Elayne Riggs, aka Pen-Elayne, has written a great piece for ComicMix.com, “This is for all the fat girls” (a reference to Camryn Mannheim’s famous Emmy acceptance speech), which begins by quoting Misty Lee, wife of one of DC’s current star writers, who asserts that most of the criticism of the appearance of women in comics (or “the strongest and loudest protest over sexy things”) comes from “ugly fat girls.” Says Elayne:
The important thing to note here is that it’s almost beside the point to try to defend against or even respond to ad hominem straw attacks, because the rhetorical devices defined above ensure that the attacker is the one setting the ground rules (and moving the goalposts!), and you cannot win a game that has been rigged against you from the start.
…No, nothing can really answer an attack like “You’re fat and ugly and your mother dresses you funny!” because it’s designed, whether consciously or not, to shut out any intelligent discussion of underlying assumptions.
But, of course, there is an answer, which is to provide intelligent discussion of underlying assumptions irrespective of attempts to shut it out, which is precisely what Elayne does, so go read.
Related: Tamora Pierce points out that “there is a still more vicious subtext to the idea that women who protect anything to do with ‘attractive women’ are ugly and fat. It is that ugly and/or unattractive women have no right to an opinion.” Indeed.