By Jen P
A few months back, the internet was introduced to Lord Ingvard’s versions of female super hero costumes along with this explanation:
“I love comics and superheroes as much as the next nerd, but the women’s costumes—sweet mother of Moses!—the COSTUMES. At the very least, highly impractical. And at worst, incredibly sexist. I mean, EXTREMELY so.
Honestly, I don’t know why women haven’t been a lot more angry and vocal about this kind of thing over the years. Like “Ferguson riot” angry. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that expressing one’s sexuality is a natural, healthy thing, and certainly not something to be censured or shamed, but holy hammer of Thor, there’s a time and a place for everything!
That being said, I just had to take a shot at addressing the most obvious problems. Now, I am not by any means an experienced or accomplished character designer. I am not suggesting these costume re-designs are ideal, or even very good. My main goal was to at least TRY to approach the subject of female superheroes with the degree of logic, equality, and respect they—and their readers—deserve.”
Here are the designs:
Now, after months of negative responses, Lord Ingvard moved his website, dropped all the images, and I guess tries to pretend nothing ever happened. All that remains on his Tumblr account is the single image of Ms. Marvel and this apology:
“I understand there are a lot of folks out there who don’t like the super women costume redesigns I did a while ago (okay, hate is more like it), and you know, that’s cool. I get it. I never once believed or claimed they were all that good. I’m not a costume or character designer, one of many reasons why I don’t work in the comic industry itself. There are undoubtedly a ton of artists in this world far more talented than I who could create much better designs. Absolutely.
Believe it or not, I actually do understand the majority of critism and frankly, I don’t disagree. I suspect, though, that more than anything it was the tone with which I tried to make my point that rubbed people the wrong way. To be honest, that was just my lame-ass attempt at being snarky or funny, but for most, I just came across as a huge asshole. Hindsight is 20/20, lesson learned.
Ultimately though, the costumes themselves weren’t really my focus. My main point was simply to try and get people to step back and reconsider how we treat women in comics, to compare it to the way men are portrayed and ask ourselves, is it reasonable and fair? That’s all.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not try to get all puritanical on everybody; I have no problem with women expressing their femininity or sexuality. In fact, there are a bunch of very talented female illustrators out there (straight) who quite enjoy drawing sexy pin-up girls and so forth. Great stuff. And you’re right, there are some muscled-up, near-naked super-dudes like the Hulk, Namor, and Conan already out there.
Again, all I’m asking is—is it fair, is it remotely balanced? Does the rationale we use for what the women wear apply or make sense when applied to the men? I ask because I’m a father who loves his daughter, and thinks constantly about what her future will be like compared to my son’s. I ask because we have a habit in this country of perpatuating certain behaviors and attitudes regarding things like gender and race simply because it’s “just the way we’ve always done it.” But just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right.
That being said, I’m sorry for offending anyone with how I went about it.”
Let’s be honest, I don’t love the designs. He’s killed some of the character by stripping all the color away, and I would have liked something that fell between these covered up looks and their skimpy predecessors, but at least he meant well. The comic book world has always been a little sexist due to the times. That doesn’t mean the characters need a complete overhaul, but the guy was trying to make a point. A lot of fanboys got angry. Some fangirls got angry too. And then there were those who hopped on the hate-wagon for everything else.
I’d be hard pressed not to agree with NewRedKnight, except, look at his profile picture. You want to talk sexism? I can’t take you seriously with all that underboob on Hulk’s head.
Here’s how I weigh in:
As a woman, I appreciated what Lord Ingvard did here. I don’t see this as his way of telling women to, “cover up.” He could have dialed down the commentary, but he’s clearly a dorky dude with terrible choice of words. But I do see what he did as a form of feminism, and THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A FEMINIST. So often the word, “feminism,” brings forth images of angry, picketing women with unshaven armpits and messages of hate, but that is a stereotype that needs to die. Sure, there are extremists out there, burning bras and dissing bros, but the true feminists are the mothers, grandmothers, daughters, and friends who’ve ever stood up for themselves when treated as less than equal. Or, like Ingvard, they’re the husbands, fathers, and boyfriends who see that the world is still an unfair place for women, and do what they can to remedy that. MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW THEY’RE FEMINISTS, they may even claim not to be, but again, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A FEMINIST, so let’s stop acting like it’s a dirty word, and treat it with the respect that it deserves. If you think all humans should be treated equally, then you’re a feminist too. Get over it. It’s no big deal. Admit it out loud. Maybe do it a couple more times. I bet it’ll feel good.
Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.
Now that the feminist aspect is out of the way, let’s address the elephant in the room. The artist suggested that women should be “Ferguson Riot” angry about the sexism in comics. He was completely, utterly, fucked-uppedly insensitive. Comparing rage over a little skin shown to the killing of an unarmed teenager… I can’t even go there. The guy was a bag of dicks, and I can understand why he’d want to distance himself from that shame. That being said, removing the images and pretending like they never existed seems irrelevant to that offense. He should have written an apology for THOSE words, not the images and his lame attempt at snark.
Aaaaand, I’m done.
How do you feel about Ingvard’s costumes? Do they offend you? Do his words piss you off? Weigh in below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.