And he's hot, too...
Recent discussions about objectification of women in comics have tended to bring up the corollary question of whether men are equally objectified in comics, and if that isn't "just as bad." I think we've all seen the remixed covers by now that feature the Green Lantern's Power Battery among other heroes' attributes. Alas, it is but a dream, a hoax, an imaginary story. Truly it takes more than spandex over muscles to bring the objectification even close to in line with the way that women are presented by default (two of the most important words to remember in discussions such as this) on the comics cover/page. But is it even possible? Certainly the remixed covers provide a good place to start, but even they don't go far enough. So I thought I'd start to whip up a list of other criteria that would need to be met prior to my being able to accept that men are just as objectified, and that said objectification is just as bad as that of women (and as a note, I'll add that the dynamics I envision in this list are hetero, for the sake of simplifying the discussion)...
- IF...every drawing of a man, even the civilians and background characters, put him in an outfit meant to show off as much of his body as possible, and
- IF...every panel in which such a man appeared had him striking some kind of pose meant to show off his body in a sexual way, no matter how awkward and inappropriate to the situation, for example showing off his ass and (ample) package at the same time, regardless of comfort or practicality, and
- IF...every time a man threw a punch or a kick, the angle of the image were sure to draw attention to the ass or package, and
- IF...men's costumes were frequently designed to draw as much attention to the penis as possible, while still keeping it covered up, and
- IF...at least some men took it upon themselves to go out fighting crime in a thong (hey, it's no less impractical than when a woman does it...), and
- IF...when anticipating getting into a fight, men would slip casually into a contrapposto and still manage to flex something, and somehow land a punch, and
- IF... when coming up with examples of cheesecakey exploitation, Gogo Fiasco was just as likely to come to mind as Vampirella, and
- IF...in the fan press you would constantly see references to male heroes who are hot and by the way kick ass, with hotness always coming first,
- The first measure of men's worth is how attractive and presumably available they are for women's use, and
- Whenever we see a movie or music magazine with a male celebrity on the cover, he is coyly looking at the camera while pulling his untucked shirt suggestively over his hip, showing off the skin, and
- When making a list of the accomplishments and non-physical qualities of a man, we are expected, by default, to add "and he's hot/easy on the eyes/whatever too!" and if we don't it is presumed that he is ugly and the previous list of traits is mere compensation for that fact (and it matters), and
- On and on...