Passing the Hawkeye test

Passing the Hawkeye test

The movies have the Bechdel; the comics have this…

Holy sardines, Batgirl! Have you heard about the Hawkeye Initiative? It’s this really cool way people are pointing out sexism in comic book art. They take any pose struck by a female superhero (or villain, I suppose) in any comic that seems like it might be sexist and they place Hawkeye (of Avengers fame) in her place, usually with a drawing or other artwork. If it looks okay, it’s not sexist anymore—but if it looks ridiculous (as it usually does), we’ve got ourselves a case of sexist comic media!

This is actually a really funny take at pointing out these really ridiculous covers and comic art in general, and I love it. I remember drawing impossible poses of Black Cat, Psyclocke, and Rogue as a tween and my fifth grade teacher correcting me, asking, “Could they really pose like that? Do you really think their bodies look like that?” She would show me how to make them more realistic, but at 10 I really didn’t care about that. I wanted my art to look just like the comic creators that I loved so much.

Now that I’m older I totally get it—and I remember wishing my body looked as impossible as their bodies looked. I wanted to be strong like them, yes—but there’s no way anyone’s waist can be the thickness of their wrist, let alone while sporting a triple-D bra. You couldn’t be strong; you’d be falling over.

In addition to the Hawkeye Initiative, there is the project being conducted by fantasy author Jim Hines, who actually mocks these poses—in costume!—himself. He says that the way women are posed on the covers of books and other media is so ridiculous that we would easily point it out if it were a man posing instead—which is why he decided to do it himself. These poses actually get the author the most hits on his blog—and if you click the link, you will definitely see why. As soon as you see these poses, I think you’ll have to admit that there’s some pretty funky physics going on, to say the least—and some sexism afoot, too.

Jim, total props to you for having the guts to not only point this out but to actually do these poses yourself! I hope it makes a difference. In the meantime, I’m super excited about the new X-Men comic featuring an all-female team—though I wonder if it will pass the Hawkeye test…