Isn’t it rather bad form to include a couple random quotes about “I don’t find that body type attractive.” I could easily find a few 12-18 year old males (or whatever the prime comic demographic is) to say that they don’t find quadruple-D sized women not that attractive either.
The main point of the article is spot on though, and while it is rather obvious, it’s nice to have when encountering ‘those’ people.
That assessment relies on a broad-brush generalization of male desire, one that in the article is being specifically denied in the case of male superheroes in order to make the case in point. I don’t find a lot of the images in womens’ magazines attractive, and neither do many other men. The images in women’s magazines are intended for female consumption. It is undeniable that they can create distress for people who do not conform to the ideal depicted. Similarly, growing up as a skinny, lanky boy whilst subjected to muscular, Nietschean power-ideal male imagery is isolating and disempowering.
That there is such a strong disparity in the depiction of male and female ideals across all media (men being told to ‘be strong’, women being told to ‘be sexy’) is definitely something I’m concerned about. I don’t understand, for example, why there is such strong revulsion expressed toward muscular women (not always even very muscular) by many men, but also women (I was stunned recently when my wife was really rude about a female jogger with a six-pack). Is it that people sexualize female helplessness, and muscularity interferes with this?
Cue the evolutionary psychology bullshit artists in 3…2…1…
I’m bringing up fashion magazines because this entire article attempts to place the blame on men writing comics or their editors who only value male readers or the male readers themselves, because to suggest that women would do this to themselves would be unthinkable, right? Except that there’s plenty of evidence in all sorts of mediums that women would absolutely subject other women to this same treatment, you’re just blaming men because they happen to be the slight majority of readers in comics. Maybe if you can make it all men’s fault, the problem will resolve itself, eh?
I would agree that they aren’t the same thing and aren’t done to the same scale, but I can’t understand why some people think that makes one of them okay. Both are influential to male and female readers in a harmful way.
A lot of these debates are like asking a binary question: Which is bad? Being shot in the head or being shot in the stomach? Being asked to choose which to avoid is ridiculous.
I think we can all agree that making persons of any gender insecure about their appearance is the best way to sell things. Which really is what women’s (and men’s fitness) magazines are all about. And even comic books aren’t exempt from that. Remember the Charles Atlas ads in the back?
Maybe so, but I’d argue that images in media are aimed at a broad an audience as possible, hence they tend to be broad-brush in orientation. They aim for the perceived middle of the road, and they do market research in order to figure out what that is exactly.
Think of them as aimed at women attempting attract men - because that is what we’re imagined to be constantly obsessed with.
In order to please men. I think you’re missing that point.
I’d agree with this, yet it still remains the mode that men, who maybe used to be skinny, lanky boys, tend to perpetuate when the get into the industry. Muche like they tend to perpetuate the overly endowed, but incredibly skinny woman.
Although it’s changing, comics have been historically and I think generally continue to be, aimed at adolescent and teenage boys and young men, especially superhero comics.
I don’t, because I am below retirement age…but I know what you mean. The ad that always ran in UK comics (which, excluding Desperate Dan, were generally much less muscle-bound) were for x-ray spex with obvious connotations about themale gaze - combine the two and we may be able to distill everything that’s wrong about media.