Is the way women are drawn in comics a form of body shaming?

I’ve been reading the new 52 Teen Titans, and the design on the female characters seems voyeuristic at best```
despite the team being a group of 15-17 year-olds, I saw a couple of bits o line about the Grammys and potential body-shaming, and since this is a comics community-- brought home the question.

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Hmm…perhaps as a man, I’m not the best person to answer this, but the female body/figure and corresponding costume design has always been questionable at best IMO. I don’t know that I’d consider it to be body shaming personally, but certainly over sexualized. I don’t take a lot of issue with superheroes, who likely spend endless amounts of time working out and training, having insanely buff physiques. I sometimes take issue with the outfit choices tho. Case in point, PowerGirl: one of the strongest female characters in terms of abilities and intelligence, but wears the most ridiculous costume. I’d argue the same for Wonder Woman- if she’s concerned enough to need a shield, why aren’t her arms and legs covered as well? :man_shrugging:t2: There’s my uneducated answer for u I guess…carry on :slightly_smiling_face:

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Absolutely not ! It’s not any different from anything else you see on tv … so much better in comics. I would totally love to swing a giant mallet around and who says I can’t and give the business to guys, gals, other non humanoids! Plus none of them are dumb…I just don’t understand how people became so sensitive to a fantasy world that we can be anything we want to be …it’s a great escape :diamonds::black_joker:


Good grief, get out of here with this stuff.


Comic book girls have always been drawn in outfits that are not… well lets say not practical and are usually of above average attractiveness… at best. This is obviously the result of comics being drawn mostly by men even to this day and the majority of the audience being men, especially now as the majority of comics are written for a teen and adult audience. Has been a point of criticism almost as long as super heroes exist (and I think they have toned it down some compared to the past these days).

I never had a problem with it but can see how some would especially some women. Although when I worked at a comic book store I sold plenty of superhero comics to girls most of which bought stuff like Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Mystique, and Supergirl (I.E. some of the bigger offenders) but sure some women object. Although to be fair not sure how many of them were buying comics to begin with.

I will say though I have had some issue with them drawing what are supposed to be underage girls like that (or even the underage guys in their shirless moments to an extent). I mean I get it isn’t an actual girl, and 16 year old girls do wear bare midrifs, short shorts, short skirs and bikini tops in the real world. But sometimes I think they draw the supposedly underage female superheores a little too sexual, which aside from not really making them look like actual teens does seem in questionable taste at times, especially as Teen Titans and the like arguably do not target teen readers as exclusively as they used to.

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Looks like you’re misusing the term body shaming. If someone’s comfortable with wearing what they want and are proud to show off their bodies, that’s not body shaming. Body shaming is when you tell someone: you’re not allowed to dress like that, you should be ashamed of yourself. Body shamers are the ones questioning if other people are dressed appropriately.


Do you have a particular comic book issue or character that appears to be drawn in a body-shaming frame?

If you don’t want to share, that is also fine. And if so, I suggest looking into the writers of that comic because maybe they are trying to share an opinion that you may not have thought of.

Ummm …really?


I don’t think so at all. With certain age groups creators have to be careful to not over sexualize the characters, but I don’t think that plays into body shaming. I see many different body types represented in comics, from thin to curvy to full figured, and I think that’s great!
But good for you for bringing this conversation up, it’s things like this that can help people take a second look at things to make sure it’s not giving the wrong implication.

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No, I would say if anything it encourages good health and physicality

However, most of you fellow artists know that a comic book body is an unobtainable standard of beauty. Real people are essentially 5 and a half heads long whereas comic book characters have been traditionally drawn at 6 and a half heads long. This is to exaggerate certain features like the waistline, see sample pic.

But as many others have noted, comics book are fantasy and escapism. As so many industry folk know, art sells books. The most effective advertising strategy has been and always will be sex appeal. If you look at the 90s comic book scene, it was full of sexy covers and comic sales were at an all-time high. Look at the industry now, sex appeal is “wrong” and sales are in the tank. #makecomicssexyagain


@sirreal Being a man doesn’t invalidate your thoughts on ANY subject. Nor does being a woman invalidate anyone’s thoughts, either. If I could redo this thread, I might go with a question about oversexualization instead of body shaming. This is how my question came out on that particular morning. The thing about Power Girl’s costume is that all attempts to change it have been met with fan resistance. Her new 52 costume was great. and after a year got replaced by a version of the original.

@HarleenNapier Great name, but no violence, please.

@Jewel-EL I got nuthin’

@DanTheMan1 Yea, this really was more about questioning drawing underage characters like Barbie dolls, but I wound up not wanting to narrow the topic down that far-- going for a more general feel may have been a mistake.

@XNam360 You might have a point. But then again, attempts were made to body shame Gal Gadot when she got cast as Wonder Woman for not looking enough like Wonder Woman as drawn in hundreds and hundreds of comics. If you don’t think Gal Gadot is magnificent in the movie, we might not having anything more to talk about.

@Abfgmsw The first volume of the New 52 Teen Titans books, most especially the redesigns of Wonder Girl and Solstice. And if you feel like expanding your thought on the writers, please do.

@RobertScorpio Maybe

@StarofLyra Thank you for the best response so far, the only one to reply by trying to see more than one side of an ‘argument.’

@Zombedy The 90’s were not an all-time high for overall comic sales, and most of the really big spikes were caused by an oft-mentioned speculator’s boom. In fact, Marvel went bankrupt and DC went from being a separate division of the overall Warner monster-- to being a division of a division-- suddenly owned by Warner Bros. Sexy and exploitative are not the same thing.

It’s all a fantasy. Look how they draw the men they’re jacked like the size of He-Man and Schwarzenegger. Not all men look like that LOL so I don’t see the big deal with doing the same with women they’re just pictures nothing more nothing less

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Clay face = body shaming…heh

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@MisfitHighlander, Gal was certainly a victim of body shaming, especially when she was first cast. But that example doesn’t conflict with what I said, so I don’t see your point in saying “But then again…” regarding what I had said, which was to define what body shaming meant.

No, I wouldn’t think so! I mean yea characters like Wonder Woman and Powergirl show some ahem skin but as a reader their backstories and adventures are WAY more interesting than the cleavage or skin they show.

Oh no violence here…I’m am far from it…the point I was trying to make was it’s all fantasy and I can be anything or do anything I wanna puddin :diamonds::black_joker:

XNam360 -

Bod-y sham-ing “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.”

It’s got nothing to do with how anyone dresses. Shaming people over attire is another monster entirely. However, I do think its why Power Girl, for instance, always winds up in that original costume-- ultimately, many, many fans see her as telling the world she’s gonna wear what she wants, and anyone who doesn’t like it can go jump in the lake-- thus turning a potential negative into something affirming.

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Personally, I am neither tall nor short. But shorter people tell me I am tall as a compliment, and taller people tell me I am short as an insult.

HarleenNapier - Thank goodness!!! Even cartoon mallets hurt!!!

@MisfitHighlander, your own Power Girl example confirms that you can’t separate how you’re dressed from how people are going to judge your body.