11 May 12 at 10 am

The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines (2009), Mike Madrid

"Sex appeal was the “spoonful of sugar” that helped the “medicine” of feminism go down."

Poison Ivy’s sexual empowerment gave way to other super females like Vampirella.

  • Jackie Kennedy
  • Focus shifted to science and technology during the Space Race
  • Women began to see greater opportunities in the workplace

In 1965, Helen Gurley Brown released the first issue of¬†Cosmopolitan, a publication which encouraged its female readers to have it all, “love, sex, and money.”

In the late 2000s, in the midst of the rise of Young Hollywood, like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan, comic heroines made a comeback to provide girls a different sort of role model.

11 May 12 at 4 am

Comics Code Authority, 1954

"Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable. Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities."

To further emphasize the weakness of these women as opposed to their male counterparts, heroines were often called “girls” as opposed to “women”; whereas, the number of male heroes during the Golden Age dubbed “men” (e.g. Batman, Bulletman, Hawkman, and Superman) could run pages and pages. To make women seem even weaker, artists and writers often portrayed them running into common damsel-in-distress situations — dragging the true male superheroes out of a dire situation into another one to save their girls.

Many of the early female comic book heroes served as the Eve to their boyfriends’ Adam. In the creation of characters such as Hawkgirl, Bulletgirl, Flame Girl, and Rocketgirl, these women created their super identities after their male counterparts — many of them are the direct products of their boyfriends’ vision and did not emerge of their own imagination. Without the men, or rather Adams, these Eves would not have existed — as none of them have their own unique set of powers or costume that they did not borrow from their boyfriends.