Wonder Girl’s Head-sized Breasts Illustrate the Sexism Problem in Comics

by Rachel Baker on May 3, 2014

I hated comics when I was a kid, come to find out, it was because the smell of the ink really made my head hurt…I know, weird. Over the last few years, though, I’ve really begun enjoying them – of course, its because I read them digitally, so my head doesn’t hurt from the smell of the ink.

So, today being Free Comic Book Day, I thought I should put up a post about it. To find the nearest comic book store, you can use this awesome site that will show you book stores based on your zip code.

While looking for a post, I ran across this one. I think its important to contemplate the sexism challenges in comics, magazines, music videos, etc., etc., etc.

Read the article. Take from it what you will.

It’s Free Comic Book Day today – the North American comic book industry’s annual push to bring in more readers by distributing popular all-ages comics for free through thousands of retailers. Unfortunately, while comics may be for everyone, the culture around them has a lot of growing up left to do.

Last month, journalist Janelle Asselin penned a scathing and thorough critique of a Teen Titans cover for the widely-read industry website, Comic Book Resources. The resulting backlash escalated quickly from ordinary disagreement to ad feminem attacks on her professional experience, various sexual epithets and, ultimately, rape threats embedded anonymously into the fields of a survey she’s conducting on sexual harassment in the comics industry.

Sadly, none of this surprised me. I can’t say for sure that every woman working in comics has faced some form of sexism or sexual harassment. But I’ve certainly had my share, despite being openly gay and therefore not suspected of sleeping my way up the ladder – a common assumption and laughably uncommon occurrence. That included textbook incidents like the drunk superior at an offsite office party who locked his arm around my shoulders, trying to pull me towards him for a kiss (“If you don’t take that off me right now,” I said, “I’ll break it.”), and subtler slights, like “girl ghetto” assignments and all sorts of presumptions that I lacked comics knowledge, although I’ve read, edited, written and drawn them for years.

It isn’t hard to make the connection between Wonder Girl’s head-sized breasts on that cover and a publishing sector that’s still got a chronic problem with women. Entire websites have been devoted to comics’ lopsided use of sex and ultraviolence against female characters; marketing ideas are still more often aimed at humiliating them than, say, marrying them to each other. Two weeks after the Wonder Girl cover release, Dynamite Entertainment distributed warning-free preview pages of a Game of Thrones comic adaptation featuring a graphic rape scene, and all-access comics websites everywhere, including Comic Book Resources, ran them.


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