Misty Knight and the Case of the Ridiculous Males: Bra Holster Hell

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Alright, you got breasts? Then you don’t need to read this (unless: catharsis?). Not have’em? Sit down and listen. L-i-s-t-e-n. Especially you, Joe Bennet, Nick Spencer, Tom Brevoort. For this is a problem from Feb 3rd’s Captain America: Sam Wilson #6.

This is an atrocious and terrible character design. It’s for a character with a forty-one year history of having no patience with nonsense, which goes to show that Marvel employs a number of damn fools—this should not stand.

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Misty is seen here—in her debut, post-Secret Wars, her reintroduction to the new, better, because-you-allegedly-asked-for-it Marvel Universe (in this! Black History Month)—wearing a holster (?) that, image-wise, amounts to a frame for her bosom. It’s a breast frame. It emphasizes and centers her breasts. In the most basic, immediate and obvious sense, this is a sexist outfit and for that reason it is bad.

Misty has been put in this abomination because “does she have nice breasts” is an important element in the “shall we let this pre-menopausal woman be present in our story” equation. This is the house Stan and Jack have built. They didn’t build it alone or in an untamed wildnerness, but Marvel can answer for sexism as much as Marvel employs it: Marvel Makes Mammaries Matter. It’s not fair, kind, or right to do this kind of breast-emphasis, and that’s compounded by the context of the image’s publication.

But that’s not what I’m here to help you with, sonny jim! Ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, ol’ boy! I’m here to teach you about how a breast actually works, because clearly, you ain’t know. What you’ve done here, Marv, is you’ve sandwiched the holster between the breast and the torso. This is what Misty’s midsection looks like, in sort-of cross-section:

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This is the exact opposite of what tends to be done to breasts, in clothing.

Okay, in one sense, there are two kinds of breasts. There are breasts that have a folded inframammary fold (the breasts that can hold a pen, or pens, tucked under the bulk of the breast when the breast-haver is standing upright), and there are breasts that don’t (those which protrude straight away from the portion of the torso that they grow from, more of an inframammary corner; these are the smaller breasts, generally, which is no slight to them).

Misty has a decided inframammary fold, which is obvious from the way that her breasts, as I note, are “folded” over the presumable leather of her holster harness. This is how a breast with an inframammery fold wears a tank top:

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There may be some natural tucking, as the fabric responds to the contours of the underside of the breast and the torso, but the fabric is not encouraged to lie between the breast and the torso.This is how a wired bra works:

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The wires lie flush with the torso, below the breast, and following its curve. The inframammary fold is ignored, essentially treated as a structural fault, because to anchor the breast on the torso (the point of a bra, beyond nipple-taming) creates some support for the torso carrying the breast. It also helps avoid some unsolicited objectification, because unanchored, breasts are prone to jiggle and swing.

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The rest of the bra is applied to similarly keep the breasts still and approximately centered on the torso. Basically, the aim of the average modern bra is to keep the base of the breast close to the torso, whilst also keeping the bulk of the breast elevated forwards or outwards, from the ribs.

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This allows the movement of the breast—a naturally shifting, momentum-gathering body part with its own weight—to be largely controlled and reduced. The breast is trapped within a dome-like prison, able only to move freely once released at home. A sports bra does much the same.

This is how Misty Knight’s “push up holster” helps control the movement of her breasts:

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It totally fucking doesn’t, you boneheads. In fact, what with keeping the skin around her breasts fixed in place—

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—this holster actually increases the likelihood of skin tears, burns, and muscle strain that an active SUPERHEROINE might suffer from were she to do her job naked. This is an aggressively harmful contraption—it avoids the basic bodily protection that a researched, normal bra would offer, and it actually adds to the dangers her body faces during combat, chases, or basic movement.

And yea, we must consider that she is a superheroine—an action woman in an active world. It’s obvious that the holster can’t be skintight and inflexible, because then Misty could not breathe and she would die. There must be a looseness to it or an elastication. Consider, then: what if friend or foe does or must grab Misty by her holster-harness? What if somebody super-strong decides to throw her at a wall, or catch her during a fall, or et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum?

Ever hear about that drummer whose arm got sliced off by his seat belt?

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Do you really think that Misty Knight, she of the bionic arm, would risk the need of a bionic tit?Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 17.23.07

You idiots. You terrible nerds. You’re telling us exactly how much you care for Misty Knight, and how you conceptualize her body. Misty isn’t just Misty. She’s a character, relatable and an icon, a long-running free agent, a black woman in Marvel Comics. And you? You’d rather frame and sever her breasts than miss out on gazing upon them.

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About Author

The rock that drops on your head. WWAC Chief Comics Ed. Find me at claire.napier@wwacomics.com

12 Comments

  1. If you think you can do better publish a comic from scratch and build a fan base that appeals go men and women. Makes everyone happy. Not as easy as it sounds is it?

    • Taking an anatomy lesson before drawing a ridiculously illogical contraption that serves no other purpose than to objectify the character’s breasts is actually quite easy. As for publishing a comic from scratch? How does that relate to a well established character in a well established company that ought to know better? You know what appeals to both men and women? Good stories and characters that aren’t treated like objects.

    • Oh, it is very easy indeed.

      Just to name one, Daughter of the Lilies is a wonderful webcomic with no bra holsters, and I am sure some of the readers are male. (Even if they weren’t, though, who CARES?)

  2. Fantastic article.

    I’ve been reading comics for over thirty years.
    Nearly every male artist, writer and editor in the industry needs to take some basic anatomy lessons when it comes to women. And even if you ignore the absurdity of the deadly holster design, the objectifying bullshit that apparently passes for Misty’s new costume (dear God I hope Sanford Greene has a better design for when she inevitably shows up in the new Power Man and Iron Fist) is entirely the wrong direction our supposedly All New, All Different Marvel is supposed to be taking.

    Ugh.

    Thank you for taking the time to enlighten we non-breast-havers as to the ridiculousness of this latest farce from the comics industry.

    • Remind me again how it’s possible for people so obsessed with womens’ bodies as objects and images to be constantly stared at to have absolutely no idea of their logistics?

      • To be honest, it’s probably an obsession based in imagery, not experience. That’s not to say that nobody drawing dodgy tits has ever had good sex with somebody who had breasts; I’m not sure that real life experience necessarily impacts artistic output in quite that way. But if an artist grows up hornily fixated on comic book cleavage or wank mag spreads, they’re going to associate certain elements with “the kind of breast you look at”. And those elements probably won’t be comfort, reality, or battle-readiness.

        • Matthew. Payne on

          It’s not art technically. Technically at the point marvel is its design. If you want to keep your job you design what will sell regardless. Of what you think. When you need to eat, design what ever the specs are.

  3. What kills me is that not only is the support non-functional, but the placement of the holsters is questionable as well. If you’re not concealing your firearms, as you would normally do with shoulder holsters, than why use them and not a hip holster? Shoulder holsters work well enough for men with flat chests, not so much for large breasted women. She has to reach around her breasts to draw, or chicken wing her arms.

  4. Also also, why would you leave a large portion of your chest unarmored if you are going up against bad guys? That’s as impractical and dangerous as those fantasy breastplates with the “boob domes.”