Power Girl’s New Suit Problem

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Power Girl Tanya Spears, DC Comics, Kenneth Rocafort, 2015This image of the Tanya Spears as the new Power Girl has been circling around the internet, causing a stir by the lack of “boob window” in her outfit. I was thrilled myself until I saw the way she’s being drawn.

Before I dive into my dismay, let me say there’s a lot to be excited about with Tanya Spears as Power Girl. I’m thrilled to have a smart female character in any comic. Line them up and I’ll read them all day. Smart girls and women are the best! Add to it that she’s a butt kicking, beautiful POC and my money is just begging to be taken.

Now is where I get angry. Why the heck is her suit so tight?

I’m more than angry that this character is sixteen years old and her suit is so tight that we can see her breast curves, both cleavage and under boob. I’d like to think I’m level headed and forgiving of missteps on gender representation, but the overt sexualization of a teenage character really fires me up.  It’s especially frustrating when you see such a great example in titles like Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan.

Teen Titans ran into controversy last year when the cover for issue #1 featured Wonder Girl, another teenage girl, being drawn with carefully outlined and emphasized breasts. While this depiction of Power Girl is something of an improvement, it’s not good enough for me.

I’m willing to entertain the idea that maybe this is a reflection on the artist rather than her character in Teen Titans. For example, artist Kenneth Rocafort worked on the Teen Titans #1 cover and is also credited with the art for the comic ad. Tanya’s rendering on the cover of Teen Titans #6 by artist Kalman Andrasofszky, seems better, her body certainly looks more realistic, but the boob curve issue is still prominent.

As for the removal of the boob window, I’m cautiously optimistic that it will stay gone. The gold circle on her chest was a boob window in earlier appearances, including the cover of World’s Finest Issue #1 released in September 2014. I’m hoping with all the buzz on the internet, DC Comics and everyone involved in the project will leave it behind and we can really celebrate its demise. I’ll be the first one at the RIP Boob Window party.

All in all, there are lots of positives with the new Power Girl. I really want to be supportive of diverse female characters. I love seeing diverse representations of female bodies because let’s face it, we have beautiful bodies. The one thing I can’t support is sexualization of teenage characters for no reason. It’s a shame that I feel torn on giving this book a read solely because of the art, but change is happening and my fingers are crossed that it will get better.

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About Author

Brenda works in tech by day and as a geek, maker, STEM community builder by night. She uses her super hero powers for the good of all kind.

6 Comments

  1. I think the fact that she’s completely covered, plus wearing a coat(a crappy looking coat but a coat none the less) is more of a victory than the fact that costume being form fitting is a loss. For me, it’s certainly not bad enough to warrant not supporting it. But Wonder Girl’s costume is still dreadful and much, much worse than anything going on with PG’s outfit.

  2. I honestly thought the gold circle on her chest *was* a boob window. Cleavage doesn’t work like that under fabric.

  3. mysticvortex13 on

    Look, for the last time, if there’s no acts of sexuality going on, its not sexualizing, just suggestive. All the sexualization is from your interpretation. Even if she had no outfit it still wouldn’t be sexual. Indecent perhaps, but not sexual.

    It doesn’t matter what the age of a person is, a life is a life until otherwise stated by the laws of the universe they’re from. If you’re going by our universe’s laws instead of hers, you’d be breaking the fourth wall unless speaking directly to the writers who control it.

    And even then, no matter how you may wish it otherwise, we have freedom of expression for a reason. legally, that reason is recognized only as the government not being able to control what you say, but really its because we shouldn’t pressure other people about the choice they make unless it impacts others.

    I suppose you’ve the right to be dissatisfied with how things are at least, they’re a business, they don’t do it for fun, and the customer is always right.. But still, this is kind of comparable to a person going into the 99 cent store and trying to haggle because the stuff there is so poorly made it should by all rights be free.

    • Brenda Noiseux on

      Thanks for sharing your opinion! The most important point I was trying to make was to let DC and fans know that although it’s better, I’d like the creators to be more thoughtful in the way they portray teenagers. I want teenage girls (and women) to feel comfortable buying a title for great characters but it can be difficult when female characters s are drawn to emphasize physical assets instead of the character’s personality.
      Since we know that current Teen Titans universe is similar to our own, I don’t think it’s a stretch to think our ways our similar. That might hold true an alternate universe book or other stories, like Saga, where the world is very different than our own. Adding emphasis on cleavage and breast outlines are construed in our current world as connected to acts of attraction and intimate (sexual) attraction, but I’ll meet you in the middle on sexualized vs. suggestive. Your bring up good points to add to the discussion. I’m so happy this post has generated side discussions and hope they continue.