If Male Superhero Costumes Were Designed Like Female Superhero Costumes

ArtGenderOff Beat 24 Comments

Anna, a.k.a. Fernacular, a young woman from Boston, “got tired of guys having no idea why girls find female superheros’ costumes kinda sexist.” So she went ahead and made this set of drawings showing what male superhero costumes would look like if designed like female superhero costumes.

Her goals were to:

1) Make it so the first thing you think of when you look at them is sex, whether you want to or not.

2) Make it so that any male human who looks at this feels really uncomfortable.

3) Make it funny, because, well, it’s kinda hilarious really.

To the naysayers, Anna adds… “So, here you go men folk, welcome to being a girl who likes comics. Not trying to start a war here, just wanted to poke a bit of fun.”

Mission accomplished!




  • DT

    Regarding the second goal of the artist, I think there may be quite a few “male humans” who are totally comfortable with looking at this…

    • Dosko

      I know I am

  • Dax Carver

    Ignorant of comics, obviously. Spider-Woman (both Jessica Drew and Julia Carpenter), Batgirl, and Batwoman are all covered head to toe.

    • Logic

      Because you can name two female super heros who are garbed head to toe, her point is invalid? You are the definition of an idiot.

      • finneus85

        Ummmm. Who taught you how to count? I need to shake their hand and tell them what a bad job they did.

        • Dax Carver

          Thank you. I appreciate your defense of my post and the acknowledgement that there is something amiss when a person miscounts so gravely while claiming that another person is mentally inept.

      • Matthew Steele

        Well, if you’re going to discuss female superheroes, surely it’s a good idea to be aware of and discuss who the more influential characters are? Batgirl and Batwoman are two of the most popular, best-selling women in comics. And it does a disservice to the people who make their costumes to ignore them when talking about femlae superhero costumes (Indeed, Batgirl currently has one of the most eminently practical costumes in mainstream comics.

        • Dax Carver

          Thank you. I appreciate both your understanding of the point I was trying to make and your defense of said point.

      • Dax Carver

        Let us begin at the beginning. I did not name only two female superheroes (“superheroes” is one word). I named four.

        Secondly, I did not name random superheroes who were garbed head to toe. I named the female equivalents of male heroes the artists depicts. There’s an inherent logical problem when one states that these heroes, Batman and Spider-Man would be dressed scantily and in a way that is not practical if their costumes were designed like those of female heroes, when their female equivalents are not dressed scantily or in a way that is not practical (Captain America’s female equivalent, American Dream, is also not dressed scantily, but I did not name her). In fact, if these male heroes were designed to look like female versions of themselves, they’d look pretty much the same as they already do. So, I was not endeavoring to simply name examples that do not fit the artists’ perception of superhero comics, I was pointing out that she chose poor subjects (with the exception of Superman, because Supergirl and Power Girls’ costumes are both currently scant).

        Thirdly, I can name various other female heroes who are dressed head to toe … Catwoman (usually); Marvel’s Medusa and her sister, Crystal; many of the female X-Men; Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (not as Miss Marvel, however); etc., … but, again, that was not my point as I do not completely disagree with the artist and never claimed to do so.

        Fourthly, I can also name a multitude of male heroes who are dressed scantily or in a way that is not practical … Hawkman, Beast, Dr. Manhattan, Vartox (who, in fact, looked like a ’70s porn star), the Hulk (She-Hulk is actually covered more than he), Namor, Marvel’s Hercules, Gilgamesh, Robin and Aqualad (when they wore those impractical underwear-like shorts), etc. But, then again, I wasn’t attempting to dismiss the artists’ point entirely.

        Finally we come to the unnecessary verbal abuse. It says more about your maturity than about my mental aptitude, especially considering its erroneous nature. An “idiot” has very specific definitions, both of which would require you to know me in some way, which you do not. I am neither suffering from severe mental retardation nor am I foolish. Even if my post contained an error in logic or thinking, it would not qualify me for “foolishness,” and therefore “idiocy,” as that requires a history of mental errors. In fact, I am highly educated and teach philosophy and logic at the collegiate level.

        You, however, not only miscounted but assumed my lack of mental aptitude based on one post that you, obviously, misunderstood. Instead of asking for clarity, you chose to be verbally abusive. This is not the trait of someone who simply lacks logic (I will assume that you do not lack it), but the trait of someone who lacks maturity.

        • Tired

          I think its just disappointing that there always has to be dismissal of a woman’s point of view (whether you meant the dismissing in entirety or not is less of importance, in my opinion) on the objectification of women.

          In this case, it is how women are, by and large, portrayed in comics. I think naming female superheroes that are covered head to toe doesn’t detract from the fact that women are pretty obviously pictured as sex symbols in comics. Catwoman might be fully-clad, but damn, her outfit is tight. I can’t imagine anyone would try to argue that female superheroes aren’t oozing sex appeal, which is (in general) to cater to a male audience (in general – there are exceptions, as in everything).

          You might be technically correct, but you aren’t being helpful with the snark. And you are being dismissive (even if you didn’t mean it this way, what you say and how you say it matters more than what you feel, especially online) of a legitimate issue that many women relate. And naming scantily-clad superhero men doesn’t mean there is equality in the issue, when the scantily-clad superhero women contribute to a greater societal issue regarding the objectification of women.

          • Dax Carver

            I wasn’t dismissive of a woman’s point of view. I pointed out a poor choice of subjects … the gender of the artist is something that you are focused upon, not I. That is not dismissive of the point in its entirety or the fact that women are displayed sexually in comic books. Are you really wanting to put forth an argument about the treatment of women while at the same time suggesting that only fallacies that men commit should ever be pointed out? By reacting emotively to my points and making assumptions about me or my meanings (and assumptions comprise the entirety of your response), you are missing my point entirely … and I have to assume, at this point, that your dismissal of my point is purposeful because you want to be offended. I wonder if I were female if you’d be so eager to dismiss my simple point about the subject matter. Since I didn’t “try to argue that female superheroes aren’t oozing sex appeal,” you really aren’t making a point. Assuming that I do not agree with the artist in general is just that, an assumption, and it’s entirely incorrect. Any basic critical thinking course will teach you that pointing out the logic flaws of an argument or point is not a dismissal of the conclusion or argument in its entirety. However, suggesting that an argument or point made by a woman, simply due to her gender, should be immune to critical analysis is sexist … it’s sexist against women … and I know a great many intelligent and logical women who could argue a man under the table.

          • JT

            Except it was not a poor choice of subjects. Batman, Superman, and Spiderman are three of the most easily recognizable superheroes (and Captain America’s recent movie makes him also particularly recognizable at present). As the general public can easily identify these individuals, they are excellent choices.

            Their female counterparts are entirely irrelevant, and even bringing them into the discussion is a red herring. You directly attempted to undermine the artist’s geek cred by doing so, however (to quote you “she made poor choices of subjects, which makes her seem ignorant of comics.”) In essence, the artist claimed she knew comics well enough to accurately depict common comic female attire, where as your response was that she doesn’t know comics.

            As a side note, you yourself did make an appeal to authority fallacy. Knowing “a great many intelligent and logical women” doesn’t make you intelligent or logical, even assuming you aren’t just making up those acquaintances for the sake of strengthening your position. Since you seem so eager to point fallacies out, and since you claim to be respectful of critical analysis, it seemed appropriate to mention this.

          • Dax Carver

            To paraphrase one of the most intelligent persons I’ve ever met … a woman and a true feminist … my own mother … “One of the biggest struggles we as women, and feminists, face is other women who confuse ‘feminism’ with ‘offended.’ To find offence in every little thing only leads to our cause being seen as petty and ridiculous.” When a person points out a logical problem in an argument, it is just that. It does not dismiss or belittle the issue, and seeing it as dismissive is a reaction from the reader … a reaction the author cannot control.

          • JT

            First, you need to meet more people.

            Second, you were not pointing out a logical problem. At best you were pointing out an aesthetic issue that offended your particular sensibilities.

    • Marushka

      Most of the full-body costumes of the heroines you named (and others) are just as revealing as the “fanservice” ones (cleavage, etc). They emphasize shapes and curves. So in fandom terms… the boobage is still there. So is the butt. And going by the sheer number of gratuitous boob/butt poses these characters appear in, the objectification is very much still there.

      As for other women superheroes in comics… just look at the butchery that is Starfire’s costume in DC’s New 52. Most of Emma Frost’s costumes are atrocious from that point of view (yes, yes, she uses that to her advantage, but still). Then there’s Ultra-girl and that ridiculous cleavage. Anything Rob Liefeld and those who emulate him ever drew on a woman. And so on.

      The point I’m trying to make is that it really doesn’t matter whom the artist chose to dress up like that. I’m sure s/he wasn’t even thinking of their female equivalents.

      (Sorry if my English is weird, I’m not a native speaker.)

    • JT

      You will note that no one made the claim that these pictures are of heroes in their female counterpart’s attire. You came up with that assumption all on your own.

      Rather, what we have is easily recognizable male superheroes in easily recognizable female superhero garb: come on, you can’t look at that Captain America outfit and NOT be reminded of Power Girl, or Batman and not think of Starfire.

      • Dax Carver

        One doesn’t have to claim that “X is in their Y’s attire” if one claims that “this is what X would look like if it were in Y’s attire.” The second claim includes the first. So, I’m not making up anything. You, like every one on here who wants to attack me rather than see that I’m actually the one promoting the equality of women (women are equal to logic as well as logical scrutiny) need to actually read my posts, in which I’m simply pointing out that the subjects may have been better chosen. That does not in any way mean that I think women are portrayed in a favorable light in comic books.

        • JT

          You will note that I made no claim as to what you thought of women in comic books. Nor is that even an attack (but it was a counterpoint to your assertion that the subjects could have been better chosen: so it’s interesting that you see counterpoints as attacks). Again, you are mistaking your own assumptions for reality.

          The problem with your mathematical example is that you are missing the fact that you have not properly defined your variables. Properly, X=Male Superheroes while Y=female comic book attire; however, you are claiming that Y REALLY equals the direct female counterparts to those male superheroes. To further you’re math analogy, your mistake is akin to seeing a=bh, and claiming that while b is all well and good, the mathematician appears not to know math because h is really just b prime.

  • Josh

    I’d just like to say to who ever that dax dude is, as a man you don’t get to decide who is and isn’t a true feminist and using one woman’s point of view to shut down another’s is not only shitty but fallacious. women are not a monolith and live different experiences. You’re just being willfully ignorant because you don’t want to admit your precious comics currently and always have catered to a male audience and have alienated many women and girls with their portrayal and hyper-sexualization of the women characters.

    • Dax Carver

      You are being willfully ignorant for ignoring the entirety of my posts, where you find that I stated multiple times that comic books are sexist. I don’t get to decide what makes people feel the way they do, but you do not get to decide what I mean when I’m just pointing out a logical fallacy. I have stated multiple times that comic books are sexist. So, please read all of my posts and not just one of them.

      • JT

        The only logical fallacy was your inclusion of unrelated subjects.

        Further, people can claim anything they like. However, when their behavior and actions go contrary to their claims, one does well to trust their actions and distrust their words.

    • Dax Carver

      When did I say my mother’s point of view was that of all feminists? You are making up stuff in order to be both opinionated and vulgar (“shitty” … that’s something my 12 year old nephew likes to say).

  • Dax Carver

    I love how I’ve become the object of ridicule, though I have stated multiple times that I believe comic books to be sexist. If a man points out a logical fallacy, he is sexist, even if he endeavors to show that logical fallacies only fuel the fires of your real enemies. That’s not how sexism works. Since I believe women to be entirely equal to men, I am not sexists. In that “equality,” I believe that a woman is equally qualified for critical analysis. I’m sorry, but that is what equality means.

  • RJ (TO)

    This. Is. Brilliant.