At Fourth Letter, Esther Inglis-Arkell becomes enraged by female comics characters who stand around and explain why they wear skimpy costumes.
And I heard the justification about how Canary’s outfit was in tribute to her mother, even when that means she’s in panties and a jacket in the First Wave books. And I’ve heard the one about Poison Ivy being a plant and therefore unconcerned about human modesty. Oh, and I’ve heard the one about Supergirl being invulnerable and therefore not needing pants. There are a few about how Huntress wanted to show off the fact that she was shot, and she lived, and that’s why she fought in a bikini. And then there’s the one about Batman and Superman . . . oh. Wait. There aren’t that many excuses for how Batman and Superman dress because, golly, for some reason, the male heroes in this mostly male-controlled medium put their fucking clothes on when they’re going to fight someone.
UPDATE: J. Caleb Mozzocco also covers this:
I can’t disagree with anything she said in her post; she’s dead-on right. If I had anything to add, it would be that the writer’s doing the justification of the costumes almost never have any real control over those costumes, and probably think they’re doing something valuable by finding a reason for explaining a costuming choice that sounds better than “Some guy 20-65 years ago though this was totally hot, and wondered if his editors would let him get away with it.” (That doesn’t make it any less irritating though, especially for a character like Power Girl, who is given explanation after explanation for her cleavage window. The first one of these speeches you read is never as annoying as the second, third or fifth).
We wouldn’t be brining this up so soon after our Brokeback posting series except that, as jaded as we were, even The Beat was dazed by the speed with which the “But men are sexualized too!’ and the other bingo card justifications came out.
Jesus, people, can’t you imagine for one minute that your own viewpoint is not the only one on Earth? AND what is wrong with calling cheesecake cheesecake? Plus, do you really know what sexualized men look like? If you think THIS is sexual, just go and google “French Rugby Team.” (Link NSFW.) Heck, Gay porn even has its own version of the Brokeback pose, although showing a surprising lack of flexibility. (Also NSFW)
To be fair, we suppose that there are times when a state of unclothedness is not merely used as titillation. Take, for example, the Greek water polo team.
Nothing sexy there! Or suggestive.
Just people doing their job! We salute the Greek water polo team!
The Greek water polo team!
The Greek–say, why are they wearing helmets, anyway?