Robot 6

Empowering vs. protecting the children

powerpuff girls6Where is the line? When is an image empowering, and when is it too risque? While the case of the contested variant cover of The Powerpuff Girls #6 has a lot of silly aspects, its core speaks to larger issues the comic book industry has been wrestling with of late, and may find itself wrestling with even more. The questions it raises aren’t always easy to answer — as is so often the case, the devil is in the details.

All-ages comics have a larger presence now than they have in decades. Every month, tie-ins to popular kids’ shows and original books suitable for readers are released in high enough numbers that you could open a comic book store that’s just for kids. Many stores have increased their kids sections, and with events like Free Comic Book Day, it’s easier for those shops to prove themselves to parents as a safe place. Meanwhile, awareness of the industry’s female readership has never been higher; in October, digital comics platform comiXology released some startlingly specific data: Its average female reader is “17-26 years old, college-educated, lives in the suburbs, and is new to comics. She prefers Tumblr to Reddit. She may have never even picked up a print comic.” In six years, female readership on comiXology increased from less than 5 percent to 20 percent.

That’s a cosmic shift in demographics for an industry that for decades was fairly accurately characterized as having a readership composed of predominantly of white men, ages 30 to 50. It’s a shift that many have been advocating for a long time because it makes for a healthier industry: Any business major will tell you that to succeed, a business or industry shouldn’t rely on one source of income; diversify, diversify, diversify. But that means the way the industry functions must shift as well. And that’s not always comfortable. However, working through these growing pains is good for comics.

Ten or 20 years ago, it’s unlikely Mimi Yoon’s cover would’ve bothered anyone; it wouldn’t have registered as a blip on the “unfortunate” or “uncomfortable” scales (and, heck, there are plenty of far more “sexualized” covers out there). The unease, though, comes from its target demographic, young girls. But is that the audience? As the comics industry becomes more and more segmented, it’s no longer quite as clear cut.

The Powerpuff Girls is a 20-year-old franchise. Similar to the success of My Little Pony, The Powerpuff Girls shares at least two generations of fans: nostalgic adults and kids discovering the animated property for the first time. It’s also not so easily dismissed as strictly “for girls.” While it may not have a Bronies-level reputation, Powerpuff Girls always had wide appeal across both genders because of its sharp writing, visual references and action. As one cross-section, take a look at the IMDb reviews of the original TV series: Some were already in their 20s when they discovered the show, some were kids. Some male, some female. There’s even debate among the reviewers whether it’s intended for kids. What’s clear is that the show, and by extension the franchise, is truly “all ages” — meaning for kids and adults.

Cartoon Network has always been aware of its older demographic; that’s most classically exemplified by its Adult Swim programming. So it probably shouldn’t be too surprising that the network would want to experiment and target the older Powerpuff Girls. The cover is clearly imagining the trio older — a classic “what if my favorite characters grew up?” It seems like a fun image to offer to older fans, but is the cover of a typically all-ages comic the place to do it? None of the other covers or variant covers of IDW Publishing’s Powerpuff Girls miniseries have taken such liberties with the characters’ traditional designs. Is it asking too much of retailers to monitor the age-appropriateness of variant covers of all-ages comics? I’m not a retailer, despite my brief experience working at a really terrible shop, so it’s hard for me to know. Maybe if all of the subscription variants had a slightly older feel to them, it would make sense to put those covers in with all of the other general comics, and put the clearly on-model covers in the kids section.

The final piece of this comes down to whether it’s really all that damaging an image to young girls. There are plenty of studies that support the belief that media have contributed to poor body images in girls, which later lead to eating disorders and other problems as women. Obviously, this is a cumulative effect. One Powerpuff Girls comic in isolation doesn’t do much, but in the larger tapestry of twerking Miley Cyrus, Photoshopped super-models and everything else pop culture pretends is normal, maybe it’s adding to that.

Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s empowering, which IDW’s Dirk Wood explained was likely Cartoon Network’s intent when it commissioned the illustration. Maybe it’s like Brave, maybe it’s like Black Widow in The Avengers. Maybe it’s just three young women being kick-ass, just like they were when they were little kids. I have no doubt that for a significant number of girls, that’s exactly how it would resonate, and that makes it a very worthwhile image. Because instead of doing harm or doing nothing, it’s actually doing good. It’s actually contributing to cancelling out some of that subconscious messaging that women supposedly can’t be tough, independent, capable and use teamwork with other women.

So which is it? The skirts are maybe a tad short, but I think it’s fine. But the truth is that I am among that dreaded white-male demographic still very prevalent within the industry. I can never know what it’s like to grow up with the constant visual cues saying I’m not enough and that I’m supposed to act a certain way. I can a little, because I’m not built like Chris Hemsworth, but it’s not on the same scale. So I don’t think it’s my place to say whether Yoon’s cover is inappropriate or damaging to young girls. I can have an opinion about it, but I can’t really know if society at large should be restricted from seeing it or owning a copy.

The truth is, everyone is going to gauge it differently. The majority of stores didn’t have a red flag for this cover. If any did, they probably just didn’t order any copies. But the way our industry is expanding, this kind of tug of war between protection and empowering will continue. All we can do is keep talking about it with a level head (or for some, start talking about it with a level head) and keep learning. Our industry is getting better, but hat doesn’t mean it’s going to be easier.

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50 Comments

I hope the Comics Temperance Movement will stay consistent in their message and begin poo-pooing stuff like this as well…

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/116038127873234357/

…not that I have a problem with it myself but because it’s important to give all sexiness equal treatment under Comics Code Authority 2.0. Besides, kids go to Cons as much as (probably actually MORE than) they go to DM stores.

That this tame, relatively plain PPG variant cover was pulled isn’t a victory for comics.

I just realized why this cover gives off a sexualized vibe to me, and I’m kicking myself for not seeing it before:

The way Bubbles and Blossom are posed reminds me of how the women in J. Scott Campbell’s “Good Girl” art pin-ups are posed, which ARE supposed to be sexualized. That’s probably why I get a weird vibe from this cover. Plus the short skirts and thigh high boots-that-look-like-stockings make it look like like a J. Scott Campbell Good Girl pin-up. Also, the way Mimi draws their faces and bodies looks kinda Campbell-ian.

If you’ve ever seen a J. Scott Campbell drawing of a woman (and ALL of his drawings of women are sexualized), and then looked at this, it’d be hard for some sexual connotations to not come up.

Plus, those costumes are way too shiny. That’s just weird…

So, yeah, I say blame J. Scott Campbell for getting famous by drawing women the way a creepy pervert would, and thus ruining this cover us.

God, I hate that guy…. He doesn’t have time to finish the Spider-man issues he’s been teasing for 8 years now, but he can do like 20 different variant covers with women in barely-there, skintight outfits in ridiculous poses, many of them children’s fairytale characters, which just gives off a weird lolicon vibe…

Interesting observations.

I gave up on comics in recent years because I grew tired of how sexualized women had become. (That and the New 52 is a mess.) An easy litmus test for gender equality in comics? Imagine the cover image, only with male characters posing the same way, and dressed the same. Some of my favorite characters just became too scantily clad. Why does Huntress–a human with no superpowers–have an exposed midriff and short shorts? It’s illogical. Same with Star Sapphire. I got tired of it.

Whether girls are affected by this remains to be seen, but it’s probably safe to assume it does contribute to body images issues. The Powerpuff Girls cover isn’t too bad, relatively speaking, but it speaks to a larger issue.

“Any business major will tell you that to succeed, a business or industry shouldn’t rely on one source of income; diversify, diversify, diversify.”

Speaking as a person with an MBA, this isn’t 100% true. You can actually get pretty far through specialization. The business diversification mantra was hammered deeply in the 90’s, but it resulted in a lot of companies that got too bloated.

And I think this really is a case of specialization, since IDW is more in the market of nostalgia works, as you mentioned, which are inevitably tied with childhood. I don’t think the rise of a female readership or a wider distribution model has much to do with it. There was a mention that this wouldn’t have happened years ago, but it’s not like those Bratz dolls weren’t around causing controversy back then, too. (More than one late night comedian must’ve made the gag about them teaching little kids to be strippers.) Its market is kid and childhood, plain and simple, and though it’s been on the wane, kids comics have always been around.

(A fun experiment, by the way: replace the Powerpuff Girls with Bratz characters. I bet no one would bat an eye.)

My 11 year old daughter thought it was a cool pic.

She also thinks Jim Lee is the coolest artist in comics. Specifically because of how he draws Wonder Woman.

Supergirl and Wonder Woman are her favorite heroes. Her favorite used to be Ms. Marvel until they changed her costume and name.

She plays with action figures, barbies and Monster high stories and loves Disney Princesses.

Pretty much an average girl.

We talk about the comics she reads and we discuss superhero art all the time. I have yet to see her be offended or disgusted like the old farts that are busy “protecting the children”.

No, I take that back. She does get bothered by the fact that so many comics featuring female characters have “boring art” as she calls it so we hardly ever buy most female oriented comics.

What’s the point of this? Maybe, just maybe, instead of “protecting” the poor delicate flowers, some of these so called adults might actually, y’know, talk to them once in awhile.

Why does it always have to be about “empowering”? Why is the word empowerment always brought up?
Some artwork is just there to be admired for its style and craftsmanship. It’s as if keeping an objective point of view is no longer possible today.

If there are two cover options available and a parent disapproves of the one targeted to teens (the original fan viewers of the show who’ve now grown up with these characters) then the parent won’t let their child have this one and will buy the other one with the Powerpuff Girls in their signature style. And that’s that.

Time to start petitioning every off-model cover variant that I see.

This is utterly pointless as a ‘victory’. No-one benefits, it’s just a waste of paper. For every kid that now doesn’t see that relatively tame PPG image, they will still see Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose online, or the latest J Scott Campell or Frank Cho variant cover where the women are actually insultingly proportioned and nothing but fanservice. To say nothing of the fact that they’re still going to be exposed to much worse in other media; James Bond still treating it’s female characters as disposable waste, every romcom ‘educating’ girls to believe they need men, etc etc.

i’m sorry, i genuinely don’t see what the problem is with the cover. why’s everyone getting so bent out of shape?

Actually what that idiot did was get the pic in question 1000 times more publicity than it would have before. Before his grab for his 15 minutes of fame maybe MAYBE 100 people would have seen this image. Now thousands upon thousands will.

Great job buddy!!!!!!

Ironically, canceling the cover has brought more attention to the cover, the artist, AND the comic series than if CN and IDW had just released the book.

This just feels like a gigantic marketing campaign. How many people knew there was a PPG comic? No everyone does I bet there is going to be a HUGE uptick in sales…..

‘An easy litmus test for gender equality in comics? Imagine the cover image, only with male characters posing the same way, and dressed the same.’

That’s hogwash. That, and the silly Hawkeye Initiative that spawned the idea, don’t take into account the differences in how our bodies move, pose, etc. ANY guy sitting crossed legged in a feminine way is going to look silly. Dress him up that way and of course it’ll feel ‘off’. That’s not inequality – it’s anatomy. It’s costuming.

Do some artists go out of their way to over emphasis the female form? Absolutely. But that female to male switch is a poor and lazy litmus test.

I honestly think that the variant cover problem is blown out of proportion and causing too much attention. As others have said, the cover is made for older adults who are nostalgic for the Powerpuff Girls. Also, logistically speaking, it’s a retailers variant, so it is going to be rare and (probably) sold with the other all ages issues, so it is unlikely a young girl will even see it.

That said, the cover is kinda creepy and totally not my type of cheesecake art.

I see nothing wrong with the cover and IDW shouldn’t have caved to the “think of the child” crowd.

I dont see what was so creepy about it at all. It was a cool picture of what they would look like grown up. When I see it, I think “Damn they look like they have grown into bad asses.” If you look at an image like that, or any image in comics that is not actually a sexual image, and see something sexual about it…. well that says more about you then it does the art. All the people that complained about this image need to take a look at themselves.

Speaking as an artist (www.toonocity.com) this image is quite creepy. Mostly because of how it’s render- everything is very tight and shiny. Add to the the anatomy- mostly realistic except for the giant heads with big doe eyes. Add to that the costumes that would easily be in the sexy isle of the Halloween store. Add to that the ambiguous age of the female figures. It all adds up to creepy.

It’s no wonder some people are put off by this, I would imagine the same people would be put off by most of Yoon’s work. She paints creepy, sexy/beautiful figures.

At first I saw this cover and thought, “Okay, the Powerpuff Girls older. Not a big deal.” The problem is when you realize that Blossom and Bubbles are sitting on the head of Mojo Jojo. They’re the same size as they always were, which means these are supposed to be little girls who look like adults. That makes me more than a little uncomfortable.

Ugh, I’m so sick of the complaints. They complain when female characters are ugly (Why is the Wicked Witch if the West ugly but Glinda is pretty?) they complain when they are too pretty, like here. I think that is a very tasteful cover – it’s not like they were drawn with DD’s and their cleavage hanging out. I agree with someone above – the so-called “hawkeye initiative” just showed how little folks actually understand about what they are talking about when they complain about this sort of thing. The whole thing is utter silliness with overprotective parents and femi-natzi’s looking for things to be offended about. The whining us just taking away from the real issues – go out and fight for real rights which are taken away from women and children all the time, create something valid that you find positive – looking for things to be offended about in comics is just getting old and takes away from the real life issues that actually matter.

They never mention the word projection….. In certain company…..

@Mikal

I think in giving your explanation you underlined the issue. In fact what you call clothes okay for women and not for men are actually NOT okay for women, are just degrading, Do you see women working in swimming suits? Do you see soldier women (super heroes women does what usually soldiers do) fighting wars in tanga? Do your mother or girlfriend usually pose so that can show you other people both tits and ass at the same time? Maybe you don’t see the problem because you are part of it.

I agree with Rikk Odinson my daughter loves to read comics with me and her favorite hero is Wonder Woman, not once has she asked about her clothes except why they changed them a few ago when they gave her pant and a jean jacket. Instead of blaming the artist so quickly why don’t we find out if they are to risque. I watched Power Puff Girls when I was a kid and yes they look like how most girls dress in the modern world. She people complain about some of the weirdest things.

I myself am an artist, in the CG industry specifically. I’ve been making art for 25 years, 20 of them professionally. I’ve also been a part of the online art community for about 15 years.

The online community routinely holds fan art competitions, many of which require you to reimagine a familiar character. In many instances, these redesigns involve aging up a younger character. I think that’s what’s going on here. To me, this seems to be an issue of people making a mountain out of a mole hill. The redesigns for this cover simultaneously age the characters while keeping them true to their core.

Look. We have no idea how old the characters on the cover are supposed to be, mostly because they’re stylized. We just know that they’re older. For all we know, they could just be petite. Personalities such as Sarah Hyland (23), Alessandra Torresani (26), Ariana Grande (20) all look way younger than their chronological age.

Sure. One could argue that they’re still just teenagers. That’s fine. I mean, let’s face it. Actual teenagers today sometimes show a bit more skin than what’s on this cover. If anything, this is probably more modest than some the costumes worn by then 18yo Sally Field in 1965’s “Gidget”. Those of you who’ve seen 1960s mini-dresses or micro mini skirts know exactly what I mean. Some were barely more than belts. This? This is nothing. This is about in line with some of what Romita Sr. had Mary Jane Watson wear in the mid-70s. That as on a Code approved book too.

If you’re inclined to somehow see something sexual in this then the problem is you, not the artist. You’re all probably the same ones griping about how then 12yo Chloe Moretz was dressed in an age appropriate schoolgirl outfit uniform. Get a life. Take off the pr0n colored glasses for a moment.

These are 60s/70s inspired characters dressing as 60s/70s teens might. So they show some leg. BFD. Real teens dres way worse. Real teens DO way worse. This is nothing. This doesn’t even come up to the manga/anime standard of provocative.

Bottom line: If you’re a perv then you’re going to see pervy things. That’s just not what this is. No. Take this for what it is, a redesign. It’s nothing more and nothing less. Period. Where some of you see overly sexualized j@ilb@it fantasies, I only seen teens dressing like teens. That’s it.

My neice, though pretty young, is more likely to reenact their fantasy fight scenes than anything else. View this from the eyes of a kid.

FTR, before anybody says, “Well, CG is different.”…. No, it’s not. I’ve got this argument with a former Marvel penciler some years ago. It annoys me when people assume that CG artists are just button pushing monkeys or nerdy tech boys. We’re not. For me to do what I do, I need to know how to paint, sculpt, take photos, draw, and so on. Granted, my sculpting’s better than my drawing, but that doesn’t change the fact that what I do as a CG artist is as creative. CG is multi-disciplinary. You have to know a whole lot about every traditional art, in addition to the more technical aspects relating to the PC software being used as a tool. Trust me when I tell you that I don’t spend my typical 14 hour day entering numbers and measuring things.

Think about it for a second. This is a book marketed toward children, starring little girls, with an exclusive cover featuring sexualized versions of those little girls, that is an incentive marketed towards adult customers which can exclusively be bought in specialty stores which may as well be porn dungeons to the uninitiated. Tell me again how that scenario doesn’t seem gross?

Good rule to follow: If you are forced to explain why it isn’t creepy, it’s creepy.

The irony is that thanks to the controversy, everyone has be able to see that cover posted everywhere. Maybe it won’t be printed anymore, but people got to see it anyway, which in the end makes it all moot.

I’m looking at it and, sorry, it’s not creepy. I’d have no problem giving this to my niece. I’d have had no problem giving this to my cousin when she was young either. This is FAR less offensive than some of the stuff put out by Marvel & DC that’s supposedly targeted at a broad demo. Some of the “all ages” comics code approved stuff coming out of Marvel back in the code days was way more risque.

More over, look at the design for Supergirl in DC Nation’s “Super Best Friends Forever”. That’s quite specifically targeted at a younger market. Her skirt is so short that one might as well have her just switch to the one piece swimsuit design of nu52.

The rule of thumb when it comes to smut tends to be “I’ll know it when I see it.” This is not it. Sorry. Go to a mall. Go to the beach. Leave the states. This is, as far as teen fashion goes, conservative. Short of putting these characters in burquas and strapping down their breasts, how else do you propose handling it? The poses aren’t particularly provocative.

Nobody’s spread, bent over, licking lollipops or doing anything even remotely suggestive. No broken back pose. None of that arched back, head back, sultry pose stuff. No come hither looks. Nothings. Nope. Girls wear short skirts or mini dresses. Girls sit down. Girls cross their legs. I fail to see how ANY of this is intended to be sexy. As a preteen back in the 1980s. I went to CATHOLIC school and and the girls had skirts as short.

If this makes you uncomfortable then don’t have children. Trust me. Your daughter will grow up. When she does, she’ll do things that scare you WAY worse than any of this comic, which seems pretty harmless.

Also, suggesting that the PPG demo is primarily little children seems kinda off too. For a group of characters originally entitled “The Whoopass Girls”, their demo is a tad higher than preschoolers – even in their current form. It’s a bit more broad spectrum than that.

Not that these characters are meant to be role models, but most comic book females kinda fail in this regard. Marvel’s now defunct MC2 Spider-Girl, which WAS targeted at an all ages demo, had a costume that might as well been painted on. Wonder Woman? More like, “I wonder what happened to her pants?” Spider-Woman? If her costume went any further up her crack, it’d come out her belly button. Harley Quinn? Booty shorts. Psylocke? Combat thong. Supergirl? “Sexy” one piece bathing suit. What about the various teen characters in comics? They might as well be short adults, dressing and being posed about as “sexy” as the adult females.

It’s not much different on the cartoons they watch either. Ms Martian on “Young Justice” wore a miniskirt. Then there’s the aforementioned Supergirl from SBFF. Firestar from the 80s Spider-Man toon was considered too provocative because her costume was too tight and her breasts were too big, which led them to tone her down in later seasons.

Movies? Not much different either. Look at how tight Black Widow’s costume is compared to, say, Thor’s in “Avengers”. That’s a movie you’d take a kid to too. Catwoman in TDKR? No different.

It’s a “problem” across the board. PPG is small potatoes here.

Again, imo, you know smut when you see it. This is NOT it. If you as an adult, see this comic cover as uncomfortably provocative or pervy then that’s on you. Hand this to a 9 year old girl and, while she might notice the short dresses, she might not see it as being sexual. All beings are sexual, but you really don’t become sexualIZED or curious (in that way) until a certain age. A little girl might want to dress like her older sister, but only out of emulation not any sexual motivated imperative. And if you think that sheltering your kid will keep her from dressing in ways you might not approve… good luck with that. It didn’t work when my mom was teen in the 1960s. It’s not going to work now – 60 years later.

As far as empowerment goes, some might argue that a woman doesn’t have to give up her femininity in the quest to be strong; Being a “strong woman” doesn’t mean having to be more like a man. I’m not wholly convinced that old school feminists would say that using sexuality as a tool or weapon is the right modus operandi either, but neither is ignoring it.

Buffy was all about the girl power, but never once sacrificed fashion in the process, often opting to kick ass in leather pants or short skirts. There’s always a fine line between sexy and slutty, which some characters cross, but I don’t think that it takes away from their strengths.

And if we’re going to talk about double standards, one might even argue that men are sexualized in our own way. Superheroes are held to unrealistically high standards of perfection. Male heroes lose their shirts in epic combat fairly often enough. Some artists even draw male heroes in the broken back pose typically reserved for the women – complete with painted on pants. (I recently saw this in a Superman comic and it stood out to me.) I’m not saying that there isn’t a double standard, but that gap between sexualized female characters vs male ones seems to be narrowing, giving men their equal time in the “sexy” spotlight.

davidgrantlloyd

February 1, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Very well-written article (I wish I wrote it!). Hit all the intricacies right on the mark.

Since it was a variant cover, I don’t think it’s “too much to ask of the retailer” to not order the book if they have a personal problem with it.

Honestly I always found something off about the cover and I finally realized what. The PPG look like those creepy Blythe dolls. I feel like they want to leave the cover and rip the soul from my body.

We see this argument a lot, and it’s really hard to tell who’s right and who’s wrong. However, I just want to say that I don’t see anything sexual about that variant and I honestly would have liked to see it hit the stands. I would also like to say that deriding something like this as inappropriate or misogynistic is actually a very serious proclamation to make, and that these words can actually prove very insulting when used carelessly. Now, I’m not going to say that I understand the problem entirely, but I believe we should approach it calmly before we make any reckless, potentially offensive allegations. There are real women and children who have had their human rights denied, ignored, or otherwise violated, and attacking one piece of art because it offends you personally isn’t going to do them any favors.

I’ve working in marketing for kids, the last 10 years, with clients from Cartoon Network, to Mattel, Hasbro…and any kid brand you can imagine.

I have my head put in creating cool things for kids, every damn moment every damn day of the last ten years, I’ve been in focus groups with kids MANY times.
I tried to read all the books that I need to serioulsy understand the way a kid think and see the world.
I have to say that I have a wonderful and super fun job trying to every day of my life give the childrens good moments while playing, such I had as a kid.
And, oh, yes I have 2 kids in my home. So , i think i know a little of the kids world.

Let me tell you this, seriously, if anyone is seeing anything offensive there, you have to think again, because your own fantasies are putting out of place things in a fun and cool drawing of the PPG.

I’m not seeing the sexy (cue Bill Murray in Scrooged: “See! And these guys are really looking.”).

@ BLS: I lost it at “combat thong.” And sorry ’bout that “button-pushing monkey” thing; I’ve thought that, too.

Maybe next time the comic book industry and fans will no longer deal with self appointed censors like David Barger.

Studies have proven that oversexualization, or hypersexualization, are big turn offs for women. Is done for marketing purposes, as you see different but yet similar examples of women in many different types of genres promoting sexual depictions. From sports, to media(look at Yahoo’s CEO photo shoot), entertainment, is a practice that is encouraged. But why? Well, let’s use the model in this instance.

For the record, “all ages” is an objective term. It implies that all forms of cognitive-minded people can pick up a title and read it comfortably. And I do believe the cover does look like an all age title. We’re not talking about a Grimm Fairy Tales cover now.

The cover does not display any forms of hypersexualization. They look young, they were skirts, are white, and extremely skinny(bonus there, lol). I think CN is overreacting, and I think they are just protecting their image in case the cover gets misinterpreted. And I doubt cognitive-minded folks will buy this for a seven year old. Is not for seven year olds. Is for girls like my niece, who is 13 years old(I think she’s thirteen, lol).

The title is anything but empowerment. That’s important to stress. Is just a culturally relevant cover that depics the age of tweens and tweets. Those that watch The Vampire Diaries; those that watch MTV. The cover does not show any empowerment details, and I think CN would be wise to reverse their decision. You want to empower girls? Then get them to play sports.

We all have our tastes and preferences. Times do change. But what doesn’t change? Imagination. Imagination is important for kids and teens and adults. Is good for you. What’s not good? Taking it away.

Amusing to see a group of fans who are historically known to defend this kind of artwork make an argument that the image in question is not sexualized. This article would have been better aimed at parenting website to get a truer response.

Sorry to say but that image is indeed sexualized. Ask any non-comicbook parent and they will tell you that is not what the powerpuff Girls are suppose to look like.

I’d like to roundhouse kick any future white knight that is in anyway responsible for having beautiful art like this pulled.

the original cover was beautiful. I don’t know why people had problem with it. But i’m okay with it being changed. not everyone is as mature and progressive as me. the way I saw it, the cover represented the kick ass powerpuff girls, still kicking ass after all these years. unfortunately, some people saw “boobs” as mature thing. well, god forgive them. we have to accept some people’s deviancy and problems. Remember, just because you are intelligent, doesn’t mean that someone else is intelligent too. You have to be forgiving.

also, do you know what pathology is? is what you said yourself “i am white male demographic”
don’t believe in this racist, yes racist, pc bull. you are who you are. I am who I am. the cover wasn’t offensive.

look the cover just shows 3 females that obviously kicked mojos butt. nothing sexual about it. heck i remember buying marvel swimsuit issues. now those were sexual lol. jim lees rogue in savage land…um yeah…i mean that comic shop owner saw what he wanted to see. its common with art. the artist will draw something innocent. the viewer will see whats in the back of there minds. heck in the 80s they said TWISTED SISTER was a filthy 15 band because of roadrunner refrences in there videos & dee snider wrote a song about a surgery called under the blade.
but hey if you check out her other art you will see it fits her style.

As i read this article on my ipad, my 4 yr old daughter leans over and tells me ” that looks like a comic for me”, innocence has won as far as I’m concerened lets leave the retailers to sell them and the artists and publishers to put them in the hands of the people who want to buy them.

Any artist who claims sexualization is only in the mind of the viewer is a bad artist. A good artist is someone who is an expert on human emotion and body language. Who can therefore convey any feeling or emotion they want with the images they create. And any good artist knows that bending over a figure and dressing it in a g-string isn’t the only way to convey sex. Nor is long hooked fingers and inky blacks the only way to convey creepiness.

Mimi Yoon is competent artist, she’s well aware of how people would react to her painting (though perhaps not the degree). She clearly enjoys sexy, distorted/creepy female images (nothing wrong with that), for anyone (let alone an artist) to say she doesn’t, doesn’t really understand art.

IDW’s proper response to the complaint should have been “We understand your concerns but we do not feel there is anything objectionable in this image. Thank you for your support.” That’s what I would’ve liked to have seen. Not caving to one person’s complaint.

Sexual objectification is NOT empowering.
Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personnally.And if you can’t see the hypersexualization and the objectification of teenage girls in this cover,then you’re part of the problem.
Oh,and if you’re 5 year old daughter or niece doesn’t want to read a comic book because they changed the sexualy objectified heroine’s costume to something more adequate for battle,than it’s huge time to sit down with her and teach her to see women as complex human beings instead of eye candy. Because I can assure one thing : she’s already going to be judged for her body,people will consider her looks to be what establish her worth,and you don’t want to add to that by giving her only role models who would be clinical dead in real life.

Hey, Yolo, don’t you have some naked statues to cover up somewhere? What are you doing on a computer?

Brave Sir Robin

February 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

The tortured reasoning of the article is pretty sad. The issue is pretty straight forward for may. The artist portrayed five year old children in kindergarten as skanky Bratz dolls. That is just wierd and troubling. All the pathetic rationalizations for it are trying to evade that basic point. Hyper sexualization of women in comics is not the issue. (It is a glaring weakness but not this issue) Artistic freedom in is not the issue. This artist can draw skanky chicks for lots of other comics. No big deal. Empowerment is not the issue. Girls are being empowred more ever day and most of them would not care about this cover because it would be seen quickly as silly male comic art that is pretty lame. (I checked with my 16 year old daughter who is empowered as a A student in an IB program in highschool.) Girls are rapidly lapping boys academically and are the majority of college students. They have higher grades in school than boys. They don’t need some silly, male oriented slut art to feel better about themselves. That is a sick joke. But the most disturbing thing is that these characters are 5. That makes it bizarre. I am a huge fan of the animated series having watched it with my daughter when she was little. It was clever, funny, and worked on both child and adult levels. I like the comic book. I don’t care about the stupid cover other than it is really testeless in a creepy, keep your kids away from this artist kind of a way. But the rationalizations for it are just really missing the culture around them and the fact that females are getting empowred by the huge amounts of literature written for them and their own strong showings in the world. They don’t need the help of comic boy fantasy pictures.

So, either Mojo is gigantic, or they’re still the same little girls they always were, only now with really weird (overly long limbed) proportions. That… is unsettling.

The short version:
Blame the artist and or the equivalent of a creative director. The image fails because the characters are not considered.

Sex is only one aspect of a person. Sex is not empowerment. You have been lied to.

The image is kindergarten girls sexed up or grown women dressed as kindergarteners. Your choice.

The long version:
The “tom-boy” or “adventurer” would have chosen to wear pants. So would the other girls. That is just practical, the proper gear for the job. Women can still be feminine in a pair of jeans so no aspect of who she is. Her personality was denied and she was only allowed to grow up in one way: sexually.

The “daddy’s girl” or “over-achiever” would have a lab coat. Or something that would have shown the academic standard their father would have put before them. She would have exceeded those standards. Her intelligence was denied and she was only allowed to grow up in one way: sexually.

The “girly-girl” or “princess” would also wear pants but her jacket would be bedazzled like nobody’s business. But she would not try to get attention through the way she looks. This girl would have no use for Teen Beat or Cosmo. They all have saved the town 100s of times. Having accomplished many things would give her and the others confidence. She would carry herself with more respect. She would want to be seen for more than her body. Her self-respect was denied and she was only allowed to grow up in one way: sexually.

Without using names, hair or uniform color you all know which one is which. Maybe you don’t agree with the stereo-types I’m using for each girl. Get passed that and try to understand what I’m saying. At best this is poor execution by the artist. A professional artist should have gotten familiar with the subjects and depicted who they are. Virtually nothing was changed from the 5 year old kindergarten version other than the body dimensions and that is the problem. A lot of female CEOs and executives dressed as princesses when they were younger but no longer do so. Grown women dressed as 5 year old girls. That is creepy.

This image is not in a vacuum. There is context. How many PPG stories provide a context as them older? Either none or a very small less than 1 percent. There is no other context for this image except that they are 8 years old. So, 5 year olds as sex objects. Let’s imagine that there is no context, say someone has never heard of the Girls. They see the cover, then they open up the book and see the kindergarten girls. When people learn of the source material this image is creepy.

Note the “IDW little” on the cover. This is not targeting the older demographic. Specifically “little”. Did someone say Barbie? Barbie does have the bikini but also has the nurse uniform. She went back to school and became a doctor too. Stewardess uniform and now even pilot. Crazy body-type but allowed to be intelligent. Also, the existence of other products aimed at little girls are not a true justification. Just because someone else is doing it does not make it right. Like Woody Allen pointing at Roman Polanski. The more products you can name that objectify girls, the more important it is to call them out on this stuff.

Some might try to hide behind a mirror. Accusing others of seeing only what they want to see. That does not address the issue of the image, does it? They should turn that mirror around and explain why sex out weighs all other aspects of a person. I mean who wears hot pants to a job interveiw?

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