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

Misty Knight, Marvel Premiere 21, 1975, Marvel Comics, Writer: Tony Isabella, Penciler: Arvell Jones, Inker: Vince Colletta, Colourist: Stan Goldberg, Letterer: Joe Rosen, Editor: Len Wein

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.


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.

Claire Napier

Claire Napier

Critic, ex-Editor in Chief at WWAC, independent comics editor; the rock that drops on your head. Find me at clairenapierclairenapier@gmail.com and give me lots of money