Which brings us to the question that inspired this piece — so f#$@ing what?! Do clothes make the hero? And the answer, honestly, is a resounding, ‘eh.’

Which is not to say a costume is irrelevant. There is the oft heard question, “Why would you fight crime in a bathing suit?” That question, by the way, is totally fair. On one hand, if you are an nearly indestructible Kryptonian, you could fight in your birthday suit and not have to worry about getting skinned alive if thrown into a building or bounced through the street. And hey, the less under your secret identity day clothes the more comfortable, right?

On the other hand, even Superman wears tights, so why can’t the women? The swimwear approach to costuming after all is routinely mocked, be the hero female or male. Just look at Aquaman and Robin. One suspects that they are mocked for the swimwear of justice because that kind of costuming is perceived as something only a super heroine should wear. Because female heroes are drawn with bare limbs and scantier uniforms not because they don’t need the physical protection but because it’s sexy.

Ah, male gaze. My old frenemy.

So that’s the solution, right? Just slap some dockers on them ladies and everything’s equal in female and male depictions, right?

Well, not really, no. Putting a female hero in pants does not mean she is somehow protected from an artist positioning her primarily for the male gaze. For example, Marvel Comics recently began a new ongoing called Fearless Defenders which stars Valkyrie and Misty Knight. Both of these characters wear pants and, yet, I lost count by about page five of how many times Misty’s ass took center stage in any given panel. Basically, where there’s a male gaze will, there’s a male gaze way — pants or no pants, tights or bared legs.

To Pants or Not to Pants – The Superhero Uniform and its Discontents – Dan Roth (via bikiniarmorbattledamage)

While chezapocalypse site remains on a prolonged hiatus due to maintenance, so the article can not be read in its entirety*, this excerpt still encapsulates well the subtle complexities behind fixing female superhero costumes, the issue we touched upon earlier this week.

Props to the author, Dan Roth (@pointlessarguments101​) for writing this!


*fear not, dear readers, Wayback Machine to the rescue!