Thursday, March 23, 2006

Carnival of Feminists 11/Call for Submissions for 12

Carnival of Feminists issue 11 is up at Angry for a Reason today. Check it out. Then come back and see the commentary on the below picture:



I'll be hosting the Twelfth Carnival of Feminists at this very blog on April 5th (Before I read Infinite Crisis #6 even. It'll be a slight change of pace for my regulars since this isn't normally a political blog unless it crosses into comic books, but it doesn't hurt to visit the real world every once in a while

Requirements: Any posts written to address a woman's place in the world from a feminist point of view are welcome. The optional and arbitary catergories for this issue will be Influences, Inpirations, Culture Reversal and Other. Deadline is April 3rd and I'll be accepting posts made after the last deadline of March 20th.

Please email submissions to ragnellthefoul AT gmail DOT com or attach the Technorati Tag to your post.

EDIT: Also, there's a Blog Carnival Submissions Form for your convenience.

28 comments:

  1. Seems like the Wonder Woman of NEW FRONTIER really knew how to enjoy herself. Relaxing, partying, killing evil soldiers ... what's not to love?

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  2. NEW FRONTIER Wonder Woman is laid back with her mind on her philosophy and her philosophy on her mind. Or something like that.

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  3. Man. Reading? What kind of lame tournament is that?

    Now get in that water and frolic.

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  4. And people wonder why raunch culture is so pervasive... Aren't the Amazons technically supposed to be about showing women of strength, not some pseudo-lesbian male fantasy of naked girls playing in the water? *sigh*

    And I really like how they make Diana out to be all "aloof" for "reading" when she's the one who's most sexualized in the picture. Prominent ass, hello cleavage, and her eyes are half closed in an alluring manner.

    If anyone ever wants to know what feminists are talking about when we say "male gaze", I think this panel sums it up.

    On a light note, good luck with the Carnival :D I'll try to get someting up for it (or prod LD into writing for me), but this is crunch time. I'm off to Japan on April 2 :D

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  5. I see this image as less an Amazons Gone Wild ad and more of a this is how a civilized, care free happy society spends their time. Considering that the rest of New Frontier is a repressed racist paranoid hell hole run by men, this image is literally paradise and as a reader, you're suppossed to ask yourself why.

    As nice as Diana is looking in this scene, what always drew my eyes was the combination of book, fruit, open skies and the statue in the distance. It looks peaceful and inviting and I so wish I could go this summer, sigh.

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  6. Why must paradise be a "lipstick lesbian" fantasy? Why must women, who are supposed to represent a "civilized, carefree happy society" still be turned into sexual objects?

    There were a lot of ways that the artist could have represented Diana. Laying lustily on the grass with a position that has her eyes sensually half-closed while a young, nubile, and naked girl asks her for a swim is not the best way to avoid the male gaze. In fact, given that comic books are assumed to be primarily read by men, I am not willing to just say, "Well, the artist was just interested in showing a paradise," without thinking about what other messages - intentionally or not - are conveyed with the choice of image.

    Why can't a female utopia include a couple women with a more traditionally greek or roman style of dress? You know, that's not all about showing T&A. Why can't there be more mature females around - you know, like Diana is making herself out to be (I don't have the greater context, so I don't know how old she's supposed to be, but her comment about "young women" seems highly ironic, given that she looks to be no more than a teenager herself).

    When I think "Amazon paradise", or even "civilized, carefree happy [all-women] society", I think variety. I think women frolicking in the ponds, and playing instruments, and reading... But I also think of a variety of ages, and a variety of body sizes (even athletic forms have a decent breadth of variation to them), and a variety of clothing styles.

    But I'm just a woman who likes women, so obviously I'm not the audience being targeted here.

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  7. Funny thing, when I picked that image I was trying carefully to avoid offending any incidental visitors. Most female comic book images I have and like involve some sort of violence, and given the Strawfeminist phenomenon I've been reading about lately I figured a panel of Black Canary kicking some guy's head in or Diana surrounded by all of the Korean women with guns (found in the same miniseries) would be a bit offensive. So I chose the above picture based on the dialogue. And ended up offending anyway.

    I was seeing the idyllic peaceful scene (in the next panel, it's broken up by seeing Superman in the sky). The sexualization went completely over my head here and I imagine the heads of the other comic readers who frequent my blog. This image isn't even considered cheesecakey by comic standards, which is pretty telling about the industry.

    It does stimulate conversation so all in all it was an inadvertantly good choice that may need a slight disclaimer at the top.

    (And the post-Crisis Amazons are a lot more racially diverse. Unfortunately, most artists can only draw one body type so you won't find all shapes amongst them)

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  8. Just for the record, I wasn't offended. Well, not at your using the image, anyway :P I do think it's rather fitting for the carnival of feminists and all ^_^

    Plus, I always love a rousing discussion on imagery. If nothing else, both the picture and Scarlett Drake's response to me got me thinking. And we all know that thinking is a good thing. Unless I should be doing other stuff. Which I should. But it's so much more fun to analyze images!

    Unfortunately, most artists can only draw one body type so you won't find all shapes amongst them

    *sigh* I know, but a girl can still hope, right?

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  9. i dunno, it didn't strike me as a 'lesbian fantasy' as much as an awesome place to spend the afternoon. i am totally down for some book reading and wine drinking on a landscape that beautiful.

    re: diana's age - i'm not entirely sure, but i think since she was carved from marble and given life, she's probably got some weird non-aging thing going on.

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  10. Well sure, because if there's one thing that needs to be added to make the picture complete, it's the idea that women aging=yuck.

    (P.S. I know that's not the point, but I was powerless to resist the pull of the snark. You understand.)

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  11. dan: snark > j00

    Seriously, though, I do think that the idea of a women's utopia as only for young women is definitely a valid critique of the image.

    And, dryponder, it's not the setting I'm objecting to, but rather the way in which the artist has chosen to depict the women in said setting.

    The sexualization of these women seems so obvious to me, but I guess it's easy to see why people who don't necessarily devote their time to examining the way the depiction of women in popular culture affects our societies at large wouldn't read the image the same way I do.

    It is kind of distressing to think that the objectification of women is so ingrained in our thought mode that most people read the picture above as a "neutral" and even "idyllic" depiction, though.

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  12. Seriously, though, I do think that the idea of a women's utopia as only for young women is definitely a valid critique of the image.

    I don't know my Wonder Woman mythos as well as I should, but I'm fairly certain the Amazons are supposed to be eternally young, so this artist can't really be blamed for that aspect of the image.

    I suppose the idea of an island of eternally young women does come across as a male fantasy idea, but I can't think of another way to make it work. The mythological Amazons reproduced by mating with a local all-male tribe, but the DC version has the Amazons completely isolated from men. Themiscyra is supposed to be an old culture and without either reproduction or immortality, that wouldn't make sense. And if none of them age past a certain point, it wouldn't make sense for there to be a variety of ages.

    (I hope that made sense)

    Anyway, I agree with you about the lack of variety in body shapes. A lot of artists just draw the same woman over and over again, but with different hair and costumes. Some artists do the same with male characters, but it's far more prevalent with the women. I try my best to provide a variety of body sizes in my own drawings, but I find myself screwing up a lot. It's just sometimes much easier to be lazy.

    Off topic: The image reminds me of this for some reason.

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  13. Off topic: The image reminds me of this for some reason.

    Is Superman blushing? :D

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  14. Scarlet Drake:
    "It looks peaceful and inviting and I so wish I could go this summer, sigh."

    Hmmm ... Summer Camp at Paradise Island? Sounds like a plan. Male campers must remain on the boat, anchored nearby alas.

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  15. "And, dryponder, it's not the setting I'm objecting to, but rather the way in which the artist has chosen to depict the women in said setting."

    Well, then it IS the image being objected to ... I can't follow you here ... Just because women over a certain age aren't in the panel doesn't mean they aren't on the island. Just how many panels can the writer and artist devote to Paradise Island? It's a mini-series about super-heroes, not a travel brochure for the multi-cultural island.

    Artists are criticized for drawing Steppford Wives in comics ... but if you deviate from the hourglass figure, most people trash the work. "She looks like a guy." And this remark comes from men and women both.

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  16. Well, then it IS the image being objected to

    Uhm, I never said it wasn't. I said it wasn't the setting that I objected to. Because when dryponder said sie would enjoy being on the island, it was in the context of "book reading and wine drinking on a landscape that beautiful." None of which I objected to.

    I object to the treatment of Diana and the other amazons as sexual objects. Which I have stated many times in my comments is more than just the youth aspect. Or the cookiecutter aspect, which I acknowledge is a staple for the genre itself.

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  17. Just because women over a certain age aren't in the panel doesn't mean they aren't on the island. Just how many panels can the writer and artist devote to Paradise Island? It's a mini-series about super-heroes, not a travel brochure for the multi-cultural island.

    I'll give you the age thing, it's an ancient Greek thing. As for the multi-cultural, I don't know, rich, if you're only going to represent Paradise Island in two panels, wouldn't you make more of an effort to show the most complete image of the Amazons possible? Cooke was going for the iconic, Silver Age look with his panels. He did a wonderful, beautiful job and his Wonder Woman is one of my absolute favorite portrayals.

    But I can't deny the inherent implications that when you look at it, the Ultimate Female Sisterhood in classic comics is a bunch of white women playing in a pool.

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  18. tekanji - i TOTALLY think you're entitled to your opinion, but i relly don't see all the hyper-sexualism you're pulling from this pic. i think you're looking for objectification, but this is a pretty wholesome image in my book.

    besides, doesn't cooke even get points for not making diana a waifish wimp like so many other artists do? i think new frontier's wonder woman is probably the most interesting and dynamic version in decades.

    again, i'm just some guy, so what do i know, but this just doesn't smack of 'lesbian fantasy' to me. it just looks like a good day for some relaxation with friends.

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  19. Hey Ragnell, can I yoink the pic and use it in a post I want to make about this issue?

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  20. I'm so there on Paradise Island for the lesbians, books, cheesecake poses, and naked frolicking!

    8-)

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  21. IMHO, anyone who doesn't see the sexualization of Diana in this pic needs to grab a book and copy that pose as exactly as possible. Is she seriously reading over her shoulder just so the artist could show cleavage?

    Linked in from Alas, looking forward to the carnival :)

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  22. Part of this is the difference between comics and non-comics readers. In comics, especially superhero comics, women are ALWAYS drawn in a t&a style; it's so much the norm that it begins to seem like a default state. And this artist's approach is very benign, compared to some of the fetishization that passes for drawings of women in a lot of comics.

    But yes, anyone who isn't used to comics will probably see this pic as t&a. The artist really went out of his way to emphasize curves, curves, curves.

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  23. Ampersand -- You're right, we're pretty desensitized to this.

    Darwyn Cooke is one of the better artists. Most females drawn by cheesecake artists (some of whom have great talent, but no practicality) are posed much more suggestively, to the point that they are perpetually arching their backs to show off their breasts. Now, I do know women who stand like this (was in basic training with several, learning drill was fun). None of them are martial artists or swordsmen, though. Black Canary, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl should not be standing like that. Cooke's Wonder Woman was a pleasant surprise, because she normally stands solidly on flat sandals with her spine straight.

    Our standards are actually very low, so it's really good when someone calls attention to this.

    In fact, I think it's so good (and I posted this over at Alas too, but it's still waiting on moderation) that if anyone wants to critique the above picture (or any of the other images posted/linked to on this blog) and email/submit the post for the Carnival, I will link them on my blog for my regular readers, and on When Fangirls Attack -- even if I can’t fit it in the regular Carnival, and even if you call me nasty names.

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  24. Why would I want to call you nasty names? I really like your blog. I'm especially enjoying the panel-by-panel examination of that old Green Lantern/Green Arrow story (and because it's old, I've actually read it!).

    I'm not familiar with Darwyn Cooke, but from the two panels you've reprinted, he seems really good.

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  25. "Part of this is the difference between comics and non-comics readers. In comics, especially superhero comics, women are ALWAYS drawn in a t&a style"

    I see some T&A style ... but still don't think it's a bad panel. Nothing wrong with it. I don't see how this is any worse than what's on television nowadays. The day of the "character actor" is over, and everyone must be a super-model to even have a small, walk-on part.

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  26. Ragnell,
    I did a post you might like to take a look at having to do with carnivals.

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  27. Tekanji: "Aren't the Amazons technically supposed to be about showing women of strength, not some pseudo-lesbian male fantasy of naked girls playing in the water?"

    Actually, the thing that struck me the most is that (and I hope this isn't just coming from the "wishful thinking" part of my brain), if anything, the Amazons should be less clothed than they are. If there is no aging, and no reproduction, clothes might well become pointless. I don't know much about clothing, from a cultural perspective I mean, but they certainly wouldn't have the role that they have in that picture, which is obviously to conceal. Case in point, the women in the water are naked, but the woman diving in is not.

    Otherwise: photopoppy++.
    Exactly what I was going to say, before I read it.

    Also, no one reads a book that's balanced on a slice of canteloupe. That's just structurally unsound reading.

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