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Wonder Woman may have been showing off her assets by dressing in a revealing bodice and star-spangled booty shorts – but that doesn’t mean she’s pandering to men.
“We can’t help it – we were drawn this way.”
This was how pop culture blogger and sometimes Wonder Woman Bonnie Burton described the situation facing women in comic circles.
She joined a panel of mostly women on Thursday at Comic-Con to discuss whether “fangirls” who dress in revealing clothing are empowering women or demeaning them. Other panelists included Adrianne Curry from America’s Next Top Model, Clare Kramer from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Clare Grant, from Team Unicorn.
The verdict? Dressing like Wonder Woman or Slave Leia is empowering because the characters themselves are powerful.
Many of the women on the panel agreed that images of slender women in revealing outfits do distort the idea of “sexy” in society.
Yet, women dressed as these characters are imitating heroines that slay vampires, catch Pokemon and save the world. Regardless of what they wear, women dressed as fantasy characters are adopting the kind of power that could progress women in society.
“It doesn’t matter how much skin you have or how much of it you show,” Burton said.
Jennifer Stuller, author of Ink Stained Amazons, said that the scandalously dressed characters are also reflections of society. If women have a problem with other women showing off their body, blame the comic book companies, not the women, she said.
“This is what people want to see, so they keep coming out with these characters. Until people stop having that view it’s just going to keep being the way it is,” she said.
And, like a bad sitcom, actor Seth Green emerged from the audience to bring closure to the debate. Sexy doesn’t have to mean cleavage and short skirts, he said. It can look, for instance, like Willow, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
“Why does it have to be one or the other?” He asked the panel.
Get complete coverage from Comic-Con 2011 here.