Writers, artists, editors, everyone taking part in the creative process - DON’T DO THIS. If you see a colleague doing it, stop them.
Above are two pages from DC Comics’ new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1. I don’t know whose decision it was to have Teela, Warrior Goddess that she is, strip down in front of her comrades for absolutely no reason and then get stuck under a cabinet, needing rescue from the men in the scene, but it needs to stop.
I’m not blaming anyone, I just want to make people aware this is a thing that happens, and a thing that happens often, in comics. I actually gave this book to my boyfriend (who doesn’t read comics) because he’s a big He-Man/She-Ra fan, like myself. His exact word were, “Yeah, I was wondering why she did that. It makes no sense.”
Well, it makes sense if you follow superhero comics.
I can’t be sure why it happened but I can wager a good guess. People are still trying to sell superhero comics specifically to heterosexual males (even though they’ve got a pretty solid hold on that demographic already) and they think this is what they need in order to make the purchase. But if you ask a heterosexual man, he’ll likely say he doesn’t need the women in his comics to be sexually arousing, in fact, most of the time it makes him uncomfortable. He’s an adult, you see, and he doesn’t use his comics to masturbate. You know what he wants? Good stories. Which is a coincidence, because that’s what women want, too.
"But He-Man walks around half-naked," you say. That’s true, he does. But he’s not illustrated that way to be appealing to the straight, female gaze, he’s illustrated that way to show how powerful he is, just like all the other male superheroes. But you wouldn’t see Duncan doing what Teela did in this scene. Not ever.
I say all the time, you don’t have to write comics FOR women, you just need to write comics that don’t actively OFFEND them. Ones that don’t scream, “you’re not welcome here.” Us ladies grew up with He-Man and She-Ra just like the fellas, why wouldn’t we want to read comics about them? Well, this scene is one big reason why we wouldn’t.
It’s also why I won’t be reading any more of this series. Yes, second chances and all that, but there comes a point where you have to put your foot down and say, “I will not give you money to offend me.”