I have managed nearly a year of writing a feminist comics column without discussing Power Girl’s breasts – or indeed, anyone’s breasts – in any depth, something that the opposition might have deemed an impossibility. “All feminists do is complain about big boobs in comics!” they whine, the foul stench of patent lies wafting from their mouths, like unto the wind off an industrial hog farm.
But lo, the time has come, and this is what I think about Power Girl and her purported “bottled cities of Kandor.”
I think that most people want to see characters that reflect themselves in their fantasies, and comic book readers are no different.
I want to see myself in Power Girl. She’s bold, she’s quick to anger, she’s determined to fight against evil, her name is Karen and she has enormous breasts.
So do I.
34 DD (12 DD in Australasian) isn’t Peeg-sized, but it’s still big, and noticeably so. And boy, do people notice. There have been times when I’ve felt like nothing more than background to the contents of my bra. I’ve been verbally harassed in four nations and groped in two. Once, at school, I was told my clothing was “inappropriate”. I was wearing the same uniform shirt as every other girl. It was my body that was inappropriate.
To all those people, I would like to cordially extend a resounding fuck you.
I like my breasts, hard as such reception makes it. But they aren’t the most important thing about me. They’re not even in the top ten. If I have to have a radical double mastectomy, I’ll miss my breasts, but losing them won’t mean losing myself. I’ll still be me. I’ll still be a vital human being, still bold and quick to anger and eager to fight injustice.
So how do you think I feel, watching writer after writer and artist after artist saying “Yes, Power Girl is bold, she’s angry, she fights the good fight – but don’t ever forget the breasts! It doesn’t matter if that personality isn’t evident in the art! Emphasise the boobs, always, over everything else!”?
There’s nothing wrong with large-breasted female superheroes, and I am always irritated when anyone expresses the sentiment that Power Girl is stupid and worthless because she has big breasts. Large-breasted women want someone to identify with too! But there’s a lot wrong when that’s all that comes through on the cover.
I have large breasts, but I am not defined by them. Power Girl shouldn’t be defined by hers.
And if you think that she should be – if you think that there’s nothing wrong with emphasising Power Girl’s breasts at the expense of her personality and prowess, because you think it’s funny, or because you like looking at pictures of boobs, or because the spectacle of strong women reduced to vacant-eyed zombies exposing their chests for your viewing pleasure makes you happy in your pants – then fuck you too.