In today’s society, women on a daily basis are faced with obstacles that are in result of skewed gender stereotypes and ideologies that were developed throughout the world’s history. In several facets of society, gender inequalities specifically derived from gender stereotypes exists as one of these obstacles. In the case current, gender inequality based off of faulty stereotypes has been recognized and is gaining rapid attention in and around COMIC BOOKS. Why this may not seem like a concerning matter, but after witnessing the conversation on this issue, what certain people have to say is quite eye-opening. In two particular articles, the conversation shared insight of two unequal situations surrounding comic books. In article The Female Thor and The Female Comic-Book Reader by Noah Berlatsky, he argues that the gender stereotype that women do not read comic books simply isn’t true, and the representation percentages are quite inaccurate. Another article called She Has No Head – Revisiting ‘No It’s Not Equal’, author and blogger Kelly Thompson wrote the article as a rebuttal to comments she received after writing a blog about the unequal representation of females in comic books. Thompson went on to thoroughly explain why female superheroes are in fact unequally portrayed compared to male superheroes in comic books by popular companies DC and Marvel.
Overall, in the article written by Noah Berlatsky, his main argument was a contradiction to the stereotype that women do not read comic books. Berlatsky decided to write the article after he overheard someone saying quote on quote “Girls don’t read comics, there’s something in how their brains are wired that just doesn’t respond to the way comic books work” (Berlatsky, 2014). Berlatsky was astonished by the fact that “there still exists sexism in the comic book world given the way the internet has given voice to many female fans of the genre” (Berlatksy, 2014). Berlatsky then went on to explain how the evolution of comic books has evolved to seemingly be male dominated based off of surveys done by several opposing outlets. Amongst the opposing surveys, Berlatsky found stated that an estimated 90-95% of comic book readers were male leaving the last 5-10% to be women. Berlatsky responded by pointing out that not all comics are superhero comics — which are generally more popular amongst the male audience anyways. However, this emphasis opened a new window that insisted that the percentages were in fact inaccurate. Through surveys and a known comic book expert James Nurss, Berlatsky discovered new numbers that contradicted the 90-95% male percentages. With his findings, he concluded that an actual 30-45% of women read comic books in contradiction to the 5-10% that was stated by previous surveys.
In another argument involving the unequal representation of women, author and blogger Kelly Thompson in She Has No Head – Revisiting ‘No Its Not Equal’ goes into intense detail about how in fact women’s appearance is unequally portrayed in comics. She states that women in superhero comics are regularly dipicted as “sexy objects” more than what they are actually supposed to look like; superheros. Many arguments against it suggest that men and women are both subjected to things like unrealistic bodies and tight clothing in comics, therefore the depiction is even. However, to go into even more detail of why this is not true, Thompson broke down the judgment of appearance into 4 categories when viewing superhero comics: body type, clothing, beauty, and posing. In all four categories, she says that men are generally drawn with a more muscular and athletic type of bodies, clothing, looks, and poses that all represent qualities like power, boldness, and authority. Meanwhile, in all four categories, women are idealized with porn star and supermodel type bodies, clothing, beauty, and poses representing substantially less superhero like qualities like submissiveness and sex appeal.
In final analysis, women in the world’s society are held to many appearance standards that are unequal and entirely unrealistic and unattainable because of media such as comic books that falsely depict them. Women are held to this stereotype that if they do not look a certain way (the way that women are shown in comic books or other media) then they are not beautiful. In result, this creates a inequality amongst men and women in that is almost exact to what Thompson argues in her article. Men are allowed to be athletic, bold, ugly, powerful, and basically anything else thought of; they are held to lose standards. Meanwhile, women are stereotypically only supposed to be pretty, have sexually appealing bodies, and be submissive in nature which clearly shows an imbalance in equality of appearance and status. Not only is this inequality seen in status and appearance stereotypes between men and women, but also in representation. In Berlatsky’s article he pointed out the flawed and inaccurate ratio of men to women as comic book readers. The percentages that were stated before Berlatsky did his research showed an inequality in women representation as comic book readers. This only helped to fuel the stereotype. However, in the end, the representations were shown to not be accurate in the first place. The future of women’s equality rests in the hands of the younger generation. The fact that it can also be seen in something as simple as comic books shows that just like every other major societal issue, it will never cease anytime soon but can only be improved. Everyone should listen to the cries of the people around and strive to get rid of the stereotype of gender inequality and all inequality in the world’s society.