Leave it to Marvel to invent the skin-tight burqa.
The mind boggles. Then the eyes weep. What could the artist have been thinking in the time it took to draw these? Has no one at Marvel seen an actual burqa, even in pictures? This would be funny if it weren’t so deliberately obtuse.
I guess this proves once and for all that sex trumps both culture and accuracy.
I was recently reading Annihilation, and there’s this scene with about 100 soldiers getting whomped on by a bunch of giant bugs. All 99 male soldiers appear to be wearing battle armour, while the one female soldier, in the foreground, is showing her backside in a partial thong.
Oh god. Oh GOD, that’s embarassing. I don’t know why I never noticed it until now. Probably because I don’t read New X-Men and Phil Jimenez made an attempt, I think, to draw the burka correctly when he drew Sooraya during the Morrison run.
This kind of, well I’m just not going to be polite, CRAP, happens quite a bit. The problem is that the comic book reading culture has so adapted to it that we often don’t notice it. The objectification of women in comics happens far too often, and if we said we wouldn’t read comcis where it happened we would be left with very little to read. Luckily the female body is a beautiful thing.
Note to anyone with Wikipedia connections: make sure that the Jimenez artwork gets excerpted in any article about Sooraya(Suraya?). Please.
Lisa — We can still complain like hell whenever we do notice it.
Ideally to the point they get so bothered by our complaints they quit putting sexy over story.
Anybody can add anything to Wikipedia. Everybody has equal connections. Here’s Dust’s page. Anywhere it says ‘edit’ you can click.
[...] Marvel Comics: Unclear on the concept of the burqa. (Link via Johanna Draper Carlson.) [...]
There’s an Alien legion issue where the corp is in training on an obstacke course, and the women recruits are posing and stretching and changing their thong armor right out on the field. The guys of course, are in full military future battle gear. And that’s Marvel.
I hate to rehash this again because I got into a discussion about it over on the girl-wonder.org forums, but here I go again…
Marvel did not invent the skin-tight burqa. I’ve known, taught, and worked with many devoutly Muslim young women who DO wear sexy, skin-tight clothing (which they are very careful to make sure covers them from head to toe!) while at the same time these girls will honestly, earnestly say that they are being modest and moral.
Having said that, though, I do think that Marvel’s portrayal of Sooraya is crap and “putting sexy over story” is an accurate description of it. Their motivations for drawing Sooraya in such a way are transparent, and I don’t agree with them.
But I did want to point out that in real life, some Muslim women WILL dress that way. (In fact, among the young women that I’ve taught as my students, I’d say that MOST of them would dress that way. They only wore baggy coverings when they were trying to smuggle CD players and contraband snacks into the classroom.)
I’m sure that Marvel doesn’t know this or care, and the fact that “this sometimes happens in real life” likely isn’t the justification for their particular depiction of Sooraya. BUT I just wanted to say, it is neither “patently ridiculous” (referring to the linked OP) for a “self-professed modest Muslim girl” to wear “skin-tight robes,” nor is it “hypocrisy.” In real life, women (especially adolescent women!) are complex and contradictory and will say one thing and do another.
Maybe it seems like I’m contradicting myself. IF I was totally ignorant of Marvel’s (and comic-book-dom’s) history of sexism in female portrayals, maybe THEN I could believe that the writers and artists behind Sooraya had actually succeeded in showing a realistic portrayal of a modern young Muslim women who sometimes says one thing and then wears her clothes in an entirely contradictory fashion. BUT since I’m not naive, I’m more inclined to believe that Sooraya was drawn in such a way to blatantly display her assets, lipservice to cultural accuracy be damned. And it makes me mad.
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