The Boob Test
So many times I’ll see a woman depicted in comics and my immediate reaction is “Yeah! Badass woman-hero! Woo!” …and then it’ll sink in and I’ll really look at the image and roll my eyes. In those instances, instead of inspiring an affirming “That’s a character who can kick ass and she’s a woman and it makes me proud to be a woman.” my actual reaction is “Oh look, boobs. The person who drew this loves boobs. Boobs and ass. Yay, I’m sure his male readers will really enjoy that."
– When the boobs are where the readers’ eyes are drawn, perhaps the only thing you see when you look at the page, you have undermined the character.
– When the boobs are so large or so out of the realm of physical reality or so not in-line with who that character is… it takes a woman reader, like myself, out of the story. In cases such as these, you have undermined the character AND disrespected your readership. She is no longer my character that I relate to, she’s being drawn to be someone else’s fantasy (wank material). Right in the middle of a story I’m loving and all it takes are some rogue boobs or a pose that screams "I was made for you to fuck me” and I’m reminded that I’m reading something drawn for a specific audience of men, and my connectedness to the character is not relevant or even a concern.
– When boobs take your readers out of the story, you have undermined the writer because it is telling the reader that you needed the boobs to distract from shoddy storytelling. …we’re onto you…
The image above: I’m not saying she should be drawn dowdy and wearing a burlap sack. And this isn’t even close to being the worst offender. All I’m saying is that the artist wanted to make her boobs the focus (and you can tell that because they are), which turns her into a pin-up and not the force-to-be-reckoned-with that Oracle is. Let’s be real, this is the pinup version of that Oracle. I love hot pinups, but when they’re drawn on the side or all up in my tumblr. Not as a cover to a real story.
Next post: Do you use big shlongs to bring in male readership? Then how can you say you’re serious about bringing in women readers when Busty McGee is the cover of a woman-centered comic? I’d be more likely to hide that I’m reading this, rather than hand it to a friend and say, “Read this!”
EDIT: Just to be clear, I take no issue at all with the body type depicted in that image. My beef is how the artist decided to make her boobs the focal point of the picture on a cover.