Designing Women1 of 12
There's a bit of a movement in superhero media to desexualize female superhero costumes - after all, shouldn't characters who are primarily fighter prioritize their own protection as much as their male counterparts?
But some female heroes haven’t been so lucky as to get more practical makeovers. Take for example Elizabeth Olsen's cleavage-baring Avengers: Infinity War look, which Olsen says isn't exactly her personal cup of tea for a character wading into battle with Mad Titans. Even she'll admit it's a step up from Wanda's comic book look, but in her words costumes like hers aren't "representing the average woman."
So we're looking back at some of the female superhero costumes that are designed to show as much skin as possible despite wading into battle and danger on a regular basis – costumes that are, in a word, impractical.
Power Girl2 of 12
Never in comic books has there ever been a more confusing yet apt term as "boob window.”
Confusing in terms of why it exists in the first place, apt in that it is literally just a porthole to Power Girl's ample cleavage.
Originally what started as slightly extended cleavage somehow moved to the middle of Peej's chest, giving readers a view that honestly doesn't do her any favors while slugging it out with the likes of Despero. Her first "New 52" costume was the first time she was completely covered, but she soon reverted back to her more famous (and impractical) look.
Harley Quinn3 of 12
"New 52" Harley Quinn was a few Faygo bottles short of being ready for the Gathering of the Juggalos.
This outfit looked like a “sexy clown” Halloween costume that someone pulled off a bargain rack. To be fair, this get up does leave plenty of room for activities, allowing her acrobatic potential to fully take hold. However, her original costume had that too, without the tone-deaf lingerie look.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti's Harley Quinn and their "Rebirth" relaunch did an admirable job in steering this back on the road with multiple updated costumes, but many fans still see the original design from Batman: The Animated Series and the post-Crisis as the quintessential Harley Quinn look.
Invisible Woman4 of 12
Invisible Woman has always had one of the most conservative uniforms of any female superhero, basically wearing the exact same thing as her male teammates. But sometimes, mama’s gotta sow them wild oats.
Who designed this? Did Sue sit down with an artist, and go bit by bit, carefully poring over the designs? Or did she just give someone a list of the big picture ideas?
“It definitely needs a 4-shaped hole in the chest. And no pants. I’m so sick of pants.”
This costume is perfectly fitting as a utility suit for a woman who explores potentially hostile environments, not to mention how well it fits Sue Storm’s personality. Though, to be fair, part of the reason she wore this suit was thanks to the nefarious influence of the psychic villain Malice.
Richards reverted rather quickly back to a more uniform FF look, but this costume continues to live (in infamy, some would say) as what not to do as a superhero.
Starfire5 of 12
She may have gotten some more practical new duds in recent memory, but Starfire has managed to constantly avoid being fully clothed throughout her entire career.
True, members of her species aren’t known for their modesty, but you’d think a warrior culture might consider something less revealing for the heat of battle.
It’s not entirely clear if cleavage is a requirement on her planet, but judging by her outfit, Starfire’s people may just be reaping the benefits of lesser gravity.
Star Sapphire6 of 12
You'd think being gifted the power of creation, you'd be able to craft a better costume than this - especially if you're planning on space travel.
In the decades since her creation, Carol Ferris, a.k.a. Star Sapphire, has gone from wearing a colorful one-piece bathing suit, to wearing what looks like the remains of the Pink Panther. Apparently being enabled by the Power of Love only gets you so far and doesn't allow for full body protection.
You might not need no credit card to ride this train, but no shirt, no service, no thanks.
Zatanna7 of 12
Not many characters can brag that they sport a top hat in battle, much less fishnets and heels. Then again, the tux is in Zee's blood as her father Zatara also fought crime in coat tails.
But is “tradition” really a smart reason to wear heels and a bow tie to your Justice League meetings? Though recent updates have moved away from the "showgirl" style, it’s hard not to imagine bad guys snickering when she appeared on the battlefield dressed like David Copperfield.
Moondragon8 of 12
Note to cosplayers: if you do it right, you can make Moondragon’s entire costume out of a single piece of fabric.
Honestly, you could probably use a napkin for most of it. Just be sure to invest in plenty of double-sided tape.
White Queen9 of 12
Emma Frost, as the White Queen, made the bold super-villain choice to forego a costume entirely, in favor of simply wearing something that most female characters (or women) wouldn’t even wear underneath their actual clothes, let alone into battle with heroic mutants.
Now, Emma Frost is one of the most openly sexual female characters in comic books – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But considering her proclivity for getting into fights with guys like Wolverine, she might be better served with some sleek leather than this less-than-protective get-up.
Vampirella10 of 12
Borat wore it better.
But seriously, who, when preparing to take on hordes of bloodthirsty monsters, wouldn’t suit up in a mono-kini made of red floss?
What this outfit lacks in coverage, it makes up for in abject nudity. Thank goodness vampires don’t have some method of piercing bare flesh, like, I dunno, fangs or something.
Red Sonja11 of 12
The bikini that launched a thousand groans.
While her brutality and sensuality usually go hand in hand, Red Sonja's battle "armor" is actually quite the opposite. Nothing says “warrior” like medieval club wear.
While the look is iconic, it's hardly practical in her sword and sorcery universe and for somebody who is constantly immersed in close-quarter combat.
At least it’s technically armor…
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