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The unforgivable objectification of Iron Man in the new Avengers poster.

February 28th, 2012 by Rick Marshall · 1 Comment ·

Marvel released a new poster for “The Avengers” today, and there’s a part of me that wants to believe it’s a brilliant in-joke for the comics community.

Here’s why I say that:

Late last year, a promo image for “The Avengers” was released that featured all six members of the team posing for a big action shot. I liked the image, but critics complained that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson’s character in the film) seemed to be striking an unnatural pose aimed at showing off both her butt and chest simultaneously, while the male characters were pictured in more natural, heroic poses.

And while some argued that critics were nit-picking a bit too much, the “T&A pose” Black Widow struck in the image is actually a pretty common sight in the comics world, and a frequent target of criticism from people complaining about the objectification (and/or sexualization) of female characters. (Not to mention artists’ habit of playing fast and loose with anatomy.)

Personally, I think Black Widow’s stance in the “Avengers” promo is just as unnatural as the poses struck by Thor, Captain America, or Hulk — but there was no shortage of outrage about the image among my colleagues.

In fact, that flood of criticism led artist Kevin Bolk to remix the promo and make the Black Widow the only character not showing off her butt:

Pretty great, eh?

And now we come to today’s “Avengers” poster, in which Black Widow is definitely not striking a sexy pose.

Iron Man, on the other hand…

Butt?

Check.

Chest?

Check.

Unnatural pose that seems to defy the laws of anatomy?

Check.

And so I ask you: WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?!

As I mentioned earlier, part of me really wants to believe that this is just a nod to all of the criticism heaped on that earlier “Avengers” promo image.

I desperately want to think that at some point, someone from the Marvel Studios marketing team said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if the next big poster we release has Iron Man showing off his butt and chest in a completely unnatural pose instead of Black Widow? Take that, haters!” And when the designers revealed the new poster, everyone stood around and giggled like schoolgirls, imagining all the minds that were going to be blown with this bit of script-flipping cleverness.

Sure, I know this is almost certainly not the case, and the pose Iron Man is striking in the new poster is simply the result of finding an easily available still image that would fit into the poster’s layout… but that’s no fun at all.

Honestly, the only way we’ll know for sure whether this was intentional is if the next “Avengers” poster features Captain America (or one of the other superheroes) striking a sultry, back-bending pose that clearly says, “It’s not easy to save the world and look this f’ing good.”

Heck, I’ll just come right out and say it. If intentional tongue-in-cheek objectification of Iron Man in a poster for “The Avengers” is wrong, I don’t want to be right — because that would be boring. (Although I confess I’m a little frightened by the idea of a Hulk-centric “Avengers” poster in this style.)

Tags: comics · movies