Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Women Should Not Wear Clothes

One of the major ongoing controversies in comics is the drawing of women. Apparently some people have a problem with how women are drawn, and I think we need to explore why women are sometimes drawn the way they are drawn; it's easy to slap something down based on our perspectives, but that's ignoring the reasoning of the illustrator in the first place, and sometimes there are some good reasons for that. So here are some of the reasons illustrators do what they do.

10) It's just easier to draw a women with minimal clothes.
Given the choice between a muscle structure and clothing folds, most illustrators would prefer the muscles. An arm can defined with a few simple lines, and an entire body can be done in a relative few lines compared to clothing details. For an artist under a tight deadline, the simpler solution is usually best, especially when it saves a lot of time.

9) There's a certain mythic quality to nudity.
Comic books are about legendary characters, and you can't go more legendary than character designs based on the ancient myths. The problem is that they didn't apparently wear a lot of clothes back then, at least not when they were active. If you were attending a party or lounging around the toga worked, but not so much in the arena or at the gym. If it worked all the way to the Renaissance, it should be good enough now.

8) It is more functional.
Obviously putting a woman in heels for battle is a bad idea, and Spandex can have its own problems. However, for a character with martial arts who wants to use them a minimal costume works far better than even comfortable clothes. In fact, loose clothes can be a combat liability when fighting someone with large piercing weapons; the clothes can be used to pin the character down. Also, it can slow a character down; just ask Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse) about running through a bramble some time about those huge flaps of fabric.

7) Victorian dress is bad.
It may look pretty, but for a character involved in any kind of physical exercise all of that extra weight and encumberance can give the bad guy a serious advantage and add to the character's liabilities. Heat exhaustion also becomes an issue. Yeah, this is more addressed to those that re-design costumes with a Vctorian concept, but I feel it had to be addressed.

6) It's not the Victorian era.
Sorry; one of my major issues are people that complain about how Puritan Americans are, but the second an American draws a woman in anything that isn't straight from the Victorian era people complain. These are people that would die from culture shock if they ever stepped foot in Europe. You are the reason that we are laughingstocks in Europe. Get over yourselves.

5) If it's good for the gander, why not the goose?
It never fails to amuse me that you can have men running around in loincloths, but the second a woman shows up in a bikini feminists scream "SEXIST!" It's like the illustrator drew nothing but naked men so that he could get in that one naked woman. I like my Conan the Barbarian, and part of that means Red Sonja. I know it's a simple argument, but if skimpy clothes work on the men, they should work on the women as well. It's a consistency issue; if the men are wearing comfortable clothes, why should the women be restricted to clothes that may be comfortable but are pure bulk? Wouldn't that take her competitive edge? I guess you can dress for the occasion or win, but not both.

4) Sometimes you just want a sexy woman.
Okay, I've said it I just find it sort of weird that sexual liberation is part of the feminist movement, and I think it would be hard to argue that the Sexual Revolution was overall a bad thing as it was a major assist in some areas of the Civil Rights movement as a whole, but any expression of sexuality is considered bad BY FEMINISTS. Who started the whole sexual revolution in the first place. Seriously confusing when you think about it.

3) And what about the other kind of fun?
Sometimes you just want to parody the whole situation, and that means using a sexy woman who has been exaggerated. It's sort of sad that Power Girl (she of the boob window) is used as an example of the problem of how women are dressed in comics, and she's a satire of some of comic' issue. Someone aparently needs to get a sense of humor.

2) What about current fashions?
This sort of goes both ways, but I'm looking specifically at the tightness of current fashions. A lot of women wear tight clothes both on the street and in social situations, and that's ignoring the sheer number of bikinis on the beaches and near the pools. I just find it interesting that people want more realistic art in comics but hold illustrators to a Puritanical standard of dress that obviously doesn't exist in real life.

1) And don't get me started on the limited opportunities for women in comics.
Man in a shower? No problem. Locker room scene of guys after exercise? Cool. Adolescents changing into fighting uniforms? See it everyday. Guy in bed in nothing but boxers? That's natural. But the second you show a woman hanging around in a loose tank top and shorts, no matter how hot the weather is, and it's obviously an unrealistic portrayal of any woman ever.

Obviously I'm a pervert, but I don't think women should be limited to loose bulky clothing. But I can live with that....


Caleb Child said...

In response to number 55555555, you have to bear in mind that the men who are drawn overly-muscled and in revealing attire is actually not a depiction of sexiness, but of a male power-fantasy. Believe it or not, it is still an image that appeals more toward men than it does to women.

And honestly, most women are not attracted to men as muscled-out as we see in comics, just the same as when a woman is drawn with gargantuan breasts, heterosexual males don't *actually* find that appealing. It is taken to too far of an extreme.

Finbar Reilly said...

Definitely. Most women prefer a sleeker man. However, #5 had nothing to do sexual preference, merely making the point that if all the warrior men are in loincloths, then so should the warrior women. It's more of a design consideration; characters in the same function should have roughly the same look.