‘Please, the Hawkeye Initiative is about drawing Hawkeye smut, nothing to do with with showing the disparity between the genders. There’s nothing wrong with that, but lets not call it something it isn’t. ‘
I did write a reply which some people wanted me to make re-bloggable, so here it is with some elaboration on why we need things like the Hawkeye Initiative.
Firstly, the Hawkeye Initiative is all about showing disparity between the genders. It was created solely for that reason, and of course to have a laugh at the industry’s expense at the same time. What better way to show the difference between the depiction of women in the comic media then by swapping the genders of the characters being presented?
In most cases, people won’t recognize things like the presentation of women in the media until the tables are turned. This initiative isn’t the first time someone has used it to illustrate such a disparity either. Some examples:
Breakdown of ‘if men posed like women’
While this initiative may not seem like much to you, it means a lot to many of us who are sick and tired of women depicted as nothing in comics other than a walking set of breasts. (Or asses, or both.)
Yes, it’s all in good fun and is pretty much just us having a laugh; and some people may be doing this for less than noble reasons. But that doesn’t negate the gender disparity issue this initiative is making fun of. Just yesterday when I shared my Hawkeye drawing on Facebook I was met with comments like:
‘Sex sells, so of course women are presented this way in comics.’
‘The guys are half naked too so maybe you should complain about that instead.’
‘You want to take the sexiness away from comics, prude.’
Comments like this usually arise when the representation of women in the media comes up, but there-in lies the problem and what I feel is a miscalculation of the comics audience. People say that ‘sex sells,’ but I’d like to at least think that quality comics featuring realistic and relate-able characters and their stories is worth far more to the average reader than how low cut Catwoman’s costume is.
And even if it is the case that ‘sex sells’ to the lowest common denominator of your buyers, is that worth the numbers of readers who will drop the books who start overly sexualizing women for no reason? The comics market, and the audience has changed. The fact that publishers are still sticking to an unsubstantiated prehistoric paradigm who assumes that their audience is just a bunch of sweaty virgins who will throw money at anything with a pair of breasts is insulting, to me and to their ‘target audience.’
Comic sales have been dropping steadily over the years, in 1966 the biggest selling title of the year as Batman from DC comics, they sold just under 900,000 copies.
In 1969 it was Superman, with just over 500,000.
In 1995 Marvel sold over 300,000 copies of Fantastic Four volume 2, #1.
In 2009, the highest selling comic was DC’s Blackest Night issue #3, which sold exactly 140,666 copies.
These days it’s phenomenal for a comic to break the 200k mark in sales, and there has been a steady long-term decline, with a small improvement in 2000 due to things like selling trade paperbacks and all of the comic book movies that had come out at the time.
Some of our comics are moretitillating than ever, so if ‘sex sells’ then why aren’t we selling more comics?
For that matter, why aren’t comic publishers like Zenescope and Big Dog Ink comics whose entire business model is based on the idea that ‘sex sells’ constantly out-selling the publishers like Marvel, DC and Image?
In 2011, Diamond’s final sale figures list the first company that wasn’t Marvel or DC to make it into the top 1000 best selling comics list for the year was IDW at 102 with ‘Godzilla – Kingdom of Monsters’ selling 71,700 books. Next, Image made it to 120 with ‘Spawn,’ selling 67,900 copies.
In fact, Zenescope first appears on the list at 487 for ‘Grimm Fairy Tales’ volume 9 with a mere 2,300 sales.
Gail Simone has pointed out that suggesting that we hate sex in our comics and want to ‘take the sexy’ away in comics is ridiculous, and it’s not what we want at all. I love sex in my comics and can enjoy seeing sex in comics, but my enjoyment comes down to how it’s presented.
Take these two examples of sex and ‘sexy’ female characters from two books that have come out in the past year or so. Catwoman #1 from DC and Conan the Barbarian #3 and #10 from Dark Horse.
In the first issue of Catwoman there was that infamous sex scene. I for one wasn’t bothered by the idea of a sex scene, especially one between Bruce and Selina. I think they’re a highly sexually-charged couple with a lot of potential for some hot and steamy rendezvous, but like most people who had an issue with this scene - I didn’t like the way it was presented to us.
For starters the emphasis is very much about the male gaze. Selina is usually posed in ways to make both her buttocks and her breasts visible to the reader, even when it makes no anatomical sense.
Even in the last climactic panel when we assume they’re actually ‘doing it,’ we cannot even see Bruce’s face. We don’t know if he’s enjoying it, from what we can see it looks like he’s just sitting there not engaging with Selina at all. Like the viewer he seems like just a spectator, of another inanimate object for Selina to pose all over.
Not to be crude, but nothing ruins my lady boner faster than a guy who looks like he doesn’t even care if he’s having sex with me or not. For it to be hot for me, it has to be hot for him too.
Conversely, let’s look at a couple Conan and Belit’s sexual encounters. One thing to know about Belit, is that like Selina Kyle – this woman is sex on legs. She usually doesn’t wear much, at all… funnily enough Belit can usually be seen wearing more clothing just before than than when she does while casually walking around her ship. However there is a huge disparity between the way Belit and the way Selene are both drawn from panel to panel.
During a lot of the sex scenes drawn by Becky Cloonan the emphasis is on touching and facial expressions. You rarely get a full-body glimpse o the couple, but the moment is still intense and you get the sense that the pair of a tangle of sweaty bodies and body parts.
Later on in a scene drawn by Declan Shalvey we have a clearer view of the couple in the throws of passion, and yet again we can see a lot of unbridled passion and intense need from both Conan and Belit.
For further reading on the disparity between the presentations of gender in comics I highly suggest reading Kelly Thompson’s, ‘It’s Not Equal.’ Especially before you’re about to spout something like ‘men are also objectified and idealized in comics.’
And lastly, think about this - the entire blog and idea of The Hawkeye Initiative wouldn’t exist for you to have an opinion on if such silly comic covers and pin-ups didn’t exist in the first place. So if you really feel that strongly, take your anger out on the industry that’s helping fuel blogs like this.
Shanna, the she-devilish wife of Ka-Zar.
I’m just… not entirely sure what they were trying to do here. Like, her clothes are fine because that’s just what she wears. I’m just confused on the rest of it.
My friend found the perfect comparison:
(From Eternal Darkness)
I was reading Women of Marvel (I was researching Satana’s character, who is currently a member of the Thunderbolts) and came across this… this… “piece of art”. The whole thing is obviously fan service, showing off the boobs and butts of two of the most cleavage-showing heroins of Marvel. I love both Satana and Black Cat’s character and think they’re underused by Marvel, so I tend to read all the material I can find (especially about Satana).
I’m sure you can comment on Satana’s posture better than I ever could so I’m just going to stop rambling here. I hope you never got that one but I didn’t find it in your tag.
Issue: Women of Marvel #1 / Pencils by Romina Moranelli / Characters: Satana Hellstrom and Felicia Hardy
This is known as the dog-and-hydrant stance.
The shift of Iron Man’s villain to a vaguely Middle Eastern-type character is reflective of how American orientalism attitudes have shifted to focusing on otherizing the Middle East. It structurally functions the same as yellow peril, it just kind of aggregates all of America’s attitudes towards the otherized “East” into this antagonist character. (Contrast to Tony Stark, this wealthy, white, brilliant, capitalist American hero.)
To be honest, with the Mandarin the greatest concern is just how the character will be portrayed. Can they separate the character from yellow peril no matter how it is fanwanked or no-prized? Especially with his character design hodge-podged from so many cultures that Hollywood has otherized. As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, he’s got Fu Manchu robes, “samurai hair”, a “bin Laden-esque” beard…so it’s still all of these physical markers of the Western conceptualization of the mysterious and shady “Orient” folded visually into one villainous character.
I giggled when I read Kevin Feige’s explanation: “It’s less about his specific ethnicity than the symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end.” The Mandarin and Hollywood have a lot in common!
-Racebending.com’s Marissa Lee to io9, on Iron Man 3’s portrayal of The Mandarin, Iron Man’s nemesis.
Read the full article: How big is Iron Man 3’s “Fu Manchu” problem?
UPDATED | Another still photo from Shane Black’s _Iron Man 3_ “crisis thriller” has surfaced, now showcasing the first official look at Sir Ben Kingsley as the Ten Rings terrorist leader, The Mandarin!
_“A lot of this movie is about characters going back into the shadows for various reasons and characters who have been in the shadows coming out and into the light for the first time,”_ says Marvel Studios president of Production, Kevin Feige. _“It is Tony who, for various reasons, finds himself receding into the darkness. I don’t mean emotional darkness, I mean literally ducking out of the spotlight. And we’ll see other characters stepping up who have pulled strings from the background, starting to show their hand.”_ Regarding The Mandarin not being Chinese, like in the comics, Feige says _“It’s less about his specific ethnicity than the symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end.”_
Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3” pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him.
As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? Starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale with Jon Favreau and Ben Kingsley, “Iron Man 3” is directed by Shane Black from a screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black and is based on Marvel’s iconic Super Hero Iron Man, who first appeared on the pages of “Tales of Suspense” (#39) in 1963 and had his solo comic book debut with “The Invincible Iron Man” (#1) in May of 1968.
“Iron Man 3” is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures & DMG Entertainment. Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing & Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Stephen Broussard, Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Charles Newirth, Stan Lee & Dan Mintz are executive producers. The film hits May 3, 2013, & is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Read more at http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/MarvelFreshman/news/?a=69077#csxGr552zdzormOS.99
Feige says: “It’s less about his specific ethnicity than the symbolism of various cultures and iconography that he perverts for his own end.”
Wow, it’s almost like he’s referring to Hollywood!
Double irony value since the Ten Rings mercenaries in the original Iron Man movie was named for Mandarin and they made a huge point to show the group as culturally and ethnically diverse.
The image above was created from gathering all of the significant named characters from released Marvel Studios movies as documented on the Marvel Movies wikia.
It’s pretty sad. As you can see, only 22% of the characters are women and half of them are love interests. There are over twice as many supporting characters who are men than women (and none of them function as love interests like the women do.) 84% of the characters are white.
- 60% of the characters are white men, including all the main characters
- 77%of the characters are men
- 76% of the men are white
- 81% of the characters (both genders) are white
- All of the women are white
- Allof the characters of color are men
- None of the characters are women of color
Out of all the films, Thor probably does the best in introducing diverse side characters. Natalie Portman and Kat Denning’s characters pass the Bechdel test within the first five minutes, and some of the Asgardians are played by people of color including Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Tabano Asano’s Hogun. Four white women characters are introduced instead of the other films’ average of one or two. But even then, there’s no question that the main characters of the film are Thor and his brother Loki.
Marvel is working off of decades of existing properties that for years solely focused on white men and a the demographic market of white men. So it makes sense that many of the films would have an abundance of white male characters. Beyond ratios, what doesn’t make sense is that even in the comics there is also an abundance of characters of color, etc. that they are ignoring or underutilizing. There are already five completed films where the titular character is a white man, with more to come. There are no films in the works where the titular character is a person of color or a woman.
Women made up at least 40% of the audience of The Avengers, yet only one out of the six Avengers–Black Widow–was a woman. Women also made up 40% of attendees at this year’s ComicCon. Why, given the scarcity of female heroic leads in the existing Marvel films, did Marvel choose to announce the addition of several more male characters but only one new female character?
Read the full article at Racebending.com: On Marvel, Mandarin, and Marginalization
This is Fucking ridiculous. You can’t sit here and make this stupid demo graphic about marvel being sexist, and racist.
ALL of these characters have had plenty of interaction with other races, women, and even other species. God, you people Can’t fucking have ANYTHING good, you just decide to put things in your light to get a stupid fucking point across about how a fictional story wrongs you.
Reasons this is stupid.
1.These are the MOVIES, THEY TELL ONE STORY OUT OF LITERALLY THOUSEANDS SHOWCAING THESE CHARACTERS. YOU CAN’T MAKE A GENERALIZED STATEMENT FROM THAT EXAMPLE.
2. Captain America was set in a time with Racism, and prejudice. CAP DOESN’T SEE THAT, Cap sees a person, who he will defend with his life regardless of color, gender, or anything stupid like that. His love interest was a white woman because she was a british secret agent/military personnel. ( who by the way, if we’re looking at this historically Shouldn’t of been in the position that she was, let alone be an awesome character in her own right.
3. Thor, Despite being the one described as the most diverse one, Really shouldn’t have been. They Were All norse gods, Which as you might imagined the vikings imagined looking like themselves. Natalie portman’s character was a fucking super scientist, and even fought for her rights in the film when someone tried to wrong her. SIF, Don’t even get me started on sif, She could of kicked thor’s ass had she wanted to, she is literally a woman who decided that she was too god for the mother fucking valkryies so she was like FUCK YOU GUYS, IMA GO BE USEFUL.
I Could honestly Rant forever about how utterly STUPID this post is.
Yet, another Reason WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
Also, I believe Black panther is getting his own movie, along with the other avengers ant man, and wasp.
I AM TIRED OF APOLOGIZING FOR BEING A WHITE MAN! You know who voted to give women the right to vote? White men. You know who fought to end slavery? Mainly Irish immigrants, but that’s not the point! White men do great things!
I have no idea who you are, but let’s assume that you are a decent person. Congratulations. Here’s your cookie.
But let’s be clear. Racism and sexism still exist in America. They exist strongly. And who propagates, encourages, and defends them? White. Men.
Yes, you voted for the rights of minorities. Why was that the case? Because you were the only ones with the power to do so.
White men do not automatically get to call themselves heroes for assisting in the end of slavery or assisting in the acquisition of women’s rights, because it was your group who caused those problems in the first place. Choosing to defend the rights of minorities was not heroic; it was finally taking responsibility for your past cruelties.
No one is asking for an apology for you existing, or for who you were born as. No, we’re asking for acknowledgement of the fact that your social class continues, to this very day, to run the world, run the media, and through the media, runs how the world judges everyone else who is not white and who is not male. Your group still has the majority of the power in this world; use that power responsibly or yes, we will continue to point things like this out. Because frankly, after two thousand years of white patriarchal bullshit, we minorities sort of, um, deserve it.
Wow, you’re right. I forgot how hard you had it as a white woman in America. You can’t pigeon hole all white men into one role. People are people. Some people are assholes and other people, with the power to do so, counteract those assholes. It’s not about being black, white, asian, whateverthefuck. It’s about being people. These characters are all, historically, white men with white men friends and white women love interests. Lumping people into groups doesn’t solve anything, and this OP is just as sexist as if the movies outright said they where sexist. By the way, do you know the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe? Not Thor, not Galactus, not even the fucking Beyonder. It’s Squirrel Girl.
And do you want to talk about oppression and violence? My people have been in a blood feud with the Serbians since the 1300s. My people have experienced out children stolen from us by the Turks to oppress our own. My people where brought to genocide in the 1990s. The fucking 1990s. So please, check your privilege. There are a lot of more important causes where people are being harmed and women are being oppressed than in the Marvel Universe. So maybe focus your attention on that.
You’ll note I said, in America. I have no first hand knowledge of problems in other countries, so I wasn’t commenting on that. As a white woman, I have so many more privileges than women in other racial groups. Fuck yes, I have privilege.
I also make 70% less than men do on the dollar. Black women make 60% less. Latina women make 50% less than white men.
My opinions are invalidated because “they are just emotional outbursts,” but if I were any other race, they would matter even less.
White male politicians (granted, mostly Conservative men) are constantly invalidating my sexual rights, my rights to health care and think that as a woman, I should just expect rape and abuse. And these white male politicians are voted into power by white males who agree with them. But no, dude, I totally don’t have problems.
Pointing out sexism or racism does not make someone a racist or a sexist, because the abused are the ones who decide if something is racist or sexist, NOT the abuser. I might not able to justify if something is racist because of this (since I am white), but I can damn well justify if something is sexist. You cannot tell someone they aren’t being offended or having their rights infringed upon because you are not a member of that abused class.
The Marvel example is one of thousands. White men dominate the media. They decide what is right and what is wrong. That is the problem. What adds to the problem are people like you who think just because you don’t feel like you’re limiting the roles of women or minorities, that you aren’t. Well, you are. And specifically in American society, the media shapes how the majority continues to feel about issues and different groups. It was only after the news finally captured graphic video of riots in the South, where the police were beating children in the streets, did white America give a crap about what was happening during the Civil Rights movement. Media Matters. So, yes, movies of any sort are important. Because they, like music, TV, and newspapers, shape what is important. If all people ever see are white male heroes or white powerful people (even villains!), how is any other group in this country supposed to feel empowered if even the people they’re supposed to look up to don’t represent them at all?
What is so damn difficult about making movies or stories about powerful women as the main heroes? Or powerful heroes that are racial minorities? Yes, these are less important questions than solving hunger or crime or genocides, but it is still a crucial (American) problem for our society.
Don’t get me wrong, everything you said is true, and the way some women are treated is completely 100% unfair. Equality and all. But this seems very nitpicky. Production companies, at the end of the day, are companies. They exist to make money. A white male lead in a comic book movie is going to make them the most money. I’m not saying that’s ok. Would I like to see a Squirrel Girl movie? Hell yes! Squirrel Girl is fucking awesome. Not to mention a Black Panther movie would be pretty perfect. But you have to get that the majority of these characters are white men. There are strong female leads (usually played by Angelina Jolie) but they’re just not as common because, on a business aspect, it doesn’t make sense. Is that good? No. But it doesn’t change the fact that movie studios have implemented specific changes just to be more diverse. They straight up just made Nick Fury black. Out of fucking nowhere. And you know what Nick Fury’s job is? Head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Sounds pretty fucking important. And then when he leaves, who takes his place? Oh, right, Maria Hill. S.H.I.E.L.D. sure sounds like an equal opportunity employer to me. If you focus on the negative, yea, I guess you could point out some bad things. But in the end, I’m right, and isn’t that what really matters?
“But in the end, I’m right, and isn’t that what really matters? “ « Was this supposed to be sarcasm??
Yeah, they have awesome supporting characters in the Avengers series that are both female and from minority groups. Yes, those choices were rather spontaneous, and awesomer for it. Yes, you are correct to say it comes down to economics, since the majority of movie goers (from the last statistic I heard) are the white male demographic.
It is not “nitpicky” to complain about these issues. They are real. They are tremendously influential in our country’s media. I suppose the real question is, “Why the heck are white men so afraid or displeased to watch minorities or women in the role of the hero?” Maybe they aren’t. Maybe it’s just the industry thinking they are, and if they changed, no one would really mind it after all.
But I sure can’t change the industry from where I’m standing; minority media producers can’t even change it. The people who run the industry right now have that ability. And yes, they are white males.
We’re not just picking on white men for the hell of it. It’s because they’re the ones who are messing up. Consistently. For the last two thousand+ years. I would be so very pleased to proven wrong the next time a blockbuster film comes out and we’ve got a transsexual black woman kicking ass as the main lead. Or if we’re stuck talking about Marvel/Avengers, a Black Widow movie would be a logical place to start. But until that happens, no, you are not right. This situation is not going away and we have every right to “nitpick” until those in power actually start to care.
Personally I was very disappointed that Rhodey didn’t appear in the Avengers movie, you’d think that Warmachine armour would have been perfect for fighting invading hordes of aliens and that Nick Fury would have someone with equipment like that on speed dial.
I suppose we needed the screen time for knocking norse gods out of frames and pointless fights between super heroes who think they’re still in high school.