I grew up with a love for reading. When I was a kid I devoured Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, The Babysitters's Club, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables and any book my mom gave me.
But I was especially fond of comic books. My favourites were Archie, Calvin and Hobbes, Tintin and Asterix. I would just read them for hours and hours and I fell in love with all the characters.
When I was a teenager and through most of my early twenties, I forgot about comic books for a while until I discovered the graphic novel; Fables, Watchmen, Batman, Y: The Last Man are just a few of the ones I am currently obsessed with.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the women in these stories; how they are represented, what they mean to me personally and how their clothes reflect women in general. I guess I've been thinking about it because I am considering getting a tattoo of James Jean's Sally Jupiter (from Watchmen.)
In Watchmen, Sally Jupiter is a strong, kick-ass babe who loves fighting crime and making sure her hair is set juuuust right. In her heyday, she goes through many challenges, including surviving a sexual attack, but she still manages to keep on fighting. Her costume is a deliberate tease; fashioned to fool criminals (and men) into thinking she is a diminutive sex kitten.
But it's also a deliberate statement that says she is in control, she is liberated and she is sexually free and in charge. She can be sexy and still catch the bad guys.
The portrayal of women in comic books (especially how they are dressed) has always fascinated me, if even it's subconsciously. The clothes are usually skin tight and revealing, and you would think that Cat Woman would have a hell of a time fighting crime in a leather bodysuit.
The clothes always seemed to restrict the women; just as women in real life have historically been oppressed by their corsets, their high heels, their tight jeans.
And sure, sex sells. Men make up a large comic book readership but I feel that women are gaining on them. And although the women in comic books still wear titillating clothes, their personalities and actions make the clothes stand as a symbol of female power; they are taking back their sexuality once owned by men and making it their own and controlling it.
And that is definitely something I can root for.
Here are some other favourite comic book characters and their amazing outfits.