Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Be Your Own Hero.

Several "news" sources (and yes, I'm using "news" in the loosest sense of the word) recently carried a story about the sexist clothing selection at the online Disney Store. I'm not sure whether this was inspired by, OR was the inspiration for, an online petition called Stop Selling Sexist Avengers T-Shirts @DisneyStore. Women Can Be Heroes Too! that I've seen referenced in posts as well.

Of particular offense was a women's shirt with the slogan "I need a hero" emblazoned with the faces of four Avengers. It is no longer up on the Disneystore.com page, but I did find this equally sexist offering:

This one is still for sale in the boys' department:

Various Avengers shirts are also sold in men's sizes.

There are zero Avengers shirts offered in the Disney Store's girls' section. But Disney is selling 174 Princess themed clothes for girls. Fifteen tops are shown in the women's Princess line. No Disney Princess fashions are offered in the boys' or men's lines. But this oversight isn't seen as alarming or sexist and no one is starting petitions about that.

Don't interpret the above points as my disagreeing with the sentiment behind that petition or the online discussion. I just want to illustrate that a great deal of sexism is permitted to pass unquestioned by popular culture. If we're expected to get upset about Lego's Friends line, shouldn't we be equally upset that Maplelea and American Girl's websites, marketing and toys are deeply rooted in sexism? This is a double standard that makes me uncomfortable.

If Disney and Mighty Fine (producers of the offending shirts) do revamp the Avengers clothing line, they might want to choose their graphic carefully. Because a great many images of female superheroes are inappropriate for children's wear. And adult wear, too. One of the first boards I started when I joined Pinterest was Images of Wonder Woman where she doesn't look like a whore. The criteria I use for adding images is whether or not I'd be comfortable letting my young sons see them. Quite frankly, a lot of Wonder Woman art, photos and products involve inappropriate postures, ridiculous body proportions, minuscule clothing and violent scenarios. This is true of all female superheroes. I've collected some of the more inappropriate images on another Pinterest Board called Superhero or Sex Worker. You might want to make sure your kids or employer are not in the room when/if you click that link.

Also I recommend checking out The Hawkeye Initiative, which "uses Clint Barton as well as other male comic characters to illustrate how contorted and hyper-sexualized women are commonly drawn in comics."


  1. Captain America's buttocks are making me hot.

  2. I love this post so hard. Almost as hard as Captain America's buttocks.

    1. Almost as hard as Captain America's buttocks. -- HAHAHAHA! They are so round. So shiny.

  3. Fabulous post. Those pics of The Avengers have shattered my brain. What freaks me out is how little I noticed a problem with the top pick. Am I that immune to it? GAH.

    1. Same for me! Not until I scrolled down to the second one did I realize that the Black Widow is the only character whose buttocks are on display.

      I wonder Joss Whedon (director of the Avengers film) was aware of this double standard? Whedon is always held up as a shining example of feminism & I love him for saying “Nowadays I’m really cranky about comics. Because most of them are just really, really poorly written soft-core. And I miss good old storytelling. And you know what else I miss? Super powers. Why is it now that everybody’s like “I can reverse the polarity of your ions!” Like in one big flash everybody’s Doctor Strange. I like the guys that can stick to walls and change into sand and stuff. I don’t understand anything anymore. And all the girls are wearing nothing, and they all look like they have implants. Well, I sound like a very old man, and a cranky one, but it’s true.”