By Falco Rockbert
In a new report published by New Romford University, it was found that female superheroes who fight in “practical” costumes tend to fight crime better than those female superheroes who fight in more “traditional” costumes.
Looking over the past 20 years, the research division at NRU analyzed multiple data points with regard to female superheroes. They analyzed number of arrests, arrest rates, bystander injuries, property damage, injuries to superheroes, and average battle times for female superheroes depending on what costumes they wore. Controlling for factors like raw power, their research found that “practical” costumes played a role in how superheroes fought crime.
“Normally, we don’t think about superhero costumes,” said lead research Rachel McDonnough. “It’s just something they wear, and sure, it’s tight fitting and a little revealing, so how much can that really affect crime fighting ability? Turns out, quite a bit.”
“For female superheroes,” she continued, “’practical’ costumes, defined as appropriate clothing for the person’s power set and fighting ability without unnecessary embellishments, not including aesthetic elements, shortened battle times by two minutes, lessened property damage and bystander injuries, and increased their arrest rates by 5%. In short, practical costumes are better for fighting crime.”
Examples of “practical” costumes include Titana’s costume, which has supportive straps for her bust, and Speedster’s tracksuit. Both were cited as examples of designs that were appropriate for each hero’s power sets and fighting abilities. An example of a “traditional” costume, ironically, is Hellena, an alternate timeline version of Titana. Her costume doesn’t provide support for her bust, so her breasts tend to flop out of her clothing. Several superheroes had similar design flaws in their costumes including Extra Woman and her “boob triangle”.
One hero who saw an increase in her crime fighting ability due to a costume change was Major Magnificent. She changed her costume from what was essentially a bathing suit and stockings to pants and a form-fitting, long-sleeved top three years ago. Her arrest rate went up 12% and average battle time went down 2 and a half minutes.
The reason for the increase seems to be confidence. “These women,” said McDonnough, “used to dress skimpy and, sometimes, seductively as a rule. For some of them, that actually made sense. Farrah Fox is a superspy, so her sexuality comes into play, but that’s not the case for most female superheroes. We found that when women dress for themselves, and not men, they have more confidence and thus fight better.”
“Plus, they tend to have fewer wedgies and wardrobe malfunctions, so that helps, too.”