Friday, May 11, 2007

Yeah, that's not going to work out.

About this shit (again). Found this comment:
I went to the Marvel comics website and Joe Quesada's blog. (Joe Quesada is the Editor in Chief, he writes about interesting things. His blog is here: I commented, asking him if he'd write about the approval process for this figurine.

Two hours later, my comment was deleted.

Do you think Marvel is trying to pretend the whole thing never happened?
Marvel's silencing complaints too. Screencaps, people, screencaps.

Friday Night Fights, Round 9!

Can even Superman's outdated attitudes stand against our barbaric weekly tradition?

Please, let this be good.

This one's due out June 6th. I really liked this character when I was a little girl. Please let this be a good story.

Debunk this.

Check out what a simple google search brings up:
At 9 p.m. ET, the debut of "Heroes" (5.9 rating, 14 share in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) delivered NBC's highest 18-49 for any fall drama premiere in five years (since "Crossing Jordan" on Monday, Sept. 24, 2001). "Heroes" soared above the time period competition in the key demographic of adults 18-49, with a 31 percent margin of victory over second place (5.9 vs. a 4.5 for CBS' comedies). Pending updates, "Heroes" also won the hour in total viewers, adults, men and women 18-34 and other key measures.
Hey, that flat out says that more women were tuning in to a show about people with powers and abilities beyond that of normal men and women than any other show that night. They won the overall "Adults" demographic, rather than just the "men." Why that would imply that there was an interest in superheros from both men and women.

And that's a report from just September of last year.

Now, I'm no marketing or television specialist but it supports my personal experience where I know both men and women who urge me to watch this show.

If there's an experienced person out there who can debunk this argument without resorting to stupid cliches about women watching to land a man, feel free.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

That won't do at all.

I've been tracking the commentary sparked by this post (which was itself sparked by this post, which was itself sparked by this obscenity) for When Fangirls Attack when I saw this update on Devil Doll's entry:
ETA Again 9PM Central: Several people have left comments in the thread at Sideshow. They've all been deleted at some point in the last hour or so.
I have a solution to that. Screencap your complaint after you post it, print out the screencap and fax/mail it to the company through the contact information Impertinence provided:
Sideshow Collectibles
2630 Conejo Spectrum Street
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
toll-free: 1-800-474-3746
ph: 1-805-214-2100
fx: 1-805-214-2190
I also advise posting the screencaps on your blogs and journals if they delete your comment.

(And send me that link, as this is a lot of rage to keep track of for WFA.)


Remember what I said last post about arguing from a reasoning point of view?

Forget it, its time to rant.
What this girl is is unusual or non-standard or atypical or whatever adjective you’d care to use. (She reads superhero comics and wants to know what that makes her, since they “aren’t for girls”.)

“Superhero comics aren’t for girls” is true the same way “romance novels aren’t for boys” or “action movies aren’t for girls” are. They’re gender-identified genres. The people who make them and the majority of the people who consume them know who their audience tends to be. Recognizing that doesn’t make you sexist or invalidate anyone’s tastes; it’s just realism. “Chick lit” and fashion mags are aimed at women; Mack Bolan books and gun and car mags are aimed at men.
Now, on first glance you might think this argument is a parody, but I'm afraid she's said it before in just as condescending a manner.

What pisses me off more than anything here, more than the oft-repeated argument, is she's trying to sugar-coat it with "I know you like them honey, but its a pointless fight" which is what she has been telling us on her blog for months. Note her last paragraph:
I’m sure there are occasional males who read romance novels, too, but if one started blogging about how the genre needed to be overhauled to be made more attractive to men, they’d be giggled at… and rightly so. Everyone wants to think that they’re a reasonable model to use to represent the general public, that everyone else is just like them down deep, but in some cases, it’s just not so. As an old friend once told me, “weirdness is a compliment”. Be glad you’re unusual, and realize the “mainstream” will rarely suit you.
Now what I want to know, before I Hulk out, is what in the genre inherently makes it male. Give me a reasonable argument, something that is fundamental to superheroes that can not be removed without gutting the basic concept of a superhero (sorry kiddos, sexist art doesn't cut it because 40s and 60s superhero comics didn't look like porn and they still worked), something that can not work with genders reversed, something that I can't link an post countering it to prove that it is actually gender-neutral or even appeals to our feminine cultural experience more than it does to a masculine cultural experience.

Either give me that irrefutable argument, tell me what in Skadi's name is so exclusive in its appeal to male fans and is so inherent in the genre that they are justified in repeatedly alienating female fans, or shut the fuck up with this "superhero comics are for boys" meme because it is pissing me and a lot of other female superhero fans off greatly and I'd wager you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

This needs a more solid stance

Recently it was revealed that Dan Didio wanted to keep Isis alive, which has spawned a number of bemused and confused reactions that I think need to be addressed.

1) From everything I've seen and heard them say or publish -- the editors, the writers, and the artists on the whole do not think about how women are portrayed in comics. They don't think about the patterns. They don't think about the subtext. They don't think about how it looks. They are, in general, clueless, and have been for a long, long time. That is the problem. That is what needs to be fixed. You can't assume awareness because even their recent attempts to reach female readers have betrayed their cluelessness on a number of issues.

So, Mr. Didio wanting to off a character or save a character is most likely based on whether or not he likes that character, or whether or not he feels he can sell that character. I believe that "we can't sell girls/gays/minorities" comes into the equation when deciding whether or not a character can be sold or is liked, but its highly unlikely that this is a conscious train of thought.

This is not indicative of a change in attitude of Dan Didio's, or a criminal record of Mark Waid's (he has a genuinely mixed record at handling female characters, hardly Miller's rap sheet). I haven't seen any evidence that they think on that level.

2) This is not indicative of Gail Simone being part of the problem. I don't know this came up, as she had shit-all to do with 52, but it was mentioned a few times. Anyway, just to point out, she had shit-all to do with 52 and likely couldn't have saved Isis.

3) Real people are not perfectly good or bad. They are not even consistently good or bad. Someone who writes an awesome character such as Soranik Natu may kill off a female character in as pathetic a scene as Jade's. Creators have ups and downs. Someone who's decisions you usually dislike holding an opinion you agree with, or someone you usually like doing something you dislike really isn't this big a deal.

4) The treatment of Ralph Dibny and Isis is not a good case for the double-standard. Dibny's an established fan-favorite with a few decades of history behind him, and in his little ending they tried their best to rectify the beginning of Identity Crisis which caused much outrage way back when. Isis was a character completely contained within the story of 52, based loosely on an old character who had some popularity from her TV show. The treatment of Isis and Daniel Carter? There you've got an argument.

Now, none of the above points is a reason not to criticize the work in question, even though personally I'm not bothered by Isis. She's got Egyptian symbolism, is tied to a character who's getting his own series, and the Editor-in-Chief wanted to keep her alive. That's a recipe for resurrection. Plus, we had enough (Montoya, Batwoman, and the Dibny resolutions) to balance it out in this series. Sure, if they'd offed Natu instead I'd be mailing catshit to Tomasi right now, but I'd like to think I can keep some perspective on exactly what to criticize. I can see where you're coming from, just exactly what you're poking at is awkward here.

Anyway, I recognize that there's an argument to be made from her death. I'm just asking you to please, please, when you criticize matters of social issues in creative works, don't assume a conscious pattern. This is a problem that lies at the base of societal gender roles. Never attribute to malice what can be better attributed to laziness. Its considerably more likely unconscious and you can argue a better reason for change from a wider base of evidence without alienating the people who are capable of making the necessary changes when you lead it back to cliches and trends.

Plus you just look better in the long run.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I admire the overall attitude, but...

Y'know, Valkyrie, its nice to inspire your teammates but there's a fine line between leadership and dickery and you're getting pretty close with the puny males comment.

(I need to get my hands on some Defenders back issues.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Carnival Announced

Courtesy of Willow, the People of Colour SF Carnival:
Because Lt. Uhura should have had more lines. (ST: TOS)

Because Kevin Sorbo was jealous of Keith Hamilton Cobb and wrote him out. (Andromeda)

Because among other butchery, the SciFi Channel made Ged white. (EarthSea)

Because Forrest was a plot point and Graham was an extra. (Btvs)

Because Ronon Dex is not a savagely sexual wild man. (SGA)

Because Ford deserved better. (SGA)

Because Goliath showed up only to get killed. (Marvel: CW)

Because Vixen should have been more than the other woman. (JLU)

Because it can feel isolating among other journalers and bloggers.

Because it could encourage other People of Color to speak up more.

Because Carl Lumbly should be remembered for MANTIS.

Because Milestone Media deserved more love.

Because there should be more shows like Afro Saumrai.

Because there should be more heroines like Jade and Juniper Lee.

Because Bianca Lawson tried out for the role of Cordelia Chase instead of Kendra. (BtVS)

Because Pete Ross drowned in a sea of nothingness (Smallville)

Because there are illustrators of color who don't get to put faces like theirs on the front of a SF book.

Can you think of more reasons? I'm sure you can.

PoC SF Carnival: We Exist. And We Are Not Invisible
Tentatively scheduled for June 15th. Submission Guidelines at the link.

Undergarments of the Gods

BreastBlog 2007 is winding down, but it can not die until some poor woman has blogging specifically about underwear.

Its my turn this year.

And, as I have been shown this dreadful "Public Service" Announcement which blames female bloggers for creepy street harassment on the part of people who should be acting more professional, this post will involve me discussing my taste in underwear specifically, as well as that of several well-known superheroes. And if any of you should approach me on the street and mention my underwear in the hopes of creeping me out, expect to hear a 3-hour talk on the virtues of granny underwear. It will be far more detailed than you wish to know, and shall involve a tangent about two men kissing and the opportunities to view such an event, as well as a lecture on how the yellow weakness was the greatest arbitrary weakness conceived of in the Silver Age, a rant on George Perez's Wonder Woman reboot, and complaints about people who think Frigga and Freya are the same goddess.

Unless, of course, I don't have three hours, in which case I will mercilessly taunt your visible physical flaws.

Anyway, I've been recently made aware that a bouncing chest is considered a stumbling block, something very trying for men who are attempting to stare open-mouthed at a perfectly innocent young woman and keep their thoughts pure at the same time. I feel no pity or sympathy for a man I've caught staring when my chest moves, because whatever awkwardness is felt on their end can't be anything compared to being attached to the dreadful things. Oh sure, as a body part there's a certain amount of unconscious comfort to it. A Bounce Tolerance, so to speak. It differs for every woman, based on her size and her choice of support, but there's a certain amount of bouncing that is to be expected and can be ignored. Even then, however, we are all well-aware of the bounce and know that nothing can be done to stop it (to be honest its quite rude to remind us of that fact, because its uncomfortable enough to know that your flesh is bouncing without some person calling attention to it!). Some women don't give a damn either way, but most women will take steps to minimize the bouncing. I'm one of those women who care very much about minimizing the bouncing.

For me, its a matter of comfort as well as self-consciousness. I don't like feeling that bounce. I don't like thinking about that bounce. I don't like others watching that bounce, and seeing others watch that bounce just makes me think more and more about how I don't like feeling that bounce or thinking about that bounce. This puts me in a foul mood and leads to a great deal of unpleasantness at work and on the internet.

Yes, that's right, Ragnell the Foul is cranky because her chest bounces too much. And here I bet you thought my shoes were too tight.

After evaluating various bras on comfort, dressing time, amount of movement, appearance, and durability, I discovered the perfect bra for me a few years ago. It has a racer back, a back-closing clasp, and an underwire. It happens to be about two cup sizes too small right now, and distributes my flesh into what my sister refers to as the "uniboob" but trust me once I get that contraption fastened there is as little bounce as possible and that is precisely how I like it. I find bouncing to be very unpleasant.

It may be surprising (well, to new readers at least -- "Hello to any perverts out there who googled women's underwear and came up my insane ramblings!") that I looked at Amanda Conner's Power Girl costume design and thought of that bra.

Its the creases, actually, and the fact that the costume does not appear to separate the breasts but instead distributes them into the aforementioned uniboob and looks a couple cup sizes too small. Adjusting for artist interpretation, I'd say an actual Power Girl costume would not dip so low on the breasts and instead would have the same effect as my favorite sports bra -- as much restriction of bounce as possible. There's still going to be some natural jigglyness, but absolutely nothing can be done about that with our society's support technology.

Which brings me to Wonder Woman. She is from a society of women that has existed independently of men for three thousand years, and has access to divine magic. If anyone can make a better bra, its the Amazons.

When Jodi Piccoult was hired, she was quoted as asking to change the costume because she thought a bustier would be difficult to fight crime in. A bustier is an undergarment which supports the bust from underneath, usually with plastic ribbing. I'm with Piccoult in that I think a bustier such as the red top that Diana wears would be difficult to fight crime in. Honestly, I think that a bustier such as the red top Diana wears would be difficult to do anything in. Diana's costume, however, was designed by the Amazons who must have superior brassiere technology.

By that logic, I propose that Wonder Woman is not actually wearing a bustier. Her bust is supported by the gold breastplate that lies on top of the red material.

It only makes sense. That belt is the girdle of Gaia, a major divine artifact. Those bracers are forged from Aegis, a major divine artifact. Her tiara is forged for Amazon royalty. Surely its not too out of the question to assume her breastplate has magic properties as well?

Some artists draw a tiny, tiny WW, but the Byrne years depicted the WW (and the classic eagle) with a decent amount of coverage. The eagle could clearly be a bra in itself, but the WW probably works with the red material to lift, cradle, and stablize the WonderTwins as well as protect Diana's vital organs. In most drawings it molds to her chest shape and likely has an attached underwire threaded through the red part of the costume. There's probably a decent amount of padding for comfort underneath the gold and surrounding the underwire. Add Diana's gift of flight and magic properties associated with any of Wonder Woman's gear and that bra must feel like an extension of her body, never too restrictive, never too loose, an undergarment forged by Hephaestus himself!

Yes, I have considered this at great length.

But there can always be a better bra. I think the capabilities of one are in the hands of Lorna Dane (Polaris) and Francis Kane (Magenta) of Marvel and DC respectively.

When I first saw the X-Men trailers a few years ago, I watched a clip of Magneto spontaneously create a bridge with random plates of metal as he was walking across it and was struck by the potential breast-tech applications of magnetic powers. From how I've seen magnetic powers used, a person can tear metal apart and assemble a costume over their body that fits their form absolutely perfectly. As this is made entirely of metal, there is no chance of it moving, and if those breasts are snugly contained and supported in the metallic bra there will be absolutely no bouncing. Its form fitting, so it lifts and separates if you want it to. No need for an underwire, as the entire outfit is an underwire. With the right kind of padding it could be very comfortable, and since you made it on your own it certainly wouldn't restrict breathing. And in addition to all of that you can reasonably expect it to withhold against most attacks.

I'd go so far as to say that if I could have any superpower I wanted, it would be magnetic powers to aid in the construction of the Ideal Support Garment.

In retrospect I suppose this is the mentality that led to the corset.

It would cut down on bounce, though. I certainly wouldn't want bounce if I was fighting crime.

Personally, I'd prefer to call the whole month Breastfest 2007

From the comments of Breastblog 2007, on Power Girl's costume:
I don't mind her flaunting, I do mind artists and authors flaunting her *at* us.

Precisely. That's why I don't see why the window requires any explanation at all. Plenty of buxom women wear low necklines without expecting - let alone wanting! - to be leered at. It's the men that are the problem, not the choice of clothes. The comic book equivalent to that is that it's the way artists draw PG that is problematic, not the design of her costume per se.

Trying to 'explain' the costume just draws unwarranted attention to what isn't, in fact, the problem. And covering up her cleavage would, I'd argue, be conceding the sexist point, just as women shouldn't have to cover up just because some arseholes won't look them in the eye.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Creative Work

From a conversation on livejournal.


Now I'm writing a novel online that I should try to sell... but the very thought of hearing back from a publisher who likes it, then talking to an editor, then starting to work... only to realize they fully intend to alter everything about it that makes it unique... no. Even though I know that might not happen, I'd just rather waste my time flipping off the industry with my free novel. And flipping off half-ass TV shows with my fanfic that beats their own filmed episodes in some people's opinions.

But I can admit that it's a very fine line between rebelling against a corrupt system and letting yourself get shoved out of that system by its corruption. I'm not sure what the answer is.

All paths of resistance are valid and necessary. For me, I do intend to get some experience in the gaming industry, but I 100% intend to strike out on my own. Will I reach Blizzard fame? Probably not. But if I could help pioneer the way for more inclusive game design -- like companies such as Her Interactive are doing -- then I'll be happy. Would working for, say, a company like Nintendo (or going into the fires and trying to deal with Blizzard) and trying to reform from the inside out make a bigger impact? Maybe, but maybe not. Both are needed for any real change to occur.

Anyway, this is just my long-winded way of saying that the fight for equality isn't fought and won on a single front, and that you are making a difference by doing what you're doing.

ETA: Okay, I've erased four comments and I can't think of a graceful way to clear up this one in the comments, so here's an edit for intention.

I'm pretty sure her worries are based on her experiences scriptwriting (and trying to sell those scripts), which I figure would very much apply to comic book writing since you are dealing with established characters and a lot of strict editorial control.

I know a lot of would be/would like to be but wouldn't for that line of reasoning/aspiring comic book writers who have expressed similar concerns, and I very much liked Tekanji's response to this post.

So I quoted it figuring it would be helpful to comic book fans, not as an accusation towards the book industry.

In conclusion, I wish Loren Javier would come back to blogging because he's better at this sort of thing than me.

Sunday, May 06, 2007