Emily S. Whitten: Dress for Success, Superheroine Style

Emily S. Whitten

Emily S. Whitten writes everything from news, reviews, and interviews to how-tos, con round-ups, and opinion pieces for ComicMix and others; as well as comics featured on ComicMix, MTV.com, and Reelz.com; and occasionally even award-winning poetry and fiction. When she's not writing for fun or profit, she’s sharing geeky thoughts on the Fantastic Forum radio show and podcast Made of Fail. Emily is a convention organizer and consultant, and co-chair of the fourth North American Discworld Convention, which she co-founded. She has been Program Coordinator for Awesome Con and staff for several genre cons. Emily is a program moderator for Awesome Con and Fan2Sea; and you might also recognize her from her days of answering questions online as her alter-ego, Ask Deadpool. In her copious spare time, Emily enjoys crafting and cosplay, and looking after the cutest three-legged dwarf hamster in the world, ElliePuff. Oh, and when she's not doing all that, Emily is an active member of The National Press Club and holds down a 9-to-5 as a senior attorney for the federal government - although that may just be her superheroine cover identity.

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11 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    Yes! I’ve always thought it was a ridiculous idea that a woman who was tough and trained to fight would just let her tits flap in the breeze. Of course she’d wear a sports bra. I mean, duh! Just like a guy wears a jock, for crying out loud.

    • mike weber says:

      Heh. I remember the [i]Birds of Prey[/i] story that opened with Black Canary riding her bike to some rendezvous … and apparently having a snarky argument with herself.

      Finally revealed to be Huntress dressed as BC, because BC wasn’t up and about from having both legs broken.

      Helena was waxing eloquent on the subject of the ridiculousness of fishnets, but Dinah cut that off with “At least in my costume, nobody can tell if I’m an innie or an outie.”

  2. Emily S. Whitten says:

    Right? Also, having personally worn, e.g. corsets and five-inch platform heels for costumes, even thinking about a light jog in something like that is laughable. Particularly the heels.

    I do, in fact, own a pair of five-inch thin-heeled platform heels, and I am good enough at walking in them to go a day at a con without falling down, but I have literally never even *tried* to walk faster than a slow meander in them, because I am afraid for my ankles every second I’m in them. Also the one time I had to go downhill in them I immediately held onto someone’s arm because those sorts of shoes are often designed with a tilted toe, and you feel like you’re going to fall on your face going downhill.

    Shoes like that are mostly made for fancy standing/sitting around and/or not leaving the radius of a small, possibly circular stage, ifyaknowwhatImean. They are *not* crime-fighting shoes. Heh.

  3. Gene Ha says:

    If I was a female “unpowered” superheroine with Chinese cinema levels of martial arts power, you can get so practical that it’s not even superhero. Helmet. 3 ft long club or sword, or even a staff and spear. Perhaps a shield. Some ranged weapon, eg a knives or a pistol. There’s a reason why this was the garb of most warriors throughout history. Hoplites, centurions, Vikings, the Mongol hordes, riot police, etc. It’d be mad to go in with less than this. And yeah, comfy supportive undergarments and flat thick soled shoes.

    All these rules go out the window if you have bulletproof skin and can fly. Even if you’re “walking” you can still choose to be nearly weightless, so you might as well go on stilts. If the elastin in your dermis can resist bullets and has built in anti-gravity, the force of gravity and flight acceleration on your no longer tender bits are imperceptible. At this point 80s Dr Manhattan is perfectly reasonable, modesty aside.

    One thing still remains insanely dumb for flyers: any piece of clothing that creates a parachute effect. Better to wear a cheerleader mini-skirt than a bustier top or a “boob window”. There’s no way in hell that’s staying put during a 120 mph dive.

    • Emily S. Whitten says:

      Thanks for reading, Gene! Yeah, the invulnerable types do have certain leeway in the area of costuming for protection, I agree. There’s more of a logical pass given to them for not wearing a lot of padding and the like.

      I think if it was me, even then I’d still go for at least a comfortable and reasonably concealing spandex or other stretchy fitted material type outfit, at least – and definitely pants or shorts rather than a skirt, if I was flying! I’d be creeped out by people continually looking up my skirt, I think, even if I was wearing a leotard underneath.

      Hahaha, yeah – I 100% agree with your last paragraph.

  4. Glen says:

    The first thing that came to mind when you talked about heels on a flying super-heroine was of a woman truly ‘sticking’ a landing by nailing herself into the ground by her heels.

    The skimpy costumes also seem to serve the purpose of letting writers too weak in their skills to make a sanely costumed woman appealing a way out. This is power girl, she is strong and sexy and appealing because… Because… Boobies!

    • Emily S. Whitten says:

      Hah! Oh wow, didn’t even think of that. Yeah, if you landed with force in heels, you’d definitely either get one stuck somewhere (even walking around DC I occasionally catch my heels in cracks in the sidewalk/cobblestones) or you’d break one or both right off. Yeurgh.