There’s some really nasty shit lurking not too far under the surface of some of the drawings. In some cases, like the ones where they switch clothes, it’s not even too deep.
Making choices of clothing based in femininity/femme-ness on a dood isn’t a context free choice. Doubly so when you are mocking something. It relies on the deep history of cissexism and oppositional sexism in our culture. Even if that’s not the intent of the artist, it is impossible to look at these drawings and not have all the jokes about guys wearing women’s clothing or “acting like a girl” come up. That’s the POINT of these drawings.
And that point pins trans women to the wall as a side effect of (rightly) critiquing the sexism in comics.
I hadn’t even realized the humor in the Hawkeye Initiative could be interpreted as cissexist, because I feel like the humor isn’t the fact that they’re dudes in “women’s” clothing. It’s that we’ve become so desensitized to how ridiculous the clothing and positioning for women in comics is that we don’t recognize how fucking ridiculous it is until it’s on a dude. The dudes look just as ridiculous as the women do, but it’s more noticeable on the dudes because our culture respects men more than they do women.
It’s not “Oh dude in a skirt, let’s laugh!” It’s “Having armor with cutouts for the breasts is fucking ridiculous and way stupid looking. And it sucks that you didn’t notice how dumb it is until it was on a dude’s body.” I think that says a lot about the way we as a society view women. The women look equally as contorted and uncomfortable in these costumes/poses, but we tend to not notice because that’s become the default in comic books.
Those ridiculous, impractical, barely-there armor outfits aren’t “women’s clothing,” because comic book female superhero outfits are ridiculous and impractical for everyone, including the women whose bodies they’re currently on. Those body contortionist tits-and-ass poses aren’t “women’s poses” - it’s what male gaze says that women look like. It’s male fantasy, and seeing it on a dude’s body makes them feel uncomfortable because the male gaze is on *their* body instead of mine, and suddenly they don’t like that.
this is a good conversation to have
Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.