An Immodesty Proposal

Posted by on February 10th, 2010 at 1:00 PM


Cover by Ed Benes, Rob Hunter and Nei Ruffino; ©2009 DC Comics.

Ricocheting my way around the Internet (the Jan. 28 entry of Journalista to the Forbidden Planet site with a post written by “Joe” referring to “Fanboy Wife”), I came upon a lament regarding the depiction of female breasts in comics, specifically their inflation, as represented by the inspirational cover of DC’s Blackest Night Tales of the Corps #3.

In the hopes of furthering righteous grassroots foment, I pass along notice of the work of Valerie Boyer, a legislator in the French National Assembly. Ms Boyer has proposed a law that would require that “digitally altered photographs of people used in advertising be labeled as retouched” (this according to Steven Erlanger with input from Maia de la Baume in a piece in the Dec. 3, 2009 edition of The New York Times. Her legislative campaign is specifically aimed at a fashion industry that traffics in depictions of female undernourishment and skin without blemish as ideals for women, particularly young girls. In glorifying such altered appearances we wind up promoting, according to Boyer, “a standardized and brainwashed world” of beauty and health wherein “those who aren’t part of it are excluded from it.” That’s a mindset directly complicit with the “anorexic lifestyle” and “pro-ana (for pro-anorexia) movement.”

You can see where I’m going with this.

Why not require labels on American funnybooks from the great commercial mills that likewise routinely distort anatomy and promote particularly warped images of women for meretricious purposes? Why not a make a move against the pro-And (for pro-Pamela Anderson) movement?

The automotive industry provides a possible model for such an accompanying disclaimer: “Warning: Objects on chests appear larger than humanly possible.” Or, if we’re willing to go the extra mile for veracity’s sake: “Milk producing glands inflated by corporate tools willing to pander to mammary-addled potential patrons.” That’s a little unwieldy to use around the office, but I’m sure cleverer public-service-minded consumer advocates could do the notion justice with a little thought.

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4 Responses to “An Immodesty Proposal”

  1. Mike Hunter says:

    Bravo, sir!

    And how about a logo to display on covers of tasteful titles, proudly announcing the uninflated status of their heroines?

    http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/3222/nobazooms3.jpg

  2. Sorry to break it to you guys, but there already was a grass-roots movement for this kind of thing back in 1954. It was called:

    THE COMICS CODE AUTHORITY
    CODE FOR EDITORIAL MATTER

    “GENERAL STANDARDS PART C . . .

    4. Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities. NOTE: It should be recognized that all prohibitions dealing with costume, dialogue, or artwork apply as specifically to the cover of a comic magazine as they do to the contents.”

    http://www.comicartville.com/comicscode.htm

  3. R.C. Harvey says:

    I don’t mind that this feminine attribute on superheroine types is depicted at super dimensions—superheroes’ musculature is similarly exaggerated. But shouldn’t even large breasts look as if they could move? Too many of these depictions look like the front bumper of a 1957 Buick.

  4. Mike Hunter says:

    Come to think of it, though, aren’t superhero muscles routinely depicted as permanently frozen in firm rigidity?

    They could be relaxing around the super-clubhouse and they’d still look fully-“pumped,” like http://www.chrisdickerson.net/photos/BeachPose.jpg , or http://tinyurl.com/ylr7tuz