Posted by : Wendy B Monday, 3 August 2015
I love Emma Frost but the reigning image of the former White Queen of the Hellfire Club continues to disappoint me. I am not alone in this train of thought. Writes Julie Kahn at Comics Alliance:
"Look, I can dig Emma Frost as an overtly sexual woman. Butt floss and pasties are too often justified as ‘liberated female sexuality!’ by creators who seem to draw breasts by tracing nickels, but y’know what? When it comes to Emma, I’ll accept it. Women who enjoy expressing their power and sexuality through fashion exist. It’s just that, y’know, these women typically understand when and where overtly sexual clothing is appropriate. And are at all in touch with notions of style and class. And understand that channeling one’s sexuality is not equivalent to wearing literal lingerie as daywear as often as possible."I consider Emma Frost to be one of my childhood idols. I met her through Classic X-Men when I was a pre-teen and I loved her. Those scenes in Classic X-Men #34 were my first introduction to concepts of feminism and sexism at a time when I had no idea what those things were.
|Classic X-Men #34|
I have grown up since then, but Emma, apparently, has not. Or rather, she did at one point under the right pens, but her current iteration seems to exist only on the basis of showing skin and overtly oozing sexuality with no real purpose other than, well, being sexy. She's become a one note joke.
Writes Claire Napier at Women Write About Comics (from which many of my thoughts here stem):
"Emma is one of the few Marvel characters with any kind of consistent aesthetic, and it’s not surprising to see it go unchallenged, or spring back to this form, for this long. It’s eye-catching, continuity has its own agreeable charm, and Marvel comics approves of sexual drawings of women. What it’s not is good storytelling. What once was explained, and coherent, now is not."Emma has defined herself by the power games she plays. Sex, or rather, the teasing promise of sex, is one of her many weapons but it is not necessarily her primary one--and despite what writers and artists try to tell you, it is not dependent on her attire.
|Emma works Namor in AvX. She could have achieved the same result wearing track pants. Stylish, expensive Lulu Lemon track pants, of course.|
This is one of the many reasons why I hated her appearance in X-Men: First Class. She was not Shaw’s equal. He sent her to get ice. Her disgust at having to seduce that one guy is about the only thing they got right. Oh and the jumpsuit. The rest of her attire was atrocious. And that is now how the image of Emma Frost has been solidified for people who do not know what the character used to be. Not only is she depicted in a cheap bra and ill-fitting skirt, none of her power as a business woman and Shaw’s equal is present. She’s sex candy. Poorly dressed sex candy.
I love sexy. I believe Emma loves sexy because there is a thrill in it. I believe she should be dressed for sex appeal because she drinks that power and because she loves clothing and fashion. It's certainly not because she wants to impress others. Emma is not lacking when it comes to self esteem and getting what she wants.
|Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis|
|Slut Shaming 101 in Astonishing X-Men|
|High tea in Astonishing X-Men|
|Emma is off to check her karats in New X-Men|
The moment when I finally gave up on Marvel’s writing of Emma was when they had her leave Scott in Schism, but then go back to him just a few panels later. For that brief moment, I had hopes of a woman who no longer defined herself by Scott as Jean had and who would return to her love of teaching. She could have been a great headmistress — just like she had been in Generation X — and run the Jean Grey Academy (oh she would have hated that name, though it is fitting penance for her role in turning Jean into the Black Queen) and handle Cerebro. She should be as much a foil for Scott as she is for Xavier and truly rise above Jean's shadow. I don’t see her as someone who wants or needs to be in the field. She’s a business woman. I want to see her running her business and handling the business of the X-Men.
"On paper, she sounds great. Powerful, wealthy woman, likes being in charge, she’s got super powers, and I assume she is into fashion. I can’t find any evidence of her loving fashion, but I’ve read several issues of X-Men where she insists they all go shopping in New York. Let’s face it. She likes clothes. So you’d think that for someone who likes clothes she would not wear the same thing all the time. I don’t even care about her showing so much skin." Terry Blas, The Emma Frost Fashion Redesign Project
|Terry Blas, The Emma Frost Fashion Redesign Project|
I want an Emma that gives no fucks and is not afraid to grow older because she knows that power is so much more than a corset (even though she can totally still wear corsets because corsets are awesome.)