Skepchick Quickies 6.9

  • Gender selection in a world of too many men – “In China and India, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Vietnam and more, pregnancies that would make girl babies are being aborted. Young boys are sharply, unnaturally, outnumbering girls.” If you don’t have time to listen to the program (though you should make time, it’s excellent) at least check out the posted book excerpt.
  • Community forced to “quota hire” now happily maintains a gender equal writing staff – Dan Harmon was angry when NBC told him that half his writing staff should be women. Now he intends to maintain the quota because it’s “a common sense thing.”
  • Dear fellow white ladies – “Anti-racism must become a key tenet in feminism. We need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
  • Dressed to kill: Mister America – “This costume looks ridiculous on Mister America, not because he’s a man in women’s clothes, but because these clothes are ridiculous for a superhero to wear. I said it before, but it’s worth repeating, high heels and thongs are no more natural to women than they are to men.”


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Totally agree on the superhero costume thing. Though the illustration leads me to believe that Freddie Mercury would have made an awesome superhero.

    1. Incidentally, I’m apparently far too inept to figure out how to respond on tumblr, but if Megan is reading this she should draw a male superhero posing in Power Girl’s costume next.

  2. Inspired by this, I decided to try and create a “realistic”, practical-looking female superhero.

    I call her Practical-Girl.

    I didn’t have time to ink or colour so it’s just a rough sketch. (Maybe I’ll find the time to ink and colour her during the weekend)

      1. Of course not! The Punisher has a skull symbol and you wouldn’t call him a baddie, would you? Well, OK, if you’re anything like me, you probably would. But as far as Marvel’s concerned, he’s a goodie and PG isn’t even carrying a gun or a knife or anything, just a stout stick, so I reckon she’s a goodie.

        On the other hand, she’s a woman without enormous boobs and wearing eminently practical footwear*, so that might well make her a baddie. I’ll throw some primary colours on her – that should make it clear.

        * Based loosely on the Converse Women’s Safety Stealth SWAT Boot. I had a pair of men’s and they were awesome but 5 years of wear did them in. I’ll need to get me a new pair.

  3. Am I the only one who was floored by the phrase “in the reality of the comics world”?
    I know the point is elsewhere in that article but these words jumped out at me and tried to choke me with the coffee I was drinking.
    One part of me wants to say “yeah, sexualized superheroes are perpetuating the stereoty,,,”, but the part of me that keeps screaming “NON OF IT’S REAL!!” is really distracting.

  4. Why not have both men and women in skin fitting catsuits? Still practical and both sexes end up being eye candy ;)

    The article about white women in feminism has some valid points, but also some rather surprising biases, which more than anything I think indicates need for change in the US. There is a paragraph along the lines of “middle-class white women” pushing forward the movement and ignoring “poor women, women of color, queer women, trans women, disabled women”. I don’t know how class is defined in the US, is it financial or more about the roles we have in society? As a bisexual, white middle class female with mild disabilities and having cared for a grandmother with spina bifida who comes from a poor working class background, I actually do not recognise the women being spoken about. Middle-class and white does not preclude any of the other descriptors (except women of colour), nor do any of the other descriptors (with the same exception) in that sentance bear any relation to race. The fact that the author thinks it does is more indicative of a lack of understanding from the author than anything else.

  5. Men do wear skintight catsuits in comics.

    Wonder Man: http://thatgayagendaband.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/wonderman.jpg

    Collosus: http://www.uncannyxmen.net/images/spotlight/colossus00.jpg

    Northstar: http://thetorchonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/northstar.jpg

    Hell, the Silver Surfer has nothing but a modesty surfboard: http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs31/f/2008/191/5/c/Silver_Surfer_by_artofneff.jpg

    I’m certainly not arguing women in comic books aren’t highly sexualized, and that this is far more pronounced than with the male characters… you’d have few female characters who are quite as fugly as Strong Guy, after all: http://www.adherents.com/lit/comics/img/s/StrongGuy.jpg However, it’s not like the men are all wearing blousy pantaloons and burquas.

    1. I’m reminded of the end of the Bloom County comic strip, when all the characters where looking for new jobs.

      Steve Dallas, the conservative jerk, applied at a superhero comic. Well he was talking to the artist, the secretary brought in coffee, dressed in the typical skintight superheroine outfit. The artist says: “I just drew her this morning. You know, none of us dated much in high school…”

    2. The men usually wear suits that, while not necessarily sensible crime-fighting wear, don’t go anywhere near as far as the women’s outfits in sacrificing utility for sexiness. Pumps, Barbie-hair and bared midriffs are close to being ubiquitous among the lady heroes. Although the long flowing capes seem more popular among the dudes.
      Practical Girl’s outfit is certainly well better suited for crime-fighting than what most superheroes of either gender wear.
      And while the guys have characters like The Thing and The Hulk, I can’t think of even one lady hero who couldn’t plausibly be on the cover of superhero world’s FHM.

  6. The “Read or Die” and “R.O.D. the TV” anime and related “Read or Die” and “Read or Dream” manga have sensibly dressed superheroines (mostly). The central heroines are bibliophiles and ‘paper masters’ – having mystical powers over paper. (And the British Library has a supersecret supertech submarine and teams of superagents to save the world.)

    For example, here are the three R.O.D. the TV heroines in costume: http://www.madman.com.au/wallpapers/read_or_die_02_1024.jpg
    The costumes are actually paper, maintained by their powers, so occasionally their powers get neutralized and we see that underneath they wear full body swimsuits – still sensible and unrevealing.

    There is one notable exception – Nancy a.k.a. Miss Deep has the standard skin-tight extreme cleavage outfit.

    It may mean something that I had to go to Japanese characters to find an exception. Note (for those of you unfamiliar with anime/manga) that the Japanese are very definitely NOT averse to showing scantly (or un) clad cartoon characters, so it is not a simple case of a culture of modesty.

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