Avengers: Infinity War just passed the $800 million mark in global box office sales, breaking records previously set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However one writer is not focused on plot lines or the fates of some of our favorite characters – instead, she’s paying attention to the female superheroes’ hair.
More specifically, how they always wear their hair down. And she thinks it’s sexist.
Rebecca Jennings wrote an article for Racked, an online blog that’s a part of Vox Media, where she claims the reason we never see Wonder Woman or Black Widow with their hair tied back is because “comics are a visual medium, and a bunch of long, flowing hair swirling around during an already epic fight scene looks pretty cool.”
She interviews Christina Dokou, an assistant professor of American literature and culture at the University of Athens who says the ” ‘boys’ club’ legacy of comic books, in which female characters were stuck with sexist stereotypes, still endures. Even today, the physical attributes and feminine beauty of superheroines are exaggerated to make them look like, well, frankly, porn stars at worst, and sexy female athletes at best.”
Even their hair color plays a role in sexism.
Red or black hair is usually reserved for the strongest superheroine around, or the one with the most flamboyant personality — see, for example, Phoenix, Red Sonja, or Wonder Woman — while blondes are still mostly treated as glorified bimbos, regardless of their powers,” she explains, pointing to Supergirl and Smallville as examples of the latter.
Meanwhile, a shaved head often indicates a godlike mental ability — think Deadpool’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead or Stranger Things’ Eleven — but can also double as a signifier of sexual preferences. Dokou points to Moondragon, a ’70s-era telepathic martial arts superhero with a shaved head, who was eventually revealed to be bisexual after dating the pixie-cut alien Phylla-Vell. Then there’s the anarcho-punk outlaw Tank Girl, known for her mostly shaved head, who inspired weekly lesbian “Tank Girl nights” in London.
“To put it in a nutshell, the shorter the hair, the more precarious a character’s relationship with traditional femininity,” Dokou says.
She notes the only movie that seems to have any kind of “hair diversity” is Black Panther because the costume and make-up artists styled them to reflect different tribes in Africa.
This is today’s feminism and it’s ridiculous. Instead of enjoying superheroes and celebrating the strong female characters portrayed on the big screen, Jennings is reducing them to their looks.
Does anyone even pay attention to their hair? Most likely not and even if they did, these are fictional characters – WHO CARES IF THEY ALWAYS HAVE PERFECT HAIR? I doubt many little girls are sitting around crying because their hair isn’t perfectly blowing in the wind like Supergirl’s. And I’m pretty sure that Kara Danvers wears her hair up or pulled back most of the time when she’s not saving people.
Also, Harley Quinn wears her hair in pigtails but that’s probably to convey a sexualized image, so I guess she doesn’t count.
There are plenty of male superheroes who wear their hair down too – Thor, Loki, or Bucky anyone? No mention of that in her hit piece on comic book movies. What does that say about masculinity? Oh, the horrors!
Why must third wave feminists try to ruin everything? Stop taking everything so literal and just enjoy watching these leading ladies kick butt and look fabulous while doing it!