I have written about Barbara Gordon, Batgirl and Oracle before as being a disabled heroine and how sex and disability can interact in interesting and possibly damaging ways (Click here to see post). Yet, once again I felt compelled to write about the beloved character because of the horror inflicted on her ONCE AGAIN. As some may know, Batgirl or Barbara Gordon was shot and paralyzed in the story-line The Killing Joke by the Joker. What many don’t like talking about is the hours of gang-rape that was implied after the shooting. Yet as Batgirl dawns the cap again in a bizarre turn of events, where she no longer is disabled, she is still terrorized. This cover shows the kind of grotesque imagery DC is willing to put out as an embodiment of the Women in Refrigerator trope. My reaction to this picture is one of immense distress and disgust. The proposed cover of a upcoming comicbook by Rafael Albuguerque in promotion for the Batgirl comics, this cover is disturbing. To be noted: Albuguerque did not originally make this cover until DC asked him to make one more extreme and it was at the artist’s request that the cover be removed (Click here for article).
Why do I find this so disturbing? The blatant sexualized violence against Gordon is reflected in the gun being pointed towards her crotch and the close proximity of the most insane and murderous villain to be featured in the history of comics. As he is putting lip stick across her face, her outright fear and the tears on the edge of her eyes is telling of the kind of situation this cover is trying to depict. The image of violence against women in this picture is horrifying and frankly triggering.
While I hope that this post does not trigger anyone else, i felt the need to share it because of the horrific turn that comic art has come too. One which sacrifices the well-being and emotional safety of its female audience for shock value.
This is a very desperate time for action to end violence against women. If it weren’t a problem anymore, do you think art like this would still be made?
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