’s qualified to answer that question is MAJ – “Dude”.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, Robert never trolls. He’s just asking questions, amirite?

  • Bluejay

    As I said: If you don’t want others to comment, then send her an email and have a private conversation.

    Unless, of course, you want to do this in public because you’re all set to argue with her and you want to show off your debating skillz.

  • LaSargenta

    See, as cool as that story is, there’s always the possibility that that is actually what the little shit wanted. Then, he’s forced others — without their consent — into giving it to him.

  • LaSargenta

    As you once said some weeks back, you have extensive experience with tens of thousands of teenage girls…I would think that would have given you some insight into what kind of representation makes them feel under attack.

  • Bluejay

    He wanted to be punched in the face with the butt of a real bullwhip?

    Even if so, who cares what he wants? If a thief steals something because he WANTS to be caught and sent to jail, he should STILL be caught and sent to jail.

  • Robert P

    I would think that would have given you some insight into what kind of representation makes them feel under attack.

    Huh? This seems to have little to do with the overall topic nor does it make much sense – you seem to be offering some murky, illogical suggestion that women choose to dress in costumes that celebrate a representation that makes them “under attack”…?

    It has even less to do with my specific inquiry re: MAJ’s definition of what the word “sexist” means to her – which I still hope she elaborates on.

  • Yeah, if some douche gets off on being punched in the face, I will punch him ten times in the face for free.

  • Danielm80

    If you’ve spoken to as many young women as you say you have, then around Halloween, you may have heard them say things like, “The only costumes available are slutty cheerleader and slutty nurse.” During swimsuit season, you may have heard them say, “All these outfits are really tiny,” or, “These weren’t designed for women. They were designed for men looking at women.”

    Some of those women may still like to cosplay. They might think of a character like Wonder Womanas a role model because of her bravery, her resourcefulness, her self-confidence, and her commitment to social justice. But they may also wish that she had a less skimpy costume, one that emphasized her values and her heroism instead of her sex appeal to horny men.

    That doesn’t mean they won’t wear the skimpy costume. It’s her classic look, the one that most people remember (partly because of Lynda Carter),

  • Robert P

    Some girls may be more body-shy than others, my observation has been that many, many young females have a strong desire to show off what they’ve got as soon as they have anything to show off. A classic struggle for many parents is to keep their daughter from dressing like a streetwalker. I don’t think it has a thing to do with oppressive, male-dominated whatever, It’s hardwired into them – it’s just the way they are.

    It seems like every time I see an interview with actress Raquel Welch at some point she reminisces about her early teen years when “the equipment began to arrive”.

    But they may also wish that she had a less skimpy costume, one that emphasized her values and her heroism instead of her sex appeal to horny men.

    Or maybe the girls who dress in skimpy outfits do it for the same reason they do at Halloween – because they enjoy dressing up in skimpy outfits.

  • Danielm80

    Some women enjoy that, which is why MaryAnn wrote:

    She enjoys being half naked, and enjoys appropriate attention from other interested parties. That is, respectful appreciation and any mutual flirting that might ensue, not catcalls, wolf whistles, or random invitations to sit on your dick. No matter how a woman dresses, cosplay or not, it is always primarily for her enjoyment, not yours.

    I don’t object to skimpy outfits. I’d just like to see more depictions of women that don’t focus on their sexuality, or their appeal to men. I’d also like people to stop making unfounded assumptions about women based on the outfit they choose to wear one day at a convention.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Girls are “hardwired” to “show off” by “dressing like a streetwalker”? Is that your professional opinion? Isn’t there some way for you to talk about this without sounding intensely creepy.

    Also, Raquel Welch? How often, in the 21st century, do you see interviews with Raquel Welch? And yet you want us to believe you’re not trolling? GTFO.

  • Stop being rude to my other readers. I do not appreciate it, and it is not going to make me more likely to respond to you. Less likely, in fact.

  • It manifests in ways such as in the links provided by other readers in response to your query. I see no need to repeat what others have said, especially since I have *already* said those links answer your question.

  • I repeat: If you are utterly unaware of the ongoing cultural conversation over the depiction of female characters in comic books, educate yourself. Google is your friend. This site is not Feminism 101.

  • Lockon Liz

    Hi there Robert P. You sound pretty frustrated that nobody understands that you are asking for one specific thing to be done for you, not the other thing that has been offered. I’m sorry you feel bad. But I agree that you should try those links or google searches, even though they are not what you have asked for. When you have done that, have a think about the concepts you have just read. Then ask yourself, in the light of those concepts, what prompts you to think that MAJ should in fact explain herself to you, simply because you demand her to do so, and only in the manner you choose, not the manner that has been offered by herself and others. I am likely being presumptuous, but there may be other times in your life when you are upset and confused by women not doing what you tell them to do, in exactly the manner in which you demand it. It’s lucky that the things you are want information on are the very things that might set you free from being upset like that. The force that lets you think you have the right to demand others pay attention to you and do what you say is called privilege, and the culture that allows it is the patriarchy. Patriarchy doesn’t make anyone happy. Acting out of privilege clearly isn’t making you happy either. It’s almost impossible to escape the patriarchy, but being able to see it and try to reject it might make it easier for you to engage in conversations with people you want to talk to. I hope you take this in the respectful way in which it is intended.

  • Lockon Liz

    This is a suggestion by someone who doesn’t know anything about cosplay, so feel free to ignore. But I’m wondering whether the process of thinking about and planning or making costumes simply makes people feel good, men and women both, because they love the shows /comics and they love the greater values those cultural sources represent. And feeling like they are a part of it (in costume) also makes them feel confident and happy, which in turn makes them more likely to want to express that sexy side of themselves. And they really do look fabulous, if you ignore for the moment that there are other cultural forces at play that demean women or teach us that showing flesh = how to be sexy. This might also explain why someone who is ‘dressing sexy’ might not welcome someone who is leering. She chose her costume, perhaps made it herself, which is phenomenally cool, in an accepting and friendly environment, and the flirtatious side of her nature comes out in that friendly, accepting and fun environment.

  • Bluejay

    I absolutely agree with your comment — which, clearly, was meant as a response to Robert P’s comment, not to MY comment (which was in reply to Robert P). :-)

  • Bluejay

    A classic struggle for many parents is to keep their daughter from dressing like a streetwalker.

    This is not the first time that you’ve equated “an outfit that shows off some skin” with “appearing like a prostitute.”

    It’s hardwired into them – it’s just the way they are.

    This is also not the first time that you’ve made blanket assumptions about the motivations of women. And this is not the first time that your assumption has been “just because.”

    You, dude, have a problem.

    The awesome thing is? You don’t have to speculate about What Women Are Thinking. They’ll tell you! I even link to a couple of women Telling You What They Actually Think, right here!

  • Robert P

    I don’t think I’m being rude. I made a straightforward inquiry of you to get clarification and have mostly heard static from others who can’t possibly speak for you. So far the only response I’ve heard from you is an assumption that I was “being trollish” and a reference to a cultural conversation.

    I don’t see what’s “trollish” about my asking what a term means to you – as I’ve stated my goal is to understand as clearly as possible what you mean.

    A reference to a “cultural conversation” about a topic isn’t a valid substitute for hearing your own synopsis of what it means to you. I’m aware enough of the cultural conversation to know that terms like “sexist”, “feminist/feminism” absolutely *don’t* mean the same thing to everyone – in fact can be quite polarizing.

    That’s like saying, well, everyone *knows* what atheism means. The hell they do. There are plenty of people who carry around absolutely wrong assumptions about atheism.

    I just asked a simple question. If you’d like to clarify what you mean by “sexist” and how you see it being manifested in the way a comic book character is being drawn, I’d be interested to hear it.

  • Robert P

    I’m not telling MAJ to do anything. You might read that into it because of a particular mindset but nothing I’ve said could reasonably be considered to be anything but an inquiry.

    My original query:

    Would you clarify what you mean by sexist and how you feel it’s manifested in what the artist is doing?

    …based on a specific suggestion she made regarding how a character is drawn. I invite you to point out where you see me “telling” her to do anything.

    She can choose to answer a straightforward inquiry with a straightforward answer or to not answer a straightforward inquiry with a straightforward answer.

  • David

    Is that a joke?

  • Robert P

    You, dude, have a problem.

    I’m sure any time now MAJ will admonish you for being rude to other readers.

  • Robert P

    I’d also like people to stop making unfounded assumptions about women
    based on which outfit they choose to wear one day at a convention.

    The primary assumption I make about a female who wears a revealing outfit is that they like to wear a revealing outfit – they’re indulging in some exhibitionism. Okay. If a girl goes to a bar in a tight-fitting, low cut or otherwise revealing outfit, they’re probably looking to attract sexual attention, this doesn’t mean she abdicates her prerogative to exercise discretion.

    I don’t think assaultive behavior is necessarily because of what someone assumes about a woman. That idiot referenced elsewhere who pulled down the one girl’s costume bottom didn’t immediately run because he thought everyone else would be okay with it.

  • Robert P

    Also, Raquel Welch? How often, in the 21st century, do you see interviews with Raquel Welch?

    How recently do I have to have seen the interviews that I recall for the committee to allow me to make reference them?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    In the 21st century would be good. Then you’ll need to show that they occur often enough to be make her currently culturally relevant. Then you’ll have to show that Raquel Welch’s reminiscences are representative of, at the least, some significant fraction of women.

    Not that I actually care. It’s just such an idiosyncratic choice. Raquel Welch, sex symbol of the ’60s and ’70s. That you would choose her tells us more than a bit about you. Some indicates that you are desperately culturally out of touch. Some of it indicates that you’re deliberately trolling.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Like I said, just asking questions, amirite?

  • Robert P

    Not that I actually care.

    Oh I’m well aware that any suggestion that you’re actually interested in objective discussion is insincere posturing. Your sole interest is in hurling invective when you sense someone isn’t in lockstep with your view. Inquiries that suggest someone may question some element of your pet orthodoxy aren’t to be responded to with rational discourse.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    As the kids like to say: U mad, bro?
    Hey, if you’re going to avoid the important issues (like how extremely problematic it is that someone who claims to work with thousands of adolescent girls believes that some of them just naturally like to dress slutty) and focus on the less serious aspects of my comments (like, who the fuck in 2014 brings up Raquel Welch), don’t be shocked when I don’t take you very seriously.
    Honestly, Robert, you know damn well what sexist means. The term is not obscure, the context not unusual. I also recently saw your handle on a thread several years old. So it’s not like you’re new here. All these passive aggressive responses, all this “What do you mean by sexist?” nonsense, that’s the bullshit posturing, and you damn well know it.

  • Robert P

    Nope, I’m just well aware that any suggestion that you’re actually interested in objective discussion is insincere posturing.

    You’re trying to ignore that after setting up all these evidentiary hoops to jump through you absurdly finish off by outright stating you really don’t care about all that, you’re just interested in sneering vilification.

    Honestly, Robert, you know damn well what sexist means.

    What I know is that there isn’t universal agreement on what it means, just like there isn’t universal agreement on what “feminism” is and further that you’re among the least qualified people on Earth to try to tell me what I know.

  • This might also explain why someone who is ‘dressing sexy’ might not welcome someone who is leering.

    Exactly. She’s feeling happy and confident, and then some asshole has to go and cut her down and demean her.

  • And I have answered your question, by telling you that the links that Daniel provided answered your question. They tell you what I would have told you.

  • You’re the one who’s the problem here, and you are treading on my last nerve. Quit it, leave, or get banned.

  • they’re probably looking to attract sexual attention

    Not necessarily. Not automatically.

    A tip for you: Stop using the term “female” to describe human girls and women. Here’s some Googling to get you started on that one:

    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=why%20female%20is%20offensive

  • Oh, for Pete’s sake. If you want to understand girls and women *today,* you might want to begin with girls and women who were born after Vietnam. Maybe even after World War II.

  • Okay. Stop it.

  • If you’ve been around here for years, you know damn well what *I* mean by “sexist.”

  • Lockon Liz

    Yes it was – sorry for the confusion

  • Lockon Liz

    Again demanding a woman do something for you! How funny in the context. Here are many people who can see what you cannot see. We don’t know each other, yet we all see it clear as day. I’m sure you are smart enough to see it, if you only look.

  • Bluejay

    To help clarify: we’re talking about “female” as a noun. “Male” and “female” are useful adjectives (as opposed to “man and woman superheroes”) but the use of “female” as a noun for a woman is demeaning.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m the one who told you that I didn’t actually care how recent the interview had to be. What that means (to anyone not terribly upset that no one takes them seriously) is that referencing Raquel Welch is so patently ridiculous that it doesn’t matter when she said it. Her opinions are hardly representative of the current situation. It’s just a variation on the appeal to authority fallacy.

    So, no, I’m not ignoring it. After giving you a list of ways you could potentially establish the relevance of your authority figure, it’s not the point I was trying to make. That being: if you’re seriously appealing to Raquel Welch, I have to conclude that you are yourself about 70 years old, and have been living in a cave for the last 30 years.

    Just to be perfectly clear, I’d be happy to engage in rational discussion, but I am of the entirely sincere opinion that you are completely full of shit. You are, as they say, so wrong you’re not even wrong.

    [Edited because what the hell, Disqus?]

  • Robert P

    If you’ve been around here for years, you know damn well what *I* mean by “sexist.”

    Not in the context of the specific statement you made, nor do the links provide clarity on the matter.

    To break it down – comic book superheroes are largely defined by their physicality. They’re highly athletic – faster, stronger, have powers and abilities most others don’t have.

    If you look at real-life human athletes male and female, something that’s fairly consistent is that what they wear is unrestrictive, often abbreviated and/or form-fitting, dictated by functionality to facilitate speed and movement.

    Comic superheroes male and female are generally depicted as being youthful and healthy with highly-developed physiques. Young, healthy, athletic females tend to look a certain way. Their bodies are muscular and taught. Comic heroes tend to have a hypertrophied look that reflects a bodybuilding influence.

    It also happens to be a fact of nature that the dynamic of men being attracted to women and vice-versa is what perpetuates the species. Mankind would be extinct in a hurry if this dynamic didn’t exist. Yeah, it’s a reality that athletic women look “hot” to most hetero males.

    You suggest that the artist might have drawn them that way because he’s a sexist asshole. How else would you have them be drawn? Your objection seems to be derived from their being attractive to men. Do you feel a similar objection to women who find the hardbodied way the male characters are drawn attractive? Or is that not at all what your objection is?

    Then there’s the fact that many women, of their own volition and seemingly deriving enjoyment from it choose to emulate the look of these comic book characters. Are they perpetuating “sexism” because they dress up like an athletic comic book character? Are they perpetuating sexism because they clearly enjoy showing off their bodies as women often do? Raquel Welch, Hayden Panetierre, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez or any of the endless parade of young women who do so whether it be in showbiz or at the beach, Carnival, Mardi Gras, Bike Week in Daytona, etc. etc.

    Where is the inherent “sexism”? Dictionary definitions of sexism of which this seems to be representative:

    prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

    …doesn’t provide any insight. What discrimination or prejudice is found in drawing or recreationally dressing up like a comic character? How is drawing an athletic-appearing character “stereotyping” any more than saying that elite sprinters have powerful legs and low bodyfat content compared to the general population is a stereotype?

    The obvious missing element is a clear idea of exactly what you mean by “sexist” and how you feel it applies to the act of drawing a comic character.

  • Bluejay

    The fact that you’re arguing about comic book superheroes being “athletic” and that their costumes are “dictated by functionality” shows that you’ve COMPLETELY missed the point of the links that you claim you’ve looked at.

    What discrimination or prejudice is found in drawing or recreationally dressing up like a comic character?

    There’s a difference in the artist’s intent in drawing the character and the cosplayers’ various motives in dressing up as the character. MaryAnn’s original post already explains this, as do several of the comments and links in this thread.

    Here’s another hint: It’s not just the costume. There’s a difference between drawing a superheroine in a boobs-and-butt stance like this and in an actual powerful fighting stance like this. There’s TONS of writing about this stuff, Robert; google The Hawkeye Initiative and Escher Girls for starters.

  • Robert P

    Here’s another hint: It’s not just the costume. There’s a difference
    between drawing a superheroine in a boobs-and-butt stance like this

    and in an actual powerful fighting stance like this

    I propose that the sole reason you see what you’re calling a “boobs and butt” stance as somehow worthy of disdain is because the character is female. Betcha a buck I can find plenty of examples of male superheroes being drawn in essentially the exact same stance – chest out, elevated shoulders, arched back, legs in motion. In the second pic she’s not moving. Nowhere near the same kind of energy being displayed. I can however, see that she has boobs in the second stance.

    The first stance shows motion and tension across her body. Do you honestly believe that first pic doesn’t suggest physical power? Females do in fact have breasts and gluteal muscles. If one were to examine film/video of a female gymnastics routine you’ll find plenty of points where her buttocks and chest are thrust out, her back is arched. Or a ballet routine, or trapeze routine or anything that involves a lot of dynamic movement of a body of which her breasts and buttocks and nose and chin are part and parcel.

    Are you suggesting that artists should restrict themselves from drawing an anatomically correct female body going through motion because it’s seen as somehow shameful and improper? You think *that* represents a manifestation of feminist freedom?

  • Bluejay

    Betcha a buck I can find plenty of examples of male superheroes being drawn in essentially the exact same stance

    No. That is the entire point of the Hawkeye Initiative, which I assume you haven’t looked up. Male superheroes look ridiculous when made to pose as female superheroes often do. Female superheroes, on the other hand, look fine in action poses done by the men. I challenge you to find me an image of Superman or Batman charging into battle exactly the same way Wonder Woman does in that first pic: ass-first.

    I’m a big fan of the recent Wonder Woman series represented by that second picture. I assure you there are plenty of pages there that show the female body in dynamic action. There is a clear difference between showing heroines adopting powerful poses and believable action moves, and showing them constantly inviting the reader to ogle their boobs and asses.

    Are you suggesting that artists should restrict themselves from drawing an anatomically correct female body going through motion

    *sigh* No. Do you actually read comics, Robert P? Getting artists to draw anatomically correct female figures in action is what feminist fans are trying to do! That is precisely what is NOT happening in too many comics right now.

    Look, if you read nothing else, I highly encourage you to read the following two articles in their entirety, which are quite thorough in discussing the issue. And that’s about as far as I’m going to go in trying to bring you up to speed.

    http://io9.com/why-do-we-care-so-much-about-what-female-superheroes-we-1573674640

    http://comicsalliance.com/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/

  • Now I know you are being deliberately trollish, and I will no longer respond to you. I suggest everyone else stop engaging with you as well.

    As I said before, this site is not Feminism 101. I am not your teacher, and I am not going to hold your hand through learning some *extremely* basic stuff. Go do some beginner reading on the topic.

  • Danielm80

    I like this quote from Sinéad O’Connor:

    My issue, which I’m sure a lot of women have, was being heard. I couldn’t get heard. You might speak, but you may as well be pissing in the wind…Even with the kids now, I’ll say something twice and that’s the end of it. There’s no more conversation [laughs]. I used to tolerate not being heard, I used to put up with it, but it made me depressed to know that I was voiceless. But now absolutely in no area of my life do I tolerate not being heard. I’ll give somebody two or three chances and then I’ll just walk away and say, “Listen, there’s something wrong with your ears, there’s nothing wrong with me.”

    Robert P. will probably think the quote is ironic, but we’ve listened at great length to what he has to say, we’ve considered it very carefully, and we continue to think he’s dead wrong.

  • Robert P

    Now I know you are being deliberately trollish

    That’s a good trick given that I’m not.

    The first lesson in Feminism 101 is that there isn’t universal consensus on what “Feminism” is.

    What I was hoping it would be is “Why MAJ thinks drawing female superheroes is sexist 101”

  • “Why MAJ thinks drawing female superheroes is sexist 101”

    Erecting strawmen is a sure sign you’re a troll. Or else so deliberately, willfully ignorant that there’s no point in talking to you anyway.

  • Robert P

    I challenge you to find me an image of Superman or Batman charging into battle exactly the same way Wonder Woman does in that first pic: ass-first.

    I should point out that she’s fist first not butt-first. Don’t know what the context is – she’s charging forward and looking back – maybe calling out to others? – which rotates her torso toward the viewer. Don’t know about you, looks to me like she’s pissed and fixin’ to inflict some whoopass not pose for a calendar.

    Below see Supes in similar poses. In the one he’s showing a lot more skin than WW is – it’s nearly a mirror image of the shot you posted.

    I’ll read the links you posted. I read comics voraciously as a kid, haven’t read them much in a long time. I pick one up once in a while. The art has changed over the years.

  • Robert P

    Image upload didn’t seem to work – see if this works

    http://www.comixbrew.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DeathOfSuperman1.jpg?

    img src=”http://www.gadgetreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/INJUSTICE_11.jpg

    http://www.myfreewallpapers.net/comics/wallpapers/superman-action-comics.jpg

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Up vote if you’re now laughing at utter cluelessness.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *bzzzzzzzzzzt* Oh! So close, Bob.

  • Robert P

    the use of “female” as a noun for a woman is demeaning.

    How so?

  • Bluejay

    Not even close. And I bet you don’t even know why.

    Do read all the links, and look up all the references mentioned. You may think you’re running in the same race, but you’re not even on the same racetrack. I’m done with you on this subject.

  • Bluejay

    MaryAnn just gave you a link. Use it. If you don’t want to be seen as a troll or an idiot, don’t act like one.

  • Robert P

    Not even close. And I bet you don’t even know why.

    Lol – sure I do – because you don’t want to see it.

    Your objection is one-sided. You have a problem with stylized female physiques but not with stylized male physiques.

    I assume it wouldn’t pass muster with the censors but if you saw Wonder Woman – no matter what size her breasts – depicted in the *identical* pose fighting Doomsday with her costume top ripped revealing her torso in the exact same way you’d cry *sexism*!! All rhetoric about “equality” would go right out the window. I don’t know what your orientation is or even for sure your gender but apparently female anatomy – and the notion that anyone might find it appealing – strikes you as politically incorrect.

    Would you proselytize to the women who dress up for these comic-cons that they’re wrong to find it appealing to mimic these depictions?

  • Bluejay

    If you want to persist in ignoring all the links, references, and explanatory comments you’ve been offered, and continue to rebut what you imagine I’m objecting to, go right ahead. It’s your prerogative to be the laughingstock of this thread.

  • Danielm80

    My guess is that’s exactly what he wants. He seems to have a martyr complex. The more we ridicule his idiotic arguments, the more he’s convinced he must be right, since we’re all knee-jerk liberals to him. It’s the Dan Quayle philosophy: I wear my shame as a badge of honor.

    The only way we can win is to disengage.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *points to own nose*

    Ding ding ding!

  • Bluejay

    But me think smashing moron arguments FUN! …Oh, very well.

  • Danielm80

    Totally unrelated:

    An e-mail from my brother two minutes ago:

    holy crap robin williams is dead.

    The e-mail I sent to my brother:

    Fuck.

    Fuck fuck fuck.

    Fuck fuck.

    Fuck.

    I don’t know what else to say.

  • Robert P

    If you want to persist in ignoring all the links

    Look at Darth Meow 504’s response in the one article – he hits some on-target points. You of course will naysay and roll your eyes and sigh etc. but he’s correct.

    http://io9.com/yeah-this-is-bullshit-and-its-always-been-bullshit-it-266953465

    Further that article is full of hedging and equivocation. They say they like a sexy costume, but, well, only in a *certain* way. Even the “acceptable” streetwear they mention is still midriff-baring. Now waitaminnit, I thought part of their complaint is women baring skin. Fear of the evil breast again.

    A fine example of the fundamental difference between male and female is a comparison of these photos of Sean Connery from Zardoz and Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element. Real life humans who because of their gender look very different in similar costumes.

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2794/4408927164_c4ff41357b.jpg

    http://www.film.com/wp-content/uploads/2005/08/22026690-22026693-large.jpg

    She doesn’t have particularly large breasts, she’s not in any of the postures you take exception to but they still look fundamentally different because she’s a chick and he’s a guy.

    You assert that supposedly when women characters are depicted in the male stances they look fine. Funny then you didn’t address what you’d think if Wonder Woman were in the exact same situation and stance as Superman in the fight against Doomsday, ripped costume and all. Of course you wouldn’t be fine with it because despite imagining yourself enlightened you can’t separate “female breast” from “sexuality”. You give lip service to reality and equality but wouldn’t see a female character’s torso exposed in the exact same way as a male’s as anything but exploitation. You’d scream bloody murder if Hawkgirl wore a costume identical to Hawkman’s. Of course you’ll still complain because even if not exposed the outline of her breasts is visible.

    The costume Wonder Woman is wearing in your “acceptable” depiction wouldn’t be nearly as functional as the one you find objectionable. The way they have that trimming at the top would get in her way. But of course it’s much more important that her cleavage be covered, right?

    You show your devotion to agenda-over-truth with your description of Wonder Woman going “ass first” into battle in that one pic, which is ludicrously false. Because you can *see* her butt you use a description that’s factually wrong.

    Ultimately, what’s more important – what the character is wearing or what they’re *doing*? Are they fighting evildoers? Are they displaying strength and bravery? This doesn’t seem to factor into your thinking – you can’t take your attention off her breasts and butt.

  • Look at Darth Meow 504’s response in the one article – he hits some on-target points. You of course will naysay and roll your eyes and sigh etc. but he’s correct.

    Yeah, just us little girls here rolling our eyes.

    He’s not correct. He’s full of privileged, blinkered shit, and the replies to his comments explain why.

    Now please stop.

  • If you’d like to talk about Williams, there’s a post here: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2014/08/robin-williams-rip.html

  • Darren Snakeman

    I sometimes believe the audience for sexy cosplays isn’t always the opposite sex… but then, that’s not a bad thing. The incident below could be.

  • No problem with that. But do those male cosplayers get harassed and hassled by other men? I doubt it.

  • Constable

    Exactly, the way women are portrayed in comic book movies can be a bit… stupid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA0SarFs60w The camera lingers on her as she makes ridiculously high kicks while wearing an uncomfortable amount of rubber. Now, here’s the same situation with men, it really highlights the stupidity of “feminine” outfits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr6gACml4h0

    Now, here’s a better portrayal of Women in a kids show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6ZYpawbAP4

    also, I’m only replying to you because I’m trying to have a discussion rather than a shouting mach.

  • Scott McClelland

    I think a lot of them must be aspiring actresses and models hoping to get noticed by one of the many show biz people who show up at events like Comic Con.

  • Bluejay

    Or they’re just fans expressing love for their favorite characters.

    We could always just read what they say about it themselves.

    http://kotaku.com/why-do-i-cosplay-let-me-count-the-ways-473057620

    http://www.yayahan.com/news-events/some-thoughts-about-cosplay

  • What do you base this upon?

  • Scott McClelland

    Absolutely nothing, other than that almost all of the women are beautiful enough to be actresses or models, and that people who want to pursue those careers will do almost anything to get themselves noticed by the people who can get them started in those fields. I’ve read that reality show producers have to constantly weed out aspiring actors masquerading as ordinary people from casting pools.

  • Bluejay

    So it’s all mercenary? They can’t possibly be doing it out of genuine fan enthusiasm? Please don’t tell me you’re starting the whole “Fake Geek Girls” argument.

  • Scott McClelland

    Well, pardon me if I don’t think it’s a coincidence that almost all of these women are stunningly beautiful. Call it sexist if you want, but I don’t think this is the norm amongst female comic book readers.

  • Bluejay

    Do you personally know many female comic book readers? What about female video game players? Female anime fans? Female superhero movie fans? Is it possible that many different kinds of people, of all different body types, might find many different avenues to discover these characters? Is it so impossible that those among them who choose to cosplay might be doing it out of genuine geek enthusiasm?

    Call it sexist if you want

    I think I will. You’re basically saying to cosplayers: “I think you’re beautiful, therefore you can’t possibly be doing this sincerely.” There are so many things wrong with that argument that I can’t even.

  • Scott McClelland

    I don’t know a single one of any of them (wish I did). I didn’t say that ALL of them are trying to start an entertainment career, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a number of them are. And why do you care so much about what I think about cosplay girls anyway? Are you really so threatened by people who think differently from you about something that you feel compelled to destroy every last shred of their credibility on the topic in question? Go breathe into a paper bag for awhile, and after you calm down, how about posting a pic of yourself in your cosplay outfit?

  • Bluejay

    I don’t know a single one of any of them

    Welp, there goes your credibility.

    you feel compelled to destroy every last shred of their credibility on the topic in question?

    Actually, you just did that yourself, buddy.

    Go breathe into a paper bag for awhile, and after you calm down, how about posting a pic of yourself in your cosplay outfit?

    Yeah, like that statement isn’t sexist and smug and condescending (not to mention assuming a lot of things about me that aren’t in evidence). Good job, schmuck. If you’re wondering why you aren’t meeting any of those women, you might want to take a look at that attitude of yours.

  • You don’t really hang around a lot of fans, do you?

  • Yeah, I was right: You don’t really hang out with fans.

    And yes, you’re sexist. And also not very nice, and also plain wrong.

    Where are you spying all these wannabe models?

  • It’s possible he only notices the existence of women who please his boner. Like, he literally *does not see* other women.

  • Thinking different is fine. But you *do* need some basis of credibility if we’re going to take you seriously.

    And why do you care so much about what I think about cosplay girls anyway?

    You shared it in a public forum dedicated to discussing it. (Or, actually, one dedicated to explaining why women don’t have to justify their cosplay to anyone.) Now make us understand the basis for your thinking.

  • Scott McClelland

    No, I have much more productive things to do than hang around with people who read comic books and dress up like their favorite characters.

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, I bet. More productive things like looking at photos of “stunningly beautiful” cosplayers and saying you wish you knew them, and arguing with strangers about cosplay on an Internet criticism site. GTFO, hypocrite.

  • Scott McClelland

    …I’m sorry, did you say something?…

  • Bluejay

    Yes. I said you’re a hypocrite.

  • Then you are almost exactly the sort of person this post was aimed at. I suggest actually reading it.

  • Scott McClelland

    I couldn’t care less whether you take me seriously.

  • Bluejay

    Then why join a public discussion? What a jackass.

  • Danielm80

    Because you keep responding to him. Because he’s a troll, QED.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    There is no such empirical thing as “The Patriarchy.”

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Absolute nonsense. People say “females” or “males” so they don’t have to say “women and girls” and “men and boys.” It’s about efficiency, not some fake perceived desire to offend.

  • LaSargenta

    It may not be a conscious effort to offend; but, these words are best used as adjectives. Other languages make this distinction more clearly, perhaps (macho y hembra come to mind), but it exists in English, too.

  • Bluejay

    When someone tells you, “this word you use to refer to me is offensive to me, please use different words,” what does it cost you to say, “okay, I hear you, I didn’t mean to offend but I’ll be more mindful of what I say next time”? Is it really that hard to be respectful and considerate? Is it really THAT MUCH SKIN off your back?

    Also, it’s not just about “efficiency.” People who tend to say “females” in reference to women often have something derogatory to say about them, just as people who say “social justice warriors” usually don’t mean it as a compliment. It’s a red flag for many people because of the kind of attitude that usually accompanies its use. If you don’t want to unintentionally raise those flags, just avoid referring to women that way.

    And before this argument is raised: No, no one is censoring anyone here. People are free to say “females” if they wish. And others are free to think they’re boors for doing so. Two-way freedom of speech, it’s amazing, hooray.

  • Oh, you are *adorable*!

  • You are wrong.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Because you say so? Uh huh.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Ad hominem is a fallacy.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    “These words are best used as adjectives.” Why? There is no governing body of how to use English.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    A fish will tell you there’s no such empirical thing as water.

    And I don’t concern myself overmuch with the ignorance of fish, either.

  • Bluejay

    There is no governing body of how to use English.

    You’re right. No one’s stopping you from calling women “females,” or African Americans “negroes,” or Mexican immigrants “wetbacks.” For that matter, no one’s stopping you from using alternate spellings, or talking about past events in the future tense, or avoiding all punctuation. If you’re prepared for all the failures of communication and social consequences because of your language choices, go right ahead.

  • bronxbee

    i just want to say The Ignorance of Fish sounds like it could be the title of a book.

  • David C-D

    *off-topic*
    Social Justice Warrior is one of those phrases, like “Tree Hugger” or “Long-haired Hippie Freak”, that I find it hard to grok as a serious insult. A joke between friends, sure. But I always catch myself thinking that whoever thought of using this as an insult must have come from an alternate universe.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Quite a leap going from whether or not a word is a noun or an adjective to making a false equivalence between the benign word “females” and bigoted epithes. Attempting to put words into someone else’s mouth is a great failure of communication, and the assertion that there would be the same consequences from saying “females” as your example slurs is derisible and harmful.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Nothing more ignorant than believing in imaginary things. Or that fish can speak.

  • This has been explained already, with links.

    If you are unable to participate in adult conversations, please do not comment here.

  • Last warning. If you want to talk with the grownups, you have to act like one. Otherwise, please go away.

  • Bluejay

    Hey, YOU’RE the one claiming there’s no governing body of English, therefore we can use words however we want. And yet you seem to recognize that there are other social factors to take into consideration, since you acknowledge that some words are “bigoted epithets” and should be avoided.

    White people used to think the word “negro” was benign, until African Americans let them know that it offended them. So, now, most white people (and most people in general) don’t use it. Now here YOU are, insisting that calling women “females” is completely benign, and being repeatedly told no it’s not, it’s offensive to women. And your response is to double down on your position rather than be open to the offended group’s perspective. You’re absolutely free to do this. But it also makes you look like an insensitive jerk, at best.

    Again: it’s really NOT THAT HARD to listen when other people tell you what offends them, and to be respectful of their wishes.

  • Dr. Rocketscience
  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Links aren’t a conversation, nor are they unequivocal truth. And stating “you are wrong” is childish, hardly the way an adult responds.

  • Bedknobs_and_Boomsticks

    Yes, bringing up silly things like talking fish is acting like a grownup, but having a differing opinion and expressing it calmly and without ad hominem attacks like you and others have done isn’t? Laughable.

  • Bluejay

    Links aren’t a conversation, nor are they unequivocal truth.

    The links are there so you can read the abundant and readily-accessible material that’s already been written about the subject (whether you agree with the arguments or not). Sometimes we don’t have the time or inclination to rehash Feminism 101 for the benefit of a single commenter.

    Then again, you’re not really interested in conversation. In your opening comments, you’ve already dismissed the “‘females’ is offensive” argument as “absolute nonsense” and flat-out denied the existence of patriarchy. Since you’ve so adamantly rejected everything that’s being discussed here, what else is there that you think we can have a “conversation” about?

    You’re just here to try to score mental points against a feminist stance that you already know you disagree with. No wonder you’re just getting mostly snark in reply, because why should we bother doing more than that?

  • I’ve banned the person you’re replying to, so don’t expect a response.

  • Karl King

    Well, I read it, and I read every link that’s been posted, and I still think its utter nonsense to consider the harmless word “female” an offensive term unless it is being used particularly offensively. And I would say in the vast majority of cases, it is not.

  • Guess what? It’s not your decision to make.

  • Karl King

    It’s my opinion, just as you have yours, so it isn’t your decision to make either. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is or is not offensive. You can’t dictate what the rest of the world finds offensive. There are a lot of people that would probably agree with you, but just as many that would agree with me.

  • Karl King

    And it seems a bit odd that your tone toward so many people here is so argumentative. You don’t own the site, but even if you did, that doesn’t mean you should be so disrespectful of others.

  • Danielm80

    She does own the site, and she’s written every entry on every page for close to two decades.

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/about-2

    But I agree that it’s important to be respectful of others. One way to show respect would be to stop referring to women as “females,” because many women (and men) find it offensive, and they’ve explained why clearly and repeatedly. Even if you, personally, don’t object to the term, you might want to consider the feelings and opinions of people who do. That’s just showing basic respect.

  • No, you cannot dictate what others find offensive. But if you’re not a complete jerk, you can take other people’s feelings into account when discussing a topic — particularly one for which you are an outsider (I’m presuming that “Karl” is representative of your gender, and that you are male) — and not use words others have told you flat out are offensive. This costs you literally nothing.

  • I don’t own the site? Who does?

  • LaSargenta

    You’re on one thread on a site that has movie reviews and pop culture commentary going back to the 1990’s. Two pieces of advice, my man: One, you’re not in a good position vis a vis your judgement of tone on this site; and, two, as a matter of fact, she does own this site. All the writing and opinions are hers excepting the comments which are written under other people’s usernames.

  • Karl King

    And I said she is welcome to her opinion, but she does not have a right to tell others their opinion doesn’t count if she disagrees.

  • Karl King

    I am more than compassionate for all issues related to gender, race, or any other difference. I am in no way an outsider, based on my name or my gender. I shared this discussion with several family members and friends, all of which were female (just how else would I have said that properly in this case?) and none of them could understand why a completely inoffensive word would be deemed offensive WITHOUT being used in a particularly intentional, harmful way. That was my point to begin with. Yes it CAN be used offensively, but to act like it is always offensive regardless of context is crazy.

  • Karl King

    The term female is not offensive to most people unless it is used in a way that is meant to be offensive. It is a valid and expressive word that has been a part of the English language forever. It has never been considered offensive before now. Every single girl I have shared this article with have agreed with me. I don’t care about being right, but it’s just a word. A completely harmless word.

  • Karl King

    I don’t know, that’s not really important.

  • Bluejay

    Dude, you’re entering serious troll territory here. It’s a fact that she owns the site, and yet you’re not willing to admit it. That tells me you may not exactly be interested in reasonable conversation.

  • Bluejay

    I don’t care about being right

    And yet you keep arguing.

  • Bluejay

    to act like it is always offensive regardless of context is crazy.

    So who is saying that it is offensive regardless of context? OF COURSE it’s about the context! “Female” is valid as an adjective, and as a noun for nonhumans. “Female” as a noun for humans (outside of police reports) IS considered offensive by many. If you and your friends need help understanding it, try this:

    http://jezebel.com/the-problem-with-calling-women-females-1683808274

    As MaryAnn said, it literally costs you nothing to be considerate.

  • Danielm80

    And yet you keep telling her that her opinion doesn’t count, because you disagree. You have an unusual definition of “welcome.”

  • Substitute “negro” for “female,” and perhaps you’ll begin to understand.

  • Try sharing it with some women.

    Oh, wait! You probably didn’t mean to use “girl” in a derogatory way here. But unless you shared this article only with children, you did.

  • My laugh for the day. Thanks.

  • Or it says that he really cannot figure out who owns the site, and that his ability to see and understand the world in front of his face is limited.

  • Person

    I used to dress in sexy cosplay because I had low self esteem, thought being sexy was the most important thing in the world and I wanted men to notice me because I felt like I didn’t exist if they didn’t. Basically I had a lot of problems. I’ve grown up a lot and gained some self respect since then. Of course, this was my personal experience, I highly doubt all women who do it, do it for a reason as asinine as that. In fact I know many sexy cosplayers who are total badasses inside and out, and would never don a skimpy costume for the wrong reasons. Some of them actually do feel comfortable with themselves and can own their sexuality in a way that doesn’t leave them feeling empty and worse about themselves than before.

  • Bobo Hickock
  • Danielm80

    I feel so sorry for those men. Missing Internal Censor is a serious condition, kind of like gout. I blame society. If we keep indulging men’s fantasies about women, and encouraging women to dress up in ridiculous outfits for men, then eventually the men can’t help but shout out every crude remark that comes into their heads.

  • No. Maybe if men learned a little bit about the contradictory pressures that women are subjected to — like by studying feminism — it would not be “so fucking confusing” to you.

    Maybe men could start by thinking about how fine a line it is that exists for a woman to be dressed so that she isn’t seen as a “slut” or a “whore” but also so that she is not seen as a “prude.”

  • See this for the start of an explanation.

Pin It on Pinterest