One fanboy's reactionIt's been an education. It really has.
Thanks to Ragnell, and Kalinara, and Willow, and lately, shilohmm (no link, I don't know if she has a blog) I've learned so much about what comic book fangirls want, nay, True Believer, demand, from the superhero comics they read. They want normal looking women, women who act like women they themselves can recognize from their own experiences, women who understand the necessities of the lives they choose to lead and dress appropriately, in apparel made from fabrics that actually exist in the real world.
They want women who talk like real women, who look like real women, who dress like real women, who are not constantly drawn to look as if they're posing for MAXIM. They want powerful, competent, independent women who are not simply there as whack off material for perpetually-adolescent-at-every-age male comics fanboys.
In short, they don't want THIS:
They want THIS:
Speaking only for myself, as a 44-soon-to-be-45 year old fanboy --
Can't I have just a little peril?
Okay. Look. Yeah, that panel of Dinah's ass is... well, it's an eye opener, for sure. A few weeks ago I'd have gone right on by it without even noticing just how frickin' ridiculous it is that Black Canary -- BLACK CANARY, THIRD BEST MARTIAL ARTIST IN THE GODDAM DC UNIVERSE -- is wearing a costume that bares her entire ass to the whole wide world. I mean, doesn't she get cold? This chick leaps around on rooftops and gives people like Bane flying high kicks to the head while balanced on top of speeding dirigibles and shit! And she does it with her ass hanging out? Unless she's spinning around a pole and Bane is about to stuff a twenty into her cleavage, this outfit is pretty goddam stupid, yeah.
And I certainly wouldn't have pondered just how it would have struck me if, say, Batman, or Captain America, were wearing a similar costume... say, a black or blue thong over leggings that came up only to mid thigh, baring their no doubt very taut, rippling, manly buttocks to the gazes of their readership. (Although the thought is enough to make me want to hurl.)
So, yeah... the fangirls have a point, which I have already acknowledged.
But if the new Batgirl is what happens to superhuman women in superhero comics when the Revolution comes, well... please God, let me be the first fanboy up against the wall to be shot.
I mean, suddenly you realize, maybe idealized bodies and sexualized poses ain't really all that bad.
The new Batgirl, in case you didn't know, debuted in Birds of Prey #98. I suspect she is writer Gail Simone's idea of a wry joke; a sort of "Okay, if this is what the women in my audience want, let's see how much they like it when I give it to them". I don't know that for sure, it's just, well, she seems like SUCH a parody that I have to assume Ms. Simone put the humor there on purpose.
This new Batgirl talks a great deal like a parody of a teenage superhero comics fan (the kind you'd expect to be an avid reader of WIZARD), and can apparently outfight all the main characters effortlessly. She can apport herself from place to place, and, in addition, she also seems to know the real names of all the superheroines in the book, and to be able to teleport into Oracle's super secret Oracle-lair with frightening nonchalance. My guess? She really is a comics fan, someone from our world who reads Birds of Prey and who has somehow found a way to manifest herself physically in what is, to her, the imaginary world of her favorite fictional heroines. She's clearly getting a huge kick out of hanging out with them, while, at the same time, she just as obviously doesn't take any of it (not even being gutshot) remotely seriously.
I don't know. Maybe some fangirl somewhere has really annoyed Gail Simone, and this is the classic writer's revenge. Or maybe Simone is making a sly, meta-commentary on how seriously her female fans seem to take her work, simply because she is one of the very few (if not only) female writers currently working in superhero comics.
Whatever the case, while I can certainly intellectually agree that female comics fans have a right to be outraged over the constant sexual portrayal of nearly every female character in superhero comics... having seen what happens when you stop doing that, well... okay. I'm a guy. I'm a horn dog. I like tits, and I like ass. Make the costumes a little more sensible if you need to. Make the women a little more realistic in their appearances. But... please... let's not see the new Batgirl become the norm.