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Body Image in Comics

When I first chose my topic for my research paper, “sexuality and body image in comics”, I figured that I would find many books and sources on that topic. It seemed to me, that the unrealistic body image representations in comic books would have caused much controversy in the early twenty-first century. Even though I did not find as many sources as I would have liked, I did discover some interesting information. A large part of my research paper was dedicated towards the effects of the portrayal of the super-heroines body images, and why comic book editors drew women in that particular way.

First of all, women were drawn with large breasts and long legs to appeal to and attract young men. This is a very obvious reason since the allure of skimpy dressed women in tight costumes sparked comic books sales. However, another reason why super-heroines were dressed as they were is because it gave a chance for success. The super-heroine, Phantom Lady used her sex appeal to “distract her male foes.” Thus, she used sex as a means to success. Many readings that I found analyzed this subject more in depth. In the early twenty-first century, there was a vast disparity between men’s and women’s rights. Women were not given equal opportunities to success and were limited to a minimum number of professions that they could enter. No matter how hard a woman worked, she could never be more successful than a man. However, a woman could use her sexuality to get the things that she wanted, and it gave her an advantage over men.

Next, the negative representation of body image in comic books had a strong impact on girls and young woman. The body types of super-heroines became the images displayed in the media and henceforth the norm in society. Suddenly, girls and young women thought that that was how their bodies were supposed to look. Such unrealistic portrayals of body images have been known to cause diseases such as anorexia and bulimia. Moreover, since women and girls saw how successful super-heroines were and how they used their sexuality as a means of success, they began to believe that an admired body could be the only means to success. Even though super-heroines showed women and girls that a woman could be as successful as a man, they were not a good influence since women and girls began to believe that they needed to have bodies like super-heroines in order to be successful.


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