Monday, September 26, 2011

Shameless, Shameless Superman

The solicitation copy for the recently-digitized Superman 713 reads:
What could possibly make The Man of Steel decide to stop being Superman? Superboy and Supergirl catch up with him in Portland, Oregon, and they want answers!
It just as easily could have read:
What could possibly make The Man of Steel decide to undress in front of his teenaged girl cousin? Superboy and Supergirl don't want to know!

Really, he couldn't have changed out of his costume before meeting them? This is a trend I've noticed not only with comic book characters, but with fictional characters across various media: nobody has any sense of shame about casually undressing in front of others. Not that I think people should be ashamed of their bodies--I think it's kind of silly when guys make a big deal about changing under their towel when in a men's locker room--but in my experience most real people are not so cavalier about displaying their bodies for friends, family, and random strangers to see. So why do writers of fiction feel compelled to write characters who are so entirely without shame? (Except for Supergirl, who is clearly ashamed of her cousin.)

Or do I just know the wrong people? Because if there are men who look like Superman who are in the habit of casually undressing in front of their acquaintances, I want to be friends with these men. (And what straight man would not want to be friends with someone like Wonder Woman who sleeps nude and has no qualms about getting dressed in front of random strangers who magically appear in her bedroom?)

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