The issue of how women are treated in comics is a contentious debate, yet like their male counterparts the women are superheroes, with powerfully strong bodies and ingenious specialty powers. Do the similarities end there?
Whilst women as superheroines in comics wear revealling and totally impractical costumes, it's the sexual violence perpetuated against them that remains consistent and alarming.
- Huntress - sexually abused and close to insanity.
- Karen Page - addicted to drugs, turned to making porn movies, contracted HIV and later died.
- MsMarvel/Warbird - under went mind-control, pregnant from rape and had her memories and powers stolen by Rogue.
- Starfire - raped, tortured, enslaved and forced into two marriages.
Is it that the female superheroines in comics are merely supporting players that serve as plot devices to the male superhero quest? Is it that most comic creators are men, serving a male-dominated audience and is therfore an ideal vehicle for intense hostilities towards women? Is the misogyny part of a wider backlash that perceives loss of an established power base as women step-up and enter the public sphere more and more?
Alex DeWitt, girlfriend of Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) was murdered and stuffed into Kyle's refrigerator.
Women in Refrigerators lists the many, many women heroes from comic books and their various, often sexually violent deaths. Contributors to Women in Refrigerators include John Bartol, who submitted a list of male superheroes and their comic book deaths entitled: Dead Men Defrosting.
A fascinating read.