Monday, February 4, 2008

Playboy's Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Appears Semi-Nude on Playboy Cover: Millions Riot!

Well the old blogosphere has been roiling furiously because Tiffany Fallon, a model/actress and huge Wonder Woman fan, appeared on Playboy Magazine's February 2008 issue in a Wonder Woman costume made entirely of latex paint. Oh, the horrors! Oh, the shivering fantods! MSNBC online actually got wind of it and covered it ... think of it, a mainstream media organ actually noticing something they didn't get a press release from a big agency about! (DC Comics might have sent out a release, come to think of it.)

One overwrought blogger actually claimed the whole thing was a plot to discredit Hillary Clinton's Presidential bid!

I've written a story on my site with links to the turmoil, illustrations and everything. Click on the pic or click here to find out what the shouting is all about.


The Senator said...

While the cover isn't completely tasteless, I still understand the objections to it.

Comics have always been gender-biased toward males. How often do you see a male comic character in an unnecessarily sexy costume? It's not like the heroines need those stilettos or hot shorts to fight crime. How often do writers use sexual abuse/rape to mobilize male heroes to action? One of my favorite characters, Black Cat, had her character history retconned to include rape as the source of her drive to don a costume and act. It sends not-so-good messages to girls.

This Playboy cover pales in comparison to some of the other things that has come out of the comic industry--the HFH #13 cover stands out in my mind, especially since Playboy isn't supposed to be accessible to minors. I can't speak for all feminists, but I don't mind sexy as long as it's not sexist.

Pat Powers said...

Well, no, comics have not ALWAYS been gender-biased toward males. During the 50s and 60s there was a strongly developed niche of romance comics aimed at teen and preteen girls, which did pretty well for awhile, though never as well as superhero comics. If the comic book industry was run by a cabal of sexist pigs who didn't care at all for female readers, you'd think they would never have attempted such a thing. But they did, because they're really all about the money. And the reason the genre died was also all about the money. If women want comics, maybe they should, I dunno, publish them and buy them like guys do. In any event, Japanese manga are totally eating US comic publishers' lunch as far as the female market for comics go, which I for one am perfectly OK with. If US comic publishers won't or can't publishe titles women find appealing, then someone else should.

Most male superheroes DO wear unnecessarily sexy costumes. There's no reason Flash, Green Lantern, Superman and Spidey couldn't go around in jeans and hoodies, or coduroys and blazers and do their stuff, but no, they slink around in hot spandex outfits that cling to every curve in their bodies (except their genitals, which I for one and perfectly OK with -- I don't wanna see another guy's package).

I agree with you about the rape thing, the whole Women in Refrigerators thing is a point well made. I won't argue this one because I think it is sexism, and indefensible.

I liked the HFH 13 cover. Looked like standard damsel in distress imagery. Everybody called it hentai, but I don't RECALL seeing those tentacles crammed up every last orifice of the women chained up on the cover. THAT would be hentai. I've seen hentai, hell, I like hentai, and that's no hentai, especially because you know damn well that in just a second the HFH gals are gonna bust loose and kick the shit out of a certain tentacle monster, well before they get molested. Whereas in hentai, the heroines always have the good grace to wait unitl AFTER they have been thoroughly molested to kick the shit out of the tentacle monster.

You don't mind sexy as long as it isn't sexist. Well, here's my thought on that topic -- a lot of what feminists find sexist is actually just ordinary male sexuality asserting itself. Straight guys like to look at women in sexy clothing. There is nothing wrong with that. It's OK, it's guys being guys. If comic publishers start listening to feminist comic book critics, they will fuck themselves out of the only market they have left, and go to a well-deserved end.