A rather concerning theme that can easily be spotted throughout the comic genre is the female body being shown in a hypersexualized manner. In an industry that is primarily run by males, it is common place to see women in comic books being shown to have body types and figures that the normal women reading these comics could never achieve, such as having a waist so small the only way someone could possibly achieve this size would to not have any internal organs or a rib cage. These outrageous ‘beauty standards’ that are being presented to female comic readers makes it hard to associate or relate to the woman characters in the story.
The newest comic book heroine to get her own series is challenging these unrealistic standards, and her name is Faith. Faith was originally created as has been a side character in the series Harbinger which focuses on a cast of socially changed teenagers who find out they have super powers. Faith stands out from other heroines in the comic book world due to her body type.
Faith‘s author, Jody Houser, notes that in a “medium with very little diversity in women’s body types,’ Faith’s figure can’t be overlooked but that this aspect of her helps to make her more genuine and relatable to the female readers her comics. Faith not only breaks through the sexualized stereotype of women in comics, but also how super hero fans are portrayed within the comic book world as well. Houser explains that Faith is very much that “real-life geek friend we all have”, and her love of comic book super heroes and ‘geeky’ shows like Firefly helps to mold that aspect of her character.
Houser also points out that just because Faith’s character design and writing doesn’t scream ‘hypersexualized’ doesn’t mean that this heroine isn’t allowed to express any form of sexuality. Faith is noted to have an intimate relationship throughout the series. It would seem like common sense to make the women within comics more realistic, or as Houser puts it ‘authentic’, as more and more research shows that women make up almost half of comic book fans. It’s common sense that with such a large female audience, these female fans may want to see someone they can relate to in the stories.
Faith shows that women don’t need to be constantly hypersexualized to hold their own in the comic book world. Houser believes that Faith may also help to bolster a new trend within a rising generation of comic book editors and creators of making the comic book world ‘a place where everyone is welcome’.