Found via the V, the website Superheroines Demise which is totally, completely and utterly NOT SAFE FOR WORK.
We had downloaded a few photos with the intent to post with really bad parts blanked out, but they are all so yucky that we decided not to. Let’s just say that people who were incensed by the Playboy cover are going to completely Hulk out — if not die of an aneurysm right on the spot.
This site and its ilk have surely been discussed in the blogosphere before. It will come as a surprise to no one that there are websites that specialize in sexual fantasies involving superhero characters — in this case, specifically, superheroines being dominated, and beaten up, their clothes ripped off, etc etc. Or as one caption puts it:
— 36 intense photos of Golden Angel writhing in agony. This nasty terrorist zaps her to incapacitate her. Lying on the cement, bloodied and bruised, he removes part of her uniform! This story gets pretty wild. Enjoy.
We’ll set aside for a moment the question of whether seeing women “bloodied and bruised” is sick as fuck or not. No, what’s really interesting about this site is how similar so much of the imagery is to actual comic books.
Valerie has been following the current New Avengers storyline in which Tigra is repeatedly brutalized and humiliated. Writer Brian Bendis hints that it’s just so she can make a triumphant comeback against her oppressor. That’s certainly a valid storyline taken on its own merits. The question is how much the artwork resembles Superheroines Demise. Because if it looks like that, there may be some kind of ulterior motive.
See, what amuses us the most about all the various controversies about stuff like the Heroes for Hire cover is when people claim not to see what the sexual element of the art is. I recommend a spin through Superheroine’s Demise so they can acquaint themselves of what sexualized brutality against women in spandex looks like.
And to give equal time, it’s not just the ladies who are the targets, as this letter to Dan Savage shows:
I’m a 42-year-old gay man with a superhero fetish. Like a lot of fetishists my age, I assumed I was alone until the Internet came along. I’ve since met several times with like-minded guys for costumed roughhousing and bondage. The first time I did it, it was incredibly hot, but since then, it’s felt like something’s missing. Even when they’re sexy and friendly, it just feels lacking somehow. At times, I even feel a bit ridiculous. (Given that I’m a white-collar professional pretending to be a Lycra-suited crime-fighter, I’m sure it’s not much of a stretch to see why I feel silly.) So my question is this: Am I just being too uptight, or are there some fantasies that are better left to the imagination?
Savage responds with the frank pragmatism he’s known for.
Some fantasies are better left to the imagination, PTB, but yours hardly strikes me as one of them. A superhero/bondage fetish—always a combo platter, thanks to the frequency with which Lycra-clad superheroes are bound and gagged—is charming and harmless compared to some other fetishes. But if acting on your fantasies isn’t working for you, PTB, if indulging makes you feel bad, well, then don’t indulge.
So next time you claim your interest in superheroes is completely innocent and devoid of fetishistic aspects, well…you’re going to have to PROVE it! Illo above from the Savage column by Misako Takashima.