Illustration by Julian Totino Tedesco

  • Black Widow’s pose is an allusion to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. She is the goddess aphrodite. 
  • Her pose is contrapposto.
  • Her hair is the same color and lifting the same way as Venus’.
  • Her surroundings mimic the painting – the clouds are the sea, the hellicarrier is the shell, the planes are the flowers.
  • The “bad photoshopping” is meant to mimic Botticelli’s style (which wasn’t naturalism). Botticelli used long arms, elongated necks, etc.
  • This is not sexist. It’s building on the idea that Natasha weaponizes her femininity.

is this even real

Give it up for art historians, bitches.


That is such bullshit.

Botticelli’s Venus was chunky by today’s standards.  Look at her:

File:Sandro Botticelli - La nascita di Venere - Google Art Project - edited.jpg

THOSE are not noodle arms or a waist the same size as her neck.  

Also her proportions look weird because Botticelli was using the proportions of a male body for her, whereas females tend to have larger heads in comparison with their height, and shorter limbs in proportion to their trunks.  In comparison, you may note that Natasha’s head looks too big for her body—because her arms, waist, hips and shoulders have been photoshopped to be too small.

Weaponized femininity.  What bullshit.  Maybe if she was so much as looking out of the picture at you.  But all she’s doing is standing there with her weapons pointed harmlessly at the ground and her head thrown back, looking up and away, making sure she doesn’t present you with any threat to your objectification of her.  Where are the men looking?  Well, gosh, they’re meeting your eyes, because the way the poster is presented, the intensity of it rests on the conceit that you, the viewer, are the threat they’re advancing on.  So they’re quite reasonably not taking their eyes off you.

And are any of the men on those posters posed so as to allude to famous artworks?  No?  Just the pretty girl?  Who’s had her muscles taken away and turned into noodle arms and is for some reason inviting you to stare at her breasts rather than keep her eyes on danger and defend herself?  Who, if the poster’s designers had cared more about accurate allusions to art than making sure she was hot to appropriately deformed comic book standards, would not have photoshopped her waist smaller or her breasts bigger?  (You might notice that Venus there doesn’t have big breasts.)

In conclusion, the allusion to Botticelli’s Venus was nothing but a highbrow excuse for more of your standard sexist comicbooks ‘look at the hot babe’ action.  And it wouldn’t tick me off so badly if people weren’t trying to go around justifying how, somehow, this is supposed to be a feminist advancement in superhero art.

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