I know that for many the controversial reboot of Starfire and Catwoman is old news. So why wait so long to post a blog about it? Well, I feel that there is still a lot to say. Instead of writing a lengthy rant about how these rebooted characters are offensive, I am going to make a list of what is offensive and briefly explain why I- as a woman who reads comics and as an artist who likes to draw sexy women- am offended by these reboots.
1. “Men with tits”
Perhaps my biggest problem with comics in general is the fact that the female characters aren’t women. They don’t talk act, or sometimes even look like women (unless they are all related to Ice-T’s wife, Coco). Instead, they are just pantomiming how men think women act. I mean, what is with that dialog? Starfire is like an emotionless blow-up doll. (Oh and I am not slut-shaming. Because she isn’t a real slut. She doesn’t act like a real slut.)
2. Sexually liberated
If we really cared that these characters were sexually liberated, we’d care more about what they want- not about what our viewer wants to see. Starfire, for example, walks around posing, flipping back her wet hair, and contorting her body whilst staring at the reader. Obviously women who are sexually liberated at the beach walk around doing these things. A sexually confident woman apparently isn’t seductive either. “Wanna bang?” “Uh-Sure.” “Cool.”
Catwoman, on the other hand, is more liberated and has a personality.
3. The Rape Defense
I have seen a lot of people defending Starfire’s new behavior by saying that ‘since she was raped- she’s just trying to reclaim her sexuality’. And what about that is appealing? Isn’t that just really sad? Looking at the comic now, remembering that she is a victim of rape and her ridiculous poses are her trying to make sense of her body and her sense of self-worth, how is that represented by dripping-wet sexiness? If this was really the intent of the authors/artists to portray the tortured struggle a woman endures after being raped, then Starfire wouldn’t be acting this way.
4. I Tapped That
“She’s with you?” “With us, yeah. But she’s been with me.” (“Dude! Niiiice! You gotta hook me up.” “I’ll see what I can do. These Tamarainians, man, I tell ya…”) Once again if this was about Starfire, she’d be the one feeling sexually confident about her prowess.
I thought that this reboot was DC’s overly-hasty attempt to draw in new readership after “Batgirl” at San Diego Comic Con put them to shame. How is this drawing new readership? I think that comic book artist Eric Canete illustrated this point perfectly with this strip:
6. Catwoman in ‘Arkam City’
I think that the portrayal of Catwoman in these comics isn’t helped by how she is portrayed in the video game ‘Arkam City’. They didn’t make her any more sexual than usual (but they did sex-up Harley. What kind of gymnast is built like that?), but they called her a ‘bitch’- constantly. The only saving grace this has is that you are Batman and you beat the shit out of these people. But calling women ‘bitches’ is something that is in general becoming more and more prevalent in our culture. And it sucks.
Like I said at the beginning, I am an artist who thinks that super attractive women and erotic art are acceptable. However, I still want these women to actually be women- especially because this was DC’s answer to “where are the women. Apparently they are in the bedroom getting fucked. And as far as their costumes go, at least Catwoman’s is somewhat practical. It could have been a lot worse (think Catwoman film). Starfire, however… It just doesn’t seem practical to go into battle wearing nothing. If it were, why can’t men in comics wear sexier clothes?
Hey, DC. Want female readership? Sexy. Naked. Scantily clad. MEN. Or female characters with depth. Whatever you’re comfortable with.
– Bat Cat