We want women in media for the same reason we want women in Senate; we want someone to portray us and what we want in characters correctly. Some argue that woman simply aren’t interested in cartoons, comics, movies etc., but maybe we would be if we weren’t constantly offended or shoved to the side. So, everyone asks, “Why is it so hard to be a female fan of anything?”
1. Miss Jessica Drew
Marvel was recently criticized about a “Spider woman” cover, featuring her in an impractical, overtly sexual pose, focusing on her asset. Miss Jessica Drew is in a pose I can promise you’ll never see Spiderman in. Marvel attempted to pacify both fans of the cover and the fans of the artist, Milo Manara.
From Emma Gray’s “Spider-Woman’s New Cover Sums Up The Problematic Way Female Superheroes Are Treated”(Huffington Post),”I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them,” wrote Brevoort. “By that same token, Milo Manara has been working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time … It’s also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye. Maybe others feel differently. But given that the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose, it seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years,”
Not as terrible as we could have been – truly something to be proud of. I can easily spend hours on feminism and the problematic comic books but Huffington Post said it better than anyone “Lady superheroes should be able to save the world (or at least their cities) as well as the boys can. Who says they need to do it [behind] first?”
2. Harley Quinn
Created for the animated television show, Harley Quinn has always had a problematic history, recently declared the “Most Over Sexualized Character” and as of August 19th, 2013, we’re inclined to agree. DC had asked aspiring artists to send in some of their own art, were “Contestants are asked to illustrate four scenes featuring Quinn: one of her standing atop a building during a lightning storm; one of her sitting in an alligator pond wearing raw chicken; one of her standing in the mouth of whale; and one of her nude in a bathtub.” They released it three days before National Suicide Awareness Week.
Not only does this make light of suicide but also a chance to show a woman is nothing more than a pair of breasts. It’s surprising this hasn’t been drawn before. A lot of artists and comic reviewers took offense and DC’s public relations hurried to release a statement to try to pacify everyone.
“The purpose of the talent search was to allow new artists an opportunity to draw a single page of a 20-page story. True to the nature of the character, the entire story is cartoony and over-the-top in tone, as Harley Quinn breaks the 4th Wall and satirizes the very scenes she appears in,” the statement read. “DC Entertainment sincerely apologizes to anyone who may have found the page synopsis offensive and for not clearly providing the entire context of the scene within the full scope of the story.”
Despite what DC may or may not have intended, the joke ultimately was a woman naked for the pleasure of teenage boys, about to kill herself. Maybe I just don’t get it?
3. Penny (The Big Bang Theory)
I could write an article about the casual sexism in The Big Bang Theory. Penny isn’t as interested in science as the rest of the characters and it’s something she’s constantly mocked for. The episodes that center around Penny trying hard to keep up with her (ex)boyfriend is in the double digits. Very rarely is she not the butt of the joke, her sex life, her career as a waitress, her acting career.
Penny is constantly made fun of the amount and personalities of the boys she brings home or dates. This process is called “Slut Shaming.” Which is basically when men make jokes because a woman controls her sex life. Add this to the long list of jokes I don’t find funny. That and the constant unwanted sexual advances from the character Howard Wolowitz (potrayed by Simon Helberg), I’d have found myself a new group of friends a long time ago.
Slut shaming in very prominent in media and no one has ever explained it as well as John Huges through Allison Reynolds (Breakfast club) Allison: “Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude; if you say you have, you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?”
4. Velma and Daphne (Scooby Doo)
Velma and Daphne represent two of the stereotypes I hate the most, which are the most frequent: the attractive moron and the frumpy brainy girl. It doesn’t matter what version of Scooby Doo you watch, Daphne’s the damsel in distress, the pretty girl distracted by the bright and shiny light. Velma is frustratingly unattractive and the butt of many jokes. How many plot lines are centered around someone falling for her, only to turn out evil? Or Velma getting a forced make-over? As usual, it’s smart or attractive, never both.