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Barebarian
2019-02-27, 08:42 PM
It's the chainmail. Like, ignoring the people calling it unrealistic [some people fought naked. Yeah! You can play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy :smallamused: ] or sexist [Being sexy is sexist? :smallconfused: ] the only real objection I've ever had to in games is the stuff it's made of.
Ouch.
Why would I wear something as pinchy as chain links on bare skin?? Why would ANYONE??? In 5E you can just play a barbarian or monk if you want to prance around with something skimpy on, by all means! We all do sometimes and THE MECHANICS WILL ACTUALLY SUPPORT IT. And heck, in Exalted you could dance naked on an erupting volcano without taking damage if you built your character right! The only part that really doesn't make sense to me is how half-assed it is to put the chain mail in the bikini, if someone's dressed like that then it's obviously NOT HER CLOTHES PROTECTING HER. Why wouldn't she just wear a nice cloth bikini or something? :smallconfused:

TLDR: Anyone tough enough to fight in a bikini wouldn't bother with having it made of chain mail. It'd just be more expensive, less comfortable and more noisy.

Jay R
2019-02-27, 09:00 PM
Actually, if the chainmail is riveted or or welded correctly, then there are no seams or other scratchy parts. I've occasionally worn a chainmail coif over my bare skin, and it's not uncomfortable.

More importantly, the original "chainmail bikini" wearer was Red Sonja, who actually wore scales, not chainmail. And it wasn't armor. She was the female equivalent of Conan, who usually just wore a loincloth (in his early days). Sonja's "armor" wasn't armor; it was decoration (and a requirement of the Comics Code).

Oh, and by the way, you can't play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy. "Berserk" refers to clothing. It means "bear shirt", and specifically refers to somebody who wears armor made of a bear hide, turned inside-out. The hairs against his skin are intended to make him rage in battle.

halfeye
2019-02-27, 09:40 PM
Oh, and by the way, you can't play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy. "Berserk" refers to clothing. It means "bear shirt", and specifically refers to somebody who wears armor made of a bear hide, turned inside-out. The hairs against his skin are intended to make him rage in battle.

Interesting. The way I heard it long ago berserk derived from "bare sark", sark meaning (male or female (I'm not suggesting there were female berserkers)) breast.

Calthropstu
2019-02-27, 09:42 PM
It's the chainmail. Like, ignoring the people calling it unrealistic [some people fought naked. Yeah! You can play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy :smallamused: ] or sexist [Being sexy is sexist? :smallconfused: ] the only real objection I've ever had to in games is the stuff it's made of.
Ouch.
Why would I wear something as pinchy as chain links on bare skin?? Why would ANYONE??? In 5E you can just play a barbarian or monk if you want to prance around with something skimpy on, by all means! We all do sometimes and THE MECHANICS WILL ACTUALLY SUPPORT IT. And heck, in Exalted you could dance naked on an erupting volcano without taking damage if you built your character right! The only part that really doesn't make sense to me is how half-assed it is to put the chain mail in the bikini, if someone's dressed like that then it's obviously NOT HER CLOTHES PROTECTING HER. Why wouldn't she just wear a nice cloth bikini or something? :smallconfused:

TLDR: Anyone tough enough to fight in a bikini wouldn't bother with having it made of chain mail. It'd just be more expensive, less comfortable and more noisy.

I have actually seen the chain bikini sported in real life. She didn't have any complaint about it. She did have a complaint about the metal boob plate scratching her though. It looked silly, but hot. The things women will do to look hot...

KillianHawkeye
2019-02-27, 10:06 PM
Real chainmail armor isn't worn on bare skin, so why would you assume that a chainmail bikini would have no cloth padding? :smallconfused::smallconfused:

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-28, 01:51 AM
I have actually seen the chain bikini sported in real life. She didn't have any complaint about it. She did have a complaint about the metal boob plate scratching her though. It looked silly, but hot. The things women will do to look hot...

When I moved to Copenhagen, the very first person I met on the train station was a bald woman wearing chain mail with nothing underneath. Also, she pinched my rearside on the escalator. Welcome to the city, country boy =D

It's propably fair, btw. I have to assume I was startled enough by her appearance to stare slightly.

Mordaedil
2019-02-28, 02:21 AM
The only real problem with chainmail bikini isn't isolated to the chainmail bikini, it's the lack of equal representative sexiness. Remember, musclemen like Conan aren't considered appeal for women, they are appealing to men and the fantasy of power and control. The sexy man takes on a different image, one that is lacking in most media depicting chainmail bikinis.

There's nothing inherently wrong with chainmail bikinis, being sexy and powerful in your own mental image is good and cool. We should just be open to having more things that appeal to women at the same time (also we're lacking a good Conan equivalent for women).

Tvtyrant
2019-02-28, 02:37 AM
Which is why the men on romance novel covers are generically muscular right? Any google image search for romance novel disproves that argument; sexualized books written by women for women show exactly the same body types as violent media for men.

Barebarian
2019-02-28, 03:11 AM
The only real problem with chainmail bikini isn't isolated to the chainmail bikini, it's the lack of equal representative sexiness. Remember, musclemen like Conan aren't considered appeal for women, they are appealing to men and the fantasy of power and control. The sexy man takes on a different image, one that is lacking in most media depicting chainmail bikinis.

There's nothing inherently wrong with chainmail bikinis, being sexy and powerful in your own mental image is good and cool. We should just be open to having more things that appeal to women at the same time (also we're lacking a good Conan equivalent for women).

Why is lack of equal representative sexiness a problem? :smallconfused: I wasn't aware that a guy had to draw something aimed at women for everything he draws aimed at men. And hey um, I consider musclemen like Conan appealing? So? Well if men find that appealing to their power fantasies then good for them! I hope they enjoy it. :smallsmile: Conan was written by a man, writing what he wanted to write, why is it strange that he wouldn't write a woman's fantasy? I'm gonna have to straight up disagree with you there, simply on the basis that you're assuming women find the same things sexy as men. A bulging speedo has it's own appeal but it pales in comparison to Brad Pitt in a tux :smallredface: We don't find things sexy in the same ways that you do [generalization! Obviously there's exceptions but still.]

Agreed! But honestly I've yet to hear anyone not be open to them. :smallamused: I just haven't seen many women interested in making them [What about Red Sonja? I haven't read any of her stuff but isn't she a female conan? :smallconfused: ]

Barebarian
2019-02-28, 03:30 AM
Actually, if the chainmail is riveted or or welded correctly, then there are no seams or other scratchy parts. I've occasionally worn a chainmail coif over my bare skin, and it's not uncomfortable.

More importantly, the original "chainmail bikini" wearer was Red Sonja, who actually wore scales, not chainmail. And it wasn't armor. She was the female equivalent of Conan, who usually just wore a loincloth (in his early days). Sonja's "armor" wasn't armor; it was decoration (and a requirement of the Comics Code).

Oh, and by the way, you can't play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy. "Berserk" refers to clothing. It means "bear shirt", and specifically refers to somebody who wears armor made of a bear hide, turned inside-out. The hairs against his skin are intended to make him rage in battle.

That is really fascinating stuff. I read somewhere that the reason Conan and Sonja are depicted wearing so little was because the original artist wanted to draw them naked Greek style but had to put them in something? [is that what you meant by a requirement of the Comics Code?]
Also how rough were those hairs to make them rage? XD

Eldan
2019-02-28, 04:30 AM
I've actually seen some historians argue that berserkers didn't rage at all, that a Berserker was the local lord's champion, who was given clothes trimmed with bear fur or skin to show their high status. Elite warriors, not mindless maniacs. (If those existed, they were probably the wolf warriors that are mentioned a few other times.)

GloatingSwine
2019-02-28, 05:13 AM
Interesting. The way I heard it long ago berserk derived from "bare sark", sark meaning (male or female (I'm not suggesting there were female berserkers)) breast.

That's an interpretation that generally isn't accorded any historicity any more. There were, however, a number of bear cults in northern eurasia and there is evidence of people fighting dressed in bearskins on things like Trajan's Column and carvings on cairns and gravesites.

There's no historical evidence for the "berserker" as the modern world understands them as a rage fuelled unstoppable warrior, there are references in sagas, but they also include berserkers shapeshifting into bears so it might not be best to treat them as accurate representation of events.

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-28, 06:02 AM
The only real problem with chainmail bikini isn't isolated to the chainmail bikini, it's the lack of equal representative sexiness. Remember, musclemen like Conan aren't considered appeal for women, they are appealing to men and the fantasy of power and control. The sexy man takes on a different image, one that is lacking in most media depicting chainmail bikinis.

There's nothing inherently wrong with chainmail bikinis, being sexy and powerful in your own mental image is good and cool. We should just be open to having more things that appeal to women at the same time (also we're lacking a good Conan equivalent for women).

The problem isn't with the chainmail, if I understand it right - it's with sexualisation. Right?

And we consider skimpy bikinis (chainmail or not) sexualising women, but for some reason, we don't consider ... basically anything ... sexualising men. And that's sexist.

Morgaln
2019-02-28, 06:47 AM
Actually, if the chainmail is riveted or or welded correctly, then there are no seams or other scratchy parts. I've occasionally worn a chainmail coif over my bare skin, and it's not uncomfortable.

More importantly, the original "chainmail bikini" wearer was Red Sonja, who actually wore scales, not chainmail. And it wasn't armor. She was the female equivalent of Conan, who usually just wore a loincloth (in his early days). Sonja's "armor" wasn't armor; it was decoration (and a requirement of the Comics Code).

Oh, and by the way, you can't play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy. "Berserk" refers to clothing. It means "bear shirt", and specifically refers to somebody who wears armor made of a bear hide, turned inside-out. The hairs against his skin are intended to make him rage in battle.

Interestingly enough, showing Conan in just a loincloth isn't accurate, either. The original stories by Robert E. Howard had him wear full armor more often than not.

Barebarian
2019-02-28, 07:06 AM
The problem isn't with the chainmail, if I understand it right - it's with sexualisation. Right?

And we consider skimpy bikinis (chainmail or not) sexualising women, but for some reason, we don't consider ... basically anything ... sexualising men. And that's sexist.

I really don't understand the hue and cry over sexualization and I doubt I ever will. :smallconfused:

PhoenixPhyre
2019-02-28, 07:25 AM
I have a culture in my setting that has embraced the "impractical" armors trope. But they did so knowingly as fashion for peaceful parties and wear real armor for war.

It's a dragonborn [1] dominated culture that's at war with ice creatures from a nearby mountain/plateau range. So they're heavily martial. Especially one clan. Being a non-combatant, rear echelon type is considered shameful, so even the fashion has armor themes.

The women wear at least partial chainmail negligees/gowns (made of silver and gold links, often made so fine that it's more like fabric) or boob plate (often with peekabo holes in strategic location); the men wear muscle plate (very thin metal) or doublets stitched and padded to look like breastplates and leggings that are made to look like greaves. Often with very large, stuffed codpieces. Everyone goes armed at all times. Another fashion is for dermal piercings and inset gems into the scales (basically instead of tattoos they inlay gems and metal into their "skin".

The orcs of that culture dress similarly, just with piercings and tattoos instead of dermal inlays. Being weird, the goblins of that area go for three-piece suits with top hats and big full formal gowns with hoop skirts. This year.

In general this culture goes for functional clothing (clothing as protection when needed) and has few nudity taboos. Workers often just wear harnesses for their tools and a groin protector.

[1] my dragonborn are different--their ancestors were humans who were forcibly (as infants) merged with dragon soul fragments. So they're mammals with all that entails[2] who look like lizards. The scales are usually just hardened skin/keratin patches, rather than full protective scales but they're much less sensitive and can in some cases be pierced and have gems and metals inlayed into them.

[2] So yes, they do have mammalian breasts and bear live young and nurse them. Why? Because I felt like it.

And yes, I did write ~30 pages about the dress styles of my main play area. Because sometimes inspiration strikes...:smallbiggrin:

Brother Oni
2019-02-28, 07:29 AM
[some people fought naked. Yeah! You can play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy :smallamused: ]

As others mentioned, berserkers didn't go into battle naked. However Greek and Roman sources record that the Celts and other 'barbarians' occasionally went into battle naked (aside from being painted with blue woad, or so the myths go).

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-28, 07:41 AM
I really don't understand the hue and cry over sexualization and I doubt I ever will. :smallconfused:

Well - me neither. It's my conviction that as a species, we sexualize pretty much everything all the time, and there's no reason to single out this, that or the other detail - be it chaimail bikinis, or women advertising cars halfnaked, or gender quotas in movies - as if that particular detail is pushing the balance out of whack.

But regardless, the problem with functionally useless chainmail is one of sexualization. Or so I gather. We're making these poor women nothing but objects of sexual gratification for coarse, low-brow hetero-normative, white-privilege, toxic masculinity apes. And never mind all the ways we sexualize everything else, because bikini chainmail is visibly and undeniably not functional as armor.

I'm unsure why that would be important, but it seems so. We should be focussing more on the female barbarians value as a person and/or capable equal opportunity melee combatant - not admiring her curvaceous body and musculature like the backwards cavedwellers our XY chromosomes make us.

And ... I even get all of that. I know where it's coming from. It's just that everything in entertainment media is dumbed down, so why is it this specific detail annoys certain people so much.

Eldan
2019-02-28, 07:42 AM
And even that may have been a case of ritual intimidation of the enemy before battle, which was quite common. Two armies would draw up on the field and then, before the battle "officially begins", both side would put on their most intimidating displays. Having a few naked raving painted madmen could probably make quite an impression.

Mordaedil
2019-02-28, 08:32 AM
Why is lack of equal representative sexiness a problem? :smallconfused: I wasn't aware that a guy had to draw something aimed at women for everything he draws aimed at men. And hey um, I consider musclemen like Conan appealing? So? Well if men find that appealing to their power fantasies then good for them! I hope they enjoy it. :smallsmile: Conan was written by a man, writing what he wanted to write, why is it strange that he wouldn't write a woman's fantasy? I'm gonna have to straight up disagree with you there, simply on the basis that you're assuming women find the same things sexy as men. A bulging speedo has it's own appeal but it pales in comparison to Brad Pitt in a tux :smallredface: We don't find things sexy in the same ways that you do [generalization! Obviously there's exceptions but still.]

Agreed! But honestly I've yet to hear anyone not be open to them. :smallamused: I just haven't seen many women interested in making them [What about Red Sonja? I haven't read any of her stuff but isn't she a female conan? :smallconfused: ]

That was kinda my point, yes. Not sure how you read it opposite, but maybe my framing was off.

Talakeal
2019-02-28, 08:38 AM
The problem is simply trying to show off the characters figure in a historical setting.

If you draw them nude, or nearly so, it will be seen as pornographic by a modern audience.

If you simply draw them in something resembling modern activewear like sports bra, gym shorts, a speedo, or a leotard it will look incredibly anachronistic as those are all modern inventions, ancient athletes tended to excercise in the nude and women tended to be covered up and kept away from such endeavors.

So you get chainmail bikinis or the like as it is really the only way to showing an athletic woman's body in a fantasy piece.


Also, in my, somewhat limited, experiance chainmail does not feel bad against bare skin, and none of the woman who actually wear them at ren faires that I have talked to have ever mentioned a problem with pinching or chafing.



Interestingly enough, showing Conan in just a loincloth isn't accurate, either. The original stories by Robert E. Howard had him wear full armor more often than not.

From what I recall Conan was uncomfortable in armor and complained the few times he was given a suit and told to wear it.

johnbragg
2019-02-28, 09:03 AM
The problem is simply trying to show off the characters figure in a historical setting.

If you draw them nude, or nearly so, it will be seen as pornographic by a modern audience.

Well, the chainmail bikini trope IS a little bit porny. Sports Illustrated swimsuit level, not 1950s-60s Playboy (OMG bare boobies or bare butt) level, never mind modern internet level, but it's sexualized. (Less sexualized than some 90s comics that had the women "fully clothed" in skintight costumes, but still sexualized)

I remember back in college, joking about the sorceress in the 2E books wearing a Bikini of Warmth.


If you simply draw them in something resembling modern activewear like sports bra, gym shorts, a speedo, or a leotard it will look incredibly anachronistic as those are all modern inventions, ancient athletes tended to excercise in the nude and women tended to be covered up and kept away from such endeavors.

So you get chainmail bikinis or the like as it is really the only way to showing an athletic woman's body in a fantasy piece.

I don't think it is. Leather armors, roman-style breastplates (half the images suggested to me right now on google search have unnecessary abs, so female-signifying boobs are very doable), "dragon-scale" armor over a female shape.

Talakeal
2019-02-28, 09:19 AM
Well, the chainmail bikini trope IS a little bit porny. Sports Illustrated swimsuit level, not 1950s-60s Playboy (OMG bare boobies or bare butt) level, never mind modern internet level, but it's sexualized. (Less sexualized than some 90s comics that had the women "fully clothed" in skintight costumes, but still sexualized)

I remember back in college, joking about the sorceress in the 2E books wearing a Bikini of Warmth.



I don't think it is. Leather armors, roman-style breastplates (half the images suggested to me right now on google search have unnecessary abs, so female-signifying boobs are very doable), "dragon-scale" armor over a female shape.

Obviously there is also a lot of titilation, but when I use a "chainmail bikini" it is typically to show off a characters rippling muscles and mighty thews for much the same reason that bodybuukders tend to compete in speedos.

Also, boobplates and muscle cuiresses have their own problems, they were primarily decorative in reality and in actual combat would be huge hindrance as they limit mobility and direct blows towards the heart.

I have also heard that if you trip and fall foreard while wearing a boobplate it can be instantly fatal, although I am extremely skepitcal of that claim and would love a citation.

Keltest
2019-02-28, 09:40 AM
That's an interpretation that generally isn't accorded any historicity any more. There were, however, a number of bear cults in northern eurasia and there is evidence of people fighting dressed in bearskins on things like Trajan's Column and carvings on cairns and gravesites.

There's no historical evidence for the "berserker" as the modern world understands them as a rage fuelled unstoppable warrior, there are references in sagas, but they also include berserkers shapeshifting into bears so it might not be best to treat them as accurate representation of events.

From my understanding, there is evidence to suggest that the original norse berserkers did have some kind of pre-combat ritual that involved things like biting on their shields which would put them into a sort of trance during the fight. And this trance would help them overcome some automatic reactions which would otherwise slow them down.

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-28, 09:42 AM
From what I recall Conan was uncomfortable in armor and complained the few times he was given a suit and told to wear it.

I feel it's important to note that the books weren't made into a movie. The comic was. And in the comic, he wears a loincloth.

I should point out that I've read only one iteration of the comic book series, so I cannot swear with full certainty that he only ever wears a loincloth and never armor. But in the stuff I've read, he does.

Joe the Rat
2019-02-28, 09:47 AM
There's no historical evidence for the "berserker" as the modern world understands them as a rage fuelled unstoppable warrior, there are references in sagas, but they also include berserkers shapeshifting into bears so it might not be best to treat them as accurate representation of events.

Cú Chulainn is one of the better examples in lore - who somehow manages to cover "unstoppable rage-fighter" and "shapeshifter" without involving bears.

...and they're one of the (according to record) naked-fighting-people groups.

D&D 2nd ed's historical series was weird

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-28, 09:48 AM
Something to keep in mind: historically accurate armor in art has niche appeal. Most people don't know and don't care of that.

Instead, people will pick what's aesthetically pleasing. So a woman who likes wearing bikini in real life might actually consider a fictional character clad in chainmail bikini to be cooler and more relatable, than a character in accurate armor. Same goes for variety of anachronistic and impractical outfits. Your average viewer doesn't know and doesn't care about why those horned helmets and sports bras on fantasy characters are wrong.

The extension of that is that before making any arguments of what kind of clothes art appeals or doesn't to women, you should take a long critical look at what kind of clothes women like and buy in general.

Jay R
2019-02-28, 09:49 AM
That is really fascinating stuff. I read somewhere that the reason Conan and Sonja are depicted wearing so little was because the original artist wanted to draw them naked Greek style but had to put them in something? [is that what you meant by a requirement of the Comics Code?]

Conan wore little when sneaking around in Howard's stories for decades before he appeared in comics. He put on armor for battles, and sometimes complained about it.

Sonja was invented for the comics, and wore as little as possible, in order to sell books to guys. Yes, the limits were set by the Comics Code.


Also how rough were those hairs to make them rage? XD

No idea -- I've never worn a bear shirt. I've worn chainmail. It isn't bad.

The Jack
2019-02-28, 10:00 AM
But regardless, the problem with functionally useless chainmail is one of sexualization. Or so I gather. We're making these poor women nothing but objects of sexual gratification for coarse, low-brow hetero-normative, white-privilege, toxic masculinity apes. And never mind all the ways we sexualize everything else, because bikini chainmail is visibly and undeniably not functional as armor..

this sounds awfully regressive. Or it's a joke... but i'll say you're serious for the purpose of this thread.

All races indulge in toxic masculinity. It's not a 'white' thing.
All classes and intelects like attractive people. It's only 'low brow' when you celebrate your interest. People enjoy titilating stuff and women are as bad as men for it. Some people very enjoy being objects of desire for others. (And we're discussing fictional characters here. A victimless crime)

The only victims here are prudes. You're not defending women here by objecting to such content.

I like my historically accurate stuff, but to me this is much better than leather, belt abundance and huge shoulders...

Jophiel
2019-02-28, 10:45 AM
Which is why the men on romance novel covers are generically muscular right? Any google image search for romance novel disproves that argument; sexualized books written by women for women show exactly the same body types as violent media for men.
I dunno, I just did an image search for bodice ripper covers and the men depicted are usually leaner and more clothed than your Conan types. Not saying there's zero exceptions but the "Pile of muscles" look feels like it's aimed more towards men with fantasies of punching an ogre to death whereas the romance novel version is more "Spends a lot of time doing cardio at the gym" and less "Olympic power lifter".

I'm not saying it's impossible to sexualize men, just that there's a subtle but existing difference between how the genders stereotypically view half-naked dudes in our fantasies.

gkathellar
2019-02-28, 10:47 AM
I really don't understand the hue and cry over sexualization and I doubt I ever will. :smallconfused:

It usually comes at the expense of non-sexualized representations, with the end result of portraying women almost exclusively as sex objects. And in practice, it usually does so specifically for the titillation of a presumed heterosexual cis male audience in ways designed specifically to appeal to that audience. Frequently, this happens even in media that otherwise has no sexualized elements, just as a normal thing. That puts a pretty meaningful damper on female participation in genre media, and damages the media itself by limiting the variety of characters and ideas that it normally expresses.

The problem isn’t with sexualization. The problems are: (a) the ratio of sexualized to non-sexualized material made available due to genre norms, (b) the presence of sexualization specifically due to genre norms and perceived audiences, (c) sexualization that is likely to be perceived as demeaning or alienating, and (d) the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexualized material is framed specifically for pseudo-pornographic titillation even in otherwise non-sexual material.

On a personal level, I think chain mail bikinis are stupid, so having to flip past endless pages of them while looking for character art is a pain.

Martin Greywolf
2019-02-28, 10:49 AM
some people fought naked

Doubtful sources for that - it was said by the Romans about their enemies, quite possibly to make them sound barbaric and/or stupid. Especially since celts were the ones that invented chainmail in the first place, which Romans promptly copied and manufactured on a massive scale.


You can play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy

No you can't, berserks are norse bodyguards from end of migration period, your combat nudists are celts. Even if the two may have met, they definitely wouldn't overlap. You try to walk around scandinavia naked. Berserk used pejoratively is even more suspect than the naked part because again, probably Roman propaganda - this is hardly the only time "they do drugs" was used as an accusation, just look at the Hassassins.



Why would I wear something as pinchy as chain links on bare skin?? Why would ANYONE???

Chainmail, when made well, isn't pinchy. That said, absolutely no one would wear it on bare skin or just a shirt, because it doesn't protect you if you do that. Some very weak attacks may be stopped, but a sword or an arrow will do damage.

Even modern cheapo Indian chainmail that is a definition of poorly made isn't that bad on bare skin if you remove the nasty oil they use, it's not enough to scratch you even if someone presses it into you, you'd have to try to move it around like a sandpaper. I never thought that knowledge from going swimming in a mail coif and a kettle hat would prove useful, but there you go.


Anyone tough enough to fight in a bikini wouldn't bother with having it made of chain mail. It'd just be more expensive, less comfortable and more noisy.

And it looks cool, and people have been known to value that hell of a lot more than price or inconvenience. If you really wanted to, you could make it realistic, like an order of insert class that can't wear armor that uses chainmail clothing because of their cultural roots. Kinda like how even modern day parade dress has a sword.

Let's be honest, absolutely no one who gives it a thought considers chainmail bikini or plate bikini to be functional, it's a part of a very sexualized aestethic - an aestethic that is equal in that sexualization between genders, at least as far as pictures go - just look at random picture of Conan, what with tight leather speedos.

What annoys me more is boob plate, because it screams "I wanted to seem wise and progressive but did bugger all in terms of research".

The Jack
2019-02-28, 11:00 AM
Shad did a pretty interesting video defending boob plate. Watch it and tell me what you think.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lBtvS5yhTA8

Unless you're talking about boob plate bikinis...

comk59
2019-02-28, 11:12 AM
I dunno, I just did an image search for bodice ripper covers and the men depicted are usually leaner and more clothed than your Conan types. Not saying there's zero exceptions but the "Pile of muscles" look feels like it's aimed more towards men with fantasies of punching an ogre to death whereas the romance novel version is more "Spends a lot of time doing cardio at the gym" and less "Olympic power lifter".

I'm not saying it's impossible to sexualize men, just that there's a subtle but existing difference between how the genders stereotypically view half-naked dudes in our fantasies.

Actually, I think I saw a UCLA study that matches with what you saw, where a majority of women marked the leaner men as more attractive.

Max_Killjoy
2019-02-28, 11:24 AM
Shad did a pretty interesting video defending boob plate. Watch it and tell me what you think.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lBtvS5yhTA8

Unless you're talking about boob plate bikinis...

That video has already been posted to at least one thread and pretty roundly rejected as nonsense. Which it is.

This page, scroll down -- http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?525214-Dungeons-and-Dreamboats-VIII-Bulletproof-Nudity&p=23626302

First, unlike many codpieces, the "boob plate" is directly counter to the good function of the armor.

Second, a good deal of the most stylized, exaggerated elements of the armor we see in museums and collections today is there because that armor was intended for very rich or powerful people to show off, not primarily for use in battle, but historians have off and on lost the trail on that fact and conflated show armor for battle armor. See also, the old canard about armor being too heavy for knights to actually stand up if they fell down or get on their own horse without help... started in part by conflation of the most exaggerated examples of tourney armor with armor meant for the battle field.

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-28, 11:48 AM
I'm not saying it's impossible to sexualize men, just that there's a subtle but existing difference between how the genders stereotypically view half-naked dudes in our fantasies.

It's not just between genders.

Take a look at two different genres of comics in Japan: Yaoi and Bara. The former's chiefly daydrean fantasies made to appeal to women, often by women. The latter's sexual fantasies made to appeal to homosexual men, often by homosexual men.

Yaoi has abundance of lean, even effiminate male characters. Bara has abundance of huge muscled dudes.

Because of things like this, you can't look at, say, comic book Conan or He-Man and say "that's clearly power fantasy and not sexual fantasy". The artist's intention could've been either and even within the demographic of men it's near-certainly viewed as both. Ditto for women: there are ladies who swoon over Conan's muscles just as surely as there are those who are put off by the "obvious male power fantasy". Instead of arguing what's which kind of fantasy, we'd be better off with wide-scale surveys on whether specific pieces of art appeal to people and how.

Segev
2019-02-28, 12:14 PM
Sometimes, you just think it looks cool.

https://66.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3hnaytZD61rv231do1_640.jpg


(I actually made a Solar Exalt based on that image.)

Arbane
2019-02-28, 12:21 PM
The problem isn't with the chainmail, if I understand it right - it's with sexualisation. Right?

And we consider skimpy bikinis (chainmail or not) sexualising women, but for some reason, we don't consider ... basically anything ... sexualising men. And that's sexist.

Let me see if I can make this as simple as possible:

Conan in a loincloth is a power fantasy for men.
Red Sonja in a chainmail bikini is a sex fantasy for men.

Get the idea?

martixy
2019-02-28, 12:31 PM
The only real problem with chainmail bikini isn't isolated to the chainmail bikini, it's the lack of equal representative sexiness. Remember, musclemen like Conan aren't considered appeal for women, they are appealing to men and the fantasy of power and control. The sexy man takes on a different image, one that is lacking in most media depicting chainmail bikinis.

There's nothing inherently wrong with chainmail bikinis, being sexy and powerful in your own mental image is good and cool. We should just be open to having more things that appeal to women at the same time (also we're lacking a good Conan equivalent for women).

Explain yourself! By which I mean... what would you consider equal sexiness representation?

halfeye
2019-02-28, 12:32 PM
That's an interpretation that generally isn't accorded any historicity any more. There were, however, a number of bear cults in northern eurasia and there is evidence of people fighting dressed in bearskins on things like Trajan's Column and carvings on cairns and gravesites.

There's no historical evidence for the "berserker" as the modern world understands them as a rage fuelled unstoppable warrior, there are references in sagas, but they also include berserkers shapeshifting into bears so it might not be best to treat them as accurate representation of events.

It's also interesting that there is apparently confusion over the name of the island "Sark", greater sark and little sark are no longer breasts.


The etymology of Sark is unknown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sark#Etymology

Segev
2019-02-28, 12:33 PM
Let me see if I can make this as simple as possible:

Conan in a loincloth is a power fantasy for men.
Red Sonja in a chainmail bikini is a sex fantasy for men.

Get the idea?

The counter-point would be: "So?"

Conan is targeted to men. Red Sonja actually was targeted to men and women, and I'm pretty sure she's meant to be a power fantasy for women at least as much as a sex fantasy for men.

Going back to the "bodice ripper cover" argument, note that women in those are also dressed "sexy." Now, they're not in bikinis...unless it's a beach scene...but female power fantasies - if the Feminist Movement of the 80s and 90s is any indication - involve a lot of "sexual liberation" and thus wearing sexy clothes and not being bound by "puritanical" restrictions.

I think men and women both like being sexy and view it as part of being powerful, whether because being powerful is sexy, or because being sexy gives a sense of power. I know I wish I was more muscular and less flabby precisely because I would feel more attractive if I were. (I also demonstrate daily that I lack the discipline to make that happen.)

Jophiel
2019-02-28, 12:35 PM
Ditto for women: there are ladies who swoon over Conan's muscles just as surely as there are those who are put off by the "obvious male power fantasy". Instead of arguing what's which kind of fantasy, we'd be better off with wide-scale surveys on whether specific pieces of art appeal to people and how.
Sure, I noted there were exceptions -- I saw some bodice-rippers with Muscle Dude on the cover -- but my point was "Well, there's bare-chested guys on romance novels so the bare-chested guys on fantasy novels must be the same thing" doesn't really hold up. A fantasy painting of a couple standard Romance Guy physiques in loincloths and wielding giant axes would scan as ridiculous. They're going for two different things.

comk59
2019-02-28, 12:51 PM
I'll be honest, the majority of trashy romance covers that I see are either;
A: A woman flailing underwater.
B: A woman in a frilly dress standing next to an industrial fan.
B: Two people spooning, with the woman in front and doing that off-the-shoulder dress thing.

Not a whole lot of guys, shirtless or otherwise. I mean, there definetely are some covers with beefcakes wearing unbuttoned shirts, but I wouldn't even put them in the majority.

The Jack
2019-02-28, 01:16 PM
Was Wonder Woman worse because the actress had massive sex appeal? Both me and my straight female partner really appreciated it. She wanted to be her.

As for men wanting muscles because we want to be wife-controlers... ha.
A good part of me wants to look like a power lifter with a beard down to my balls and get enough tattoos to go bankrupt. I'm fully aware that this isnt her ideal (if i was ripped at least. she doesnt like muscles. I could get away with it with some fat)
Its not cause we want to control women through some irrational counterproductive measure, its because we want to out-man other men. we're like women in that regard: we want to win hypothetical battles that'll never happen, and they'll never happen because one of us is obviously scarier.

(Please don't point out that you're an exception, there are always exceptions. Especially on the internet. )

Its bad for your health to get big and a lot of effort to, but the apeal is man v man, not man v woman. You don't need to get very big to be bigger than an average woman.

Talakeal
2019-02-28, 01:17 PM
I'll be honest, the majority of trashy romance covers that I see are either;
A: A woman flailing underwater.
B: A woman in a frilly dress standing next to an industrial fan.
B: Two people spooning, with the woman in front and doing that off-the-shoulder dress thing.

Not a whole lot of guys, shirtless or otherwise. I mean, there definetely are some covers with beefcakes wearing unbuttoned shirts, but I wouldn't even put them in the majority.

I gamed with a girl who read romance novels at the gaming table and most of them were just a muscular man's shirtless torso. Say what you want about gaming cheesecake, but stlead those women have heads.


Let me see if I can make this as simple as possible:

Conan in a loincloth is a power fantasy for men.
Red Sonja in a chainmail bikini is a sex fantasy for men.

Get the idea?

Citation needed.

I can't speak for other people, but for me wearing revealing clothing and looking good while doing it is certainly more of a power fantasy than a sex fantasy.

Max_Killjoy
2019-02-28, 01:21 PM
I can't speak for other people, but for me wearing revealing clothing and looking good while doing it is certainly more of a power fantasy than a sex fantasy.


Whereas even if I were ripped, I'd still feel deeply uncomfortable in revealing clothing.

The Glyphstone
2019-02-28, 02:10 PM
Doubtful sources for that - it was said by the Romans about their enemies, quite possibly to make them sound barbaric and/or stupid. Especially since celts were the ones that invented chainmail in the first place, which Romans promptly copied and manufactured on a massive scale.



I know I've seen at least one source that claimed in the absence of good armor, going into battle naked was protection against having threads or fibers embedded in wounds and causing sepsis/infection. On the other hand, this was the same source that claimed fighting naked meant the enemy's Druid spellcasters couldn't animate your clothes to immobilize or strangle you, so I have to consider it suspect at best.

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-28, 02:40 PM
Sure, I noted there were exceptions -- I saw some bodice-rippers with Muscle Dude on the cover -- but my point was "Well, there's bare-chested guys on romance novels so the bare-chested guys on fantasy novels must be the same thing" doesn't really hold up.

I'm not countering your point - I'm trying to show the larger context in which saying "there are exceptions" is trivial and misleading. That lean guy on a romance novel is some women's sexual fantasy, but that doesn't preclude it from being some men's power fantasy, some men's sexual fantasy, and probably some women's power fantasy. Calling these "exceptions" gives the impression that they're rare, but let's put things into perspective: there are close to 8 billion people on Earth. Even if only 1% of women, or about 0.5% of people overall, find f.ex. Conan sexy, that's a potential market of 40 million.

So if you want to pigeonhole a piece of art as neatly appealing to a specific demographic in a specific way, you really want some statistics to back you up.


A fantasy painting of a couple standard Romance Guy physiques in loincloths and wielding giant axes would scan as ridiculous. They're going for two different things.

Sure it it is ridiculous, most of fantasy is. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Do go take a look at Japan's pop media. Cloud and Sephiroth of Final Fantasy fame are perennial fan girl favorites, have exactly the lean, effeminate pretty boy looks and wield giant ass weapons. And then there's Fate and Gilgamesh, the picture of whom was justed posted in this very thread. Another example would be Bleach, which has lean buff dudes in rags bashing each other with oversized weapons, yet has notable periphery demographic of women despite being a boy's show.

If you take a look outside the honestly quite small and low-budget sample set of tabletop RPG art and look at the wider realm of fantasy and fan art produced, the distinctions drawn in discussions such as these reveal themselves to be lines drawn in the sand, with real people trampling over them all the time.

Liquor Box
2019-02-28, 03:51 PM
Interestingly enough, showing Conan in just a loincloth isn't accurate, either. The original stories by Robert E. Howard had him wear full armor more often than not.

No point getting Arnie to play a character if you don't show off his muscles.

Liquor Box
2019-02-28, 04:07 PM
Sure, I noted there were exceptions -- I saw some bodice-rippers with Muscle Dude on the cover -- but my point was "Well, there's bare-chested guys on romance novels so the bare-chested guys on fantasy novels must be the same thing" doesn't really hold up. A fantasy painting of a couple standard Romance Guy physiques in loincloths and wielding giant axes would scan as ridiculous. They're going for two different things.

I don't think that you've demonstrated that they are going for different things. There is not one type of male that straight females are attracted to - some are attracted to the leaner look you mention and some are attracted by the more muscular look. Evidence that some women are attracted by the more muscular look exists in this thread - the one female to comment on her own personal tastes prefers that. It also exists in your post - that some erotic romance novels have muscle men on the cover suggests that at least some women want to see that. Conan may appeal to those women, even if not all women.

I note that Conan's female counterpart, Red Sonja, also appears more muscular in most art than the average woman. Maybe both her and Conan seek to combine an attractive body with the appearance of strength that would be appropriate for the activities in which they engage.

Jophiel
2019-02-28, 04:18 PM
I don't think that you've demonstrated that they are going for different things.
That's fine, it's not a topic I'm invested in deeply enough to debate. I just saw the comment that romance novels have bare-chested guys too and took a look and saw that they were largely 'different' in body type from the standard barbarian warrior fantasy painting I'm familiar with. So I personally don't think that "But romance novels..." really works as a counterpoint to the claim that Fantasy Muscle Dude is more a male power fantasy than a female sex fantasy but someone who cares more than I can plumb the depths of it all or explore cultural differences in Japanese media, etc.

Frozen_Feet
2019-02-28, 04:23 PM
To bring a comparison point from other media:

It was Judas Priest that popularized the "leather & chains" look in Heavy Metal circles. Before that, that fashion was a thing in gay men's culture and spoofed by none other than Village People. Tom of Finland would be anoter example from other media. Story even goes, Rob Halford (being a gay man, even if closeted at the time) got some of his stage outfits from a sex shop.

Obviously it caught on and today you have straight male metalheads wearing the same sort of fashion because they want to look like a badass rock star.

So, are such outfits power or sexual fantasy? It's a mindless question because it's obvious they're both. We're really just talking about which is the main appeal to specific individuals or demographics.

The same goes for overlap between Metal and BDSM, or Metal and Goth fashions, or Goth and BDSM. The more you look, the more obvious it becomes that the same outfit can have different appeal based on social context.

It might sound odd to talk of these subcultures in the same go as RPG hobbyists, but they do overlap, especially in conventions. For example, Vampire the Masquerade was a big influence on the LARP subculture in Scandinavia, and it famously brought a lot of goth chicks both into the LARP hobby and the tabletop RPG. Not too surprisingly, some of those people also listen to Metal or have interest in BDSM. So on and so forth.

Similarly, there's a lot of RPG-inspired anime and manga, which forms a connecting thread between cosplay and tabletop games.

The impracticality of the outfits is besides the point: there is no outfit crazy enough that someone hasn't spend time to wear it just to look cool.

Liquor Box
2019-02-28, 04:26 PM
That's fine, it's not a topic I'm invested in deeply enough to debate. I just saw the comment that romance novels have bare-chested guys too and took a look and saw that they were largely 'different' in body type from the standard barbarian warrior fantasy painting I'm familiar with. So I personally don't think that "But romance novels..." really works as a counterpoint to the claim that Fantasy Muscle Dude is more a male power fantasy than a female sex fantasy but someone who cares more than I can plumb the depths of it all or explore cultural differences in Japanese media, etc.

Fair enough.

My point in simpler terms was that the fact that some romance novels (aimed at women) have bare chested muscular men does show that muscular guys are a sex fantasy for some women - whether it is moreso a power fantasy for men (or on the contrary, whether the muscular female in a bikini is also a fantasy for women) I'm not so sure about.

Kaptin Keen
2019-03-01, 12:35 AM
Let me see if I can make this as simple as possible:

Conan in a loincloth is a power fantasy for men.
Red Sonja in a chainmail bikini is a sex fantasy for men.

Get the idea?

What a delightfully condescending and fascile way of framing a question that is in itself insulting. You have created no great mystery, and I have no mental disabilities.

If you find you would like to change track and converse like an adult, I shall be delighted. For now, this is all the reply you get.

Arbane
2019-03-01, 12:55 AM
What a delightfully condescending and fascile way of framing a question that is in itself insulting. You have created no great mystery, and I have no mental disabilities.

If you find you would like to change track and converse like an adult, I shall be delighted. For now, this is all the reply you get.

What? There's no great mystery here, chainmail bikini outfits are fanservice for fanboys. 'Realistically' they somehow manage to combine the disadvantages of armor AND nudity.

I'm not saying they need to be banned or anything, people just need to have a little self-awareness.

This seems vaguely relevant. (http://bikiniarmorbattledamage.tumblr.com/post/78944172315/female-armor-rhetoric-bingo) So does the rest of that site, as I'm pretty sure they've gone over every single argument made on this topic at some point.

hymer
2019-03-01, 01:30 AM
I know I've seen at least one source that claimed in the absence of good armor, going into battle naked was protection against having threads or fibers embedded in wounds and causing sepsis/infection. On the other hand, this was the same source that claimed fighting naked meant the enemy's Druid spellcasters couldn't animate your clothes to immobilize or strangle you, so I have to consider it suspect at best.

A druid casting Animate Object? Puh-leese! :smallwink:

I've seen one reference (Polybius, about the Battle of Telamon) where the 'naked to the waist' thing can be discounted, as it went on to talk about trousers as well. But then it seemed an unusual situation where battle was joined in an area heavy with brambles, and some apparently thought that nudity would preclude clothes from getting caught on the brambles. So it may be a special case.

Arbane
2019-03-01, 01:31 AM
A druid casting Animate Object? Puh-leese! :smallwink:

I've seen one reference (Polybius, about the Battle of Telamon) where the 'naked to the waist' thing can be discounted, as it went on to talk about trousers as well. But then it seemed an unusual situation where battle was joined in an area heavy with brambles, and some apparently thought that nudity would preclude clothes from getting caught on the brambles. So it may be a special case.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd MUCH rather get my clothes snagged on brambles than my SKIN. Owww...

thuhnc
2019-03-01, 01:39 AM
It usually comes at the expense of non-sexualized representations, with the end result of portraying women almost exclusively as sex objects. And in practice, it usually does so specifically for the titillation of a presumed heterosexual cis male audience in ways designed specifically to appeal to that audience. Frequently, this happens even in media that otherwise has no sexualized elements, just as a normal thing. That puts a pretty meaningful damper on female participation in genre media, and damages the media itself by limiting the variety of characters and ideas that it normally expresses.

The problem isn’t with sexualization. The problems are: (a) the ratio of sexualized to non-sexualized material made available due to genre norms, (b) the presence of sexualization specifically due to genre norms and perceived audiences, (c) sexualization that is likely to be perceived as demeaning or alienating, and (d) the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexualized material is framed specifically for pseudo-pornographic titillation even in otherwise non-sexual material.

On a personal level, I think chain mail bikinis are stupid, so having to flip past endless pages of them while looking for character art is a pain.

So much this. I felt it necessary to quote your entire post in case somebody accidentally scrolled past it.

I think the equivocation of attempts to make male & female characters sexually appealing is generally a false one. Male Gaze is a thing, and when it starts seeping into random media out of nowhere it seriously puts me, personally, off.

Take Red Sonja for example. Sure, on paper she's the female equivalent to Conan, but where Conan is a terse and mighty-thewed barbarian anti-hero whose primary purpose is being really cool n' stuff, Red Sonja's primary purpose is being a conventionally attractive woman who wears extremely revealing clothing all the time. For Conan, who he is and what makes him interesting comes first; the beefcake is secondary. Conversely, Red Sonja's primary purpose is being a scantily-clad woman who is "sexy" (for a given value of the term). This is related to that thing where women who we're told are experts at hand-to-hand combat and/or ridiculously strong aren't allowed to have visible musculature, let alone actually be as ripped as the dudes are.

An obvious straw man response to this opinion would probably something to the effect of "so you're saying nobody can never be portrayed as sexy or attractive in media?" To which I would reply, of course not, it's just that there is and has been a trend of fictional women being portrayed as conspicuously sexualized, for the benefit of the audience alone, while the male characters are near-universally spared the requirement that they be objectified before they can exist as characters. We're starting to see a good deal more media that features characters of both genders existing in a capacity beyond the nebulous need for sex appeal, and I think that's pretty great.

Kaptin Keen
2019-03-01, 01:42 AM
What? There's no great mystery here, chainmail bikini outfits are fanservice for fanboys. 'Realistically' they somehow manage to combine the disadvantages of armor AND nudity.

I'm not saying they need to be banned or anything, people just need to have a little self-awareness.

This seems vaguely relevant. (http://bikiniarmorbattledamage.tumblr.com/post/78944172315/female-armor-rhetoric-bingo) So does the rest of that site, as I'm pretty sure they've gone over every single argument made on this topic at some point.

If you can manage to speak respectfully to others - I will have a conversation with you. Otherwise, not so much.

martixy
2019-03-01, 05:56 AM
This is related to that thing where women who we're told are experts at hand-to-hand combat and/or ridiculously strong aren't allowed to have visible musculature, let alone actually be as ripped as the dudes are.

I so wish pop-culture would get over it.
I'd love to have this wonder woman: https://i.imgur.com/Ij9h4mI.jpg
or this: https://i.imgur.com/N017Tqp.jpg
instead of what we have now: https://i.imgur.com/VlvPZ3w.jpg
Edit: Entire album in case individual links don't work:
https://imgur.com/a/LwaME0R

On the other points, I agree. But I don't want to see a reduction of sexy. At best, more equal representation. Sexy is fun and entertaining. And we want entertainment to, uh... entertain us. Preferably entertain more than half the population too.
Which makes me wonder - what do women see as sexy or badass? This thread needs some female opinion...

Kiero
2019-03-01, 06:41 AM
Oh, and by the way, you can't play a berserk nudist and call it historical accuracy. "Berserk" refers to clothing. It means "bear shirt", and specifically refers to somebody who wears armor made of a bear hide, turned inside-out. The hairs against his skin are intended to make him rage in battle.

Fighting naked was definitely a historical thing. The Celts and others had a tradition of doing so, recorded by a number of historical commentators.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-01, 08:19 AM
It usually comes at the expense of non-sexualized representations, with the end result of portraying women almost exclusively as sex objects. And in practice, it usually does so specifically for the titillation of a presumed heterosexual cis male audience in ways designed specifically to appeal to that audience. Frequently, this happens even in media that otherwise has no sexualized elements, just as a normal thing. That puts a pretty meaningful damper on female participation in genre media, and damages the media itself by limiting the variety of characters and ideas that it normally expresses.

The problem isn’t with sexualization. The problems are: (a) the ratio of sexualized to non-sexualized material made available due to genre norms, (b) the presence of sexualization specifically due to genre norms and perceived audiences, (c) sexualization that is likely to be perceived as demeaning or alienating, and (d) the fact that the overwhelming majority of sexualized material is framed specifically for pseudo-pornographic titillation even in otherwise non-sexual material.

On a personal level, I think chain mail bikinis are stupid, so having to flip past endless pages of them while looking for character art is a pain.


That pretty much sums it up.

More broadly than just the "bikini", a lot of fantasy art depicts women in "armor" that's so useless that it's not attractive at all, no matter what it shows or hints, because all I can think is "that poor woman is going off to die in battle when someone puts a spear through her uncovered upper chest" or whatever. At certain points my disdain for this sort of art reaches the point where I'm tempted to call it "snuff".

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-01, 08:20 AM
Fighting naked was definitely a historical thing. The Celts and others had a tradition of doing so, recorded by a number of historical commentators.

I've read several articles claiming that this is a confusion between literally naked, and the use of "naked" to mean unarmored, and translations issues related.

Imbalance
2019-03-01, 08:44 AM
I've read several articles claiming that this is a confusion between literally naked, and the use of "naked" to mean unarmored, and translations issues related.

Modern context: Joshua Milton Blahyi
"Blahyi has said he*led his troops naked*except for shoes and a gun. He believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets. 'We were nude, fearless, drunk yet strategic.'"

The Jack
2019-03-01, 09:31 AM
-Chainmail bikinis are incredibly rare nowadays, and they're often tongue in cheek or homage. I feel like some of you are fighting the 1970s or something. It's like getting mad at Rome for sacking Carthage, only you're acting like the sacking never stopped and continued to this day.

-Form fitting male stuff is really, really common. But form fitting female stuff is evil because girls have evil bodies that turn men into rapacious apes or something? Get real. It's not realistic for men or women in this case, you've just got double standards.

Mail bikinis are no more unrealistic than the thousand fantasy armours that can't functionally work. Just look at anything from skyrim; helmets your head can't fit into, joints that couldn't possibly articulate, Huge and heavy shoulder pads, lack of protection in key areas, really really thick parts, copious segments and layers... and yes, I'm taking into account the fantasy materials here.
You could literally die or cripple yourself from wearing something here, Ineffective mail bikinis are objectively superior to a full suit of skyrim's ebony armour, which would end you by itself.

Women are more than half the human population, they don't agree on much. stop cramming your values down the throats of people in the name of 'realism'. Bikinis are no worse than the rest of every other fantasy armour on that front.

SirGraystone
2019-03-01, 09:49 AM
A note on story like Conan the barbarian and half naked woman, those kind of stories started in magazine, the writer was of course pay for their story and they were paid extra if their story were on the cover of the magazine, but the art on the cover was chosen by the publisher of the magazine not the story writer. The publisher was the one who picked the sexy art because it helped to sell the magazine.

Talakeal
2019-03-01, 10:20 AM
Note that the "chainmail bikini" is far older than Red Sonja comics. I know, for example, that Princess Leia's slave bikini was taken directly from one of the John Carter novels, which tended to feature extremely skimpy and impractical armor when illustrated as in the actual stories the people of Mars tended to go around nude.


Take Red Sonja for example. Sure, on paper she's the female equivalent to Conan, but where Conan is a terse and mighty-thewed barbarian anti-hero whose primary purpose is being really cool n' stuff, Red Sonja's primary purpose is being a conventionally attractive woman who wears extremely revealing clothing all the time. For Conan, who he is and what makes him interesting comes first; the beefcake is secondary. Conversely, Red Sonja's primary purpose is being a scantily-clad woman who is "sexy" (for a given value of the term). This is related to that thing where women who we're told are experts at hand-to-hand combat and/or ridiculously strong aren't allowed to have visible musculature, let alone actually be as ripped as the dudes are.

Isn't this just projection your own opinions onto other people?

Isn't it up to each individual reader what aspect of the story appeals to them first and which second? Even if you could somehow show that the author intended it one way or the other that is less important than the reader's individual perceptions of the work.


Which makes me wonder - what do women see as sexy or badass? This thread needs some female opinion...

I would definitely say guys who fight in a suit or tuxedo like James Bond are pretty close. Women like how men look in expensive suits, but those things are impossible to move about comfortably in, let alone do acrobatics and fight choreography in.


This seems vaguely relevant. (http://bikiniarmorbattledamage.tumblr.com/post/78944172315/female-armor-rhetoric-bingo) So does the rest of that site, as I'm pretty sure they've gone over every single argument made on this topic at some point.

While I enjoy and read that blog regularly, I find it best not to take it too seriously.

They constantly shift goal-posts when actually defending their positions, have kind of hypocritical standards, and seem to have a fetish for women suffering as so much of their mocking of armor comes in the form of vivid depictions of women wearing bikini armor dying horribly and so much of their good fantasy artwork involves praising depictions of badly maimed or scarred women.


I'd love to have this wonder woman: https://i.imgur.com/Ij9h4mI.jpg
or this: https://i.imgur.com/N017Tqp.jpg
instead of what we have now: https://i.imgur.com/VlvPZ3w.jpg

I can't get any of those links to work.

martixy
2019-03-01, 11:10 AM
I would definitely say guys who fight in a suit or tuxedo like James Bond are pretty close. Women like how men look in expensive suits, but those things are impossible to move about comfortably in, let alone do acrobatics and fight choreography in.

What about fantasy? "Suits" by itself is a dreadfully narrow aesthetic.


I can't get any of those links to work.

Dang... Here's the album:
https://imgur.com/a/LwaME0R

Hopefully not hotlinking will do the trick. I'll edit my previous post too.

Jay R
2019-03-01, 11:28 AM
1. Nobody ever wore a chainmail bikini as armor, at any time in history.

2. Some people do wear chainmail bikinis at Renfairs and similar places, without chafing.

3. They are worn as decoration, not as armor.

That’s in the real world. In D&D, it works differently. According to the historical documents, women’s leather armor pretty much amounts to any attractive outfit that has one or more leather items on it. I once sold a lass a leather headband that was more effective than plate (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0675.html). The principle generalizes to chainmail.

Talakeal
2019-03-01, 11:49 AM
What about fantasy? "Suits" by itself is a dreadfully narrow aesthetic.

That's harder to say. There is certainly a lot of barbarians and gladiators who wear next to nothing, but I doubt those are created to appeal to women. Also a lot of swashbuckler types who wear tight pants and shirts with collars so wide they leave them mostly bare chested, which is probably closer to made for appealing to women.

There are also tons of impractical male fantasy armors that don't show a lot of skin; for example the typical shoulder pads that are so large you wouldn't be able to life your armor let alone fight in them, or the spiked armor that would kill its wearer in short order, but we aren't talking about that.

Trollsmyth had a long series of blog posts a few years ago about what, if anything, would even constitute a sexualized male in fantasy art and didn't really ever come to a conclusion as the general consensus was that women are a lot more complex than men and are both far more varied in their attractions as well as needing multiple reasons to be attracted to someone, many of which were non-physical in nature.

Segev
2019-03-01, 12:01 PM
Trollsmyth had a long series of blog posts a few years ago about what, if anything, would even constitute a sexualized male in fantasy art and didn't really ever come to a conclusion as the general consensus was that women are a lot more complex than men and are both far more varied in their attractions as well as needing multiple reasons to be attracted to someone, many of which were non-physical in nature.

I think you'd find that men are equally varied, but that there's a common denominator that has been identified as being broad enough spectrum to suffice for "mass appeal." You could probably find a similar mass appeal for women. I daresay that the reason we keep seeing romance novels being brought up is that there's a strong hint there as to what that would be.

I've heard enough 'yes it is/no it isn't' over whether women are less attracted to physical sexiness (and assorted levels of scantily-clad men) than men are wrt women, versus attraction to wealth and power and status and overt marks of the same, that I won't comment on whether it's true or not. Certainly, fiction and media from the last century seem to think status/wealth is what men use to attract women more than anything else, if the number of instances where the stereotypical male peacockery is to buy the expensive, flashy car and the nice suit, compared to the instances where female "you want me" displays are all about making her more alluring and sexy (usually with a combination of makeup, hair styling, and outfits which range from "scandalous" to "who do you think you're fooling?").

Whether our mass appeal media is right about what attracts women in general or not is an open question, but it certainly seems that men and men in mass media production think that's how men think they attract women.

Talakeal
2019-03-01, 12:16 PM
I so wish pop-culture would get over it.
I'd love to have this wonder woman: https://i.imgur.com/Ij9h4mI.jpg
or this: https://i.imgur.com/N017Tqp.jpg
instead of what we have now: https://i.imgur.com/VlvPZ3w.jpg
Edit: Entire album in case individual links don't work:
https://imgur.com/a/LwaME0R

Ok, now I can see the images.

I can't tell the differences between those images and what we got in the movie. Is it just because the women wearing them are more muscular?

If so I totally agree, Gal Gadot is good in the role but she is way too skinny to be Wonder Woman. Apparently she thought so as well and planned to seriously bulk up for the role, but the studio told her not to as they felt that audiences wouldn't find a muscular woman as attractive as someone who is supermodel thin.

Calthropstu
2019-03-01, 12:48 PM
Doubtful sources for that - it was said by the Romans about their enemies, quite possibly to make them sound barbaric and/or stupid. Especially since celts were the ones that invented chainmail in the first place, which Romans promptly copied and manufactured on a massive scale.



No you can't, berserks are norse bodyguards from end of migration period, your combat nudists are celts. Even if the two may have met, they definitely wouldn't overlap. You try to walk around scandinavia naked. Berserk used pejoratively is even more suspect than the naked part because again, probably Roman propaganda - this is hardly the only time "they do drugs" was used as an accusation, just look at the Hassassins.



Chainmail, when made well, isn't pinchy. That said, absolutely no one would wear it on bare skin or just a shirt, because it doesn't protect you if you do that. Some very weak attacks may be stopped, but a sword or an arrow will do damage.

Even modern cheapo Indian chainmail that is a definition of poorly made isn't that bad on bare skin if you remove the nasty oil they use, it's not enough to scratch you even if someone presses it into you, you'd have to try to move it around like a sandpaper. I never thought that knowledge from going swimming in a mail coif and a kettle hat would prove useful, but there you go.



And it looks cool, and people have been known to value that hell of a lot more than price or inconvenience. If you really wanted to, you could make it realistic, like an order of insert class that can't wear armor that uses chainmail clothing because of their cultural roots. Kinda like how even modern day parade dress has a sword.

Let's be honest, absolutely no one who gives it a thought considers chainmail bikini or plate bikini to be functional, it's a part of a very sexualized aestethic - an aestethic that is equal in that sexualization between genders, at least as far as pictures go - just look at random picture of Conan, what with tight leather speedos.

What annoys me more is boob plate, because it screams "I wanted to seem wise and progressive but did bugger all in terms of research".

Actually, it's not the scratching that is the issue. It's the pinching. Particularly in 4 specific spots. The thighs, the armpits, the elbows and behind the knees. These areas bend the chain in such a way as to create areas the can catch small areas of skin and pinch them. It's not too often, but it does happen.

That said, it's really not a big deal. You are correct about the padding though. It is the chain, combined with padding, that stops an attack. The chain stops the attack only if there's something to cushion the attack itself. Otherwise, the chain will simply snap and let the weapon go right through. Leather padding was used, though I used cloth padding on my personal chain shirt (obviously, no one was trying to kill me in my bouts).

martixy
2019-03-01, 02:24 PM
Gonna requote everything, cuz you seem to have lost context.


This is related to that thing where women who we're told are experts at hand-to-hand combat and/or ridiculously strong aren't allowed to have visible musculature, let alone actually be as ripped as the dudes are.


If so I totally agree, Gal Gadot is good in the role but she is way too skinny to be Wonder Woman. Apparently she thought so as well and planned to seriously bulk up for the role, but the studio told her not to as they felt that audiences wouldn't find a muscular woman as attractive as someone who is supermodel thin.


I so wish pop-culture would get over it.
I.e. I wish the studio didn't feel the need to impose popular culture's moronic standards.

Same deal with the recent Alita.

The movie was absolutely incredible, save for the tacked-on holywood-style romance plot. Imagine how much more screen time we could have had for badass fight scenes or actual character development if that wasn't in the movie.

The Jack
2019-03-01, 02:31 PM
I.e. I wish the studio didn't feel the need to impose popular culture's moronic standards.


They're not moronic, they're biologically determined preferences brought about by...

Look at it this way.
You're not going to throw a truck when you're 60kgs
Or when you're 80kgs
Or when you're 120kgs
Or when you're 300kgs

Her established roll in this universe is just as social as it is martial. Her strength is magic so she might as well look the best too.

Talakeal
2019-03-01, 03:12 PM
They're not moronic, they're biologically determined preferences brought about by...

Look at it this way.
You're not going to throw a truck when you're 60kgs
Or when you're 80kgs
Or when you're 120kgs
Or when you're 300kgs

Her established roll in this universe is just as social as it is martial. Her strength is magic so she might as well look the best too.

I know what the … represents, but if it is anything related to survival or ability to bear children, I imagine a rail thin woman would actually be worse at both of those than a more athletic woman or even a moderately overweight woman.

What body type looks the best is totally subjective. It is hardly a biologically determined fact when a significant proportion of the population, I would guess more than 50%, prefers a woman with a bit more meat on her bones and is certainly not actively turned off by a more athletic looking woman.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-01, 03:14 PM
They're not moronic, they're biologically determined preferences brought about by...


Let's not end up taking another trip down the road of evo-psych's melodramatically biodeterminist nonsense.

martixy
2019-03-01, 03:21 PM
They're not moronic, they're biologically determined preferences brought about by...

Look at it this way.
You're not going to throw a truck when you're 60kgs
Or when you're 80kgs
Or when you're 120kgs
Or when you're 300kgs

Her established roll in this universe is just as social as it is martial. Her strength is magic so she might as well look the best too.

A response full of fallacies, I'm too tired to address one by one right now.

I'd just like to draw attention to how blatantly wrong the biology angle is, as evidenced by the substantial historical record of varying preferences, by location and period.

Segev
2019-03-01, 03:25 PM
I.e. I wish the studio didn't feel the need to impose popular culture's moronic standards.

Same deal with the recent Alita.

The movie was absolutely incredible, save for the tacked-on holywood-style romance plot. Imagine how much more screen time we could have had for badass fight scenes or actual character development if that wasn't in the movie.

Er... have you not seen the anime on which it's based? Battle Angel Alita (the anime) was pretty hardcore about its (tragic) romance. It was the central vehicle for the message about what measure a (wo)man.

I understand the manga has a lot more going on and that the romance, while present, isn't nearly as central due to the anime being plucked from one very brief portion of the manga, but the recent movie didn't "tack on" a romance any more than the most recent trilogy of Hobbit movies "tacked on" a random riddle contest as an excuse to hand a ring of invisibility to the title character.

thuhnc
2019-03-01, 03:27 PM
Isn't this just projection your own opinions onto other people?

Isn't it up to each individual reader what aspect of the story appeals to them first and which second? Even if you could somehow show that the author intended it one way or the other that is less important than the reader's individual perceptions of the work.

I might have worded my argument in a way that distracted from the point I was trying to make. Essentially, Conan's arguably sexualized ideal male physique isn't at odds with who his character is or the kind of stuff he does; he's a mighty, muscular barbarian warrior and he looks like one.

Red Sonja, on the other hand, is a relatively petite yet improbably well-endowed woman, and yet (we are informed) she's Conan's approximate equal in martial skill. This is an example of the false equivalence between male & female objectification ("objectification" in the former's case) in media.

The reason I say her being attractive appears to take priority over who she is as a character is because her appearance (and, indeed, manner of dress) is an attempt at titillation to the point that it's objectifying at the expense of her character itself.


Her strength is magic so she might as well look the best too.

Speaking of which, the prevalence of this trope is pretty much entirely to justify having women be universally thin and busty while also being much stronger than the average person. Even Red Sonja, according to her Wikipedia page, has supernatural fighting skill as a result of divine intervention.

Just to clarify, I personally don't find the definition of "sexiness" espoused by most popular culture to be to my taste; that's probably why it seems especially egregious to me.

The Jack
2019-03-01, 03:30 PM
Good advice, That's a rabbit hole I could be down all day.
(but, because I can't resist: The theory is men like narrow waists because we're jealous creatures and want to ensure she's not pregnant. As for how much chub, there is a 'most healthy' line that's always attractive, and from there general preferences for leaner or bigger women relate to how much food there is. As we live in a time with too much food, thin is slightly preferential to more men, whilst the opposite is true in times with a lack of food. I'm sorry, I just can't stand pushes for fat acceptance, it enables obesity and irresponsible food industry that makes us so.)



From another angle, Wonder Woman is a female hero who's got woman in her very name. She's an Icon of female empowerment, and I think it's a huge boon for her to be the epitome of feminine in build (well, she could be shorter, but that's not empowering). If you give her muscles, you're adding masculinity and thus taking away a lot of feminine appeal, both in how attractive she is to men and how relatable ideal she is to women.

Calthropstu
2019-03-01, 03:37 PM
I might have worded my argument in a way that distracted from the point I was trying to make. Essentially, Conan's arguably sexualized ideal male physique isn't at odds with who his character is or the kind of stuff he does; he's a mighty, muscular barbarian warrior and he looks like one.

Red Sonja, on the other hand, is a relatively petite yet improbably well-endowed woman, and yet (we are informed) she's Conan's approximate equal in martial skill. This is an example of the false equivalence between male & female objectification ("objectification" in the former's case) in media.

The reason I say her being attractive appears to take priority over who she is as a character is because her appearance (and, indeed, manner of dress) is an attempt at titillation to the point that it's objectifying at the expense of her character itself.



Speaking of which, the prevalence of this trope is pretty much entirely to justify having women be universally thin and busty while also being much stronger than the average person. Even Red Sonja, according to her Wikipedia page, has supernatural fighting skill as a result of divine intervention.

Just to clarify, I personally don't find the definition of "sexiness" espoused by most popular culture to be to my taste; that's probably why it seems especially egregious to me.

Obviously, it is to the writer's taste. If you like otherwise, feel free to write your own. If it didn't appeal to a large number of people, it wouldn't be used. But it does, so it is.

Either: create something more to your liking, or stop supporting that which isn't to your liking if you don't support it. The artists have full creative writing. If Alita (keeping with the example) had been a huge overweight woman, that is the author's prerogative. If she had been child sized, again author's prerogative. If she had been a flat chested nongendered personality, again author's prerogative. Authors and artists have 100% creative freedom to make whatever they want.

So, while you may criticize all you wish, so long as you continue supporting movies that continue that trope, they will continue to be made. Personally, I enjoy Rosa's looks and find her to be quite attractive. I will continue to support movies with actresses like her in them because I thoroughly enjoy looking at them.

So eh?

martixy
2019-03-01, 03:55 PM
Er... have you not seen the anime on which it's based? Battle Angel Alita (the anime) was pretty hardcore about its (tragic) romance. It was the central vehicle for the message about what measure a (wo)man.

I understand the manga has a lot more going on and that the romance, while present, isn't nearly as central due to the anime being plucked from one very brief portion of the manga, but the recent movie didn't "tack on" a romance any more than the most recent trilogy of Hobbit movies "tacked on" a random riddle contest as an excuse to hand a ring of invisibility to the title character.

I know. I just wish it hadn't gotten the holywood treatment along the way.

thuhnc
2019-03-01, 04:06 PM
Obviously, it is to the writer's taste. If you like otherwise, feel free to write your own. If it didn't appeal to a large number of people, it wouldn't be used. But it does, so it is.

[...] Authors and artists have 100% creative freedom to make whatever they want.

So, while you may criticize all you wish, so long as you continue supporting movies that continue that trope, they will continue to be made. Personally, I enjoy Rosa's looks and find her to be quite attractive. I will continue to support movies with actresses like her in them because I thoroughly enjoy looking at them.

So eh?

Yeah, I'm not calling for a sweeping boycott of the entertainment industry or anything. It's not necessarily something that sends me into an uncontrollable rage, but I think it's worth it to think about the messages that media sends to those who consume it, and why it was made the way it was-- as you allude to, media doesn't exist in a vacuum. These portrayals aren't omnipresent because that's just the way they are, it was somebody's decision to make them that way.

So, I just find it a little bit disappointing whenever a piece of media makes the decision to reduce a female character to eye candy in the name of including a little softcore pornography. I feel it sends and/or reinforces the message that a woman's worth and her attractiveness to men are one and the same.

Which isn't to condemn any and all depictions of sex or sexiness or to say that we should ban conventionally attractive depictions of fictional characters. I just want there to be a greater variety of depictions, for that sort of thing to be less of a default. And that's currently happening in a lot of places! So, that's good.

Calthropstu
2019-03-01, 04:21 PM
Yeah, I'm not calling for a sweeping boycott of the entertainment industry or anything. It's not necessarily something that sends me into an uncontrollable rage, but I think it's worth it to think about the messages that media sends to those who consume it, and why it was made the way it was-- as you allude to, media doesn't exist in a vacuum. These portrayals aren't omnipresent because that's just the way they are, it was somebody's decision to make them that way.

So, I just find it a little bit disappointing whenever a piece of media makes the decision to reduce a female character to eye candy in the name of including a little softcore pornography. I feel it sends and/or reinforces the message that a woman's worth and her attractiveness to men are one and the same.

Which isn't to condemn any and all depictions of sex or sexiness or to say that we should ban conventionally attractive depictions of fictional characters. I just want there to be a greater variety of depictions, for that sort of thing to be less of a default. And that's currently happening in a lot of places! So, that's good.

To be fair, the movie is based off of anime. Japan sexualizes everyone and everything. Nothing inherently wrong with it, but it IS a completely different culture from our own. I refrain from applying our values to other cultures when viewing their media.

Frozen_Feet
2019-03-01, 04:41 PM
I think two lines of discussion got mashed together there... unless you have a thing for prosthetics, I don't really think the recent Alita movie played the main character for sex appeal.

thuhnc
2019-03-01, 05:14 PM
I think two lines of discussion got mashed together there... unless you have a thing for prosthetics, I don't really think the recent Alita movie played the main character for sex appeal.

Yeah, I'm not actually familiar with this film at all. I was kind of just speaking generally.

Vykryl
2019-03-01, 08:23 PM
While I find most fantasy armor (and weapons) rather absurd, I have a bigger gripe. Why is it when one does find art work of a female in practical armor that she also is often wearing suicide heels?

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-01, 09:51 PM
While I find most fantasy armor (and weapons) rather absurd, I have a bigger gripe. Why is it when one does find art work of a female in practical armor that she also is often wearing suicide heels?

Clueless artists, style over substance, etc.

thuhnc
2019-03-02, 12:18 AM
suicide heels

Oh, jeez, I completely forgot about this crap! High heels being portrayed as reasonably practical footwear for hiking, combat and comfortable daily use is at least twice as egregious as any chainmail bikini. At least if you're half-naked in a pair of flats you're physically capable of moving at speed.

Floret
2019-03-02, 04:24 AM
Let's not end up taking another trip down the road of evo-psych's melodramatically biodeterminist nonsense.

Yes, please. Oh my god do I hate Evopsych. Especially because evolutionary pressure does lead to certain things, but reactionaries justifying their opinions with evopsych- bull**** has tainted any possible discussion you could have on it.




From another angle, Wonder Woman is a female hero who's got woman in her very name. She's an Icon of female empowerment, and I think it's a huge boon for her to be the epitome of feminine in build (well, she could be shorter, but that's not empowering). If you give her muscles, you're adding masculinity and thus taking away a lot of feminine appeal, both in how attractive she is to men and how relatable ideal she is to women.

Bull****. Muscles are no more inherently "masculine" than heels are inherently "feminine", and if being short is out because "not empowering", unmuscled has to be as well. There is nothing powerful in being slim, or non-muscled. Rather, yaknow, the opposite. You can be powerful without muscles, but to argue that the physical mark of strength is not empowering is laughable.

"As a woman" (Cause someone asked for female input), I gotta say David Willis (himself not a woman) has pretty much hit a lot of important notes with his "sexy Batman (https://shortpacked.com/comic/false-equivalence)" comic.

Muscles are nice, but the most appealing build is different from the classic Conan one, in a way not always immediately obvious if you just check for "muscledude". The other main thing about sexualisation is context, posing, and pronouncing certain areas with that - on men, mostly chest, bulge, and buttocks. Also, facial features mean a lot...

There is one person that I've found pretty much everyone to agree on is hot, regardless of usual "type": Jason Momoa. Put him next to Arnold Conan, compare, and you might find the answer. Devil is, as always, in the details.

GloatingSwine
2019-03-02, 06:08 AM
Er... have you not seen the anime on which it's based? Battle Angel Alita (the anime) was pretty hardcore about its (tragic) romance. It was the central vehicle for the message about what measure a (wo)man.

I understand the manga has a lot more going on and that the romance, while present, isn't nearly as central due to the anime being plucked from one very brief portion of the manga, but the recent movie didn't "tack on" a romance any more than the most recent trilogy of Hobbit movies "tacked on" a random riddle contest as an excuse to hand a ring of invisibility to the title character.

It's actually more prominent in the manga because it has a whole book to itself and it informs the arc of Alita's character for the next three books after it happens.


Muscles are nice, but the most appealing build is different from the classic Conan one, in a way not always immediately obvious if you just check for "muscledude". The other main thing about sexualisation is context, posing, and pronouncing certain areas with that - on men, mostly chest, bulge, and buttocks. Also, facial features mean a lot...

I don't think it's that subtle. It's pretty easy to compare the standard issue Hollywood Male Shirtless Scene Torso with someone like The Rock and see the difference.

But some people don't want to see the difference.

The Jack
2019-03-02, 06:29 AM
Bull****. Muscles are no more inherently "masculine" than heels are inherently "feminine", and if being short is out because "not empowering", unmuscled has to be as well. There is nothing powerful in being slim, or non-muscled. Rather, yaknow, the opposite. You can be powerful without muscles, but to argue that the physical mark of strength is not empowering is laughable.


It's empowering, but it ain't the right kind of empowering.

Being a good height is a social thing as much as a physical threat thing. Looking down or up to people has a huge effect on the psych, and too-tall or too-short people get flak for it. Big muscles; look, women tend to solve a lot of social stuff with social manouvers, compare female bullying to male bullying. Women will target women for acting like a bloke, its just **** they do. Physical dominance is really a false step in circles of women. a woman having big muscles might as well cover herself in grease and wield a shotgun to dinner parties.

Look, characters like Vasquez are really cool, but they arent good for teaparties or high society or shopping addicts or gossiping old women or whatever bull**** you aren't interested in. Her militant empowerment isnt civilian empowerment and they probably work against her. Vasquez out of context isn't such an admirable character. (Also, vasquez was conventionally attractive, so that softens things)

Muscled women are less feminine. It's just how we work. If Dianna was more muscular, she'd be more empowered in a fight but weakened as a diplomat, socialite.. perhaps even an academic.

Wonder Woman was perfect.

hymer
2019-03-02, 08:33 AM
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd MUCH rather get my clothes snagged on brambles than my SKIN. Owww...
Agreed. But if the thorns prevent you from retreating, or advancing, or raising your weapon to defend yourself, maybe some scratches are the lesser of two evils. *shrug* I dunno if that makes sense, but Polybius seems to have bought into the notion. He at least had first hand experience with warfare in the period. I still feel like I would've kept my trousers on.

Tanarii
2019-03-02, 11:53 AM
"As a woman" (Cause someone asked for female input), I gotta say David Willis (himself not a woman) has pretty much hit a lot of important notes with his "sexy Batman (https://shortpacked.com/comic/false-equivalence)" comic.The Hawkeye Initiative and several variants also do a good job of trying to drill the point home with those that refuse to understand, and insist on trying to rationalize with various justifications.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-02, 12:02 PM
It's not that sexy is inherently bad.

It's when out-of-context, physically impossible, insulting, etc, depictions happen for the sake of "sexy".

It's when the "sexy" is clearly pandering to a narrow audience at the expense of being insulting, belittling, degrading, demeaning, etc to those not in that narrow audience.


And frankly, sometimes as a straight male I find some of what is presumed I'll find "sexy" pretty damn insulting to ME.

Frozen_Feet
2019-03-02, 01:09 PM
You all do realize though that there is a robust culture of fan art and slash fiction where women write and draw "sexy batmen" to appeal to other women, right? And that it's probably as big or bigger than the tabletop RPG hobby?

Frozen_Feet
2019-03-02, 01:18 PM
To be fair, the movie is based off of anime. Japan sexualizes everyone and everything. Nothing inherently wrong with it, but it IS a completely different culture from our own. I refrain from applying our values to other cultures when viewing their media.

I decided to return to this because I think there's a big mistake in here. Namely, I do not believe in dismissing Japan as its own thing. Japanese pop media has massive influence and appeal globally. Just think of how many popular video game franchises come from there.

Then ask yourselves: are the creature designs in, say, Pokemon, made with the intent that Western fans turn them into gazillion images of furry porn? Are the human character design made with the intent that Western fans can dress up and shoot porn as those characters?

I'd say the answer to both is "no", but that's what happens regardless.

Japanese are not unique in their perversion.

Arbane
2019-03-02, 01:41 PM
You all do realize though that there is a robust culture of fan art and slash fiction where women write and draw "sexy batmen" to appeal to other women, right? And that it's probably as big or bigger than the tabletop RPG hobby?

And this is relevant to a discussion of the omnipresence of fanboy-pandering art in RPGs how, exactly?

Satinavian
2019-03-02, 02:08 PM
Bull****. Muscles are no more inherently "masculine" than heels are inherently "feminine", and if being short is out because "not empowering", unmuscled has to be as well. There is nothing powerful in being slim, or non-muscled. Rather, yaknow, the opposite. You can be powerful without muscles, but to argue that the physical mark of strength is not empowering is laughable.

It is a cultural thing.

People pretend that all of "Western culture" is pretty much the same, but it really is not. In the US muscles are seen as masculine in a way that is just not true in Europe. Which is why building visible muscles in fitness centres is something that is far more common for men in the US than it is in Europe and on the other side of the coin is that muscular women get more backlash over there. The idea a society has about the genders produces pressure to conform to it.

Gender is weird.

Frozen_Feet
2019-03-02, 02:33 PM
@Arbane: Because there is overlap: the people who draw fan art of comic books are often the same people who draw characters of their RPG characters or even end up illustrating indie RPG products. Once you realize that, it loops back to what I said earlier: the distinctions drawn in these kind of threads are lines drawn in sand, and real people trample over them all the time.

Let me illustrate.

This is Incineroar (https://www.ssbwiki.com/images/thumb/c/c4/Incineroar_SSBU.png/250px-Incineroar_SSBU.png). It's a Pokemon. It's not a particularly sexualized design. It's definitely more Conan than Red Sonja.

I guarantee you that if you do a Google Image Search with safe search off, you will find enough furry porn to scar you for life.

Ergo, someone looked at that original design and decided they had hots for it. Just because the original design (probably) wasn't made as a sexual fantasy, doesn't mean it had zero appeal.

Same applies to Batman, Conan, or whatever. The "Sexy Batman" comic is thus a poor (counter-)argument. The equivalence is only false if you myopically focus on artist intention and never examine wide-scale public reactions. Once you do consider the wide-scale reactions, you really want statistics to back you up if you want to pigeonhole a piece of art, like I said before.

Tanarii
2019-03-02, 03:59 PM
The "Sexy Batman" comic is thus a poor (counter-)argument.
You're confusing an argument and a demonstration.

Arbane
2019-03-02, 11:46 PM
The "Sexy Batman" comic is thus a poor (counter-)argument. The equivalence is only false if you myopically focus on artist intention and never examine wide-scale public reactions. Once you do consider the wide-scale reactions, you really want statistics to back you up if you want to pigeonhole a piece of art, like I said before.

Man what?

The Sexy Batman comic is (a joke about) FANART. Sexy Red Sonja comics are OFFICIAL.

thuhnc
2019-03-03, 02:28 AM
It's empowering, but it ain't the right kind of empowering.

Muscled women are less feminine.

Etc.

It seems like your own opinions about biology are causing you to, shall we say, arrive at a precursory judgement regarding positive representation of women. I don't think muscular women are significantly impeded in social interaction by the fact that they have visible muscles. And, as a man, I don't particularly associate masculinity and being muscular with displays of physical dominance. In fact, I'd consider it a 'false step' in most if not all situations.

I feel your connecting the character Vasquez from Aliens (who I'd probably describe as "athletic" in build, but whose personality is pretty aggressive) to all depictions of muscular (and fit-looking? I guess?) women is pretty telling.

The Jack
2019-03-03, 05:53 AM
It seems like your own opinions about biology are causing you to, shall we say, arrive at a precursory judgement regarding positive representation of women. I don't think muscular women are significantly impeded in social interaction by the fact that they have visible muscles. And, as a man, I don't particularly associate masculinity and being muscular with displays of physical dominance. In fact, I'd consider it a 'false step' in most if not all situations.

I feel your connecting the character Vasquez from Aliens (who I'd probably describe as "athletic" in build, but whose personality is pretty aggressive) to all depictions of muscular (and fit-looking? I guess?) women is pretty telling.

Ey, Dude, don't throw around a "that's like, your opinion, man" to noted phenomenon. My biological understanding is solid and my agenda is the truth*. (but seriously, psychological sex differences were taught to me in a psychology class entirely dominated by women, I've not gathered this stuff in an alt-right echo chamber)
Yeah, Vasqueze was probably a poor example (although she's probably the build Gadot was thinking of when she was thinking to bulk up wonder woman), but I can't think of a muscle woman that people actually like or take seriously. Can you?


For most women, having the power without the muscle would be very preferable to having the power and muscle to say you've got it. Many women are afraid of developing muscle. Tell em something like 'if you want to lose weight (fat) you should build muscle' they'll get horrified at the notion and stick to cardio. It's an all-too real phenomenon. Maybe it's not biological and we're just bigots, but the factor still remains.

Ergo, for Wonder Woman to be the best icon for women she aught to be conventionally attractive so that conventional women will better identify with her or see her as an aspiration.

*Probable phrase for notable liars.

Floret
2019-03-03, 06:04 AM
Muscled women are less feminine. It's just how we work. If Dianna was more muscular, she'd be more empowered in a fight but weakened as a diplomat, socialite.. perhaps even an academic.

Wonder Woman was perfect.

So wait, you just explained to me, a woman, how women interact and how important muscles are in female socialisation. Suffice it to say, you're wrong, and it doesn't work that way, you're generalising things that are so not generalisable, and "It's just how we work" is the same laughable evopsych bull to stay away from.

It might be how you work. It's not how "we" do. Muscularity can be a great boon for social interactions, and the point it becomes counterproductive is far beyond what the movie wonder woman portrayed.


It is a cultural thing.

People pretend that all of "Western culture" is pretty much the same, but it really is not. In the US muscles are seen as masculine in a way that is just not true in Europe.

...is America okay? (Interesting point, didn't realise that, but it all the more proves there is nothing "natural" about the association)


Gender is weird.

Amen to that.


Let me illustrate.

This is Incineroar (https://www.ssbwiki.com/images/thumb/c/c4/Incineroar_SSBU.png/250px-Incineroar_SSBU.png). It's a Pokemon. It's not a particularly sexualized design. It's definitely more Conan than Red Sonja.

I guarantee you that if you do a Google Image Search with safe search off, you will find enough furry porn to scar you for life.

Went for seven pages without anything before getting bored. So... no. If your search results are full of furry porn, that's not because "people just sexualise everything". I mean, they do, googling "incineroar porn" isn't an empty search by any means, but if I image search "Red Sonja" I get the seductive poses as a second result (and about every second or third after that), and the first tits on full display not even one page in.

(Googling Conan, if we loop back, gets one pose I'd be willing to call somewhat seductive the first page, the same image repeated and naked breasts as well as seductive female posing by the second. A pic of his buttocks or bulge on somewhat pronounced display is yet to be found at a similar search length as incineroar. ...)

There is a discrepancy here. A big, giant, discrepancy.

So no. Your equivalancy is absolutely, resoundingly, false.

...and as someone pointed out, I posted the sexy batman comic as a sumup of "what do women tend to find attractive", not as an argument. Though it does make a nice one.

Kiero
2019-03-03, 06:35 AM
I've read several articles claiming that this is a confusion between literally naked, and the use of "naked" to mean unarmored, and translations issues related.

It isn't just a single textual source that claims Celts fought naked. There are numerous figures, Ptolemaic terracotta, Galatian warrior stelai; written sources such as Polybius (who was a soldier and general, not some scholar writing centuries after the event) and Diodoros. Warrior traditions of fighting naked aren't just Celtic, but generally Indo-European and shared by other peoples, with special significance given to fighting barefoot, bare-chested and naked.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-03, 08:29 AM
Ey, Dude, don't throw around a "that's like, your opinion, man" to noted phenomenon. My biological understanding is solid and my agenda is the truth*. (but seriously, psychological sex differences were taught to me in a psychology class entirely dominated by women, I've not gathered this stuff in an alt-right echo chamber) .

The social sciences (which psychology is, it's not a hard science) have a bad habit of projecting very limited sample sizes taken within a limited set (ie, college undergrads mainly in their own departments) onto all of humanity, of conflating and inverting the mix of nature and nurture, and coming up with "just so" stories that are then presented as "fact".

Those were taught these "facts" then teach them in kind.

People will believe strange things about themselves if those things are presented as "fact" by those with cred -- look at all the people who've internalized Freudian, Jungian, and Skinnerian nonsense as "truth" about themselves.

The Jack
2019-03-03, 12:08 PM
Look, I'm a cynic and If I haven't seen it myself won't believe anything unless I've gone through at least three contending sources and thrown ten theories at the wall to see what stuck.

Most evolutionary psychology stuff works for most people, though it's of course entirely possible to overstate it. It's only relevant when we're actually discussing gender. and here I could come up with so many angles on why Wonder Woman aught to be less muscular than more

-New thought; Since testosterone is the masculine hormone and helps muscle growth, perhaps a lack of muscle indicates the least amount of testosterone and therefore femininity..

I don't actually care that much, for me the film wouldn't lose much, if anything, were she more athletic looking. But we had a female director decide that the character shouldn't put on the pounds. (or maybe it was a producer, I don't know)

It doesn't matter if it's evolutionary or just our current culture; Wonder Woman was tailored to what they thought the public's idea of a perfect heroine should be, and they decided against muscles.

halfeye
2019-03-03, 01:04 PM
There are female body-builders. I dunno what it means, but it's a fact there are some.

thuhnc
2019-03-03, 01:08 PM
It doesn't matter if it's evolutionary or just our current culture; Wonder Woman was tailored to what they thought the public's idea of a perfect heroine should be, and they decided against muscles.

I think my point that visible muscles and femininity aren't mutually exclusive still stands if you shift the blame for the lack of positive portrayals of such to arguably-cynical creators and/or widespread societal bias. After all, there was a time when the public's idea of a perfect heroine was one who cowered in a ripped bodice as the male protagonist took care of everything.


The social sciences (which psychology is, it's not a hard science) have a bad habit of projecting very limited sample sizes taken within a limited set (ie, college undergrads mainly in their own departments) onto all of humanity, of conflating and inverting the mix of nature and nurture, and coming up with "just so" stories that are then presented as "fact".

A glaring result of this methodology being that huge swaths of the population (those who disagree with whatever idea it is they've set out to prove via rigorous confirmation bias) must be categorized as outliers whose extreme views are easily set aside, such that the bell curve is in danger of putting someone's eye out.

Liquor Box
2019-03-03, 07:37 PM
Bull****. Muscles are no more inherently "masculine" than heels are inherently "feminine", and if being short is out because "not empowering", unmuscled has to be as well. There is nothing powerful in being slim, or non-muscled. Rather, yaknow, the opposite. You can be powerful without muscles, but to argue that the physical mark of strength is not empowering is laughable.

I'm not sure it's true to say that muscles are not inherently masculine at all. After all, men on average have much more muscle mass than women, and build muscle mass more easily (I think mostly because of their higher natural testosterone levels). Muscles being associated with men is not just a social construct. Of course, that doesn't mean women cannot have some degree of visible muscle definition (as Red Sonja does in some art, but not others), but to have a female looking like Conan would be unlikely, and you might have trouble finding an actress.


"As a woman" (Cause someone asked for female input), I gotta say David Willis (himself not a woman) has pretty much hit a lot of important notes with his "sexy Batman (https://shortpacked.com/comic/false-equivalence)" comic.

Muscles are nice, but the most appealing build is different from the classic Conan one, in a way not always immediately obvious if you just check for "muscledude". The other main thing about sexualisation is context, posing, and pronouncing certain areas with that - on men, mostly chest, bulge, and buttocks. Also, facial features mean a lot...

Surely what type of build appeals to women is subjective and changes from person to person? While you own preference may be similar to that in the comic you link to, one other female has commented in this thread that "And hey um, I consider musclemen like Conan appealing? So? Well if men find that appealing to their power fantasies then good for them!". Even if Conan appeals sexually to a significant minority of women, then his appearing essentially in his underwear was not a bad idea from a sex sells perspective.

It's the same with the type of women men are attracted to. Some men prefer slimmer more atheltic builds (the majority I suspect), others prefer curvier bigger breasted builds. But just because a scantily depicted woman of one type may not be the ideal for men who prefer the other type, that doesn't make it not a sexualisation or not fan service.


There is one person that I've found pretty much everyone to agree on is hot, regardless of usual "type": Jason Momoa. Put him next to Arnold Conan, compare, and you might find the answer. Devil is, as always, in the details.

See I would have though of Jason Momoa as being a muscly guy (sure not on the degree of a young Schwarzeneger, but still much more so than is average amongst male actors). Do you think his frequent shirtless scenes in GoT was fanservice for the ladies?



but if I image search "Red Sonja" I get the seductive poses as a second result (and about every second or third after that), and the first tits on full display not even one page in.

(Googling Conan, if we loop back, gets one pose I'd be willing to call somewhat seductive the first page, the same image repeated and naked breasts as well as seductive female posing by the second. A pic of his buttocks or bulge on somewhat pronounced display is yet to be found at a similar search length as incineroar. ...)

There is a discrepancy here. A big, giant, discrepancy.


I tried to replicate your searches* and didn't get the same result, so I'm wondering if google is filtering our results differently or if we are interpreting "seductive poses" differently. Firstly, it is a given for both that in almost all pictures what they are wearing has similar coverage to underwear - so their clothing does not distinguish (subject to your separate point, that being in your underwear means something different to a woman and a muscly man).

Putting that aside, each of my first ten results for Red Sonja had her holding a weapon, and usually in somewhat of an action pose. None was in any way seductive (beyond that fact that she an attractive woman dressed revealingly) to my mind. Each of my first ten results from Conan* was exactly the same - him holding a weapon usually in an action pose. None was in any way seductive (beyond that he is an attractive man dressed revealingly) to my mind.

Beyond the first ten there was infrequent instances of Red Sonja being depicted in a seductive/sexualised way, and very occasional (so less frequent) examples of Conan depicted the same. It was also true that Conan was sometimes portrayed with an angry (so non-seductive) expression, where Sonja's expression tended to be neutral. So I suppose that there's some distinction there, but perhaps not as stark as the one you observed.

* I did change my Conan search to "Conan the barbarian comic" to make it more comparable to Red Sonja:
- My first Conan search included a lot of images of other Conan characters - Conan the talk show host and a Conan the Detective character
- My second Conan search (after adding "the barbarian") included lots of images of Arnold Schwarzeneger as Conan, so I added "comic" to restrict the images to the comic book

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-03, 07:38 PM
It isn't just a single textual source that claims Celts fought naked. There are numerous figures, Ptolemaic terracotta, Galatian warrior stelai; written sources such as Polybius (who was a soldier and general, not some scholar writing centuries after the event) and Diodoros. Warrior traditions of fighting naked aren't just Celtic, but generally Indo-European and shared by other peoples, with special significance given to fighting barefoot, bare-chested and naked.

I think we could have a really long discussion on that topic alone, and that I'd come away with a deeper knowledge than I have now, but I'm going to defer to your greater knowledge of the topic in this instance -- my only intent was to bring up the alternate possibility for consideration.

Arbane
2019-03-03, 08:11 PM
The social sciences (which psychology is, it's not a hard science) have a bad habit of projecting very limited sample sizes taken within a limited set (ie, college undergrads mainly in their own departments) onto all of humanity, of conflating and inverting the mix of nature and nurture, and coming up with "just so" stories that are then presented as "fact".

Those were taught these "facts" then teach them in kind.

People will believe strange things about themselves if those things are presented as "fact" by those with cred -- look at all the people who've internalized Freudian, Jungian, and Skinnerian nonsense as "truth" about themselves.

Excuse me, are you implying that white upper-middle class academic men are somehow NOT the platinum-iridium standard for human psychology? INCONCIEVABLE!

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-03, 08:29 PM
Excuse me, are you implying that white upper-middle class academic men are somehow NOT the platinum-iridium standard for human psychology? INCONCIEVABLE!

Note, "undergrads in the field of study" includes women, and people of other skin colors... but self-selects for those with American upbringings, in college, who already have exposure and buy-in on the assertions being "tested".

Arbane
2019-03-03, 10:56 PM
Note, "undergrads in the field of study" includes women, and people of other skin colors... but self-selects for those with American upbringings, in college, who already have exposure and buy-in on the assertions being "tested".

Yup. Aka "WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic" (https://psmag.com/social-justice/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135).

Liquor Box
2019-03-03, 11:38 PM
Yup. Aka "WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic" (https://psmag.com/social-justice/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135).

I'm going to hazard a guess here that the majority of consumers of Conan and Red Sonja media are from western, industrialised and democratic countries, and are above average (by world standards) in terms of wealth and education (after all they can afford the comics and can read).

Not buying into the rest of the psych argument. But if you are right that the Psych studies are specific to the western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic, than they may be even more relevant to consumers of Conan and Red Sonja than a Psych study that included a broader cross-section of the world's population.

Mordaedil
2019-03-04, 02:23 AM
Explain yourself! By which I mean... what would you consider equal sexiness representation?

You're asking a man for his opinion on a female perspective, which would prompt me to be basically "mansplaining". I don't think my input is very valuable on this point of view, I can merely acknowledge there is a gap and refer to "ask women what it is about".

Of course, the real answer is "it's complicated".

Cazero
2019-03-04, 02:59 AM
but to have a female looking like Conan would be unlikely, and you might have trouble finding an actress.
Excuse me, but if they can find 5 of them for a silly music videoclip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llHhiiNnIjY), Hollywood has no excuses.

The Jack
2019-03-04, 03:35 AM
I find it incredibly weird that people want to apply US gender and race issues to the rest of the world.
People're equal in north west europe, we don't have your problems (at least to the extent you do), the EU (for the most part the west and north) is arguably a bigger and better producer of science than the US. Being a 'white male' is much less likely to give you a research bias here.

A man's allowed a ridiculous outfit but a woman isn't, because if we allow them both to have ridiculous outfits that'd be sexist.

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 03:40 AM
Excuse me, but if they can find 5 of them for a silly music videoclip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llHhiiNnIjY), Hollywood has no excuses.

Did you watch the video. None of the women in that video are remotely comparable to Schwarzeneger's Conan. i doubt the five of them combined have as much muscle mass.

If all you meant was that there are women with some muscle, then you are right. That's why I said "that doesn't mean women cannot have some degree of visible muscle definition (as Red Sonja does in some art, but not others)".

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 08:03 AM
I find it incredibly weird that people want to apply US gender and race issues to the rest of the world.
People're equal in north west europe, we don't have your problems (at least to the extent you do), the EU (for the most part the west and north) is arguably a bigger and better producer of science than the US. Being a 'white male' is much less likely to give you a research bias here.


The "research bias" being discussed in this case has nothing to do with "white males", and at least from what I've read generally applies to the parts of the EU you're presenting as "less biased" and "better at science".

(And speaking of bias...)

The "research bias (https://psmag.com/social-justice/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135)" here has to do with how certain social sciences have a bad habit of concocting just-so stories about supposedly "inherent" human behaviors and thought processes and so on, based on the set of assumptions the most of the researchers are immersed in, that most of their teachers and instructors and professors were immersed in -- and that most of their students are immersed in, and that most of their test subjects are immersed in. The results of the testing of those subjects "confirm" the just-so explanations, and those subjects and other people they run into who don't fit the just-so explanation are often dismissed as "outliers" who would "skew the sample".

It's a deeper example of the academic echo chamber that grips many campuses, at least in the US, and likely in parts of Europe as well.

Evolutionary psychology is probably the "leader" in this sort of nonsense "science", it's riddled with just-so stories that were worked backwards from the conclusions (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/four-fallacies-of-pop-evolutionary-2012-12-07/).




A man's allowed a ridiculous outfit but a woman isn't, because if we allow them both to have ridiculous outfits that'd be sexist.


Conflating all "ridiculous outfits" as equivalent is either unintentionally or deliberately masking the fact that the problem under discussion here lies in what kinds of outfits, ridiculous or otherwise, are shown and how the specific sorts aren't divided equally between male and female characters.

The Jack
2019-03-04, 09:56 AM
But this is just a freaking argument about taste. The more I read, the simpler it gets.

Ew the too big men are gross and don't appeal to my fantasy.
Ew the big booby women are for dumb-dumb brute men.

It's elitism. It's 'I'm better than this lowbrow tripe' and 'My taste is better than yours' and so on.

Male artists can draw big men and big-titted women.
Female artists can draw skinnies and average women (In a style that makes them look cute so you can't really say the woman looks average)


I don't get offended when someone draws a tall, lean man with lush lips, no beard and perfect hair as if he were some kind of ideal, even though I find that kinda thing incredibly distasteful. I don't encourage the removal of such swill. I don't lambast the dumb standards (how the **** do I get so thin and tall and how can I afford or bother with that hair?) I just accept that people like different things to me.

Men know that they're not looking at feasible body types. We don't expect women to meet these standards, it takes a rare person to think men want waists to be smaller than the boobs (though there are some pretty interesting rare persons...) If you really differ from conventional standards of beauty, I can hardly see how railing against an artist's sexualised images are going to do you any good.

If you don't find it sexy or empowering, maybe you can find it funny, or you could ignore it and follow the story, or you could just pick up another book, or you could go into a nuanced argument on why the art is bad and doesn't suit the story rather than some sexist diatribe about sexism.

Satinavian
2019-03-04, 10:28 AM
Male artists can draw big men and big-titted women.
Female artists can draw skinnies and average women (In a style that makes them look cute so you can't really say the woman looks average)

The sex or gender of the artist has pretty much nothing to do with that.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 10:33 AM
But this is just a freaking argument about taste. The more I read, the simpler it gets.

Ew the too big men are gross and don't appeal to my fantasy.
Ew the big booby women are for dumb-dumb brute men.

It's elitism. It's 'I'm better than this lowbrow tripe' and 'My taste is better than yours' and so on.

Male artists can draw big men and big-titted women.
Female artists can draw skinnies and average women (In a style that makes them look cute so you can't really say the woman looks average) .

Nice strawman... intentional or not, your replies get further and further from being about what people have actually posted.

Segev
2019-03-04, 10:45 AM
As another way of examining this, how many people here think the Prince that the Beast (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast animated feature - the one that was the first animated feature to win an Oscar, I believe) turns back into was sexy/attractive? Even as a kid (well, young teen, I suppose; when did it come out? I was in my teens in the 90s, turned 18 in 2000), I thought he was ugly. The lips were too pronounced, the facial muscles discordantly defined compared to said lips, and the hair too feminine for how masculine the face looked. He looked like an unattractively mannish woman or a really bad drag queen, just from the face alone, to me. I've heard some who agree with me on it, and others who think he's one of the prettiest/handsomest Disney princes to be portrayed.

I'm wondering if this divide has any bearing on this conversation, and what counts as "sexualized" depictions of men. For all his unattractive personality traits, I thought Gaston was more attractive-looking, and if asked which I'd rather be stuck looking like for the rest of my life, I'd choose Gaston in a heartbeat.

...which brings up a secondary way of examining this: if you asked women, in general, which female character (complete with clothing choices and build) they'd want to look like if they had to choose one to magically transform into, which ones do you think would be the most popular? This removes at least any direct "appeal to male libido" from it, only indirectly touching on it from the perspective of what respondants who care about that sort of thing feel would make them more attractive to men. (Incidentally, I think doing this test on men would also reveal what men think would make them more attractive to women to a similar degree.)

Talakeal
2019-03-04, 11:20 AM
Men know that they're not looking at feasible body types. We don't expect women to meet these standards, it takes a rare person to think men want waists to be smaller than the boobs.

Aren't most women's waist measurements smaller than their bust measurements?

The Jack
2019-03-04, 11:22 AM
The sex or gender of the artist has pretty much nothing to do with that.
Yes, some people like to draw other things, what's the point you're trying to make here?


Nice strawman... intentional or not, your replies get further and further from being about what people have actually posted.

I just...
I juggle a lot of ideas in my head and kill off the ones that don't work
Anyone who truly cares for realistic armour would have a lot more problems than revealing stuff.
All I can conclude is that people are prudes, and maybe they're prudes because they're jealous or maybe they're prudes because it's cultural or maybe they say they're prudes for culture points. It's a very conservative mindset. But when I bounce around ideas on 'how do chainmail bikinis hurt women' the answer is that they don't, at least not any more than shirtless men. I'd take a conversation more seriously if we were discussing if said bikini women were empowered badasses or made to be damsels in distress, but that's not the conversation. The conversation is 'I don't like this' with delusions of grandeur.

Yeah it's tacky, but it's for a niche market.

halfeye
2019-03-04, 12:43 PM
Aren't most women's waist measurements smaller than their bust measurements?

Yeah, I immediately thought that, then I thought is it per boob vs waist, and I don't think that's ever been the case, but somebody's probably drawn it.

Satinavian
2019-03-04, 12:58 PM
Yes, some people like to draw other things, what's the point you're trying to make here?
That your answer is full of assertions about what men and women like. Men draw this, women draw that. That is ridiculous. Take a cursory look at deviantart and see how there is little dfference between men and women regarding what they are drawing. Pretty much half of the pictures of sexualized women are from female artists. It is not just a couple of outliers.

Then you go on and write about what men like or don't like. As if this whole argument was about male vs. female taste. It really is not.

Arbane
2019-03-04, 01:15 PM
Don't think artists always have free reign in their work - there's often the Creepy Marketing Guy(tm) giving orders.

Having said that, here's men designing women's costumes vs women designing women's costumes. (http://winneganfake.tumblr.com/post/183214667308/brunegonda-profusedinmelancholy)

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 01:45 PM
Don't think artists always have free reign in their work - there's often the Creepy Marketing Guy(tm) giving orders.

Having said that, here's men designing women's costumes vs women designing women's costumes. (http://winneganfake.tumblr.com/post/183214667308/brunegonda-profusedinmelancholy)

That page flips around and makes the same sex-based mistakes about what people supposedly want or do based on their sex, rather than focusing on their intent, actions, and artistic output as individuals.

90% of the outfits, armor, and other "getups" that I have in mind for female characters look nothing like the "when men design for women" images.

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 03:06 PM
For those bemoaning what they perceive as differences in armour designs for males and females, can I ask precisely what it is they object to?

Do you object to the lack of male eye candy in this type of fiction for straight women (ie, you think there are no men depicted shirtless who fit the bill)?

Do you object to the lack of scantily dressed muscle bound female characters to act as a power fantasy for women (in the way some say Conan does for men)?

Do you object to men wanting to view fiction with female eye candy in it?


In other words, how is ought it to be fixed? More scantily clad men with less muscles and big lips and eyes for female viewers? More scantily dressed female characters with massive muscles?

Segev
2019-03-04, 03:14 PM
Do you object to men wanting to view fiction with female eye candy in it?


In other words, how is ought it to be fixed? More scantily clad men with less muscles and big lips and eyes for female viewers? More scantily dressed female characters with massive muscles?

My best guess, with as little cynicism as I can manage, is that the implicit demand is for women to wear more sensible armor and not be portrayed as eye candy. The overt objection is to there being eye candy for men in the form of sexy (or, in the vernacular, objectified) women being present.

*bites tongue rather than putting a spoilered "Cynicism returning" elaboration*

Arbane
2019-03-04, 03:19 PM
That page flips around and makes the same sex-based mistakes about what people supposedly want or do based on their sex, rather than focusing on their intent, actions, and artistic output as individuals.

90% of the outfits, armor, and other "getups" that I have in mind for female characters look nothing like the "when men design for women" images.

Looked to me like that was focusing on their actual artistic output, as seen on screen/page.

And possibly good for you, but you are not Creepy Marketing Guy.

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 03:54 PM
My best guess, with as little cynicism as I can manage, is that the implicit demand is for women to wear more sensible armor and not be portrayed as eye candy. The overt objection is to there being eye candy for men in the form of sexy (or, in the vernacular, objectified) women being present.

*bites tongue rather than putting a spoilered "Cynicism returning" elaboration*

But the problem with the implicit demand is that men often also wear impractical (as in very little) armour. The answer given is that, where the men in scanty clothes is often muscular (which doesn't appeal to all women) a scantily clad muscle man carries a less sexualised connotation than a scantily clad woman.

Which leads us to the overt point. Would the overt point be satisfied by having more men portrayed as eye candy (ie scantily clad but not muscly)? Is there are significant demand amongst women for that?

Jay R
2019-03-04, 04:01 PM
Creepy Marketing Guy is probably just Statistical Market Research Gguy. There is no gaming company anywhere that will produce what their creepy guy wants rather than what they think will sell the most product.

The creepiness comes from the data, which is to say, from the gamers.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
-- Pogo Possum, by Walt Kelly

RazorChain
2019-03-04, 04:07 PM
That's an interpretation that generally isn't accorded any historicity any more. There were, however, a number of bear cults in northern eurasia and there is evidence of people fighting dressed in bearskins on things like Trajan's Column and carvings on cairns and gravesites.

There's no historical evidence for the "berserker" as the modern world understands them as a rage fuelled unstoppable warrior, there are references in sagas, but they also include berserkers shapeshifting into bears so it might not be best to treat them as accurate representation of events.

There is nothing that mentions in the Sagas that Berserks were unstoppable warriors, only that they entered a battle frenzy

Eyrbyggja Saga chapter 25.

Þeir gengu berserksgang og voru þá eigi í mannlegu eðli er þeir voru reiðir og fóru galnir sem hundar og óttuðust hvorki eld né járn.

Translation: They went bersersk and abandoned their human nature when they were in rage and went mad as dogs and feared neither fire or iron.

Vatnsdæla Saga chapter 46.
„Þeir grenjuðu sem hundar og bitu í skjaldarrendur og óðu eld brennanda berum fótum.“

Translation: They wailed like dogs and bit the rim of their shields and walked through fire on their bare feet.

Egils Saga chapter 65.
Og er hann gekk fram á völlinn að hólmstaðnum þá kom á hann berserksgangur. Tók hann þá að grenja illilega og beit í skjöld sinn.

Translation: As he walked onto the field to the place of duel he went berserk. He started to wail in an evil manner and bit his shield.

The funny thing is that the berskerker mentioned in the duel, who's name is Ljótur, get's killed by Egill, the hero of the saga. Egill chops of his foot and he dies from shock and bleeding.

Grettir sterki or Grettir the strong kills 12 berserkers in one go when he locks them in the larder unarmed with himself fully armed with a hook spear and a sax (short, chopping sword). It is described as a dangerous fight because the rage gave the berserkers inhuman strength.

In most of the Sagas Berserk is someone who enters a battle frenzy.

Segev
2019-03-04, 04:19 PM
But the problem with the implicit demand is that men often also wear impractical (as in very little) armour. The answer given is that, where the men in scanty clothes is often muscular (which doesn't appeal to all women) a scantily clad muscle man carries a less sexualised connotation than a scantily clad woman.

Which leads us to the overt point. Would the overt point be satisfied by having more men portrayed as eye candy (ie scantily clad but not muscly)? Is there are significant demand amongst women for that?

No, because the claim is that the problem is objectification of women. Equal objectification wouldn't solve it; only ceasing to objectify women. i.e., ceasing to portray them in the manner to which the complainants object.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 04:53 PM
I just...
I juggle a lot of ideas in my head and kill off the ones that don't work
Anyone who truly cares for realistic armour would have a lot more problems than revealing stuff.
All I can conclude is that people are prudes, and maybe they're prudes because they're jealous or maybe they're prudes because it's cultural or maybe they say they're prudes for culture points. It's a very conservative mindset. But when I bounce around ideas on 'how do chainmail bikinis hurt women' the answer is that they don't, at least not any more than shirtless men. I'd take a conversation more seriously if we were discussing if said bikini women were empowered badasses or made to be damsels in distress, but that's not the conversation. The conversation is 'I don't like this' with delusions of grandeur.


There are so many layers of wrong, and of insulting wrong, in that post that one might need a shovel... but then it's also like a checklist of the same tired old spurious specious attacks that have long been lobbed at those who question these trends in specfic genre artwork.

Perhaps it has not occurred to you that those who object here ALSO might object to other ridiculously impractical armor -- but then some of us have listed off other sorts of armor we find silly on the level of function. Not that I expect a giant list of problems with spikes and giant shoulder pads and so on, given 200 times, to stop this same "but you don't object to other armors" nonsense to come up yet again, because it's not about what we do or don't object to, it's just a kneejerk dismissal.

Regardless, the subject of the thread is not all ridiculous armor, it's ridiculous armor and other outfits in specific art that display characters as objects for the sexual gratification of the viewer, in violation of the context and the character in question. That's troublesome enough all on its own.

Where it becomes sexist is the overwhelming disparity in the depiction of characters depending on their sex. Across all works and within a particular work, it is far more common to see one sex depicted in ridiculous, impractical, physically impossible, out-of-context, counter-character, and often even life-threatening getups.

Forget history, in the present day, women and men are literally deluged with intentional and unintentional messages that a woman's worth is defined by her appearance. There's nothing wrong with being attractive, or wanting to be attractive, in moderation, as a sign of health and self-respect... but not as a fixation and not as the defining feature of one's self.

The idea that only "prudes" could ever object to depictions of woman in a combat or adventuring situations arranged in a supposedly titillating but physically impossible poses, wearing "armor" that does nothing to protect them and/or outfits so impractical as to be life threatening, that "just happen" to show or hint quite a bit of her form and play to stereotypes of what straight men "do" or "should" find attractive... same ad hom, different day.

Note -- a "sexualized" depiction of a character that makes sense for that character and in the context of the situation being depicted, isn't the problem. An individual character who flaunts or revels in or enjoys their appearance in sync with their personality isn't the problem.

The problems are out-of-character, out-of-context depictions, and the overwhelming volume of images that exhibit these problems.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 04:59 PM
But the problem with the implicit demand is that men often also wear impractical (as in very little) armour. The answer given is that, where the men in scanty clothes is often muscular (which doesn't appeal to all women) a scantily clad muscle man carries a less sexualised connotation than a scantily clad woman.

Which leads us to the overt point. Would the overt point be satisfied by having more men portrayed as eye candy (ie scantily clad but not muscly)? Is there are significant demand amongst women for that?

That is not the point, and not the demand.

The solution to something bad being done to one group is not to also do it to another group -- that's not a solution, that's base revanchism.

Segev
2019-03-04, 05:11 PM
That is not the point, and not the demand.

The solution to something bad being done to one group is not to also do it to another group -- that's not a solution, that's base revanchism.

To be fair, for your specific complaint, it's not even revenge against "the men" to put them in equally inappropriately sexualized and impractical armor; it's missing the point. You probably would be happy if women just wore armor as reasonable as the guys did, and sound like you're just as irked by male fantasy armor that's stupidly impractical. "Rule of cool" doesn't override visible practicality, for you.

It also can't be termed revenge if the guys say, "sure, put more guys in armor that makes us - er, guys - look hot to women. We're cool with that!"

The demand implicit and, in your case, MAx, explicit that armor be made more practical-looking, like it could really stop a blow, is answered by doing just that.

My point about how that would be responded to is mainly regarding those whose objections aren't really to the practicality, but to the sexism (real or imagined) of it. Such people do want revenge, but also want to be able to perpetually state that they're offended, so they can hold that over others. They view it as empowering for themselves, giving them a special right to make demands.


Really, the answer overall? If you don't like what's depicted now, make your own art, or commission it from others (if you don't feel you can really do it, yourself. I know I couldn't).

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 06:06 PM
No, because the claim is that the problem is objectification of women. Equal objectification wouldn't solve it; only ceasing to objectify women. i.e., ceasing to portray them in the manner to which the complainants object.

So you think the claim is that people who want to their fictional heroes to be sexualised shouldn't be allowed to see that? People should not be sexualised, or at least not in the context of fantasy media?


That is not the point, and not the demand.

The solution to something bad being done to one group is not to also do it to another group -- that's not a solution, that's base revanchism.

So you think something bad is being done to a group (a gender in this case) by sometimes portraying them in a sexual context in fantasy media, and the sexualisation of people in fantasy media should not be allowed? Can I ask what harm you feel is being done (or would be done) to you by your gender (whichever it may be) being sometimes portrayed in a sexual way?

Koo Rehtorb
2019-03-04, 06:07 PM
To me, at least, it's just about the volume. There's room for sexy impractical armour. It's only a problem when it's the norm. And it's not any one person's responsibility to fix it.

I see it like I see movies, for example. It's not a problem to make a movie that doesn't have any black people in it. It becomes a problem if a large majority of movies don't have any black people in them.

Segev
2019-03-04, 06:10 PM
So you think the claim is that people who want to their fictional heroes to be sexualised shouldn't be allowed to see that? People should not be sexualised, or at least not in the context of fantasy media?

That is the commonly-made overt claim, yes. Whether it's what the claimants really want/mean is a deeper question, which is only answered if you can examine their reaction to media wherein neither men nor women are "objectified" by their definition. (Or at least, wherein you can examine just how far they stretch the definition to keep insisting that women (or men) are objectified, depending on how they proceed from there.)

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 06:20 PM
To me, at least, it's just about the volume. There's room for sexy impractical armour. It's only a problem when it's the norm. And it's not any one person's responsibility to fix it.

I see it like I see movies, for example. It's not a problem to make a movie that doesn't have any black people in it. It becomes a problem if a large majority of movies don't have any black people in them.

Is it the norm though, or is it just that people tend to focus on it when it does happen. I just did a google image search for "female fighter d&d", and it was not until the 21st image that a woman was portrayed without armour covering the majority (usually all of) of her body. So it seems that it happens, but perhaps not the norm?

As an aside, I first searched for "female fighter", and most of the images was of modern mixed martial arts fighters, all of whom wore revealing (although not sexualised) clothing.

Kiero
2019-03-04, 06:43 PM
As an aside, I first searched for "female fighter", and most of the images was of modern mixed martial arts fighters, all of whom wore revealing (although not sexualised) clothing.

And if you look at many male MMA fighters, they'll wear nothing but tiny shorts. Fighting is a hot business, you wear as little as possible, since the best ventilation you can get when you're hot is wearing nothing.

Especially when, in the controlled environment of the octagon, you don't need to wear armour. Plus sweat-slicked skin makes it harder for an opponent to gain a grip, and you can't be choked with your own clothing if you're not wearing a shirt.

There's an awful lot of assumptions in this thread that fighting without much on is solely done to titillate in art, but the fact is that if you're doing the real thing and it's only unarmed, the less you wear, the better.

Jophiel
2019-03-04, 07:22 PM
Don't think artists always have free reign in their work - there's often the Creepy Marketing Guy(tm) giving orders.

Having said that, here's men designing women's costumes vs women designing women's costumes. (http://winneganfake.tumblr.com/post/183214667308/brunegonda-profusedinmelancholy)
Way back in the day, I used to play City of Heroes which had one of the most robust costume creator I've seen in an MMORPG. I hung out in the Art subforum (which included all the "Design a costume" threads) and can safely say that a lot of women made costumes that were revealing or otherwise sexual. Not all, and it's well within their rights to do so and there were also a lot of heavy armor or mundane clothes, etc but the idea that "Men do this and Women do that" wasn't really borne out when I saw a large sample and not a couple picked examples.

thuhnc
2019-03-04, 07:33 PM
I just did a google image search for "female fighter d&d", and it was not until the 21st image that a woman was portrayed without armour covering the majority (usually all of) of her body. So it seems that it happens, but perhaps not the norm?

I feel compelled to question the scientific validity of the repeated "I did a Google image search to determine what is prevalent in popular culture" experiments, if not because of apparent differences in judgement than only because they seem to vary significantly.

The first page of my image search using the same terms returned a woman in full-plate with a boob window. I'd consider that a strong example of absurd dress in the name of titillation.

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 07:36 PM
I feel compelled to question the scientific validity of the repeated "I did a Google image search to determine what is prevalent in popular culture" experiments, if not because of apparent differences in judgement than only because they seem to vary significantly.

It is only two or three times better than the people saying "my vague impression from what I have seen around is...." and maybe 4 or 5 times better than people simply stating that something is a norm or trend with nothing at all behind it - as in at least we can count them and not subconsciously remember the ones that we didn't approve of, and forget the run of the mill ones. Not scientifically valid, but still the best indicator that has been presented in this thread. Unless you have a better way for us to measure prevalence?


The first page of my image search using the same terms returned a woman in full-plate with a boob window. I'd consider that a strong example of absurd dress in the name of titillation.

Nobody has claimed that there are not examples, only that it is not the norm.

There are how many images on a page? A hundred, two hundred? So a single woman with a boob window is not suggestive of a norm....

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 07:56 PM
So you think the claim is that people who want to their fictional heroes to be sexualised shouldn't be allowed to see that? People should not be sexualised, or at least not in the context of fantasy media?

So you think something bad is being done to a group (a gender in this case) by sometimes portraying them in a sexual context in fantasy media, and the sexualisation of people in fantasy media should not be allowed?


I want characters to be visually portrayed as themselves, true to themselves, and true to the context of their worldbuilding and fiction and stories.

I want characters to be varied, and multi-dimensional, and treated as "people who could be real", not as contrivances for the sake of narrative or for the sake of audience reaction.




Can I ask what harm you feel is being done (or would be done) to you by your gender (whichever it may be) being sometimes portrayed in a sexual way?


For starters, as a straight male, I find some of the things I'm "supposed to be" titillated by or attracted to... insulting. Stupid women? Helpless women? Objectified women? Women who exist only to please me? Women who can't think or fend or fight for themselves? This is what I'm supposed to be interested in? :smallmad::smallannoyed::smallfrown:




As an aside, I first searched for "female fighter", and most of the images was of modern mixed martial arts fighters, all of whom wore revealing (although not sexualised) clothing.


Compare those women, in that amount of clothing, to the women in the WWE in roughly the same amount of clothing... and consider the gulf between what's being presented to the audience in each case.

It's not about the amount of skin, it's about how it's being presented and what it says.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 08:03 PM
Way back in the day, I used to play City of Heroes which had one of the most robust costume creator I've seen in an MMORPG. I hung out in the Art subforum (which included all the "Design a costume" threads) and can safely say that a lot of women made costumes that were revealing or otherwise sexual. Not all, and it's well within their rights to do so and there were also a lot of heavy armor or mundane clothes, etc but the idea that "Men do this and Women do that" wasn't really borne out when I saw a large sample and not a couple picked examples.


I played City of Villains, and one of my characters was female, dressed in camo fatigues and goggles, and wielding a rifle about 3/4 as long as she was tall. Kriegmädchen.

The costume was there to fit the character and help portray her backstory, not to be hot to gaze upon.

Arbane
2019-03-04, 08:05 PM
Way back in the day, I used to play City of Heroes which had one of the most robust costume creator I've seen in an MMORPG. I hung out in the Art subforum (which included all the "Design a costume" threads) and can safely say that a lot of women made costumes that were revealing or otherwise sexual. Not all, and it's well within their rights to do so and there were also a lot of heavy armor or mundane clothes, etc but the idea that "Men do this and Women do that" wasn't really borne out when I saw a large sample and not a couple picked examples.

I would argue there is a pretty big difference between fans designing costumes for their personal enjoyment and people making costumes for mass-marketed media, but WHATEVER.

Sigh. CoH was a great game... Stupid NCsoft.

thuhnc
2019-03-04, 08:12 PM
Nobody has claimed that there are not examples, only that it is not the norm.

There are how many images on a page? A hundred, two hundred? So a single woman with a boob window is not suggestive of a norm....

Even so, I don't think it's a trend that should go unquestioned.


So you think something bad is being done to a group (a gender in this case) by sometimes portraying them in a sexual context in fantasy media, and the sexualisation of people in fantasy media should not be allowed? Can I ask what harm you feel is being done (or would be done) to you by your gender (whichever it may be) being sometimes portrayed in a sexual way?

To reiterate a point that has been made repeatedly in this thread, nobody is objecting to the presence of sexual portrayals in media as a whole. The objection comes when female characters are treated as sexual objects by default, which implicitly validates that viewpoint and can be seen as exclusionary to women who exist in a capacity beyond that in which men are attracted to them, i.e. real the ones in the audience.

It would probably be helpful to read at least the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the Male Gaze.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-04, 08:24 PM
Legend of Korra -- Asami. Extremely attractive character, yet not once does that come at the cost of belittling, demeaning, or objectifying the character that I recall. And IMO it's a lot of the non-appearance aspects that make her turn out to be so compelling. She's not interesting because she's attractive, she's attractive because she's interesting... and competent... and etc.

I'd be disturbed by art showing that character half-undressed and spread out over the hood of one of the cars from the series. It would totally contradict the character in multiple ways.

Jophiel
2019-03-04, 09:17 PM
The costume was there to fit the character and help portray her backstory, not to be hot to gaze upon.
Sure, there were plenty of those. All of my female characters were dressed well enough to attend a PTA meeting if, for no other reason, than because I'd have felt skeevy running around with a female character dressed in lingerie. That was often not the case with costumes designed by women players for their characters and shared in the Art subforum and costuming threads.

Liquor Box
2019-03-04, 10:31 PM
I want characters to be visually portrayed as themselves, true to themselves, and true to the context of their worldbuilding and fiction and stories.

I want characters to be varied, and multi-dimensional, and treated as "people who could be real", not as contrivances for the sake of narrative or for the sake of audience reaction.

That is your personal preference, and it is a fair one (that I share for what it's worth). So you don't object to a scantily dressed character, where the that is appropriate for the character and setting? To use the Red Sonja example, is there any reason (putting aside that her bikini was made of chainmail, which is ridiculous) why her being scantily clad was less true to the story than Conan being scantily clad.

Another question - that is your (and my) preference (that the visual protrayal of the character is true to the story), but surely you wouldn't begrudge creators from meeting the demand from those who are willing to ignore a little inconsistency or nonsensical content so that a character can also be eyecandy? In other words, surely your (and my) tastes shouldn't dictate over other people's tastes?


For starters, as a straight male, I find some of the things I'm "supposed to be" titillated by or attracted to... insulting. Stupid women? Helpless women? Objectified women? Women who exist only to please me? Women who can't think or fend or fight for themselves? This is what I'm supposed to be interested in? :smallmad::smallannoyed::smallfrown:

Are you supposed to be titillated or attracted to those things? I don't think anyone is implying that. The implication is only that there are some men (or perhaps women) who are attracted to those things, and the media that portrays a woman that way is aimed at those men (or women) rather than those that share your tastes. So long as there is other media which portrays women in the way you like, then everyone is happy? Again, surely you are not suggesting that every character depiction should be set up to adhere to your own tastes?


Compare those women, in that amount of clothing, to the women in the WWE in roughly the same amount of clothing... and consider the gulf between what's being presented to the audience in each case.

It's not about the amount of skin, it's about how it's being presented and what it says.

In what way? You mean how the MMA women's clothes functional despite being scanty, unlike some portrayals of female fantasy fighters? Yes, I acknowledge that, I only raised MMA fighters as an interesting aside, not as a true equivilancy.


Even so, I don't think it's a trend that should go unquestioned.

Fair enough, but until someone presents something more rigorous it is the best measure we have.


To reiterate a point that has been made repeatedly in this thread, nobody is objecting to the presence of sexual portrayals in media as a whole. The objection comes when female characters are treated as sexual objects by default, which implicitly validates that viewpoint and can be seen as exclusionary to women who exist in a capacity beyond that in which men are attracted to them, i.e. real the ones in the audience.

It would probably be helpful to read at least the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on the Male Gaze.

So your objection is only if it happens by default?

But there is no evidence that it is the default. Actually the indication from the google searches (still the best measure presented in this thread) is that it is not the default - rather women in armour covering most their bodies is the default. Do you have any evidence that it is the default, or is that just your impression?

thuhnc
2019-03-04, 11:47 PM
So your objection is only if it happens by default?

But there is no evidence that it is the default. Actually the indication from the google searches (still the best measure presented in this thread) is that it is not the default - rather women in armour covering most their bodies is the default. Do you have any evidence that it is the default, or is that just your impression?

Being scantily clad isn't the only way in which the typical female fantasy character is sexualized at the expense of her character. As was mentioned a ways back in the thread, in reality the ubiquitous boobplates (breastplates molded to the shape of the breasts) are nearly as egregious as having a gaping cleavage gap (although I personally find them a comparatively minor issue).

Putting that aside, when I said "by default" I was referring to works in which women are first and foremost the objects of male appreciation, not saying sexual objectification is the default in general.

That's a category that includes those works in which female characters wear impractically revealing and/or from-fitting garments for no reason except for the audience to leer at them.

Liquor Box
2019-03-05, 02:01 AM
Being scantily clad isn't the only way in which the typical female fantasy character is sexualized at the expense of her character. As was mentioned a ways back in the thread, in reality the ubiquitous boobplates (breastplates molded to the shape of the breasts) are nearly as egregious as having a gaping cleavage gap (although I personally find them a comparatively minor issue).

Putting that aside, when I said "by default" I was referring to works in which women are first and foremost the objects of male appreciation, not saying sexual objectification is the default in general.

That's a category that includes those works in which female characters wear impractically revealing and/or from-fitting garments for no reason except for the audience to leer at them.

Hold on, this is what you said "nobody is objecting to the presence of sexual portrayals in media as a whole. The objection comes when female characters are treated as sexual objects by default".

So which is it? Is "nobody objecting to the presence of sexual portrayals" of females?, or are you objecting to "works in which women are first and foremost the objects of male appreciation" even if those are not the norm? Are sexualised portrayals of people ok even if they are not the norm?

Lemmy
2019-03-05, 02:17 AM
There's nothing wrong with creating characters that only exist as eye candy. Not every character is supposed to be a role model. Not every character is meant to be deep or super-interesting. Sometimes, the only role a story needs as character to fill is being sexy. I doubt many people enjoy porn for the plot... And the werewolf dude from Twilight certainly didn't take his shirt off every other scene to increase his depth of character.

And even when we talk about admirable, likable, deep characters, there's definitely nothing wrong with making characters that have sexiness as one of their appealing points. Being sexy doesn't subtract from their depth.

None of the girls in High School of the Dead is made any less badass by the dozens of panty shots. Tifa from FF7 isn't made weaker by her bust size. Samus doesn't lose her awesomeness when she dons her skin-tight Zero Suit. Ms Bellum was still the most competent, responsible and level-headed person in Townsville, and Bayonetta definitely doesn't feel any less empowered just because she makes sexy poses while slaughtering angels and demons.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the people complaining about "objectification" and "unreasonable standards" are the ones focusing too much on the appearance and not on the actual characters. It's empty outrage for outrage's sake. The people crying "women can wear whatever they want" are the first to attack any woman or character who acts, dresses or looks a way they don't approve.

This kind of thinking that leads to things like erasing Ms.Bellum from PowerPuff Girls, removing the breasts from Ms.Keane, making She-ra look like a little boy... Female characters aren't allowed to even look feminine without being attacked by the outrage brigade... Apparently, their idea of empowering women is making them look and act like stereotypical manly men. And they honestly don't see the irony and hypocrisy in that.

People enjoy sex. Sex sells. There's nothing wrong with appealing to that demand. It's completely ok for men to enjoy their busty women in skimpy clothes and for women to enjoy their shirtless toned men with hair on the wind (https://www.google.com/search?q=romance+novels&hl=pt-BR&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiu0aKAuergAhXaDrkGHUt-AfQQ_AUIDigB&biw=1920&bih=937). One may not like that particular aspect of a piece of media, but let's not pretend it's some evil sexist scheme, rather than just creators appealing to a natural part of the human psyche...

Barebarian
2019-03-05, 04:11 AM
Woah. :smalleek: That is a lot more responses than I expected this to get.
I don't know where to start replying though but let me say this.
What I've seen so far, is an enormous amount of guys saying with absolute surety what women do or don't find sexually appealing. "Conan isn't a female fantasy!" is something I've heard in many ways on many posts, "most of the guys women find hot are much leaner!".
Okay. Firstly, things don't have to be balanced. A work written by a dude for dudes shouldn't be expected to appeal to women in all things.
With that said,
I'm pretty sure I mentioned that Conan's a stud? Consider this. If you look at an actual work that exists solely to fulfill male fantasies, like, say, a harem anime, you will find a whole bunch of women with a whole bunch of different looking bodies, personalities and outfits. Some guys find women in suits hotter than naked ones! Some guys find assertive women hotter than shy ones! There is an entire spectrum, probably bigger than the electromagnetic one, of things that guys find hot. Some guys even find guys hot, or even find women who look like guys hot specifically. There's no brakes on this thing.
With that in mind.
Is it so impossible to imagine, even briefly, that women can find the lean dudes, AND the ripped dudes, attractive, in different ways, at the same time, for different reasons?
Has ANYONE on this thread even suggested that?? :smallconfused:
Does anyone in real life actually marry a specific fantasy like it's a person?? :smallannoyed:
Here's a novel concept: The powerful lady knight, the dignified queen respected for her intellect, the sexy barbarian woman felling hordes while virtually naked, and the helpless princess getting swept off her feet by the musclebound barbarian are all fantasies that can exist in the same head. AND aren't exclusive to either sex. :smallamused:
Having hot ladies in small outfits in rpgs and comics doesn't diminish my value as a woman, it doesn't infringe on my rights and doesn't make life more difficult for me.
Do you know what does?
People telling me what I am or aren't attracted to. That's really annoying. That's ACTUALLY sexist. A drawing isn't.
[I'm not angry at anyone btw! I'm just trying to express my opinion.]

Barebarian
2019-03-05, 04:16 AM
There is one person that I've found pretty much everyone to agree on is hot, regardless of usual "type": Jason Momoa. Put him next to Arnold Conan, compare, and you might find the answer. Devil is, as always, in the details.

My favorite thing about this is that both Arnold and Jason have played Conan. :smallbiggrin: It's almost as if there's more to attraction than a character's name. :smallamused:

Morty
2019-03-05, 05:43 AM
Of all the hills to die on, defending the artists' inalienable right to draw women in ridiculous skimpy outfit is one of the sillier ones. There's such a thing as right time, right place and right context. A lot of fantasy art where we see skimpy female outfits are none of the above. I'm a heterosexual man who likes looking at scantily-dressed women well enough. That doesn't mean I need them everywhere I look.

Besides, if we took a black marker and removed half of sexualized women from fantasy and gaming art right now, there's still be a lot of them left. So the cries of prudes trying to remove all sexy women look more than a little silly.

The Jack
2019-03-05, 06:48 AM
Some people really like dumb things. They're cool, they're exciting, they're 'real to me'.
When you point out they're dumb, you're an *******.

But when people really like this kind of art
You can point out they're dumb sexual pigs and they're the *******, not you.


But hey, an argument presented here is 'I'm insulted that people will think I like this porn' or something like that.
That's so high and mighty.
You don't have to like things, just accept it wasn't for you.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 07:42 AM
Of all the hills to die on, defending the artists' inalienable right to draw women in ridiculous skimpy outfit is one of the sillier ones. There's such a thing as right time, right place and right context. A lot of fantasy art where we see skimpy female outfits are none of the above. I'm a heterosexual man who likes looking at scantily-dressed women well enough. That doesn't mean I need them everywhere I look.

The part I bolded is one of the key things that the those on that hill seem to miss (or conveniently ignore because it makes distorting opposing arguments easier if they can say "you prudes just want your tastes imposed on everyone and to eliminate all sex from everything).

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 07:59 AM
None of the girls in High School of the Dead is made any less badass by the dozens of panty shots. Tifa from FF7 isn't made weaker by her bust size. Samus doesn't lose her awesomeness when she dons her skin-tight Zero Suit. Ms Bellum was still the most competent, responsible and level-headed person in Townsville, and Bayonetta definitely doesn't feel any less empowered just because she makes sexy poses while slaughtering angels and demons.


You're conflating different things there.

The HSotD issue is pointless pandering, and absolutely the sort of thing that should just go away. It's out of context and directed straight at puerile interest. It's demeaning and degrading to the characters, and creepily reflective of things that real men in certain countries try to subject women to.

Does the "camera" ever linger leeringly over Tifa's bust? Is it ever animated Gainax style? Do the male characters ever stare or go after her inappropriately? Does it ever become that sort of focus? Not that I'm aware of.

Samus and Ms Bellum both involve some subversions of trope along the way, and I think there's a subtle anti-sexist message hidden in never showing Ms Bellum's face (that was an ongoing thing, right?)

Bayonetta is a ridiculous, it's hard to be outraged by a blatantly dumb character and game design, at most it's eye-roll worthy.




Ironically, but not surprisingly, the people complaining about "objectification" and "unreasonable standards" are the ones focusing too much on the appearance and not on the actual characters. It's empty outrage for outrage's sake. The people crying "women can wear whatever they want" are the first to attack any woman or character who acts, dresses or looks a way they don't approve.


Not really, but thanks for trying.




This kind of thinking that leads to things like erasing Ms.Bellum from PowerPuff Girls, removing the breasts from Ms.Keane, making She-ra look like a little boy... Female characters aren't allowed to even look feminine without being attacked by the outrage brigade... Apparently, their idea of empowering women is making them look and act like stereotypical manly men. And they honestly don't see the irony and hypocrisy in that.


Conflating all concern or complaint about the over-sexualization and out-of-context sexualization and more-common sexualization of female characters, with the "outrage brigade", must make for a convenient dismissal...

Talakeal
2019-03-05, 09:23 AM
You're conflating different things there.

The HSotD issue is pointless pandering, and absolutely the sort of thing that should just go away. It's out of context and directed straight at puerile interest. It's demeaning and degrading to the characters, and creepily reflective of things that real men in certain countries try to subject women to.

Does the "camera" every linger leeringly over Tifa's bust? Is it ever animated Gainax style? Do the male characters ever stare or go after her inappropriately? Does it ever become that sort of focus? Not that I'm aware of.

Samus and Ms Bellum both involve some subversions of trope along the way, and I think there's a subtle anti-sexist message hidden in never showing Ms Bellum's face (that was an ongoing thing, right?)

Bayonetta is a ridiculous, it's hard to be outraged by a blatantly dumb character and game design, at most it's eye-roll worthy.




Not really, but thanks for trying.




Conflating all concern or complaint about the over-sexualization and out-of-context sexualization and more-common sexualization of female characters, with the "outrage brigade", must make for a convenient dismissal...

Talk about camera angles is kind of interesting. The average person is going to be undressed, or skimpily dressed, or sexily posed many times a day over the course of regular activities, and when and where the PoV is located can have a huge impact on tone.

Like, for example, when I was a kid every action and horror movie made sure to give us atleast one shot of a topless woman, while now it seems that every big budget action movie makes sure to,give as atleast one shot of a shirtless man. Damn Marvel and their sexy shirtless Chrisses.

khadgar567
2019-03-05, 09:36 AM
okay, this was a bit of slog but I think I understand the main gripe of the topic as the core problem I think was plot was not addressing why character wears something like chainmail bikini or slave bikini from star wars as Conan verse considers being xianxia style badass actually grants character bit of protection. If I remember correctly red Sonja has wow which she is gonna marry the man can defeat her and enter the Conan the hunk which solves the main issue by being protag of his series then Conan takes the interesting road and rides to sunset alone. we are forgetting Conan verse has a solid amount of sorcerers easily explain why Conan or Sonja can wear skimpiest outfits and remain uninjured. as for star wars good, old force gave enough excuse to let Leia can survive in combat wearing her slave outfit. thus the damn problem actually becomes is character has a legitimate excuse in setting to wear fanservice clothing and kick ass hell if you guys look the situation via horse visors you can discuss it all you want and for cosplayers who cares what they cosplay hell I gladly accept any skimpy cosplayer with a good costume. as for wonder woman read her backstory again she is blessed by god knows how many greek deities. she can wear pasties and c-string thong and still fight for all I care since she is basically on dnd terms deity of her own right the problem is not chainmail armor is historic or f ing, not the problem is. Is the story has a legitimate excuse or not.

Segev
2019-03-05, 10:12 AM
Brief serious note: Barebarian, please put line breaks between your paragraphs! :smalleek:


People telling me what I am or aren't attracted to. That's really annoying. That's ACTUALLY sexist. A drawing isn't.
[I'm not angry at anyone btw! I'm just trying to express my opinion.]
Nonsense! By your avatar, I can tell you are attracted to spiders, and are in denial if you say anything else. Harumph harumph adjust-glasses stroke beard harumph. :smallamused::smallwink::smalltongue:

Of all the hills to die on, defending the artists' inalienable right to draw women in ridiculous skimpy outfit is one of the sillier ones. There's such a thing as right time, right place and right context. A lot of fantasy art where we see skimpy female outfits are none of the above. I'm a heterosexual man who likes looking at scantily-dressed women well enough. That doesn't mean I need them everywhere I look.

Besides, if we took a black marker and removed half of sexualized women from fantasy and gaming art right now, there's still be a lot of them left. So the cries of prudes trying to remove all sexy women look more than a little silly.


The part I bolded is one of the key things that the those on that hill seem to miss (or conveniently ignore because it makes distorting opposing arguments easier if they can say "you prudes just want your tastes imposed on everyone and to eliminate all sex from everything).
1) It's rarely prudes, these days, saying "stop showing sexy things; think of the children/my morals!" and fainting on couches at the sight of a low decolletage. It's usually feminists (or "feminists").

2) It isn't a hill to die on on its own. Most people who'll get up in arms defending it do so because they've long ago learned that the phrase, held up by those who disagree with them, "This isn't your hill to die on!" will hold that phrase up on every single hill, until there aren't any hills left.

It isn't the hill to die on for either side. So why is there a fight? Because it's not about that hill. It's about establishing a pattern, and a zeitgeist, wherein certain groups get to dictate to others what they are allowed to like or dislike.

"How ridiculous that you would die on this hill! Silly! Pfha! Give it up without a fight!"
"Um, if it's so silly, why are you even attacking this hill? What's so important about it that you have to stake a flag here and then tell anybody who would challenge it that they're silly for doing so?"

There is a culture war going on, and these are their battles. It's just a particular rhetorical trick to try to pretend that there isn't one happening, and anybody who disagrees with your side's position is a weirdo for caring enough to object to having insults insinuated about them, things they like attacked, and having the audacity to care about something that the people making the attack also obviously care about.

Morty
2019-03-05, 10:55 AM
Brief serious note: Barebarian, please put line breaks between your paragraphs! :smalleek:

Nonsense! By your avatar, I can tell you are attracted to spiders, and are in denial if you say anything else. Harumph harumph adjust-glasses stroke beard harumph. :smallamused::smallwink::smalltongue:



1) It's rarely prudes, these days, saying "stop showing sexy things; think of the children/my morals!" and fainting on couches at the sight of a low decolletage. It's usually feminists (or "feminists").

2) It isn't a hill to die on on its own. Most people who'll get up in arms defending it do so because they've long ago learned that the phrase, held up by those who disagree with them, "This isn't your hill to die on!" will hold that phrase up on every single hill, until there aren't any hills left.

It isn't the hill to die on for either side. So why is there a fight? Because it's not about that hill. It's about establishing a pattern, and a zeitgeist, wherein certain groups get to dictate to others what they are allowed to like or dislike.

"How ridiculous that you would die on this hill! Silly! Pfha! Give it up without a fight!"
"Um, if it's so silly, why are you even attacking this hill? What's so important about it that you have to stake a flag here and then tell anybody who would challenge it that they're silly for doing so?"

There is a culture war going on, and these are their battles. It's just a particular rhetorical trick to try to pretend that there isn't one happening, and anybody who disagrees with your side's position is a weirdo for caring enough to object to having insults insinuated about them, things they like attacked, and having the audacity to care about something that the people making the attack also obviously care about.

You accuse others of using rhetorical tricks, then you turn right around and do the same thing yourself. Using needlessly divisive, combative terms like "culture war", throwing baseless accusations that have nothing to do with what either of us has said and implying some vast conspiracy aimed at taking sexy art away from people. All because... we criticized some depictions in media and gaming.

Segev
2019-03-05, 11:08 AM
You accuse others of using rhetorical tricks, then you turn right around and do the same thing yourself. Using needlessly divisive, combative terms like "culture war", throwing baseless accusations that have nothing to do with what either of us has said and implying some vast conspiracy aimed at taking sexy art away from people. All because... we criticized some depictions in media and gaming.
"Culture war" is hardly combative. There is one going on. Some people fight it on purpose. Others are just swept up in the tides.

The fact that it offends you that anybody would object to your attack on something, that your position would be opposed, demonstrates my point.

I'm not particularly offended; I just will point out what's going on when people ask. Would you prefer I throw my hands in the air and say, "Wow, gee, I have no idea why people are behaving the way they are," when I actually have an inkling, especially from the perspective of one of those being told not to "die on this hill?"

That phrase itself is a pretty clear indication that this is a front in an ideological war of some sort; but of course, it's only me who's using combative language, since you view me as an enemy in this discussion. You, obviously, are not being combative, nor is anybody on your side, even if they term opposing their view as other people being "silly" for "dying on this hill."

That said, debating WHETHER there's a culture war or not is definitely starting on a tangent, at the very least, so I'll stop here. If you disagree and don't believe there is one, that's your business. People asked WHY anybody would CONCEIVE of arguing against the ill-defined anti-chainmail-bikini position; I answered.

The Jack
2019-03-05, 11:15 AM
stuff
What a good post. Wish I'd started with something like that. A few things to add.



1) It's rarely prudes, these days, saying "stop showing sexy things; think of the children/my morals!" and fainting on couches at the sight of a low decolletage. It's usually feminists (or "feminists").

There's significant overlap. Personally, I believe anyone who wants to tackle social issues with 'you can't do X' or 'you must do Y' is mentally a conservative; and that includes "feminists" who're really just conservatives of a different stripe, they just want to control people. 'You can do this' is the only way to empower people and enable possibilities. You don't have to like all those possibilities, but you'll grow more because they're there.

Pretend I'm talking about music for a moment. We'd have a lot less if someone said 'Only make X because it's the most wholesome and good music' and everyone went along with it, and it'd screw over the minority that doesn't like X music. We're much better off that things developed mostly naturally.



It isn't the hill to die on for either side. So why is there a fight? Because it's not about that hill. It's about establishing a pattern, and a zeitgeist, wherein certain groups get to dictate to others what they are allowed to like or dislike.

Yep. And it's a real distraction from real and quantifiable issues. Why discuss [redacted] when we could be getting heated over the nebulous concept of gender representation in fantasy games?


Of all the hills to die on, defending the artists' inalienable right to draw women in ridiculous skimpy outfit is one of the sillier ones. There's such a thing as right time, right place and right context. A lot of fantasy art where we see skimpy female outfits are none of the above. I'm a heterosexual man who likes looking at scantily-dressed women well enough. That doesn't mean I need them everywhere I look.

Besides, if we took a black marker and removed half of sexualized women from fantasy and gaming art right now, there's still be a lot of them left. So the cries of prudes trying to remove all sexy women look more than a little silly.

Bikini warriors without other justification are always in a context where people aren't wearing sensible outfits, practical armours or anything of the sort. As for fan art or stuff like High School of the dead... You've got to be blind to the real world context of such things. It's like complaining there's sex on a porn site... It almost is complaining there's sex on a porn site.

Segev
2019-03-05, 11:47 AM
Bikini warriors without other justification are always in a context where people aren't wearing sensible outfits, practical armours or anything of the sort. As for fan art or stuff like High School of the dead... You've got to be blind to the real world context of such things. It's like complaining there's sex on a porn site... It almost is complaining there's sex on a porn site.

Let's be honest: bikini warriors WITH justification are usually pretty blatant examples of "I want bikini warriors; how can I contrive a justification for it?"

The most disturbing example in recent memory was one of the Ar Tonelico games, which my friend who is a big fan of the series stopped playing in the main room of the house we shared at the time because it made him feel dirty and ashamed to be playing it in front of others. (The magical girls in it slowly strip down layer by layer as they "improve their connection to the planet" throughout combat in that game, and despite not being particularly alluring - at least in my opinion - it was VERY uncomfortable.)

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 11:51 AM
Let's be honest: bikini warriors WITH justification are usually pretty blatant examples of "I want bikini warriors; how can I contrive a justification for it?"

The most disturbing example in recent memory was one of the Ar Tonelico games, which my friend who is a big fan of the series stopped playing in the main room of the house we shared at the time because it made him feel dirty and ashamed to be playing it in front of others. (The magical girls in it slowly strip down layer by layer as they "improve their connection to the planet" throughout combat in that game, and despite not being particularly alluring - at least in my opinion - it was VERY uncomfortable.)


Yeah, that would be a pretty blatant example of working backwards to justify the tacky "fanservice".

Lemmy
2019-03-05, 12:14 PM
You're conflating different things there.

The HSotD issue is pointless pandering, and absolutely the sort of thing that should just go away. It's out of context and directed straight at puerile interest. It's demeaning and degrading to the characters, and creepily reflective of things that real men in certain countries try to subject women to.
Of course it's a puerile interest... The whole point of the fan-service is to be titillating. It's only demeaning and creepy if you focus only on the character's appearance and and ignore all the agency, power and competence they display. I never thought Thor or Captain America were any less cool because of they are shown shirtless in scenes that are clearly more for eye-candy than for any "male power fantasy". And enjoying sexy artwork isn't sexism.


Does the "camera" ever linger leeringly over Tifa's bust? Is it ever animated Gainax style? Do the male characters ever stare or go after her inappropriately? Does it ever become that sort of focus? Not that I'm aware of.And yet... I've seen many, many claims that Tifa's design is sexist because she is busty and wear sexy clothes. Including from various famous "influencers".


Samus and Ms Bellum both involve some subversions of trope along the way, and I think there's a subtle anti-sexist message hidden in never showing Ms Bellum's face (that was an ongoing thing, right?)And yet, they removed Ms Bellum because the writers "felt like Ms. Bellum wasn’t quite indicative of the kind of messaging we wanted to be giving out at this time"... Apparently, having a beautiful, competent, confident, responsible woman isn't the message they want to pass... Like I said, simply having a character actually look feminine is now used as an excuse to accuse the creators of being sexist.


Bayonetta is a ridiculous, it's hard to be outraged by a blatantly dumb character and game design, at most it's eye-roll worthy.How high and might of you to decide by yourself what is or isn't dumb or ridiculous.


Not really, but thanks for trying.This very thread is evidence of my claim.


Conflating all concern or complaint about the over-sexualization and out-of-context sexualization and more-common sexualization of female characters, with the "outrage brigade", must make for a convenient dismissal...Not all concern or complaint... But there's definitely a lot of overlap. And I mean a lot. What is "over"-sexualization is completely subjective... And more and more I see literally any hint of female sexuality being equated to "over-sexualization" and "objectification". Character has big boobs? Objectification! cleavage? Objectification! A skirt? Objectification! That's what started this trend in western media of making female characters that barely look feminine. A sexy character isn't an "object" any more than any other fictional character. To em a character is "objectified" when it has no agency or appeal beyond looking pretty or being a prop... Literally all of the characters I mentioned are the complete opposite of that. They are all strong competent female characters, but certain people judge them solely on their physical appearance and then have the gall to call others sexist.

Lemmy
2019-03-05, 12:24 PM
Let's be honest: bikini warriors WITH justification are usually pretty blatant examples of "I want bikini warriors; how can I contrive a justification for it?"

The most disturbing example in recent memory was one of the Ar Tonelico games, which my friend who is a big fan of the series stopped playing in the main room of the house we shared at the time because it made him feel dirty and ashamed to be playing it in front of others. (The magical girls in it slowly strip down layer by layer as they "improve their connection to the planet" throughout combat in that game, and despite not being particularly alluring - at least in my opinion - it was VERY uncomfortable.)
Honestly, there shouldn't be any need to justify anything. If designers want to make characters sexy, they have all the right to do so. There's nothing wrong with that.

- If people enjoy that content, they are free to buy that product and support the creators. Again, nothing wrong.
- If people dislike that content, they are free to not buy the product and instead support something more fitting to their tastes... Nothing wrong with that either. Not all media is meant to appeal to everyone.

What's wrong is trying to forbid stuff just because it doesn't appeal to your tastes and some self-proclaimed moral superiority. The reason I don't buy Twilight books and movies is simply because it doesn't appeal to me... Not because the shirtless werewolf dude "offends me" or "is demeaning to men". It's completely fine for people to buy and enjoy those books and movies, even if I dislike them tremendously.

Bikini Warriors isn't over-sexualization or out-of-context sexualization... Not any more than any other form of softcore porn, anyway.

Turns out that people enjoy porn. That's a perfectly natural and healthy part of human sexuality.

Morty
2019-03-05, 12:30 PM
This very thread is evidence of my claim.


You mean the thread whose starting premise is to claim that the only problem with chainmail bikini is the material?

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 12:57 PM
Of course it's a puerile interest... The whole point of the fan-service is to be titillating. It's only demeaning and creepy if you focus only on the character's appearance and and ignore all the agency, power and competence they display. I never thought Thor or Captain America were any less cool because of they are shown shirtless in scenes that are clearly more for eye-candy than for any "male power fantasy".


No one is ignoring "agency, power, and competence". The point is that putting a character on display simply for the sake of titillation, out-of-character, out-of-context, or in clearly contrived context, is demeaning those qualities.




And enjoying sexy artwork isn't sexism.


Are you mistaking criticism of the trends in the artwork and depictions in question here, as an attack on you personally for enjoying some of that artwork and depiction?




And yet... I've seen many, many claims that Tifa's design is sexist because she is busty and wear sexy clothes. Including from various famous "influencers".


The complaint I usually see regarding that game is that all three of the female "leads", supposedly strong competent women, end up helpless in the face of male villains, and in one case forced into prostitution.




And yet, they removed Ms Bellum because the writers "felt like Ms. Bellum wasn’t quite indicative of the kind of messaging we wanted to be giving out at this time"... Apparently, having a beautiful, competent, confident, responsible woman isn't the message they want to pass... Like I said, simply having a character actually look feminine is now used as an excuse to accuse the creators of being sexist.


Is this in the new series? The one that I watched for five minutes and then gave up on?

Maybe they were worried that the just a little subtle "this really hot woman is also the most competent and level-headed adult on the show, and yet she's stuck as the #2 to this blithering idiot" would be over the heads of their target audience, which to me is more a problem of insulting the intelligence of kids. But if they were worried either way, they should have dressed the character just a bit differently, tweaked the presentation, and kept a good character in the show.




How high and might of you to decide by yourself what is or isn't dumb or ridiculous.


She's fighting the undead while wearing clothing formed from her own hair, which also serves as a weapon etc, so it has to reveal parts of her body when she attacks... She bleeds rose petals instead of blood... she puts "kisses" on her targets... she's posed like an "exotic dancer" half the time... she's fighting in high-heals and a beehive hairdo.

It's ridiculous. If you embrace the silly and like it, then... go for it I guess.




This very thread is evidence of my claim.


Not really.




Not all concern or complaint... But there's definitely a lot of overlap. And I mean a lot. What is "over"-sexualization is completely subjective...


Lewd camera angles of underaged girls in short skirts is not "subjective".

Gainax-cam is not "subjective".

Women going into combat in skirts and high-heals and deep décolletage and such, while the men wear practical gear, or women getting "sexy armor" while the men get functional armor, is not "subjective".




And more and more I see literally any hint of female sexuality being equated to "over-sexualization" and "objectification". Character has big boobs? Objectification! cleavage? Objectification! A skirt? Objectification!


You're evidently having an argument with someone who isn't here, trying to refute their points instead of what's being said in this thread.

Perhaps you'd find it more productive to either go argue with the people you'd like to argue with, or to focus more on addressing points actually being made on this thread?




That's what started this trend in western media of making female characters that barely look feminine.


So in your estimation it's a problem when a female character doesn't "look feminine"? What's your standard for "feminine"?

I don't see a lot of female characters who "don't look feminine", but I do see a lot of characters who have clearly had their design or costuming deliberately tweaked to be "more feminine", starting with showing off skin and/or body lines that none of the male characters show.




A sexy character isn't an "object" any more than any other fictional character. To me a character is "objectified" when it has no agency or appeal beyond looking pretty or being a prop... Literally all of the characters I mentioned are the complete opposite of that. They are all strong competent female characters, but certain people judge them solely on their physical appearance and then have the gall to call others sexist.


A competent character being treated as a prop for blatant fanservice is still being treated as a prop, and it's twice as sad because an otherwise interesting character is being demeaned and diminished for the sake of titillation.

Talakeal
2019-03-05, 01:11 PM
What is "gainax-cam"?

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 01:23 PM
Honestly, there shouldn't be any need to justify anything. If designers want to make characters sexy, they have all the right to do so. There's nothing wrong with that.


So why is it that right now that designers and artists end up having to do swim upstream and justify each instance of a female characters who aren't also "eye candy", who don't appeal to narrow conceptions of what draws the male eye?




What's wrong is trying to forbid stuff


Who proposed forbidding things? "Shouldn't" is not the same as "can't", "should" is not the same as "must".




just because it doesn't appeal to your tastes and some self-proclaimed moral superiority.


No one in this thread appears to be doing either -- rather, you and a couple other defenders of the current situation in media and art appear to be projecting a convenient assumption to undercut the people who disagree with you instead of their arguments.

It's interesting to note that it's almost entirely the people defending the long-time trends and tropes of the art and media who are resorting to attacks on the character and motives of the people who are questioning those trends and tropes.

Half the population grows up bombarded and deluged with the message that their attractiveness, their sexuality, is their key defining trait and how they should be judged, that what matters most is that they're pretty and pleasing. Part of that message is the divergent visual depiction of characters in art and media depending on the sex of the character.

That's starting to change, but it's still an uphill battle to get a girl to adulthood valuing her own smarts and wit and self-worth more than she does her ability to fit the mold that's been shoved down her throat almost from birth. Just trying to avoid reinforcing that mold is a struggle every time I get my nieces gifts for their birthdays or Christmas, the messaging and assumptions and imbalances are entrenched and rampant.




Bikini Warriors isn't over-sexualization or out-of-context sexualization... Not any more than any other form of softcore porn, anyway.

Turns out that people enjoy porn. That's a perfectly natural and healthy part of human sexuality.


If you enjoy it, fine, that's your thing.

At least from my POV, one of the problems is when elements of that thing end up creeping into other works -- when stuff that isn't that thing ends up looking a lot like it's trying to be that thing or appeal to the same interests as that thing.

You've got plenty of material that leans that way. The challenge is finding material -- art, shows, games, etc -- that consistently avoids leaning that way.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 01:26 PM
What is "gainax-cam"?

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Gainaxing

Or just the camera lingering, focusing, centering, and almost visually caressing particular areas of the female body.

Imbalance
2019-03-05, 01:37 PM
Hey now, watch who you're calling "entrenched."

Segev
2019-03-05, 01:52 PM
Are you mistaking criticism of the trends in the artwork and depictions in question here, as an attack on you personally for enjoying some of that artwork and depiction? It's a fairly typical reaction to having something you like attacked. "This is bad, for these reasons that amount to me making a moral judgment of its existence," carries an inescapable implication of, "...and anybody who likes it and doesn't see a problem with it now that I've pointed it out is condoning this stuff, and is thus also morally deficient."

At its LEAST personal, such attacks that aren't "I want more things without this stuff" rather than "I think these are bad and there should be less of it" are attacking something the fans of the works like and don't want taken away from them in future productions. Less abstractly, though, there absolutely is a moral judgmentalism to it. You can't say "this work objectifies women and is bad for doing so" without also implying, "those who enjoy this work and these depictions of women are objectifying women, and are bad for doing so."

So, yes, there will be people who feel personally attacked by such things. Generally, anybody able to make logical inferences who happen to be fans of the work in question, particularly if they like the depictions being called out as morally bad.


So why is it that right now that designers and artists end up having to do swim upstream and justify each instance of a female characters who aren't also "eye candy", who don't appeal to narrow conceptions of what draws the male eye?Who says they do? I haven't seen a single person here say they need to justify non-eye-candy characters.

Who proposed forbidding things? "Shouldn't" is not the same as "can't", "should" is not the same as "must".[/quote]"Should" implies that there is a correct choice, and that other choices (those which should not be done) are incorrect. In this context, there is a moral weight being tossed around, with the perjorative of "sexist" being levied like a rhetorical sword (by implication, if not directly) at any who don't agree with the assertions of what "should" be done.

When a large group of, say, New York Yankees fans start saying things like, "You shouldn't wear that Cardinals shirt in our bar," while getting louder and louder about the assertion and telling him all the ways he's offending and upsetting them and is morally deficient for supporting the Cardinals in New York, that "should" and "should not" starts to sound an awful lot like, "...because we'll ostricise, demean, and possibly threaten you if you don't...and you're a bad person to boot." That starts to sound a lot like "must, but we won't use that word so we can pretend we didn't mean it that way if called out on it."


If you enjoy it, fine, that's your thing. And as long as you're not saying this after having gone on a diatribe about how it's immoral, unethical, and sexist, and how it reflects badly on people who positively associate with it, this is good. Otherwise, don't be surprised if people react as if you judged them and personally attacked their moral and ethical nature.


At least from my POV, one of the problems is when elements of that thing end up creeping into other works -- when stuff that isn't that thing ends up looking a lot like it's trying to be that thing or appeal to the same interests as that thing.

You've got plenty of material that leans that way. The challenge is finding material -- art, shows, games, etc -- that consistently avoids leaning that way.Sure. And asking for more that does so is fine. It's just a matter of not doing so while saying, "because this other stuff is tripe for tripe-loving jerks."

Frankly, I'm with you on wanting more stuff that doesn't do that. I don't find a lot of the "sexy" outfits to be all that alluring. I generally don't even notice, and wouldn't notice if they were absent, in most contexts. I'm used enough to them that, like I said, they don't stand out to me, but they also aren't "hot" in my opinion. They're just there. My issue arises when it's used as a cause du jour to advance an agenda that demonizes people just for liking it.

RazorChain
2019-03-05, 02:16 PM
I like women in bikinis, chainmail or not....I won't deny it, in any setting, medieval fantasy or not.

BUT at my table you are not getting ANY AC bonuses for wearing a chainmail bikini just like a ballgag is not a helmet

Segev
2019-03-05, 02:18 PM
I like women in bikinis, chainmail or not....I won't deny it, in any setting, medieval fantasy or not.

BUT at my table you are not getting ANY AC bonuses for wearing a chainmail bikini just like a ballgag is not a helmet

What if it has a +2 enhancement bonus to armor? :smallwink:

RazorChain
2019-03-05, 02:24 PM
What if it has a +2 enhancement bonus to armor? :smallwink:

Damn, you got me there....if you can have enchantment bonus from Bracelets and Cloaks....then why not underwear?

I mean Jockstraps of armour +2 should be valid to protect your goods

The Jack
2019-03-05, 02:58 PM
No one is ignoring "agency, power, and competence". The point is that putting a character on display simply for the sake of titillation, out-of-character, out-of-context, or in clearly contrived context, is demeaning those qualities.

That's your opinion, not a fact. Women don't become stronger characters when they wear more clothes, they don't become weaker characters when they wear less.



Are you mistaking criticism of the trends in the artwork and depictions in question here, as an attack on you personally for enjoying some of that artwork and depiction?

Not me personally, but let's reverse this.
Are you taking depictions of bikini warriors as an attack? Are you mad that you/your partner/your friend doesn't meet the standards of beauty an artwork shows? Do you feel like you're cheating on someone just by looking at someone else in this context? Do you feel attacked? You were saying earlier that you feel attacked that someone thought they could attract you with base and tacky things...
Because I think you should be more secure with yourself.




Maybe they were worried that the just a little subtle "this really hot woman is also the most competent and level-headed adult on the show, and yet she's stuck as the #2 to this blithering idiot" would be over the heads of their target audience, which to me is more a problem of insulting the intelligence of kids. But if they were worried either way, they should have dressed the character just a bit differently, tweaked the presentation, and kept a good character in the show.





She's fighting the undead while wearing clothing formed from her own hair, which also serves as a weapon etc, so it has to reveal parts of her body when she attacks... She bleeds rose petals instead of blood... she puts "kisses" on her targets... she's posed like an "exotic dancer" half the time... she's fighting in high-heals and a beehive hairdo.

It's ridiculous. If you embrace the silly and like it, then... go for it I guess.

Precisely




Women going into combat in skirts and high-heals and deep décolletage and such, while the men wear practical gear, or women getting "sexy armor" while the men get functional armor, is not "subjective".

But they don't. It doesn't happen. Nadda.






So in your estimation it's a problem when a female character doesn't "look feminine"? What's your standard for "feminine"?
It's not a problem. It is nice when a character does look attractive and feminine (hence this whole trope and it's troubles) but it's not necessary.


I don't see a lot of female characters who "don't look feminine", but I do see a lot of characters who have clearly had their design or costuming deliberately tweaked to be "more feminine", starting with showing off skin and/or body lines that none of the male characters show.

Skin? Fair point. But body lines and costumes tweaked to be 'more masculine' are extremely common.



A competent character being treated as a prop for blatant fanservice is still being treated as a prop, and it's twice as sad because an otherwise interesting character is being demeaned and diminished for the sake of titillation.
You've written this opinion as if it were fact. I for one think a brazen woman is a greater woman, and a woman who is wanted is a stronger woman.


You're spouting hypocrisy.

Floret
2019-03-05, 04:26 PM
I see a big problem with the objections on the basis of "but women should be allowed to wear what they want":

We aren't talking about women. We are talking about female characters. None of these characters "made a choice". No character possibly can ultimately make a choice. Characters had their choices made for them, by authors.

To pull this discussion on a level of "female choice" is disingenuous. The discussion is about the choices producers of art (in the widest sense) make about their art.

On the other hand, to make this discussion purely about artistic choice ignores the massive influence marketing and producers have on the final product, especially in the case of basically everything actually culturally impactful. And artistic choice can be criticised. And sometimes is based on lack of thought. We all only have our own experiences.

(Out of curiosity: What do y'all think about an artist going back and changing their work in the face of criticism, with the opinion of "fair point, should have done this differently?". Most recent one coming to mind is the diversity in Umbrella Academy and Gerard Ways statements on that.)

Also, on the topic of sex sells: This is a statement that needs to be proven. It's an old adage of marketing, but... current research suggests it might not actually be true, or at least not as easy. Marketing (like Hollywood, the AAA gaming industry, etc.) has a big problem with taking things as gospel that seem sensible enough, without checking if they are actually true.

And on the argument of "make/support your own art": Different art has, due to societal circumstances, different abilities to get to people. Similar to a person born rich just having more options in life, a work of art made to appeal to generally less privileged groups of people is... harder. Voting with your wallet is only worth a damn if the options are actually equal, and presented equally. If one option has more marketing behind it, it getting more support isn't a clear sign of this just being "what more people like".

Last but not least, despite the fact I know I shouldn't respond to ad hominems: Calling me a prude is laughable. I can object to cultural patterns without it meaning I am somehow opposed to sexiness. Or sex. Or... whatever.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 04:47 PM
That's your opinion, not a fact. Women don't become stronger characters when they wear more clothes, they don't become weaker characters when they wear less.


Why do you (and others) keep trying to reduce this to the amount of clothing rather than the details and nuances (or lack thereof) of the presentation? See earlier reference to how women in MMA and WWE are in about the same amount of clothing, and yet the presentation could not be more different.




Not me personally, but let's reverse this.
Are you taking depictions of bikini warriors as an attack? Are you mad that you/your partner/your friend doesn't meet the standards of beauty an artwork shows? Do you feel like you're cheating on someone just by looking at someone else in this context? Do you feel attacked? You were saying earlier that you feel attacked that someone thought they could attract you with base and tacky things...
Because I think you should be more secure with yourself.


And that just comes off as another "it must be something wrong with you if you don't like this thing" attempt, only with the tack changed from "you must be a prude" to "you must be insecure".

Not attacked, just kinda insulted by the assertion that because I'm a straight man, I can have my attention drawn and held, and my consumption or purchasing manipulated, by offering up some T&A, some skin, etc.




But they don't. It doesn't happen. Nadda.


Wait, wait, you really claim that there's not a plethora of visual fiction depicting "Women going into combat in skirts and high-heals and deep décolletage and such, while the men wear practical gear, or women getting "sexy armor" while the men get functional armor..."

That's a thing you're going to say is not a part of the fiction we're discussing?




It's not a problem. It is nice when a character does look attractive and feminine (hence this whole trope and it's troubles) but it's not necessary.


And that gets back to my question regarding what the person I was replying to considers "attractive" and "feminine", because I don't want to jump to conclusions based on their accompanying statement about "skirts and big boobs and cleavage" and their reference to characters who "barely look feminine" as a noted contrast to that list.




Skin? Fair point. But body lines and costumes tweaked to be 'more masculine' are extremely common.


Funny how much more overlap there is between "functional for adventuring or combat" and "this is more masculine" than there with "this is more feminine".




You've written this opinion as if it were fact. I for one think a brazen woman is a greater woman, and a woman who is wanted is a stronger woman.


First, that's missing the point -- is the character is being presented that way because it's in-character and in-context and so on, or to make the character into an object for the titillation and gratification of the audience -- a prop? It's not the only way characters end up as props, but that's an overlapping subject.

Second, "but she's an empowered woman in control of her own sexuality" has been used as a fig leaf for depicting women as objects for the sexual gratification of others back to the 60s at least, so I'm never quite sure what to make of such an assertion.





You're spouting hypocrisy.


OK, if you say so. http://cdn-frm-us.wargaming.net/4.5/style_emoticons/wot/Smile_smile.gif

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-05, 05:58 PM
I see a big problem with the objections on the basis of "but women should be allowed to wear what they want":

We aren't talking about women. We are talking about female characters. None of these characters "made a choice". No character possibly can ultimately make a choice. Characters had their choices made for them, by authors.

To pull this discussion on a level of "female choice" is disingenuous. The discussion is about the choices producers of art (in the widest sense) make about their art.

On the other hand, to make this discussion purely about artistic choice ignores the massive influence marketing and producers have on the final product, especially in the case of basically everything actually culturally impactful. And artistic choice can be criticised. And sometimes is based on lack of thought. We all only have our own experiences.


I find myself in an odd spot on this, because on one hand you're right that characters aren't making choices... but on the other hand it very much bothers me when characters are treated as props for whatever narrative or pandering or marketing purpose the writers/artists behind them have in mind, instead of treated as "people who could be real".

The topic at hand in this thread is where that concern overlaps with my horror at the messages being sent to girls and women... and with my disgust at the way fiction is "crafted" to appeal to our supposed "tastes" and "niches" as a vessel for marketing (see, the death of Young Justice in part because "too many girls" were watching that show instead of the shows where the "girl advertising" was being sold to advertisers, as one example... or go into a toy store or department and notice that the "girl stuff" vs "boy stuff" is almost immediately noticeable, and segregated at least by the 4' section if not by the aisle).




Also, on the topic of sex sells: This is a statement that needs to be proven. It's an old adage of marketing, but... current research suggests it might not actually be true, or at least not as easy. Marketing (like Hollywood, the AAA gaming industry, etc.) has a big problem with taking things as gospel that seem sensible enough, without checking if they are actually true.


Advertising and marketing are full of "just so" stories and truisms and tautologies about what people respond to, about what drives and manipulates them... compounded by a landfill's worth of pop-psych garbage.




Last but not least, despite the fact I know I shouldn't respond to ad hominems: Calling me a prude is laughable. I can object to cultural patterns without it meaning I am somehow opposed to sexiness. Or sex. Or... whatever.


"You're just a prude", "you're just insecure", etc... all squares on the card for that particular game of bingo... eventually you get them all and "win".

Floret
2019-03-05, 06:33 PM
I find myself in an odd spot on this, because on one hand you're right that characters aren't making choices... but on the other hand it very much bothers me when characters are treated as props for whatever narrative or pandering or marketing purpose the writers/artists behind them have in mind, instead of treated as "people who could be real".

I do actually agree with you on this generally producing better stories - but in a metatextual discussion such as this, treating characters as if they were making choices is the wrong way to go. We aren't at the writing stage, we are at the interpretation/analysing stage.

I am objecting to the argument that a characters outfit could ever be justified by "choice" of the character, and so any attempt to criticise a characters outfit be suddenly deemed an attack on freedom of expression of real women. (Because I'm not criticising a woman making a choice for what to wear, I'm criticising an artist deciding for that character).

An outfit fitting for the character, in line with characterisation, and in line maybe with what a real life person in a similar situation would wear? Sure, that can be a justification. But "the character chose this" can't. The character is not an agent that can choose. A real life woman can choose an outfit seemingly contradicting her personality, a character can't. A real person can choose an outfit cause she likes looking that way, for a character, it always says something about how someone in the creative process wanted this character to look. Someone else, not the character themselves.

Bringing a Watsonian argument to a Doylist discussion (which this very much is) just doesn't work


"You're just a prude", "you're just insecure", etc... all squares on the card for that particular game of bingo... eventually you get them all and "win".

Yeah. I just found that particular one especially funny considering who I actually am.

patchyman
2019-03-05, 08:52 PM
I started RPGs in the '90s with the Mystara setting. I bought most of the Gazetteers for the various realms, and virtually all of them (barring "The Orcs of Thar") had a woman on the cover that was skimpily dressed for no reason. The women on the cover were not important NPCs in each Realm, or (if I recall correctly) even identified in the Gazetteer. Of course, it wasn't just the Gazetteers. In other game materials, the adventuring party illustrated would consist of three or four men and one woman, and the woman was either the cleric (dressed in a chainmail bikini) or the wizard (dressed as a vampy enchantress). Sure there was the occasional barbarian dressed principally in a loincloth, but there were a lot of male wizards (many "old man" wizards), elves, dwarves, halflings, fighters that provided a range of male character models.

Fastforward 25 years...

Things have gotten a lot better, particularly for Pathfinder and D&D books. There are many more female characters portrayed, so illustrations do not boil down to "cleric in a chainmail bikini" or "sorceress in a vampy robe". BUT, there are two important caveats...

First, while things have gotten better, I believe there is still room for improvement.

Second, some of the posters here seem to be (i) denying there ever was a problem; (ii) acting as if they don't understand what the problem is; (iii) acting as if those who pointed out a problem are being "hysterical" or accusing them of being "evil feminists". Responses like those make it important to keep the issue in the forefront, so there is no backsliding.

Finally, no one in the "chainmail bikinis are silly" camp is advocating censorship. Posters hope that publishers (or future publishers) spend time on forums, and a chorus of voices saying "make your armor somewhat practical" or "give us adventurers (of both sexes) that look cool instead of Sports Illustrated Fantasy Edition" might have an effect on future products, and if those voices drown out the voices saying "chainmail bikinis aren't a big deal" then so be it.

Off topic, but if any future publishers are listening, please give us a sorcerer that is as awesome as a wizard in 6e.

Satinavian
2019-03-06, 01:18 AM
On the other hand, to make this discussion purely about artistic choice ignores the massive influence marketing and producers have on the final product, especially in the case of basically everything actually culturally impactful. And artistic choice can be criticised. And sometimes is based on lack of thought. We all only have our own experiences.
RPGs are not culturally impactfull. Until recently fantasy in total was a niche thing. An RPG company is very big if it reaches half a dozen permanent positions.

If we complain about RPG art, there was usually never a marketing department involved. Most producers are happy to be able to present some consistent style at all, which usually means they got one or a couple reliable enthusiast artists drawing pictures below market prices instead of shopping picture for picture for cheap, reusing old ones or (which has happened) ask the community to send in whatever they wish and ten publis a wild mix from realistic drawings to manga style.

Under these conditions, artists tend to get a lot of freedom. How many studios can afford to have pictures regularly redone ? Or to piss off the artist producing the iconic style they use ? There have been cases of rewriting content of modules and introducing new monsters to match the expensive cover picture.


Also, on the topic of sex sells: This is a statement that needs to be proven. It's an old adage of marketing, but... current research suggests it might not actually be true, or at least not as easy. Marketing (like Hollywood, the AAA gaming industry, etc.) has a big problem with taking things as gospel that seem sensible enough, without checking if they are actually true.
Now that is very very true. But that extends not only to including tittilating stuff, this is also true for the notions how this tittilating stuff is supposed to look. That most of the women shown tend to have the same body type is based on the same truisms about what men find attractive. And yes, marketing has also some very firm ideas about how attractive men are suppossed to look. Which is why we won't get bishi Batman even when Hollywood wants to tittilate women.

Floret
2019-03-06, 04:25 AM
RPGs are not culturally impactfull. Until recently fantasy in total was a niche thing. An RPG company is very big if it reaches half a dozen permanent positions.

Neither the problem (nor chainmail bikinis) are restricted to RPG art. The discussion started, while in an RPG forum, about comics.

And the patterns form cultural expectations, and subconscious patterns. It's why art matters. These do influence artwork even if the pressures aren't there. RPG artist aren't free of those.

But beyond that, big RPG publishers have at least an art direction these days, who makes sure the art looks consistent, even between different artists and stuff. There is no way to know how much they influence beyond style, but to act as if the artists have perfect freedom is naive. Like, Dark Eye has had one from mid 4th edition onwards. And changed the art direction going into 5th. Intentionally. It's very noticable.

Barebarian
2019-03-06, 04:34 AM
I like women in bikinis, chainmail or not....I won't deny it, in any setting, medieval fantasy or not.

BUT at my table you are not getting ANY AC bonuses for wearing a chainmail bikini just like a ballgag is not a helmet

This I think is the best response so far. :smallbiggrin: It really doesn't matter what it's made of if it's more difficult to hit than you are. If you're a monk or a barbarian have your fun! If you're a wizard with mage armor then go ahead! If you're none of the above?
...
Well I hope you've got a lot of Dex. :smalleek:


What if it has a +2 enhancement bonus to armor? :smallwink:

*Happy barbarian noises* :smallamused:


Damn, you got me there....if you can have enchantment bonus from Bracelets and Cloaks....then why not underwear?

I mean Jockstraps of armour +2 should be valid to protect your goods

Considering the amount of codpieces you see on ornamental suits of armor I'd be stunned if no one had hired a wizard or six to enchant some underwear. :smallbiggrin:

Liquor Box
2019-03-06, 04:50 AM
Apologies in advance for replying once and covering a whole day's worth of posts - I didn't have the chance to respond earlier.


Of all the hills to die on, defending the artists' inalienable right to draw women in ridiculous skimpy outfit is one of the sillier ones. There's such a thing as right time, right place and right context. A lot of fantasy art where we see skimpy female outfits are none of the above. I'm a heterosexual man who likes looking at scantily-dressed women well enough. That doesn't mean I need them everywhere I look.

Really? I haven't been arguing from the artist's perspective (instead arguing from the perspective of those who enjoy the art on the assumption that if there's demand there will be supply), but arguing in favour of freedom of expression seems to me to a really good cause to die on a hill for.

On the other hand arguing that other people shouldn't be able to enjoy media portrayals they like (of women in skimpy outfits) just because I don't like it myself (or you don't like it yourself) does seem a crazy hill to die on. Why not just scan past the stuff you don't like (women in skimpy outfits) and enjoy the stuff you do (women properly armoured?)?


The part I bolded is one of the key things that the those on that hill seem to miss (or conveniently ignore because it makes distorting opposing arguments easier if they can say "you prudes just want your tastes imposed on everyone and to eliminate all sex from everything).
The part you bolded and agreed with was about there being a "right" context. Should some people impose on others what context it is and is not 'right' for a person to be titllated? If a person says they enjoy seeing women in skimpy outfits in a fantasy comic context, should they not be able to do so because others think the context is wrong? Or do you think each person is free to determine the context in which they prefer to enjoy sexualised images, if any?


So why is it that right now that designers and artists end up having to do swim upstream and justify each instance of a female characters who aren't also "eye candy", who don't appeal to narrow conceptions of what draws the male eye?

You are quite right, in my opinion, they should not have to - or if they are operating commercially the only justification they need is that there is demand for it. Do you have any examples where they have had to do so, because I do not know of any?

Of course, the reverse is also true - creators should not have to justify each instance of a female (or male for that matter) who is eye candy - again subject to there being demand for it if we are thinking in a commercial context. This thread is an example of where creators have been called into question for doing just that - which to me seems odd.


No one in this thread appears to be doing either -- rather, you and a couple other defenders of the current situation in media and art appear to be projecting a convenient assumption to undercut the people who disagree with you instead of their arguments.

It's interesting to note that it's almost entirely the people defending the long-time trends and tropes of the art and media who are resorting to attacks on the character and motives of the people who are questioning those trends and tropes.

As someone defending the minority of art and media in fantasy that depicts sexualised women, are you suggesting I am doing any of those things? Am I using convenient assumptions, or attacking people's characters and motives?

If I have, please point out those assumptions or attacks.

From my perspective, i have only pointed out that your argument seems to be that because you don't enjoy the sexualisation of characters in the fantasy context, that characters should not be presented in a sexual way. If your argument is not that people should adhere to your preference in that regard, I would be interested to understand what the foundation of your argument is?


I see a big problem with the objections on the basis of "but women should be allowed to wear what they want":

We aren't talking about women. We are talking about female characters. None of these characters "made a choice". No character possibly can ultimately make a choice. Characters had their choices made for them, by authors.

To pull this discussion on a level of "female choice" is disingenuous. The discussion is about the choices producers of art (in the widest sense) make about their art.

I agree with this


On the other hand, to make this discussion purely about artistic choice ignores the massive influence marketing and producers have on the final product, especially in the case of basically everything actually culturally impactful. And artistic choice can be criticised. And sometimes is based on lack of thought. We all only have our own experiences.

Quite right, in a commercial context marketers and producers heavily influence a work - and so they should. The work is being produced to sell, and those are the people whose job it is to determine what will sell best.


(Out of curiosity: What do y'all think about an artist going back and changing their work in the face of criticism, with the opinion of "fair point, should have done this differently?". Most recent one coming to mind is the diversity in Umbrella Academy and Gerard Ways statements on that.)

For me, it depends on circumstances. If an artist actually prefers the changed work, or if it is to make the work more commerically viable, I am ok with it. If it is in the face of pressure from those who think the work is not appropriate, I am against it (subject to some exceptions).


Also, on the topic of sex sells: This is a statement that needs to be proven.

No! It does not have to be proven at all. All that has to happen is for it to be believed by the people selling a thing. If they believe it, they can rely on sex to sell if they want (to their detriment if they are wrong).

They no more need to prove or justify this than any of their other marketing theories (eg, the idea that background music in television advertisements is important). They make their marketing choices and, whether it is based on good evidence or poor evidence, they live with the results.

Satinavian
2019-03-06, 05:52 AM
But beyond that, big RPG publishers have at least an art direction these days, who makes sure the art looks consistent, even between different artists and stuff. There is no way to know how much they influence beyond style, but to act as if the artists have perfect freedom is naive. Like, Dark Eye has had one from mid 4th edition onwards. And changed the art direction going into 5th. Intentionally. It's very noticable.Yes, they started mid 4th.

After they lost most of their longterm artists because they couldn't pay them anymore, then tried to get by mostly by reused art, fanart and the odd comission, then got into legal trouble because they did not even have all necessary rights to reuse stuff infinitely, and then tried to hire explicitely talented newcomers that needed a chance to build their name and were willing to work way below marketprice. Yes, since then their art has been more consistent and is not actually bad. Not sure how they manage to pull that off.

Kardwill
2019-03-06, 05:52 AM
For starters, as a straight male, I find some of the things I'm "supposed to be" titillated by or attracted to... insulting. Stupid women? Helpless women? Objectified women? Women who exist only to please me? Women who can't think or fend or fight for themselves? This is what I'm supposed to be interested in? :smallmad::smallannoyed::smallfrown:


Yeah, that's one of the troubles I have with the classic "chainmail bikiny with metal high-heel boots and adult-magazine pose" look : I find it both stupid AND visually unattractive. The fact that I'm supposed to be interested in this stuff is kinda embarassing. That's why I like the recent trend of showing women fighting in practical gear and action-pose : If the book is an RPG, those images are supposed to inspire me into playing those characters. :)

Goes for current JRPGs too. I love the Fire Emblem series, but it's a little hard to take it seriously when my horse-riding female soldiers have a bare-ass armor (when their male counterparts have the same armor, but with pants), and the enemy dragon-knight general's full plate has high heels, a boob seatbelt, lace-lined boobplates, AND a crotch window showing her panties.

Maybe I'm a little prudish. Probably. But in the 90', it was often downright embarrassing to read RPG books in a public space (like in the subway, or during breaks at work), or to try to get into RPGs anyone who wasn't a 14-16 years-old boy.

The Jack
2019-03-06, 07:13 AM
We don't need bishi batman so much. My partner's already really attracted to him.
It might be because he's rich, but I don't think so. He's just so handsome and cool. Catwoman's such a 'sexual object', but she loves her too.



Can I play the devil?


What's wrong with being objectified. Even when I see a strong female character I hear a 'no,no she's being objectified' and I don't get it. I mean I get it but it never struck me as a complaint that was either fair or relevant. People tend to want other people. You can want them for being sexy,rich, funny, strong, good to deal with, loyal, because you actually want someone else and they're a stepping stone... We want to root for characters because we want them on our side. But I don't see any reason why my partner wanting Batman for his sexyness is any worse than wanting him for his money or his swuave (Other than, y'know, I don't wanna be cucked by batman) and I don't see the harm in myself idolizing his impossible looks, training, money, and attitude (unless i go completely insane trying to achieve that impossibility)
People are fundamentally objects, and we base ourselves largely in relation to others. We want to be wanted. I'm really wondering what kind of naivety or ignorance you need to ignore that. You can argue it's dehumanizing, but you can really only do that if you take the same distant lense I just did and claim we're all objects anyway. Hell, the appeal of some damsel in distress is that the damsel is so very human: The objectifying woman sees the male Hero as a liberator and saviour, and the objectifying man sees her increasing his social value and she's also a healthy and attractive person which is always great (well, sure, it means the man will have more competition, but the idea is that the hero can beat all that back)

A woman wearing the most revealing outfit on a fantasy adventure, whilst her male companion wears ornate armour... well they're both objectified. The woman's sexy, but the guy's rich (and they both have good faces) so they're both objects for readers. Give me some of that sexy, sexy money. We are constantly looking at these characters and what they have. It just so happens that some of you are more sensitive to 'sexy' ladies.

Floret
2019-03-06, 08:55 AM
Can I play the devil?


It's interesting you frame this perspective as the devils. Almost as if you realise there's something wrong about it.


What's wrong with being objectified. Even when I see a strong female character I hear a 'no,no she's being objectified' and I don't get it. I mean I get it but it never struck me as a complaint that was either fair or relevant. People tend to want other people.

Being wanted =/= being objectified. Or, to quote a certain famous character: You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.


The woman's sexy, but the guy's rich (and they both have good faces) so they're both objects for readers. Give me some of that sexy, sexy money. We are constantly looking at these characters and what they have. It just so happens that some of you are more sensitive to 'sexy' ladies.

There is a difference between wanting to have what someone has, and wanting to have them. Me wanting control over your posessions, and me wanting control over your body are two very, very different propositions.

Talakeal
2019-03-06, 09:35 AM
Being wanted =/= being objectified. Or, to quote a certain famous character: You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

I think a discussion of exactly what is meant by objectification would be really useful.


I am looking online for definitions and most of them are really hard to apply to a fictional character unless taken literally, in which case its pretty hard not to objectify them as a piece of art or book cover is literally an object.

Honestly if objectification is really the issue I think the bikini warrior is less of an object than the fully armored faceless mooks as she has a personality and appearance and probsbly a story while they dont even have individual identities.

Willie the Duck
2019-03-06, 09:48 AM
Can I play the devil?

Sure, but then I am going to respond to the devil you are playing and not you, so please don't take personal offense to the rest of the analysis.


What's wrong with being objectified. Even when I see a strong female character I hear a 'no,no she's being objectified' and I don't get it. I mean I get it but it never struck me as a complaint that was either fair or relevant. People tend to want other people.

Being objectified/being 'wanted' for your body is a different beast. Explaining why is hard because there's no specific, axiomatic reason, so much as cultural context (a term which I'm sure flips more than a few lids here simply by its' utterance). To woman, particularly woman who grew up in my time, being wanted for one's body is going to be seen as being wanted at the expense of desirability for aspects such as one's skill, intelligence, power within an organization, ability within the relevant framework (perhaps adventuring skill in the RPG book cover discussion), etc.


You can want them for being sexy,rich, funny, strong, good to deal with, loyal, because you actually want someone else and they're a stepping stone... We want to root for characters because we want them on our side. But I don't see any reason why my partner wanting Batman for his sexyness is any worse than wanting him for his money or his swuave (Other than, y'know, I don't wanna be cucked by batman) and I don't see the harm in myself idolizing his impossible looks, training, money, and attitude (unless i go completely insane trying to achieve that impossibility)
People are fundamentally objects, and we base ourselves largely in relation to others. We want to be wanted.

'Everyone is just a means to an end to someone else,' and 'people want to be wanted,' are not inherently wrong statements, but they are a gross simplification. We want people, but we also want to be them, or win their approval, or have qualities that they exhibit, not just because others would want us if we had them, but because they represent things to us.

Batman is wanted for many traits, most of which exemplify strength. He has money, training, a level of competence that only fails when it is necessary for the story. He is in control at all times and that represents something one idolizes and wishes to obtain well outside of the fact that if you were to have that, you would be desirable/wanted by others. This is not the same as the wanted of women who are wanted because they are objectified as attractive sexual objects. That's not a position of power, in the grand scheme of things, and certainly doesn't have the same beneficial/idolize-able qualities that Batman's abilities have, outside of having people want you. Having ~infinite competence gives you genuine autonomy and power over any situation you run into. Being desirable only gives you the power to make people want you (which has no direct benefit, and in fact makes you dependent on their desire of you to effect any actual change).


I'm really wondering what kind of naivety or ignorance you need to ignore that.

I would not try to imply that others are being ignorant or naïve, as this devil your playing seems to be showing both those qualities in spades. You are not telling truth to power here.


You can argue it's dehumanizing, but you can really only do that if you take the same distant lense I just did and claim we're all objects anyway.

Um, no. No that is not true, and artificially constraining the counterargument you deem acceptable is not a great way to start. Regardless, let's say you do take the perspective that we're all objects anyway, and then proceed to it being dehumanizing, how is that a repudiation of the dehumanizing statement? That people will treat others as objects may or may not be a truism, that isn't an argument that it is a positive trait. That seems to be approaching the threshold of the naturalistic fallacy.


The objectifying woman sees the male Hero as a liberator and saviour, and the objectifying man sees her increasing his social value

I'm sorry, do you think that the average woman reader of such material want a savior? I think you might want to re-examine your assumptions right there.


It just so happens that some of you are more sensitive to 'sexy' ladies.

'You guys are being too sensitive' isn't actually an supporting argument to any position. Don't think we didn't notice this sleight of hand. Now if your devil actually wants to make a cohesive and coherent argument towards a specific point, I think the rest of us would be more than willing to listen. However, these distractions and subterfuges, preemptive attempts to falsely declare counterarguments invalid, and general assumption that you are the only one to have ever considered a freshman-level sociological concept simply are not a great place to start. Please come back, perhaps recognizing that your audience is probably roughly as smart and educated as you are, will see through parlor tricks, and generally expect a convincing argument, and we'll see what comes of it.

The Jack
2019-03-06, 09:51 AM
It's interesting you frame this perspective as the devils. Almost as if you realise there's something wrong about it.
.
I felt physical pain reading this.


@talakeal
'Objectification' is definitely not an objective concept, nor an intelligent one, otherwise it'd cause no problems.
I think it's literally 'character risks titillation' and that's apparently bad for everyone of that gender and the character itself, regardless of how strong that character is or other context.

So an "I don't like this and we've got a word for it so it seems more of an important complaint"

Morgaln
2019-03-06, 09:52 AM
We don't need bishi batman so much. My partner's already really attracted to him.
It might be because he's rich, but I don't think so. He's just so handsome and cool. Catwoman's such a 'sexual object', but she loves her too.



Can I play the devil?


What's wrong with being objectified. Even when I see a strong female character I hear a 'no,no she's being objectified' and I don't get it. I mean I get it but it never struck me as a complaint that was either fair or relevant. People tend to want other people. You can want them for being sexy,rich, funny, strong, good to deal with, loyal, because you actually want someone else and they're a stepping stone... We want to root for characters because we want them on our side. But I don't see any reason why my partner wanting Batman for his sexyness is any worse than wanting him for his money or his swuave (Other than, y'know, I don't wanna be cucked by batman) and I don't see the harm in myself idolizing his impossible looks, training, money, and attitude (unless i go completely insane trying to achieve that impossibility)
People are fundamentally objects, and we base ourselves largely in relation to others. We want to be wanted. I'm really wondering what kind of naivety or ignorance you need to ignore that. You can argue it's dehumanizing, but you can really only do that if you take the same distant lense I just did and claim we're all objects anyway. Hell, the appeal of some damsel in distress is that the damsel is so very human: The objectifying woman sees the male Hero as a liberator and saviour, and the objectifying man sees her increasing his social value and she's also a healthy and attractive person which is always great (well, sure, it means the man will have more competition, but the idea is that the hero can beat all that back)

A woman wearing the most revealing outfit on a fantasy adventure, whilst her male companion wears ornate armour... well they're both objectified. The woman's sexy, but the guy's rich (and they both have good faces) so they're both objects for readers. Give me some of that sexy, sexy money. We are constantly looking at these characters and what they have. It just so happens that some of you are more sensitive to 'sexy' ladies.

Thing is, it's not just about being wanted. The typical damsel in distress is objectified because she is defined solely through being the object of desire of the hero (and possibly also villain). She's a McGuffin that doesn't have any agency or impact on the story, or relevant personality; she doesn't solve anything; she's just there to be the prize for whoever wins. More often than not, the (singular) reason that gets cited for why people are fighting over her is her beauty (see Helen of Troy, this is older than dirt). A damsel in distress might as well be a horse, a lump of gold or a roast turkey for all the importance she has, for all she's doing is provide incentive for the male characters through no effort of her own.
However, female characters deserve to be defined by who they are and how they act just as much as male characters do, and they deserve to be their own person independently from how other people percieve them. Part of that is that they get depicted as capable and competent, not just as sexy. In fact, female characters don't need to be beautiful; if you look at art, there's a sizeable number of pictures of positive male characters that are not handsome in classical sense; the stereotypical bearded wizard (a la Gandalf, Elminster or Merlin) comes to mind, but also male characters with scars, missing limbs, eyepatches, or who are just old. A picture of a woman, on the other hand, seems to require her to be beautiful. If she isn't, she'll invariably be described as a hag, or be crazy or have other negative attributes. I'm sure there are exceptions, but they are extremely rare.
This is what people are fighting against; this pervasive cultural belief that a woman has to be beautiful to be worth something. It is harmful because it puts looks over both personality and intelligence, and most of us don't even notice we're doing it because it's so ubiquitous it just seems normal.

As an example, in the old Hitchcock film "the man who knew too much," the wife of the titular hero is talking about her son to some friends. One of said friends says, to her face: "I hope he has your looks and your husband's brain." This amounts to telling her that she's dumb, but it doesn't matter because she's got good looks. It is not meant as a joke, neither inside the story nor for the audience. Instead, the scene is played completely straight, and the mother does not take offense either. While we've come a long way since the 50ies when that movie was shot, this is still a message we subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) send towards young women while growing up, and chainmail bikini pictures play into that.

Segev
2019-03-06, 10:06 AM
The topic at hand in this thread is where that concern overlaps with my horror at the messages being sent to girls and women... and with my disgust at the way fiction is "crafted" to appeal to our supposed "tastes" and "niches" as a vessel for marketing (see, the death of Young Justice in part because "too many girls" were watching that show instead of the shows where the "girl advertising" was being sold to advertisers, as one example... or go into a toy store or department and notice that the "girl stuff" vs "boy stuff" is almost immediately noticeable, and segregated at least by the 4' section if not by the aisle).I never understand this explanation. If I'm a marketing executive, and I learn that my property is selling to an entirely different demographic than I expected, I do an immediate pivot on my merchandising (in this case, up the number of girls' shirts and cut the number of boys' being produced, call the action figures "figurines" or "dolls" instead of "action figures," and where possible, push a slight shift in packaging presentation for what my marketing team believes will draw female eyes), a fast shift in what products I'm marketing advertising space to, and a medium-term addition of more products for my successfully-attracted demographic (again, in this case, purses with YJ characters on them, makeup kits, and charm bracelets or other accessories that wouldn't have been viable to sell to boys).

I may or may not attempt to revamp some of the promotional materials to sell what I think is attracting this other demographic; they're being attracted, so I'm doing something right for them, and it's a gamble whether adjusting it would change that.

It always seems to me that any time we hear this explanation, it's really an excuse. It may be true, but there was somebody in the executive booth who was looking for a reason to can the product, and this was it.


It's interesting you frame this perspective as the devils. Almost as if you realise there's something wrong about it.He probably AGREES with you, since he's playing "devil's advocate." People playing devil's advocate are not generally supportive of the position, but feel the argumentation against the position is lacking, and trying to help point out the flaws in said argumentation.

"You obviously know something's wrong with it; how dare you defend it," is entirely useless, because it actually defeats the well-intentioned efforts of the devil's advocate to give opportunity to strengthen the arguments. When you dismiss a devil's advocate out of hand, you're actually undermining your own position by saying you can't even take constructive criticism on your position without it falling apart.


Now, maybe you think he's lying about playing devil's advocate, and he really means to be attacking your position. In which case, he wouldn't think there was anything wrong with it; he would just know you believe there is one and was trying to get you to consider your own position more thoroughly. Or trying to attack it while pretending to be friendly to it, but really, if you can't respond to that as easily as you would a genuine devil's advocate, you're still demonstrating that you don't believe your position holds merit sufficient to be supported by more than assertion and emotion.

I honestly think there's worthy point in the anti-chainmail-bikini position. Well, positions. There are a number of them, and it's a shame that it becomes a anti-/pro- argument rather than a discussion over WHY people like/dislike them.

The OP of this thread had an interesting point, which, if sex-inverted, I'd definitely be wincing over. They look horribly uncomfortable. The announcement that these garments IRL can be made functionally comfortable as costume/clothing was interesting. On the one hand, of course there's padding under real chain mail, but on the other, have the artworks of them ever depicted them that way? But on the third (who let the Athatch have the podium?), what I thought was neat was that apparently real chain mail is smoothed and worked so there isn't much in the way of pinching, even on bare skin. The fact this is doable was news to me.

Then there's the dislike of impractical armor position. I can certainly see validity to it. I don't entirely agree, because I tend to think of armor in fantasy in the same way I do superhero costumes in their own genre: they're there to look cool and probably iconic, and if you can show them working, so much the better. On the other hand, I do sometimes mock Wonder Woman's foes for shooting only at her torso and hips, rather than ever making her reach for it to block bullets with her bracers. (I know some newer renditions are bullet-proof in her own right, but the iconic scenes of her advancing on gunmen while blocking bullets with her bracers always struck me as silly not because of the improbability, but because she never had to reach to block anything that wasn't in convenient arm's length of her squarely-set shoulders.)

The sexism-based arguments on both sides are entirely separate from these others, and are the ones I find myself drawn into because I think they are the least focused on the actual content, and the most focused on making demands and demonizing people. Both of which are things I generally oppose on philosophical grounds. The same people who will get up in arms DEMANDING that things be fixed to be less sexist will be horrifically offended if anybody else expresses a personal dislike for something they want to see more of. My own response is to go make your own works with what you want to see, and accept it if some people will proclaim they don't like it or want to see it. They're obviously not your audience, anyway, so why let them bother you?

Lemmy
2019-03-06, 01:40 PM
No one is ignoring "agency, power, and competence". The point is that putting a character on display simply for the sake of titillation, out-of-character, out-of-context, or in clearly contrived context, is demeaning those qualities.
Says you. I don't know what is demeaning about making a character sexy or titilating, unless that's all they are... And I rarely see such characters. Most popular sexy characters, male or female, are popular because they are sexy AND badass.



The complaint I usually see regarding that game is that all three of the female "leads", supposedly strong competent women, end up helpless in the face of male villains, and in one case forced into prostitution. Literally everyone ends up helpless in the face of one villain or another (why the gender of the villain even matters is beyond me). At one point, Cloud, the main protagonist, is made all but completely useless. And his very backstory is how he And none of them were forced into prostitution. Tifa pretends to be a prostitute to infiltrate a criminal's headquarters. Aerith and Cloud didn't know that was her plan and try to "save" her only to find out she's there of her own volition. All three of them end up wearing cute clothes to try to approach and question the criminal in question. Aerith is killed by Sephiroth, yes... Right after she single-handedly effectively saves the world. It's a really heavy and dramatic scene. The reason she's back-stabbed instead of dying in battle are, according to the very writers of the game: 1- Aerith wasn't really a warrior or soldier. She was a just flower-selling girl who was brave and kind enough to rise to the occasion and help a bunch of people who needed helping... And, more importantly: 2- The writers wanted to subvert the trope that death is only noble or tragic when the person dies taking a bullet for someone else or something like that. Aerith's death was tragic and one of the most emotionally impacting scenes in video-games when it came out. Playing as a kid, I was literally moved to tears.


Is this in the new series? The one that I watched for five minutes and then gave up on?
The PPG remake. I have no idea whether or not you watched it.


Maybe they were worried that the just a little subtle "this really hot woman is also the most competent and level-headed adult on the show, and yet she's stuck as the #2 to this blithering idiot" would be over the heads of their target audience, which to me is more a problem of insulting the intelligence of kids. But if they were worried either way, they should have dressed the character just a bit differently, tweaked the presentation, and kept a good character in the show.
Everyone in Townsville is stuck bellow that blithering idiot... That's the joke! The most important guy in the city is an incompetent fool. Ms Bellum was beautiful, feminine, sexy, confident and competent. Removing any one of those aspects is what would truly be demeaning. Why is her sexiness demeaning to you? Why is a mini-skirt so offensive or degrading? It sure sounds like the people obsessed with women's appearance and demeaning they change their clothes are precisely those who supposedly support women's right to dress ho


She's fighting the undead while wearing clothing formed from her own hair, which also serves as a weapon etc, so it has to reveal parts of her body when she attacks... She bleeds rose petals instead of blood... she puts "kisses" on her targets... she's posed like an "exotic dancer" half the time... she's fighting in high-heals and a beehive hairdo.

It's ridiculous. If you embrace the silly and like it, then... go for it I guess.It isn't much more ridiculous than Dante fighting with exposed abs, joking and and posing around while fighting demons. All cases show that the character can be half-naked Its over-the-top, yes. But dumb? Not really. Both cases show the character can be badass, cool and sexy all at the same time... And that being sexy in no way diminishes their value as a character... Quite the contrary, actually.



Lewd camera angles of underaged girls in short skirts is not "subjective".

Gainax-cam is not "subjective".
No, but the idea that these things are over-objectification or out-of-context objectification sure is. If a series is filled to the brim with characters in sexy poses, seen from sexy angles, that's obviously an integral part of that series, so it's not out of context. And it's as much titillation as that kind of material requires, so it isn't over-objectification either.


Women going into combat in skirts and high-heals and deep décolletage and such, while the men wear practical gear, or women getting "sexy armor" while the men get functional armor, is not "subjective". Sure. I agree that context is important. If I suddenly saw bikini-armor and panty-shots in Star Trek or Game of Thrones, I'd be really annoyed. But it would be equally inappropriate to suddenly make Conan and Red Sonja wear full plate.

Also, there's such a thing as making a media for a certain target audience. If the target audience is mostly male, then the media will have things that men generally enjoy, which includes sexy women in sexy clothes. And that's perfectly fine. Seeing sexy female characters doesn't make people sexist any more than rock n' roll makes them vandals or video-games make them violent.

Or should men be ashamed of enjoying seeing beautiful women in scantly-clad clothes? If not, then there's no problem in creating such characters... If yes, then what other form of sexuality your high-and-mighty majesty thinks people should be ashamed of? Should women not be attracted to muscular men displaying their abs either?


I don't see a lot of female characters who "don't look feminine", but I do see a lot of characters who have clearly had their design or costuming deliberately tweaked to be "more feminine", starting with showing off skin and/or body lines that none of the male characters show.Is it in a media that isn't worried about realism and has a mostly male audience? So what? Should men be angry that all those male protagonists in romance novels are all tall, muscular, handsome men with abs of steel and flowing hair, but only exist to fulfill a fantasy for a mostly female audience? The girls in DoA aren't any more demeaning to women than the male characters in 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight and gods-know-how-many other series targeted at women are to men... Unless, of course, you think being sexy is somehow demeaning, which seems to be the case. Even if there's a difference in how characters are portrayed in these media, it's only because men and women generally find different things sexy (even if there's a lot of overlap). But that doesn't change the fact that said characters only exist to fulfill a fantasy and be alluring to the audience. The reason those romance novels don't just show a bunch of men in speedos shaking their asses is because that wouldn't sell as much, not because the authors, audience or society in general are worried about whether or not it objectifies men.

IMO, a character being sexy, confident and in control of their sexiness only makes them look cooler. Bayonetta is a lot cooler strutting and posing than she would be if she refused to use her powers because she's too embarrassed to show skin in front of others. Dante wouldn't be half as cool if he stopped every 10 minutes to close his coat because he doesn't want people looking at his abs.


A competent character being treated as a prop for blatant fanservice is still being treated as a prop, and it's twice as sad because an otherwise interesting character is being demeaned and diminished for the sake of titillation.Is a competent character being treated as a prop for an action scene also being treated as a prop? Is a competent character that exists only to be defeated also being treated as a prop? Every character is a prop for something... It's their competence and agency that makes them feel alive. And being sexy doesn't take away from that, unless, again, you focus more on the characters appearance than their actions, choices and personality.

IMO, it's completely ok to have fan-service. And honestly, there should be cheesecake and meat-cake for everyone's tastes. I agree that it should be in media that's already made with that mind, not just forced into other works... But I don't think "anything other than porn isn't an appropriate media". An anime, game, book, movie or series made with heavy fan-service in mind is a perfectly appropriate media, as long as it's honest upfront about its content.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 01:46 PM
Everyone in Townsville is stuck bellow that blithering idiot... That's the joke! The most important guy in the city is an incompetent fool. Ms Bellum was beautiful, feminine, sexy, confident and competent. Removing any one of those aspects is what would truly be demeaning. Why is her sexiness demeaning to you? Why is a mini-skirt so offensive or degrading?


Along with the repeated attempts to make things personal, the repeated ad hom fallacy, this is why I doubt you're arguing in good faith.

YOU are the one who brought up Ms Bellum, and YOU are the one asserting that I have a problem with that character, out of the blue.

Lemmy
2019-03-06, 01:55 PM
Along with the repeated attempts to make things personal, the repeated ad hom fallacy, this is why I doubt you're arguing in good faith.

YOU are the one who brought up Ms Bellum, and YOU are the one asserting that I have a problem with that character, out of the blue.
You literally said that "they should change how she dressed"... And repeatedly affirmed that "fan-service" is demeaning, specially to competent characters.

EDIT: You know what... Nevermind. I'm tired of this discussion. As a last point, I'll just say that most fans, including most male fans, of Metroid were angry over how weak and submissive Samus was in Metroid Other M... And that it was mostly feminists who attacked Nintendo because Samus had bigger breasts in Smash 4. I don't know about you, but to me, only one the latter sounds like judging a woman solely on their looks...

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 02:02 PM
You literally said that "they should change how she dressed"... And repeatedly affirmed that "fan-service" is demeaning, specially to competent characters.


I said that if they were concerned about sending the wrong message, they could have changed how she dressed instead of dumping the character.

And yes, being reduced to fan-service IS demeaning to the characters, and the viewers. But then I doubt Ms Bellum was EVER meant to be fan-service in a show targeted at children.

Lemmy
2019-03-06, 02:06 PM
I said that if they were concerned about sending the wrong message, they could have changed how she dressed instead of dumping the character.

And yes, being reduced to fan-service IS demeaning to the characters, and the viewers. But then I doubt Ms Bellum was EVER meant to be fan-service in a show targeted at children.
Fine. I fail my Will saving throw again... For the last time, hopefully.

Yes, being reduced to fan-service is demeaning... But none of the characters I mentioned is reduced to fan-service.

They provide fan-service while still being competent, confident, powerful, cool and generally admirable and likable in a variety of ways. They are sexy in addition to all that. But you refuse to acknowledge that fact and instead insists that their appearance somehow trumps all those other aspects of the character...

Doesn't matter how awesome or badass a character is... Got jiggling boobs? Sexist!

Morty
2019-03-06, 02:24 PM
Fine. I fail my Will saving throw again... For the last time, hopefully.

Yes, being reduced to fan-service is demeaning... But none of the characters I mentioned is reduced to fan-service.

They provide fan-service while still being competent, confident, powerful, cool and generally admirable and likable in a variety of ways. They are sexy in addition to all that. But you refuse to acknowledge that fact and instead insists that their appearance somehow trumps all those other aspects of the character...

Doesn't matter how awesome or badass a character is... Got jiggling boobs? Sexist!

Once again, you're passionately arguing against a position no one in this thread has actually put forward.

Liquor Box
2019-03-06, 02:31 PM
I think a discussion of exactly what is meant by objectification would be really useful.


I am looking online for definitions and most of them are really hard to apply to a fictional character unless taken literally, in which case its pretty hard not to objectify them as a piece of art or book cover is literally an object.

Honestly if objectification is really the issue I think the bikini warrior is less of an object than the fully armored faceless mooks as she has a personality and appearance and probsbly a story while they dont even have individual identities.

This is a pretty fair concern. Objectification in the context of fictional characters seems a pretty nebulous concept, much like distinguishing between whether Red Sonja/Conan is sexualised or a power fantasy when both are dressed similarly and pose similarly (at least in the comic covers I saw).

It seems people are taking an "I know it when I see it" type approach to both. Which tends to mean that the interpret objectification/sexualistation or power fantasy when it fits with their pre-conceived notions about how those things occur in media.

That is why, where a male and female character are similarly depicted they see objectification and sexualistation for the woman and power fantasy from the man - they have pre-conceived notions that that is what happens, so (probably not consciously) interpret things through that lens. It's a form of confirmation bias, and why people are having such a hard time agreeing on whether particular depictions are objectifying/sexualising or a power fantasy - they are looking at it through a different lens.

Lemmy
2019-03-06, 02:41 PM
Once again, you're passionately arguing against a position no one in this thread has actually put forward.
Max said multiple times that bikini armor/sexy poses/certain camera angles are demeaning. Then later added that they are demeaning because they reduce the character to a prop for fan-service. My post is an direct reply to his points. That fan-service isn't demeaning because it doesn't take away from the character's positive attributes, and in fact actually adds to them.

Whether or not you agree with him or me, that doesn't change the fact that my reply was indeed, against a position that someone has actually put forward.

(Well... Unless you don't consider Max a "someone"... But that's just rude. :smallbiggrin:)

- - -

You know what series I think is kinda sexist, despite being quite enjoyable for the most part and being relatively light on fan-service? Naruto.

Not because most protagonists are male... That's just because the author and target audience are male. Just like most protagonists are female in Sailor Moon because the author and target audience are female.

No... What makes me call Naruto (the series, not the character) kinda sexist is the fact that most female characters, even the ones that supposedly are super-badass and important for the universe... Don't really do anything. Sakura is useless to the point of being a meme, and even Tsunade rarely gets a chance to actually do something. The second-in-command of Akatsuki is a girl that is so irrelevant to the story, I don't even remember her name. So despite having no panty-shots or jiggly boobs or lots of traditional fan-service, it does kinda paint an image of women being mostly irrelevant.

OTOH, the girls in High School of the Dead are all super badass, have tons of moments in the spotlight, are super important and valuable to the group and are treated and shown as equals to the male protagonists. The jiggle physics, panty shots and bath scenes don't detract from their general badassery because the characters are shown time and time again to be way more than just their physical appearance and presentation. The nurse is the least impressive member of the group, but not because she's female, but because she's an adult, and the series main theme is empowering the kids. Pretty much every time an adult that goes against the kids is shown to be wrong and either becomes a villain or is forced to acknowledge the kids strength.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 02:47 PM
Max said multiple times that bikini armor/sexy poses/certain camera angles are demeaning. Then later added that they are demeaning because they reduce the character to a prop for fan-service. My post is an direct reply to his points. That fan-service isn't demeaning because it doesn't take away from the character's positive attributes, and in fact actually adds to them.


For some reason, you keep missing the distinction several of us are making regarding whether it's in-character, in-context, non-contrived, etc -- and just painting our positions as if we're making absolute statements instead of a conditional, nuanced, or contextual statement.

You've done so repeatedly, even after having this pointed out, enough times that the benefit of the doubt has just about run out.

Lemmy
2019-03-06, 02:57 PM
For some reason, you keep missing the distinction several of us are making regarding whether it's in-character, in-context, non-contrived, etc -- and just painting our positions as if we're making absolute statements instead of a conditional, nuanced, or contextual statement.

You've done so repeatedly, even after having this pointed out, enough times that the benefit of the doubt has just about run out.Honestly, I could say the same about you.

You repeatedly made a very general argument and then pretends it was more nuanced than it actually is. You say "over-objectification" or "out-of-context objectification" but never cite examples of "appropriate-levels-of-objectification" or "in-context objectification" that aren't "no fan-service at all".

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 03:00 PM
Honestly, I could say the same about you.

You repeatedly made a very general argument and then pretends it was more nuanced than it actually is. You say "over-objectification" or "out-of-context objectification" but never cite examples of "appropriate-levels-of-objectification" or "in-context objectification" that aren't "no fan-service at all".

The nuance involved has been laid out repeatedly.

More importantly, whatever issues my posts have, they aren't coming off as a deliberate attempt to distort and misrepresent your position...

Floret
2019-03-06, 04:22 PM
For me, it depends on circumstances. If an artist actually prefers the changed work, or if it is to make the work more commerically viable, I am ok with it. If it is in the face of pressure from those who think the work is not appropriate, I am against it (subject to some exceptions).

Where do you draw the line between pressure and argument? Blizzard seems to prefer the changed Tracer victory pose, but there was pressure to change it. Exposing an artist to the problems in their work often involves putting pressure behind it so they consider the arguments. If the artist agrees to the pressure, or the marketing executives judge it more commercially viable if they cave to the pressure...

I am not seeing the line you draw as anything really... tangible. The distinction seems too vague to ever be possibly useful as a measure beyond "I agree with the reasoning of the change".


No! It does not have to be proven at all. All that has to happen is for it to be believed by the people selling a thing. If they believe it, they can rely on sex to sell if they want (to their detriment if they are wrong).

An interesting perspective. I disagree, but I am coming at the issue from a very different point. My problem with it is that they act according to it, ascribe their successes to it, and push a false narrative that it works (while something else would have worked better). A narrative that, by selling stuff with the objectification of women, causes cultural pressures that I think the world would be better off without.

I think the biggest problem here, and correct me when I'm wrong, is that you avidly believe in capitalism, and I... don't. With that basis, I don't think we'll reach any point beyond agreeing to disagree on this.


I think a discussion of exactly what is meant by objectification would be really useful.

I am looking online for definitions and most of them are really hard to apply to a fictional character unless taken literally, in which case its pretty hard not to objectify them as a piece of art or book cover is literally an object.

Honestly if objectification is really the issue I think the bikini warrior is less of an object than the fully armored faceless mooks as she has a personality and appearance and probsbly a story while they dont even have individual identities.

It probably would, yes.
And I do agree that most definitions are hard to apply 1:1 to a female character. I personally distinguish by "would a real life woman being treated this way be in so way reduced from being the subject of what's going on, and be made into an object".

Which something like a gaynax cam (or panty shots, etc.) do btw. For the purposes of the panty shot, no matter how badass the character is killing zombies, if the camera then goes ahead to focus on her butt, she is the object of a leery gaze, be it in addition to the subject of zombie slaughter or not. The character is more removed from being clearly a subject in the scene.

"Men act, women are" is a sentence used in this regard, and at the root of this problem. Of course every character fluctuates in the percentages of how much they are subject of the action in any given scene, but if there is always an added "also the object of affection/attraction/lust" with every action a character takes, they are more objectified then a character to whom that not (as consistently) happens. And if the spectrum for male characters is consistently higher on the "subject" level then that of female characters... that reflects a cultural trend I personally am not a fan of and would like changed.


By "would like changed" I am not advocating for censorship, I'm advocating for exposing art creators to more varied opinions and experiences of the world, more diversity if you will. (Which has been proven to work, and has had tendentially the same groups of people clamoring for "artistic freedom" go on to defend that artistic freedom by... complaining artists use their freedom to change their mind, because how could a person ever do that when exposed to arguments that they could be doing something better.)

I am also arguing that ideally, creative works should be on a more even footing, marketing or budget wise, generally, because the current system privileges certain stories over others, unrelated to their actual comparative appeal, based on historical patterns and situations that the current one was born from.

I am by this not calling any individual work a problem (though I do find some things to be distasteful and would like an apology for the creators daring to inflict it upon me, but hey, it's the risk I run by living in a society. I see stuff I don't wanna. (This was a joke, just in case)). I am, however, calling the cultural trend a problem, and since that consists of individual works, the only way to change it is to change what individual works get produced.

Or, to out all that differently: Of course lesbian characters can die in a piece of media, and this is obviously not inherently bad. But if all lesbians, always, or even just 85% of them, die before the story is out... that is a problem. If there is no possible future visible in media for someone, except for death, that sends a message. And people are succeptible to media. That's the entire point of media. Not in any direct way of "people will imitate what they see in media", but they have an influence on goals, self-image and worldview.


And yes, faceless mooks are very definitely objectified, if not sexually objectified. Which can send problematic messages, depending on how its done. And the treatment of certain groups as faceless mooks has been pointed out as problematic - everyone non-white coded in Lord of the Rings, for example, which is indeed not a good look.


I felt physical pain reading this.

I thought your other arguments were full of misrepresentation and ad hominem, but I must say, you managed to outdo yourself. Which, I do realise, is in itself an ad hominem. I'd be sorry, but then I don't pretend this is in any way an argument against your position.

Segev
2019-03-06, 04:45 PM
Sometimes, I think the biggest bigotry is in those who're looking to point it out in others. They wind up seeing -isms in so many places that anything involving a person with a particular skin tone, sexual organ, preference, or accent winds up being an example of the creator being -ist in some way, even if the only way to address the accusation would be to open oneself up to it in another way. Don't have the $group_representative present? Erasure! Have them present but flawed in any way? "Not a good look"/"A stereotype of $group as $bad_in_stereotyped_way." Have them present and not flawed at all? "-ism sue"/"token!"

And it largely stems from a hyper-awareness of these things that mark people as different AND non-uniquely representatives of $groups, rather than as individuals who have traits and characteristics which may include skin tone, sex, orientation, beliefs, or culture...or may have them as incidental things that were afterthoughts coming a distant last place to other, more defining traits.

And that this is topical for where this thread has gone is indicative of my earlier point about there BEING a culture war, and at least some of the arguments surrounding this topic being battles therein. (Which is why this becomes a "hill to die on" rather than a silly thing to let people have opinions about and not care about it if they differ from yours.)

The Jack
2019-03-06, 04:56 PM
I think mail bikinis are tacky.
But I've never seen them in a context I thought was inappropriate, except for maybe fan art on more serious series... in which case I was in the wrong place.

Armoured bikinis are really really rare and not in the mainstream. Hell if I saw a mail bikini in the mainstream, I think people nowadays would flip their ****, which I think is a shame because they have the potential to be fun.


I just wish people wouldn't get all 'deus vult' about their opinions on what art is morally acceptable in media. You don't like it, and maybe we can keep it away from kids, but when you're hating like this it's easy to conflate your arguments with the people that want to keep it away from adults.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 05:01 PM
Sometimes, I think the biggest bigotry is in those who're looking to point it out in others. They wind up seeing -isms in so many places that anything involving a person with a particular skin tone, sexual organ, preference, or accent winds up being an example of the creator being -ist in some way, even if the only way to address the accusation would be to open oneself up to it in another way. Don't have the $group_representative present? Erasure! Have them present but flawed in any way? "Not a good look"/"A stereotype of $group as $bad_in_stereotyped_way." Have them present and not flawed at all? "-ism sue"/"token!"

And it largely stems from a hyper-awareness of these things that mark people as different AND non-uniquely representatives of $groups, rather than as individuals who have traits and characteristics which may include skin tone, sex, orientation, beliefs, or culture...or may have them as incidental things that were afterthoughts coming a distant last place to other, more defining traits.

And that this is topical for where this thread has gone is indicative of my earlier point about there BEING a culture war, and at least some of the arguments surrounding this topic being battles therein. (Which is why this becomes a "hill to die on" rather than a silly thing to let people have opinions about and not care about it if they differ from yours.)

Most of the problem there is that SOME people will attempt to police individual works based on problems that exist in the trends and percentages, not at the level of individual works.

Is it bad if the X character dies before the end? No. Is it a problem if the X character is the villain in an individual work? No. Anyone attempting to police individual works based on things like that... is missing the point and possibly making things worse.

Is it bad if the X character dies before the end 80% of the time they appear in a work? Likely yes. Is it a problem if the X character is a villain or traitor or coward or helpless or reduced to a sex object 80% of the time they appear in a work? Likely yes.

Segev
2019-03-06, 05:08 PM
Most of the problem there is that SOME people will attempt to police individual works based on problems that exist in the trends and percentages, not at the level of individual works.

Is it bad if the X character dies before the end? No. Is it a problem if the X character is the villain in an individual work? No. Anyone attempting to police individual works based on things like that... is missing the point and possibly making things worse.

Is it bad if the X character dies before the end 80% of the time they appear in a work? Likely yes. Is it a problem if the X character is a villain or traitor or coward or helpless or reduced to a sex object 80% of the time they appear in a work? Likely yes.

The difficulty of making this distinction arises from the following:

You're writing a story/creating art/etc., and are told by people who editorialize about such works that there is a bad trend that X dies all the time or is always a villain. Does this mean YOUR work is not allowed to have that without being accused of being part of the problem? Are you able to agree that the trend is bad, but write your story how you want/draw your characters as you like and not be a hypocrite?

If the answer is "no," then "This is a problematic trend, and it should stop," becomes an injunction against anybody making new works doing those things.

The correct answer is for those who have a problem with the trend to write stories they like. To create art that promotes their interests. They're free, of course, to say, "No, I don't want to see yet another thing where X is Y." That's their prerogative, and they can criticize works for contributing to it. But they should expect pushback from creators and fans who like that sort of thing and don't like their favored works being criticized for something they think is just fine. They also should, if they do go ahead and make their own stuff, be ready to accept criticism and rejection from those disinterested in or even offended by their preferences. They have a right to make them and be left alone only as much as anybody else does.

patchyman
2019-03-06, 05:44 PM
The correct answer is for those who have a problem with the trend to write stories they like. To create art that promotes their interests. They're free, of course, to say, "No, I don't want to see yet another thing where X is Y." That's their prerogative, and they can criticize works for contributing to it. But they should expect pushback from creators and fans who like that sort of thing and don't like their favored works being criticized for something they think is just fine. They also should, if they do go ahead and make their own stuff, be ready to accept criticism and rejection from those disinterested in or even offended by their preferences. They have a right to make them and be left alone only as much as anybody else does.

Eh, you could also say that the answer to people saying sexism and racism don’t exist and you are just inventing things is to calmly and patiently point that this is a long history of minimizing sexism and racism, particularly in the entertainment industry.

Friv
2019-03-06, 06:42 PM
The correct answer is for those who have a problem with the trend to write stories they like. To create art that promotes their interests. They're free, of course, to say, "No, I don't want to see yet another thing where X is Y." That's their prerogative, and they can criticize works for contributing to it. But they should expect pushback from creators and fans who like that sort of thing and don't like their favored works being criticized for something they think is just fine. They also should, if they do go ahead and make their own stuff, be ready to accept criticism and rejection from those disinterested in or even offended by their preferences. They have a right to make them and be left alone only as much as anybody else does.

That argument presupposes that you can never criticize any work for anything, though, because "If you don't like it write your own" can be an answer to any critique of any work of fiction ever.

"Don't complain about the rules of RPG X, just go and write your own RPG from scratch."

"Don't say you don't like this song, go and record your own album."

"Don't say you're unhappy with the directions this science fiction franchise is going in, just go and recruit your own actors and make your own blockbuster epic."

Not everyone is a writer, or an artist, or a game creator. And that's fine. Anyone who is a consumer of media has the right to have an opinion about that media. And other people have the right to judge people based on the things that they consider important, and the things that they consider meaningless. And other other people have the right to judge the first group of people based on their judgements.

The very nature of art is that you are taking a thing and serving it to people and saying, "Here, what do you think?" If you don't want people to tell you what they think, don't publish your work. If you don't want to listen to what people have to say, you can keep making your work, and if they don't want your work such is life.

Because here's the thing - most of the time, when people say, "Hey, this work contains X, please change it", what they're saying is, "Hey, your work has material in it that hurts me. Do you care enough about me for that to matter to you?"

And some authors say, "Yes, I care about you enough for it to matter." And others say, "I care about you, but I think leaving this as-is is worth the potential for someone to feel hurt," and other authors say, "No, I don't care about you, go away." And pretty much all artists need to say all three things at different times, in varying levels of politeness. This has always been true.

Friv
2019-03-06, 06:46 PM
And in a specific example...


You're writing a story/creating art/etc., and are told by people who editorialize about such works that there is a bad trend that X dies all the time or is always a villain. Does this mean YOUR work is not allowed to have that without being accused of being part of the problem? Are you able to agree that the trend is bad, but write your story how you want/draw your characters as you like and not be a hypocrite?

If the answer is "no," then "This is a problematic trend, and it should stop," becomes an injunction against anybody making new works doing those things.

There is no straightforward answer to this.

The more accurate answer is, if you become aware that your work contains a bad or frustrating trend, there's a responsibility on you as an artist to sit down, look at your work, and say, "How important is this trope to my story? Am I including it because it has strong narrative value, or just because I didn't think too hard about it? Can I remove or revise it in a way that makes my work more interesting and unique, or would doing so damage my narrative? More importantly, will leaving this trope in cause the people that I want to read this book to make inferences about it that I don't intend, and is that going to damage my goal in writing the book?"

You can certainly just say, "Heck with it, I'm writing to myself." You can even go full John Ringo and say, "Hey, guys, this particular work is full of tons of hella problematic stuff and I'm doing it anyway because it's supposed to be a trashy garbage fire and I enjoy it anyway", and I respect that attitude. But if you pretend that writing is a monologue and not a dialogue, you lose a lot in terms of communication with your readers, because the instant that book leaves your mind it's going to be processed by other people and you can't control what they think.

2019-03-06, 07:38 PM
I want to clear up a problem that shows up in every thread about this topic.

SHOWING SKIN IS NOT THE SAME AS SEXUALIZATION!

Some guys tend to think that just because a male character is shirtless and has muscles he's being sexualized too and that's not true.

And other people think that just becuase a female character is naked or shows a lot of skin she is sexualized. That's not true as well.

It's not about the character being nude or showing skin, it's about the way it's done.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 07:47 PM
I want to clear up a problem that shows up in every thread about this topic.

SHOWING SKIN IS NOT THE SAME AS SEXUALIZATION!

Some guys tend to think that just because a male character is shirtless and has muscles he's being sexualized too and that's not true.

And other people think that just becuase a female character is naked or shows a lot of skin she is sexualized. That's not true as well.

It's not about the character being nude or showing skin, it's about the way it's done.

I've been trying to make more or less that point for much of the course of this thread... it's the context and details and such.

Really I'm not sure if some just can't see past the "how much skin?" red herring, or can't help mistakenly conflating being the object of desire with being powerful, or just find "but but but a pic of a dude with lots of skin!" such a convenient argument...

Segev
2019-03-06, 08:07 PM
There is no straightforward answer to this.

The more accurate answer is, if you become aware that your work contains a bad or frustrating trend, there's a responsibility on you as an artist to sit down, look at your work, and say, "How important is this trope to my story? Am I including it because it has strong narrative value, or just because I didn't think too hard about it? Can I remove or revise it in a way that makes my work more interesting and unique, or would doing so damage my narrative? More importantly, will leaving this trope in cause the people that I want to read this book to make inferences about it that I don't intend, and is that going to damage my goal in writing the book?"

You can certainly just say, "Heck with it, I'm writing to myself." You can even go full John Ringo and say, "Hey, guys, this particular work is full of tons of hella problematic stuff and I'm doing it anyway because it's supposed to be a trashy garbage fire and I enjoy it anyway", and I respect that attitude. But if you pretend that writing is a monologue and not a dialogue, you lose a lot in terms of communication with your readers, because the instant that book leaves your mind it's going to be processed by other people and you can't control what they think.
And if you look at it and say, "I don't have that intent, and I don't want to bother trying to cater to every critic who claims that they see something 'problematic' in my work, and I don't think it's a garbage fire, so I'm leaving it as-is," that is a perfectly valid choice, as well.

You can have a black lesbian be a villain in your story without being racist, sexist, or homophobic. You can have a white catholic priest be a villain without being anti-religion and racist and misogynist. And you don't have to justify any of those traits beyond making a full-fledged character who is believable as a person.

I mean, I name the second one because it's a trend I see that annoys me and that I wish would cease to be used. If I see a rich white woman as a one-episode character early in a Law & Order episode, I'm right 90% of the time when I predict that she'll turn out to either be the murderer, or to be the "real" villain whose vile ways provoked, enabled, or otherwise created the murderer. It's annoying. If she's religious (Judeo-Christian), the odds climb by at least another 5%.

But that doesn't mean that any particular story-writer should change their story just because their villain is a rich white Christian woman. It does mean they should change it if they want that to be a successful twist, but only because it's such a trend that it's like having a "twist" where it turns out that Tom Cruise's boss in the latest Mission Impossible movie is a traitor.

(Where I do think it out-right valid criticism in the "you should always change this" category is when it becomes short-hand for "he's a villain." I don't care what your stereotypes are; if they don't directly play into villainous motivation for PARTICULAR villainy, you need to show actual motivation and action towards it, not just expect that, for example, "He's a rich corporate mogul," to be sufficient to explain why he'd be behind the terrorist campaign plaguing the city.)

In the end, though, if your reason for a character being something is just that this is how you see the character, and it doesn't keep the character from being fleshed out enough to serve their narrative purpose while still being believable, you shouldn't feel obligated to change it just because it's done too much or it's "problematic" or even a part of a "problematic trend."



As to "more skin" not being "sexualization," tell that to teenagers who want to go to the beach. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are secrets to sexiness that go well beyond baring more flesh - the original series of Star Trek was amazing at making the sexiest costumes I've seen in mainstream TV while adhering to decency guidelines that are exceedingly prudish by modern standards - but ask a hundred girls whether the werewolf guy from Twilight is sexier when he's wearing a suit of plate mail or when he's shirtless, and you'll get a preponderance of the latter as a positive response, I'm sure.

That said, "more skin" stops being "sexier" when we get just plain used to it. I suspect a lot of what we just gloss over in terms of tight-fitting and skimpy female clothing - including short shorts and bare midrifs and low decolletages - is because it's not all that uncommon as daily wear these days, so we don't even blink at it until something about the context draws our Male Gaze to realize that, hey, there's a lot not left to the imagination, here.

Meanwhile, show a guy in less clothing, and it's UNUSUAL enough to draw attention. Guys don't go shirtless typically, so it's either fan service or fan disservice most of the time when it's done. Guys don't wear short shorts very often, so it's either highly suggestive, very campy, or both (depending on presentation). But again, context can alter that: I understand workout clothing can be pretty skimpy for guys and not be considered "daring." So, in context, it probably doesn't come off that way so much. Except that, again, I bet you can find a lot of women who'd love to eat that eye candy.

So, while "more skin" doesn't automatically translate to "sexualization," you're hard-pressed to make the case that it doesn't have a very, very strong correllation.

2019-03-06, 08:08 PM
I've been trying to make more or less that point for much of the course of this thread... it's the context and details and such.

Really I'm not sure if some just can't see past the "how much skin?" red herring, or can't help mistakenly conflating being the object of desire with being powerful, or just find "but but but a pic of a dude with lots of skin!" such a convenient argument...

Yeah I don't get how this is hard to get.

Muscles are both a symbol of power and an attractive sexual characteristic.

But we need the entire context to see if it was done in a sexual way or in a power and strength.

I have seen guys tell me that Kratos, Street Fighter Seth and Zangief are sexualized :smallannoyed:

gkathellar
2019-03-06, 09:20 PM
That argument presupposes that you can never criticize any work for anything, though, because "If you don't like it write your own" can be an answer to any critique of any work of fiction ever.

"Don't complain about the rules of RPG X, just go and write your own RPG from scratch."

"Don't say you don't like this song, go and record your own album."

"Don't say you're unhappy with the directions this science fiction franchise is going in, just go and recruit your own actors and make your own blockbuster epic."

Not everyone is a writer, or an artist, or a game creator. And that's fine. Anyone who is a consumer of media has the right to have an opinion about that media. And other people have the right to judge people based on the things that they consider important, and the things that they consider meaningless. And other other people have the right to judge the first group of people based on their judgements.

The very nature of art is that you are taking a thing and serving it to people and saying, "Here, what do you think?" If you don't want people to tell you what they think, don't publish your work. If you don't want to listen to what people have to say, you can keep making your work, and if they don't want your work such is life.

Because here's the thing - most of the time, when people say, "Hey, this work contains X, please change it", what they're saying is, "Hey, your work has material in it that hurts me. Do you care enough about me for that to matter to you?"

And some authors say, "Yes, I care about you enough for it to matter." And others say, "I care about you, but I think leaving this as-is is worth the potential for someone to feel hurt," and other authors say, "No, I don't care about you, go away." And pretty much all artists need to say all three things at different times, in varying levels of politeness. This has always been true.


And in a specific example...



There is no straightforward answer to this.

The more accurate answer is, if you become aware that your work contains a bad or frustrating trend, there's a responsibility on you as an artist to sit down, look at your work, and say, "How important is this trope to my story? Am I including it because it has strong narrative value, or just because I didn't think too hard about it? Can I remove or revise it in a way that makes my work more interesting and unique, or would doing so damage my narrative? More importantly, will leaving this trope in cause the people that I want to read this book to make inferences about it that I don't intend, and is that going to damage my goal in writing the book?"

You can certainly just say, "Heck with it, I'm writing to myself." You can even go full John Ringo and say, "Hey, guys, this particular work is full of tons of hella problematic stuff and I'm doing it anyway because it's supposed to be a trashy garbage fire and I enjoy it anyway", and I respect that attitude. But if you pretend that writing is a monologue and not a dialogue, you lose a lot in terms of communication with your readers, because the instant that book leaves your mind it's going to be processed by other people and you can't control what they think.

Thank you for saying this. Excellently put.

Tanarii
2019-03-06, 11:25 PM
Eh, you could also say that the answer to people saying sexism and racism don’t exist and you are just inventing things is to calmly and patiently point that this is a long history of minimizing sexism and racism, particularly in the entertainment industry.
And among gamers.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-06, 11:49 PM
Saw the end of John Wick 2 tonight, and it reminded me... in that franchise, Perkins and Ares both "somehow" manage to be undeniably female, and yet never once objectified that I can recall.

Chauncymancer
2019-03-06, 11:53 PM
Which is why the men on romance novel covers are generically muscular right? Any google image search for romance novel disproves that argument; sexualized books written by women for women show exactly the same body types as violent media for men.
The impression I get as a bisexual man is that the reason the covers tend not to match the character description from the book is because the guy in the book (who looks a lot more like the flash) is for women and the guy on the cover (who looks like superman) is for me.

thuhnc
2019-03-07, 02:12 AM
Doesn't matter how awesome or badass a character is... Got jiggling boobs? Sexist!

I'll reiterate a point that I think has gone ignored and perhaps misinterpreted thus far in this thread-- that fictional characters are incapable of making decisions for themselves.

This means that someone involved in the media's creation made the conscious choice to make a strong female character have prominent jiggle physics/ always wear clothing with a plunging neckline/ exclusively wear chainmail bikinis. It is not a question of prudes thinking women don't have the right to wear whatever they want. It's a question of whether unfailingly depicting fictional women as either sexualized or in some way defective is an acceptable portrayal.


The more accurate answer is, if you become aware that your work contains a bad or frustrating trend, there's a responsibility on you as an artist to sit down, look at your work, and say, "How important is this trope to my story? Am I including it because it has strong narrative value, or just because I didn't think too hard about it? Can I remove or revise it in a way that makes my work more interesting and unique, or would doing so damage my narrative? More importantly, will leaving this trope in cause the people that I want to read this book to make inferences about it that I don't intend, and is that going to damage my goal in writing the book?"

This. I feel it is important for the onus to be placed on creators for failing to think critically about the messaging inherent in their works, rather than on audiences for daring to criticize.

Liquor Box
2019-03-07, 02:19 AM
Where do you draw the line between pressure and argument? Blizzard seems to prefer the changed Tracer victory pose, but there was pressure to change it. Exposing an artist to the problems in their work often involves putting pressure behind it so they consider the arguments. If the artist agrees to the pressure, or the marketing executives judge it more commercially viable if they cave to the pressure...

I am not seeing the line you draw as anything really... tangible. The distinction seems too vague to ever be possibly useful as a measure beyond "I agree with the reasoning of the change".

Yeah, I probably didn't put it well.

I don't mind at all when people put pressure on creators based on their own preferences, and don't purport to be saying anything else other "this is my preference, so if you create it I will appreciate it (or pay for it in a commercial context)" or "this particular piece of media is not to my taste so I wont read/watch it".

But in this debate, and other similar debates I get the sense that some people feel like their wish to see some change in media goes beyond merely their own preference, and they are just RIGHT that a piece of media should be changed, either because they see their own tastes as some how better than the tastes of those who differ, or because by appeal to some poorly thought out ethical/moral standpoint.

So my perspective is first that they should be free to choose whether they change their art/media. Second that if they want people to appreciate it they may want to have regard to what those people want. But third, I hope they resist any pressure to change their art/media in the face of criticism which I described above, unless the creator themself truly believes it to be better.


An interesting perspective. I disagree, but I am coming at the issue from a very different point. My problem with it is that they act according to it, ascribe their successes to it, and push a false narrative that it works (while something else would have worked better). A narrative that, by selling stuff with the objectification of women, causes cultural pressures that I think the world would be better off without.

Well, since you are suggesting that the way this type of advertising is done is wrong (other methods would be more effective), maybe the onus rests on you to prove your proposition instead of calling on advertisers to justify their choices? If you proved that they were wrong, it would not of course mean that they ethically should cease advertising in the way they do, but it might mean that they are misguided to advertise that way.


I think the biggest problem here, and correct me when I'm wrong, is that you avidly believe in capitalism, and I... don't. With that basis, I don't think we'll reach any point beyond agreeing to disagree on this.

Capitalism as in whether it should be the state or private interests that own and control a country's industry and trade? I suppose I mostly believe in it to the extent that I think mos western countries have got the balance between state and private ownership mostly right, and communism does not work well in practice. I don't think I am an especially 'avid' believer though. When you say you don't believe in capitalism, do you mean you believe the state should own most forms of industry?

What I do avidly believe, in the context of this discussion is that the ideal state of affairs is for everyone's preferences to be met, unless there is a good reason why they should not be. So, in fantasy style comics, I think it is best that there are (1) sexualised characters for those that want them (both male and female if there's demand), (2) non-sexualised characters for those that want them (both male and female, if there's demand) and power fantasy characters for those that want them (male and female if there's demand) - number 3 can overlap with either 1 or 2.

I haven't yet seen a good argument as to why this is not an ideal state of affairs - some people seem to object to the fact that 1 exists at all simply because they personally dislike that style.


I want to clear up a problem that shows up in every thread about this topic.

SHOWING SKIN IS NOT THE SAME AS SEXUALIZATION!

Some guys tend to think that just because a male character is shirtless and has muscles he's being sexualized too and that's not true.

And other people think that just becuase a female character is naked or shows a lot of skin she is sexualized. That's not true as well.

It's not about the character being nude or showing skin, it's about the way it's done.

Sure, showing skin is only one aspect of sexualisation. I think this was covered several pages back.

However, it then remains for the people who are saying one set of depictions is sexualisation and another is not, to point to what it is that distinguishes the two.

The comparison earlier in the thread was Conan (from the comics) and Red Sonja.
- Googling Conan shows the image of a man, usually carrying a weapon, usually skimpily dressed in clothes that don't act as armour in any practical way, usually in an action pose, with a good body (in that it looks fit and strong and conventionally attractive), usually wearing practical footwear.
- Googling Red SOnja shows the image of a woman, usually carrying a weapon, usually skimpily dressed in clothes that don't act as armour in any practical way, usually in an action pose, with a good body (in that it looks fit and strong and conventionally attractive), usually wearing practical footwear.


I've been trying to make more or less that point for much of the course of this thread... it's the context and details and such.

Really I'm not sure if some just can't see past the "how much skin?" red herring, or can't help mistakenly conflating being the object of desire with being powerful, or just find "but but but a pic of a dude with lots of skin!" such a convenient argument...
Have you considered a third possibility - that they completely understand your point, but disagree with you and have given clear reasons for their disagreement?

Satinavian
2019-03-07, 03:05 AM
Yeah I don't get how this is hard to get.

Muscles are both a symbol of power and an attractive sexual characteristic.

But we need the entire context to see if it was done in a sexual way or in a power and strength.

I have seen guys tell me that Kratos, Street Fighter Seth and Zangief are sexualized :smallannoyed:Probably true for Seth and Zangief but there is a disturbing amount of Kratos-porn and masturbation fuel.
I would not think he is mainstream sexy but he surely has his fans and gets sexualized by them a lot.

It is not that surprising. It is similar with Overwatchs Mei. She is certainly not the type that entertainment industry thinks is the epitome of sexiness. She doesn't even show much skin. But she seems to have even more sexual "fanart" than Mercy or Tracer. Just because she appeals to a segment of the population that is mostly ignored by everyone else.

Floret
2019-03-07, 03:24 AM
Because here's the thing - most of the time, when people say, "Hey, this work contains X, please change it", what they're saying is, "Hey, your work has material in it that hurts me. Do you care enough about me for that to matter to you?"

And some authors say, "Yes, I care about you enough for it to matter." And others say, "I care about you, but I think leaving this as-is is worth the potential for someone to feel hurt," and other authors say, "No, I don't care about you, go away." And pretty much all artists need to say all three things at different times, in varying levels of politeness. This has always been true.

Excellent points all around, especially this here.


And if you look at it and say, "I don't have that intent, and I don't want to bother trying to cater to every critic who claims that they see something 'problematic' in my work, and I don't think it's a garbage fire, so I'm leaving it as-is," that is a perfectly valid choice, as well.

And that would be synonymous with option: "I don't care enough about you, go away", or a cross between that and "I think that's worth it". It certainly is a valid choice, and not every hurt can be properly adressed without changing the character of a work, but it's still a choice to disregard someone feeling hurt by your work. The fact you didn't intend that is irrelevant. "If I tell you you hurt me, you don't get to decide that you didn't". You can decide your wishes were more important, and I may or may not agree with you on a case-by-case basis. But "I didn't mean to" is no argument whatsoever.

On maybe a less contentious example: I got a phobia of spilled beer. Every. Single. Time. Someone smashes a bottle of the stuff on screen I get triggered slightly. None of the creators intended to hurt me. They still did. Not enough that I'd ask them to stop, but I'd prefer my works of art without smashed bottles.

And this also leads over to another problem: All media has tons, and tons of aspects, where I might enjoy, not care, disagree with or hate any number of. I can still enjoy most of something with smashed beer bottles, I just would have enjoyed it more without. But there is no "this exactly, but without the bottle". And there is no way to make it. So I have, in actuality, no way to actually get the media I'd prefer. Acting like there is completely free choice of media content just doesn't work. There are works where the aspects I don't like are more, or less. But without speaking up against media trends, the chances of me getting what I'd like? Exactly zero. Because I also don't have the ability or connections to get my own works produced in a way that eouldn't also dislike stuff about it - production quality, amongst other things. Art is not a solo project these days.


But in this debate, and other similar debates I get the sense that some people feel like their wish to see some change in media goes beyond merely their own preference, and they are just RIGHT that a piece of media should be changed, either because they see their own tastes as some how better than the tastes of those who differ, or because by appeal to some poorly thought out ethical/moral standpoint.

So my perspective is first that they should be free to choose whether they change their art/media. Second that if they want people to appreciate it they may want to have regard to what those people want. But third, I hope they resist any pressure to change their art/media in the face of criticism which I described above, unless the creator themself truly believes it to be better.

Of course artists/producers should be free to choose. Noone in this chat suggested otherwise. Of course, it always says something about the artist/producer whether or not they change it, and with what reasoning.

But... yeah. This is not about personal preference. You cannot possibly boil down cultural pressures and patterns of privilege and discrimination to "personal preference", and to argue that personal preference is fine, but people speaking out against these patterns isn't is a prioritisation that I truly disagree with. (As an aside, I don't appreciate the ad hominem of calling all ethical or moral standpoints possibly used to criticise a work poorly thought out. You can do without such digs.)

And that also doesn't work. People have reasons for their personal preferences, and these easily go beyond just "I like it better this way I guess" the vast majority of the time. The distinction is all well and good on paper, but as soon as put into practise, boils down to simply "does the artist think this is better, for whatever reason". Which seems a reasonable enough position for being okay with media changes in response to criticism.

I do disagree, however. I don't think artistic freedom supercedes cultural responsibility. Not in a way that it should be decreed by law, or force, but by reserving the right to think an artist can be wrong about not changing a piece of media independent of their feelings about it. "Artistic vision" is not something I value particularly much. What do I care if the artist likes what they did. It's about whether I like it, and what impact it may or may not have. If the artist likes it, nice bonus, I guess.


Well, since you are suggesting that the way this type of advertising is done is wrong (other methods would be more effective), maybe the onus rests on you to prove your proposition instead of calling on advertisers to justify their choices? If you proved that they were wrong, it would not of course mean that they ethically should cease advertising in the way they do, but it might mean that they are misguided to advertise that way.

The onus rests on marketing researchers, who have gone on to cast doubt on these patterns. The point of ethics of advertising this way, however, is somewhat unrelated to whether or not it is effective advertising, but mostly based on what other impacts it has beyond that.


Capitalism as in whether it should be the state or private interests that own and control a country's industry and trade?

I mean as in whether or not the market can be any sort of neutral arbiter of people's actual preferences, or of how well certain marketing techniques worked. There are too many confounding variables.

And if you act like the poses Red Sonja and Conan get shown in are anything even close to equivalently sexualised, pronouncing certain body areas equivantly, then you are blind, either willfully or just... blind to it.

Satinavian
2019-03-07, 03:54 AM
And if you act like the poses Red Sonja and Conan get shown in are anything even close to equivalently sexualised, pronouncing certain body areas equivantly, then you are blind, either willfully or just... blind to it.
I know that Red Sonja got mentioned quite early in this thread (originally it was about RPGs) but it is a Character from the early 70ies, the film is from 1985. She is not typical or representative for modern fantasy depiction of women. She sure fits in her time though.

But if we take something both influential and modern, like e.g. GoT we find that while still totally full of sex and nudity, clothing and armor tends to be sensible

Even if we go into the horrible, insulting mess that is female characters in modern isekai (and oh has this genre issues), bikini armor is not exactly the norm (but might happen).

Liquor Box
2019-03-07, 04:09 AM
Of course artists/producers should be free to choose. Noone in this chat suggested otherwise. Of course, it always says something about the artist/producer whether or not they change it, and with what reasoning.
Great


But... yeah. This is not about personal preference. You cannot possibly boil down cultural pressures and patterns of privilege and discrimination to "personal preference", and to argue that personal preference is fine, but people speaking out against these patterns isn't is a prioritisation that I truly disagree with. (As an aside, I don't appreciate the ad hominem of calling all ethical or moral standpoints possibly used to criticise a work poorly thought out. You can do without such digs.)

I apologise. I should have said that the moral and ethical stand points have not been well expressed in this thread.

The reason I have been addressing this as being about personal preference is because that is the only way I have seen it set out in this thread - by Max Killjoy in post 151 for example.

I can conceive that someone might approach it from a moral or ethical perspective, but I haven't seen that laid out in this thread (although I may possibly have missed it), so I didn't want to address it for fear of being accused of creating strawman (a label that has been used or implied liberally in this thread).

Would you mind setting out the moral/ethical foundation for not sexualising people (or is it just women?) in the context of fantasy media? Although I suspect I can guess the thrust of it, I am worried that I miss some of the nuances.


And that also doesn't work. People have reasons for their personal preferences, and these easily go beyond just "I like it better this way I guess" the vast majority of the time. The distinction is all well and good on paper, but as soon as put into practise, boils down to simply "does the artist think this is better, for whatever reason". Which seems a reasonable enough position for being okay with media changes in response to criticism.

I agree people may have reasons for their preferences, but I don't think the reasons matter much - I don't really think a person should have to justify their preferences (although there may be some edge cases).


I do disagree, however. I don't think artistic freedom supercedes cultural responsibility. Not in a way that it should be decreed by law, or force, but by reserving the right to think an artist can be wrong about not changing a piece of media independent of their feelings about it. "Artistic vision" is not something I value particularly much. What do I care if the artist likes what they did. It's about whether I like it, and what impact it may or may not have. If the artist likes it, nice bonus, I guess.
I'm not really arguing from the perspective of artistic freedom - more from the perspective that a person should not be prevented from viewing/reading the media they like without good reason. I suppose that is just the other side of the same coin.

I note that I did say "without good reason". Can we agree that this is an exercise in balancing two things - the good of artisitic freedom and people being able to watch/read the media they like against whatever harm the publication of the type of media does? Hopefully we can agree on that even though agreeing what value to assign to each side of the equation may be more difficult.


The onus rests on marketing researchers, who have gone on to cast doubt on these patterns. The point of ethics of advertising this way, however, is somewhat unrelated to whether or not it is effective advertising, but mostly based on what other impacts it has beyond that.

I'm not sure that the two of us can take this much further. My opinion is that any marketer can (and should) decide what marketing is best for their particular product, and if they are wrong they bear the consequences. You appear to be suggesting they get it wrong by too frequently relying on sexualisation to sell. I have my doubts, based largely on my suspicion that the advertising executives in question know more about advertising than either you or I, but I don't have any direct evidence to refute your view because I am no expert. Agree to disagree on this one?


I mean as in whether or not the market can be any sort of neutral arbiter of people's actual preferences, or of how well certain marketing techniques worked. There are too many confounding variables.

I don't believe the market is neutral or perfect, but I tend to think it is the best mechanism that we (humanity) have come up with for seeing people's preferences met, although because it is not perfect I think it should be modified by regulation in some places. I'm not sure if this makes me an avid believer or not.

In terms of what we have been discussing, I think it would do a pretty good job in meeting people's preferences. However, if you are coming from a moral or ethical perspective I think it would do a less good job (although that still leaves the difficulty of finding a system that does better)


And if you act like the poses Red Sonja and Conan get shown in are anything even close to equivalently sexualised, pronouncing certain body areas equivantly, then you are blind, either willfully or just... blind to it.

First, for context, I have never seen Red Sonja or Conan comics before (although I did see a Schwarzeneger Conan film), so my perspective comes entirely from a google images search (which tends to display the covers of their comics).

I can confirm that I am neither literally nor wilfully blind, which leaves the following real possibilities:

It is possible that I am blind to something you see. Whether a depiction is sexualised or not is somewhat subjective, and my differ by culture, so two different people may genuinely see something different in depictions that someone else sees as similar. I have to acknowledge that it may be me who is missing something here, perhaps because something you see as seductive I don't, or perhaps because I am not observant of visual queues. Perhaps because of my background, culture and circumstances I am not attuned to women being sexualised.
The second possibility is the inverse - that you are seeing something that is not there. Because of your perspective , background, culture and circumstances perhaps you are hypersensitive to the a hint that a woman is being sexualised despite that not being the artist's intent or the interpretation that most other people would take.
Perhaps you are reading Red Sonja as more sexualised because society and the media has instilled in a large cross-section of the population the idea that women are there to be desired and men are there to be the hero. Perhaps this causes you to interpret a man and woman who are similarly portrayed as non-sexualised and sexualised respectively.
Perhaps we are seeing different google results. I understand google filters results based on things such as our previous searches and views - so perhaps my searches show less sexualised versions of Red Sonja than yours. Alternatively perhaps this is not the fault of google. Perhaps you are thinking of particularly egregious examples of Red Sonja being sexualised on the cover of a comic because that is what comes to mind for you when you think of this topic.



Out of those, I tend to think the fourth is most likely. That is easily tested. Below I have linked the first images that come up when I do a google image search of "Conan comic" and "Red Sonja comic". Are those representative of what you were thinking of?

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwi804vH1-_gAhVYSX0KHeqBCwAQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.comixology.com%2FRed-Sonja-She-Devil-With-a-Sword-12%2Fdigital-comic%2F6329&psig=AOvVaw1ZR-rHc_uctskE0CF70SRx&ust=1552036194434536

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn1.thr.com%2Fsites%2 Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fimagecache%2FNFE_portrait%2F201 8%2F01%2Fconan_deo_copy_-_p_2018.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hollywoodreporter.com% 2Fheat-vision%2Fconan-barbarian-comics-moving-back-marvel-1074351&docid=L6Afhx6MLmAByM&tbnid=g7_w60wppbWbyM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwi4t6az1-_gAhW36nMBHQlKAhMQMwhEKAAwAA..i&w=349&h=524&bih=641&biw=1094&q=conan%20comic&ved=0ahUKEwi4t6az1-_gAhW36nMBHQlKAhMQMwhEKAAwAA&iact=mrc&uact=8

If they are, would you mind saying why you find the Red Sonja image more sexualised than the Conan one.

Kardwill
2019-03-07, 04:35 AM
This is a pretty fair concern. Objectification in the context of fictional characters seems a pretty nebulous concept, much like distinguishing between whether Red Sonja/Conan is sexualised or a power fantasy when both are dressed similarly and pose similarly (at least in the comic covers I saw).

Last Red Sonja cover I've seen is this one (https://www.previewsworld.com/news_images/221262_1275241_1003.jpg), and although it's an action pose, I wouldn't say she's dressed and posed (and "camera framed") similarly to Conan. ^^

At least there are no plate-high-heels on this cover, but it's still painfully stupid (and doubly so since in the actual comic, the character wears clothes. But apparently, if you want to sell a Red Sonja comic book, you need an exotic dancer on the cover. Because reasons)

Liquor Box
2019-03-07, 04:42 AM
Last Red Sonja cover I've seen is this one (https://www.previewsworld.com/news_images/221262_1275241_1003.jpg), and although it's an action pose, I wouldn't say she's dressed and posed (and "camera framed") similarly to Conan. ^^

At least there are no plate-high-heels on this cover, but it's still painfully stupid (and doubly so since in the actual comic, the character wears clothes. But apparently, if you want to sell a Red Sonja comic book, you need an exotic dancer on the cover. Because reasons)

Are you able to elaberate on why you think shes not dressed or posed equivalently to conan?

Kardwill
2019-03-07, 05:38 AM
Are you able to elaberate on why you think shes not dressed or posed equivalently to conan?

Well, not easy to put a precise analysis on what exactly is wrong with the image, but I'll try

- The pose thrusts out both her breasts and her bare buttocks, with the upward camera shot and the wide open stance adding emphasis to them

- The "long glove - long boots" combo draws attention to the fact that the torso area between them is pretty much naked

- The open chain links holding the chainloincloth and the chainbra are putting emphasis to the fact that she's got nothing under them, just as lace lingerie would do (how does this loincloth hold, anyway?)

- Bonus point for the garter-like sheath that allows her to keep her dagger pressed against her bare thight when she's runningn

I've seen worse (she looks kinda fierce, the boots and gloves could have been longer, no high-heels...), but I can't remember seeing a Conan cover that purposefully draw attention to his bare buttocks. But I'm no specialist ^^

Sure, Conan is often represented with a fair amount of bare skin, but his loincloth looks like it's been ripped from the nearest bear, not bought from a kinky lingerie store. A cover of a Conan-like, loincloth-clad, barechested Sonja holding a broadsword would have more skin and naughty bits showing, and yet I think it would feel less sexualized than this one.

The Jack
2019-03-07, 06:41 AM
I know that Red Sonja got mentioned quite early in this thread (originally it was about RPGs) but it is a Character from the early 70ies, the film is from 1985. She is not typical or representative for modern fantasy depiction of women. She sure fits in her time though.

But if we take something both influential and modern, like e.g. GoT we find that while still totally full of sex and nudity, clothing and armor tends to be sensible

Even if we go into the horrible, insulting mess that is female characters in modern isekai (and oh has this genre issues), bikini armor is not exactly the norm (but might happen).

I so want to rant about how the majority of armour in GoT is hardly sensible if you know what armour's supposed to be.
Isekai is mostly written by lazy hack writers, but the as the genre is mostly 'i enter a dumb fantasy game' they've really got a licence to create bikini warriors.


I'll reiterate a point that I think has gone ignored and perhaps misinterpreted thus far in this thread-- that fictional characters are incapable of making decisions for themselves.
.
Of course we're going to ignore it. It's completely and utterly irrelevant and stands up to no scrutiny.
-If you run under the premise that the character is incapable of making decisions for themselves then they also cannot be victims or strong characters.
-If you have any talent at writing, the characters you write will be real to you and you'll want them to make the decisions you'd think they'd make. A good author will be influenced by his own characters. If we say 'but what about bad writers?' well, in which case all the characters are going to be bad, not just the sexual characters, and most people will drop what they're reading regardless of their gender politics.


I

Kardwill
2019-03-07, 07:50 AM
I so want to rant about how the majority of armour in GoT is hardly sensible
-If you have any talent at writing, the characters you write will be real to you and you'll want them to make the decisions you'd think they'd make. A good author will be influenced by his own characters. If we say 'but what about bad writers?' well, in which case all the characters are going to be bad, not just the sexual characters, and most people will drop what they're reading regardless of their gender politics.


You can have decent story and characters, and then embarassing "Surprise, pantyshot!" moments come out of nowhere in characters and situations that did nothing to warrant it. Manga and JRPGs are really prone to this type of stuff, and it can be so gratuitous that it kills immersion in the story and interest in the character. At least, it pushed me away from stories I liked, just because it's really hard to take seriously a war story where you have random upskirts panty-shots in the middle of combat or during a wartime speech (Yeah, "Gates", I'm looking at you)

A band of scantily clad, big breasted girls throwing themselves at the hero in your typical "Anime harem" storyline? M'kay, I bought this comic/game specifically for this kind of things, so it's not a surprise.
A full frontal of a savage amazon wearing only a teeth collar and the blood of her enemies, in a badass "I will kill you and eat your heart" pose? No problem!
A flirty character sporting kinky "not-armor" and seductive poses? Well, the character may or may not really interest me (depends of how it was played/written), but at least it's consistent.
The silent, thousand-yard-stare eyed, businesslike 15 years old mercenary in my RPG party wearing a daisy-duke-short-and-boobstrap ensemble, or the entirety of my army's female cavalry wearing a bare-buttocks-and-mail-stockings armor in a "serious" fantasy wargame? Frankly, it's embarrassing. Why do I play those games?

So yeah, gratuitous fanservice can detract from a story and from a character. It only adds to it if it's in a context that allows this kind of silly stuff, and not all stories are good for it.

The Jack
2019-03-07, 08:40 AM
Yeah but you've yet to describe a context in which it's inappropriate. Somehow I doubt your 'serious' fantasy wargame is as serious as you say it is. Do you have a source?

Satinavian
2019-03-07, 08:54 AM
Yeah but you've yet to describe a context in which it's inappropriate. Somehow I doubt your 'serious' fantasy wargame is as serious as you say it is. Do you have a source?I would guess it is Fire Emblem. Never played itmyself though.

Satinavian
2019-03-07, 08:56 AM
doublepost

The Jack
2019-03-07, 09:27 AM
I would guess it is Fire Emblem. Never played itmyself though.

*does a quick google source*


Dude, give him some credit.

Max_Killjoy
2019-03-07, 09:32 AM
Well, not easy to put a precise analysis on what exactly is wrong with the image, but I'll try

- The pose thrusts out both her breasts and her bare buttocks, with the upward camera shot and the wide open stance adding emphasis to them

- The "long glove - long boots" combo draws attention to the fact that the torso area between them is pretty much naked

- The open chain links holding the chainloincloth and the chainbra are putting emphasis to the fact that she's got nothing under them, just as lace lingerie would do (how does this loincloth hold, anyway?)

- Bonus point for the garter-like sheath that allows her to keep her dagger pressed against her bare thight when she's runningn

I've seen worse (she looks kinda fierce, the boots and gloves could have been longer, no high-heels...), but I can't remember seeing a Conan cover that purposefully draw attention to his bare buttocks. But I'm no specialist ^^

Sure, Conan is often represented with a fair amount of bare skin, but his loincloth looks like it's been ripped from the nearest bear, not bought from a kinky lingerie store. A cover of a Conan-like, loincloth-clad, barechested Sonja holding a broadsword would have more skin and naughty bits showing, and yet I think it would feel less sexualized than this one.

Exactly. A character could be completely naked, and not objectified -- or showing almost no skin and yet completely reduced to a depersonalized object.

"But this dude is in a loincloth too!" is a red herring.

Friv
2019-03-07, 10:59 AM
And if you look at it and say, "I don't have that intent, and I don't want to bother trying to cater to every critic who claims that they see something 'problematic' in my work, and I don't think it's a garbage fire, so I'm leaving it as-is," that is a perfectly valid choice, as well.

You can absolutely do that. Just don't be surprised when it makes the complaining people leave. Most people don't particularly like to be called liars, and if you tell someone that something that hurts them personally doesn't actually hurt them, that's what you're doing.

Which, again, sometimes you gotta do that. That's why you reflect on why you made that choice when someone brings up a choice. So that you can decide if the choice was valid, or if the choice was something you did without really thinking about it and thus a problem.


You can have a black lesbian be a villain in your story without being racist, sexist, or homophobic. You can have a white catholic priest be a villain without being anti-religion and racist and misogynist. And you don't have to justify any of those traits beyond making a full-fledged character who is believable as a person.

Sure. On the flip side, you can do things that are sexist or racist without being sexist or racist, just because you don't have the context for why what you're doing is wrong. The problem comes in telling people, "I don't want to have hurt someone unintentionally, so I will tell you that you weren't actually hurt by what I did."

To continue your example, if someone says, "hey, there's only one black lesbian in your book and she's the villain, and that happens every time", maybe the question becomes not "is it worth my villain being black and queer", but "why is there only one black queer character in the whole book? Why did I make the decision to make everyone else white? Is it culturally important to the book that the main cast be all white and the villain be black and queer, or did I just think "white and straight" as the default, and then added some personality traits to the villain that demanded they be black and queer"? Will it make the book stronger or weaker if I change a few characters? Can I add some connection between the villain and one or more heroes if they have a shared experience?"

There is no critique whatsoever that is not worth a moment of reflection, except for a critique that you have already reflected on. And sometimes that reflection is very short. But there's no reason not to do it except for a desire not to be wrong, and I have no patience for people who would rather hurt others than admit their mistakes.

Segev
2019-03-07, 12:42 PM
And that would be synonymous with option: "I don't care enough about you, go away", or a cross between that and "I think that's worth it". It certainly is a valid choice, and not every hurt can be properly adressed without changing the character of a work, but it's still a choice to disregard someone feeling hurt by your work. The fact you didn't intend that is irrelevant. "If I tell you you hurt me, you don't get to decide that you didn't". You can decide your wishes were more important, and I may or may not agree with you on a case-by-case basis. But "I didn't mean to" is no argument whatsoever.Oh, sure, I'm not telling you you don't experience offence or emotional pain. I'm telling you that I don't think your emotional pain or offence gives you any right to demand I change what I'm doing.

If I tell them that their preferred works offend, annoy, or make me uncomfortable, do I have as much right to demand they change them? Of course I do! I have exactly as much right: practically none.


You can absolutely do that. Just don't be surprised when it makes the complaining people leave. Most people don't particularly like to be called liars, and if you tell someone that something that hurts them personally doesn't actually hurt them, that's what you're doing.

Which, again, sometimes you gotta do that. That's why you reflect on why you made that choice when someone brings up a choice. So that you can decide if the choice was valid, or if the choice was something you did without really thinking about it and thus a problem.Oh, absolutely. I am, in fact, inviting people who don't like something to leave if they are offering criticisms that I disagree with or don't care about and they find the work so offensive that they can't stand it without their criticisms being heeded.

On topics like this, I have generally found that no amount of catering to such criticisms will make a work "acceptable" to those making the complaints; they'll just keep demanding more, or they weren't really interested in the first place and are going to wander off when they don't have a Cause to push anymore. This isn't universal, and there are genuine fans who share the views and criticisms who stick around, but frequently the most vocal contingents are not those fans, but rather people who simply want to push an agenda. You can generally only detect this in autopsy, though: did the work cater to the criticism, and then die in popularity/success thereafter? It probably indicates the vocal critics either are a small minority who shouted down the majority (this should sound familiar to people who were around when 4e D&D was being developed, actually), or they weren't really interested in the work itself, anyway.

If, on the other hand, accepting the criticisms and making the desired alterations made the work more popular, then it was, in fact, a good move! Art is hard to judge in advance like that.


On maybe a less contentious example: I got a phobia of spilled beer. Every. Single. Time. Someone smashes a bottle of the stuff on screen I get triggered slightly. None of the creators intended to hurt me. They still did. Not enough that I'd ask them to stop, but I'd prefer my works of art without smashed bottles.And, if you were bothered enough to ask them to stop, would they be obligated to do so lest they be cruel monsters responsible for your pain


And this also leads over to another problem: All media has tons, and tons of aspects, where I might enjoy, not care, disagree with or hate any number of. I can still enjoy most of something with smashed beer bottles, I just would have enjoyed it more without. But there is no "this exactly, but without the bottle". And there is no way to make it. So I have, in actuality, no way to actually get the media I'd prefer. Acting like there is completely free choice of media content just doesn't work. There are works where the aspects I don't like are more, or less. But without speaking up against media trends, the chances of me getting what I'd like? Exactly zero. Because I also don't have the ability or connections to get my own works produced in a way that eouldn't also dislike stuff about it - production quality, amongst other things. Art is not a solo project these days.Well, there IS a way to make it, but you may not wish to expend the time and resources needed to do so, as they may be prohibitive for you, personally.

But you're absolutely right. The choices are out there, however, for things which cater more or less to your desires. And learning to develop a thicker skin is just part of life: you're right, there will never be the ideal work just for you if you don't make it, yourself. There will always be things you don't like. Things that upset you. Things you have to put up with and ignore if you want to enjoy works.

There certainly are for me. And I will complain about those elements. If those elements are too egregious, to the point I can't enjoy the work anymore, I'll stop consuming it. If they're not, I'll ignore them and move on. I might not even comment on them, if they work in the story and the creator clearly put them there because he wants them there. (Of course, if people bring them up, I'll voice my distaste, but I won't go out of my way to pick at it, unprovoked. There's no point.)




But... yeah. This is not about personal preference. You cannot possibly boil down cultural pressures and patterns of privilege and discrimination to "personal preference", and to argue that personal preference is fine, but people speaking out against these patterns isn't is a prioritisation that I truly disagree with. (As an aside, I don't appreciate the ad hominem of calling all ethical or moral standpoints possibly used to criticise a work poorly thought out. You can do without such digs.)It absolutely is about personal preference. The moment you start saying "patterns of privelige!" and "discrimination!" you're making demands that others cater to your preferences, and trying to dress them up as a moral high ground.

You can call out discriminatory presentations. Go right ahead. You can call for, support, or even create better ones, and you can avoid consuming media that you find offensive.

But when you start to tell people that a work is bad because of them, you ARE judging everybody who likes it. That's also your right. Just be aware that they have as much right to judge you.


"Patterns of privilege" is a particularly brilliant rhetorical tool that is utterly monstrous in application. It enables you to declare any group you want as inherently oppressive just for being alive, and demand anything you want from them as if they owe it to you for breathing. It doesn't matter if the people you're talking to are suffering, don't have means, or are in exactly the same situation other than being members of the "privileged" group: they have "privilege" and thus you have more right to make demands than they do, even of them.

It serves no purpose other than to allow discrimination based on skin color, sex, or sexual preference.


I don't think artistic freedom supercedes cultural responsibility. Not in a way that it should be decreed by law, or force, but by reserving the right to think an artist can be wrong about not changing a piece of media independent of their feelings about it. "Artistic vision" is not something I value particularly much. What do I care if the artist likes what they did. It's about whether I like it, and what impact it may or may not have. If the artist likes it, nice bonus, I guess.There is nothing you can do to enforce "cultural responsibility" without force, save vote with your feet/dollars/attention.

The very notion that artists have "cultural responsibility" is one that is quietly, sneakily, subtly calling for slavery. Slavery of thought and expression. "They owe it to me - er, I mean, 'society' - to make what I want to see, because I am disadvantaged and they're privileged. Therefore, they must make it for me, or I am justified in punishing them in any way I deign to choose."

You have no right to others' work, unless you're paying for it and they agreed to that deal. Neither does "society" nor "culture."

It is the ultimate in selfishness, greed, and tinpot tyranny to say otherwise.

Well, not easy to put a precise analysis on what exactly is wrong with the image, but I'll try

- The pose thrusts out both her breasts and her bare buttocks, with the upward camera shot and the wide open stance adding emphasis to them

- The "long glove - long boots" combo draws attention to the fact that the torso area between them is pretty much naked

- The open chain links holding the chainloincloth and the chainbra are putting emphasis to the fact that she's got nothing under them, just as lace lingerie would do (how does this loincloth hold, anyway?)

- Bonus point for the garter-like sheath that allows her to keep her dagger pressed against her bare thight when she's runningn


So, if Conan had grieves up to his knees, and armor from gauntlet to pauldron, that would make Conan sexualized?

Adding chain mail with holes you can see through would make Conan more sexualized than he is with the he-man loin cloth?

Is there a pose that Conan could be put in that equates to "thrust out [Sonja's] breasts and bare buttocks?" Or is it only women who can be posed in a way that makes their poses sexy while also being aggressive/fierce/warrior-like?


Exactly. A character could be completely naked, and not objectified -- or showing almost no skin and yet completely reduced to a depersonalized object.

"But this dude is in a loincloth too!" is a red herring.Not...really. I mean, your first paragraph is true, but the second is not. Making this claim is equivalent to claiming that there is no correllation.

See the above attempt to explain why Sonja, in roughtly the same sort of pose as Conan, is objectified sexually while Conan is not. It boils down to presuming the conclusion, and then finding reasons to justify it. She's a woman who is wearing relatively little, so she's being objectified. He's a man wearing relatively little, but he can't be being objectified, so him wearing relatively little is a red herring.

Just as "he's also wearing little clothing" may not be sufficient on its own to make the case, "the loin cloth is a red herring" is not sufficient on its own to make the case that the guy is any less objectified than the girl to whom he's being compared.


Sure. On the flip side, you can [i]do things that are sexist or racist without being sexist or racist, just because you don't have the context for why what you're doing is wrong. The problem comes in telling people, "I don't want to have hurt someone unintentionally, so I will tell you that you weren't actually hurt by what I did."

To continue your example, if someone says, "hey, there's only one black lesbian in your book and she's the villain, and that happens every time", maybe the question becomes not "is it worth my villain being black and queer", but "why is there only one black queer character in the whole book? Why did I make the decision to make everyone else white? Is it culturally important to the book that the main cast be all white and the villain be black and queer, or did I just think "white and straight" as the default, and then added some personality traits to the villain that demanded they be black and queer"? Will it make the book stronger or weaker if I change a few characters? Can I add some connection between the villain and one or more heroes if they have a shared experience?"

There is no critique whatsoever that is not worth a moment of reflection, except for a critique that you have already reflected on. And sometimes that reflection is very short. But there's no reason not to do it except for a desire not to be wrong, and I have no patience for people who would rather hurt others than admit their mistakes.
"Did I just think of white and straight as the default?" is an interesting question. If I'm writing a textual novel, for example (which, given my lack of artistic talent, is the most likely medium I, personally, would be presenting any fictional work in), I'm not going to describe the skin color and sexual orientation of unimportant characters unless those traits are both a) visible and b) relevant to setting the stage. Such characters - "extras" in movie and play parlance - are all but literally objectified in the sense that they're objects so far as the story cares. Stage dressing. The guards at the royal palace are going to be described by their uniforms, not by their individual traits.

The reason this is interesting, then, is because it means that if a critic says, "She's the only non-white non-straight in the story!" and I'm expected to ask myslef if I thought of "white and straight as the default," I can look at them and ask: "Why are you assuming white and straight is the default?"

Maybe the king's entire personal guard are lesbians, because he's gay and the queen doesn't trust him not to filander AND she doesn't trust straight women not to tempt him because she doesn't believe anybody is 100% gay or straight, so she's minimizing the risks to his fidelity (in her own mind). Is it worth it for me to add that tidbit to the story as worldbuilding? It might add some color to the strained relation between the king and queen, but is it important enough to spend word count on? If it's something I'd quietly had be true but barely aluded to by always referring to the King's Guard with female pronouns, and never having King nor his Guard act in any way interested in each other sexually, but I never mention it overtly and don't make a deliberate effort to hint at even remotely unsubtly, is that "better" than if I'd not thought about it but it happened anyway (perhaps because I was alternating pronouns to demonstrate a mix of sexes in the guard in general, and it just worked out that way)?

Or maybe I just don't care, and the reason the villainess is black is because she's from the otherwise-allied matriarchal nation of Wakanda (or similar) and is deliberately trying to splinter the alliance so that she can exploit the war to take greater power back home, and she's a lesbian because that enables me to have her experience sexual tension-related conflict with my heroine, who is not a lesbian but is the typical heroic fantasy of being the center of a love dodecahedron and is female because that's just how I always conceived of the character, and I don't feel like changing my main character to a guy just to make the villainess straight. (Oh, and, of course, if anybody heard I'd done that, the firestorm would be about the homophobia of my work being so severe that I changed the sex of the main character just to erase a lesbian - who was a different character than the one whose sex I changed - from the story.)

Or if I made !Wakanda patriarchal so I could make the villain a man, not only am I once again engaging in "erasure," but I'm also erasing a woman-dominated society just to do it. Sexist AND homophobic!


"But, Segev, you've just demonstrated that you had good reasons for your choices!"

Yes, I have, but generally speaking? You don't find those traits tacked on at random unless the person is actively trying to be inclusive specifically to avoid the "erasure" and "lack of diversity" claims. And even so, it wouldn't negate the fact that it's yet another black lesbian villainess (if, you know, that's a "problematic trend" the people criticising it are pointing out; to my knowledge, it isn't actually a trend, but we are talking hypotheticals here).


What's the point? My point is that this means you should write what you want t owrite. Consider criticism, but don't consider it if it's rooted in "cultural awareness" or accusations of -ism or -phobia. Consider criticism that bears on the work and its merits. Characterization, not identity groups. Plot and logic, not messaging. Themes, not ideologies. Especially not ideologies you're not deliberately working in, yourself, from the get-go. Most ideological works suck.