WOMEN’S PORTRAYALS IN THE COMIC BOOKS : A Visual Grammar of the Heroines’ Portrayals in the Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and Marvel.

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SANI SATYA PRATIWI, 2013

Women’s Portrayals in the Comic Books

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Women’s Portrayals in the Comic Books

(A Visual Grammar of the

Heroines’

Portrayals in the

Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and

Marvel)

A Research Paper

Submitted to the English Education Department of the Faculty of Languages and Arts Education of the Indonesia University of Education as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements

for Sarjana Sastra Degree

By:

SANI SATYA PRATIWI

(0801270)

English Education Department

Faculty of Language and Arts Education

Indonesia University of Education

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Women’s Portrayals in the Comic Books

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Wo e ’s Portrayals i the Co ic Books

(A Visual Gra

ar of the Heroi es’ Portrayals i the

Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and

Marvel)

Oleh Sani Satya Pratiwi

Sebuah skripsi yang diajukan untuk memenuhi salah satu syarat memperoleh gelar Sarjana pada Fakultas Pendidikan Bahasa dan Seni

© Sani Satya Pratiwi 2013 Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia

April 2013

Hak Cipta dilindungi undang-undang.

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu PAGE OF APPROVAL

Wo e ’s Portrayals i the Co ic Books

(A Visual Gra ar of the Heroi es’ Portrayals i the Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and Marvel)

A Research Paper

By

Sani Satya Pratiwi

0801270

Approved by

First Supervisor

Bachrudin Musthafa, M.A., Ph.D.

NIP. 195703101987031001

Second Supervisor

Budi Hermawan, S.Pd., M.P.C.

NIP. 197308072002121002

Head of Department of English Education

Faculty of Languages and Arts Education

Indonesia University of Education

Prof. Dr. Didi Suherdi, M.Ed.

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Women’s Portrayals in the Comic Books

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ABSTRACT

This paper entitled “Women‟s Portrayals in the Comic Books (A Visual Grammar of the

Heroines‟ Portrayals in the Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and Marvel)” is aimed at investigating how women, especially heroines are portrayed in the comic books and what the portrayals signify. The study is a qualitative study using the visual grammar theory proposed by Kress and van Leeuwen (2006) and the systemic functional linguistics theory proposed by Halliday (2004). The data are in the form of four online comics published by DC

Comics and Marvel. The study finds that heroines are portrayed in negative and positive ways.

The negative ways portray the heroines as sex symbols, the ones who sexually stimulate men‟s attention in their appearance, greedy, fragile (especially when the heroines play their character as alter ego). While, the positive ways portray the heroines as strong, brave, smart and impressive ones. The findings also show that no matter how strong the heroines, they are still in the subjection.

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ABSTRAK

Skripsi dengan judul “Women‟s Portrayals in the Comic Books (A Visual Grammar of

the Heroines‟ Portrayals in the Selected Comic Books Published by DC Comics and Marvel)” ini bertujuan untuk mencari tahu bagaimana wanita, khususnya pahlawan wanita digambarkan dalam buku-buku komik serta makna dari penggambaran tersebut. Penelitian ini menggunakan metode kualitatif dengan mengaplikasikan teori visual grammar (Kress dan van Leeuwen, 2006) serta systemic functional linguistics (Halliday, 2004). Data yang digunakan dalam penelitian ini berupa komik daring yang diterbitkan oleh DC Comics dan Marvel. Hasil penelitian menunjukkan bahwa pahlawan wanita digambarkan melalui dua sisi: negatif dan positif. Sisi negative menggambarkan wanita sebagai symbol seks, orang yang menstimulasi rangsangan seksual pada pria melalui penampilan mereka, serakah, lemah, rapuh (khususnya ketika mereka sedang memainkan peran sebagai alter ego). Sedangkan sisi positif menggambarkan wanita sebagai makhluk yang kuat, pintar dan menarik. Hasil penemuan juga menunjukkan bahwa tidak peduli sekuat apapun pahlawan wanita digambarkan dalam komik, mereka tetap berada dalam

„penjajahan‟.

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Women’s Portrayals in the Comic Books

Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE OF APPROVAL ... i

STATEMENT OF AUTHORIZATION ... ii

PREFACE ... iii

LIST OF APPENDICES ... xi

CHAPTER I ... Error! Bookmark not defined. INTRODUCTION ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.1 Background ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.2 Research Questions ... 14

1.3 Scope of the Study ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.4 Aims of the Study ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.5 Research Method ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.5.1 Data Collection ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.5.2 Data Analysis ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.6 Clarification of Terms ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 1.7 Organization of the Paper ... Error! Bookmark not defined. CHAPTER II ... 19

THEORETICAL FOUNDATION ... 19

2.1 Stereotype, Portrayal and Representation ... 19

2.2 Gender Stereotypes and Portrayals ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.3 Comics as the Topic of Investigation ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.3.1 Panels ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.3.2 Balloons ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.3.3 Gutters ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.4 Visual Analysis of Comic Books ... 27

2.4.1 Vectors and Narrative Processes ... 28

2.4.1.1 Action Process……….29

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2.4.1.3 Speech Process and Mental Process………29

2.4.2 Size of Frame ... 29

2.4.3 Salience ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.4.4 Participant ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.4.5 Visual Analysis Coding Sheet ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.4.5.1 Pose………..31

2.4.5.2 Body……….31

2.4.5.3 Clothes Type………32

2.4.5.4 Clothes Coverage……….32

2.4.6 Colors ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5 Verbal Text Analysis of Comic Books ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5.1 Material Processes ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5.2 Mental Processes ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5.3 Behavioural Processes... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5.4 Relational Processes ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.5.5 Existential Processes ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.6 The Overview of Comic Book Publishers ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 2.6.1 DC Comics (United States) ... 36

2.6.2 Marvel (United States) ... 37

CHAPTER III ... 38

3.5 Data Presentation ... Error! Bookmark not defined. CHAPTER IV ... Error! Bookmark not defined. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.1 General Findings ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.2 Findings of Visual Texts Analysis ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.2.1 Erotic and Semi-Pornographic ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.2.2 Mysterious, Tragic and Weak ... 67

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4.3 Findings of Verbal Texts Analysis ... 69

4.3.1 Confident ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.3.2 Smart and Impressive ... Error! Bookmark not defined. 4.3.3 Brave ... 76

4.3.4 Sexy ... 77

4.3.5 Fragile ... 77

4.3.6 Humiliating ... 78

4.3.7 Greedy ... 78

4.4 Discussion ... 78

CHAPTER V ... Error! Bookmark not defined.

CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS ... Error! Bookmark not defined.

5.1 Conclusions ... Error! Bookmark not defined.

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CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents the general description of the study. It covers background of the

study, research questions, scope of the study, aims of the study, research method, clarification of

the terms and organization of the paper.

1.1 Background

Oxford Dictionary (2008:435) mentions that “stereotype (n) is fixed idea of what

somebody or something is like.” While portrayal (n) and portray (v) have more meanings: “1)

make somebody or something in a picture; describe somebody or something in a piece of

writing, 2) describe or show somebody or something in a particular way, 3) act a particular role

in a film or play” (Oxford Dictionary 2008:342). In relation to this, Stuart Hall (1997:1) defines

representation as “the production of meaning through language”.

Leaning on these, portrayal and representation can be understood to relate to how

somebody or something is described. Representation can appear in both informational text such

as newspapers and literary text such novels and dramas. For example how Lady Macbeth in

Macbeth, written by Shakespeare, is portrayed as a woman who has sexual lust of power which

gives her the image of having strong and raw power (Daniel, 2011).

There have been studies conducted in relation to human‟s stereotype, portrayal or

representation, especially women‟s representation. The research goes back as far as the Post

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published in post-World War II. Her research finds that from the debut of female superhero

Wonder Woman, women representation was always within the frame of gender bias. Post-WWII,

comic books represented women as wife, mother and secretary. In the era of Rosie the Riveter,

women could handle men‟s work. Dunne also found that many superheroes have an alter ego,

which means that a superhero has two different lives. In the end, Dunne discovers that comic

books had the ability to both shape and reflect the changes in society. Comic books presented the

fact that women were essentially „invisible‟, in both American life and comic books in the 1950s

until 1960s. This indicated that there was an important relation between comic books and real

life; art imitated life and in some cases, life imitated art- especially in pop-culture.

Another research with the same vein was conducted by Wood (1974) who analyzed

women‟s stereotype in comic books. Wood found that girls in comic books were portrayed as a

bad influence, greedy and threatening to leave their boyfriend if gifts were not offered. Girls

could not protect themselves from bad guys. In the storylines, they were exploited and got

captured by the villain. They were the objects to be rescued by superhero. Girls were also seen as

a threat; a superhero, who fell in love with a girl often got into troubles.

Young (1991, 1993) also conducted a study related to women stereotype in comic world.

He investigated Marvel Universe Trading Cards from 1991. From the analysis he found that the

comic book universe was quite sexist. From all of the cards, heroines or woman superheroes

were featured only 22%. The finding showed that women are in the minority in the Marvel

Universe. Young also discovered that although men and women had an equal win or loss ratio in

a battle, heroines fought in fewer battles. Man superheroes consistently have greater power and

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Sievers (2003), examined how women are stereotyped in American comics that are

published from year 2002. She found that women continue to be in the minority. They are less

likely to be main characters, the rescuer or the person in charge. They are also objectified

visually by depicting them with large breasts, tiny waists, revealing outfits and uncomfortable

poses. Surprisingly, heroines (woman superheroes) are also depicted the same as the women in

comic book. They are almost always subordinate to man superhero. This can be easily seen when

they battle with super villain. In several actions, they faint, overexert themselves and worry

about smudging their make-up, even sometimes they still need others (man superhero) help in a

battle.

To sum up, all those studies revealed that women, even heroines are stereotyped as weak

creatures, persons in charge, wife and in the minority (Young, 1991, 1993, Sievers, 2003). As

mentioned before, the studies of women‟s stereotypes, women‟s portrayals and women‟s

representation in general had been conducted by many researchers. However, as far as the

research concerned, there hasn‟t been any study investigating the “newest” heroines. The

“newest heroines” itself means that the selected heroines in this study were created a long time

ago but they were published in comic books only recently. This study then focuses on the

portrayals of heroines and their alter egos in the comic books published by Marvel and DC

Comics from 2012.

1.2 Research Questions

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1) How are heroines and their alter egos portrayed in American superhero comic books

published by DC Comics and Marvel in year 2012?

2) What does the portrayal signify?

1.3 Scope of the Study

The present study is limited to only investigate how woman heroines and their alter egos

are portrayed in selected American superhero comic books published by DC Comics and Marvel;

Phantom Lady and Doll Man (2012), Catwoman (2012), the Defenders (2012) and Red She-Hulk

(2012). This study further investigates what are signified by the portrayal.

1.4 Aims of the Study

Based on the two research questions above, the aims of this study are to examine the

portrayals of heroines and their alter egos, and to investigate what the portrayal signifies.

1.5 Research Method

This study employs a qualitative descriptive method. It discusses the portrayals of the

heroines and their alter egos in selected American superhero comic books published by DC

Comics and Marvel. The selected comics are Phantom Lady and Doll Man (2012), Catwoman

(2012), the Defenders (2012) and Red She-Hulk (2012).Van Leeuwen and Kress (2006) theory

on Reading Images was used as the main framework to analyze the images in the comics.

While,Van Domelen‟s visual analysis coding sheet (1998) was applied as the second framework.

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proposed by Halliday (2004) was also employed. Finally, Brannon‟s theory on gender stereotype

(2004) was applied to further discuss the analyzed data.

1.5.1 Data Collection

The data are in form of online comic: images and verbal text published by DC Comics and

Marvel; Phantom Lady and Doll Man (2012), Catwoman (2012), the Defenders (2012) and Red She-Hulk (2012). The data are collected by downloading them from www.comicsall.com, www.indowebster.com and www.filecrop.com on May 2012.

1.5.2 Data Analysis

The collected data are in the form of images and verbal text. The data in the form of

images are analyzed by using the main framework, Van Leeuwen and Kress (2006) theory on

Reading Images and Van Domelen‟s visual analysis coding sheet (1998). Additionally, the data

in the form of verbal text are analyzed by using Halliday‟s theory on systemic functional

linguistics (2004).

In conducting the study, the following steps were taken:

Selecting four series of heroine online comics published by DC Comics and Marvel; 2

comics were taken from DC Comics and two other comics were taken from Marvel. Two

comic from the different publishers feature independent heroines, two other comics feature

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 Analyzing the collected data from 2 aspects: images and verbal text. To analyze the images theory of Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) on Reading Images and Van Domelen‟s

visual analysis coding sheet (1998) are employed. To analyze the verbal text, systemic

functional linguistics (Halliday, 2004) is used. It covers the written text in the speech

balloons and the comments of the text.

 Interpreting and making conclusion of the analyzed data.

1.6 Clarification of Terms

To avoid misunderstanding, the following is the clarification of the terms used in the study:

Stereotype

It is a broad generalization about an entire class of phenomena based on some knowledge

of limited aspects of certain members of the class. (Wood, 1994)

Comic Book

Comic book is defined as a booklet of words and pictures integrated into a flexible and

powerful printed format (Witek 1989:3)

Superhero

Superhero is a character in a film or a short story who has special strength and uses it to do

good things and help other people. Superhero also can be meant as someone who has done

something very brave to help someone else. (Cambridge English Dictionary)

 Heroine

Heroine is a person (usually female) who is admired for having done something very brave

or having achieved something great. (Cambridge English Dictionary)

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Reading images or visual grammar is a framework that focuses on the structures or

„grammar‟ of visual design – colors perspective, framing and composition. (Gunther Kress

and Theo van Leeuwen, 2006)

1.7 Organization of the Paper

The paper of this research will be organized into five chapters as follows:

 The first chapter: Introduction

This chapter is the introduction which contains background of the study, which relates to

the comics, research questions, aims of the study, scope of the study, significance of the

study, clarification of the terms, and organization of the paper.

 The second chapter: Theoretical Framework

It consists of theoretical framework that provides literature review that is used to

investigate the research problems.

 The third chapter: Research Methodology

This section contains the research methodology, discussing the steps and procedures of the

study, and the data resources in conducting the study.

 The fourth chapter: Findings and Discussion

This chapter provides findings and discussion which is containing the result of the study

after conducting the research.

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This last chapter contains the researcher‟s interpretation toward the result of the research

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CHAPTER III

METHODOLOGY

This chapter presents the procedures and steps in conducting the study. It

consists of research problem, research method, data collection, data analysis and

data presentation.

3.1 Research Problem

This study is geared toward answering the following research questions:

1) How are heroines and their alter egos portrayed in American superhero

comic books published by DC Comics and Marvel in year 2012?

2) What does the portrayal signify?

3.2 Research Method

As what has been stated in the previous chapter, this study is a qualitative

descriptive study. It employs a qualitative descriptive method and textual analysis

since the data are in the form of images and verbal text, which are rich

descriptions and context to be explored.

In answering the research questions, there are several frameworks used. To

analyze the images in the comics, Kress and Van Leeuwen‟s theory on reading

images (2006) has been applied as the main framework, along with Van

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Furthermore, to analyze the verbal text accompanying the images,

systemic functional linguistics opposed by Halliday (2004) has been applied. It is

employed to reveal what the verbal text means. The verbal texts accompanying

the images are in the speech balloons. Finally, the discussion section applies

Brannon‟s theory on gender stereotype (2004). All approaches used for this study

is aimed to reveal how women are portrayed in superhero comic books published

by the most two famous publishers DC Comics and Marvel in year 2012.

3.3 Data Collection

The data were collected from the online comic book downloaded from

www.comicsall.com, www.indowebster.com and www.filecrop.com on May 2012.

The collected data are four different comics that come from two different

categories: independent heroine and heroine in a team. Below is a brief

description of the comics.

3.1 Comics‟ Description

No. Comic Title Publisher Category

Year of the

2. Catwoman DC Comics Independent

heroine 2012

3. The Defenders Marvel Heroine in a

team 2012

4. Black Cat Marvel Independent

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The data in the form of images were collected by noticing two aspects:

women when they play the character as a heroine and when they play their

character as an ordinary woman (alter ego). After that, the images were then cut

and pasted and stored in a folder to ease the visual analysis.

While the data in the form of verbal text were selected by noticing each

sentences found in the speech balloons then listing particular sentences that can

support how women are portrayed in comic books.

3. 4 Data Analysis

The selected scenes are first identified in terms of what are there on them

then they are analyzed by using the main framework, Van Leeuwen‟s (2006)

theory on reading images and Van Domelen‟s visual analysis coding sheet (1998).

Additionally, the data in the form of verbal text are analyzed by using systemic

functional linguistics opposed by Halliday (2004).

In conducting the study, the following steps were taken:

Selecting four series of heroine online comics published by Marvel and DC

Comics; 2 comics were taken from Marvel and two other comics were

taken from DC Comics. Two comic from the different publishers feature

independent heroines, two other comics feature heroines in a team.

 Analyzing the collected data from 2 main points: images and verbal text.

To analyze the images, there are two main steps highlighted; identification

that covers all the signs found in the comics by using Van Domelen‟s visual

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interprets the identified signs by using Van Leeuwen‟s (2006) theory on

reading images.

 Analyzing the verbal text by using Halliday‟s theory on systemic functional

linguistics (2004). It covers the written text in the speech balloons and the

comments of the text.

Interpreting and making conclusion of the analyzed data.

3.5 Data Presentation

The collected data are presented in tables such as following. The data are

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu 3.2 Sample of Images Analysis of DC Comics

Heroine/ Comic Series : Catwoman (Selina Kyle)/ Catwoman

Publishers : DC Comics

Category : Independent heroine

Identification Pose: the heroine appears with her gratuitous chest shot and

gratuitous butt shot.

Body: her breasts are larger than her waist, the width of one

breast is also wider than the head, her thigh is longer than total

torso plus head height. She also has inhuman/ demonic part

(claws and cat ears).

Clothes Type: the heroine is wearing a skintight bodysuit, the

cloth she is wearing is made of black leather. She is also holding a

weapon (a whip).

Clothes Coverage: the body of the heroine is fully covered but

the outline of her body is clearly shown.

Analysis This is the cover page of the comic. The heroine is depicted as a

„catlike‟ heroine, who tears the paper which looks like she comes out from the inside of the book to introduce herself. The heroine

is placed in the centred-margin since she is placed in the centre of

the composition and she is also placed in a long shot since it

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the long shot, the interactive participant (the viewer) is able to

identify every detail of the body of the heroine. The heroine is the

most salient/ foregrounded element in the picture, which means

that the heroine is the most important element. In the cover page,

the heroine plays the role of actor since she is the only participant

who does not do a thing to other participant. The heroine is

wearing black leather suit. Black is the color of night, serene and

mysterious (Manthor, 2009). This may relate to her life. Selina

Kyle‟s childhood was defined as tragedy. When she was a little

girl, her mother committed suicide, her father drank himself to

death not long after. She was also separated from his sister and

was remanded to an abusive state home for orphan and delinquent

girls (DC Encyclopedia, 2008). The leather skintight bodysuit

may relate to her natural skill; gymnast. Wearing this suit eases

her in fighting with the villain yet makes her the slickest and

slipperiest cat burglar that the Gotham City Police Department

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu 3.3 Sample of Images Analysis of Marvel

Heroine/ Comic Series : Red She-Hulk (Elizabeth Ross)/ Red She-Hulk

Publishers : Marvel

Category : Independent heroine

Identification Pose: this picture presents a gratuitous chest shot and a gratuitous

butt shot of the Red She-Hulk.

Body: the heroine has breasts that are larger than her waist, the

width of one breast of hers is wider than her head. She also has

inhuman/ demonic part (red skin, red eyes).

Clothes Type: she is wearing a skintight bodysuit made of black

leather.

Clothes Coverage: the outline of the heroine‟s body is drawn,

less than half of each breast is covered.

Analysis This picture is the cover page of the comic. The picture shows the heroine who is dragging a villain. The villain seems powerless, this indicates that women can also „oppress‟ men, women can also defeat men, women can be stronger than men. The represented participants in this picture are the Red She-Hulk, the wreckage, the villain and another flying superhero. The Red She-Hulk plays the role of reacter since she

is the „doer‟ who does a deed to other object (phenomena). The heroine

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu 3.4 Sample of Verbal Texts Analysis

No. Character Textual Evidence Comment

1. Selina Kyle (alter ego of Catwoman)

Friend : Can you handle a situation like that, miss Kyle?

Kyle : Sure can. This job fits me perfectly. (taken from “Catwoman #00”, 2012, p.2)

[I] [am] sure [I] can [handle] circ. Material

This job fits me perfectly Phenomenon mental senser

This conversation happens between Selina Kyle (alter ego of Catwoman) and her friend in a closet. Her friend asks her to sneak out the guest in a ball. Selina Kyle answers “sure can” and adds “this job fits perfectly” in the end. Those two sentences reveal her confidence. The word “sure” itself means “given to feelings of confident certainty” ( merriam-webster.com). From the explanation, it can be inferred that

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu 3.4 Findings of Visual Analysis

Image 1 – image 4 who is standing next to her girl friend.

Body Breasts are larger than

waist.

The width of one breast is also wider than the head.

The width of one breast is also wider than the head.

The width of one breast is also wider than the head.

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Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia | repository.upi.edu | perpustakaan.upi.edu 3.6 Findings of Verbal Texts Analysis

Text 1 – Text 4

Verbal Text

Characteristics Text1 Text2 Text3 Text4

Text Kyle : Sure can. This job

Processes Mental: fits Mental: want Mental: impressed Material: go, do

Circumstances This conversation happens between Selina Kyle (alter ego of Catwoman) and her friend in a closet. Her friend asks her to sneak out the guest in a ball. Selina Kyle answers “sure can” and adds “this job fits perfectly” in the end. Those two in a jewelry shop. When her friend asks her to stop because someone‟s coming, Selina Kyle answers “but I want more.” Her answer indicates that she is not satisfied yet with the

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“sure” itself means “given

to feelings of confident

certainty” (

merriam-webster.com). From the

explanation, it can be inferred that Selina Kyle is a confident woman.

jewelry she has got. This is also supported by the analysis that shows mental process; all that comes into Selina‟s mind is getting more jewelry. The word “more” itself means “greater”

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CHAPTER V

CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

5.1 Conclusions

The study is conducted to investigate how heroines are portrayed in the

superhero comic books published by DC Comics and Marvel. This study is also

geared toward answering the meaning of the portrayals found in the comics. In

analyzing the comics, this study uses two approaches; visual analysis and verbal text

analysis.

The visual analysis applies the theory of reading images (visual grammar),

proposed by van Leeuwen (2006) as the primary frame work and the visual analysis

coding sheet proposed by van Domelen (1998) as the secondary framework. While in

analyzing the verbal text, systemic functional linguistics proposed by Halliday (2004)

has been employed.

Based on the analysis of the visual texts, the study finds that heroines in the

superhero comic books are portrayed as erotic women. Their erotism is revealed by

the pose they make; displaying breasts gratuitously, displaying butt shots and

spread-legs crotch shots. The erotism is also portrayed by revealing breasts that are larger

than waist, the width of each breast that is wider than head and thigh that is longer

than total torso plus head height. Leather and spandex are cloth material mostly worn

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several images, these two kinds of cloth material make each breast of the heroines

less covered. The visual texts analysis also reveals the tragic and mysterious lives of

the heroines, which are represented through the black outfit they always wear. The

narrative processes used by the heroines in the comics are actor, reacter and

phenomena. While the sizes of frame used are long shot and close shot.

The analysis of verbal texts finds that the heroines are also portrayed as

confident, smart, impressive, brave, sexy, fragile, humiliating and greedy ones.

Those portrayals mentioned above reveal that the proportion of the women’s

body (especially the heroines’), are not realistic. Those ‘fictitious’ erotic bodies and

poses are built to attract men’s attention, which means that women in the comics are

presented as sex symbols. On the other hand, the black colors of their superhero

outfits symbolize their tragic and mysterious lives. While the soft colors of their alter

ego’s outfits reveal that they can have more peaceful lives when they become

ordinary women. The women in the comics are also portrayed as the strong ones.

This is revealed by the role of reacter they play. This role presents the women who

are able to do ‘impossible’ things, such as flying and fighting woman or even man

villains with their own super power. However, the role of phenomena is rarely

played. This role is mostly played when the women play the character as the alter

ego. When a woman acts as the alter ego, they tend to be weaker and more fragile.

The portrayals above reveal that no matter how powerful women are depicted

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of they being described as having gratuitous breasts, tiny waist, gratuitous butt, the

skintight outfits they wear, etc. Hence this becomes the object of men’s fantasy.

To sum up, heroines in comics are portrayed in two ways; negative and

positive ways. The negative ways of portraying the heroines can be seen from how

they become sex symbols, how they humiliate the villains and how greedy they are.

While the positive ways can be seen from how brave and impressive they are in doing

something, such as doing their job in the office or fighting the villain.

5.2 Suggestions

Further study can enlarge the scope of the study by using different objects

such as printed comic books, cartoon advertisements or cartoon films that contain

women’s portrayals. The analysis of the data can be done by using different tools

such as visual grammar and critical discourse analysis. Men’s portrayals are also

interesting to investigate. The data can be taken from men’s supplement ads or men

superhero comic books. The tools used can be visual grammar and systemic

functional linguistics. All the future studies are expected to present more thorough

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