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Indian artist draws Spider-Man in a thong to highlight sexist depiction of superheroines

21-year-old Indian artist Shreya Arora made six drawing to bring out sexism in the superhero world.

Written by: India TV Buzz Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: August 09, 2018 17:12 IST ]
Image Source : INSTAGRAM/SHREYA ARORA

Shreya Arora's drawings

Surprised to see Spider-man in a thong? Well, the Indian artist who drew this image has more superheroes like Superman as a part of a set of revamped comic book covers that aim to highlight the ‘sexist’ depiction of superheroines. The artist behind the project said that she made six such drawing to bring out sexism in the superhero world..

Shreya Arora, a 21-year-old graphic design student, juxtaposed her six drawing with the original covers of Marvel and DC Comics that show half-dressed women in sexually suggestive poses. Shreya told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, "I have been reading comic books for a while but increasingly I noticed that while the stories inside had become a lot more inclusive and empowering to women, the covers did not necessarily follow."

"I decided to take the covers with really demeaning or sexist portrayals of superheroines and recreate them as superheroes ... I wanted the shock value to get a conversation started."

The young artist felt that it was important to uncover the male-dominated comic book industry for their representation of women as hypersexualized objects of desire and the thought of giving them secondary roles and less dialogue than men. Even critics have accused the industry of its male-domination many times. While the covers of these comic books are still male-centric, fans have hailed the first female superhero film Wonder Woman which stars Gal Godat. It was the first superhero movie to star a woman since 2005 and the first to be directed by a woman as well. This surely is a sign of changing times.

Talking about Shreya Arora’s drawings, one of her image shows a bare-chested, masked Spider-Man in a thong, holding a strategically-placed beach ball in front of his groin, while another has Iron Man crouching in a pose that accentuates his apple-shaped posterior.

"Females are more than twice as likely to be given a name that may make her seem weak, less dangerous, less aggressive and not on equal footing with male characters," said Amanda Shendruk, author of the study.

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Cover #3: Original: She Hulk #40 by John Byrne The cover was prelude to a story where the first 8 pages the book are She Hulk jumping rope naked. (You can not make this stuff up) It is later revealed that she was wearing a skimpy bikini which is hidden by the artist's blur lines. Any illustrator with even a minimal amount of training knows that body language is a huge part of what you portray. In the original cover, She Hulk is clearly humiliated, scared, and unwilling. None of these things should ever be sexualized. And Marvel's cover does exactly that. Moral of the story: Marvel will do literally anything to make a sale (To straight men, that is) #dsgnfbrc #comics #illustration #hulk #shehulk #marvel #HGart #inspiroindia #womenwithpencils

A post shared by Shreya Arora (@arorashreyav) on

Only about 27 per cent of all Marvel and DC Comics characters are women and just 12 per cent of mainstream superhero comics have female protagonists, according to a study by the digital platform, The Pudding.

The Indian artist further said her next targets are Indian comics, which often depict women as accessories or as annoying wives, and to teach children about feminism to help curb sex attacks in India.

"You can look at sexual assault as a problem but it is basically because of rape culture that exists in our country and I want to get to the root of the problem - combat sexism and misogyny from a young age," Arora said.

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