Not-So Subtle Superhero Sexism




Ever noticed the contrast?

Ever noticed the contrast?

Superheroes by definition are fictional characters with extraordinary or super powers, used for the benefit of others. These are figures upon which children and some adults look for inspiration and belief that when individuals are sympathetic towards others’ challenging circumstances and intervene by doing little acts of kindness, it certainly makes a difference.

A few years ago when I discovered female superheroes I was excited, not because I was secretely hoping for them but because now that there were female superheroes there was just something cool about it. The closest to a female superhero I have ever come to see were the Power Puff Girls who weren’t even really human (lab experiments made of sugar and spice and all thing nice, really?).

This is what I found puzzling: When female superheroes were introduced, they didn’t even look intimidating. All I saw were semi-naked women in silly, provocative poses as if they aim was to look as sexy as possible more than dangerous. What was the message here? Is sexiness a super power? If that’s the case, Beyonce in concert could be mistaken for Cat Woman!

This may seem like the silly ramblings of an over-enthusiastic “feminist” teenager but with a closer look, surely you must see something wrong with the ever-increasing objectifying of women. So much so, that it has filtered to superheroes and computer game characters.

It may not seem like a big deal at first but these depictions of women are an insight to what happens in the corporate world, in sports, and every other industry where women are forced to use their sexuality to get ahead or to be even regarded as worth one’s time.

Maybe it’s just cartoons and we shouldn’t worry about it. But try saying that when an obviously lesser candidate gets a position you badly wanted and were more than qualified for, simply because of their sex appeal.


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