This is my favorite Tumblr account ever. It's called the Hawkeye Initiative, and it's aim is to bring awareness to the fact that all though Sci-Fi is home to some of the strongest female characters, (Thank you Joss Whedon) it is also home to the most sexist female characters.
How can you combat the blatant sexism in comics that many like to hide under the term "female empowerment"? Here's what they came up: "How to fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics: replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing."
At first it seems simple, trivial even, but even I had always noticed the difference in the painted on costumes, but never really grasped how ridiculous the female characters in graphic novels are portrayed. The proportions, the "power poses," the fight scenes, the costumes, and the "empowering" female relations.
The proportions of many are so that they would have to be missing organs, while their male counterparts may be stylized they are never stylized as much. The traditional broad shoulder, and extremely small hips (Think an upside triangle) has been faded out with a few exceptions. However, the female body shapes continue to become more and more extreme.
There is apparently an unwritten law that says "Female power poses are required at all times to the sill she-creature showing at least two or more of the following: her breasts, bum, or crotch." Some people also make the argument that, "some poses are just more feminine." Really? Try to reenact most of the commonly used female poses and tell me how feminine you feel. If you don't believe that these positions are unrealistic, then stand in front of your mirror and try see your bum perfectly as well as all of your chest. Bonus points if you can get your crotch showing in that position too.
If by some magical power you can twist yourself into one of those positions, kudos, and now imagine fighting in said pose. Kinda hard to aim a gun/throw a knife/use your magic lasso when you're practicing your contortion moves. It's also kinda hard to fight seductively, while giving your attackers as many views of your bum, crotch, breast, and oddly long legs as possible.
Costumes. Do I even need to go there? Female costumes have as little skin covered as possible, even spacesuits of females show their abs. It is possible for a strong female to be attractive and not have her nips showing. Costumes do not need to be painted on so tight that you can see the details of her crotch. Real clothing people. Male characters may have tight costumes, but they aren't put into seductive poses that perfectly show off their camel toe and nips at the same time.
If someone was to flip through the pages of a comic, they might think, well as least this community is supportive of LGBT relations. Wrong. LGBT characters are relegated to minor roles mostly. But for all of the seductive, half-naked fawning/almost kissing/seductively hugging/half-naked wrestling, the only main stream female character (that is still a supporting role) that is actually gay is Batwoman. And no marriage for her.
Sadly, this aren't just stereotypes found in comics. If you look at the poster for the Avengers, you'll notice that while all of the male characters are in strong fighting poses, Black Widow is the only one that is showing her breasts and her bum at the same time. When the poses are switched, the men look absolutely ridiculous. It's only after seeing things like this put together that I realize just how wide spread a problem this really is. It even goes past the poster, at the interviews to promote the Avengers movie, Robert Downey, Jr. would be asked deep questions about his role and character, and Scarlett was asked questions such as, "What did you eat to prepare for this role?"
But really, this all seems like a big ta-doo about nothing, right? Not so much, see how many times you can replace a female character with a male character in a similar outfit (change out a skirt for shorts or pants if it makes you feel better) and see if it looks ridiculous. If it does, then that's a sexist choice of the artist.
*All images used come from the Hawkeye Initiative Tumblr. I did not draw them. I do not own them. You can find all of these and more here.