‘The Hawkeye Initiative’ Aims to Change How Females Are Portrayed in Comics [Pics]


How women are portrayed in comics is slowly changing, but we still have a long way to go, ladies.

This is a FABULOUS idea: The Hawkeye Intiative.

The Hawkeye Initiative aims to “fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics” by “replac[ing] the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing,” with drawings courtesy of artists all around the globe — professional and not.

Submit YOUR drawing on Twitter by uploading it with #hawkeyeinitiative!


[Via The Hawkeye Initiative]


26 Responses to ‘The Hawkeye Initiative’ Aims to Change How Females Are Portrayed in Comics [Pics]

  1. What makes the male pictures shocking isn't the fact that they are in provocative poses. Its that they are in provocative poses for the wrong sex. Male provocative poses are different than ones you'd use for female characters. Male character in comic books are often placed in male provocative poses.

    This isn't to say that female characters aren't sexualized in comic books. However shock value the pictures have isn't because of the pose itself, but the juxtaposition. You get the exact same thing in a non sexual context by place men in clothes that are clearly women's clothing. However you don't get the same thing in reverse.

    • I'm not going to defend the sexualization of female characters, but I agree that the shock value isn't for the reasons they hoped for. Putting Hakeye in the clothes they gave him in any pose would be somewhat shocking. Imagine that last Spider-Woman pose viewed from the front! Yikes! She's more covered up, and I think seeing Spider-Man in a pose like that wouldn't be quite as strange to us.

      Men and women pose, and move differently in real life. So not every pose they put a male in would work for a female character and vice-verse. Put a man in women's clothing and have him do his normal routine for a day and people would think he looked plenty odd. Conversely, have a man in his regular clothing move, sit, and act like a lady for a day and people would find that odd as well. Right or wrong people would probly think he was gay in both scenarios.

      I think the Mary Jane pic shows that to a certain extent that the shock value of these pics is for the wrong reason. They've intentionally made Hawkeye look gay which I think is disrespectful to that community. I have sat in a pose similar to that in normal men's clothing without looking so effeminate.

      I think there is a certain amount of homophobia in this whole campaign that hurts the positive impact it hopes to have.

      • Absolutely. Not sure why equality has to mean gender neutral. The 'Hawkeye test' from the project is saying that poses have to be gender neutral to be considered not sexist. Men and women naturally move in different ways. Even completely non-sexual actions for a women would look strange on a man.

        I work as an animator in motion capture and see this all the time. Women move differently. Their proportions and balance are different. You can usually tell who is who just looking at skeleton data that removes and trace for what the person looked like. I can normally tell the specific person I working with based just on their motion if I work with them often. Similarly I've put male models on female captured motion and vice versa and it just looks strange.

        • Yeah, but we don't twist all day to show boobs and butt simultaneously. It's not supposed to be shocking. It's supposed to point out how very silly the common female depictions are.

  2. I love how every single one of these drives is so one sided. Because drawing women as men want to see them is…bad, evil, sexist, and wrong. However, the ways in which men are drawn and depicted is just fine, even though they present similar unbelievable stereotypes of men…and hey, that’s just fine.

    It’s as disgusting as the “you can’t touch a female stripper with your hands, but a male stripper should be prepared to be mauled and molested, because it’s OK for women to touch men who strip for money”.

    People always have this image where gender inequity goes one way, and only one way. Men are evil, women are victims. How is it possible that so many people can’t see the OBVIOUS gender inequity in THAT BASIC CONCEPT?

    • Well, women tend to notice the objectification of women and not like it. So we do things about that.
      Now, of course, men are also pretty severely objectified in comics sometimes… But normally to give them the impression of power… I don't think that's right either, but it's not like the male comic fans are doing anything to speak up against it.
      Certainly, there are quite a few men who dare to wage war against the objectification of men. But interestingly, they're normally backed by other women. Somehow very few men are even willing to do anything about the objectification of men in comic book, so if men doesn't even care about that… why should we?
      This initiative is a movement against the objectification of women in comic. Of course, you're free to launch a campaign against the objectification of men, I bet some artists in the initiative are even willing to back you up.

    • The men in comics are just as unrealistic as the women, I agree with that but with a great difference.

      The women are drawn based on what men want their women to look like.
      The men are drawn based on what they want to look like.

      Which makes it pretty much one-sided, and tough for female readers who might otherwise like stories and characters.

      I think for the actual comics they should be trying to keep it a lot more balanced and keep the poses somewhat realistic. For fan art or other artistic work they can do whatever they want, there shouldn't be any calls to "censor" that.

  3. I never could get into comics that much. The anatomy is too rubbish and the costumes oft are equally of poor design. Nothing says ‘sexy’ like a set of legs that look like pulled taffy, or a waist that makes Barbie’s look like an oak trunk in comparison.

  4. I love this, but would love to see it done the other way around. Draw the female characters in male poses. Then no one can claim it is just an expression of natural gendered movement. Brain mentioned that "Even completely non-sexual actions for a women would look strange on a man." It would be interesting to see if men's body positions would look strange on a woman. I suspect they wouldn't. I suspect the female characters who are posed as men, and posed in less revealing clothing, would look strong.

    • In the great majority of circumstance they would look fine. However just as women have specific poses that are feminine there are poses and motions that are pretty masculine. For example a man sitting leaning back with his legs spread wide open is a pretty masculine posture. I've seen women try to do this and it doesn't look natural.

      The big difference in looking strange or not is mostly due to the fact that it is socially acceptable for a woman to dress and act in mostly a male fashion. Its not socially acceptable for a man to act and dress like a women. That's really more a comment on society than real differences in men and women.

      You're right in that doing it the other way around would have been a much better way to do it. You want strong women? Draw them in strong and competent poses. Don't make effeminate men.

        • In a context where the point is to try and show them being ridiculous being effeminate is bad. There is nothing wrong with being effeminate, but this campaign is using them to show something they intend to be off-putting. That's what makes it bad. If a man who acts and/or dresses in a feminine way sees people poking fun at images they are being told that isn't an acceptable way to dress.

          Show some pictures of men being sexy and masculine in a way that women actually like and enjoy seeing. Actually objectify men as if women were drawing men purely for sexual gratification. If that is off-putting to male viewers then the point is made. If it's not then it probly just means that men don't mind being objectified, which may be the case. Or that they still enjoy the fantasy of being that man that women want.

        • Never said it was bad. It just doesn't make the point that they're hoping to make. As others point out it also goes about this by disrespecting effeminate men.

  5. I have one further question for the ladies. Consider a female heroine that is depicted in a comic book to be competent, intelligent, etc, etc is it an insult for her to *also* be sexy? I'd think that would be a positive trait. Or can you only consider a woman powerful when she is completely desexualized? In a lot of way I'd think the opposite statement would be a whole lot more powerful. That a woman can be both decidedly feminine *and* a strong woman at the same time. I'd think that catwoman would be somewhat along those lines. Independent, skillful, smart, and still very feminine.

    • Well, of course a woman superheroine can be sexy and capable at the same time. But… we would probably like it better if they don't break their spines doing so. Or run around almost naked all day. Or have no room for their organs at their waist areas.
      I mean… sure some superheroines can be sexy, nothing wrong with sexiness. Some male heros, like Hawkeye, are very sexy. But it gets a bit annoying when ALL OF THEM are portrayed to be sexy. It seems like their sexiness now overshadows their capability.
      I mean… of course, placing a man in a woman's position should look a bit strange, but they shouldn't look "obscene" or "shocking", If it does… then that says something about the industry.

      • This. For example, she-hulk is often portrayed as sexy. Is Hulk sexy? No. He's hideously over sized, just like The Thing. When has there ever been a hideous – though overly powerful – female comic book character of note?

        • Big Bertha of the Great Lakes Avengers. She can take on a slim more attractive form (although Deadpool was only attracted to her large form), she becomes super strong and bullet proof by becoming hugely obese. Maybe that's not as main-stream as you were hoping for though.

  6. Characters in comics are portrayer with perfect human proportion style if someone have problems with accepting human sexuality in perfect form it is his/her issue and should visit a specialist about that.

  7. I have yet to see a good argument against this little project that didn’t stink of “boo hoo male oppression pity me and my pinstripe fedora”.

    • That's because this story stinks of "boo hoo female oppression pity me and my VS thong." It only fits that any counter argument would be just as silly.

  8. I enjoy the irony of a site which regularly posts photos of women dressed up as unrealistic, objectified comic book characters supporting a campaign which strives to remove the very same objectification. You can't have it both ways.

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