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When Fangirls Attack is brilliant for lazy people like me who have no desire to scour the internet finding things to rant about. Wait, no I do more than that. Really. Ok, not in this entry. This entry I'm definitely ranting. It's not entirely new, and many others have said similar things, but ranting helps me feel a little better. :P

I've read several entries, some posted on WFGA, some elsewhere asking why is it such a big deal that women are dressed so poorly so often in comics. Some could chalk it up to clueless and privileged men who "just don't get it". That's not entirely true, there are many women who are saying the same things. I'm not going to link to them directly because they're just a few I've read in a myriad of blog entries that have a similar ring to them. WFGA usually has one or two a day at least.

The most tired excuse is "comics (often superhero comics) are made for males". The Big Two may be pretty sexist on a lot of things, but it's pretty clear they're not just aiming for males. They may be aiming mostly at the guys, but they do some things they think will appeal to the female audience, even if it is half-assed. Even if they didn't at least try, it's still an idiotic excuse. Why can't we have our heroes too? Why can't we have a hero that can take a nuclear blast and come out pissed or an everywoman with great power and great responsibility? Why shouldn't we want those characters to dress in a similar fashion that we do? Why do we often have to suck it up and take a mini-skirt and heels, or anti-gravity boobs, or a Princess Peach mentality? Why are so many of the good female heroes killed off, raped, or otherwise brutalized? If not for anything other than profit of writing good, accessible characters for female comic readers of any age. Why tap into less than half of the market? Or more on a social ground, why exclude women? This is 2006 for the love of various deities! It's the 21st century and we're still horrifyingly patriarchal in so many ways, some of the worst in a very influential medium (comics for those who aren't with me).

The second is "what's wrong with more revealing clothing?" In and of itself? Nothing. I wear revealing clothing, especially in summer. I like to. I don't do it all the time though, and I certainly wouldn't if I knew there'd be a good chance I'd be getting in a fight with someone. I certainly wouldn't if I could fly. And heels? In battle? You've got women from stories taking place in fantasy times with armor and swords wearing heels to even future times strapping on those stilettos before bashing some baddie through a building. Again, I wear high heeled shoes and boots, but they're for show, not for function. They also often hurt like hell after on a short time. I wouldn't choose to fight off hordes of orcs in them, that's for damn sure. Would there be some women who would? Yeah, probably; I don't pretend to speak for all 3 billion of us. However, it's very unlikely to happen in the sheer amount that it does in comics.

The third is "it's not real, it doesn't matter." Of course it's not real, but that doesn't mean it doesn't matter. Stories have massive impacts on society. How many people in the Western World don't know who Clark Kent is? Or Peter Parker? Not many. Comics are very influential, even if just on a very small level. They have significant impact on the people who read them, and those that read them often do go on to lead productive and even influential lives themselves. Comics are one of many mediums in our time that has social importance and influence on the public at large. It does very much matter.

Do comics cause men to rape, victimize or generally treat women poorly? No, that's unlikely too, at least for the most part. Objectifying women in comics doesn't help though, it's one more layer added on from yet another source of media. Look at most sources of entertainment, from books, to magazines, television to movies. Women are often objectified, using that to sell a product. Often in tandem the women are given weaker parts, stashing them into one particular type. The cold bitch, the idiot blonde, the geeky nerd girl. It doesn't always happen, fortunately, but it does happen too often; especially at movies that are more aimed at the male audience.

Some say "men are just as objectified as women." That's pure drivel. Are men made to be sexual objects? Yes, obviously. Are they made to be as much as women? Most definitely not. Why does this anger the Elf girl? Because it's happened throughout history. In many societies and cultures, women were (and sometimes still are) considered second class citizens, or not even citizens at all. Women were often married off, sold or bartered for land, prestige or power. In wars, women were raped as a form of psychological warfare, they still are. There is a prevalent culture from ancient times of objectifying women. Why do you think it took until the early 20th century before women were allowed to vote? Why do you think women still get paid less for doing the same job as men? The same reason women are still objectified in all forms of media, including comic media. Women are still very much objects in the eyes of many men; or at the very least, foreign ideas and things that are too strange and outworldly for men to understand. There are many men who don't, and I'm not lumping all men into one category here. I have plenty of guy friends who do "get it". But there are still so many who don't, and it's not just men, there are women too who "don't get it". Who don't see this as a real problem.

Am I saying women in comics should all dress with every inch of skin covered? To remain non-sexual? Hell no. What I am saying is it needs to be equalized, more consideration not just for female readers, but for everyone. Let us have those women who are heroes, who receive equal consideration in everything, practical costumes/uniforms/clothes, in dialogue, in variety of personalities, in their lives. Let us stop having so many dressed impractically for battle, so many objectified in costume and in physique, and so many removed through silly story lines, brutal killings, or horrific victimization. Let us have equality in how we're portrayed.