October 15, 2011

"Empowered" and "sexy" are not universally synonymous. That a woman is not a sex kitten does not mean that she’s any less comfortable or empowered or any of that stuff. See above, re: not a homogenous demographic. Stop making sexiness a universal demand. Let some characters be unsexy. And for f*ck’s sake, please, please stop drawing women who are injured, or dead, or being tortured, or punching bad guys, in sex-kitten pin-up poses. That is bad visual storytelling, and it is INCREDIBLY creepy. Let women be heroes for the sake of heroism. Women don’t have to be damaged or traumatized to be strong, or to want to make a difference. Corollary: Dropping rape into a backstory is not a panacea for making a female character complex and gritty.

Imagine you have a daughter. Imagine the kind of women you’d like her to want to grow up to be. Write them. Write women you’d want to be friends — really good friends — with. Write women you’d get in arguments with. Write women you’d be legitimately scared of. Write women like your mom, like your aunts, like your wife, like your friends, like your nieces and nephews and daughters and bosses and friends. We are not aliens… This, too, goes back to “doing things.” A lot of the time, male characters act, and female characters are acted upon. Let female characters make difficult choices — and sometimes choose wrong — and have struggles and the same real victories. Because without those things, they’re not characters; they’re just window dressing.


— Rachel Edidin talks about portraying female superhero characters at Comic Alliance

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