Some More Thoughts On “The Hawkeye Initiative”
"I think the point is…"
There are a whole mess of comments on that article that begin with this refrain. And I would be able to take them much more seriously if they didn’t betray the fact that the people making them didn’t actually read the article.
In fact, the second point on the article (y’know, after “I hate everything”) is a very generous estimation of what I thought the point of The Hawkeye Initiative was. Unfortunately, I have to make an estimation of it, because the management at The Hawkeye Initiative have never really made their intent clear.
I would also be able to take these comments much more seriously if they didn’t betray the fact that the people making them don’t actually read The Hawkeye Initiative.
"The point of The Hawkeye Initiative is to make fun of the ridiculousness of female anatomy in comics."
"The point of The Hawkeye Initiative is to point out the ridiculousness of female costumes in comics."
"The point of the Hawkeye Initiative is to point out the over-sexualization of female characters in comics."
Help me out here, please.
Here we have Spider-Woman, adopting a classic Spider-Man pose. The pose isn’t sexualized, her costume is one of the most conservative in comics, and her anatomy, while exaggerated, all fits together the way a human body should.
Here we have Hawkeye. Whose ass has been made into a focal point of the piece in ways not present in the original. Whose back is arched in a way not present in the original. Whose face is contorted into a coy smile with old-school Disney cartoon eyelashes, all features not present in the original.
Tell me where the satire is here, please. Tell me where the commentary is. Tell me where the humor comes from, if it doesn’t come from the fact that Hawkeye looks feminine.
This is Batgirl. Like Spider-Woman, Batgirl has one of the most conservative costumes in comics. It doesn’t just cover her head to toe, but it’s clearly got some built-in body armor going on. Her anatomy is well done, everything fits together the way it’s supposed to. And her pose isn’t overtly sexualized. Barbara Gordon’s athleticism has its origins in dance. She trained as a ballerina as a child, and that story element is communicated through this pose.
I love the exuberance of this picture, let’s be clear. It’s really cute, and I like Hawkeye’s smile (we don’t get to see superheroes smile enough). But I’m still not seeing the commentary or the satire that the site’s defenders (not necessarily the site itself) claim is there.
This one does have some issues. Poison Ivy’s pose is silly. Thrusting your chest out isn’t a necessary component of backhanding someone. Neither is wearing a thong/bustier combo. Catwoman’s costume, however, is fairly conservative. There’s no boob pouches or butt pouches. Her anatomy’s a bit wonky, but not in a manner that’s egregiously sexual.
You’d think Ivy would be the focus of the following commentary.
Yeah, no. Hawkeye’s given a thong (which, again, Catwoman is NOT wearing in the original piece). His anatomy is more exaggerated than in the original piece. And in the place of Poison Ivy we have Black Widow. With bigger breasts, an even tinier waist, and a painful looking thong.
I can’t find the commentary in making the piece MORE anti-woman.
This isn’t even comic book art. It’s pin-up art. It’s overt intention is to be sexy. And even still, the anatomy is really good, the craftsmanship in the painting is gorgeous, her body type is one we would NEVER see in a mainstream comic book (isn’t that sad that SHE is too big to be considered a superhero?).
Is this supposed to be funny? Biting commentary? Witty satire? What’s being said about the previous piece with this one? Honestly, I don’t even know at this point.
Um, she’s missing her right arm. That’s literally the only thing wrong with this piece, and when you’re drawing at least a page a day as a professional artist, some things are gonna slip through. Every single woman reading this has put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt in her life. And where’s this “Mr. New Booty” coming from? The girl in the original piece HAS no booty, nor is she shaking it, nor is she wearing a thong or engaging in sex work or any of the other things that song is about. It’s just kinda thrown in there.
Last one, I promise.
If that’s supposed to be satire… Well, that’s just some straight-up homophobia right there.
A lot of the posts are okay-to-good. But there are a LOT of examples like this. And examples like these send the message loud and clear: Femininity is something to be mocked.
I am NOT mad at the Initiative. I’m NOT mad at the artists, either. Misogyny and homophobia and transphobia are SO prevalent in our world that it’s an extremely easy trap to fall into. But when the trap has been pointed out to you, and you insist on telling me that I just don’t understand the intent behind the people who fell into it, I’m gonna have to say something.
But I don’t expect you’ll read this. Cuz you didn’t really read the first one. You wouldn’t talk to me and my friends like we don’t know what we’re talking about. You wouldn’t talk about how this project is supposed to “benefit women” as if me and my friends were not ourselves women. Cuz, y’know, we covered this already, and you’d know that if you’d respected us enough to read what we wrote.
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