Why I'm happy Marvel's Jessica Jones doesn't wear spandex
When I started the first episode of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix, I braced for the inevitable moment where the heroine’s wardrobe would go from girl next door to va-va-voom.
In the series, Jessica is a former superhero turned private investigator in New York City. I kept telling myself to wait for it. Wait for the moment where she would be shown putting on heels and tight skirts at Alias Investigations, a detective agency she runs out of her apartment. Or, if that moment doesn’t arrive, wait for the flashback of Jessica as a superhero stuffed into a Spandex ensemble with a push-up bra.
From the moment we meet Jessica until virtually the end of the 13 episode run, she is seen dressed day-to-day in jeans, flat boots, zip-up hoodies, tank tops, and leather jackets. Her hair isn’t intensely perfect and her makeup isn’t contoured beyond recognition. I love it. It’s refreshing. Make no mistake about it – she’s definitely someone who will still kick your butt if you double-cross her. But nobody is going to be staring at her boobs the whole time.
Here is what I know about the majority of comic book superheroes from the few comics I have read. The men are mostly covered from head to toe and the women usually get stuck with obscenely short skirts or Spandex suits too tight to function in. Most wear heels, have long flowing hair, and (I assume) wear some kind of extreme push-up bra from the way they’re drawn, whether you’re reading a DC or Marvel comic. Whenever I look at comics like that, there is a part of me that thinks, “Okay, if I was a superhero I MIGHT be able to fight crime in these clothes.”
Then I think about the onslaught of superhero movies I’ve seen over the last 10 years. How all the women seem to bounce around punching and kicking and running for a really long extended sequence in ridiculously tight clothes. Nobody ever complains about their boobs hurting while running or breaks a heel or feels like everyone can clearly see their underwear up their skirts. If I were a superhero, I would be complaining about the wardrobe all the time! Oh, and the hair too. Flowing in every direction possible and never getting the ponytail or bun it rightfully deserves.
In Jessica Jones, there is a flashback to Jessica’s best friend Patsy “Trish” Walker holding up a superhero costume for Jessica to try on.
“Tell me you’re kidding.” Jessica flatly says, staring at the ultratight white unitard in front of her.
“Superheroes wear costumes!” Trish exasperatedly cries out.
“The only place anyone is wear that is trick or treating or as part of some kinky role playing scenario.” Jessica replies. #nailedit
She continues to shut down the outfit even after Trish insists it will “ultimately” be a lightweight, highly durable, flame-resistant and waterproof fabric. Yeah, not having it. Awesome.
Just like that, we get to watch a series where there is no wardrobe from a comic book imposed onto the lead superhero. Where her ensemble is pushed to the side instead of playing a supporting role, magically turning into a must-have item that increases her super strength or something. Nope, Jessica’s strength doesn’t rely on wearing a cat-eye mask to make her better at taking down Kilgrave or any other villain that comes her way. And hey, if you can confidently go after the bad guys in haute couture and stilettos, the more power to you.
But I like seeing my heroines in jeans, tees, and worn boots.
Image courtesy of avclub.com.