Hello Fenrir here with some quick Food for Thought on tumblr’s latest meme. For all you tumblr users out there, your dashboard was probably flooded this morning with the latest works from The Hawkeye Initiative and its beautifully clever jabs at female representation within comics. As Noelle Stevenson AKA Gingerhaze–one of the founding artists integral to this meme–stated yesterday:
How to fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics: replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing.
And really, when one looks at these pictures with Hawkeye lovingly drawn in “Strong Female Character poses”–those gratuitous, anatomy-defying, back-breaking shots meant to titillate but are hilariously awful–it’s no surprise as to why this meme sparked off the ground so quickly and why I think its poignant message about female sexuality in comics is here to stay.
So what exactly is the Hawkeye Initiative and why should we even bother with it besides regarding it as a meme that is a big tumblr-in-joke?
Well, it is a reminder about that age-old argument that men and women are both objectified in media. We have men as an extreme macho stereotype with the muscles and the grit, but is that necessarily as demeaning as a back-breaking spinal cord for a gratuitous T&A shot? No matter which “side” you’re on, it is simply bad art — and the fact that these ridiculous sorts of poses are still applied to female characters is disheartening.
Maybe in the future we will have a new guard of artists who actually understand their anatomy so that these sort of female caricatures are merely a thing of the stylistic past but for now, we can at least have artists rally against the sexism found in comics — to delightfully hilarious results.
Below are some of my favorite submissions to The Hawkeye Initiative — with more on the way as this meme continues to flood tumblr dashboards with their subversive tropes!