DC Comics, the fine people who brought you the good “Batman” movies, the awful “Batman” movies, the kind of good “Superman” movie, and that dogshit “Green Lantern” movie, which barely features Ryan Reynolds shirtless, apologized last week after selling a couple of highly offensive shirts that were widely deemed as sexist.
One of the two shirts in question features Superman making out with Wonder Woman with the caption, “Score! Superman does it again.” The other, more notably, is a shirt that simply reads, “Training to be Batman’s Wife,” in pink letters with the Batman symbol on it (shown above).
Yikes. DC Comics admitted to its fuck up in a statement to The Huffington Post:
“DC Comics is home to many of the greatest male and female Super Heroes in the world. All our fans are incredibly important to us, and we understand that the messages on certain T-shirts are offensive. We agree. Our company is committed to empowering boys and girls, men and women, through our characters and stories. Accordingly, we are taking a look at our licensing and product design process to ensure that all our consumer products reflect our core values and philosophy.”
Comic books, and the comic industry in general, have always skewed a bit male-centric. Just look at the number of women who actually work in the industry, to comments on the treatment of female characters in comics, to even the over-sexualized way that female characters are drawn.
Just look at Spider-Woman:
And Mary Jane Watson:
HOLY SHIT BODIES DO NOT WORK LIKE THAT HOW DO YOU EVEN BEND THAT WAY?
Female characters also have a nasty habit of getting killed off gruesomely in order to act as inciting incidents for main characters, like in 1994’s “Green Lantern,” where Green Lantern finds his girlfriend, Alex, stuffed in a refrigerator after being killed by a supervillain trying to get to Green Lantern. This coined the phrase “women in refrigerators,” which became a rallying cry for the rise of the feminist movement in comic books, for both characters and creators. The website, started by a writer named Gail Simone, probably the most significant female comics creator in the industry, meant to highlight how these characters were disproportionately harmed, raped, crippled, turned evil, beaten, or killed in comparison to their male counterparts.
The fact is, after all the sexism and humiliation that has occurred in the world of comics, and for how far we’ve come with female comic creators and female-led comic books and strong female characters in comic book TV shows and movies, we still have to deal with shit like this. DC Comics is, inadvertently, telling young girls that instead of growing up to be someone as badass as Batgirl, Supergirl, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Spider-Woman, or Wonder Woman, they should aspire to be thin and hot so they can marry Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire nutjob who dresses up in a rubber bat suit and hangs out all night with young kids. Would YOU want to be married to that? I don’t think so. Yeah, the money’s nice, but I think I’d personally rather be Wonder Woman and kick ass, take names, and be a strong, independent, Amazon woman who don’t need no man.
The fact that we’re still teaching women that they “need a hero” instead of that they should “be a hero,” much like these Avengers T-shirts that Disney and Marvel sold last year said, is so sad and pathetic and flawed. Something needs to change. While there are increased opportunities for women in the comics industry and in comic book movies, and there are more books about female superheroes and characters than ever before, it can all be undone in an instant by a T-shirt that tells girls to train to be Batman’s wife. That’s some horrible, sexist bullshit.
[via Huffington Post]