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July 18, 2012
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I was about to write a journal about my time at Comic-Con over the last five days...

This is much more important. 

I would like to draw your attention to a wonderful and what will surely be a controversial contest that was posted to dA a few hours ago.  This journal is meant to draw as much attention and dA love as possible to this contest.    

:iconparanormasiun: wrote an article at Escher Girls eschergirls.tumblr.com/post/27… which inspired :iconrobynrose: to post this contest fav.me/d57qco9

Comic Con is an interesting place for the eternal “How a female should look” question to be so boldly reignited, being an environment friendly to cosplayers of all human, animal and other happily cavorting in so many different sizes and shapes.

This post a few hours ago got me thinking about the subject of the female form in pop culture that Jezebel took me to task for a few months ago, jezebel.com/cheesecake/ a… rebuking my contention that some modern female models have found a means of self empowerment in the iconic representation of their bodies.  I had to assure everybody that I hadn’t suffered a stroke and was well aware that we still live in a sexist culture at every level of measure.

So: an "overwheight" female superhero? Just another flavor of superhero – or a contradiction in terms?  A superhero is an idealized human possessing superpowers of some sort.  Is it possible in for "heavier" to be a part of anyone’s ideal human body?  Well, yes.   Indeed, how much muscles is too much muscles?  

What exactly is the idealized human form?  Who would the average man rather see staring back at him in the mirror: Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jon Hamm?   Jason Statham or Jack Black? Which would most females prefer for a boyfriend?  How many ridiculous articles are written about this subject in any given month? Anyone care to make a list of links to the most ridiculous?

You see, the idealized superhero (male) anatomy is one evoking Power far more than attractiveness.  The female superhero anatomy is much trickier in that certainly power and lethality must be in evidence but also intense attractiveness to please the teen fanboy consumer.

So what’s the female reader to do?   Accept that even in comic book butt-kicking, looks comes first, it still being a man’s world, and simply fantasize having Pam Anderson boobs along with a magic lasso?  (And thus perpetuating “only hot chicks matter” as the “ideal” of our society?) Or as is the case lately, write their own fantastic super hero fiction and amass an audience of likeminded individuals just as hungry for something closer to reality.

Or fight back with the creation of a heavy female superheros for this contest?  Brava! 

My only caveat to all of this would be the term “fat.”  Very few extremely obese people are genuinely healthy and therefore limited in their access to many human happinesses.  While discrimination is unacceptable, I would warn against “championing” a condition causing type 2 diabetes.  I’d prefer our female superhero to be more of the muscular thickness of The Hulk or The Thing.  But, then again, the discrimination against non-Barbie females in almost all comic books and media in general is so completely overwhelming that maybe it’s time to fight fire with fire.  I can’t wait to see what our dA artists come up with!


I was about to write a journal about my time at Comic-Con over the last five days...

This is much more important.

I would like to draw your attention to a wonderful and what will surely be a controversial contest that was posted to dA a few hours ago. This journal is meant to draw as much attention and dA love as possible to this contest.
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:iconlzeringue:
LZeringue Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012
You have already gotten a lot of crap over this, but I want to make sure you know what this sounds like from the point of view o some of us, re: the fat characters:

"I want you to show me your idea of what female superhero bodies should look like. Um, as long as you make them look like what I think they should look like."

That's pretty much what you're doing.
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:iconaelfwynne:
Aelfwynne Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
bahaha XD you amuse me.. As for me, neither! Can't you just have an average-looking girl (neither extremely muscly, extremely attractive or rather overweight :P)?!
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:iconrozara:
Rozara Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I would really like to participate in this -- people need to except others for who they are, and the ideal 'perfect woman' really does not exist. It only matters in other peoples' eyes, and to themselves. This whole critique actually really upset me, because I cannot believe that even this place has such prejudice! I believed dA to be a refuge from these kinds of things ... but I guess it truly is everywhere now, and that is what really saddens me.
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:iconmakepictures:
makepictures Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012
My objection, and I have one, is the notion that a female superhero needs to please a teenage fanboy at any level. Many fan artists who are women are now re-imagining comic book characters in ways that make them more accessible and more approachable and simply more attractive to women. This happens in the fan culture but not in the comic publishing world. make women superheroes for women and let the men of any age either come to the table or just stay home.
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:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012
Agreed. Unfortunately the notion of pleasing a teenage fanboy on that level is a part of the guiding philosophy at the traditional houses.

As I mentioned, the best of the new wave of comic book characters and narratives are coming from fan culture evolving out of the fan fiction revolution.

Things are changing for the better. You just have to know where to look.
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:iconloona-cry:
Loona-Cry Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Before I dip into the specifics, let me cover my problem with the definition of the word "fat" as it's very important to understand why people of normal body size are being called "fat" nd why it's so wrong.

I have a huge problem with the word "fat" and how the media has completely warped its meaning over the years. Before the media leapt on the obesity bandwagon, fat was literally "fat" with people barely able to move due to weight issues, not a description of the normal weight range. Now "fat" means having an average BMI and a stick like figure including the protrusion of breasts and hips being considered "skinny", thus healthy. Instead of promoting balance they've simply swung to the other extreme and overreacted. A realistic and normal figure is not fat, but the industry considers it "fat" as it's not hips plus a huge set of breasts mounted on a twig. The very social construct of "fatness" has changed and it's causing a massive amount of damage to the self-esteem of females. In relation to men, you can pretty much substitute the "fat" argument for "physique" with a swing between extemes and you yet again have what's effectively the same argument. None of these swings between the extremes are a good thing to propagate in society with how much damage it causes to to the psyche of people on the whole. It promotes eating disorders, OCD and god only knows how many other problems.

You say it's an "idealisesd" representation of the human form but do all of us care about the human form or have the same standard as to what's attractive? Hell no. If a character has a brain but an absolutely pissy appearance by most industry standards (fat for instance) then I don't mind because I fangirl their personality, not their appearance unless said appearance forms a central part of the narrative through foreshadowing etc. I don't fangirl over characters purely due to their 'sex appeal' as we relate to characters where there's an empathetic connection, flawless execution of the narrative and the list goes on. Their appearance is simply the visual representation of the traits I love about the character to begin with and a one off glance at an "attractive" superhero won't rope me in if the rest of them is completely flat. By bringing representations closer to reality with anatomy the artists create a more realistic and more empathetic character for us to relate to instead of a false construct inspired by the manipulations of the media for us to curse as it's not physically possible for us to achieve that form. "Likeminded" individuals aren't raging feminists, but people who want an accurate representation of their form in their art so they can visually as well as cognitively relate to the narrative.

People need to misusing the word "fat" and replace it with "realistic" as people don't want huge superheroes at 200 Kg, but people with proportions closer to reality. With any luck the contest with come up with an awesome cross section from across the community as opposed to a sexist restating of "industry standards (read: attitudes)".
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:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012
Thank you for such a well thought out response. As usual you have brought something important to the conversation.

The impact and power of the vocabulary we use around this subject is currently a large part of the problem. And I agree with you, It's also an integral part of the solution going forward.

The point is that we need balance above all else when it comes to the issue and right now there is none.
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:iconloona-cry:
Loona-Cry Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy to contribute to the conversation. :) *thumbs up* It's something that has be discussed before it does irreversible damage.

Exactly and the mass media has created the problem with vocabularly.=Kxhara is using it ironically, but I don't think it comes across completely in the written form. The media just uses the rejection of "fatness" as part of their "sex sells" philosophy and it's causing the problem.

A complete lack of balance. *nods* Another issue is our tendency to overcorrect by swinging to the other opposite, when it should only be minor changes. :/ Something tells me it'll be an ongoing problem with books like Twilight eradicating any progress on female equality for the last 50 years.
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:iconloona-cry:
Loona-Cry Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
People need to stop misusing....*
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:iconjlhilton:
JLHilton Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2012  Professional General Artist
OK, I walked away, took a shower, and I still keep thinking about this: "My only caveat to all of this would be the term 'fat.' Very few extremely obese people are genuinely healthy and therefore limited in their access to many human happinesses. While discrimination is unacceptable, I would warn against 'championing' a condition causing type 2 diabetes."

Should I assume you're no fan of Rubens?

It's seems strange to me to mention diabetes while our society and these comic book manchildren in particular are "championing" a body image that causes depression, osteoporosis, anemia, infertility, premature birth, anorexia, bulimia, immune problems, mineral imbalances, heart problems, dental problems, and chronic, widespread boorish behavior in males.

I know you kind of back-pedaled at the end there, but you still let the comment stand and published it. Obese people and people with diabetes CAN be happy, too. Sheesh. While we're at it, let's limit all comic book characters to the age of 25, because both youth and aging can limit us from "many human happinesses" too. ???

Everyone has issues that limit them in some way, whether it's obesity or kryptonite, but such is life -- even for superheroes. Should people really limit their art to what *you* happen to find pleasing or acceptable subject matter? No way! Why even suggest such a thing?
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