“Fighting Fucktoys” is a term I first heard in Miss Representation by Dr. Caroline Heldman. It’s a documentary about the portrayal of women within big blockbuster films and other media outlets. This term doesn’t just fall under the idea of film or television, it’s in the comic world as well.
Too often, we see female characters portrayed in sexualized poses, whether it be while fighting or even just relaxing in their homes. Their backs are arched, and pouty looks are normally on their faces accompanied by doe-like eyes. This is not how an actual woman acts when not in front of a camera. In fact, most women I know toss on a pair of sweatpants, grab some snacks and binge-watch Netflix. It’s not the most flattering sight.
The clothing that women are always depicted in are meant to showcase their bodies in the most sexualized way possible. They're always in heels, stiletto styled heels. The average woman does not go crime fighting in heels. Walking in them is annoying enough as it is; wearing them to take out super-villains does not sound like a fun time.
This happens when women are created by straight men. Their outfits are drawn skimpy, and they're always depicted with thin bodies and large breasts. Their looks are designed for the titillation of the men who are reading their adventures.
(Guys, no woman is going to casually get out of a pool, or whatever, and stand like that. Sorry to burst your bubble.)
They made sure that a woman’s body is twisted in these poses that accentuate their “assets” the best. Their femininity is used not to empower themselves, but so the male readers can fantasize about having power/objectifying these women.
For example, some characters, like Psylocke, Emma Frost, Lady Death and Vampirella, just to name a few, are mostly remembered because of their looks. Never because of who they are or what they’ve done in their own story arches.
Did you know that the body that Psylocke is most known for (her Asian ancestry) is not her original look? In fact, she was originally a white woman who dyed her hair purple, but through a series of events her soul was merged with an assassin named Kwannon all this happened in 1933 in X-Men Vol.2. This began her journey to find the X-Men, whom she was also attempting to save when the merging happened. Psylocke had a vision of their deaths and had been attempting to warn them when she was going through her own shit.
People (men) like to forget that she is one of the strongest telepaths out there because they would rather use her as eye candy to fuel their fantasies.