DC Comics' Reponse to Starfire Controversy: Don't let your kids read our comics

Illustration for article titled DC Comics Reponse to Starfire Controversy: Dont let your kids read our comics

We weren't the only ones who were moved by one seven-year-old fan's take on the new "sexpot" version of Starfire in DC Comics' Red Hood and the Outlaws. A lot of other people seemed to be hoping that DC would take these comments on board — not just about the sexed-up character, but about the fact that she seems not to do anything heroic.

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And last night, DC did respond on Twitter, writing:

We've heard what's being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic. We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.

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In other words, "It's your own fault if you let your kids read our comics." Which, honestly, seems to be missing the point a bit.

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DISCUSSION

There seems to be some disagreement over what the "controversy" is really all about here.

The media slant on this is focusing on the "sexpot" aspect of the new Starfire, making it sure look to anyone observing from the sidelines that this so-called controversy is all about inappropriate sexuality in kid's comic books. However, if this is really about poor character development and bad storytelling, then the editors in charge of coming up with headlines and blog-sized summaries need to describe it differently.

What do you expect from a headline that reads "A 7-year-old girl responds to DC Comics' sexed-up reboot of Starfire"? You're going to get a bunch of hand-wringing from the crowd who routinely takes offense at highly sexualized pop culture anything. Had the headline read: "A 7-year-old girl responds to DC Comics' heroically shallow reboot of Starfire" the debate would have been better focused on what is ostensibly the real problem here (Starfire becoming a unidimensional, hollow shell of a non-character compared to what she used to be).

In other words, if the debate is veering off into irrelevant territory (a female superhero being highly sexualized, as if that never happened before), then media sites like io9 only have themselves to blame. On the other hand, if the problem is indeed DC's intense focus on Starfire's sexuality in a less-than-pre-teen-friendly way, then (a) points aren't going to be scored by aiming at the goal labeled "complain about poor writing", and (b) those who object to "sexpot Starfire" need to realize that female comic-book superheroes have almost always existed to be sexual fantasy material for teenage boys, and they probably always will be.