Wednesday, October 25, 2006

But...but Supergirl has a belly button! And a skirt!

You can make a hawk a dove / You can end a...wait, sorry, wrong songSo, this Supergirl sketch has been making the rounds lately, setting the feminists all a-twitter with its attention to realistic body types and its lack of cheesecake.

I'm gonna get hit for that "a-twitter" remark, I know it. It's okay, I was a-twitter too, but maybe not quite as much as Dawn was.

I haven't been able to see more of his work than what Dawn posted, since it's not showing up for me on the site she linked. And believe me, I think it's a huge step up from where we are now. The Batgirl design...not so much. But then, I don't think Babs's costume was very sexist to begin with. Barbara's usually shown to be built pretty reasonably; I can't think of any instances where she had huge breasts and the crazy arched back and all the other dumb things that are associated with comic women.

But I still have some problems with this Supergirl.
  1. Why is she just wearing Superman's costume? Yes, she has gloves, and her cape has a yellow lining, but otherwise it looks like she just raided Superman's closet. Isn't there a difference between "non-sexualized" costumes and "masculine" costumes? Can't a costume be feminine without being sexualized? I'm not saying Supergirl should have a skirt and bare legs and high heels and a midriff shirt. But can she at least not wear the superbriefs? Maybe bring back the pointed belt, maybe trade the gloves for some short sleeves, something to set her apart from Superman stylistically? The best thing about the four Supermen after the death was the way they each did new things with the costume. Can't Supergirl adapt something like that?
  2. She doesn't look much like a Supergirl, she looks like Superwoman. That's not a problem really, if we're talking about a grown woman. But this Supergirl looks less like a 16-year-old than the current one does. If these are stories about a 25-year-old superheroine, that body's a lot more believable.
  3. Hey wait, haven't I seen that look before? Right, I have: on Power Girl. Wide neckline, circular cape clasps, broad shoulders, gloves...she really looks like Power Girl after a breast reduction. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't seem like "Supergirl" to me.

Which isn't to say there aren't things I like. F'r instance:
  1. The ponytail. In this image, the hair is kind of funky looking, but check out the multiple-angle sketch on Dawn's page. I'm absolutely convinced that the ponytail is the perfect look for Supergirl now. It's feminine, it's practical, and bottom line, it looks great.
  2. The cape. Different artists choose to make Superman's cape anything from knee-length to long-enough-to-drape-over-things, so I'm not totally sure that this is an intentional departure from Superman's cape length-wise. But the yellow lining is a fantastic idea; it's a subtle change, but it emphasizes that most underused color of the costume, emphasizes her blond hair, displays something of a more jovial disposition than the current Supergirl, and goes a long way to giving this costume its own distinctive character.
  3. The clasps. They're just a good idea. Another little detail that sets this costume apart from Superman's, gives some color variation in the shoulders, and somewhat prevents the bunched-up look that people give Superman and the rest of the family when they try to make it look tucked-in.
  4. The gloves. Again, they set the costume apart from Superman's and give some color variation, besides being slightly practical (though how much protection an invincible person needs can be debated). They're a bit of a throwback to one of her '60s-'70s costumes, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  5. Big feet, no high heels. While Linda's last costume also had some fairly practical shoes, it's nice to see that they didn't go with the stiletto-heel boots which are so popular with the superheroines these days. And actually paying enough attention to consider whether or not she should have little dainty feet? Wonderful.
  6. The figure & face. This is anything but waifish Supergirl. She may be a bit too "Superwoman," but there's no denying that she's got a far more believable body. But I love the attention the artist paid to her face. On the sketch mentions that her well-defined chin 'shows superness,' which is perfect.
So there's a lot to like about this design. I'd add a dash more femininity and stir in a little more youth, then bake it at a temperature of "distinct from Superman" before I'd call it perfect, though. Hopefully, hopefully, someone will take notice.

P.S.: You know what I really want to see? A picture of this Supergirl feeding the current Supergirl a hamburger or some chicken or something. Because damn it, that girl's in need of an intervention.


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the link...I should have checked it! It's fixed now and leads directly to Johnny's thread. Here's the url as well...

And I LIKE the underwear on the outside! :)

Tom Foss said...

I don't know. I like Superman's over-underwear, but here it looks like Supergirl's wearing a superdiaper, or at least super-grannypanties. They just aren't very flattering here. Maybe if they were smaller, or less bulky-looking, it'd be better.

Your Obedient Serpent said...

If underwear on the outside is good, why not put a bra on the outside, too?

Jeremy Rizza said...

To me, putting a superheroine in a masculine superhero costume is like putting a woman in a tuxedo. Sure, it's novel, but the lines and the silhouette are intrinsically unflattering to a woman's body. (I was never a fan of Marlene Dietrich in a tux, and Garland only looked good in a tux jacket because she paired it with tights.) I think it would have worked better if the neckline was different -- not plunging, necessarily, but maybe just a little lower, with a square or "V" shape. And the "overpants" and belt have got to go. Otherwise, I think the covered look is a fantastic idea. And I love the ponytail!

Anonymous said...

The only thing I like about it is the head, great face and I think the ponytail is a really good idea. The rest...It just looks like Superman with boobs and that ain't good.