‘Her breasts are much too small and do not have the lift that superhero women should’

Who decides what narratives we see and if they are good or bad?

This artist of Batwoman received this critique from a company she chose not to name. (via Escher Girls and goodcomics.comicbookresources.com.)


Her breasts are much too small and do not have the lift that superhero women should have. Her jawline is fat and her neck much too long. The style of her hair is clunky and does not flow in a sense that a super human would. Her hips, waist and thighs are too big and she honestly looks fat. No one is going to want to read a comic with a fat female protagonist. I honestly recommend looking at issues of Sport’s Illustrated to get the right anatomy. Those women are the peak of human perfection, and that is what we want in this industry.

“That is what we want in this industry?” Who the fuck is “we?”

Here is my three year old daughter last Halloween as Batgirl.

(If you are offended by my older daughter dressed as a Native American, she was studying the Miwok tribe at school, you can see a blog/ discussion about her on Cherokee Writer.)


Who is thinking about my kid, and girls like her, and what they want when making these “artistic” decisions?

You know what happened to my daughter on Halloween? Everyone called her Batman. At first, my daughter said nothing back to them but asked me: “Why do people keep calling me Batman?” Then, she started to quietly correct them: “I’m Batgirl.” By the end of the night, she was shouting; “I’M BATGIRL!”

I know Batgirl doesn’t have five major motion pictures about her, all featuring famous movie stars. There aren’t Batgirl toys or Batgirl clothing or Batgirl comic books everywhere you look. Why is that? There is princess shit everywhere. But, I guess, when you try to get Batgirl, or Batwoman, out into the world, you encounter some asshole in charge who tells you to make the character look like a Sports Illustrated model, because that’s what “we” want. And after all that, all the limitations put on little girls and who they are supposed to be and what they get rewarded for and recognized for and celebrated for, people actually say, time and time again, “Girls just love princesses. Go figure.”

Argh. It drives me crazy. I am grateful for DaSilvo’s comment. I am so sick of pointing out the obvious and having people still not see it and deny it exists.

UPDATE: It’s been years since I blogged on Reel Girl but I am ashamed to see this photo of my daughter’s Halloween costume. I apologize to Native Americans for my offensive insensitivity and ignorance. It seems my reason, stated above, was that she was studying the Miwok tribe in school which is an absolutely ridiculous explanation. First of all, who knows how the Miwok dressed? I know for certain they did not dress in anything like this cheap, synthetic “costume” I bought my daughter. I perpetuated a white supremacist idea that Native Americans are a monolith that all dress alike and then I acted as if I was being culturally sensitive. My hypocrisy is shocking. And of course, even if I had some perfect replica of how a Miwok truly dressed, this is a culture, not a costume. No white person should ever “dress up” as a culture, especially not one white people slaughtered. I am so sorry to the Native American people, to everyone who read this blog, and to my daughter. Also, I want to thank Cherokee Writer for her empathy. She was a reader of the blog and blogged that my intent was not ill and so she couldn’t be mad, she referenced my daughter studying the Miwok tribe. That I did not intend to be racist does not mean that I was not racist. In fact, not intending the racism is almost worse because it can be harder to call out and identify. Also, my whole blog is about pointing out sexism that often people didn’t intend. So here I am pointing out sexism and being blind to racism, like so many white women. I hope to keep learning every day how to be a better person and to become more aware of my racism and how I perpetuate it.

8 thoughts on “‘Her breasts are much too small and do not have the lift that superhero women should’

  1. This way of thinking also extends to anthropomorphic female animal characters. The anthropomorphic male animal characters are usually just animals that walk on two legs and have human dexterity in their front paws/front hooves/hands/wings, but keep the basic body shape of their species. If they have exaggerated muscles, even if they actually have a humanoid or partly humanoid body shape, it is usually treated as just what the character looks like. Female animal characters, on the other hand, tend to have human female body shapes and/or human breasts or semblances thereof, and often have more humanoid body shape than the male animal character(s) in a given fictional work.

    Here is germzoo: Anthropomorphism Gone Wild, a website discussing this: http://germzoo.blogspot.com/2013/06/anthropomorphism-gone-wild.html?m=0

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I’m now angered again by such idiocy. It’s comments like these that make me add in my comic reviews comments about the female characters and their anatomy, because it’s important to point out who’s doing what and what we, as readers and women, approve of.

  3. “I honestly recommend looking at issues of Sport’s Illustrated to get the right anatomy.”

    This says a crapload about the comic industry. Want to draw a woman? Look at a MENS magizine because MEN know female anatomy more than females do! He does know that they probably Photoshop the hell out of Sports Illustrated right? So can we really trust the accuracy of its so called ‘anatomy’?

  4. Just a correction, she is not the official artist of Batwoman, since she doesn’t work for DC (the publishers of Batwoman) That critique was from a portfolio review. The artist for Batwoman, until not long ago (he and the writer left because of creative differences with DC) was JH William III. He has a very beautiful art style.

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