Target: DC Comics President Diane Nelson
Goal: Condemn major comic book company for discriminatory censoring and promoting sexualized violence against women
Recently, DC Comics, one of the most influential and prominent comic book companies responsible for the popularization of such iconic superheroes as Superman and Batman, rejected a storyboard proposed by its editorial staff that would display their main character’s long-awaited same-sex marriage on panel. The character, Kate Kane, or Batwoman, has been in a same-sex relationship with her partner, but the publisher refused to allow her marriage to be shown in the comic book. The editorial team in charge of Batwoman promptly resigned in disgust.
Then, just a few days before National Suicide Prevention Week, the company decided to hold a contest for readers to submit a drawing of one of the most prominent Batman villains, Harley Quinn, naked in a bathtub and about to commit suicide. The character is known to be mentally unhinged.
These two seemingly discrete events draw the parallel of a hateful and misogynistic attitude towards women within the company. While one main character is denied visibility for her consensual, loving relationship another is gratuitously naked and objectified in a gruesome and macabre death scene playing on her mental instability.
Depictions of women in entertainment and media reflect and sometimes help spread and cement our attitudes toward women in life. When women in comic books are denied autonomous sexuality and only depicted as objects to be acted upon, when their lives are expendable and used as a cheap voyeuristic ploy, it can help to diminish our respect for women and their needs as humans. At the very least it is a reflection of our existing attitudes towards women.
Please sign this petition to urge DC Comics to end the disgusting, misogynistic terms of this contest.
Dear Diane Nelson,
Recently, DC Comics created a submission contest for readers wherein they could illustrate Harley Quinn naked and about to commit suicide in order to jumpstart their careers. The terms of the contest were explicit in demanding that a mentally unstable character’s suicide be sexualized for the entertainment of your readers.
Your comic book characters do not exist in a vacuum. All across the United States and the world at large, women are treated as disposable sex objects, and this contest encourages and promotes that attitude. This coming right on the heels of DC Comics denying your readers the long-awaited same-sex lesbian marriage of Batwoman does not bode well for the tone your company is setting for the future.
End this despicable contest, and change your attitude towards women, or your company will remain trapped in the past while the rest of comic book culture evolves with the times.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons