Leery of the unrealistic female body ideals perpetrated in superhero comics, Buzzfeed had a little fun getting a group of women to pose as the crime-fighters were drawn. Spoiler: the requirements are superhuman.
The women posed as Spider-Woman (Nina), Wonder Woman (Kirsten), Black Widow (Allison), Red Sonja (Sheridan), Storm (Candace) and Psylocke (Kristin.)
“I’ll be fine if I go to the chiropractor later,” Allison says valiantly.
After contorting as best she can, Kirsten observes: “They’re drawings, and her spine is a ‘Z’ and her butt is a bubble and it’s just not something that my body will ever look like.”
Sheridan, who describes her body type as “plus size,” laments the impossible task of attempting to compete with a “life size Barbie.”
The experiment is good-natured but shows up a persistent caricaturing of female superheroes that emphasize their breasts and backsides. “I’m trying to fight crime but at the same time I’ve got to look beautiful and hot and like a boss-ass bitch,” says Candace.
“I’d like to see her in some kind of strength pose instead of a sex pose,” is Nina’s takeaway.
Buzzfeed later photoshopped the women to look like the characters they were portraying, emphasizing the absurd fantasy that powerful female superheroes are depicted as “half-naked women contorted to show off their boobs and butts,” according to Nina.
“I just find everything so hilariously awful,” says Sheridan. “I know a lot of people will say ‘It’s just a cartoon’ or ‘It’s not real’ but what people don’t realize is how these images can actually affect women — and men alike. We’re perpetuating an image that is physically impossible to attain. Is there something wrong with having women with rib cages fight crime? Or do they HAVE to have heart-shaped bums in order to succeed?”