Indian art student Shreya Arora is gaining notice for turning the male gaze onto the classic comics she grew up reading.
Arora, a National Institute of Design student, recently told Scroll that she was re-reading the She-Hulk comics from her childhood and was stunned to see the objectification and sexism that was present on almost every page. She was also surprised that she did not pick up on the objectification as a child.
“She-Hulk covers are sexist in every way possible,” Arora told Scroll. “Nothing about that depiction would ever be done to a male, be it the body language or the clothing or the frivolous dialogue.”
While studying abroad for a semester in France, Arora began creating a series of six mock comic book covers for a class project. Three of the images were produced in collaboration with BuzzFeed India. Using characters from both the Marvel and DC Comics universes, Arora’s images feature the Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman and others in suggestive poses and skimpy outfits.
Comic cover #5 Clearly, being a superheroine means immense pressure. Even your cat expects you to pose sexily while you show her something. With great power, comes no accountability? Swipe for the original cover: DC Batman Adventures #10, by Kelsey Shannon #DCwyd? #dccomics #illustration #batman #catwoman
Arora added that the relationship between the male gaze of the artists and the female characters they were creating was obvious and something readers and viewers should consider while consuming the art.
“The superheroines in comic books are mostly made by men, for men to enjoy,” said Arora. “This is different from a female celebrity choosing to appear nude on a magazine cover because those women have a choice and autonomy over their bodies.”