Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    There aren't easy "female Conan" or "male Sonja" parallels in the way that you want there to be because the symbolism and meaning of the way they dress is hugely affected by our societal construction of gender.

    M. C. Escher was an artist who drew pictures that warped space and perspective. He drew things that were physically impossible. In comic books, women are often drawn in contorted poses (the most famous being the one where they're twisting impossibly at the torso so you can see their rear end and breasts at the same time). And Escher Girl or Escher Posing refers to this. (ETA sorry, I read your post as asking what I meant by escher posing, but Coop's response made me realise you may have meant how her costume functions in the comic. See below for that.)

    You may find The Hawkeye Initiative useful as a blunt illustration of some of these points. The premise is that they draw the male hero, Hawkeye, in exactly the same poses as women in published comic book art, and suddenly it's patently ridiculous. It's worth noting that the fact we laugh at men who present effeminately is also a problem. The point here is not lol they made Hawkeye a girl. The point is these poses are fundamentally unrealistic and ridiculous and putting someone we don't expect into them illustrates that.

    The same basic idea can be applied to the first question you asked. In basic, literal terms, you probably could say that Conan's loincloth and Sonja's bikini are roughly equivalent. The imbalance comes from social context that means Conan is presented as powerful while Sonja is presented as sexy. i.e. Conan might be striking a natural, heroic pose, while Sonja might be contorting herself into knots in an attempt to tantalise the reader.

    I feel that Simone's Red Sonja has a more non-exploitative presentation of Sonja, so it bothers me far less. But that doesn't get rid of a decades-old, industry-wide practice of putting women in comics in tiny pieces of clothing and then drawing them like porn.

    So it's better. I like the comic a lot. I'm just not going to pretend the bikini is there for anything other than the reason it's there, you know?

    ETA: Coop, I'm not sure I'd go that far. I mean, it's not really discussed when she's wearing it one way or the other, and it's still ridiculous. It's just that she isn't in it in situations where it's patently absurd to wear it (like when she's trudging through the snow) and the lack of pornographic posing, and the fact she's written really well make up for a lot with me. But I read superhero comics. One of my favourite heroines has an actual hole for her boobs (though credit to me, I do hate that). It's basically destroyed my baseline.
    Last edited by beccatoria, Jan 6, 2014
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  2. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I wish people would stop misusing the word epic. It refers to a genre of poetry or the meter used to compose it; and by transference, a genre of cinema. That's it. The last thing it means is "cool" -- and if you've ever read Apollonios or Silius, you'd never mistake it for cool. :p


    Misa ab iPhono meo est.
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  3. MercenaryAce Force Ghost

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    Aug 10, 2005
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    Course, in the actual books Conan wears heavy armor.....
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  4. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
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    [IMG]

    Valeria's pose seems relevant!
  5. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    [IMG]
  6. Endor_boy Jedi Master

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    Dec 24, 2013
    star 1
    I could've sworn that I'd read Gail Simone was bi, I am a big fan of her work and used to follow her blog. Maybe I misunderstood something at some point.
    There is of course a difference in how the male gaze treats scantily clad women vs scantily clad men, but a lot of gay men are just as turned on by half naked Conan, Tarzan and gladiators, Spartacus, etc, as straight men are turned on by Red Sonya. The industry does actively pander to the straight fan base, while for the most part anything that gets thru in fantasy that's turning a gay man on is largely accidental.
    Speaking of which, I find it kind of funny how some of the promo art for Star Wars features Luke's shirt open to reveal a wide triangle of muscular chest, and Leia is drawn much more voluptuous, ironic considering how tptb made Carrie Fisher strap her breasts down.
    I'm appalled that they'd make Carrie strap her breasts down, but then I've also been appalled at hearing how Dean Cain and Brandon Routh both had to have their package smoothed out in their Superman tights.
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  7. Vthuil Force Ghost

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    Jan 3, 2013
    star 4
    Correction: straight male fanbase.

    And on that note, it's always irritated me when people refer to things with muscular shirtless men as "homoerotic" or the like, because it's just perpetuating a double standard of female audiences lacking sexual agency or desire.
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  8. darth fluffy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 2012
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    I just realized, as a bisexual woman, just how lucky I am.;)
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  9. Endor_boy Jedi Master

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    Dec 24, 2013
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    The word homoerotic annoys me, since you never hear about heteroerotic. Something that's "homoerotic" is just erotic. I only thing the "homoerotic" aspect is only valid if there's actually at least implied same sex content. If it's just a hot guy, it's not specificly gay.
    And yes, referring to a hot man as homoerotic does ignore the sexuality of heterosexual/bi women.
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  10. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    On the topic of why Samuel L. Jackson was cast - maybe it had to do with some of his general sensibility as a 'badass' or whatever (the latter two prequels seem to play to this a little more - "This party's over")... but I seem to recall that he was just a huge Star Wars fan and really wanted to be in the movie when he heard it was being made. Lucas probably already had the role of Mace Windu in the story (the name was recycled from the earliest versions of the story, and the role the character plays in TPM is pretty much just a Jedi Master who could be any race, gender, or species). So of the available roles, he gave that one to Jackson.
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  11. Endor_boy Jedi Master

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    Dec 24, 2013
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    I had thought that, that Mace's role could've been any race or gender. Since this topic came up I had the idea of how awesome Angela Bassett would've been as Mace.
  12. moonjump05 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2013
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    First off, let me say I love this thread and have been lurking for a while.

    I know it's a Cracked article but I found it illuminating:
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-5-most-ridiculously-sexist-superhero-costumes/

    And one quote in particular:

    Near-naked superhorny women is a male fantasy. Being a hulking Adonis who can punch through tanks is also a male fantasy.

    Because really, the eagerly anticipated well reviewed comic still shows the same old airbrushed leotard wearing, Barbie proportioned, master of contortion on the cover.
  13. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5

    Which is pretty ironic because Conan more often then not actual wears practical local clothing in his original stories.


    Given her Filmography even Ep 1-3 would have been a step up.
    Last edited by Gorefiend, Jan 7, 2014
  14. patchworkz7 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2004
    star 4

    Did they make Carrie strap her breasts down? The only story I've heard is the famous one where she wasn't allowed to wear a bra because George told her there were "no bras in space". This story is told in her stage show and her books.
  15. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    Gorefiend - yeah, that's what she gets to do in the opening arc of the new run of her comic.

    As to Samuel L Jackson, I recall reading at the time that he contacted Lucas because he was such a huge fan, basically asking to have some sort of role no matter how small - I think the line was that he didn't care if he was in stormtrooper armour in the background, he just wanted to be in them, and Lucas was like, dude, no problem, I'll give you a part!

    I think the Plinkett reviews are hilarious and insightful in a number of ways but I don't think his criticism of Jackson's casting is entirely on point. Although I do think that they played up to the actor's reputation a little more after TPM. I do wonder if we would have gotten the Mace Windu we got (EU content very much included), the no-nonsense, vaapad-creating warrior if he'd been played by someone else? That's not really a criticism specifically - the ability of an actor to imbue an otherwise generic character (and as written, I hate to say it, but Windu's dialogue - like everyone else's - is fairly generic) with life and personality is incredibly important. How much of Solo's characterisation is based on Ford's improvisations and willingness to say, "You can write this ****, George, but you can't say it,"?

    But it's...an interesting thought, regardless.

    And yes, Angela Bassett would have been great as Mace Windu, but really, show me a role that Angela Bassett wouldn't be great in?

    (The only good thing that can possibly come out of the Green Lantern movie is keeping Angela Basset as Amanda Waller. I mean, I'm mad they shrank her and all, and I have no idea why she was suddenly a scientist, but...Amanda Waller! Ostrander-penned Suicide Squad movie! Oracle and the Wall forced to work together! ...Please?)
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  16. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6

    According to Stover- Stover didn't invent Vaapad- it was forced on him:

    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/author-analysis-matthew-stover.23141067/page-3#post-23633106Suggesting that, regardless of who wrote Mace, he would have been the Vaapad-maker.

    Though I suppose Lucasfilm might have been inspired to invent it after seeing Samuel L. Jackson's acting as Mace.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jan 7, 2014
  17. beccatoria Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2006
    star 4
    Yeah, I wasn't specifically thinking of Stover, more the general construction of the character from all sides, including Jackson's own influence. That post is very interesting, though. I wonder whether he meant that he was directly instructed to use Vaapad as a major element in the novel, or whether he simply meant it was already established that Mace used Vaapad and what Vaapad was within the realms of the fictional universe. Mainly just because I know that Stover is a martial arts enthusiast. Anyway, thanks for the link.
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  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

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    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Vaapad existed as Mace's lightsaber form before Stover wrote Shatterpoint through DHC. I'm pretty sure that is what Stover means.
  19. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    That was what I figured. And that it was probably Lucas himself who invented "lightsaber forms" and gave them names- maybe during filming for TPM.
  20. Gamiel Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2012
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    DHC?
  21. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    "Dark Horse Comics" - though I'm not sure which comic used the name "Vaapad" and predated Shatterpoint.

    Wookieepedia on Vaapad:

    Form VII was first mentioned as part of the Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary, though little information was given as to its characteristics or users, other than that it was employed by Jedi Master Mace Windu. Along with the other six classical saber forms, it was heavily described by David West Reynolds and fencer Jack "Stelen" Bobo for the "Fightsaber: Jedi Lightsaber Combat" part of Star Wars Insider 62. This same source also retconed Darth Maul's use of Form VII in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,[1]while a StarWars.com web page derived from the Fightsaber piece later established that Mace Windu had wielded Vaapad against Jango Fett in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.[6]
    Form VII was then expounded upon in numerous other sources, including Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and numerous supplementary works and RPG guides, which expanded its list of practitioners and established Juyo as a known form circa the Jedi Civil War.[4][13] The Clone Wars novel Shatterpoint had a large focus and considerable description on the Vaapad variant, as two of the chief characters, Mace Windu and Depa Billaba, were masters of the form.[2] Several issues of comics set during the Clone Wars, including Trackdown from the Star Wars: Republic story arc, as well as Jedi: Mace Windu and Jedi: Count Dooku, featured Vaapad in a substantial role, due to the involvement of Mace Windu and Sora Bulq.
    Last edited by Iron_lord, Jan 7, 2014
  22. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    The article "Fightsaber" in SW Insider invented lightsaber forms.

    Jedi: Mace Windu by Ostrander predates Shatterpoint in depicting Mace inventing and using Vaapad.
    Last edited by DigitalMessiah, Jan 7, 2014
  23. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    I meant did not mean epic as in 'cool', I meant it in the same way as the cinema genre.

    I meant how costume functions in the comic but thanks for the explanation of Escher Posing
    I have to admit that I have problems with The Hawkeye Initiative, not the idea itself but I find the art of the original bad and I think Nightwing would have been a better idea to use as a model but that is just me

    Thanks for the explanation. Would you consider that their cloths are more or less equal and what differ them is the different way artists often draw them?



    I would like to ad that I am a reader of old Conan comics in them Sonja is more or less treated in the same way as Conan, beside the no sex thing Sonja has, and in the comics I have we never see Sonja, as you put it, “trudging through the snow” but we se Conan do it in minimal cloths.



    Also: Hopefully this will bring a smile on some faces (art by Stjepan Sejic)
    [IMG]
    Last edited by Gamiel, Jan 7, 2014
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  24. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Or at leasts, elaborates on them- I think that the AoTC Visual Dictionary came out a few months earlier- but, while it numbered the forms, it didn't say much about them- if wookieepedia is correct in this case.

    It would appear that Jedi: Mace Windu is what Stover's referring to in this case, though.
  25. Mazzic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2000
    star 4
    A little late to the game - and briefly skimmed over the pages since @CooperTFN brought me in - but I would like to point out that @Jan_Duursema has continued to supply an ample amount of Star Wars beefcake. (Examples here, here, here, here, and here.) As a proud out gay Star Wars nerd: It's much appreciated!

    ps Coop, the proposal still stands.