Women in Comics Historically, women in comics have portrayed a variety of roles ranging from a helpless woman that needs to be saved by a man to a powerful heroine that protects a man. Women originally played insignificant roles in comic books, they were depicted as dependent on men or as victims of crime who needed to be rescued by a “male” superhero. In the beginning of the comic book age, female character attributes represented the stereotypes that women were inferior or subordinate to men and they belonged in the home as a home maker or source of emotional support. As the role of women in society has evolved, so has the characterization of women in comics, graphic novels, and superhero movies; they are portrayed as strong and powerful.
The feminist movement has allowed women to question these representations. Sexualized and objectified, this is not new, but neither has it ceased to be. Even today, female characters in superhero films are in the minority, but their roles are rarely the main ones. Of course, more and more effort is being made to change this, we are looking for strong, independent women such as Beatrix in Kill Bill or a clearer example in Alien where Ripley, embodied by Sigourney Weaver, became in charge of a spaceship and orders men to fight with her against a pack of monsters. Ripley’s character has not shown any sign of sexual appeal during the trilogy at any moment.
Gender Stereotypes in Comics If you were to ask the average person about their opinion on comic books, surely they would respond that comics are a harmless form of entertainment for adolescents. After examining the depictions of both males and females in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Mighty Avengers, it is apparent that this is not the case. To truly understand how these gender stereotypes affect the adolescents who are subject to them, it is important to examine the gender stereotypes that comics portray, whether they are explicit or implicit, whether they have a positive or negative affect, and if there are any gender stereotypes presented in comics that are counter to the norm. First, it is essential to examine the gender stereotypes being presented to adolescents through comics. In Guardians of the Galaxy, both men and women are extremely sexualized, but the women’s sexualization is more blatant.
Pollitt states, “Difference feminists want to give women credit for these good behaviors by raising them from the level of instinct or passivity- the Camille Paglia vision of femininity- to the level of moral choice and principled decision” (407). Pollitt maybe thinks that logically women only follow difference feminism because it makes them feel good, this shouldn’t be the case. Pollitt may be suggesting that the ideas of difference feminism can be countered by looking at the world. Difference feminists claim that the lives of men and women are distinct. Pollitt logically claims that, “The ultimate paradox of difference feminism is that it has come to the fore at a moment when the lives of the sexes are becoming less distinct than they ever have been in the West” (411).
This demonstrates that multiple women have experienced mistreatment and disrespect by men. To elaborate, this example reveals that women relate to the situation to the extent of it resulting in a murder. The statement “I know how things can be for a women” proves that women have it difficult by their husbands, due to gender stereotypes. This gender stereotype is also discussed in “Philosophical and Political Issues Surrounding Gender.” The main argument of this source is that women are viewed as lesser than men, even though women have accomplished a lot in society. The effects of this gender discrimination is that women are powerless when it comes to many roles in society.
The men in this movie do horrible and traumatizing things. Even though there are two strong women characters in the film, they seem to only react to the conflict and violence around them. The men of the story do not react, they act on the violence; they enlist for the special mission. This kind of action/reaction gender dynamic hints at deeper notions of men and women’s relationships to violence. Men seek out violence, for pleasure or honorable purposes, where as women must be pushed to violence.
This movie shows stereotypical blonde girls, through the eyes of Elle, and this is unhealthy since people in reality also assume these characteristics to be true of every blonde girl they see. People fail to see individuality because of these stereotypes. After all, no matter what happens, people will always assume blonde girl to be dumb. Another example of stereotypes perpetuated through the movie is how the men in the movie “Legally Blonde” are portrayed as stereotypical males. In fact, there is one scene in the movie where the admission counselors of Harvard, accept Elle through her video application mostly because of her looks.
Heroic Archetypes and Gender Bias in Visual Media By Lisa Mulligan CDG1 Abstract - Visual media such as video games have developed so much over the last twenty years. Games have become a popular media with all types of people throughout the world. This media affects many different people of all ages, religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and especially gender. Gender bias is a huge issue within the games media. Issues such as stereotypes, objectification, overly sexualised characters mostly female and poor representation of female characters for example ‘damsel in distress’.
Currently, more women attend college than men, are just as qualified to work the same jobs as men and can perform the same tasks any man can. Yet, the stereotype still cues how women are raised, how women’s roles within a family are framed, how women are viewed at the workplace, how much women get paid and how women are treated in general. Although the stereotype still carries derogatory effects, we continue to see it frequently displayed or discussed within the media through television shows and movies. Television shows such as Modern Family and The Newsroom, represent their women characters as less than the men. In the movie, Mean Girls, the women characters are represented as being less indulged in their education.
The female characters are objectified and aim to validate their sexual activities in an attempt to remain pure women. Despite the standings of the women in society and in Old Town, the women characters are repeatedly rescued by the male characters. The heroes in all the stories can be seen as a quintessential American hero. Even