“Empowered” and “sexy” are not universally synonymous. That a woman is not a sex kitten does not mean that she’s any less comfortable or empowered or any of that stuff. See above, re: not a homogenous demographic. Stop making sexiness a universal demand. Let some characters be unsexy. And for f*ck’s sake, please, please stop drawing women who are injured, or dead, or being tortured, or punching bad guys, in sex-kitten pin-up poses. That is bad visual storytelling, and it is INCREDIBLY creepy. Let women be heroes for the sake of heroism. Women don’t have to be damaged or traumatized to be strong, or to want to make a difference. Corollary: Dropping rape into a backstory is not a panacea for making a female character complex and gritty.
Imagine you have a daughter. Imagine the kind of women you’d like her to want to grow up to be. Write them. Write women you’d want to be friends — really good friends — with. Write women you’d get in arguments with. Write women you’d be legitimately scared of. Write women like your mom, like your aunts, like your wife, like your friends, like your nieces and nephews and daughters and bosses and friends. We are not aliens… This, too, goes back to “doing things.” A lot of the time, male characters act, and female characters are acted upon. Let female characters make difficult choices — and sometimes choose wrong — and have struggles and the same real victories. Because without those things, they’re not characters; they’re just window dressing.
My biggest problem with characters like Morgana from Merlin.
reblogging over here specifically for the mention of conflation of violence with sex. Seriously, drawing injured, dead, tortured, and abused women in “sexy” poses absolutely portrays violence as sexy, absolutely conflates sex and violence with each other to the point where they’re so intertwined it’s impossible to separate them. That’s utterly fucked up and actively contributes to rape culture by helping to create people who think that the abuse the met out is sexy and is therefore not rape when in reality it’s rape, it’s abuse, it’s assault, it’s just violence and nothing more.