The Hawkeye Initiative
Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerSkjaldmeyja[note 1]
LaunchedDecember 2012[1]
Current statusActive (offline as of Dec. 5 2018)

The Hawkeye Initiative is a satirical Tumblr page similar to Women in Refrigerators that comments on the depiction and treatment of female characters and superheroes in comic books.[2] The site features fan art of Marvel character Hawkeye (Clint Barton) in various poses held by female characters that the artists believe to be impossible or sexually provocative.[3] The site's intent is phrased as "to draw attention to how deformed, hypersexualized, and unrealistically dressed women are drawn in comics".[4] The site further states that these poses are seen as normal and go unnoticed by many readers when performed by female superheroes.[5]


A series of commentators had discussed the absurdity of the "Strong Female Superhero Pose" in 2011–2012, with some photographic gender-swapped recreations produced.[6] The Hawkeye initiative page lists four blog posts on its 'Origins' page,[7] including the suggestion of the specific formula by comic artist Kevin Bolk in late 2012.[8] The first such gender-swapped image was drawn by the comic artist Blue.[note 1][6][9] The reason behind choosing Hawkeye in particular (though in the case of poses that involve more than one female character, Captain America and other well-known Avengers are also used) is due to the fact that Blue's first example involved swapping Black Widow and Hawkeye around on the cover of the eponymous comic. Stevenson and Blue then asked other artists to do the same.[10]

The Hawkeye Initiative website followed soon after, created and maintained by Skjaldmeyja.[note 1][4] On December 5, 2018, the website's domain name expired and the site was taken down.[11]

Critical reception

In December 2012, The Daily Dot called Stevenson one of the "top 10 most influential fans of 2012" for her work in the Hawkeye Initiative.[12]


Reception towards the website has been mixed. A few readers have criticized the site while others such as Gail Simone have openly supported the site as "the best thing in the history of historical anything ever in the universe or elsewhere".[13] The A.V. Club commented that although the choice of Hawkeye was arbitrary, "making him the face of a feminist comic-book project fits with the character Matt Fraction has established in this series".[14]

The site's detractors have commented that some of the images are counterproductive to the site's intent. People have voiced that the images "miss the mark" by being played more for laughs or by being drawn sexy "for kicks, which may make it even harder for people to understand that it goes deeper than humor".[15]


  1. ^ a b c Internet pseudonym

See also


  1. ^ "The Hawkeye Initiative puts our favorite archer in superheroine poses". CBR. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Sexism exposed in growing geek culture". Daily Illini. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  3. ^ "The hilarious Hawkeye Initiative pokes fun at sexist comics art". Blastr. Archived from the original on 6 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b "About". The Hawkeye Initiative. Archived from the original on April 11, 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  5. ^ "The battle against 'sexist' sci-fi and fantasy book covers". BBC News. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Strong Female Superhero Pose meme gets a Hawkeye reboot". Daily Dot. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  7. ^ "The Hawkeye Initiative: Origins". The Hawkeye Initiative. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  8. ^ "How to fix every Strong Female Character pose in superhero comics". Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  9. ^ "Call Me Blue - Tumblr". Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  10. ^ "The Hawkeye Initiative redraws absurd superheroine poses with Hawkeye". io9. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  11. ^ Skjaldmeyj. "The Hawkeye Initiative". Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  12. ^ "The top 10 most influential fans of 2012". Daily Dot. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  13. ^ Hudson, Laura. "How to Fix Crazy Superheroine Poses in Comics? Swap Them With Hawkeye". Wired. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  14. ^ "How did Hawkeye become Marvel's best comic?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  15. ^ "The Hawkeye Initiative". The Nerd Machine. Retrieved 18 December 2012.