It seems like every six months like clockwork, a retailer somewhere in the world releases a superhero-themed shirt for women that sends exactly the wrong message to women and girls — undercutting the very notion of heroism, and reinforcing gender stereotypes rather than challenging them.
This time the culprit is British retailer Primark, and the victim is both Batgirl and any woman who bought the incredibly sexist nightshirt they are selling in their stores.
Superhero fan Pippa Granger spotted the nightshirt on a recent shopping trip, and initially she was excited at her find. “When I first saw it I was excited as it is difficult to get female superhero clothing without it being pin,” she said. “Then I read the words and my jaw dropped.”
When is a woman ever a woman? Every moment of the day…and night! Even Batgirl during her most hectic moments…when she is battling criminals…is always conscious of her appearance! Should her costume be ripped, her face smeared, a bootheel lost… and her concern boomerangs against her! And yet being feminine can sometimes be turned to an advantage as she demonstrates to Batman and Robin in…
Batgirl’s Costume Cut-Ups
‘By the time Batgirl pretties herself up’ ‘It’ll all be over’
That’s right, instead of heroically saving the day, Batgirl is obsessing over her physical appearance … because that’s what “being feminine” is all about.
The design is taken from Detective #371, originally published in 1968. While the comic might be from the ’60s, the ideas about women contained inside it are from decades earlier.
“It’s extremely demeaning to women,” Granger said. “I don’t understand how someone could have approved that design.”