Comics’ depictions of women – particularly superheroines – is something of a thorny issue. For a lot of people, both male and female, the hypersexualisation of female characters is off-putting at the very least. Those who want to investigate this angle further can read this fine essay at Comics Alliance or this one at Comic Book Resources.
There are some, however, who argue that both genders are treated fairly: the depictions of superheroes aren’t exactly realistic portrayals of men and their bulging muscles are equally hypersexualising. That, in fact, superheroes and superheroines are treated equally (badly).
To disprove this theory, a little project has been gathering steam this week. The Hawkeye Initiative (NSFW, which should tell you something) has a simple premise: take a given picture of a superheroine and put Hawkeye (the character played by Jeremy Renner in The Avengers) in the exact same pose and the exact same costume. If he doesn’t look like a tool and you can argue that what he’s wearing is actually a really good outfit for fighting (or doing anything) in, then that pose isn’t hypersexualising. And women from all over the Internet have been sending in their ‘compare and contrast’ drawings.
My favourite, though, is this one: