10

The DC superhero Power Girl wears a white costume with a red cape. Her costume has a cleavage-displaying cutout. Is there an in-universe, tactical explanation for this? Out of universe, it just seems like basic comic book sexism, but has any comic book writer given an in-universe explanation for the cutout?

Cleavage Girl

Power Girl

14
  • 20
    Distract male opponents?
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 22:37
  • 3
    tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CleavageWindow Note the page image.
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 22:38
  • 2
    @JonCuster Hmmm .. I suppose selling merchandise is more strategic than tactical. But at least they do have an in-universe rational.
    – Peter M
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 22:59
  • 4
    All I see is pictures. What is the question?
    – void_ptr
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 3:53
  • 3
    How would deciding to write a fictional character in a way that she does not mind/appreciate showing skin be sexist? Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 4:36

2 Answers 2

20

Apparently there have been a few different justifications for the outfit over the years. A particularly notable explanation, from JSA: Classified #2 (2005), is that the costume was intended to have a symbol on the chest, like Superman's, but she never came up with anything and just left it empty.

sad power girl explains her cleavage window

People always ask me why I have this hole right here. They think I'm showing off ... or just being lewd. But the first time I made this costume, I wanted to have a symbol like you.

I just... I couldn't think of anything. I thought, eventually, I'd figure it out - and close the hole.

But I haven't.

This is not really a tactical reason for having a cleavage window, but it is at least an in-universe explanation. Apparently she was suffering from something of an identity crisis during this period, so she found her lack of symbolism particularly poignant.

Not being a reader of the comics, I'm only aware of this particular explanation for the costume because the scene of Power Girl having a tearful monologue that emotionally "justifies" her outfit was widely mocked on the internet. I'd be very surprised if no comic has ever canonicalised the simple joke that it's there to distract the kind of opponents who are easily distracted by breasts on display - I have seen panels where that property is remarked upon in-universe, though not given as the actual reasoning for the design.

3
  • 5
    Absence of logo idea is plain cloth, not hole. She lied on the face.
    – user931
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 21:04
  • 4
    This page has an example of the "it throws opponents off balance" explanation: comicsalliance.com/… Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 21:27
  • This comic strip sounds and looks totally wrong ...
    – Nigel Fds
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 0:01
6

The story that I heard was that her cleavage was due to the artist Wally Wood. It seems that Wally was bored, so he kept increasing her breast size each issue until somebody complained. I think he found another project before anybody complained, but they kept the look.

The "breast window" just made the problem more obvious.

5
  • 2
    Where did you hear this story?
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 19:24
  • 3
    I forget where I first heard it, but the youtuber Casually Comics repeated it in one of her episodes. It's been knocking about the comics community for quite some time, however.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 19:52
  • 2
    It's on Wikipedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Wikipedia's source is listed as: Karyn Pinter. "Jimmy Palmiotti: Time Bomb and Power Girl - the Breast of Friends? - Comics Bulletin" Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 21:23
  • @user14111 Yes, Wally Wood. Sorry, too little sleep recently.
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 6:03
  • Not to mention how the breasts seem to have migrated upwards until they're level with her shoulders...
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 16:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.