Marvel Really Screwed Up With Its “Sexy” New Spider-Woman Cover

What Women Really Think
Aug. 20 2014 5:28 PM

This Week in Butts

Spider_Woman

Marvel

Despite a few road bumps, the human rear end, especially of the female variety, is well on its way to pop culture world domination. I, personally, am struggling with deeply mixed feelings about this. On one hand, butts are awesome, and shaking them is a good time for the shakers and any consenting shakees in the mix, unless they are Robin Thicke. On the other hand, all this staring at hineys raises some age-old questions about the sexual objectification of women. When is it kosher for ladies to shake that healthy butt? Perhaps two new tush-centric pop culture moments from this week can help guide us toward a better understanding:

Bad Butt

Advertisement

Marvel Comics stepped in it big time with a cover for Spider-Woman No. 1, released this week and drawn by Milo Manara, who is known in the comics world for his erotic drawing styleAs Rob Bricken at io9 writes, "First of all, even the dumbest, horniest teenage boy on the planet knows there's no fabric on this earth that could possibly cling to Jessica Drew's individual buttocks like that." It looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume. Plus, even if you have superpowers, it's impossible to crawl along the roof while keeping your back arched and your rear high. Too many covers like that, and Spider-Woman is going to need physical therapy. 

Good Butt

After a controversy over the cover art for Nicki Minaj’s single "Anaconda," which Minaj used to tease the rear-centric nature of her song, the full video is out. And it's a lot of fun.

Built over samples from the 1992 Sir-Mix-A-Lot hit "Baby Got Back," the song celebrates the same general love of derriere as its predecessor, but from a female perspective. Minaj and her female dancers twerk in a jungle setting and indulge in some '90s nostalgia involving hot pink shirts over stonewashed denim. Drake is there. 

So how is it that Spider-Woman's backside reads as icky while Nicki Minaj's is just plain fun? Part of it, I think, is that the Minaj video is playful, so much less creepy than the icky super-seriousness of that Spider-Woman cover. Part of it is context. Shaking your thing makes more sense on the dance floor in the jungle than when you're fighting evil.

But really what it comes down to is who is in control of the butts in question. With Spider-Woman, we're looking at yet another example of a man imposing his ideas about the female body and female sexuality onto a character, creating an image that feels like she's reduced to the ass in question. But "Anaconda" is a video with a woman in charge of her own image. She's shaking her thing because she wants to and she's looking directly into the camera and rapping, too, making it impossible to reduce her to a single body part.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 18 2014 6:52 PM Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters  Colorado Democrats and Republicans are testing theories for reaching women that will resonate far beyond the Rocky Mountains.  
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.