I don’t get the attraction of Hot Girls in Batman Shirts. It’s basically a narrower, crappier version of Hot Nerds Reading Comics, except instead of celebrating the aesthetic qualities and reading preferences of all sorts of people within comics fandom, it removes comics from the field entirely, and instead appears to be an excuse to objectify young women, the great majority of whom fit a very specific appearance ‘type’. The fact that they are wearing Batman t-shirts seems almost irrelevant, so far removed is fandom and shared enjoyment of the comics subculture from the entire affair.
Geek culture has enough of a problem with sexism, both real sexism within our respective fandoms, and perceived sexism assumed by outsiders, that this kind of thing really doesn’t help. At all.
I wanted to share Andy’s viewpoint on this mostly because it is pretty much how I’ve felt in regards to these particular kinds of Tumblr accounts lately, however, slightly more conflicted. I’ve come to full terms with the fact that Batman (like most popular comic characters) has been a huge pop culture icon for a while and likewise, I don’t expect every person wearing a Batman shirt to have extensive knowledge on the Bat-Universe or to even be a fan of comics. To expect that from every Batman-shirt-wearing individual would be like expecting everyone who has ever worn a Mickey Mouse shirt to be able to give you an extensive background on Oswald.
On the other hand, I fully understand where the criticisms of Hot Girls in Batman Shirts come in. The notion of what makes a “real” geek versus what falls under geek girl fetishism is inevitably tossed around, which begets a discussion of what exactly the geek aesthetic is comprised of. Despite the fact that I know that a Batman shirt does not a fan make, I will admit that I do get excited when I see someone (especially other girls) wearing nerdy shirts and power rings. However, on more than a handful of occasions, I’ve encountered both boys and girls who displayed virtually no knowledge of what they were wearing when I complimented their attire. Similarly, I’ve learned to restrain myself to fully geek out at individuals in store-bought superhero costumes at Halloween parties. When it comes down to it, I guess I’m still conflicted - I do fully believe that people should and can wear whatever they want without heavy scrutiny of an elitist fandom, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken every time a boy in a store-bought Robin costume explained to me that he’s the “Chris O’Donnell-Robin.”
Of course, all of this boils down to where I think I fit in all of this, both personally and in terms of Fashion Tips From Comic Strips. As a life-long fan of comics and fashion, and someone who’s been on both sides of this kind of scrutiny and skepticism of whether or not I’m really a fan, I try my best not to perpetuate these kinds of alienating behaviors. My ultimate goal isn’t to water down comics into nothing more than a fashion show, or to troll the fashion world with masks and catsuits, but to show how fashion and comics act as two incredibly rich visual narratives that fully interact with each other, and from there, see what this interaction says about Earth-Prime.
Anyway, I’d love to hear what you guys think about these kinds of Tumblr accounts in regards to the fandom. Feel free to go directly to this post to leave your comments :)