COMBATTING THE OBJECTIFATION OF WOMEN: SCI-Fi and Fantasy Book Covers
If you’ve ever stood in the Sci-Fi section of the bookstore and looked at the covers and snickered to yourself, you may enjoy this. The pictures in the links show the ridiculousness of the extreme artwork, both male and female. The Hawkeye Test concept combines both humour and fact.
We Humans are such silly creatures.
“People think that if you give the girl a gun, suddenly she’s a strong woman,” said Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a fantasy writer.
“But maybe she’s still a sex object. We forget that the pose, the cropping, the way it’s painted [all] tell a story. So if you have one element that says strength - like a gun - but everything else doesn’t follow that, that’s not the narrative you think you have.”
Gallo thinks part of the problem is that male artists greatly outnumber female artists in the industry.
“You go to art school, and it’s 50-50,” Gallo said. “But professionally, it’s overwhelmingly male.
” This is an unfortunate fact of the industry. These artists grew up with comics and gaming, so it’s easy to perpetuate these things without thinking them through.”
Marketing strategies may also be responsible for sexist covers. But the mantra that sex sells may not be accurate.
According to 2012 data from publishing industry analysts Codex Group, less overtly explicit covers in fact have a wider appeal among general readers.
Codex Chief Executive Officer Peter Hildick-Smith remains puzzled why science fiction and fantasy publishers sell sexualised covers.
“My guess is that it has simply evolved as category convention, allowing book buyers to instantly know that a given books is in one of their preferred categories,” he said.
Hines, author of such titles as Libriomancer, The Mermaid’s Madness and Goblin Quest, says many in the science fiction and fantasy community have not had to think about harmful messaging or sexism.
While momentum is building, Hines does not think the industry is at a tipping point yet. And that means readers will likely see covers he says objectify women for a while.
Hines is just trying to make sure his covers aren’t among them.
“My next book has a woman on the cover,” Hines says.
“And I told my publisher: ‘if you put her into one of these spine-contorted poses, the entire internet is going to make fun of you.’”
…I shared your tumblr on G+ I got some feedback from one of my friends. He said:
‘… This leads me to propose the Hawkeye Test. If your female character can be replaced by Hawkeye in the same pose without looking silly or stupid, then it’s acceptable and probably non sexist. If you can’t, then just forget about it.’
Huge thanks to everyone who made this highly entertaining tumblr possible.
What is the purpose of The Hawkeye Initiative?
To draw attention to how deformed, hyper-sexualized, and unrealistically posed/dressed women are drawn in comics.
How did The Hawkeye Initiative get started?
Archivist started the blog after seeing the Origin posts on Tumblr, as a means to keep track of all the artwork that was being created without overflowing her own Dash. The blog’s title came from one of the tags on Hoursago’s post.
What? When did this happen!?
The first post on The Hawkeye Initiative blog was made December 2nd, 2012. The rest, as they say, is history…
Superhero comics is a fantastical world full of larger-than-life characters and stories, but as many critics in comics culture have noted, its art often depicts female characters in unusually ridiculous poses that push the limits of credulity – even in a world where people shoot lasers from their eyes and constantly come back from the dead.
On a Tumblr called The Hawkeye Initiative, a group of comics fans and artists have taken a fresh look at the issue, and the often spine-wrenching drawings of superheroines, by simply substituting a new character in their place: the bow-wielding superhero and Avenger Hawkeye.
The meme originally kicked off with a post by Tumblr user Hoursago, who noted the discrepancy in how Hawkeye and Black Widow were posed on the cover of a Marvel Adventure Super-Heroes comics, and tried her hand at a piece of original art that swapped their poses. Inspired, webcomic artist Noelle Stevenson proposed a hypothesis: The way to fix all the inexplicable stances of female characters — so ubiquitous in superhero comics that they often go unnoticed — is simply to ‘replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing.’
Soon the Hawkeye Initiative was off and running, with dozens of contributions pouring in from fans and artists to help her test the theory.