The Hawkeye Initiative

Everyone who has ever read comics should go check out The Hawkeye Initiative.


The picture above is artist Blue‘s commentary on Marvel Comics’ choices in cover art.  Keep in mind, this is a cover for an All-Ages (marketed to children) comic.  I don’t know about you but, when I was seven, I would have been more interested in Black Widow’s kicks and punches than her sexy acrobatics.  Great job attracting more girl readers, guys!

And so, the Hawkeye Initiative was born.  The challenge is simple: redraw “empowered poses” from comic books with Hawkeye in the role of the female character.  I love the comments from some of the artists that they feel “pervy” adding the butt cheek highlights and other details.  We’re so used to these images that it takes a paradigm shift to see how sexualized they really are.It’s been eye-opening for a lot of the internet.  Here are a few of the reblogged comments:

I seriously think that’s how alot of comic book artists draw weakness and submission. What made the Hawkeye Initiative so amazing for me is that subbing a man really opened my eyes to exactly how insulting these women are being drawn. People keep claiming it’s to make woman be drawn in a bad ass pose but put it on a man and it makes it sooo freaking clear(to people like me) just how contorted the body is, just how unnecessary the positions are unless you are going for sex appeal. –yadelah

I just want to thank you for doing this in a way that makes me laugh and pay attention, rather than shut down and turn away. Too often, people talk at me about these issues, rather than too me; as a white, middle-class cis man I am made to feel like an irredeemable enemy, and so disinclined to do or say anything about these important issues. This blog addresses these issues in a direct, yet polite way and it makes me feel like I can be part of a solution, not a permanent problem. Thank you 🙂   –Aremay

I think that last comment is particularly important.  As a woman who reads comics, loves comics, and once ran a comic book store, I’ve had this conversation countless times over the years.  We as a culture are used to these physical shapes as “female superhero poses” which makes it difficult sometimes to get guys (and sometimes girls) to see the problem.  Stick Hawkeye in them and it becomes obvious, hilarious, and much easier to discuss.

Also, some of the art is just awesome.

What would a good post on this phenomenon be without a sampling of my favorites?

Hawkeye as Black Cat

The Classic Boobs & Butt Pose

Hawkeye as Ms. Marvel

Group Pinup


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