Author Jim Hines PERSONALLY Tackles Sci-Fi Sexism [Pics]

Back in December, we told you about “The Hawkeye Initiative”, where artists and non-artists send drawings depicting Hawkeye in the same poses as the “strong female characters” on comic book covers.

Now, sci-fi author Jim Hines is shining a light on the sexism permeating sci-fi and fantasy book covers by recreating the poses made by the female characters on the covers of those books — except he is the one doing the recreating.

…With heels, fake boobs, awkward hip contortions, and plenty of flesh!

Jim Hines 1

Jim Hines 2

jim Hines 3

[Via BBC News]

48 Responses to Author Jim Hines PERSONALLY Tackles Sci-Fi Sexism [Pics]

  1. What does this prove? No one cares about the stereotyping of men in comics/cartoons, with their aggressive personalities and ludicrous muscles. Comics depict a distorted reality. The characters and their physical attributes are no more real than their abilites.

    • I agree. It’s not supposed to be real. This is the start of trying to control comics with political correct rubbish like everything else is controlled. I see the above story as a tragedy and jim hines as a shame to the industry. Comics are egagerated, exagerated characters, exagerated abilities, exagerated bodies. No one wants another stupid soap opera as a comic.

    • As much as I admit that this picture really proves very little (other than the fact that women seem to settle in the most uncomfortable positions for these covers, which is less sexism and more ineptitude of the artists), I disagree with your point. Men in comics and cartoons haven’t had “aggressive personalities and ludicrous muscles” since the 90s, and even then that was mostly just Rob Liefeld and those who copied him. Characterization is a lot more diverse these days, in sci-fi, in superhero comics, in fantasy, in pretty much all genres and media really. You get exceptions, yeah, but I don’t think the problem of sexism in the media is all that bad in this day and age, at least for women.

    • I think the point he’s trying to make extends beyond the physical degradation of women in video games, though I would first like to point out that indeed, the men in video games are over muscled. But that isn’t crude by any means, rather it is a physical portrayal of how strong the character is supposed to be and the amount of power they possess. For women in video games, their breasts are a ridiculous size, they’re wearing unrealistic scanty clothing, and are often put in provocative poses. None of these things represent the characters power or strength. Furthermore, women are the ones who are disempowered in video games. Are there not games where only the male can take the leader position and the girl character has to listen to what he says or does? Are there not games where you can kill hookers? If that isn’t wrong, I’m not sure what is.

      • Please, just stop with this “crusade on video game misogyny.” Video games have had things like that since the beginning, and it’s only become a “problem” in recent years, and I honestly don’t see why. If you actually believe women in video games are being “disempowered,” then you need to play more than one or two games for more than an hour. I’m female, and I’ve NEVER had a problem with this, and I’ve been playing games since the ’80s. I’ve killed many a video game hooker in my time, and I never took it seriously, because it’s (gasp!) fantasy and not reality.

        • What are you talking about? Video games have NEVER, EVER been misogynistic. I really don’t see what the big fuss is these days, when video games have ALWAYS had half-naked women with giant boobs. Now suddenly it’s a problem and needs to be stopped? NO. JUST NO. Go back to your own damn hobby and leave ours alone. I’m truly sick of all this shit.

      • There are games like that, but there are also games to the opposite. Kill hookers, but also kill pimps.

        I have never once felt “physically degraded” by a video game. These are games made for a specific audience, who respond well to big boobs and little clothing. Much the same way lonely housewives respond well to Photoshopped male models in the almost nude on the front of racy novels.

      • If it’s part of the storyline envisioned by the writer then it’s part of the storyline. Not every game can mimic Skyrim or Mass Effect where you are able to play a character of your choice, some games require a male dominant role simply because that is who the story is actually about. As for physical appearance, yes some games do tend to exaggerate breast size and use provocative poses. You are going to see this often because overly muscled women aren’t as attractive as overly muscled men and “provocative poses” don’t work so well, as demonstrated by Jim Hines. Also the industry is dominated by men on both sides of the fence. And as Missacre said, women who are involved in that industry, on either side, probably aren’t as disturbed by these things as you are.

        Personally I think the whole thing is nuts. You look around sometimes and see 12 year old girls wearing hotpants and belly shirts, strip clubs, and Hooters girls, and yet you wonder why women are objectified in video games. These things don’t exist because some MAN held a gun to some woman’s head and told her to do it or else.

        If you took a good hard look at comic book characters like Thor or Iron Man, can you really envision a woman playing those roles? Can you envision a woman being the eccentric, narcissistic, alcoholic, super genius, billionaire who casually made weapons then suddenly turned around and stopped because she realized she was essentially providing weaponry to both sides of the conflict? That’s the personality that the storyline is about, and a male character fits that story better then a female one.

        Thor could vary easily be male or female. A god who takes pity on mortals and opts to leave his own world to defend the mortal one. The trouble is that Thor was based off of Norse mythology and in that mythology Thor was a man.

        Also you can’t tell me you’ve never seen a male comic book character hiding a squirrel in his pants.

    • It proves that comics are sexist, and portray both women and men in grossly distorted ways. The difference is that women are portrayed nearly 100% of the time as objects by which to satiate male sexual fantasies.

    • I miss the point of these things. Would we REALLY buy comics with ugly women/men as the heroes? NOOOOO. So please STFU women. We like the poses and if YOU liked the same the men would be drawn better…..

    • The only sad thing about this response is… YES men are fake in the comic books too, with their huge muscles and chisled faces…. BUT both the male and female characters in these situations are of the MALE ideal. Women with big tits, impossible proportions, and lots of skin… and Men built like brick sh*t houses who are champions at all they do. Both of these fantasies are of the Male ideal. This is where the sexism occurs, not just in the shallow “looks” of the character.

      • As I said, it is a male dominated industry from both the consumer’s and producer’s side. If you want to get involved in that industry, do so. If not, don’t. But don’t try to ruin it for those who are involved in this industry.

        It’s no different from you attempting to change the rules of Hockey because you don’t like the violence, yet have no intention to play or watch even if you get things set your way.

        Maybe I just have a really hard time understanding why “sexism” is a relevant thing. Denying women the right to vote, the ability to work, or refusing to acknowledge their performance is one thing. Claiming that fictional characters taking up “provocative poses” or having “huge chests” is somehow demeaning to your gender is quite another.

        It’s probably because guys think nothing of these characters. We enjoy the stories, the conflict, might even fantasize about the characters themselves in some sexual way. But most of us can identify the things that matter most to us and understand that fiction is fiction, and reality is something very different.

        And from that perspective, if anyone here is sexist, it’s you. You seem to think guys are too stupid to identify the differences between comics and reality. That we think less of women because we see them all the time half naked and battling giant robots while managing to contort themselves into interesting shapes. That our reason for “objectifying” them is somehow related to our exposure to select media.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality of both races and genders. But that means that you can’t cry about my choice of entertainment media any more then I can about whatever interests YOU might have that I might find distasteful or somehow demeaning.

        One reason you don’t see guys crying about shirtless men in action flicks (or naked butt shots of men, what have you) meant to attract more women to the movie is that… We don’t really care. Most of us don’t see it as demeaning because we just don’t take it personally, nor do we intend for it to be personal.

        In other word’s, it’s easy for you to say something is sexist. You care enough to think about it. When it comes to sexist slanders against men, we don’t. No matter if it’s truly sexist or not. I absolutely understand that the actions of men often impact the lives of women negatively and in a very sexist manner. But fiction is fiction, this isn’t going to impact your lives any more then a volcanic eruption on Alpha Centari Prime.

    • The issue is that men depicted in comics as hyper muscular and aggressive is a positive fantasy depiction for men to envision themselves in. Almost all female stereotypes in comics are derogatory toward women. They are made to titillate the men reading the comics. You almost never see a male stereotype in a comic that is a fantasy for women. Believe it or not, only men think big muscles and kicking the shit out of something while yelling out moronic, misogynistic one-liners is cool or sexy.

  2. Haha! This is brilliant! :D I hope he shares them on the Haweye Initiative blog. The women are far too often drawn in ridiculous ways that are not even physically possible.
    Way to go!

  3. I agree. There is no one railing how the majority of all male heros are over developed, emotionally stunted, and distant. No one questions how the majority of them are orphaned at an early age or left to grow up without parents. As long as they are putting it all aside in the name of justice then who cares. If your going to complain about objectification of women I get to complain about the emotional insecurity of Men.

  4. But it DOES matter, because over-the-top sexualization of female characters is much more prominent than over-the-top sexualized men. And the way they are drawn isn’t to show they are strong and capable, like the content of the comics usually imply, it is to show off their ‘attributes’, so to speak. If you are going to draw ‘strong, female characters’, MAKE THEM STRONG, FEARLESS, KICKASS FEMALE CHARACTERS WITHOUT MESSED UP ANATOMY JUST TO SHOW OFF THEIR BOOBS AND BUTT.

    • What exactly is the problem with having attractive female characters? As a woman myself and having seen a fair few women in my time, it’s not uncommon for women to like dressing to be attractive.

  5. I’m so sick of all this… Simply put, the vast majority of scifi readers are men. Yes, there are plenty of woman, but at the same time, how is making a woman look sexy degrading? The basis for feeling good about how you look is always based on how the opposite sex feels about it. Everyone talks about how woman are always having to live up to high expectations, but have you ever seen all the huge, built, over-muscular men? It goes both ways. And concerning a comment above, it’s not that it makes the man look stronger, but it makes him look more appealing. Once again, it’s all about what the opposite sex wants and likes. If woman liked fat men, the characters would be much fatter and vice versa. Why does no one discuss the implications that every male character in twilight had to have his shirt off the vast majority of the time? Simply put, it’s all about who their audience is. If you like scifi books, and you’re a female, you will have to deal with the fact that most woman don’t like it, and because of that, there will be hot sexy woman in them. Same goes for men who want to watch romance. There will be mushy gooey lovey dovey stuff in it. That’s because it’s what woman want in a romance. They don’t want explosions and people getting shot all the time. It’s all about who it’s marketed to.

    • This. I grew up with sci-fi and video games, and I’ve never had a problem with this so-called “degradation of women” neo-feminists are talking about these days. I honestly just want all this to go away. The only reason sci-fi, comics and video games are being rallied against is because this is apparently the “cool” thing to like, and as a result, people who were never interested in this before suddenly want it catered specifically to them because they “deserve” it or some such nonsense. This really does make me sad.

  6. what wasn’t mentioned – this was all done to raise money for a great cause – the Aicardi Syndrome Foundation. This cause is near and dear to my heart, as my 10 month old daughter suffers from this very rare disorder which affects her development, causes seizures, etc. for more info on Aicardi Syndrome please go to

  7. I have to agree with chill out. Honestly though, in my experience most people are hypocritical. Especially the ones that do most of the complaining. The women that do the most complaining about the objectification of women in comic books are probably the same one that are reading house wife porn and fixating on the muscular guy on the front of the book the entire time she reads it. Just like the one that complain about the objectification of women in strip clubs usually have no problem going to a strip club themselves to see a man swinging his junk in there face. No one makes these people do these things. Its their choice and its peoples own choice whether or not they want to see it. So why can’t people just worry about themselves.

  8. I’m sorry, but the male characters are just a ridiculously proportioned. How many men in real life are built like Michael Phelps? How realistic is it to expect any man to have a Michael Phelps physique? Because that is how all the male characters are depicted. I’m not saying PowerGirl’s ta-tas are not preposterous. I’m just saying that even the “nerdy” male characters look like they could moonlight as a Chipndales dancer.

  9. No one is saying women should not be portrayed as attractive, it’s that they should not be portrayed as fetish objects. The difference is important but may appear subtle to those who haven’t taken the time to understand the issue.

    • …I can’t think of a single female hero in comics who is treated as a “fetish object”, nor can I think of a sci-fi heroine treated as such. They are simply dressing in a way that’s sexy, and that’s ok. Some women actually like to dress sexy, and yet they’re usually the ones who bitch about this kind of nonsense.

  10. People seem to missing the point. The women are over-sexualised, and often are in poses that are physically impossible or utterly ridiculous.

    If you read Jim Hines’ personal website, you will see that whilst he was doing the shoot he suffered many a backache and sore muscles whilst trying to pull some of these poses off:

    These are only a few examples of the poses he did, and yes, he also did them for a good cause as well:

  11. I’d say he (and people who agree with him) are making a mountain out of a molehill, except there’s not even a molehill. Also Anestis, why does it even matter if the poses are physically possible/uber-uncomfortable? It’s a sodding illustration. It’s not some dude holding a gun to a womans head and forcing her to hold those weird poses.

    Also I’d like to add that as a musician I find commercial pop music distasteful and degrading (to real musicians) but you won’t find me crusading to get it stopped. Live your own life and don’t impinge on others lives.

      • Your point is women are overly-sexualized in the way they are presented when it comes to drawn characters. I’ll agree with you to an extent. I disagree that this is some kind of social problem though. Aesthetically speaking, they appear extremely awkward and I personally just don’t like the above images that Jim has chosen to duplicate.

        I went ahead and looked at the rest of the links just now (because now I have the time) and yes, more of the same. Images I personally don’t care for because they are unrealistic in nature, except for the “A Brush of Darkness” pose, that was fairly sexy, the chick not Jim. Most of those images I would not look at twice.

        The point everyone else has made is that their portrayal in modern media has no baring on anyone’s view point of women in general. There are chauvinistic/sexist assholes out there but they probably aren’t comic book nerds, artists, OR authors. It also is nothing new, women have been drawn in rather awkward and flat out grotesque forms since the dawn of art. Old paintings, particularly those of religious nature, often showed women as almost serpentine. My very feminist, very artsy, and also very good friend told me that this was probably done to make women appear less human. I’m fairly certain she is correct, as they obviously were not meant to look entirely human. And also I lack the degree in historic art, not about to argue with a 4 or 5 time college grade on various forms of art.

        I’d like to know why this is a problem for you though. The real reason why, none of this “it’s how they are portrayed!” garbage. I’m guessing there are women out there who have or would jump at the opportunity to get a picture of themselves posing like cat woman given half a chance. The poses clearly aren’t physically impossible, unlikely yes but not impossible. And they are exactly that, poses for a picture meant to be memorable, not a demonstration of something these women do on a daily basis.

        And finally, it’s fictional art. It’s virtually impossible to present a realistic image of a fantasy character without an actual model to draw. My guess is most artists have to go with a vague image in their head of what the main character looks like based on a description handed to them by a publisher who read the book hastily, or the author themselves. And a lot of those book covers had female names as authors.

  12. I like it. I think it’s interesting to see a man do those poses and, well, it makes me laugh. I had a good time looking at these. Thank you Jim Hines.

  13. It’s Fantasy. Do you remember the Matrix? When people (both men and women) had a choice to create an Avatar version of themselves in the Matrix they chose to enhance their looks, they chose to become as sexier, cooler and badass. Yes that was a movie but I bet all the money in my TARDIS piggy bank that most people given a similar choice would do the same. Therefore when creating fantasy comic book, why this big fuss about depicting superheroes (again both men and women) in a sexier, cooler and more badass way then a skinny bald man dressing up in women’s clothes?

    If you want to focus on images in the media being sexist and influencing women in a negative way focus more on the real models who are way to thin and the famous women who look perfect (especially after a good airbrushing) and make normal girls and women feel inadequate to the point where they are starving and harming themselves. Focus on something REAL!

  14. I feel bad for all you kids growing up in a homogeneous androgynous culture… I can only imagine what you PC people would have done to carved figures on mastheads and pin-up girls on WW2 aircraft!

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