31 January 2009

Normal Representation of the Body?

From Marjorie Ingall at the Jewish Daily Forward:

“The ‘boobs and boots’ aspect of superhero comics does concern me,” said my friend Julie Holland, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University. “I always think it’s better to have a normal representation of the female body instead of an enhanced kind that can’t be obtained except through surgery.”

She pauses. “I do like the boots, though.”
Of course, superhero comics don't represent the normal male body, either. And nearly everybody gets boots.

(Tip from Brigid Alverson at SLJ's Good Comics for Kids.)


Gail Gauthier said...

I was always bothered by the boobs and boots thing on good old- fashioned feminst grounds. However, now that I've trained in a martial art for six and a half years, I object to those portrayals for practical reasons. You really want to be covered up if you're going to be close to an assailant. And a high-heeled boot will only be helpful if you can get it off and use the heel as a weapon.

Don't get me started on capes.

J. L. Bell said...

Yes, superhero costumes don’t make sense. They’re obviously designed to look cool on the page, not to be practical or realistic.

I can only quote Douglas Wolk’s Understanding Comics again: “There’s another, slightly more dubious adult objection to the conventions of superhero comics: they’re ‘unrealistic.’ (Of course they’re unrealistic! That’s the entire point!)”