Tadaaa! Another comics THORsday is here! And this time, a taboo one: sex in comics. Sex is still a taboo in our society, and openly talking about it can be challenging. But, aren’t challenges worth the try? Before we start our sexy journey, we have to point out that comics are an incredibly flexible medium: you can depict whatever you want without the technology challenges that might exist with a film at the moment. That said, sex in comics can run as wild as human imagination. The question is not what can be depicted or which stories can be told, but who has been brave enough as to do so.
Superheroes show up kisses and some type of relationships. While there are some limits on what to depict, both in violence and inches of skin, what we see on the pages of Superhero comics gives us hints about how society opens up to human relationships. However, there are still lots of updated stereotypes that leave the reader disappointed many times. It’s not a question of how women are depicted, nor what roles are the characters are having, but how their relationships are shown and explained, even if they’re just triggering your imagination to fill in the gaps the sex that should be there, but that we cannot really see.
True, male characters are given more respect in the sense that they do have more partners, but society does not see them as questionable. Iron Man is one of the characters that has had more adventures. And yet, he seems to live happily ever after. Well, at least for a “playboy.” But what about girls? Does Gamora have the same license?
Strong women are sometimes depicted as solitary, and when confronted with many partners, outdated stereotypes are still triggered. It is time to show relationships without calling outdated stereotypes into motion while giving the characters more room to show up some more skin.
But, I don’t think we’ll see much more skin that we’re used to on comics that can be read by everyone. We can find endless inches of skin in comix and erotic comics. Here, there are no borders on what you can find in erotic comics. Sex can be tender, or grotesque. It can be humorous or political. But the key about these comics isn’t that they might be shocking but that we still get shocked by them. Because sex is a taboo, we think of people who read them as perverts, when in reality those who are against or point with the finger to the authors that draw them as such.
But there is a place where you can shatter taboos. Okay, it’s not free from arguments and ship wars, but it’s a busting medium that is helping break free from the taboos around sex: slash online comics and art.
Relationships, aka ships in the fanfic realm, are but ways to explore our own sexuality. Slash can be sweet, explicit, arrogant, grotesque, humorous and extremely shocking. Artists and consumers of fic explore their sexual identities through characters that they love. At the moment we’re able to talk about sex, we’re free from the taboo. I am not saying that we have to do what we draw or read, but that we should be adult enough as a modern society as to talk about something as human as sex. Comics as a medium has been creating a dialogue with our humanity through letting out of our brains our vivid imaginations.
[Note: I didn’t find the original documentary in English, so I chose the French version instead. Sorry.]