Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 17:32 on 21-09-2011, Arthur B
Men and women can be and are stylized in the same way, so why does no one complain about the depictions of men?

Hey, so you know that chart I linked to? The thing with the distinction between "heroically idealised" and "sexualised"? (Let's put realism to one side because superheroes.) The thing is, if you look at the sort of costumes and poses people give female superheroes and compare them to the way male superheros are drawn, I think you would find there's a heavy bias towards steering female superheroes towards the "sexualised" box and men towards the "heroically idealised" box.

Would you be comfortable with a world where male superheroes were expected to look, dress, and pose like Fabio all the time? Well, don't look now because 50% of the population already live in that kind of world.
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at 17:23 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
@Gamer: That seems pretty fair, rational, and in no way bigoted or one-sided. Way to be a shining beacon of light for your cause.

Do you go around crying why there's a black history month and no white history month much? Do you believe scholarships only people of color qualify for are "bigoted" because it excludes whiteys?
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at 17:21 on 21-09-2011, Furare
The problem is that "men shouldn't wear fishnets" and "female bodybuilders are unattractive" come from the same place - which is gender policing. Basically, the attitude that men shouldn't wear women's clothing and women shouldn't try to beef up their bodies to look "like men" are actually the same thing from different angles. It's not a balanced argument, it's just "stay in your box" applied to both genders equally, which isn't the same thing.

The "only women can be sexualised" thing is, well, the whole problem. There aren't as many examples of sexualised men because men are allowed to have personalities and be strong heroes based on qualities other than the fact that they're hunks of rippling muscle. Female characters are basically tits in a costume first and any characterisation is stapled on afterwards. Again, this is the PROBLEM. Saying it like it's some sort of universal truth or an excuse for anything is just going to get up people's noses.

As for "considering your points"... you may think you're saying something original that people need to consider before responding to, but to people who have heard all of these things before a lot of times, you may well appear to be reading verbatim from Generic Troll Script #3.
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at 17:18 on 21-09-2011, Gamer_2k4
As a man your only place in feminism-related discussions is to shut the fuck up and listen, not burst onto the scene with derailing and a side-order of sexist fail.

That seems pretty fair, rational, and in no way bigoted or one-sided. Way to be a shining beacon of light for your cause.
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at 17:18 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
Men and women can be and are stylized in the same way, so why does no one complain about the depictions of men?

See? I knew this line would get trotted out eventually, I just didn't expect it to be this fast. Remember, Jared darling, that you said--

Men have plenty of rights and no right to complain. That's not what this is about AT ALL.

What about that now, hmm?
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at 17:11 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
I have no time for you because your rhetoric is stale and puerile (lol "why aren't you hating on my supposed body-policing of men??? WHERE IS THE EQUALITY HUH?"). From everything you have said, the only place your opinions would be welcome would be in a circlejerk of nerdy cis boys with zero self-awareness, so why not hie to Kotaku, reddit and Slashdot? Why do you feel the need to open your mouth any time issues pertaining to the marginalized, feminism, and similar come up?

As a man your only place in feminism-related discussions is to shut the fuck up and listen, not burst onto the scene with derailing and a side-order of sexist fail.
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at 17:10 on 21-09-2011, Gamer_2k4
Then how do you explain Fabio?

Ah. I was going by the notion that "guy in loincloth" is par for the course and not "sexualized." But hey, if it is (and the chart you linked to would seem to support that notion), then my point stands. Men and women can be and are stylized in the same way, so why does no one complain about the depictions of men?
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at 17:04 on 21-09-2011, Arthur B
Try to sexualize a man and you'll find it doesn't work.

Then how do you explain Fabio?

At the end of the day, the provocative superheroine is just another stylization - one no different than what male superheroes get.

I'm going to post a link to an informative chart from Women In Reasonable Armour in response to this because Kate Beaton needs a rest.

Oh, who am I kidding. Play us out, Kate.
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at 16:57 on 21-09-2011, Gamer_2k4
Oh wow guys, it's a men's rights activist.

I don't CARE about men's rights. Men have plenty of rights and no right to complain. That's not what this is about AT ALL.

Ah yes, add body-policing to the mix. Do I want to know what you think of larger women?

I also said that men shouldn't wear fishnets. Where's the hate for that? I addressed each gender equally; is it too much to ask that you do the same? Furthermore, do you actually disagree?

Heck, do you disagree with anything I said? Did you consider my points? Or did you just say, "Oh hey, he's doesn't agree that men should wear fishnets in comics and therefore he's a ____phobic troll"?

Seriously. Being angry about transsexual sensitivity, I get. Being angry about this, I don't. Tell me what's wrong with what I said! Please! Is my premise flawed? If so, where?

You see how when I disagreed with you guys, I outlined several reasons and presented several examples supporting them? Could you maybe do me the same favor instead of just deciding "oh he hates women"? Is that too much to ask?
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at 16:40 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
Oh wow guys, it's a men's rights activist. Is there anything you don't fail at, Gamer? Transphobic trolling, then what-about-the-men derailing. "What about white people" next, maybe?

because female bodybuilders aren't attractive at all.

Ah yes, add body-policing to the mix. Do I want to know what you think of larger women?

At the end of the day, the provocative superheroine is just another stylization - one no different than what male superheroes get.

Do you realize you're an insufferable mansplaining neckbeard?
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at 16:16 on 21-09-2011, Gamer_2k4
For what it's worth, men are generally depicted in a heavily stylized light, too. Heck, just do an image search for "superman comic" and you'll get a ton of results showing a ridiculously muscled guy in clothes that are way tighter than any man would wear, just to show off those muscles. Superman might as well be naked with the way he dresses. It's a hyper-masculine portrayal, and while I'd don't necessarily feel "empowered" by it, I understand what they're going for.

I looked at both of your recent links, Melissa, and I think they both miss the point. Dressing men up like women assumes that they're judged the same way, and they're just not. What's sexually attractive in a man is simply not the same thing that's sexually attractive in a woman.

Disagree? Look at any picture of Conan or Tarzan. Neither wears any more than a loincloth, and yet neither is considered to be "dressing provocatively." But if that isn't, what is? If people are going to complain about the genders not being portrayed equally, they should have some (reasonable!) idea of what "equal" is. It's not fishnets, because we saw how badly that turned out. It's not a bodybuilder's physique, because female bodybuilders aren't attractive at all. What can we conclude but that there are intrinsically different standards?

Try to sexualize a man and you'll find it doesn't work. At the end of the day, the provocative superheroine is just another stylization - one no different than what male superheroes get.
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at 16:01 on 21-09-2011, Sister Magpie
I find it fascinating that there's always a big resistance to making a woman's costume less revealing when the original is "iconic" (Wonder Woman's bathing suit, Black Canary/Zatanna's fishnets) yet when Robin was finally given a pair of tights in the 90s I don't remember anybody seriously protesting.
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at 07:41 on 21-09-2011, Melissa G.
*confrontational not confrontation
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at 07:40 on 21-09-2011, Melissa G.
Well there's this and this. Both entertaining.

@valse de la lune

Sorry if my phraseology caused offense. I was caught up in the sarcasm and just using confrontation language to further my point. I do see what you're saying though.
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at 07:37 on 21-09-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
Slut seems to be a very resistant word for change of tone from pejorative to descriptive pf behaviour, even if the whole 'ethical slut' thing has been around for some time and there was supposed to have been some sort of revolution related to this in the 60s. Its weird that when Kyra uses the word dudeslut in reviews, it just sounds funny, but slut retains an edge to it. Should there be a better word for it then? I think not, new words in these issues usually sound too academic with latin and greek and not like an organically evolved word. Liek the word cissexual that's been bandied around. I understand the meaning, but the word in itself sounds a bit clunky, although it does retain with it that certain air of victorian medicinal jargon that seems a requirement. I guess it could be a person that's plusphilolagnian or hyperpolykoinic. The hyper is there because proper new words should have some latin in them.
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at 07:32 on 21-09-2011, Frank
Aargh, I forgot. The Martian Manhunter is also confidently dressed.
Confident men have non-human color.
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at 07:26 on 21-09-2011, Frank
I would love to have seen or to see a confidently dressed Batman, Robin, Spidey (Parker and Morales), Aquaman (who should be in a fucking Speedo), and Magneto. And Daredevil, Prof X, Johnny Storm, and Northstar!

Too bad the only confidently dressed heroes(?) are The Hulk and The Creeper.
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at 06:42 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
@Melissa: Because nudity=confidence you guys! Women dress like sluts because we're so confident! Sigh.

Not sure we should be going around using the phrase "like sluts" and such. But yes, the "she gets naked lots and wears ridiculous clothing/gets in hypersexualized poses because she's EMPOWERED and CONFIDENT okay" argument is pretty flimsy when you apply it to fictional characters.

Also, Bayonetta.
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at 04:33 on 21-09-2011, Melissa G.
Thanks for the link, Sister M. Good read!
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at 01:27 on 21-09-2011, Sister Magpie
OMG, I hate the "they're naked because they're confident!" And yet people have heard it so often they sometimes even think it makes sense. Even though for some reason men who are confident don't immediately strip down.

Not that it's the only stupid excuse for dressing in strategically placed strings.
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at 01:03 on 21-09-2011, Melissa G.
I think we just need more Gail Simones involved in the decision making. So much love for her.
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at 00:33 on 21-09-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I am beginning to believe that the best thing to happen to mainstream American comics at this point would be for the whole industry to be welded into a steel cask, shipped out to the Nevada desert, sunk into an abandoned copper mine, then have the mine filled with concrete and a series of ominous, garishly-colored stelae erected around the entrance to warn future civilizations from repeating our folly.

Then again, I am speaking as someone who doesn't much like superhero comics in general and tends to read angrily negative discussion of the industry, so I doubt this opinion carries much weight.

Had fun writing it, though. I loves me a good overblown metaphor.
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at 23:20 on 20-09-2011, Melissa G.
What really gets me is that its always a bunch of men telling me (a woman) how I should feel empowered by a bunch of men drawing women in slutty outfits and poses. This...does not compute.
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at 21:36 on 20-09-2011, Janne Kirjasniemi
That's always an interesting kind of argument. I mean is it reversible? Is confidence possible without being naked? I suppose most people aren't very confident, then, but I suppose that can be included in the original phrasing. Also, confidence is a matter of latitude and season. I wonder how there are so few politicians who've grasped this fundamental truth of human psychology.
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