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 10:41 on 22-09-2011, Andy G
I think PETA have been criticised quite a lot in the past for their use of sexualised/sexist imagery, so I guess it's just the logical conclusion.
at 10:23 on 22-09-2011, Wardog
Sean Bean dies A LOT doesn't he? I feel bad for how funny it gets in the end.

Killed By Cows was my personal favourite.
at 08:39 on 22-09-2011, Arthur B
PETA making an outrageous publicity stunt of dubious utility? I'm shocked.
at 07:03 on 22-09-2011, valse de la lune
What the hell.

Rajt says the site will feature "tantalizing" videos and photographs, which will lead viewers into animal rights messages. She noted that Norfolk-based PETA has used porn stars and nudity to get its message across in the past, including an annual speech online in which a PETA representative undresses. That video later shares a message about slaughterhouses.

Sounds like a fetish waiting to happen.
at 06:56 on 22-09-2011, Shim permalink
at 06:31 on 22-09-2011, Melissa G.
@Sister M

I haven't gotten around to Catwoman yet, but I read Red Hood and the Outlaws, and I am so displeased. It's not just about the blatant fanservice-ness of Starfire, which there is an exorbitant amount of. It's what they did to her character that pisses me off the most. They basically decided that since she's an alien, she's willing to sleep with everyone and that she doesn't consider her interactions with humans worth remembering. Including her relationship with Dick Fucking Grayson. Or any of the other Teen Titans. She doesn't even care to remember their names. All of her character development and personality completely wiped. WTF. Seriously. She basically is nothing more than eye candy. Who has already slept with both Roy and Jason. Stay classy, DC.
at 02:03 on 22-09-2011, Sister Magpie
Wondering what Melissa thought of today's more horrific DC titles: Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws? Read a tweet from a reader who said if he saw a guy reading either one on the Metro he'd change cars.
at 00:09 on 22-09-2011, Andy G
Wow. I had no idea he'd even been in that many films.
at 00:06 on 22-09-2011, Melissa G.
I don't recall saying there needed to be more yaoi hentai in it

Personally, I think everything would benefit from more yaoi hentai. ;-)
at 23:57 on 21-09-2011, Wardog
I don't recall saying there needed to be more yaoi hentai in it

No, not quite but I believe it might fail for similar reasons :P

I mean, horrors of trench warfare ... air ships ... tentacle porn. I think it's a slippery slope.

Incidentally Ron Perlman's beard is the ONLY good thing in the new Conan.
at 23:25 on 21-09-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
And now, from the creator of such cult classics as "Nicolas Cage Loses His Shit" and "The Evolution of Nicolas Cage's Hair", it's "The Sean Bean Death Reel"!

I'd like to see one of these for Ron Perlman too someday. He's usually the most enjoyable character, yet they always kill him.
at 23:21 on 21-09-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I'm vaguely recalling one of Alasdair's articles about why WW1 steampunk doesn't work for him...

I don't recall saying there needed to be more yaoi hentai in it. Although I might have. It's so hard to remember sometimes.

Incidentally, Paul Fussell's book The Great War and Modern Memory has a lovely chapter on the role of sentimental homoeroticism in British wartime poetry and literature. It's a bit dated, but quite illuminating (and somewhat sad, given how such sentimental imagery in war literature died out by the time WW2 came around).
at 23:18 on 21-09-2011, Wardog
That's what turns me on baby.
at 21:58 on 21-09-2011, Dan H
His new practice is missing one rather crucial element: patients. Which, terrifyingly enough, is the one thing his creditors also don’t have.

More pornography needs terrible puns in the blurb.
at 21:53 on 21-09-2011, Wardog
Hmmm...unfortunately I'm distracted from the sexualisation / objectification by the inadequate ropework. Like, seriously, what's meant to be tying him to.

I think the combination of gay tentacle porn and WW1 has just about blown my tiny mind.

I'm vaguely recalling one of Alasdair's articles about why WW1 steampunk doesn't work for him...
at 20:11 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
Taking a break from the fail: this thing.

World War 1 gay tentacle porn! I stand amazed, M/M isn't the usual place I'd expect to see tentacle hentai. Can't decide whether this or the vampire dentist porn is more, well, more.

Deeply in debt to a loan shark, oversexed dentist Cary Drewel lives in fear of foreclosure and bodily harm. His new practice is missing one rather crucial element: patients. Which, terrifyingly enough, is the one thing his creditors also don’t have.

Pierce Sharpe, a powerful vampire with a drinking problem—or, more accurately, a problem drinking—can’t feed through the pain in his damaged eye teeth. In danger of losing his standing in the vampire community, Pierce seeks Cary's dental services. When Cary extracts his canines, Pierce must turn to other bodily fluids for sustenance.

(Male body objectified/sexualized? Lookie.)
at 19:04 on 21-09-2011, Wardog
Oh dear, we're here again.

Let me try to, err “deal” with this, since I think we've had one too many of these style playpen explosions lately, and I'm sure we'd all like to be able to move on. Also I've been clinging very staunchly to the notion that you're not actually trying to be a wanker, Gamer, which is why I've hadn't banned your arse yet, so I'd appreciate it if you didn't go out of your way to prove me wrong.

The thing about the Fb community (and, I hasten to add, it is not a monolith) is that many of its members are interested and involved in social justice issues. This isn't, by any means, a requirement; we don't, as a site, have a social justice orientated agenda. And I wouldn't go so far as to say we're explicitly a safe-space but I do hope we're a “don't act like a dickhead” space. I have, in the past, banned people for not respecting that – it is perfectly legitimate not to give a damn about the representation of people-who-are-not-you in fiction, or the world at large, but I simply can't be doing with tired old arguments about why it's okay to be racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/whatever, which tends to be how those discussions go.

It's just boring. And we all have better things to do with our time than re-hash those arguments, when we could be talking about something that's actually interesting.

@Gamer specifically: As I said on the previous occasion we were here, the problem is that your arguments, even if they are all genuinely misguidedly well-meaning, often take the form of traditional derailing tactics and, quite frankly, misogynistic bullshit. And this being so, people are going to yell at you, and that's their right. If you say things that make you sound like a douche-bag, then that doesn't make anyone who calls you on it a man-hating feminazi.

I actually agree with you that the representation of the masculine manhero is a problem but it is a largely unrelated problem to the representation of women. And it's simply not helpful – or appropriate – to respond to a discussion of issues affecting women by wailing BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ?!

As I said about the transphobia business, the problem is that – in bald terms – this discussion is over your head. The “arguments” you tend to bring to social justice discussions are arguments we've already heard and rejected.

It's the equivalent of showing up on a computer gaming forum where people are discussing the question of whether Deux Ex: Human Revolution is better or worse than the originals, and asking them to consider the possibility that video games lead to high school shootings. It's an irrelevant tangent that most of the people you're addressing it to have already dealt with. It's the equivalent of showing up on XKCDsucks and trying to convince people that Randall Munroe is just too smart for them.

Do you get what I'm trying to say here?

In short: you are borifying the discussion by forcing it down to a less interesting, less specific level. It's like coming into a discussion on the evolutionary biology of birdsong with "hey, guys, don't forget, evolution is just a theory."

I'd love to read about people's opinions of the DC reboot and the portrayal of the female characters (including all the fail). I'd even be interested in a genuine discussion of the portrayal of men (not an “aaaaahhh do you see” discussion). But I really don't want to have to take random detours from the good shit to run through feminism-101 all over again.
at 18:23 on 21-09-2011, Melissa G.
Okay, here goes. Most of this will be copy/pasted from the conversation I just had on reddit.

"It's not just about what they wear. In general, the difference is the way in which the women are drawn versus the way the men are drawn. The body language and stance of the men are powerful. They stand upright, chest proud, etc. They are meant to look impressive, manly, powerful. The women are often drawn so that there is full view of ass and boobs (in such a way that her back should by all rights be broken). And when they aren't, they often have their hips cocked to one side, and arms in a submissive pose. They are drawn to look weak or sexualized. These are generalities and I know there are exceptions."

Someone one else brought up this excellent point:

Yes, both male and female superheroes are "idealized" versions of their respective genders. However, since most comic book creators (and readers) are heterosexual males, this means that male and female ideals are quite different from each other.

Male superheroes are the ideal male from the perspective of a heterosexual male. They're strong, powerful, highly muscled. But they're not sexualized.

The "idealized" female however, is sexualized. These comic book characters are drawn by people sexually drawn to the female form, and are drawn to titillate people who are sexually attracted to women. They are sultry and sexy with heavy focus drawn to their sexual characteristics.

While both men and women in comics are hypermasculine and hyperfeminine respectively, the attitudes of the creators and the target audience determine what characteristics are important in these idealized forms.

If you really want to see some what male comic book characters look like when they're hypersexualized, look into erotic gay comics. Even in scenes which aren't explicitly sexual those characters are highly sexualized. They are men drawn by and for someone attracted to the male figure and they are drawn for the purposes of being sexually stimulating. This is the sort of thing women have to deal with pretty much any time they pick up a mainstream comic book with a female character in it (though of course some creators are worse on this front than others)."

And just for perspective, here are some pictures of sexualized men (four images total). If your comic has the men constantly posed and drawn in this way, would you still read it? My male roommate said, "It would depend on how good the story is." Exactly. Fucking exactly.
at 18:02 on 21-09-2011, Sister Magpie
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.

No, Superman actually might as well not be naked. That's the point. By the rules of superhero clothing, nearly everyone wears tight clothing. Where as many women where very little clothing. It's a double standard. I find it impossible to believe that people actually don't notice that when they make this argument, since it's not like comic creators and artist fail to make the distinction when they draw. Surely they see the difference between showing off muscles (strength) and showing off popular sexual characteristics (thighs, crotch, breasts). This is even the same in reality. Tights or leggings and a leotard, when worn by either a real life man or woman, reads as physically active. Plunging necklines, exposed breasts, thigh-high slits, thongs etc. read as being dressed for show.

Saying that men just don't look good that way is a bit circular. I think the reason we don't think men look sexy that way is because they look silly. But we've developed an aesthetic where it's good for a woman to look silly. Even the explanations about women showing "confidence" by dressing this way assumes that women superheroes are on average way focused on their looks.

For instance, one hero, Huntress, got shot in the stomach. Yet her costume often includes a belly window, as if she's intentionally left her stomach without armor. When asked about it in comic she had a line about how she wanted to show off all the crunches she did, as if it's normal for a woman to be so desperate for sexual attention she just had to make a costume choice like that. Female heroes are often defending silly costume choices like that nowadays. Even though most women in the real world who do things that require similar physical exertion, do not.
at 17:40 on 21-09-2011, valse de la lune
And even Fabio isn't objectified in the way women are; the only place where I've really seen the male body objectified, hypersexualized or sexually victimized is in the slash fandom or the M/M genre, and then the men are gay, or at least fanon-gay.
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.
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?
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.
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.