Gender Representation in Comic Book Characters

Wonder Woman Illustration

In this report, data visualization designer and journalist Amanda Shendruk examines the naming conventions, types of superpowers, and representation on teams of 34,476 female comic book characters to better understand the differences in how men and women are portrayed. The results are not necessarily surprising—comics have long had a reputation for being skewed toward the fantasies of adolescent males—but the particulars that she discovered reveal how egregious the imbalance actually is. For example:

  • The number one male super-hero power is strength, while the number one female super-hero power is agility
  • Far more male super-heroes than female super-heroes carry paraphernalia, e.g., gadgets, strength-augmenting suits, scepters etc.
  • More female super-heroes than male super-heroes are blessed with “mental” super-powers
  • Among characters who can shapeshift, female super-heroes generally change their form entirely, while men can manipulate the size of their, er, bodies
  • Among female super-heroes’ names, the top three terms used are “Lady,” “Mrs.” and “Girl.” Among male super-heroes, the top three are “Man,” “Mr.” and “King.”

Read the full, fascinating report at