The other day, when we had that kids bedding conversation, I started thinking – more seriously – about how we’re brought up, about how we educate our children and about how the gender issue is put in perspective from our tender childhood years.
Because, as you well know, this is an endless source for potential controversy, an endless source for potential subjectivity. Because, if you haven’t already given it any thought, you may do so as of right now! Picture this: we’re growing up with fairytale princesses and courageous, bold princes. Our gender stereotypes are cleverly inoculated and carefully cultivated during our continuous education, shaped into what we see and acknowledge as the gender-specific culture we’re living in. Not always favorable for us, ladies.
This is the topic I want to address with this story. And I picked the super-sheroes to do so because I know one of our dear friends, Ellington, is a fan, like so many others. And, much like our fairytale princesses, superheroes are part of our childhood and yes, they do contribute in shaping up that gender prejudges and cliché we so want to erase from our society!
I started with Wonder Woman since she’s the most famous of the super-sheroes. Now, what if Wonder Woman would wear, instead of her usual bathing suit-like costume, a full-on attire? I compared the classic DC hero with one of the drawings conceived and proposed by Michael Lee Lunsford. Because, really, I’m not one to dislike the princesses crinolines and I would most certainly not see Diana Prince performing her super-shero tricks while wearing a full on corseted princess dress, but a swimsuit is not my favorite attire either. Except for swimming purposes. But I’m certainly no super-shero, so I wouldn’t know what works best, would I?
I’m not saying that these wardrobe suggestions would be more appealing – by all means, Zatanna is rather awkward while Vampirella is downright average. Black Canary looks less menacing than Paris Hilton in a Juicy velour tracksuit while Powegirl looks at best ready for an ER intervention. At least we have Psylocke to look fierce and ready to rumble!
Every one of the supersheroes is wearing something I would only consider a swimsuit. Or less in some cases. In my book, not only is that undignifying for the character in question, but also what lacks in practicality and applicability fully makes up for in sensual suggestiveness and gender teasing. I’m at that point where, looking at these lovely supersheroes, I feel thankful for Catwoman and her fetishy appearance!
And don’t let me get started about the male superheroes costumes! I’m just here to merely point in this comics direction, not to cast the definitive gender stone in DC’s or Marvel’s windows. I’m just saying: we’ve definitely seen our princesses looking worse for wear (Cinderella, Tiana or Snow White – they’ve all been wardrobe-challenged princesses) and still keep their manners and morals intact. Should Wonder Woman switch for a full-on attire like this, would she still keep her fans cohort intact? Should Elektra or Zatanna, Psyloche or Supergirl opt for pants, would their fighting still be as spectacular or their soap-opera lives be any attractive and enviable?
I am glad that you posted this Kpriss. I was going to share this with you actually. : )
The main problem with what female supers wear is this, their outfits were and are designed by men and made not for combat really but for the male gaze. Yes male supers often wear skin tight clothes but they are never drawn suggestively and they are usually always fully covered.
I remember when the revamped Supergirl a few years ago (before the really banal New 52) that the artist purposely gave Supergirl biker like shorts under her skirt. This was applauded by many.
As for Wonder Woman I myself prefer when she is dressed in her battle armour as she is shown here as it heralds her Greek/Themysciran heritage.
But then there was this incarnation of her uniform when she and the Amazon were in hiding in plain sight in the city. This outfit is far more practical and urban and not as attention grabbing as her usual garb. Of course it was met with disdain from the Fanboys which is too bad because it as I said made sense for a modern superhero.
There are those who argue that we should not be ashamed of skin and showing off their bodies is part of the Superhero credo but that argument runs empty considering the female supers are often dressed very skimpy, in provocative poses and are extremely well endowed, while wearing high heels.
I like that Michael Lee Lunsford did this and as for his revamps I like his Elektra best because she does now look like a martial arts warrior which is what she is.
thank you! :*
Great post kpriss. And very insightful comment(as always ) Ellington.
Thanks ever so ana. : )
I am very impressed by your designs.
I should have directed my previous comment to Mr. Lunsford.
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