Advertisement SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology. As in each repeating day in Punxsutawney, each new poll asks the same questions and gets the same discouraging answers. And news outlets produce the same stories about the large percentage of Americans who reject evolution or climate change or believe in UFOs or ghosts.
When pondering this question, most kids have given at least passing consideration to one fantastical if improbable calling: There is an understandable allure to the superhero position — wearing a special uniform possibly with powerful accessoriessaving the world from evil, and let's not forget possessing a wickedly cool special power like x-ray vision or the ability to fly.
But new research by Hillary Pennell and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz at the University of Missouri suggests that, at least for women, the influence of superheroes is not always positive. Although The evolution of comics in america essay play a variety of roles in the superhero genre, including helpless maiden and powerful heroine, the female characters all tend to be hypersexualized, from their perfect, voluptuous figures to their sexy, revealing attire.
Exposure to this, they show, can impact beliefs about gender roles, body esteem, and self-objectification. Consider, for example, superhero movies like Spider-man or Superman. These action-packed films typically feature a strong, capable, intelligent man fighting a villainous force.
The goal of course is to save humanity, but more often than not there is also an immediate need to rescue a damsel in distress.
The female victim is typically delicate, naive, and defenseless, but at the same time sexy and beautiful. What she lacks in strength and cunning she makes up for in kindness and curves. It is not surprising or insignificant that she is often the object of the hero's affections.
The X-Men films, for example, feature a number of empowering female characters like Storm, Jean Gray, and Dazzler, each of whom wields a unique special ability and displays impressive cognitive and physical competence. Perhaps exposure to this new generation of female heroines will result in more egalitarian gender beliefs, higher body esteem, and greater prioritization of physical competence over appearance.
Their skin-tight outfits accentuate their sexuality with plunging necklines and bare skin, and many of their names e. To explore the effects of watching sexualized female victims and heroines, Pennell and Behm-Morawitz asked female college students to watch a minute video montage of scenes that either featured female victims from the Spider-man series or female heroines from the X-Men series.
After watching one of these video montages, participants completed a survey that assessed gender role beliefs, body image, and self-objectification. A number of other measures e.
Gender role beliefs were assessed via the Attitudes toward Women Scalewhich evaluated participants' views about men's and women's responsibilities at home and in the workplace, appropriate attire and appearance in public, rationality and problem solving skills, and physical strength.
Body image was measured using the Body Esteem Scalewhich requires individuals to rate personal satisfaction with general appearance and specific body parts e.
Finally, the Self-Objectification Questionnaire required participants to indicate the importance of their body image and body competence to their personal identity. Relative to participants in the control condition, those who viewed the sexualized-victim female character did indeed report less egalitarian gender beliefs.
It seems that watching the beauty-in-need-of-rescue reinforced traditional gender roles, but did not create the desire to appear more like her physically. What happened when women instead watched the agile and proficient superheroines?
Did these characters serve to empower women? The superheroine montage did nothing to improve egalitarian views about gender roles, though at least it did not lower those views. Pennell and Behm-Morawitz argue that the sexualization of the superheroine characters serves to reinforce rather than challenge stereotypical gender role beliefs, and this effect may overshadow any benefit derived from observing a strong, intelligent, capable female character.
Watch out, as these superheroines pack a bigger punch: Relative to control participants, women who watched the X-Men montage reported lower body esteem. They also ranked the importance of physical competence more highly. Pennell and Behm-Morawitz suggest that women may admire the power and status of superheroines and consequently desire to emulate them.
Because these sexualized superheroines have unattainable body dimensions and engage in unrealistic physical feats e. Thus, while the roles for women in superhero movies have evolved from the helpless, easy mark to the commanding, mighty protector, the central appeal of these characters as sexual goddesses is the same.
These new findings add to a growing literature demonstrating that the gender-related information conveyed in popular media can affect personal perceptions and cultural standards about gender. One recent study even found that regular viewers of a reality television show featuring pregnant teens had more favorable attitudes about teen pregnancy and believed that the benefits of teen pregnancy outweigh the risks.Buy Loren Eiseley: Collected Essays on Evolution, Nature, and the Cosmos: A Library of America Boxed Set on alphabetnyc.com FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders/5(12).
The Evolution Of Comic Books. By Natalie Torres, Noble Street College Prep | July 16, | Category: Arts and Entertainment. Comics sold in the Vintage Phoenix Comic Book Store.
Photo by Katie Nussear. Over the years, comic books have changed dramatically but have yet remained the same.
Of Superheroes and Men October 14, - by Jeffrey Billman A new book plumbs the depths of how superhero comics reflect changes in American culture. The first comic book appeared in the United States of America in , reprinting the earlier newspaper comic strips, which established many of the story-telling devices used in comics. The term " comic book " arose because the first comic books reprinted humor comic strips, but despite their name, comic books do not necessarily operate in. The Evolution Of Comic Books. By Natalie Torres, Noble Street College Prep | July 16, | Category: Arts and Entertainment. Comics sold in the Vintage Phoenix Comic Book Store. Photo by Katie Nussear. Over the years, comic books have changed dramatically but have yet remained the same. Some comics have changed the main characters from the.
Some comics have changed the main characters from the. Of Superheroes and Men October 14, - by Jeffrey Billman A new book plumbs the depths of how superhero comics reflect changes in American culture.
Gabilliet, Jean-Paul. Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books. Trans. Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, Print.
At the end of his book Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books, Jean-Paul Gabilliet argues that the. William Cronon, editor, is America’s leading environmental historian.
A winner of the MacArthur Fellowship, he is the author of Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England () and Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (), and currently serves as Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Jun 07, · For Human Evolution, Root-Gathering Grandmas May Have Been More Important Than Man The Hunter: Goats and Soda What made us human might have had less to do with men out hunting, and a lot more to.