The Hawkeye Initiative: A commentary on the Hyper-sexualization of female superheroes.


Hyper-sexualization of female superheroes is old news at this point. Whether it's in comic books, TV shows, films, or even video games, it has always been about skin tight latex costumes, minimal armour, nudity, accentuated hairstyles and the list goes on. I remember my younger self's main concern while watching a female superhero fight sequence in a film being "but what if her top came off? What if someone just grabs a handful of her hair? She's done for...".


It's not just about the hair and costumes either, it's the poses as well. There is an alarming obsession with "Strong Female Character" poses in superhero comics, that make absolutely no sense once you start paying attention to them. The superheroes are always posed in some compromising position that accentuates their body parts. It's even more confusing when female superheroes are drawn in such poses while in the middle of a fight sequence. Clearly the heroine’s main concern isn't defense, rather it's making sure that her curves look best at every angle and in any position. What's interesting to note here is that male superheroes are never presented in such "strong poses" and this is the concept from which "The Hawkeye Initiative" eventually arose.


"The Hawkeye Initiative" is a Tumblr page that provides a satirical commentary on such strong female poses. The description of the page quite literally reads "How to fix every strong female character pose in superhero comics: replace the character with Hawkeye doing the same thing."



This initiative started back in 2012, and it originally had art comparing Hawkeye to Black Widow and portraying him in the same poses she was presented in, with the intent to highlight the grotesquely unrealistic and sexualized drawing of female characters. However, the art eventually went beyond Hawkeye and expanded to all other male superheroes.



The art hilariously portrays how if the same "power poses" that accentuate body parts are applied to male superheroes, they merely look ridiculous and make no sense whatsoever.



Especially considering how these weird poses are always depicted as fighting stances to appease to some sort of a sexual fantasy, the page offers a hysterical reality check.




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