‘The costumes of superheroes and superheroines… are they equal?

Like most other females, I’m partial to a good romantic comedy. Who can resist the dreamy, Photoshop perfect men of Hollywood? But, if you’re going to peg Captain America against Bridget Jones’s Diary, the Captain will take it every time. As someone who is rather fascinated with the whole superhero, comic book thing, I’ll often find myself searching for origin stories, trying to get a better knowledge of the characters. After this one particular night of searching, deciding to focus on female superheroes and villains, something became blaringly obvious, they were barely dressed! The majority of the females either had some variation of a leotard and/or hot pants to protect their modesty.

I understand that sex sells, especially in the film industry. I doubt we’ll ever see an out of shape, under average looking superhero; male or female. Taking ‘The Avengers’ for an example, if you were to ask anyone what they remember of Natasha Roman off Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson’s character), I’ll bet that a lot of people comment on the way she looked before mentioning the skills she had. I’m sure it’s the same for many more female comic book characters. Female superheroes are badass, there is no doubt about that, but why do they have to stand out from the crowd by being half-dressed? Don’t get me wrong, if I looked like some of the characters drawn in the comics, I’d probably prance around in the outfits all day! However, I am a normal person so those 4 inch waists and all round flawlessness are a little unattainable.

Everyone has a pretty solid idea of Batman’s costume, even if you’ve never read the comic or seen the films. The head-to-toe black suit, cowl and cape do a pretty good job of covering him up. Whereas if we take the DC super villain Poison Ivy, she only has a few vines and leaves keeping her warm! Same goes for Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman has an all-in-one blue suit, plus a cape and underwear on the outside, and poor Wonder Woman is left with a skin tight playsuit barely covering her torso! It seems that the females are just seen as eye candy for the viewers. I love the male superheroes, I really do, but they are seen as the strong, powerful ones whilst the girls are viewed as less so. Most of these female superheroes are as smart, skilled and lethal as their male counterparts, with a few exceptions. They should be feared! They can do everything the guys can do often wearing tighter clothes and sky high boots! I’d love to see Batman try to fight crime whilst adorning Catwoman’s claws!

Although a lot of females in the various comic book universes follow this trend, there are some exceptions. Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Batwoman all wear outfits that don’t show much skin, but they are still seen as equals to the other female heroes. It’s not only the sexist implications that come with the outfit that is an issue, the practical uses are pretty shoddy as well! If we took out any ability to dodge, alter the path of or totally disintegrate a bullet, Batman’s sturdy suit would protect him from being shot, no problem, not exactly the same story for Ivy, or Wonder Woman, or Mystique, or Stargirl, the list goes on and on.

In the interest of keeping our poor girls safe, and more importantly warm, female superheroes that are fully dressed should definitely become a norm! Failing that, maybe the men should strip down and high heel up, just to keep it fair!

Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to her your opinions  Let me know at @morganhannaar or @lpoolgirlgeeks

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