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Gender expression and comics

Felixity (garlicfiend) wrote in transgender,

An amazing bundle of thought-provoking awesome

So brown_betty puts out a call for artwork of male comic book characters in "female" comic book poses in an effort to examine the stark gender divide in comic books.

This prompts ratcreature to post some scans from a guide to drawing comic characters, including sections on how to draw comic pornstarswomen.

In a brilliant display of awesome, vito_excalibur "fixes" the pages, switching all the men and women.

[remainder clipped]

brown_betty's original post links to a couple insightful posts too, and some examples.

Girl-Wonder.org is a site dedicated to women in (mainstream) comics, both characters and authors. Some neat stuff up there.

Sequential Tart's "Bizarre Breasts" column, sadly no longer updating.

It's been going on a long time, too, and not just in comics — Loomis' drawing suggestions from the forties draws otherwise normal female nudes in heels. They'd never do something like this to the men, of course.

Some answers to the challenge: stephendann, naefox, kkglinka (again!), redplasticglass, theblackscorpio, ocarina

and on the subject of sexy superheroes, Racy Li writes sexy superhero stories, including one that's free.

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Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
arvindn
Aug. 26th, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
I actually fail to see the problem.

None of the authors implies that this is what real people do or should look like. In fact, one of them makes it very clear that they don't.

It's just fantasy. If you doesn't appeal to you, don't look at it. I personally find don't read them because I find them too unrealistic, but I can imagine that a lot of people like them, and I see nothing wrong with that.

As for the much-berated exaggeration of gender-specific features, the obsession with muscles in the popular depiction of the male form in has probably had a big positive effect on me -- I'm sure it was a subconscious factor in my decision to take up weight training, and while I obviously look nothing like a comic book character, I'm definitely a much healthier person for it.

On the other hand, I don't see what good could possibly come of the depiction of women with pouty lips and tons of lipstick, but I don't see it as a problem either. I realize that a lot of problems in society are caused by people's failure to differentiate reality and fantasy, but I place the blame squarely on the consumer.

Finally, I applaud the effort to switch the males and females. If you like that version better, that's great. Hopefully there is a large enough market for it to make it to print in some form. I just don't see the reason to be disgusted with the originals.
rynmorianqueen
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
The reason I blame the artists/marketers/people behind it all instead of the consumers is because I think most artists/etc. know that most consumers are too dumb to differentiate fantasy from reality.
aredridel
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
It's not so much a problem.

I'm amused by the exaggerated forms in comics -- I rather enjoy the whole genre, silliness and all.

What amuses me more though is the genderbending, occasionally running into a (young) someone who thinks that those are norms or at least ideals, and the effect on women more than on men.

Portrayed the normal way, I think mainstream comics make some good and some bad suggestions and examples -- for men, encouragement to be strong (which usually translates as "take care of your body"), often a message to help others, and generally suggesting that everyone has their quirks, and it's all about how we deal with them.

Most of the really negative suggestions ones that strike a blow at women -- who thankfully aren't the main consumers of these comics, though one wonders how much it pushes society to prefer women who are *ahem* abnormally proportioned. I wonder, too, if it's not encouraging men to be emotionally unavailable (certainly a theme in a lot of comics). That said, there's some serious good out there (X-Men as an allegory, just s/mutant/gay/ -- it fits rather well)

I certainly blame the consumers, too. I live in a happy little subculture where mainstream stuff like this is actually kinda foreign, worth a survey and read just to find out what's out there, but most people do tend to just buy the easiest thing that comes along that's vaguely entertaining as far as I can tell. So many people seem to take the stereotypes to heart (and I can feel a bit of a subconscious pull that I definitely have to stay aware of to keep from being sucked into some vicious feminine stereotypes. It's not just me either.)

I wonder how possible it is to slip characters like these into comics -- mainstream, parody and otherwise -- and see what happens. I'd suspect that there's some good possibilities.

As far as parody, there's always Hothead Paisan. Not your every day comic hero, that's for sure.
hitchhiker
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
the problem (and one of the linked to posts actually said so explicitly) is that it's almost completely based on the premise that men should look powerful and women should look fuckable.
noreenyhuci
Jul. 11th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)
I think if even a few feminist women believe men should not identify as feminists, men who really do care about the people of women will defer to those few feminist women’s judgment, and will continue to work on behalf of the interests of the people of women regardless.
aredridel
Jul. 11th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Why?
rynmorianqueen
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
This is both disturbing and hilarious. Thanks for all the links.
estebanroser
Oct. 9th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
That is extraordinarily disturbing and hilarious at the same time. I'm not sure whether I'm crying because it's so close to reality or because it's so morbidly absurd.
janiceneedam
Oct. 17th, 2008 07:51 am (UTC)
Both disturbing and hilarious at the same time :) Just have to remember to clear the cache after this one.
gorillapotter
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
On the subject of drawing the body, including breasts:

http://mcduffies.comicgenesis.com/tutorbody.html

And breasts specifically:

http://www.thejaded.co.uk/studio/eg/breasts.html

And I have to admit that the defiance-of-gravity thing drives me nuts. Ok, so your heroine has big breasts. Thats fine. It does mean that they will sag, swing and bounce when she is doing her super-heroic thing, unless she's wearing some seriously engineered infrastructure, which she usually isn't.
aredridel
Aug. 26th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I'd love to see that show up, just for amusement's sake.

At least superheroes plausibly have the strength not to have back problems when built like a G-on-a-tiny-frame.
gorillapotter
Aug. 26th, 2007 03:01 pm (UTC)
yeah. Thank goodness. Though that would be funny too: after all the bouncy fighting, an "oh, my aching back" panel.

I find that big breasts are a deterrent to freedom of physical activity for those very reasons, so that is another strike against plausibility.

You know, that would be a great comic to write. Maybe I'll do it.
dagbrown
Aug. 26th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Though that would be funny too: after all the bouncy fighting, an "oh, my aching back" panel.

Or how about just a, y'know, small-breasted heroine? Going about being terribly athletic all your life, like the average superhero does, tends to lead to not having giant boobs after all. But apparently part and parcel of being a superheroine is breasts the size of your head.
gorillapotter
Aug. 26th, 2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
well, yes, there is that. I'm all for the skinny, flat-chested heroine, too. Being large-breasted myself, I would be more interested in a realistic depiction of what that is actually like, rather than having the large-breasted heroines behaving as though their breasts aren't there. Or lucky flat-chested girls who don't have to worry about all that. But the main thing is realism, whichever body type one goes with. And a diversity of types is even more realistic. Or, if we're not going for realism, at least a reasonable amount of disbelief to suspend.
charlenemaduf
Jul. 16th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
You ask anyone you know “If you could write any comic book, who would it be. ” Ask anyone you know who reads books, “If you can write any novel, what would it be.
gorillapotter
Aug. 27th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )