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The Hawkeye test

Jim Hines gets an article on BBC News. Hines is a 38-year-old male science fiction author with a weird hobby: he emulates the poses women are put into on science fiction and comic book covers, and takes pictures of himself. They look ridiculous. A lot of them also look extraordinarily painful.

It also mentions an interesting test:

The Hawkeye Initiative swaps male and female characters to challenge the portrayal of women in comics.

Started in December 2012, the project already has nearly 1,000 submissions from fans.

Most "redraws" cast the Avengers character Hawkeye in the same position as the female character in the original work.

Then, the Hawkeye Test is administered.

According to the site, if Hawkeye can replace the female character without "looking silly or stupid, then it’s acceptable and probably non-sexist. If [he] can’t, then just forget about it."

The conventions of SF and comic book art have a lot to answer for: even I, the homely old geezer with a ‘testosterone-damaged’ brain, find the hyper-sexualized and exaggerated contortions those imaginary women are put into horribly repellent. So why do artists keep painting this same crap over and over again?

Gallo thinks part of the problem is that male artists greatly outnumber female artists in the industry.

“You go to art school, and it’s 50-50,” Gallo said. “But professionally, it’s overwhelmingly male.

“This is an unfortunate fact of the industry. These artists grew up with comics and gaming, so it’s easy to perpetuate these things without thinking them through.”

Oh. Another glass ceiling effect. Women are just as interested in creating art as men, but somehow, they find themselves less employable. We see that in science, too. <sarcasm>But no, of course there is no discrimination or sexism</sarcasm>.

Oh, and before someone jumps in to evoke the magic invisible hand of the market…

Marketing strategies may also be responsible for sexist covers. But the mantra that sex sells may not be accurate.

According to 2012 data from publishing industry analysts Codex Group, less overtly explicit covers in fact have a wider appeal among general readers.

Comments

  1. says

    That is an interesting idea. He gets it slightly wrong, however, by wearing women’s clothing when he recreates the poses. It’s hard to sort out the ridiculousness of a middle aged guy wearing a skimpy skirt and heels from the ridiculousness of the pose. The experiment is poorly designed in that respect, I think.

  2. carlie says

    According to 2012 data from publishing industry analysts Codex Group, less overtly explicit covers in fact have a wider appeal among general readers.

    “General readers”? You mean…gasp!… girls?? Ew. They shouldn’t be reading anyway, they’re just posers.

  3. says

    I don’t think he could wear men’s clothing for many of those poses — the crotches aren’t that flexible. Also, I think it also lampoons the clothing. Why are warriors and superheroes and action figures wearing the equivalent of little black cocktail party dresses and heels all the time?

  4. The Mellow Monkey says

    I don’t think he could wear men’s clothing for many of those poses — the crotches aren’t that flexible. Also, I think it also lampoons the clothing. Why are warriors and superheroes and action figures wearing the equivalent of little black cocktail party dresses and heels all the time?

    Yeah. There’s a mighty big difference between twisting your spine and balancing with your legs spread and back arched while wearing heels versus doing it while wearing sneakers.

  5. says

    Jim usually keeps the women’s clothing restricted to just the bits he needs to recreate the cover. High heels affect how the leg sits. A v-necked top demonstrates that we can’t actually see as far down into a woman’s cleavage as the artist seems to.

    He’s also very clear on where he finds the humor and that people should stop to think if their giggles are based in homo- or transphobia.

  6. Alverant says

    How about the visible hand of their bosses who insist on women be drawn that way?

    I’m sure there are artists who draw women that way because they think it will get them more readers. But I’m also sure there are artists who would rather be more realistic but have to do what they’re told if they want to keep their jobs.

  7. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Bosses demanding bad art is common

    Look at the Nu52 designs. I keep hearing artists lament that they’re far too busy to have to draw 19000 times per issue

  8. Spoon says

    So you’re saying if you stop exclusively drawing comic book covers geared towards adolescent males, and instead draw them without hypersexualizing the female characters in the story, the book will have a wider appeal and sell better?

    …and someone had to do a study to show that?

  9. eric says

    Slightly OT but I remember my parents just about having a heart attack when I started buying and reading E.R. Burroughs as a kid.* The book covers had uncovered boobs on them. Booooobs! Quite risque for a 10-11 year old. But then they read one and realized it was just dime store adventure stuff. They did make me make brown paper covers to put over the books when I took them to school, though. :) I didn’t care – the inside was more interesting than the outside. Which is why I don’t really understand the attraction of the odd poses. For me, it was always the story content.

    *Reprints. I’m not THAT old.

  10. eric says

    @6:

    How about the visible hand of their bosses who insist on women be drawn that way?

    Good point. We scientists bitterly complain when a magazine or newspaper editor creates a misleading title for some legitimate research story. Cover art to this industry may be what article title is to science journalism.

  11. says

    I support the general idea of lampooning the poses by putting a male in them. I’ve watched enough of Atop the Fourth Wall to see plenty of these ridiculous poses with Linkara’s commentary about painfully twisted spines. I don’t buy comics very often, though that might change, and one of these oversexed poses or absurd outfits on the cover would be a big turn-off. I want a superhero adventure, not porn.

    For costumes, I tend to favor those that fit on a spectrum: Utility to iconic. On the utility end, there’s costumes which clearly have a function, and one of the big functions is body armor. If you’re going to expose skin for such a costume there’d better be a good reason. I can forgive the lack of helmets for artistic purposes, since you want the readers to see the character’s expressions. Even if you don’t go full body armor, regular cloth can at least cut down on some miscellaneous scrapes to otherwise bare skin. On the iconic end, there’s more leeway, but the look is about how the character wants to be seen by the public. I doubt there’d be so many heroines who’d want to fight crime in fetish gear.

  12. says

    Natalie Reed has been quite vocally critical of the Hawkeye Initiative on the grounds that its so-called criticism derives humor from the transphobia or femmephobia of portraying a man in female postures or clothing as being inherently silly or absurd. I’m less sure how I feel about Hines’s depictions, and I’m especially happy that he does have that post asking people to check what they’re laughing at. But it’s an old tactic, and I think that there ought to be better ways of pointing out over-sexualization of women in media. So far, my favorite variation has been the gender-swapped Justice League that showed up at WonderCon a couple years back. None of them were made up to look silly; both men and women looked like they were having a lot of fun.

    If I can indulge in a little self-promotion, I wrote a piece about criticisms of the Hawkeye Initiative for the SF Weekly, in which I quote Natalie at length. She was so good and so much to say, that with her permission I put the entire interview up on my blog. She’s really good, and has some smart things to say about the phenomenon.

  13. Rip Steakface says

    What’s more is that a lot of fans hate shitty spine-breaking art. Rob Liefeld is infamous for his awful art, especially in the depiction of women, and he is despised for both his stories and art more often than not these days.

  14. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Interesting how swapping the genders suddenly makes it so much clearer how jarring, ridiculous and undignifed being depicted this way is.

  15. Gregory Greenwood says

    Chris Hall @ 13;

    I found that interview very interesting, not to mention illumnating. When I first saw the Hawkeye Initiative, I thought it was a fantastic way to point up how endemic sexism was in comic book art. In a worrying display of my unacknowledged cis/het privilege, it was a long time before I became aware of the criticisms of the problematic elements of the imagery. This interview has helped further educate me about the extent of the issues with the Hawkeye Initiatiative. Thanks for the link.

    While I can definitely see how the Hawkeye Initiative seeks to highlight how utterly ridiculous the posing and general treatment of women in comic book cover art really is (if women actually did that ‘butt ‘n boob’ twist thing all the time, then the world would resound to the sound of shattering vertebrae, and reconstructive spinal surgery would be in far greater demand), I can definitely see Natalie Reed’s argument that it can and does fall into the trap of unintentionally promoting transphobia and femmephobia all too often.

    It is a good example of how a well intentioned act originally undertaken for good, progressive reasons can very easily become as problematic as that which it critiques. It shows the need for an intersectional understanding of how various axes of oppression interact.

    Fighting against sexism in comic book and other sci fi and fantasy art is an important and worthy goal that needs to be pursued, but it must be done in a fashion that doesn’t promote transphobia at the same time.

  16. says

    I feel I should mention eschergirls.tumblr.com here, as a site that posts some of the most egregiously sexualised and contorted artwork in comic-dom. Contributors also submit their own redraws; while some are rough and ready, they show greater understanding of anatomy and even sexiness than some of DC’s and Marvel’s artists.

    *(Damn, what is up with that preview?)

  17. The Mellow Monkey says

    Yeah, there are some major, major sexist, homo- and transphobic problems with some of the Hawkeye Initiative.

    Aside from the fact that Hines has recently taken care to ensure people understand exactly what it is he’s trying to draw attention to, I also think he’s effective because he’s a real live human being. One of the problems with a woman doing what he does is that it would either be a) sexualized in the straight male gaze or b) dismissed for not appealing to the straight male gaze. Instead of people fully grasping that the reason it looks absurd is because the pose is absurd, it could instead be seen as absurd because the woman has somehow failed to be as “sexy” as the original picture.

    The redraws and commentary on Escher Girls are fantastic, too.

  18. rustybrown says

    PZ,

    While typical male clothing could not withstand many of these poses, your average male superhero costume could. A quick google image search of Spiderman will confirm this. As far as lampooning the clothing goes, many male costumes are already lampoons. Sexual exaggeration in superhero comics is the coin of the realm, and is evident in depictions of both sexes.

    Also, a man in high heels will look ridiculous regardless of the pose he’s in. Picture your average construction worker and swap out the workboots for high heels and you get the idea. So, that part of the project is indeed very poorly thought out. You can’t mix variables (costumes, poses) and then claim the outcome (the man looks ridiculous) is the result of only one variable. Scientists should know this.

  19. says

    Glad you liked it, Gregory. Natalie really is brilliant in being able to state stuff like that with clarity and nuance. I felt ambivalent about the whole idea from the beginning, but she articulated why better than I ever could.

  20. gillt says

    “You go to art school, and it’s 50-50,” Gallo said. “But professionally, it’s overwhelmingly male.

    Sounds a lot like another field that gets some coverage around here.

  21. chigau (無味ない) says

    … a man in high heels will look ridiculous regardless of the pose he’s in …

    This is opinion, not fact.
    A scientist would know this.

  22. says

    I’d like to also put my voice behind those cheering on the Escher Girls tumblr, which I do think gets the critique right. The boobs and butt thing is definitely something that has to go. I do think that superhero comics do naturally gravitate towards eroticism, just because the genre is so much about uninhibited power and passion, but the twisted spine poses are bad art and bad eroticism. They just look so much like they were done by some teenage virgin who’s desperate to see a female body at any cost.

    I mentioned before that I thought the Gender-Bent Justice League folks did it right. Here’s an article at The Mary Sue with pictures so that you can see what I’m talking about.

  23. says

    I have all the feels for what Jim Hines is doing. That is pure liquid awesome and the way he holds no quarter for those who want to be transphobic about what he is doing makes me SQUEE like nobody’s business.

    On the Hawkeye Initiative, I completely agree with the spirit of the Hawkeye Initiative (and I defer to the opinions of the people who argue the reality has been drifting into Transphobia). There needs to be a simple introductory tool like the Bechdel Test for beginning that conversation on how women are depicted in comic books, fantasy and sci-fi, advertising, etc… Why do all the women need to be making porn face? Why are the boobs and asses so prominent? Why is sexy the automatic default for something that is supposed to be at its core a demonstration of power? Why do we culturally assume power only equals sex-appeal for women even in escapist literature?

    For all of that, it’s a great visceral tool.

    It reminds me a lot of when Rose Megan Gedris redrew a bunch of covers of female superheroes with the “traditional comic masculine shape” to show just how fucked up the original depictions are. And it’s a great tool, because we are so carefully trained in society to just not think about it, that it really takes flipping it to a group where the assumptions are not in place to see how much we assume about the “sex class”.

    And yeah, it also reveals how much we restrict and even violently resist male depictions or more importantly expressions of sexuality, sexual enticement, and sexual arousal.

    Take the same porn face seen on a thousand depictions of women on a man and suddenly its “gay” and somehow bad. Take the “come-hither stare” and it’s just “wrong”. Its so tied to our nasty baggage and assumptions that we just can’t seem to get rid of about how women are the owners of the sex and men are the purchasers of the sex instead of both being sexual creatures (or at least the 99% who are sexual) and nonsexual creatures (not even the horniest person with the most impressive stamina can be fucking all the damn time, sometimes you just want to go out, eat a burger, and zone out at the wall).

  24. says

    Chris Hall:

    but the twisted spine poses are bad art and bad eroticism.

    What always strikes me about those is that the women always look insectoid. The waists are so tiny, the spines so contorted, and the breasts, buttocks and hips in such positions that more than half of the depictions are more reminiscent of a praying mantis than a woman.

  25. The Mellow Monkey says

    Also, a man in high heels will look ridiculous regardless of the pose he’s in.

    Isn’t it funny how something associated with women seems ridiculous when it’s seen on a man? It’s almost as if there are some sort of culturally ingrained ideas here.

    I can’t quite put my finger on it…

  26. vaiyt says

    I’m sure there are artists who draw women that way because they think it will get them more readers. But I’m also sure there are artists who would rather be more realistic but have to do what they’re told if they want to keep their jobs.

    Fun fact: when Pat Lee, the Transformers comics’ answer to Liefeld, was making the rounds (before he got more known as a plagiarist and swindler), editors started demanding that other artists draw like him.

    What’s more is that a lot of fans hate shitty spine-breaking art. Rob Liefeld is infamous for his awful art, especially in the depiction of women, and he is despised for both his stories and art more often than not these days.

    Back in the day, though, he was a fucking superstar. There’s a reason why he still gets jobs in the industry.

  27. rustybrown says

    Chigau,

    Since you are so dismissing of opinion then I guess this entire Hawkeye Test should be disregarded as well. After all, it’s only your opinion that these poses make a man look ridiculous.

  28. chigau (無味ない) says

    rustybrown
    Where did you get the idea that I think the poses make a man look ridiculous?

  29. says

    rustybrown:

    After all, it’s only your opinion that these poses make a man look ridiculous.

    You know, you’re just terrific at missing the point. The point isn’t whether or not a man looks ridiculous in those poses – the point is that *anyone*, including women, would look fucking ridiculous in those poses because those poses have no relation to reality or human anatomy.

    And fyi, all kinds of men look fabulous in high heels. They do the same things for men they do for women – lengthen the legs and thrust the buttocks and chest out. Try on a pair, you’ll see.

    Do try to keep up.

  30. rustybrown says

    Chigau,

    Point taken, you never said that. I was assuming (perhaps wrongly) that you agreed with the thrust of PZ’s post, you know, the post that we’re commenting on, where he says in the third sentence “They look ridiculous”.

  31. says

    rustybrown @21

    Hmm…

    Nope. Hell, your average drag troupe would show this.

    But more importantly, we can just look to the poses by Jim Hines. They look (and are) painful and weird despite usually wearing as much masculine dress as possible to reproduce the effect. Altogether you are partially correct in that there’s a lot of things wrong, but that’s kind of the point.

    Gender flip a depiction of a man, put Hawkeye in the clothes and poses of your average female superheroine or supervillain as depicted in comics and there’s a plethora of things that don’t work: the impractability of the outfit, the weird porn face, the spine-bending anatomy, etc…

    Now let’s Reverse Bechdel test it as it were. Now, we’ll put a female archer heroine into the hotbox. Say Artemis Crock from Young Justice. Put her in the stereotpyical depictions of men and their outfits. Does she seem equally weird? As often? For as many reasons? Why not? Heck, most of those outfits would make her seem more badass, more all-woman, and more like a hero you’d want to identify with from either a male or female perspective than most of the ways the character herself is usually depicted in comics.

    And that’s the intended point of the test (again I differ to the opinion of those who feel that the test was often transphobic in its execution by the community that promoted it as I wouldn’t really know).

    Fuck, if I were actually an artist, I would totally make that tumblr.

  32. frog says

    There’s some sexualization of men in the world, certainly, and hetero women enjoy looking at and fantasizing about men at least as much as het men fantasize about women (if you don’t agree with this last sentence, you clearly have no female friends). But this is rarely dished up to women in an overt way, and certainly not in the constant manner of comic books, where the women are sexualized in every freaking panel.

    I wish I could draw, because I would like to see a comic book where the men are all sexualized as men to the degree that female characters are sexualized. So that it would show 48 solid pages of “look at this hot guy and how he poses all sexy and shows off his package while fighting the bad guy.” So that someone could say, “This is what women see in most comic books. Dudes, would that attract you to this medium, or make you go look for something else to read?”

  33. The Mellow Monkey says

    Caine:

    And fyi, all kinds of men look fabulous in high heels. They do the same things for men they do for women – lengthen the legs and thrust the buttocks and chest out. Try on a pair, you’ll see.

    Oyes. For examples, the NSFW lingerie site xdress.com is a good example. There is nothing ridiculous or silly or gross about the photography, only in the baggage someone carries to interpret the pictures. Traditionally masculine men in a pair of panties, stockings and heels can look striking and perfectly “manly.”

    It’s actually some of the most beautiful catalogue photography I’ve ever seen.

  34. rustybrown says

    Cain,

    There are plenty examples of male superheroes in contortions that defy human anatomy. And, after all, we’re talking about superhero action comics which defy all manners of reality.

    For the record, I have absolutely no problem with men in high heels. To each his/her own, and I would defend a man’s right to express himself that way. In my original post I was referring to the first post by Cervantes, as well as general norms and opinions within our society.

  35. says

    MM:

    Traditionally masculine men in a pair of panties, stockings and heels can look striking and perfectly “manly.”

    Now I have visions of Tim Curry dancing in my head. Ooooh, baby. Back in the day, when we went to the midnight shows, I was Magenta and Mister was Frank-N-Furter. He always did get jumped a lot (by me) when he was dressed.

  36. says

    Sexual exaggeration in superhero comics is the coin of the realm, and is evident in depictions of both sexes.

    as anyone who’s ever seen actual sexualization of men in comics (e.g. yaoi, or erotic comics targeted at a gay male audience) would be immediately able to recognize, mainstream male comic book characters aren’t actually sexualized. They’re male fantasies about themselves, not fantasies of people sexually attracted to men.

  37. Pteryxx says

    as anyone who’s ever seen actual sexualization of men in comics (e.g. yaoi, or erotic comics targeted at a gay male audience) would be immediately able to recognize, mainstream male comic book characters aren’t actually sexualized. They’re male fantasies about themselves, not fantasies of people sexually attracted to men.

    *cough* Naked Justice *cough* …er, I mean, QFT. <_<

  38. rustybrown says

    Jadehawk @ 47,

    I take your point although, at a glance, yaoi seems to be an erotic niche (that the Japanese are so adept at) and not necessarily an example of universal male sexualization. I could just as easily refer you to gay bear websites, or point out how the large, heavily-muscled, uber-athletic men (hint: like comic book men) of the NFL and NBA are coveted sexual objects in our society. So I take exception that it is only self-fantasy that is driving the depiction of men in comics.

  39. microraptor says

    One of the biggest problems with mainstream comic book art isn’t just that the artists are overwhelming male, it’s that for the major companies it’s overwhelmingly the same group of artists doing everything. And that means that we get the same crappy artwork of anatomically impossible women in fetishwear contorted into impossible poses all over the place. The problem isn’t really limited to artists, either; there’s entirely too little diversity among editors and writers, too.

  40. says

    microraptor-

    Yeah, the art is like way down on my list of current complaints about the state of comic books right now with all the douchebro-ification (DC paring its women creators and editors down even more and letting go all their feminist writers and replacing them with “dude, her tits are hot” assholes), pointless shock deaths and reboots (comic book fans don’t need artificial simplicity and pointless retreads of old stories, the internet exists for a reason, if I’m confused I can look it up and thus want to buy an old comic run where awesome things happened), did I mention running out most of the feminist comics creators who were making interesting characters, and eliminating what paltry little diversity they had with stunt BS like making Oracle Batgirl again. Oh yeah, and making most of the female characters horribly written ciphers for bad exes the writers want to punish instead of the kickass people they have been.

    …Why am I still a comics fan again? I seem to have completely forgotten.

  41. katenrala says

    A lot of this I think stems from the fact that the big two, Marvel and DC, appear to have unofficial “house styles” where artists get the jobs if they draw similarly to popular artist X who may have had a decade or more to influence the accepted styles of drawing. Outside the big two one can find a great diversity in the art of comics, and a lot of it far less sexualized in the way Marvel and DC sexualizes art.

    There is also the problem with Marvel and DC pandering not just to mens’ sexuality, but to men who are heterosexual. Heterosexual mens’ culture asks for certain things, sometimes impossible things like twisted spines so one can see a female character’s breasts and butt at the same time, and they want shots of characters in poses that they can insert themselves into as a voyeur or as a avatar for themselves. The introduction of a gay male character in one of the big two’s comics always sets of a small storm of controversy among the heterosexual fanboys who can’t identify with that character and can no longer use that character as their self-insert avatar character.

  42. karpad says

    For what little it is worth, there exists at least one series that seems just as dedicated to absurd posed anatomy and gaze on male characters as female, without specifically being structured as feminist.

    I speak of course of the Mega-series, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

    Despite being a multi-generational epic which has progressed over about 300 years of history (actually the same 150 years or so, twice, with timestream shenanigans. Timey Wimey Wibbley Wobbley etc.), I don’t know if any of the chapters, including the only one with a female protagonist, would pass the Bechdel test. Not to say there are not a handful of strong female characters, both in the “super-powered” and “well rounded” sense. But the various adventures are pretty heavily male oriented.

    Inside the absurd costuming and poses (and ridiculous referential names and bizarre superpowers) is something I personally enjoy quite a bit, as it’s just so incredibly different from more standard male-power-fantasy as found in niche works like comics and genre fiction. Despite, at the same time, still very much BEING one of those power fantasies.

    Also, part 3′s protagonist is a younger-than-he-looks teenager who, by part 4, is a marine biologist.

  43. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Nothing new about this. There have always been your Blondie Bumsteads and Miss Buxleys. But non-sexualized women have always been prominent, too (think Helga the Horrible, Cathy, Sally Forth, Louweezy Smith, Flo Capp ) and show that one can be both ethical and successful in portraying women in the comics.

  44. katenrala says

    For all of you wishing that you can draw… YOU CAN!

    All you got to do is just put in your 10,000 hours of practice and you’ll master the needed skills. But you have to want it bad, so badly that you’ll stick with the tedium, the frustration, and the irritation that your reach will always exceed your grasp even though you have come far from where you started, you will never consider yourself to be good, only good-enough when at your finest; same as it is with any field.
    ……

    I have a thought that’s been bugging me for a long time so I’d like to ask a question to those who know better than me:

    Is it inherently sexist and/or misogynistic for a male to draw or sculpt a woman or female character?

    While a male artist working with a model is working with a person with agency, a person who can give direct, personal consent; a artist who can draw without a model are capable of drawing or sculpting a woman or female character who has no agency, cannot give consent, can’t refuse to be posed in whatever fashion the artist wishes, and can’t refuse to be depicted in any action the artist wants to depict her in.

    It also seems worse if the male artist is good enough to have memorized anatomy to be able to draw or sculpt accurately just from their mind and thus are exploiting the bodies of any woman they have learned anatomy from, that anatomical knowledge arising from anatomy books, figure drawing, and looking at reference images and therefor there is no direct, personal consent from any woman or female person to the artist who is in essence using their bodies and the collective bodies of the oppressed half of the human species by the oppressor class person who is also an artist.

    When I draw or sculpt a female character I try to keep in mind the artwork The Treachery of Images: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” that what it is I’m making is not a female person or woman, just lines and volumes that recall a female person or woman in the minds of the viewer, but it seems a cheap out for cognitive dissonance and the idea that men and male persons should perhaps not be the artists of figures at all.

  45. John Morales says

    katenrala:

    Is it inherently sexist and/or misogynistic for a male to draw or sculpt a woman or female character?

    Obviously not; therefore, any reasoning that leads to that absurd conclusion is problematic and should be re-examined.

  46. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    First response: “…I thought that was just a stereotype.”

    Thinking about it a little rather than rejecting it out of hand…

    While a male artist working with a model is working with a person with agency, a person who can give direct, personal consent; a artist who can draw without a model are capable of drawing or sculpting a woman or female character who has no agency, cannot give consent, can’t refuse to be posed in whatever fashion the artist wishes, and can’t refuse to be depicted in any action the artist wants to depict her in.

    …this seems like a category error at best…

    It also seems worse if the male artist is good enough to have memorized anatomy to be able to draw or sculpt accurately just from their mind and thus are exploiting the bodies of any woman they have learned anatomy from, that anatomical knowledge arising from anatomy books, figure drawing, and looking at reference images and therefor there is no direct, personal consent from any woman or female person to the artist who is in essence using their bodies and the collective bodies of the oppressed half of the human species by the oppressor class person who is also an artist.

    …and this seems to broadens the concept of “exploitation” so much as to render it meaningless. Studying anatomy as “exploitation?” In principle, not as a critique of specific practices. How would that assertion possibly be justified?

  47. Julia Sullivan says

    This Shortpacked strip really demolishes the “oh, comic book dudes are caricatures, too!” false equivalence. Props to David Willis for getting it.

  48. says

    Katenrala:

    Is it inherently sexist and/or misogynistic for a male to draw or sculpt a woman or female character?

    I don’t think so. I do understand what you’re getting at, but I’ll have to go with no. What the deeper question comes down to is the both the personality and ethics of a particular artist. Someone with talent or skill, who wishes to use people, bits, pieces in a perverted or pathological way will find a way to do just that. That’s down to that individual, however.

    For years, I’ve specialized in large scale pencil nudes, mostly women. I do have the occasional male client, though, and it’s been interesting sometimes, because I’ve had a few clients ask if I could replace this bit of them with that person’s bit (that person usually being a celeb of some sort or model). My answer has always been “I could, but I won’t.” That said, if they request I make bits of themselves a little larger, a little smaller, more shapely, or whatever, that I’ll do.

    I think when you’re going to draw people, yes, there’s a tendency to ‘grab’ a bit from that person you saw on the bus, and another bit from someone you passed in the store, such as eye shape or hair, but when you get to actually drawing or sculpting, even if you’re using a bit you saw on a real person, it tends to get transformed into your own unique creation.

  49. owlglass says

    Well, male characters aren’t depicted much less sexualized in comics. They are mostly muscular heroes in tight body suits, they have heroic traits, and attributes that are associated with masculinity. Women on the other hand are no longer damsel in distress, which was the originally problematic depiction. They mostly switched to the other trope called “Action Girl”. So the issues are rather that comics reinforce gender roles and stereotypes, and are sexually charged.
    /
    The “glass ceiling” employment problem you mention above, is also a bit more complicated (ups, wrote it again) in reality. Here is a fresh take by one Gabrielle Toledano, apparently HR at Electronic Arts, on sexism. You can translate that to the comic world fairly well. I know, it was decided that saying that something is more of a “guy thing” is somehow a sacrilege… she says it, too.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeswomanfiles/2013/01/18/women-and-video-gamings-dirty-little-secrets/

  50. sunny12 says

    Well, male characters aren’t depicted much less sexualized in comics. They are mostly muscular heroes in tight body suits, they have heroic traits, and attributes that are associated with masculinity. Women on the other hand are no longer damsel in distress, which was the originally problematic depiction. They mostly switched to the other trope called “Action Girl”. So the issues are rather that comics reinforce gender roles and stereotypes, and are sexually charged.

    Nah.

    http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/05-the-death-of-snkrs/falseequivalence/

    The “glass ceiling” employment problem you mention above, is also a bit more complicated (ups, wrote it again) in reality. Here is a fresh take by one Gabrielle Toledano, apparently HR at Electronic Arts, on sexism. You can translate that to the comic world fairly well. I know, it was decided that saying that something is more of a “guy thing” is somehow a sacrilege… she says it, too.

    That’s a pretty problematic article. Firstly, she keeps equating “pointing out sexism in the industry” with “attacking men,” a tired accusation that really needs to stop rearing its head. Secondly, she’s erasing the experiences of women who have encountered blatant discrimination in the field and spoken out about it. Did she miss the “#1reasonwhy” trend on Twitter?

  51. vaiyt says

    Well, male characters aren’t depicted much less sexualized in comics.

    This is frustrating. This basic level of bullshit is shot down, and five posts down there’s some idiot saying the exact same thing!

  52. sunny12 says

    This is frustrating. This basic level of bullshit is shot down, and five posts down there’s some idiot saying the exact same thing!

    Yeah, it’s never ending. >_>

    (Aaaand I’ve only just noticed the Shortstack strip was already posted. Eh, the more times it’s referred to the better I guess!)

  53. owlglass says

    …and it ignores target audiences and all that. I wonder, do you see the world in Technicolor already?

  54. vaiyt says

    …and it ignores target audiences and all that.

    It’s YOUR argument that ignores target audiences when you say men are just as sexualised as women in covers.

    The comics are writing for their target audience all right – they’re depicting men as their readers want to BE, and women as they want to FUCK. That’s not equivalent at all.

    The typical depictions of men in comics do not look attractive for people who are actually attracted by men. The Equal Opportunity Sexualization Argument doesn’t hold water. The Shortpacked strip is right on the money, as is my friend’s cover redraw.

  55. John Morales says

    [meta]

    #69: Person or bot?

    (To imagine some poor person is so desperate that they must earn commission for (poorly) spamming blogs is sad, but alas since people are still cheaper than a rudimentary bot I must endure that sad feeling)

  56. rq says

    My parents once gave me shit for lending my (then-12-year-old) younger brother a sci-fi book with the typical female figure on the cover (I forget what book, now, some stranded colonists on a hostile planet populated by some kind of wolf-like figures who eventually learned to live together or something like that). They were not familiar with the art on the covers of such sci-fi fiction – meaning that, by the time I explained that it was just the cover photo and there wasn’t any actual sex in the book at all (never mind anything porn-grade), they were wondering why I’d wanted to borrow that book in the first place. Yeah…

  57. says

    Caine:

    I rather imagine that rustybrown has seen all manner of men in high heels. He just didn’t know they were men.

    RahXephon gets dogpiled for making a joke that could, but might not, be about a ‘pitter’s ability to get laid (and as if everybody universally agrees that such jokes are problematic).

    Nobody notices when Caine makes a comment that’s pretty fucking transphobic.

    Nice. Real nice.

  58. says

    Ms Daisy Cutter, etc, @72: it’s polite to refer to people as the gender they present themselves as, which might have made the joke incomprehensible or needlessly involved if Caine had paid attention to what they were writing, but is the slip really “pretty fucking transphobic”? Or am I missing something else, cis-male that I am?

  59. katenrala says

    There is another thing which provides me some cognitive dissonance is, at least for me, the utter depersonalization and ultimate objectification required to draw a figure from life, and from memory and imagination

    When drawing the figure from life I give the provided model a quick once over to note their specific anatomy, seeking to find details about their body that are outliers as compared to my mental platonic human, scars, marks, anything that immediately jumps out to me and details about the”usedness” and history of their body; noting details about overall angles and curves and seeking out sweeping contours; and noting the areas where light is reflected through more and less translucent areas of the skin.

    There are then the quick warm up poses and short duration poses and by then I’ve seen every side of the model and know more about them, their tone, where their fat deposits are, muscle shapes and attachments, tendons, and the specific way their bones show through their skin.

    Finally there are the long poses, the model has been analyzed, categorized, reduced to components, and the most that matters now is the accurate capture of what my eyes see. The model has been turned from a person, to a body, to finally just a passive form, a volume to be treated no differently in its capture through media than the blankets and pillows and other set-dressings if any.

    This is one of the grossest objectifications of people that I’ve actually sought out to participate in, and while figure drawing studios offer a male/female ratio of models at 1:1, a male, me, objectifying anyone, especially a female person, strikes me as highly sexist and problematic to the point of misogyny in a culture where women and female persons are objectified all the time. I had hoped to give back a what I could by modeling for artists too, being that studios like variety in their models that also don’t conform to what is considered conventionally attractive and my body with forequarter amputation, scars, and the markings of medical history is different enough from “normal” to be considered at least highly interesting and be a unique educational tool for other artists. Unfortunately for me I will remain sick for the short remainder of my life.

    The level of objectification remains similar when drawing a figure from the mind, as I am now building an object in a way (if I’m not doing that literally with a sculpture) and what gets broken down in figure drawing gets rebuilt only even more depersonalized as there is no person to draw from, just the figure in my mind and everything that I know that creates a figure.

    This doesn’t stop me from drawing though, and sometimes I think that since I continue to follow my passion makes me a bad person and hypocrite for being for anti-oppression and doing anti-oppression work when my passion, drawing and telling stories with drawings, may be harmful and detrimental to women and female persons as I am a white male with more privileges and entitlements than any woman or female persons shelters me from the damage I cause and all actions, expressed communication, “contributions to the cause,” made by myself are thus all worthy of being suspect.

    Thank you for your responses:

    @58 John Morales

    katenrala:

    Is it inherently sexist and/or misogynistic for a male to draw or sculpt a woman or female character?

    Obviously not; therefore, any reasoning that leads to that absurd conclusion is problematic and should be re-examined.

    It wasn’t the people who initially arrived at that these conclusions who presented them to me, instead it’s that these conclusions where presented to me a long time ago by other second wave feminists and radical-feminists I followed on the internet and lurked with on their forums and blogs. I found their arguments that where the power differences between women and female persons as compared to male persons and men in any capacity, especially where men and male persons held more power was a complete negativism persuasive, and while I’ve moved quite a bit away from both those forms of feminism to better fit my ideas of anti-oppression, their ideas as it could reflect on art and media and character interaction in any sort of way have stuck with me enough to bother me every-time I think about creating something.

    @59 Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    First response: “…I thought that was just a stereotype.”

    Thinking about it a little rather than rejecting it out of hand…

    …this seems like a category error at best…

    …and this seems to broadens the concept of “exploitation” so much as to render it meaningless. Studying anatomy as “exploitation?” In principle, not as a critique of specific practices. How would that assertion possibly be justified?

    Could you expand your points a bit?

    As it is though I’ll say it could be an act of exploitation as the process of learning anatomy for the figure, considering the use of people throughout art history in the west who were used without consent, artists studied from cadavers as well, who certainly had no consent to give and this knowledge still peculates into the modern as artists look back to the Italian renaissance and looking up to the so-called Great Masters.

    @61 Caine, Fleur du mal +

    Thank you. Does my new post expose more about where I’m coming from any thinking worse dropping?

  60. rustybrown says

    @ Vayait 65+68,

    Yeah, it must be frustrating when people don’t take you seriously for trying to prove your argument with a comic strip. It’s amusing and predictable that in this thread several have linked to this lame strip as some sort of de facto slam-dunk.

    The fact is that large, square-jawed, heavily-muscled men are still a very prominent ideal to many women and gay men. There are other masculine ideals and the trends may be shifting to favor them, but to deny that sexual attraction to uber-masculin men doesn’t exist is myopic. If you disagree with this, then explain why NBA, NFL and other athletes (some of whom are actually used as reference for artists creating male superhero distortions) are some of the most highly desirable sex-objects on the planet.

  61. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Rustybrown, please respond to the arguments actually offered.

    Also, why is a written source that specifically addresses the issue but happens to be presented alongside graphics a less credible source than pro sports, and in particular taking the male target audience of pro sports’ assumptions about how other segments of society respond to it for granted?

    Could you expand your points a bit?

    I’m sure the “I thought that was just a stereotype” doesn’t need expanding.

    1. Ideas do not have the same needs or capacities as people, thus they do not have the same rights. An imaginary person is an idea, not a person. Similarly, thoughts are not harmful except insofar as they influence harmful behavior.
    2. The fact that something has been practiced exploitatively in the past does not mean that every instance of that thing is exploitative. The fact that rape exists does not mean consensual sex does not. What you’re proposing here appears analogous to insisting that no couple (or, you know, more) can have consensual sex because rape exists. Similarly, avoiding anything that one can successfully play “X degrees of connection” to some kind of oppression or exploitation with is impracticable; such a connection can be created for EVERYTHING and there cannot possibly be an ethical responsibility to do things that are themselves impossible. Beyond that, a person who is modeling is consenting to being used as a model. To the extent that the term retains any meaning, it seems kind of “objectifying” to reject and trivialize that consent.

    What you’ve encountered is the unfortunate result of people taking a conceit and running with it without ever checking back in with reality or trying to build a coherent system out of it. Please try to let go of it and continue to create art and beauty while you can.

  62. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    (Damnit, I still haven’t trained myself to separately name everyone I’m responding to; the second part was for Katenrala)

  63. says

    at a glance, yaoi seems to be an erotic niche (that the Japanese are so adept at)

    it isn’t, though that’s where it comes from. it’s a standard expressiou of sexuality by/for girls and young women.

    I could just as easily refer you to gay bear websites, or point out how the large, heavily-muscled, uber-athletic men (hint: like comic book men) of the NFL and NBA are coveted sexual objects in our society.

    I don’t know what mainstream comics you read, but comicbook heroes never look like NBA players. They look like the dudes from Wrestling. Seriously: NBA vs. WWE vs. comics

  64. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    Yeah, Caine, I was also kinda squicked out by that comment.

  65. says

    Katenrala, it’s a bit clearer to me now, what you find so troubling. I agree, it is troubling and I think each artist needs to keep objectification in mind, so that it doesn’t extend out into other areas of thought and attitude. However, at least in the learning phase, breaking people down into bits is part and parcel of what we do. We do that with everything, right down to reality. It’s tricksy, because we play with perception. I think, in large part, how we think about people in general tends to show in any finished piece. It’s up to us whether a final work is a celebration of objectification or it’s imbued with feeling and personality.

    (I’m barely awake, and fueling up with tea, I’ll think on this some more and get back to it.)

  66. says

    I love Jim C. Hines.
    I wished he wrote for younger audiences so I could get my daughters some kick-ass Princess-novels in a few years.

    Re: men’s sexualized poses
    Jim Hines has some pictures about that as well which clearly show the difference…

  67. says

    Chigau @74: True, but until you’ve had that conversation with them, the default is to refer to them as the gender they’re presenting themselves as. Eddie Izzard is a cross-dresser but he presents as male (on stage, at least). Someone dressed as a woman who might be biologically male underneath but is undetectable as such would be refered to as “she” anyway. Which is where Caine’s quip breaks down.

    Hmm, I think I’m getting a vibe as to what Ms Daisy Cutter was referring to: the differing levels of being able to “pass as” their preferred gender? I know one transman of my internet acquaintance gets severely depressed at being addressed as “ma’am” or “miss” when he’s missed his testosterone shots for a while. Eh, I think I need to think about this before I say something stupid. If I haven’t already.

  68. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #76:

    The fact is that large, square-jawed, heavily-muscled men are still a very prominent ideal to many women and gay men. There are other masculine ideals and the trends may be shifting to favor them, but to deny that sexual attraction to uber-masculin men doesn’t exist is myopic. If you disagree with this, then explain why NBA, NFL and other athletes (some of whom are actually used as reference for artists creating male superhero distortions) are some of the most highly desirable sex-objects on the planet.

    As I understand it, you’re arguing against the position that male superheroes are modelled on the (perceived) wish-fulfilment fantasy of straight men – you’re saying that such characters are at least in part designed to be sexually attractive to straight* women (and, incidentally, gay* men). I don’t think you’re considering that part of the wish-fulfilment fantasy is to be sexually attractive; I would suggest it’s no accident that you (presumably a straight man – please correct me if I’m wrong) think that straight women and gay men are predominantly attracted to the hyper-masculine traits that so often characterise male superheroes.

    You seem to dismiss the testimony of the straight women and gay men evidenced in these comments that they do not, in general, find the typical, hyper-masculine representations of male superheroes sexually compelling. As a gay man, I can also testify that such representations do not cater to my tastes at all.

    * Also, bisexual. Hate how bisexual people get disappeared so often in these kinds of discussions.

  69. says

    The fact is that large, square-jawed, heavily-muscled men are still a very prominent ideal to many women and gay men.

    Um, no. That also doesn’t represent a sexualized figure, simply a ManlyMan™ figure which straight, cis men project as themselves.

  70. rustybrown says

    Azkyroth@77,

    I was responding to offered arguments. That comic was offered as an argument by Sunny12@ 63 and elsewhere on this thread. As far as that comic’s legitimacy as an argument vs. my observation that professional athletes are commonly viewed as sexually desirable in our society – wow, do I really have to spell this out? OK, here goes: Shortpack comic does a miserable job at exposing a false equivalency here – it basically comes down to a fictional character expressing an individual preference for a type of male character not commonly seen in action comics. So? A cartoon character says “I like this” and I’m supposed to be swayed? I don’t think so.

    As for my contention, that professional athletes are viewed as sexually desirable in our society, again, wow, do a bit of research. Is it a coincidence that pro athletes have legions of attractive groupies willing to have sex with them? Is it coincidence that they are the most prime advertising beef in the business, a business where I’m sure you’ll agree, sex sells? I’ll stop here because you know better.

  71. rustybrown says

    Jadehawk@79,

    Many NBA players today do indeed look like superheroes. The singular examples you provide here are misleading. I’m not going to provide specific links, but I suggest a few cursory google image searches for you: NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes. If you can’t find plenty of common ground between these searches, your google isn’t working.

    And, this is important, just because you can find specific examples of physiques that don’t fit the trend, it does not mean the trend isn’t there. We’re talking generalities here. I think that’s part of what PZ’s original post is about. And I think I’ve proven my case that uber-muscled, athletic men are still commonly highly prized in sexual terms in our society, and that action comics exploit this.

  72. says

    but I suggest a few cursory google image searches for you: NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes

    you have no idea how hilarious I find this

    And I think I’ve proven my case that uber-muscled, athletic men are still commonly highly prized in sexual terms in our society, and that action comics exploit this.

    lol. no, you’ve done no such thing.

  73. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    And, this is important, just because you can find specific examples of physiques that don’t fit the trend, it does not mean the trend isn’t there. We’re talking generalities here. I think that’s part of what PZ’s original post is about. And I think I’ve proven my case that uber-muscled, athletic men are still commonly highly prized in sexual terms in our society, and that action comics exploit this.

    From where I’m standing, all you’ve “proven” is that muscular men are highly sexualised by male culture. Which was not in dispute.

  74. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #87:

    Shortpack comic does a miserable job at exposing a false equivalency here – it basically comes down to a fictional character expressing an individual preference for a type of male character not commonly seen in action comics.

    The point being made (and the medium for that point is irrelevant – it doesn’t reflect well on you to dismiss the argument because you think the vehicle is facile) is that male characters are not sexualised for a female audience in the same way that female characters are sexualised for a male audience. No-one says that male characters are not sexualised at all – indeed, being sexy and sexual is part of the wish-fulfilment fantasy that male superheroes are modelled for – but the manner of their sexualisation is different (it is the type of sexuality that straight men want to see in themselves, not the type of sexuality that women want to see in men). Hence the false equivalence.

    As for my contention, that professional athletes are viewed as sexually desirable in our society, again, wow, do a bit of research. Is it a coincidence that pro athletes have legions of attractive groupies willing to have sex with them? Is it coincidence that they are the most prime advertising beef in the business, a business where I’m sure you’ll agree, sex sells?

    Well, yeah, OK, people want to have sex with professional athletes, but that doesn’t really support your argument in the way you think it does, because:

    1) Not all professional athletes have the same physique, and most don’t have the type of physique which male superheroes are portrayed as having; and

    2) Professional athletes are also desirable for reasons other than their physiques – they tend to be rich, famous, young, and admired for their achievements, for example.

  75. The Mellow Monkey says

    It’s all so obvious. After all, magazines and websites put out “sexiest man alive” awards every year, which highlight such uber-muscled, lantern-jawed beasts as Joseph Gordon-Levitt or behemoths of physical prowess like Josh Hutcherson.

    Just look at those giant monstrosities of manliness.

  76. says

    MM:

    After all, magazines and websites put out “sexiest man alive” awards every year, which highlight such uber-muscled, lantern-jawed beasts as Joseph Gordon-Levitt or behemoths of physical prowess like Josh Hutcherson.

    Exactly. What a majority of women, bisexual people and gay men like is not the stereotypical projection of how many straight, cis men wish to see themselves.

    It’s generally het cis men who get all happy looking at the stereotypical athlete model, because it typifies and idealizes much of the masculine ideal.

  77. says

    It’s all so obvious. After all, magazines and websites put out “sexiest man alive” awards every year, which highlight such uber-muscled, lantern-jawed beasts as Joseph Gordon-Levitt or behemoths of physical prowess like Josh Hutcherson.

    yeah I mean, remember when all those love/lust-sick groupies were following Arnie around, while ignoring boybands and the Rolling Stones?

  78. rustybrown says

    Casus@85,

    First, I’m not suggesting that these male characters are being designed to appeal to women and gay men. I think superhero characters, both male and female, are designed to appeal to widely held (note I did not say CORRECTLY held) ideals within our society. And further, yes, I feel that male characters are just as routinely exploited as female characters in comics. I totally agree with your observation that wish-fulfillment is a part of this ideal.

    To your second point, I think I addressed this a bit above, but isolated, anecdotal sexual preferences don’t contribute much to this debate. I concede that there are many contrary examples to the broad-brushed sexual ideals I’m writing about, but they don’t negate those ideals.

  79. says

    I’m not suggesting that these male characters are being designed to appeal to women and gay men.[...]I feel that male characters are just as routinely exploited as female characters in comics.

    heh

  80. John Morales says

    rustybrown:

    I think superhero characters, both male and female, are designed to appeal to widely held (note I did not say CORRECTLY held) ideals within our society.

    And by “our society” you mean the comics’ demographic, no?

  81. rustybrown says

    Jadehawk@96 and others,

    You do realize that pointing to an exception to a general rule is an extremely lazy and ignorant way to try to make a point, don’t you? Hey, Hulk Hogan gets laid – I win!

    And Jade, what exactly did you find so amusing about the google search I suggested? Seems to me comparing a wide variety of images from an objective source may be more enlightening than just cutting and pasting selected images to reinforce your point, but that’s just me.

  82. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #97:

    Thanks for the response.

    I think superhero characters, both male and female, are designed to appeal to widely held (note I did not say CORRECTLY held) ideals within our society.

    Yeah, I agree with this, but I’d qualify it by saying that they’re the ideals held, largely, by straight men. The depictions of women are meant to appeal to straight men, and the depictions of men are meant to appeal to straight men. And that’s why it’s a false equivalence to say that men are sexualised in the same way as women.

    isolated, anecdotal sexual preferences don’t contribute much to this debate. I concede that there are many contrary examples to the broad-brushed sexual ideals I’m writing about, but they don’t negate those ideals.

    Forgive me if I’m putting words in your mouth, but it seems that your view that men and women are sexualised in the same ways in comics arises from your perception that people who are sexually attracted to men are turned on by the physical traits of the stereotypical male superhero. I don’t see a good reason to think that – we’ve already discussed the issue with using professional athletes as an argument. And you have lots of people here telling you that those traits aren’t attractive to them. What would it take for you to re-evaluate what you think straight women and gay / bi men find attractive in men?

  83. says

    And Jade, what exactly did you find so amusing about the google search I suggested?

    to suggest to do what I just did because you don’t like my random results is fucking hilarious.

  84. says

    I concede that there are many contrary examples to the broad-brushed sexual ideals I’m writing about, but they don’t negate those ideals.

    I wonder: do you think women are responsible for creating these supposed ideals?

  85. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #101:

    You do realize that pointing to an exception to a general rule is an extremely lazy and ignorant way to try to make a point, don’t you?

    When your rule (“folks who are into men prefer them to be grossly over-muscled”) is so narrow and the exceptions (actors, musicians, and pretty much anyone who’s some combination of rich, young, powerful, famous, good-looking, accomplished, or charismatic) so numerous, I think that pointing out those exceptions is a valid way of making the point.

  86. rustybrown says

    Jade@103,

    Are you fuckin kidding me? I’ll throw it out to the crowd, the issue at hand is: are NBA and NFL athletes comparable to comic depictions of superheroes? Jade says “No!” I say “Yea!” I suggested a google search, NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes. Class is advised to do their own variants. What say you, teeming masses? I’ll point out that the occasional noodle-armed NBA player and spindly-legged punter exceptions are immaterial. The point is that they are indeed comparable, and, at least in the three-dimensional realm, widely perceived as bone-jimpingly desirable.

  87. says

    I’ll point out that the occasional noodle-armed NBA

    you think the man in the picture is noodle-armed…?

    you’re a visually confused individual.

    The point is that they are indeed comparable,

    everything is, strictly speaking, comparable. What NBA players and comic heroes aren’t however are similar.

    Seriously, your athletes-argument is crap.
    1)Athletes are generally considered “bone-jumpingly desirable” regardless of physique, be they sumo wrestlers, defensive linemen, soccer players, ski-jumpers, or bicyclists
    2)Most athletes don’t have comic-hero-like physiques
    3)most men considered “sexy” don’t even have athletes’ physiques, nevermind comic-book hero ones.

  88. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #106:

    I suggested a google search, NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes. Class is advised to do their own variants. What say you, teeming masses?

    The problem with this strategy is that you’re going to find the term “NBA physique”, for example, associated with the most extreme physiques in the NBA. The top result for that particular search brings up a result from forum.bodybuilding.com. In short, your strategy isn’t useful for determining the general standard, and you’re falling foul of confirmation bias.

    in the three-dimensional realm, widely perceived as bone-jimpingly desirable.

    Perceived by whom? And how can you separate the portion of their desirability which is a consequence of their physique from the portion which is attributable to other qualities arising from their status as a professional athlete?

  89. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #106:

    I suggested a google search, NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes. Class is advised to do their own variants. What say you, teeming masses?

    The problem with this is that you’re going to find the term “NBA physique”, for example, associated with the most extreme physiques in the NBA. The top result for that particular search is from forum.bodybuilding.com. In short, your strategy isn’t useful for determining the general standard, and you’re falling foul of confirmation bias.

    in the three-dimensional realm, widely perceived as bone-jimpingly desirable.

    Perceived by whom? And how can you separate the portion of their desirability which is a consequence of their physique from the portion which is attributable to other qualities arising from their status as a professional athlete?

  90. casus fortuitus says

    [There's a risk this will end up being a triple post - think there was an issue with links. Apologies in advance!]

    @rustybrown, #106:

    I suggested a google search, NBA physique, NFL physique, Superheroes. Class is advised to do their own variants. What say you, teeming masses?

    The problem with this is that you’re going to find the term “NBA physique”, for example, associated with the most extreme physiques in the NBA. The top result for that particular search is from a body-building forum. In short, your strategy isn’t useful for determining the general standard, and you’re falling foul of confirmation bias.

    in the three-dimensional realm, widely perceived as bone-jimpingly desirable.

    Perceived by whom? And how can you separate the portion of their desirability which is a consequence of their physique from the portion which is attributable to other qualities arising from their status as a professional athlete?

  91. says

    and speaking of soccer players, last I bothered to check, this was considered the sexiest soccer player. And before that, it was this. Overmuscled simply isn’t considered sexy, not even in the “mainstream”.

  92. says

    The problem with this is that you’re going to find the term “NBA physique”, for example, associated with the most extreme physiques in the NBA.

    enh, even those results show exactly my point: basketball players are tall, lean, and are made almost entirely of limbs. yes, they’re muscular, but the only merely muscular superhero I can think of is spidey, because he’s supposed to be a nerd. and even he gets drawn overmuscled sometimes.

  93. says

    anyway, the point stands: male comic-book characters are drawn to appeal to men, as someone they’d want to be. female characters are also drawn to appeal to men, as someone they’d like to fuck. consequently, it’s entirely absurd to speak of equal levels of exploitation.

  94. says

    Jadehawk:

    anyway, the point stands: male comic-book characters are drawn to appeal to men, as someone they’d want to be. female characters are also drawn to appeal to men, as someone they’d like to fuck.

    Yep. There’s only so many ways to explain that and it seems none of them are going to get through to Rusty.

  95. casus fortuitus says

    Caine – I only had one link, but I wonder if it was my formatting, or if it was the place I was linking to. Thanks for the tip, though!

    Jadehawk – 1) Yep, as someone in the UK (and hence inundated with soccer fetishism), I can confirm those are the pinnacle of sexy footballers, and those two have representative builds. And footballers are the pinnacle of sexy athletes here, too.

    2) Fair enough on the basketball player point, too. I think rustybrown’s argument is just fractally wrong.

  96. says

    casus fortuitus:

    I only had one link, but I wonder if it was my formatting, or if it was the place I was linking to. Thanks for the tip, though!

    It may have been a word in the link itself, hard to say. You can always try again, using tiny url.

  97. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    NBA basketball are among the most fit and strongest athletes in the world. They have to be, they are constantly in motion and they have to be able to push past the bulk of the bodies defending them.

    Bulls fan here. Derick Rose, when he is healthy, plays a game of controlled violence. He is fast enough to get past the bigger defenders an strong enough to keep the ball next to his body, taking a beating while doing so, until he extends his arms to shoot.

    The NBA is no place for a noodle armed player. That player will be posted up and attacked every time down the court until his ass is taken off the floor.

  98. rustybrown says

    Jade @116,

    Wrong. That’s something you would have to prove. Seems like it’s really popular around here to bring up an exception to a point someone is making and squeal: “Ooooo! That totally invalidates your point!”.

    Hey, I got one! Kate Winslet is totally not stacked like comic book chicks are! Neither is Lucy Liu nor Taylor Swift! Yet men still find them desirable! This proves that depictions of buxom comic chicks are not objectifying women! Hey! This logic is fun!

    Oh, and you’re right, super buff NFL players are generally perceived to be totally gross to the average woman. After all, in high school, before all the money and fame, wasn’t it always the buff, strong jocks who had trouble getting a date to the prom?

  99. says

    That’s something you would have to prove. Seems like it’s really popular around here to bring up an exception to a point someone is making

    for the love of….
    dude. we’ve given you patterns. it’s overmuscled men being considered sexy that’s the exception. one does not become the world’s sexiest soccer player because one’s appeal is an exception; one does not become “sexiest man alive” by appealing to a minority or non-mainstream aesthetic. and it’s not like having slim, pretty-faced men in these positions is rare; it’s the norm.

    After all, in high school, before all the money and fame, wasn’t it always the buff, strong jocks who had trouble getting a date to the prom?

    you think high-school joks are “popular” because of how they look? and that they usually look like comic-book heroes?

    I don’t know what universe you live in, but evidently it’s not this one.

  100. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Wasn’t Patrick Stewart once sexiest man?

    Check mate

  101. says

    OTOH, rusty’s bone-deep conviction that brick-jawed body-builders are what women find hot pretty much confirms whose fantasies are being catered to with those depictions.

  102. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    <blockquoteThe Expendables was made for women to drool over
    Believe that?

    Sure!

    Please stop by in Brooklyn, near the river. Bring cash.

    (That’s directed at rusty, not Jadehawk)

  103. Esteleth, Ultra-PC Feminist Harpy Out To Destroy Secularism says

    Well, I just epically failed my blockquoting…

  104. sunny12 says

    Hey rustybrown, check this out:

    http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/celebrity/celebrity-galleries/2012/07/sexiest-hottest-men-2012#!image-number=100

    It’s Glamour’s 100 Sexiest Men of the Year list, based on the votes of its readership. Count the number of football players who made it to the list (I’ll give you a tip – it’s zero). They’re mostly actors, musicians and swimmers. And guess who got number one?

    Robert Pattinson (you know, the pale, skinny dude who plays the vampire in Twilight).

    Ah, but forgive me, but that’s just anecdotal (as opposed to your high school memories of the jocks easily finding dates for the prom, without any consideration as to why that was the case – can’t be because they had higher social standing amongst their peers, right?).

  105. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Drooling over old action figures?

    Shit, the best action star ever did not have the muscles piled on muscles body of a Schwarzenegger of Stallone.

    And I am sure he could have taken both of them on at the same time.

    Jackie Chan.

  106. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    @rustybrown

    Uh… No.

    You’re conflating separate attractiveness indicators. The reason people are attracted to famous people of any type (sport types, actors, comedians, musicians) isn’t generally because of their body type, it’s because they’re A, very visible and recognisable and B, REALLY goddamned good at what they do. Body shape doesn’t enter into it except as a possible post-hoc bonus.

    Women are attracted to all sorts of body shapes. Men usually -think- women are attracted to buff sports types more than others, but only because that’s what they are taught to idealise as men.
    Basically, comic book style buff manly superhero men are male power fantasies and male projections of what men think women want (powerful and “sexy”), whilst the reality is completely different.

    Women don’t, in general, read mainstream comics because they find the male characters sexy. Manga characters tend to garner a lot more fan-squeeing over sexiness than, say, superman. Do these characters look like what you think women find sexy?

    Before you say it, too, I’m not suggesting that all women objectively find manga characters more sexy than their comic book counterparts, I am simply noting that a lot of comics specifically targeted at women or gay men (yaoi, for instance) for the purpose of titillation don’t feature that kind of physique.

  107. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #121:

    Seems like it’s really popular around here to bring up an exception to a point someone is making and squeal

    Your point seems to be that representations of superheroes are intended to appeal to the sexual tastes of people who are into men. It’s a valid counterpoint to show that most men who are considered sexy do not have the physiques of male superheroes. These examples aren’t exceptions – the rule is that a sexy man is not ridiculously buff.

    By contrast, however, most women who are considered sexy do have the physiques of female superheroes: they’re thin, with big yet firm tits and asses.

    It follows pretty closely that male superheroes are not designed to appeal to women in the same way that female superheroes are designed to appeal to men.

    Oh, and you’re right, super buff NFL players are generally perceived to be totally gross to the average woman. After all, in high school, before all the money and fame, wasn’t it always the buff, strong jocks who had trouble getting a date to the prom?

    Is that the sound of goalposts being shifted? It’s no longer professional athletes or NBA players that women find attractive, but super buff NFL players and buff, strong jocks (and your typical buff, strong jock has a superhero build? Really?)? But what about those other athletes that aren’t built like the proverbial brick shithouse, and yet manage to be sexually appealing to women (see NBA players and footballers)? And you’re still not accounting for the other reasons that athletes are sexually desirable.

  108. says

    completely and utterly OT: I learned something while googling The Expendables (and suddenly, the MIT jokes in The Expendables 2 make a lot more sense, too). Apparently Dolph Lundgren is a genius. huh.

  109. casus fortuitus says

    Jadehawk:

    Apparently Dolph Lundgren is a genius.

    Suddenly, Dolph Lundgren is a lot more attractive. ;p

  110. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Not sure if Dolph Lundgren is in the same league as Heddy Lamarr but he is definitely not stupid.

  111. sunny12 says

    @Sophia:

    You’re conflating separate attractiveness indicators. The reason people are attracted to famous people of any type (sport types, actors, comedians, musicians) isn’t generally because of their body type, it’s because they’re A, very visible and recognisable and B, REALLY goddamned good at what they do. Body shape doesn’t enter into it except as a possible post-hoc bonus.

    Aye. What strikes me most when looking through that Glamour List is the sheer variety of looks. There are a few square-jawed muscly-buff men, but there are also many slender men with delicate features, as well as young baby-faced guys like Justin Bieber, right alongside older men with a more grizzled appearance. Just goes to show, doesn’t it?

  112. rustybrown says

    Oh, fine, so we can look at GQ’s list of 100 sexiest women, not find any Anna Nicole Smith lookalikes, and conclude that the premise that super buxom comic book chicks are NOT objectifications of what men find sexy. In other words, that would prove that the entire premise of this post is bullshit! I cant wait for your response with a link showing some publication that says a super-curvy vixen IS sexy. This logic IS fun! And easy to do all day long – for people who don’t know how to engage in a real debate.

  113. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    @rustybrown

    How about we don’t bother with that bullshit, and just stop talking about what we think other genders as a whole find sexy? You’re wrong about the body types thing. As a woman who finds some things sexy, I can tell you that with certainty. I don’t speak for all women, I don’t pretend to – but as a woman, I count, as does every other woman on this thread telling you the same thing.

    Has anyone on this thread told you exactly what -men- find sexy? Has anyone said you’re not supposed to find women with small breasts sexy?

  114. casus fortuitus says

    @rustybrown, #138:

    Are you kidding? Have you looked at GQ’s 20 sexiest women of 2012? If you have, are you really going to argue that the difference between those women and the way female superheroes are shown is similar to the difference between Glamour’s 100 sexiest men and male superheroes? Because if you’re going to argue that, it’ll be difficult to conclude that you’re arguing in good faith.

  115. A. Noyd says

    Jadehawk (#116)

    consequently, it’s entirely absurd to speak of equal levels of exploitation.

    Not to mention, the source of most of the complaints about sexualization that motivates Hines and the Hawkeye Initiative isn’t the body types but the poses and costumes.

    For instance, this picture came up on Escher Girls a few days ago which perfectly illustrates the problem. The eight male characters are facing forward and hoisting their weapons while wearing practical clothes. One of the two female characters is turned away so we can see her ass and the other, who has her hands tangled in her hair rather than on her weapon, is turned sideways, arching her back, flashing her cleavage and baring her midriff.

    There’s nothing equal going on in that picture, even though it’s relatively tame compared to a lot of game and comic art. The men’s bodies are arguably more exaggerated, but they are posed and dressed to look intimidating, while the women are posed and dressed to look sexy at the expense of what’s practical for their job and environment.

  116. says

    except for the part where sexiest women lists do generally include a uniform body-type of slim-but-curvy. the beanpole-type is the exception, usually.

    rusty dear, you’re completely out of your depth, and your flailing is just sad.

  117. The Mellow Monkey says

    Y’know, it’s funny how rustybrown has pushed this discussion from “female characters are put into impractical, uncomfortable and oftentimes physically impossible positions for the sake of sexualization” into “but girls date jocks in high school”.

    This is one of the most asinine ways of pushing a conversation off-topic I’ve ever seen. THE ISSUE OF HOW HOT COMIC BOOK MEN ARE ASIDE, are they constantly put into impractical, uncomfortable and oftentimes physically impossible positions for the sake sexualization? How often do they break their spines in order to thrust their lovingly detailed stallion sized dicks into the viewer’s gaze while also keeping their taut, bubble-like buttocks in frame? Never?

    Yeah. That’s what I thought.

  118. says

    this picture came up on Escher Girls a few days ago

    oh ffs.

    anyway, yeah, that’s a large part of what I originally meant, too. male characters in erotic comics targeted at people attracted to men are also often found in “sexy” poses; just the way female characters in mainstream comics are. Men in mainstream comics? usually have action-poses rather than “sexy” ones.

  119. Rey Fox says

    “Okay, but that’s just one exception!”

    “Okay, that’s five exceptions, my point still stands!”

    “Okay, you’re up to a hundred exceptions now, tired yet?”

  120. John Morales says

    [meta]

    rustybrown clearly has never leafed through a young women’s magazine — or a regular woman’s magazine, either. Different demographic to his.

    (Probably hasn’t heard of ‘teen idols’, either)

  121. Gregory Greenwood says

    @ rustybrown;

    I have no idea of what your sex or gender identity may be, but at this point you have landed yourself in the position of lecturing women, gay men and bisexual people on what they really find sexually appealing. You actually go so far as to presume to correct them when they disagree with you… about what they find sexually appealing.

    Either you are the living embodiment of the long-sought hard scientific proof of telepathy, and somehow possess amazing mind reading powers, or you might want to back off from your position on this a bit in accordance with the first rule of holes.

  122. Gregory Greenwood says

    Jadehawk @ 148;

    Are we ready for Sexy Time Batman?

    as you wish ;-)

    But does he still do the silly gravelly voice thing in that pose?

    It is a sad indictment on the state of the comic book industry that this sexy batman pose still doesn’t come anywhere close to the level of grotesque, anatomically impossible sexualisation that is par for the course with female characters in mainstream comics.

  123. The Mellow Monkey says

    Jadehawk:

    as you wish ;-)

    But where’s the bad guy he’s fighting? If Escher Girls has taught me anything, arched back and exposed belly = fighting pose.

  124. katenrala says

    Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven

    Caine, Fleur du mal +

    Thank you for your additional responses. :)

    I’m not going to stop drawing either.

  125. rustybrown says

    It’s pointless for a single person to try to argue with ten different correspondents, especially when many of them display miserable reading skills and are constantly distorting/misrepresenting what I actually wrote.

    Casus says I wrote:
    “folks who are into men prefer them to be grossly over-muscled” (Casus was even so kind as to provide the quotation marks)

    Jade says:
    “to repeat, rusty seems to think LeBron James is “noodle-armed” O.o”
    and
    refers to “rusty’s bone-deep conviction that brick-jawed body-builders are what women find hot”

    Greenwood:
    “you have landed yourself in the position of lecturing women, gay men and bisexual people on what they really find sexually appealing. You actually go so far as to presume to correct them when they disagree with you… about what they find sexually appealing.”

    Cain:
    “Hey, it’s Jocks and Cheerleaders. That’s it. There are no other choices. Rusty sez.”

    …and on and on. Only one problem, I never claimed any of those things. Go check, it’s right there. When I first mentioned the common sexual appeal of buff athletic men, typified by certain professional athletes (who are similar, NOT EXACT, to many male comic action figures), it was in response to someone who was questioning that paradigm. Go back, read carefully, and note that I was careful to always include qualifiers like “some”, “many”, “common”, etc. I in no way claimed that this preference for muscular builds is shared by all, or even most people who find men attractive. So this frenzy of so many of you to throw out exceptions is MEANINGLESS.

    Here’s an example. I say: “It’s COMMON for MANY people to own dogs. The joy of keeping dogs is PROMINENT in our society.” You retort: “I don’t own a dog!” “No one I know owns a dog!” “What an idiot, my Aunt Mable is allergic to dogs, it would kill her to even be NEAR a dog!”

    All of your retorts may be true yet they IN NO WAY refute or even dilute my original point about dog ownership in our society. See how this works? Logical thinking is a wonderful thing. Most responses I’ve received here have been either lies (above), tortured distortions of my position, gross logical errors, or some combination thereof.

    So, considering the willfully ignorant responses I’ve been getting, if want to take issue with something I wrote, quote me directly. I’ll do you the same courtesy. But it would help if I knew how to use block quotes. Seriously, I’m new to this, how do I use block quotes?

  126. thetalkingstove says

    Rusty, the point being made is that the appeal of the super-muscular buff guy is *not* common enough to justify the statement that male superheroes are sexualised, rather than being the result of male power fantasies. Hiding behind “I didn’t say ALL” is pointless. To justify your claim, there would have to be a society-wide obsession with overly-muscular men in spandex in the same way there is an obsession with slender-yet-busty women in revealing outfits. Body-builders and pro-wrestlers should be the main heart-throbs.

    Most of your argument is kinda pointless and off-topic really. The whole Hawkeye thing is highlighting that female superheroes very often have to expose their cleavage and butts and stand in ridiculous poses. The vast majority of the men don’t. You never see Superman twisting and bending over for the “camera” to check out his super-butt, do you?

  127. rustybrown says

    Thetalkingstove,

    I agree with you that the conversation got way off topic. And as far as poses go, I agree that female superheroes are sometimes bizarrely contorted; at times clearly emphasizing their sexual attributes. But the same thing is done to male characters. The main difference is – men don’t lose their shit over seeing a bulging package or rounded, masculine buttocks.

  128. rustybrown says

    Theralkingstove,

    And by the way, how exactly has it been proven that male superheroes aren’t sexualized, but only the product of “male power fantasies”? That assumption seems to be the gold standard around here. And what difference would that make anyway? Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”? Do you see how circular this whole stupid argument gets? People need to chill.

  129. anteprepro says

    And by the way, how exactly has it been proven that male superheroes aren’t sexualized, but only the product of “male power fantasies”? That assumption seems to be the gold standard around here.

    Because women aren’t attracted to men that look like that you fucking imbecile. The comment you are responding fucking said as much, and it has been shown to you a thousand different fucking ways. Are you the world’s most inane chatbot or are you really just this much of a clueless asshole?

    Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”?

    I assume the awkward poses that are the entire topic of this thread are also part of that fantasy? And that somehow this female power fantasy was inserted into books that are disproportionately consumed by and written by males? And that it is only coincidental that this portrayal matches male sexual preferences more than the male portrayal matches female sexual preferences?

    People don’t need to chill. You need to get a fucking clue. Or just fill your gaping maw with mayonnaise and go back to pounding your head against a glass table whilst shouting “FUCKNUGGETS” in the middle of the nearest fine dining venue. As I am sure is your second most favoritest pastime, aside from shitting all over internet discussions that dare to insinuate that sexism is a real thing. I mean, really, the absolute gall of us all up in here.

  130. rustybrown says

    anteprepro,

    …”Because women aren’t attracted to men that look like that you fucking imbecile.”

    Oh, really? I must have missed that proof you’ve provided. Could you point me to it?

    …”I assume the awkward poses that are the entire topic of this thread are also part of that fantasy?”

    You want awkward poses? I could point you to thousands of “awkward poses” inflicted upon scantily dressed male superheroes in comics. Poses that defy reality and make mortal men blush – wanna try me?

    You’re all wet.

  131. says

    Poses that defy reality

    as documented by the famous “escher boys” tumblr; also the “dicks don’t work that way” tumblr. of course.

  132. A. Noyd says

    rustybrown (#159)

    Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”?

    Women.

    Women are to say. And we say they’re not.

  133. A. Noyd says

    Jadehawk (#162)

    as documented by the famous “escher boys” tumblr; also the “dicks don’t work that way” tumblr. of course.

    No, no, that just proves dudes aren’t prone to “losing their shit,” unlike us overemotional harpies.

  134. says

    broken spines and shelf boobs; so empowering.

    rusty is definitely not from this universe, if he actually believes any of the crap he’s writing

  135. says

    Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”?

    Who’s to say? Women. Who is doing the “saying” right now? Men. Het cis men.

  136. Amphiox says

    And by the way, how exactly has it been proven that male superheroes aren’t sexualized, but only the product of “male power fantasies”? That assumption seems to be the gold standard around here. And what difference would that make anyway? Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”?

    You destroy your own argument with your own choice of words.

    Basic grammar:
    SUBJECT OBJECT.

    “female power fantasy”

    Subject = Female, Object = power fantasy.

    ie, the is the FEMALE who has the power fantasy, and thus the female who SAYS if it is a power fantasy. And the females do not. At least the het cis ones.

    Similarly, why aren’t the male superheroes sexualized? Well, sexualization is in the eye of the beholder, no? So why don’t we ASK the beholders? Not really hearing much from women about how those male superheroes are drawn oh so sexily.

  137. rustybrown says

    A. Noyd@163 + Cain@166,

    Although the spelling is the same, I’ll assume you mean “women” in the singular. Like in, “speaking for yourself”. Or singular + some of the people you choose to associate with. I assume you don’t mean to speak for all women. THAT would be pretty fascist. And we wouldn’t want that.

    Jade@165,

    …”broken spines and shelf boobs; so empowering.”

    Still up to your old tricks, eh? Who insinuated that the POSES were empowering? Me? No. Never implied it. Only the caricature of me in your head. And as for large breasts? Who ever heard of such a thing as women wanting large breasts? Certainly not plastic surgeons.

  138. A. Noyd says

    rustybrown (#169)

    Although the spelling is the same, I’ll assume you mean “women” in the singular. Like in, “speaking for yourself”.

    Yes, I can only speak for myself because we women have no way to communicate with one another. We try to exchange words and they just fall to pieces. We may as well be throwing bowls of alphabet soup at one another. We’re doomed never to know what any of the rest of our kind is thinking.

  139. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Or singular + some of the people you choose to associate with. I assume you don’t mean to speak for all women. THAT would be pretty fascist. And we wouldn’t want that.

    Congratulation! We have a Godwin!

  140. says

    A. Noyd:

    Yes, I can only speak for myself because we women have no way to communicate with one another.

    Well, this interthingimabob is too complex for fuzzy pink lady brains. Oh my yes.

  141. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    And as for large breasts? Who ever heard of such a thing as women wanting large breasts? Certainly not plastic surgeons.

    And who have ever heard of the idea that having large breasts will attract the attention of men.

  142. rustybrown says

    A. Noyd@170,

    Wow, nice selective editing there. Sharp! I love how you excluded the following sentence of my post:

    “Or singular + some of the people you choose to associate with.”

    …which makes your entire point bullshit! Good try though!

  143. rustybrown says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar@171

    …”Congratulation! We have a Godwin!”

    Hey, what the fuck do you want? If I claimed to speak for all men, what would you call me?

  144. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    And yet here you are, claiming to know that women want large breasts.

    Nah, you are not prone to sweeping generalization at all!

  145. rustybrown says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar@175,

    When you claim to speak for your entire gender, I posit, Godwin’s Law is earned.

  146. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    And when you claim you know what an entire gender wants, it makes you full of shit.

  147. rustybrown says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar@177,

    …”And yet here you are, claiming to know that women want large breasts.

    Nah, you are not prone to sweeping generalization at all!”

    And here YOU are, denying the history of cosmetic surgery. Nah, you are not prone to self-delusion at all!

  148. katenrala says

    @ rustybrown

    The main difference is – men don’t lose their shit over seeing a bulging package or rounded, masculine buttocks.

    Bullshit! Bull-Fucking-Shit!

    Het-men are babies and when they don’t get their way as much as possible they will flip their shit, and force sexual diversity out of media, out of comics, out of videogames, out of books, by taking their money and going home, complaining and harassing those that dare to do things differently all the while and thus scare the creators, and then publishers and editors and the other middlepersons away from anything that challenges the feels of het-boy cocks.

    I’m an asexual, non-gender conforming male and have watched this happen my whole life, and so have women and female persons.

    We want diversity, to see more stories, characters, and settings that we can identify with, but the few things that aren’t a het-boy material stand out solely because they are surrounded by a sea of exclusively het-boy garbage!

    And by the way, how exactly has it been proven that male superheroes aren’t sexualized, but only the product of “male power fantasies”? That assumption seems to be the gold standard around here. And what difference would that make anyway?

    It’s not something that can be “proved,” it’s sociology, but to those who pay attention to the world around them and to the media, it’s pretty effing obvious that super-heroes are for males to project themselves on, just like the “dick guy” in het-porn who’s face is not shown exists for males to project themselves into the scene.

    Who’s to say that slender waist, big-boobs, and tight, full buttocks aren’t a “female power fantasy”? Do you see how circular this whole stupid argument gets?

    If you were a bulb I’d replace you with a more luminous one. Women and female persons are to say and they typically say it’s not empowering for them and that they don’t identify with the characters. I shouldn’t be saying this really ‘cuz women and female persons ahead of me have responded, but unfortunately in our sexist society sometimes things said aren’t listened to until a male person or man repeats what women and female persons are saying, but they deserve the credit, not me.

    People need to chill.

    Screw you. Het males and men need to chill and let others on the playground first.

  149. A. Noyd says

    rustybrown (#174)

    Wow, nice selective editing there. Sharp! I love how you excluded the following sentence of my post:

    I’m sorry, it seems you’re too busy dropping the ball on your toes while flailing about on the “haha, gotcha” pitch to realize that my reply works the same with that pathetic little attempted-loophole as it does without it. In fact, if you want to salvage your point, you have to prove that women’s knowledge of other women is restricted to what we’re exposed to within tiny in-groups.

    (#178)

    When you claim to speak for your entire gender…

    None of us is claiming to speak for all of the entirety of every last woman in womanhood. Turnips would laugh at your reading comprehension if only they had lungs.

  150. rustybrown says

    Janine: Hallucinating Liar@179,

    Here we go again. Can you quote me where I said, or even remotely implied, where I said I “claim (to) know what an entire gender wants”? I didn’t think so.

    I’m not making shit up about what you say. Why do you feel the need to make shit up about what I say?

  151. says

    Janine:

    And yet here you are, claiming to know that women want large breasts.

    Yes, funny how we aren’t hearing about all the women who have had or would love to be able to afford breast reduction surgery. Because, obviously, all women want beachballs on their chest and that has absolutely nothing to do with the underlying sexism we’re all swimming in, nope, no way, no sir.

    This Rusty Brown stain showed up earlier at some thread and showed his idiocy immediately. I see nothing has changed.

  152. says

    men don’t lose their shit over seeing a bulging package

    Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! :breathes: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Oh, you are such a fuckwit. Yeah, ever notice that in comic books, those “bulges” are all ken smooth? Not at all like what het cis men do get upsetty about (men in tight banana hammocks), because you can see the actual outline and shape of the penis. I’m afraid het cis men don’t like that sort of thing at all.

  153. rustybrown says

    A. Noyd@193,

    …”I’m sorry, it seems you’re too busy dropping the ball on your toes while flailing about on the “haha, gotcha” pitch to realize that my reply works the same with that pathetic little attempted-loophole as it does without it. In fact, if you want to salvage your point, you have to prove that women’s knowledge of other women is restricted to what we’re exposed to within tiny in-groups.”

    Well I’m sorry, Noyd, I don’t even know what this fuckin means. Clarify your sentences and get back to me.

    But more to the point, hilariously, you wrote:

    …”None of us is claiming to speak for all of the entirety of every last woman in womanhood.”

    Not so fast there, missy. I refer you to your post #163, where in response to me asking about who is to judge female power fantasies you replied:

    “Women.

    Women are to say. And we say they’re not.”

    Check and mate and goodnight.

  154. katenrala says

    Since RustyBrown is gone, did xie drop xir sex, gender, and orientation?

    I don’t want to guess but… you know, I think I could.

  155. A. Noyd says

    rustybrown (#188)

    Well I’m sorry, Noyd, I don’t even know what this fuckin means. Clarify your sentences and get back to me.

    Aww, does widdle Wusty Boo-Boo suffer from “miserable reading skills”? I fink xe does. The poor widdle tyke.

    Not so fast there, missy. I refer you to your post #163, where in response to me asking about who is to judge female power fantasies you replied:

    I know what I wrote. I just also happen to know how words work. And generalizing about what “women” want is not the same as saying I know what all women everywhere at all times want. I imagine you think that the existence of a few women who feel empowered by bubble-titted, wasp-waisted superheroines would win you the argument, but since we’re talking about trends in catering to comic book audiences, you need far, far more than a few exceptions.

  156. A. Noyd says

    Giliell (#189)

    I suggest you take a look over at Oglaf, look at the sexualized men there, compare them to your comic dude and report back.

    Also, the women in that comic run around with their tits and pussies hanging out all over the place and they’re still way less objectified than superheroines. I think it’s something to do with how they’re far more frequently portrayed with agency in terms of their sexual expression.

  157. says

    Not so fast there, missy.

    Goodness. You feeling a tad insecure, Rusty? I’d like to say it will be alright, because some day you’ll grow up and learn that women are human beings and it’s okay to address them as adult humans, but I have a feeling you’ll always be a Cupcake.

  158. Gnumann+, Radfem shotgunner of inhuman concepts says

    It’s pointless for a single person to try to argue with ten different correspondents, especially when many of them display miserable reading skills and are constantly distorting/misrepresenting what I actually wrote.

    Rusty: If you feel like everbody’s misreading you, you need to step back and consider the options. What is more likely:
    Everybody but you is a crap reader

    Or

    You’re a crap writer?

    (Actually I think option number three is more likely: You’re a dishonest little shit. Though that doesn’t exclude you from being a crap writer)

  159. says

    A Noyd

    Also, the women in that comic run around with their tits and pussies hanging out all over the place and they’re still way less objectified than superheroines. I think it’s something to do with how they’re far more frequently portrayed with agency in terms of their sexual expression.

    Not only that, it’s also actually porn, so, yeah, one should expect people there to be sexualized. And no, the guys mostly really, really fail to look like Superman.
    Although yeah, the slim body plan is still common. Maybe it’s the magic of the world that surplus calories just evaporate (/derail)

  160. anteprepro says

    Oh, really? I must have missed that proof you’ve provided. Could you point me to it?

    Did rusty really miss/forget the variety of ways that people were showing him that muscular =/= attractive and attractive=/=muscular? Are we are dealing with someone who is that incredibly thick?

    You want awkward poses? I could point you to thousands of “awkward poses” inflicted upon scantily dressed male superheroes in comics.

    Oh, no, wait: He thinks that there is a plethora of “scantily dressed male superheroes”. He is just making shit up. Fucking moronic misogynistic lying asshole.

  161. says

    men don’t lose their shit over seeing a bulging package

    are you shitting me? young men flip their shit at having to look at a “bulging package” on underwear packaging. the fear of accidentally seeming gay for looking at male equipment is pathetically ubiquitous.

  162. rustybrown says

    anteprepro@197,

    “Did rusty really miss/forget the variety of ways that people were showing him that muscular =/= attractive and attractive=/=muscular?”

    No, I didn’t miss it. But I know that a few anecdotes and cultural references do not negate my point that buff, superhero types are indeed a prevalent ideal in our society, and not just for het boys. If this were not the case, how do you explain the insane popularity of the romance novel? Have you seen the average cover? The men are basically superheroes with their shirts off! Hmmm, now who buys these books? Hmmm, after decades of successful market research, who are the publishers trying to entice with their covers? “Yeah, but Rusty, are they really that popular?” From Wiki:

    “By the 2000s, romance had become the most popular genre in modern literature. In 2008, romantic fiction generated $1.37 billion in sales, with 7,311 romance novels published and making up 13.5% of the consumer book market. Over 74 million people claimed to have read at least one romance novel in 2008″

    Wow guys, that’s an awful lot of women. Hey anteprepo, how does that square with you”women aren’t attracted to men that look like that” theory? Checkmate, again. Yawn.

  163. anteprepro says

    But I know that a few anecdotes and cultural references do not negate my point that buff, superhero types are indeed a prevalent ideal in our society, and not just for het boys

    This prevalent ideal is supported by what, you gibbering fuckwit? What evidence have YOU given to support that bald assertion? Anecdotes and cultural references are leaps and bounds above the level of evidence you have supported for your alternative point of view. You have, only just now, bothered to provide one iota of evidence for your perspective, so fuck right off you disingenuous, ignorant, blithering assclown.

  164. says

    No, I didn’t miss it. But I know that a few anecdotes and cultural references do not negate my point that buff, superhero types are indeed a prevalent ideal in our society, and not just for het boys.

    The problem is that you have so far totally failed to support that piece of bullshit.
    The problem is also that you think you’re playing chess while it’s actually more like tictactoe

  165. Rey Fox says

    He thinks that there is a plethora of “scantily dressed male superheroes”.

    He’s not particularly honest.

  166. says

    But I know that a few anecdotes and cultural references do not negate my point that buff, superhero types are indeed a prevalent ideal in our society, and not just for het boys

    worldwide patterns != anecdotes. it’s in fact you who’ve only provided anecdotes, but is nonetheless insisting that your anecdotes from high-school beat out every conceivable measure of what women find attractive.

    If this were not the case, how do you explain the insane popularity of the romance novel?

    have you ever read romance novels? the men in them are not overmuscled hulks.

    Who insinuated that the POSES were empowering? Me? No. Never implied it.

    except for the part where you suggested that comic book heroines could be power fantasies of women. since the poses are how comic-book heroines are presented, it’s rather obviously part of that.

    Somewhat more relevantly, it was your claim that male and female superheroes are exually exploited; the poses however are evidence against that, since men are typically presented in action/power poses, while women are typically presented in oversexualized and impossible preening poses; even when fighting.

    And as for large breasts? Who ever heard of such a thing as women wanting large breasts?

    you think women get large breasts because huge boobs make women feel powerful? O.o

  167. anteprepro says

    Oh, and shit for brains, take a look at the best sellers page for romance novels on amazon right now.

    Here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/23/ref=s9_ri_bw_clnk?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-right-5&pf_rd_r=BD9CD6D560D24AFEA19A&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1399984622&pf_rd_i=23

    10 of the top 20 even have a guy on the cover, only 2 of which look particularly muscular, despite there being another two that are shirtless. For the next 80 top selling books, there’s only five or so showing muscular looking men, and only two of which come anywhere near close to superhero-like muscular rather than “slightly above average abs and pecs” muscular.

    Even the little bit of evidence you could actually bother to muster is clearly half-assed and unsupportive of your position. Just fuck off, rustytrombone.

  168. says

    anteprepro, I suspect rusty is remembering the way romance novel covers looked for a short period in the late 70′s early 80′s (after the Beatles, before the boybands), when more muscular was temporarily more fashionable. But as rusty himself admits, even those guys don’t actually look like superheroes, since they’re significantly more naked than superheroes.

  169. anteprepro says

    Well considering how Scantily Clad male superheroes are, that must have been outright pornographic!

  170. says

    Well considering how Scantily Clad male superheroes are, that must have been outright pornographic!

    there were nipples. nipples, I tell ya!

  171. David Marjanović says

    Never heard of Fabio.

    the 70′s covers looked like this:

    Gah. *blink*

    “die Siebzigerjahre – eine Epoche, die von brutaler Hässlichkeit geprägt war”
    “the 70s – an epoch marked by brutal ugliness”
    – in the Austrian magazine profil maybe 15 years ago

  172. says

    Never heard of Fabio.

    for a short while, he was considered the epitome of romance novel hero looks (he apparently even wrote a few romance novels himself), but it almost instantly morphed into “parody of romance novel hero” when he started playing himself in movies and on TV shows.

  173. says

    this entire conversation reminded me of something else relating to power fantasies and comic books, though this time actually anecdotal: when the first X-Men movie was being made, there was some localized nerdrage at the fact that Wolverine was going to be played by Jackman. Wolverine, the fugly, bulky-but-short, gorilla-like, hairy brute, played by a musical actor who’s romantic-comedy-material? Oh Teh Noes!

  174. says

    Rusty:
    At 37, I have been reading comic books for more than half my life. The vast majority of those have been from the Big 2. You are woefully mistaken if you think men are at all hypersexualized in mainstream American comics. The women are unrealistically sexualized, providing male readers as well as creators with sexualized imagery. The men in comics are typically adonis like gods who exist for the men too, but this time as part of the male power fantasy. Comics, like other mediums are a male (and white) dominated industry that largely caters to a male (and white) clientele.

  175. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Tony, this reminds me of the first time I saw Elfquest over twenty five years ago. I never been part of the comic book scene. But I was still struck by how different it was from anything else I have seen.

  176. says

    and you know what? there’s one exception to the lack of sexualization of men in comics: (some) black and native characters in older comic books. which is its own kind of screwy (AKA racist), and still doesn’t have anything to do with what women actually find attractive. plus, that’s actually being fixed. example: 70′s Tyroc vs. modern Tyroc

  177. A. Noyd says

    Janine (#223)

    this reminds me of the first time I saw Elfquest over twenty five years ago. I never been part of the comic book scene. But I was still struck by how different it was from anything else I have seen.

    Elfquest is a good example of how women artists enjoy drawing sexy women but don’t consider just one body type or face shape to be sexy. It’s also an example of how women tend to put sexy into sexy contexts (like dances, scenes of lovers reuniting or orgies) rather than ignoring context completely and putting sexy everywhere (like battle scenes, hunts or feasts).

  178. casus fortuitus says

    Ugh, I know this was ages ago, but I didn’t keep up to date with this thread and I find it difficult to be misrepresented and let it stand.

    @rustybrown (who else?):

    Casus says I wrote:
    “folks who are into men prefer them to be grossly over-muscled” (Casus was even so kind as to provide the quotation marks)

    I never purported to be quoting you. From the context, it was very clear that I was paraphrasing your point. A point which you first exclicitly expressed at #50:

    The fact is that large, square-jawed, heavily-muscled men are still a very prominent ideal to many women and gay men.

    I’m taking here “women and gay men” to be equivalent to “folks who are into men”; “a very prominent ideal to many” to be weaselly words equivalent to “generally”; and “heavily-muscled” (in reference to the typical depictions of male superheroes) to be “grossly over-muscled”, which is indeed how most male superheroes are depicted.

    At best, you can argue that your vague words “very prominent ideal to many” isn’t the same as “generally”, which is the meaning I gave your words in my paraphrasing. But the whole fucking point is that the depictions of female superheroes are generally sexually appealing to straight (/ bi) men, so if you’re arguing that men are equally sexualised in comics, you have to be arguing that the depictions are generally sexually appealing to people who are attracted to men.

    So fuck you and your weak attempt to paint me (and others) as misrepresenting you, you dishonest streak of piss.