Comic Books and Power Fantasies

This weekend, I went to New York Comic Fest. Comic fests are a blast; there's so much to see, so many people to meet, and so, so many comics. I'm a Harley Quinn fan, myself, I think she's hilarious. Apparently, so do a lot of other people. After seeing half a dozen interpretations of Harley cosplay, I've come to an important conclusion: There's not a lot of costume left to cosplay.

This is her costume in the New 52. Hardly practical for fighting, er, causing crime, eh?
Harley isn't the only sexualized woman in a comic book.  Starfire's costume reboot is even more revealing. Catwoman's boobs absolutely defy gravity. The women are generally unnatural and heavily objectified.

But what about the men?

11.. 12... 13... Sorry, I lost track of how many bulging muscles are in this picture.
Batman is a hunk of man. A rippling, muscled, delicious man hunk. But I'm not offended by it. "But Reagan," you say, "Why? While we're horrified by the unrealistic standards of female beauty set by Barbie's 1:4 waist to hip ratio, shouldn't we also be concerned with what boys are idealizing?" And I'll tell you yes, but I think it's important to look at who dreamt up the ideal. 

The heavily muscled man is an example of a power fantasy, not a sexual one. Say you had a bad day at work, or a broken heart, or literally any situation that makes you feel helpless. Who hasn't fantasized about suddenly being strong enough and hey, terrifying enough to hurt the bad people and right all the wrongs in your life? Heck, even when Calvin fantasizes about his spaceship, it's a power fantasy. Now look at Batman. Powerful, strong, intimidating. Some people have described the entire superhero genre as an "adolescent male power fantasy". Batman isn't someone's wet dream, he's what they wish they could be, what they would be with power. 

Shortpacked is brilliantly relevant and sums this up nicely. 
So, while Harley may be an oversexed erotic fantasy, Batman isn't quite objectified in the same way. Now I've got a stack of comics waiting to be read, so, until next time!

But first, I'm just gonna objectify this a little. Just a little. Mmm. (credit)

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