Are We Living in the Golden Age of Male Objectification?
The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their 'Liberated Sexuality'.
How can the news be so good concerning gender equality--or at least cheesecake equality--be so different from one media form to the other? And what does this say about comics continuing reputation for being solely for the boys? (Movies aren't known for being particularly progressive, after all, stereotypes about Hollywood or not.) I remember watching Casino Royale in theaters a few years back and one reviewer losing his mind in a very public and hilarious way over the "homosexual subtext" of the way that the camera lingered so lovingly over Daniel Craig coming out of the water in those tiny little swim shorts because he honestly could not conceive of the idea of gratuitous candy shots being thrown in for the sake of the women in the audience. (Nor would the "homosexual subtext" that the reviewer ruined his reputation over have been a bad thing. Candy for all!) I know I've mentioned before in this space how fun and refreshing I find it that Marvel realizes women attend its movies, too. The great thing about this "Golden Age of Male Objectification" is that the male characters still have things to do when their clothes are on. I will not deny that I giggled like a twelve year-old a time or two over just how insanely long Chris Hemsworth's legs are during Thor, but he still saved the Jotun, got down with his Shakespearean family drama, and became a king. I don't have the slightest problem with Starfire leaping into bed with Jason Todd so long as she, you know, still has a personality and agency on the other side of the bedroom door. That is where DC is failing, not in making the eyecandy in the first place.
(And now that I've bitched, I do have to say that the news from the DCnU is not all grim: holy hell, Batwoman and Wonder Woman were full-stop awesome. I dug the hell out of the horror aspects of Wonder Woman's story and think that her current artistic team is treating her like an equal member of the DC Trinity for pretty much the first time ever. Keep it up, guys! I might also add that WW was staggeringly beautiful while she was also kicking ass and taking names, so it's not like being pretty and being a fully-fleshed character at the same time is such a Herculean task.)
EDIT: Changed title because I was confusing some folks into thinking that I'm on DC's side in the Starfire/Catwoman debacle. Whoo-buddy, not even a little bit.