Thumbnail: Emma Frost’s Wardrobe is Malfunctioning
Emma Frost is stylish. Allegedly. I mean, that’s what I’ve been told, over and over again, by the dudes who write and draw her. She’s a scion of the Boston brahmins! She attends the swankest parties, given by the crustiest of the upper crust! She loves to feel sexy — in ways that just happen to coincide with the most thuddingly obvious fanboy desires! So classy! So urbane! Truly, what modern woman doesn’t consider what appears to be a $29.99 plastic corset from a strip mall sex shop the height of empowered glamour?
Look, I can dig Emma Frost as an overtly sexual woman. Butt floss and pasties are too often justified as 'liberated female sexuality!' by creators who seem to draw breasts by tracing nickels, but y’know what? When it comes to Emma, I’ll accept it. Women who enjoy expressing their power and sexuality through fashion exist.
It’s just that, y’know, these women typically understand when and where overtly sexual clothing is appropriate. And are at all in touch with notions of style and class. And understand that channeling one’s sexuality is not equivalent to wearing literal lingerie as daywear as often as possible.
Let’s tackle the first point: appropriate clothing choices. Emma is a teacher. I love it! What an awesome place to take her character arc! Too bad she’s decided to open the school year in one of Britney Spears’s 1999 “…Baby One More Time” tour castoffs!
How about style and class? Vogue is definitely featuring dresses made of tattered boat sails, and shorts that look like diapers from everything but the most carefully chosen angles this season.
And when it comes to channeling sexuality — well. We all know that there is literally no way to communicate one’s attractiveness beyond egregious amounts of corset lacing and what appear to be artfully taped napkins, right?
The Emma Frost I am informed of — classy, stylish, powerful — would enjoy a well-cut silk blouse. She would own many pairs of perfectly-tailored slacks. She would have put away the frosty lipstick years ago because, seriously? She’d have Oscar de la Renta on speed dial as “darling O.” And yes, sometimes she would be scantily clad.
But that Emma Frost has never existed on the page. Emma Frost has only ever been a sweaty paean to the straight male id. Emma Frost writers and artists, please take note: you cannot have it both ways. Either you embrace the fantasy and drop all pretensions towards elegance, or you do the research. Check out some fashion blogs. Hire Kevin Wada as a consultant. Talk to actual women with actual opinions on fashion.
The chasm between the Emma Frost we are informed of and the Emma Frost we see on the page is untenable. Bridge it.