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Is Gender-Flipping The Most Important Meme Ever?

There’s an old analogy about boiling a frog alive. If you drop poor Froggy into a pot full of hot water he’ll jump right out again, the story goes; but start with cool water and heat it slowly, and the temperature will rise so gradually that he won’t notice until it’s too late. He got used to 29 degrees, and so didn’t register when it turned into 30 degrees; he got used to 30, and then it was 31, and so on. (This is not science, by the way. Do not try to boil any frogs to make a point.)

Now, imagine Monsieur Grenouille had a friend, waiting in a pot full of cold water next to the stove. She sees the flames underneath him and calls out to him in frog language: “Monsieur, your pot is heating! You’re being poached in there! They’re going to mange us!”

Monsieur brushes her off with typically Gallic dismissiveness: “Mon oeil! This is MY pot! Don’t you think I know better than you what’s going on in here?” Rolling her eyes at his blatant frogsplaining, our resourceful mademoiselle scoops him out with a slotted spoon and drops him into the cold water in her pot, where he is stunned to find that he can see steam rising out of the saucepan he’s just vacated. He ribbits wildly in shock: “Zut alors! I ‘ad no idea!” Mademoiselle pats him comfortingly on the back and refrains from saying I told you so.

In the wise words of Community’s Dean Pelton, sometimes we don’t see our own patterns until they’re laid out in front of us. We, as consumers of media and culture, absorb a lot of sexist, racist, heteronormative bullshit every day, and we never really question it because we see it every day. We internalise it. We expect it. It feels normal — until something fishes us out of our warm pot and forces us to see the steam.

That’s what Dustin Hoffman is talking about in that clip that did the rounds last week.

Hoffman is brought to tears as he recalls the moment in which he realised that women who cannot meet a certain standard of beauty, through no fault of their own, are dismissed on sight by certain kinds of people — and that he had been one of those people many times. This epiphany occured during a makeup test for Tootsie, which for my money is not only one of the funniest movies of all time, but also one of the most pro-women. Hoffman’s character, Michael, pretends to be a female actor named Dorothy to get work, and is subsequently shocked at the difference between how he’s treated as a man and as a woman. As Dorothy, who is unique among women in that she’s not accustomed to being disrespected just for being a woman, Michael has no qualms about calling out sexist bullshit when he sees it.

“That was never a comedy for me,” says a very teary Hoffman at the end of the clip. He had seen his female face in a mirror, measured against his own standards, and found it wanting — and it dawned on him then that the whole deal was desperately unfair for women. The cold water was a shock.

Tootsie came out back in 1982, so gender-flipping as a tool to expose double standards is nothing new – but it does seem to have taken off recently. It can be as simple as posing a hypothetical: “Would Julia Gillard have been subjected to the same diarrheic torrent of abuse if she had been a man making identical decisions?” has been a popular one recently, with at least one “let’s give it to Kevin!” article appearing within days. “Would John Inverdale have felt the urge to comment on Andy Murray’s looks?” is another one.

Gender-Flip The Images

The announcement of Matt Smith’s imminent departure from Doctor Who saw many fans politely debating the idea of a female Time Lord (Time Lady?). Author Maureen Johnson asked her Twitter followers to imagine how famous books’ covers would look had they been written by women and published today. Publishers have a nasty habit of giving books written by women wafty, girly covers with dandelions and grass and “the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off them” – designs bearing no relationship to the content. (Some of the entries in the Photoshop flurry sparked by Johnson do the reverse, and de-girlify covers of decidedly ungirly novels written by women.)

flipcover

The book cover flip is epecially good because it takes the flip out of the realm of the hypothetical and presents the two different scenarios next to one another in stark contrast. Visual genderflips are so effective because they tend to highlight the way the same visual signifiers are assigned to “male” and “female”-oriented products, and how visual representations of people tend to cater to the male gaze. Women’s bodies are used to sell everything from rental cars to tampons. Women are presented too often not as consumers of the product, but part of the product – a sexy body sexily getting ready to surf, or a sexy body sexily wearing American Apparel. We’re used to seeing women look sexy and undressed in ads, while men in ads tend to just wear the clothes properly while also looking handsome in the face area.

shirt

Men, of course, are also bombarded with unrealistic images of how they should look and act – there’s no denying that. But we’ve become accustomed to a much higher level of stylised, silly, overtly sexy images of women, ones that present them as primarily sexual – which is why similar images of men are jarring. The female model on the desk in this ad looks a bit odd, but no more than any fashion editorial.

woman american

The man in the same pose, photographed by independent Swedish clothing company ByPM, looks straight-up silly.

man american

 

The Roxy Pro ad last week was ridiculous enough to break out of the usual feminist outrage bubble and be mocked in the mainstream; the French shot-for-shot parody ad starring a man was supposed to be silly, yet it still highlighted the fact that you’ve never seen an ad like that starring a man.

The Hawkeye Initiative is another take on the visual flip, and possibly the most effective of them all. Sick of seeing female comic book characters drawn in poses that maximise boob and butt protrusion but care not for spinal alignment, some Tumblr users began drawing Hawkeye in those poses. Not “oh, this is TOTALLY how female heroes are drawn, hurr hurr” caricatures, but identical poses, next to the original image — like a control group.

hawkeye flip

And because he looks ridiculous, we are forced to look at the poor twisted-up super-ladies again, and realise that the men tend to be drawn in somewhat more practical poses.

hulk

From there, it’s hard to defend drawing supposedly powerful female characters like sexual homunculi who dive on foes tits-first. Nobody expects superhero comics to be realistic, but if the women get anatomically impossible bubble butts, why not give Bruce Banner a monstrous Hulk penis that bursts out of his fly like the Kraken? Put nipples on the Batsuit and you’re a punchline for decades; draw Catwoman with her ribcage folded in half and it’s harmless cheesecake.

catwoman

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Gender-Flip The Words

Flipping is also a great tool for analysing written media, where differences in representation often aren’t as blatant. Jailbreak the Patriarchy, despite the obnoxious name, is an incredibly entertaining Chrome extension that, when switched on, flips the gender pronouns on whatever page you’re reading. It can’t flip gendered names, and works better with some topics than others; one of the most effective uses is to switch it on for profiles of female politicians, business leaders, or celebrities like Gentleman Gaga, and notice how strange it is to see so many references to appearance, grooming, shoes and kids in an article about a man and his career.

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 10.38.12 AM

To grimace through the original article, hit up: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/she-fought-tooth-and-fancy-nails-20130628-2p2l0.html

Flip The News is a tumblr that does just what it says on the tin – similar to Jailbreak, but with more attention to details like names, and some commentary on gender bias in news coverage thrown in.

Last week, the New Statesman published a deadpan op-ed by Cara Ellison, issuing a proper smackdown to the petulant fake-geek guys who won’t stop bitching about there not being enough decent male characters in video games. It was a spot-on satire of the whiny blogs and comments that spring up every time someone questions attitudes toward women within the industry: “Why shouldn’t we make videogames where we can look at sinewy, naked males who moan sexually when we toy with them? Why don’t you start your own games industry where you can make your male-led games about football and the colour blue? Perhaps then we will stop making jokes about how you can get back in the kitchen and take the bins out.”

Walk A Mile

And then we come full circle, to The Tootsie: putting yourself in a situation where you can actually have the experience of being treated as the opposite gender. One man copped an earful of abuse from two dudes when playing Mass Effect 3 online under his wife’s gamertag – abuse which became even nastier when they realised “she” was better than them. Management consultant Kim O’Grady blogged last week about having no luck in his job hunt for months – before he added “Mr” to his resume and got an interview for the very next job he applied for. He concludes his post with a thought that Dustin Hoffman might recognise:

Where I had worked previously, there was a woman manager. She was the only one of about a dozen at my level, and there were none at the next level. She had worked her way up through the company over many years and was very good at her job. She was the example everyone used to show that it could be done, but that most women just didn’t want to. It’s embarrassing to think I once believed that. It’s even more incredible to think many people still do.

What Can We Do?

All this flipping and flopping is part of a process. It’s hard to constantly make yourself analyse what you read and see; it’s exhausting and exasperating to be told to “check your privilege” or whatever phrase is the current flavour when it comes to asking people to think about how they consume culture and express ideas.

The basic skill to develop, though, is the one that lies at the heart of flipping: asking, “What if?” If I were a woman, would I talk to me at parties? If women told men their complaints were irrelevant, would that attitude be worth worth fighting? If I were writing about a male musician, would I talk about his clothes and his famous exes this much? If I drew Hawkeye in the pose I’m sketching Black Widow in right now, would he look ridiculous? If Trayvon Martin had been a white kid, and George Zimmerman a black man, would the verdict have been the same?

The Hawkeye Initiative and Flip The News won’t make us all into enlightened, thoughtful social justice warriors overnight, but those moments of epiphany and empathy add up. Social change happens slowly – often so gradually, you don’t even notice until it’s all around you.

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Caitlin Welsh is a freelance writer. She has written for The BRAG, Mess + Noise, FasterLouder, Cosmopolitan, TheVine, Beat, dB, X-Press, and Moshcam. Follow her on Twitter @caitlin_welsh.
Lead image credit: Hector Lowe, for dirtpony.com

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UPDATE: We couldn’t resist adding this video by Mod Carousel to the catalogue of genderflip genius. While the flip does highlight just how clothed the singers are and how naked the dancers are, it’s also a great example of how there’s more than one way to be sexy, no matter what parts you have — like being fully clothed ad out-rapping TI (not that that’s hard).

  • UDWRocks

    I don’t think the male images look silly…I think they’re AWESOME!!!!

    • http://danilosierra.com/ Danilo Sierra

      Fabulous!

  • MichaelaLRR

    Great piece, you’ve picked some really good examples.The gender flipped Gillard article should be compulsory reading for journo students.

  • Tyler V Arrow

    Brilliant. Being an androgynous person and I can pull off both genders perfectly, I can see the difference.

  • Dusten Fleck

    Uhg, really? The difference is that male sexuality is mainly focused on chest, ab, and shoulder muscles, all of which are clearly presented.. Female sexuality is usually focused on the boobs at but, thus, they are presented to be sexy.. at least in comics. As far as advertising goes, everyone likes to look at naked people. It’s not sexist and it’s not a double standard. Christ.

    • Christopher Crowson

      That’s true to a degree, but you really don’t think that the females in comics aren’t more overtly sexualized?

      • Dusten Fleck

        Not any more or less, really. Both males and females are in skin-tight costumes that show off every curve and leave nothing to the imagination. Sure, female superheroes show cleavage and midriff and what have you, but there are PLENTY of their male counterparts walking around shirtless or in little more than a Speedo. There is no male equivalent of cleavage, anyway. And that’s just in appearance. Female super heroes aren’t really portrayed as slutty, or at least any sluttier than dudes. Granted, there are a few exceptions, but the exact same can be said for the males. As a massive comic book nerd, I can cite specific examples.

        • Gabriel Adrian Hall

          Yeah, great, you’re a comic book nerd. Fine. Let’s just accept the fact that everyone is wearing body paint (because not even spandex can get into tiny body crevices in the way that comics portray spandex). Female super heroes are clearly more sexualized in their very poses. Do you think that women go around doing things every day with their asses popped out in an inviting sexual manner? Nah.

          But just look at how they’re portrayed. Most of the time, a female comic book character’s back is practically broken to ensure that the (male) gaze can see her tits and ass in the same frame. Her body defies physics! Somehow, her spandex boobs and asscheeks are both lifted and separated invitingly! Her legs are splayed out wide. Her body is there to be consumed, not contended with.

          If men were equally sexualized for the woman’s gaze, there would be plenty of those poses done by men (ass out, maybe a close-up on their junk). According to what I hear my female friends saying, they’d have no problem with that, but hey, look- Creepy back-breaking sexualization is only happening to the women.

          This isn’t just about comic book characters, though. It’s also about how perfectly good work is dismissed and trivialized on a mass scale just because the writers and creators are women.

          • Caketin Welsh

            “Do you think that women go around doing things every day with their asses popped out in an inviting sexual manner? Nah.

            But just look at how they’re portrayed. Most of the time, a female comic book character’s back is practically broken to ensure that the (male) gaze can see her tits and ass in the same frame. Her body defies physics! Somehow, her spandex boobs and asscheeks are both lifted and separated invitingly! Her legs are splayed out wide. Her body is there to be consumed, not contended with.

            If men were equally sexualized for the woman’s gaze, there would be plenty of those poses done by men (ass out, maybe a close-up on their junk). According to what I hear my female friends saying, they’d have no problem with that, but hey, look- Creepy back-breaking sexualization is only happening to the women.”

            This.

    • Michael Davis

      So you were just super grooving on that bottomless dude on the desk? That totally makes you want to buy the shirt he was wearing?

      • Dusten Fleck

        Hey, I’m talking comics, here. That’s what I know. No amount of advertisement or flashing of hot naked women is going to make me want to buy one pair of pants over another. They’re all just pants to me and advertising, unless it’s for food, is mostly completely ineffective.

    • David Betta

      Are you making the claim on male sexuality from the perspective of someone who likes men? I’m asking seriously, because I don’t know myself (not being attracted to men).

      The difference is not just the costumes, but the poses. Both male and female heroes are posed to look attractive to straight males, for the most part. It’s appealing to straight men for men to appear strong and virile, and it’s appealing to straight men to see women’s curves.

      Now I personally haven’t seen many (straight) women complaining that there’s not enough male form, but there ARE many women complaining that the superheroines are posed to exploit their sexuality. Refer to the images posted above: why does Black Cat have to open a safe in that pose? Why does Black Widow fall upside-down with her legs splayed open and her feet en pointe, while Hawkeye is just kinda falling? What is Catwoman supposed to be doing, exactly? Why aren’t there as many male heroes posed with the butts to the camera? I happen to know a lot of women who like to see men’s butts. (I don’t know why they do, but then again they don’t understand why I like women’s butts.)

      I can’t say anything about current comics, but in 90s comics poses like this happened a LOT, and in the interior pages, not just on the covers or on one-shot posters.

      • Dusten Fleck

        No, I’m making the claim based on the women I’ve spoken to, and the general consensus is they’re attracted to muscly arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and yeah, butts. The reason I suspect there aren’t male superheroes flashing their asses is because, in general, men don’t use their asses to seduce. When was the last time you saw a guy bending over to pick up a pen to seduce a woman? And before you say “Well, black cat is trying to rob a safe, not seduce a man”, sex sells, and these comics are appealing to their main demographic, adolescent males… Despite that, there is still plenty of beefcake going on here. Burly, muscly dudes in tights, flexing rippling muscles, which I imagine is the equivalent of Ms. Hardy bending over. Bottom line, all of the heroes wear skin tight, revealing clothing. They’re posed in sexy poses because it is an escape from reality, and in our fantasy worlds, we want to see beautiful, sexy people wearing sexy outfits, fighting crime sexily. There is definitely enough to appease both genders and whatever sexuality.

        Every time this argument is brought it, it’s because of the ridiculous notion that it sets impossible to meet standards and not all women can be that perfect or have huge boobs, blahblahblah.. Well, it does the same for men. If it bothers you that much, hit the gym and get your superhero body or stop complaining. Both sexes are being exploited. It’s a fantasy world. It clearly isn’t reality. I don’t see why people have to complain about everything.

        • David Betta

          You say there’s enough to appease both genders, but then you also say that the main demographic is adolescent males. The “people who complain about everything” are also aware of this, and they also know that not everyone can delineate fantasy as clearly as you can. I acknowledge that the scope of “impossible-to-meet standards” goes far beyond comic books, but we’re still talking about comics.

          Most major comics writers and artists are male, and they’re writing and drawing to a mostly male audience because males spend the most on comics. Catering to sales is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s pretty inaccurate to say that both sexes are being equally exploited when it’s mostly one gender doing the creating and purchasing. The male heroes are a male power fantasy, the females a male sexual fantasy. That’s a big difference.

          And if it’s all about sales, then why DON’T major writers and artists take this into consideration? What have they to lose?

          • Dusten Fleck

            As I posted to the user above: How do these female super heroes NOT fill a female power fantasy? They’re super heroes! They’re strong, intelligent, and take charge. Some lead their own groups of super heroes. MANY are doctors. A few are even god-like in power. Why does everyone care so much about their appearances? That goes against everything this article hopes to achieve.

          • David Betta

            Well then, the quick counter to that would be “if comics readers don’t care about their appearance, then sure, let’s draw the women in more natural poses and in costumes that the character would likely wear.”

            It’s unacceptable to form opinions based solely on appearance, yes. It’s unrealistic, however, to expect that appearances have absolutely no bearing in life. The White Queen is a seductress, plain and simple. She likes looking sexually available. There’s no problem there. Moira MacTaggert is a bookish doctor, yet she had a stint wearing a form-fitting unitard. That’s unnecessary. Is it a female power fantasy to be a willing sex object in every waking moment of their life? Not for all women, by far.

            That’s why Black Cat’s safe-cracking pose is so weird. It’s not only because sex sells, but it suggests that the character herself is SO desperate for attention she puts on a skimpy outfit, breaks into famous places and almost wants to get caught for some perverse reason. Again, some women do have this kind of sexual fantasy, but in this case the artwork is clearly created with men in mind. That so many of these poses are created on a weekly basis demonstrates a clear bias.

            So yeah, if comics fans have no problems with changing the poses and costumes, let’s go ahead and do it! The general public’s opinion of the comic book industry can’t get any worse, right?

          • Hugh Robertson

            It’s probably also worth keeping in mind that, when female characters are powerful, they are powerful in a very male-centric concept of power. Super heroes, doctors, even leaders of large groups – all of these are male power structures that women have only recently been able to break in to. Which is great, for sure, but it’s still a case of women having to rise through the ranks of a power structure created for and catered to men.

            Also, consider how these images appear to someone who has no knowledge of comics whatsoever. If you didn’t know the characters and their backstories, you wouldn’t know that Jean Grey is a doctor, or Poison Ivy is a brilliant botanist – you would just assume that their only attributes are sexual ones.

            But I suppose you are right, in that sexism in comic books isn’t really more insidious than sexism in society as a whole. But it helps to examine every area of popular culture for sexism we might not even recognise or acknowledge – once we know it is there we can make informed decisions about what we want to expose ourselves to. It’s the mindless, automatic internalisation of sexism that causes the damage – and I think is the issue that this article is trying to counter-act.

          • Dusten Fleck

            But does their appearance make you think any less of them? If so, why? Why an’t a female character be strong, smart, powerful, AND sexy? What is wrong with these characters being sexy? As for not knowing these characters back stories, well, that’s on the reader. If they see these characters and instantly write them off because of their physical appearance, that’s just being judgmental.

          • Kimberly Kinrade

            What’s wrong with them NOT being so sexualized? I’m not saying they have to be ugly, but why do they have to be overly sexualized? Do you really think this is what women REALLY want to be? That they want their boobs and butts to be the primary attraction, with their brains, credentials and personality secondary? As a woman who has spent most of her life warding off unwanted catcalls, let me be clear here: this is not what most women want, and those who do want it, usually only do because girls have been brainwashed into believing this is all that matters about them, regardless of what else they have going for them. Seeing these kinds of images only reinforces that.

            Clearly there are enough women AND men who see this is an issue. Why is it so important to you to maintain the status quo and argue with those who feel differently? Why is the sexualization of these characters so very important to you?

          • Dusten Fleck

            What makes you think that their brains, credentials, and personality are all secondary? You can’t SEE these things with the naked eye, you’d have to actually read the comic book to figure these things out. The fact is, the first thing you notice in comic books is appearances. You can only see what is drawn, not what the character is about, and that’s just as true for both male AND female characters.
            I’m not saying, nor did I ever said that comic book characters should be sexualized. my whole argument this entire time has been “who the hell cares? Why the big deal over the way a character looks or dresses?” Not only do appearances not matter, but these are FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. They’re drawings.

          • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

            Why does anyone care about their appearance? Because it is a visual medium. If we didn’t want to see them, we’d read a regular novel.

          • Dusten Fleck

            What bothers you so much about their appearance?

          • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

            I didn’t say I was bothered by anything.

        • Caketin Welsh

          Muscles tend to be a lot more useful in fighting crime than tits. And before you retort that tits are useful for distracting goons or luring men into traps, consider whether you’re OK with men constantly being portrayed as such gormless chumps that they can be hypnotised into failure by a pair of pneumatic boobs. Of course, you apparently live in a world where the Bend & Snap is a thing women actually do, so if you consider that totally realistic, good luck to you!

          • Dusten Fleck

            Yes, well women can and do have both.

          • Scott Stewart

            I disagree.

        • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

          Meh. I’m a woman and I prefer faces and hands, myself. Overly large muscles are a huge turn-off in real life.

          We all like different things.

          The main point of the feminist conversation isn’t “Do away with all female sexualization” but “Hey, let’s see more diversity in the mainstream community.”

          FWIW, female Commander Shepard is my power fantasy. And Rogue. I will always have a soft spot for Rogue and it has more to do with her physical strength and ability to fly than her skin-tight costume. I’d hate to have tits that large.

          • Dusten Fleck

            Diversity in what way? I see plenty of diversity in comic books. Plenty of heroes of both genders, different ethnic, religious and other backgrounds.

          • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

            Well, now it seems you are arguing just for the sake of arguing.

            Since this conversation is discussing appearance and sexualization vs. idealization, I would think it is obvious that we mean diversity in female physical appearance beyond sexpot/bombshell.

          • Dusten Fleck

            So, in that case, would you like to see some less beefcakey male heroes? Fat heroes or really skinny male heroes as well? If you want diversity for females, why not for males, being that every male hero in comics has bulging muscles. Could it be that these heroes are in such great shape because they’re so active when fighting crime and saving the world?

          • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

            Sure. I find fat heroes or skinny heroes just as plausible as hulking masses of muscles. I love that superheroes have time to work out to maintain those muscles, after all.

          • InsertWittyUsernameHere

            Know why I, a girl, like Peter Parker? It’s because he’s skinny and scrawny and thin and that’s what I find attractive. Know who I think is unattractive? Thor, Superman, Batman, and every other male superhero whose torso is bigger than their legs and looks like a clone of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t feel like a single female superhero is someone I want to be because I want to be someone who isn’t sexualized and objectified… but if I had to pick one, it definitely would not be Black Cat because all I see in her is a character who flaunts her tits and steals stuff. The idea of the hot female cat-burglar isn’t a female power fantasy, it’s a male fantasy.

            So in answer to your question? I would love me some skinny male heroes with girl-butts and long eyelashes. I’d love some larger male heroes. And if you’re using the active excuse, why the fuck aren’t female heroes wearing sports bras? I have a D-cup, and
            I can barely run without a sports bra squishing my tits, let alone do back-flips, front flips, and jumps.

          • Dusten Fleck

            Peter Parker is scrawny? That’s funny, because I see a shit ton of muscle through those tights of his. Granted, he’s not nearly as bulky as most heroes, he’s still extremely fit and extremely toned.
            If all you see in Black Cat is a girl who flaunts her body, then you’re just judging her on her appearance alone.

          • Mary-anne

            Did you know that teen aged males are starting to show body dismorphia. That they are trying to get that ‘beefy’ and that shape, which is unrealistic. Compare GI Joe from 1980s with todays,

          • Jennifer Anker

            Carrothead suffering extreme ‘bigorexia’ is a perfect example.

          • joy2b

            People who are in great shape often cultivate different muscle types for different sports. Professional fighters, swimmers and runners often have very thin builds and cultivate light, wiry muscles. (Comic book artists know this is an athletic build, sometimes they use it on the flash and spiderman.) Also, while people who lift or throw enormous weights may have huge muscles, comic books aren’t always eager to show that look.
            Take a look at the wild variance in appearance in most fit people in the world, Olympic Athletes: http://www.olympic.org/athletics-shot-put-women

          • joy2b

            Let’s take a look at how comic artists draw men. A lawyer, a gymnast and a farmer should have fascinating differences in their musculature and physique. This could be a beautiful way to characterize their strengths and fighting styles, and a great challenge for a skilled artist. Is drawing them all with the same triangular chest, huge arms and thighs a good artistic choice? Don’t comics with fights between two people with very different builds look more interesting?
            When you add a physically distinctive character like Peter Parker or Hulk to a fight, their look and moves add contrast, depth, and even more of a sense of peril to the action. When Hulk thuds towards you, it’s frightening. He has a remarkably different strength than other strong men, such as Superman, and you can see it in him. It’s gorgeous when artists characterize like that, and I’d love to see more of it.

            Similarly, the women of comics should have fascinating differences in physique, appearance and fighting styles. A swimmer and a scientist should look and move differently. A nimble thief may be up on the balls of her feet a lot and dance around nervously, a skilled programmer should be deeply focused while she works. A circus performer might be prone to striking fabulous poses. Making everyone have a similar height, build, and posture is dull. It misses a chance to have really interesting art with gorgeous women, and it cuts the artist off from a good place to show character development.

      • TD

        David Betta is correct. Having grown up on Claremont’s X-Men in the ’80s (and been a comics retailer in the ’90s – pity me), I have to say there was a real backslide in terms of content and gender presentation during the ’90s, and most of the current backlash is against that flavor of objectification.

    • Guest

      I can understand where you’re coming from, but there is actually a
      distinct difference because although male and female characters are both
      presented as exaggerated, they are not exaggerated in the same way.

      Male
      characters are idealized, not sexualized. Female characters, on the
      other hand, are sexualized rather than idealized. Basically what this
      means is that male and female characters in comics are both designed to
      appeal to men.

      The male characters are generally designed to be
      what the man wants to be like, not what a woman is attracted to (and
      yes, they are different), while female characters are designed to be
      what a man is attracted to, and not what a woman wants to be like.

      If we were to break it down into categories, there are four archetypes:

      M1. The kind of man a guy wants to be. (idealized man)
      M2. The kind of man a woman is attracted to. (sexualized man)

      F1. The kind of woman a girl wants to be. (idealized woman)
      F2. The kind of woman a guy is attracted to. (sexualized woman)

      Ultimately comics tend to present only the M1 and F2 archetypes, while ignoring
      the M2 and F1 archetypes. That’s the problem that people are trying to
      point out when they say that men and women are not presented the same in
      comics. In comics, men are idealized, while women are sexualized. And that’s actually a pretty significant difference.

      • Dusten Fleck

        So you’re telling me that all the women that I know that drool over Thor and want to jump peter Parkers bones are wrong? Did you ever stop to think that the kind of men these comic book readers want to be and the kind of men that female readers want to be with are, in fact, one and the same? You’re telling me that no women out there want to be Felicia Hardy? A strong, independent Black Cat who don’t need no man? A self made woman, master of stealth, and sexy to boot? No woman wants to be White Queen, who, while a little slutty, was once the -leader- of one of the most powerful groups of mutants? or Jean Grey? DOCTOR Jean Grey? Again, the kind of women these characters are are both what women want to be and who men want to be with. It’s possible to be both. I don’t know why everyone is so focused on what these characters look like when there is so much more to them than their tits and ass. Isn’t that what all this is about in the first place? They’re just drawing more attention to appearances which seems counter productive to the argument they’re making. Am I the only one that sees this?

        • Anwyn

          Ok, here’s a different challenge – let’s look at the characters in
          comics who *aren’t* the heroes. The male villains are permitted to be
          physically less than ideal – many of them are quite specifically so. But
          what about the female villains? I can’t think of a single female
          villain who is not drawn to match some adolescent fantasy of female
          sexualised perfection. The **only** women in comics who aren’t portrayed
          as an ‘ideal’ feminine physical type are the mother figures. There are
          plenty of men in comics who don’t conform to an idealised version of
          what men should look like, and precious few women who don’t.
          On top
          of that, adolescent boys and girls have very different experiences of
          what their burgeoning sexuality is doing. We don’t see a large
          proportion of adult females suddenly changing how they relate to 11-13
          year old boys, suddenly treating them as sexual and sexualised beings.
          And boys don’t see their own emerging sexual nature as a threat because
          of it. For girls, it’s a very different story; every woman has stories -
          countless stories – of hitting puberty, and of suddenly having to deal
          with being treated differently by adult men, in a way they are simply
          not ready to handle. And the simple truth is, we spend the rest of our
          lives just dealing with it, because we don’t have any other choice.
          Teenagers
          generally go through puberty feeling out of control, feeling isolated
          by their experiences with their own changing bodies and out of control
          hormones and emotions, they struggle to fit in to an adult world they
          aren’t ready for and struggle with leaving a childhood they don’t want
          to give up yet. Comics provide an analogy for puberty; the hero is
          separated from everyone else in some way, but manages to turn the very
          thing that makes them unable to fit in into a positive benefit. *If you
          are male*.
          But the thing that *most* affects adolescent girls, their
          sudden sexualisation, is *not* addressed in comic books. Instead, it’s
          another place where women are shown as having to meet a physical ideal,
          regardless of any other capabilities, strengths or weaknesses they might
          have. THAT’S why it’s an issue.

    • Maphesdus

      I can understand where you’re coming from, but there is actually a distinct difference because although male and female characters are both presented as exaggerated, they are not exaggerated in the same way.

      Male characters are idealized, not sexualized. Female characters, on the other hand, are sexualized rather than idealized. Basically what this means is that male and female characters in comics are both designed to appeal to boys and men, while neither gender is designed to appeal to girls or women.

      The male characters are generally designed to be what the man wants to be like, not what a woman is attracted to (and yes, they are different), while female characters are designed to be what a man is attracted to, and not what a woman wants to be like.

      If we were to break it down into categories, there are four archetypes:

      M1. The kind of man a guy wants to be. (idealized man)
      M2. The kind of man a woman is attracted to. (sexualized man)

      F1. The kind of woman a girl wants to be. (idealized woman)
      F2. The kind of woman a guy is attracted to. (sexualized woman)

      Ultimately comics tend to present only the M1 and F2 archetypes, while ignoring the M2 and F1 archetypes. That’s the problem that people are trying to point out when they say that men and women are not presented the same in comics: men are idealized, while women are sexualized. And that’s actually a pretty significant difference.

      • Dusten Fleck

        So you’re telling me that all the women that I know that drool over Thor and want to jump peter Parkers bones are wrong? Did you ever stop to think that the kind of men these comic book readers want to be and the kind of men that female readers want to be with are, in fact, one and the same? You’re telling me that no women out there want to be Felicia Hardy? A strong, independent Black Cat who don’t need no man? A self made woman, master of stealth, and sexy to boot? No woman wants to be White Queen, who, while a little slutty, was once the -leader- of one of the most powerful groups of mutants? or Jean Grey? DOCTOR Jean Grey? Again, the kind of women these characters are are both what women want to be and who men want to be with. It’s possible to be both. I don’t know why everyone is so focused on what these characters look like when there is so much more to them than their tits and ass. Isn’t that what all this is about in the first place? They’re just drawing more attention to appearances which seems counter productive to the argument they’re making. Am I the only one that sees this?

        EDIT: Posted to the wrong commenter

        • Lauren Hall-Stigerts

          Chicken-and-egg problem. Portraits of men and women in the media have been trending in a male-idealized sense for so long, we don’t have many options to pick from, do we?

          And when preferred images outside of the generally-accepted norm are presented, they’re ridiculed and ripped to shreds, which reduces the chances of those being promoted by mass media in the future.

        • Maphesdus

          I’m sure there is definitely a great deal of overlap, but it is important to recognize the distinct categories, even if the boundaries between them aren’t always clear.

          As an example, consider Edward Cullen from the Twilight series. To many girls and women, Edward is the kind of guy they find to be highly attractive. Yet very few guys would think of Edward as a guy they would want to be like.

          Now imagine if almost every male character presented in the media was an Edward Cullen type of character (not necessarily a vampire, but that same sort of personality and physical appearance). After a while, guys would get pretty upset that every male character was the type of guy who didn’t appeal to them, and who they didn’t want to be like. They’d want to have a male character that was designed to appeal to their fantasies, not the fantasies of girls and women.

          But this is exactly the sort of situation that girls and women face in today’s geek culture: female characters are designed to appeal to males, and not to them.

          • Scott Stewart

            The media already ran with your Edward Cullen type. It was Alan Alda in the 70′s. Turns out: men didn’t want to be him and women decided they weren’t really attracted to him after all. Why? Because he wasn’t an idealized man.

            The fact of the matter is that men’s idealized man is consistent with women’s sexualized man; and women’s idealized woman is inconsistent with men’s sexualized woman. The reason for that is women who don’t come close to men’s sexualized woman haven’t come to terms with the shortcoming; while men who don’t come close to women’s sexualized man don’t give a damn about the shortcoming. They make their own way.

          • miles

            i think it is hilarious that the only people who liked your comment are men. Here to tell us what we like? I think muscular men are ugly as hell….my friends and many other women would agree with me. What men want to be and what women are attracted to ARE NOT THE SAME…or in your words “consistent.” Secondly, as a woman, I do not like the way we are portrayed in these comics. Clearly many other women agree, or this chat wouldn’t even exist.

          • Alex Reynard

            May I ask where your credentials are to declare your opinions as representative of all women?

          • Caketin Welsh

            Upvote this if you would totally do Alan Alda in the ’70s. (That’s my kind of Hawkeye initiative! *rimshot*)

          • Mandy

            MASH jokes FTW! (also just a random FYI, there IS a fan fic out there with Hawkeye(MASH) & Hawkeye(Avengers) interacting. I flailed around when I discovered this so I have to share its existance with other people now.

          • joy2b

            Here’s proof that the thin, intellectual, non-idealized body is not attractive to women, and does not help sales in today’s media. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=benedict+cumberbatch

    • Dee

      I definitely understand where you’re coming from. I agree that it’s the same thing, because as a young woman myself I often find myself attracted to a man because of his looks. But they aren’t actually sexualized. It’s just a man being an “ideal” man. They are good looking and have a good personality. It’s what every woman wants. You don’t see Thor or Batman running around without shirts on at all. Yeah, there might be some scenes where that happens, but they’re never actually fighting like that. The only superhero I can think of that doesn’t actually wear a shirt is the Hulk, and that’s understandable because of his size. Their uniforms, yeah, are kinda tight, but it emphasizes mostly just muscles. There’s only some slight sexuality with that. Yet when we look at women in comic books or in movies, they’re portrayed in a different way. Their clothes are form fitting in a way that seems extremely uncomfortable. It emphasizes the buttocks and breasts which is highly sexual (why do you think it’s socially unacceptable for a woman to walk around without a shirt and bra on but a man doesn’t need a shirt at all?). They have to be flexible and have to do everything in a way that makes them seem beautiful. They have to strut and wear ankle breaking heels (heels exaggerate the muscles in the legs and make them look slimmer), even when it’s not even practical to do so. And if their outfit isn’t form fitting, it’s showing off skin in some way. Just look at 2004′s rendition of cat woman (the movie starring Halle Berry). I want to go and say that it’s not sexism, because yes, men can definitely be sexualized just as easily as women, but even from a woman’s point of view, I can say that for women it’s worse. I constantly look around at magazines and movies and TV shows. Every woman I see is in some way is beautiful. Even in advertisements that supposedly target heavier women. Yeah, they’re heavier, but they still have curves and simply seem more muscular than anything. Women don’t look like that these days! And to be honest, a lot of women whom I consider very beautiful find themselves ugly or unwanted. I have friends who blame their looks as the reason that they can’t find a man who is worth while to them. To this you could say “well then go and strive to look more beautiful, there are ways you can become more beautiful.” Yeah, but isn’t that becoming something you’re not? Isn’t that essentially being “fake”? Personally, I’ve talked with many people that say it’s disgusting for a woman to be something she’s not, yet they turn around and judge her by how they look. Can that woman be sexy? No? Then I don’t want her. Women often get that feeling from men, so in this case, I have to say that yes, this is straight up sexism. You could flip it around and say the same thing for men on many cases, but it’s not as severe a case.

      • Dusten Fleck

        How do you know it isn’t as severe for men? I know men who have been turned down repeatedly for not being fit enough, being to skinny, too fat, not toned enough, having the wrong hair, etcetcetc. I don’t see what’s so ‘fake’ about getting into shape, if your body image bothers you that much. You aren’t your body type and how muscly or sexy you are has no reflection on your personality. I can be a good person and still go to the gym regularly to improve my body and my self image. It’s a health issue, too. I’m not becoming something I’m not, that’s just an excuse for people to not have to take responsibility for their situation in life. “I’m fat, that’s who I am and I don’t want to change.” Then fine, be fat, but stop complaining about being fat and stop complaining about people who aren’t fat giving you a negative body image. I can name plenty of shirtless male super heroes. Namor the Submariner wears nothing but a speedo. Power Man(Luke Cage). Hercules from Marvel. Beast wears a speedo. The Thing.
        As for what the female heroes wear… A lot of them are in full body tights, just like many of the male heroes.. or a leotard. Gymnasts wear leotards, too. Are they fulfilling any male sexual fantasy there, or is it that leotards allow for free range of movement? Most of them don’t even really need body armor, so there’s no need for that.
        As for what real women look like.. I’ve seen PLENTY of real women dress up to show off their body. It’s a matter of confidence. They’re comfortable with their bodies and work hard for it and want to show that. More power too them. Guys do the same thing. Guys who spend days at the gym wear tight shirts and muscles shirts to show off their hard work and more power to them. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your hard work.

    • miles

      learn the difference between a male power fantasy and a female sexual fantasy please. Both men and women in comics are drawn to benefit men. Females are portrayed as sex-fantasies for men whereas the men are strong, muscular power fantasies.

      • Dusten Fleck

        You’re absolutely right. I love Namor the Submariner, a character whom only wears a Speedo, because he is drawn that way to benefit me. Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl are both definitely sex fantasies of mine, because who cares about their powers and personality.

  • Christopher Crowson

    Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic, so it should be “If Trayvon Martin had been a Hispanic kid, and George Zimmerman a black man, would the verdict have been the same?”

    • David Betta

      I can see you’re trying to be fair, but you’re not being fair. The ugly thing about race is that most of the time, it’s not a decision you make about yourself. Race is a decision other people make about you.

      So your “correction” isn’t actually better than the original, because you automatically conclude Trayvon Martin is black. Why do you conclude Martin is black, but have to ask Zimmerman what race he is?

      • Christopher Crowson

        I didn’t “conclude” anything, because the stereotypical assumptions about race were one of the main issues of the case. I had originally heard about the shooting on the radio, and it was reported incorrectly that Zimmerman was white and Martin was black.

        I understand what you mean about other people deciding your race for you, but that highlights the absurdity of the whole scenario thats perpetuates a racist perspective.

        How is accurately describing the ethnicity of the actual participants less fair than a careless repetition of incorrect facts?

        • Katrina Payne

          I’ve shown up in police reports as a large black guy.

          That usually gets them to react quicker I’ve noticed… especially when the police report has me threatening white women.

          Also, outside of a few misreports, the police handle me like I am white in Vancouver… in Alberta, they handled me like I was First Nations.

          Furthermore Zimmerman is white. I had to be told he wasn’t a white guy. As did many other people.

          The point is Zimmerman had/has white privilege.

          • Christopher Crowson

            I don’t know how you can say he has white privilege, just because you think so. That’s just an assumption. Just like assuming that someone is white or black or whatever. You don’t get to decide someone’s ethnicity for them, or tell them what privileges they have had or didn’t.

          • Katrina Payne

            I think you don’t entirely understand how white privilege works.

            You don’t “claim” to get white privilege. You just are given it.

            That is part of why it is so frustrating that people have it. Usually they aren’t aware they have been given it.

          • Christopher Crowson

            I think you don’t understand what I’m saying about you making assumptions about situations you have never directly perceived.

          • Katrina Payne

            Dude, I got treated like I was First Nations by the police when I was in Edmonton. Even though I was all “I’m white” and add to the fact my father would often say some REALLY terrible things about First Nations people… and I kind of didn’t have any band I was associated with. Hell, I didn’t even grow up on the Rez either.

            Move over to Vancouver, and I get treated like I am White. I have White Privilege in a lot more places I go.

            Honestly, I know I don’t get to decide if I am white enough to get white privilege. I am honestly going to tell you, that it is YOU that has no fucking clue what the hell he is on about.

            Just like me, the guy associated here don’t get to decide which set of privilege he has. It is decided by the mob around him. Which is part of why racism is such a fucking scary concept.

            If I’m not getting what the flap you are on about… start working to clarify… as nobody else is getting what you are on about either, buster.

          • Amy Singleton

            It’s called “passing” like how women could get legally married in a Boston Marriage, or how masculine gay men can pass as straight. Or how someone not fully white like Zimmerman can actually pass as a white man. After all, that cop who just pulled Zimmerman over for speeding in TX referred to him as a white male…and George sure didn’t correct him!!!

          • Christopher Crowson

            Thank you, Captain Obvious.

    • Maphesdus

      Whiteness or blackness doesn’t always refer to a person’s race.
      Sometime it can refer simply to the color of a person’s skin. Even an
      African American can be considered white if their skin is light enough
      (as was the case with Michael Jackson).

      The reason George Zimmerman was reported as being white is because he is very light skinned. Even if he’s ethnically Hispanic rather than Caucasian, he still looks white.

      • Christopher Crowson

        Zimmerman always looked brown to me, but color does not equal race/ethnicity. That’s just continuing to confuse the issue.

        I have never heard of any African American referred to as white, unless it was sarcasm. That’s ridiculous.

        • lochinvar

          I’m light skinned, but in reality, black like Obama. People call me white all the time.

          • Christopher Crowson

            Are both of your parents African American?

          • lochinvar

            No… I did say, “black like Obama.” So mixed race, but people think I am just white all the time. And please, I _really_ hope you’re not going to say something like, “then you’re not really African-American/Black.” I do know where my ancestors came from, and when.

            The point is that people make mistakes all the time, and assume from a too-quick glance, rather than actually asking. But yes, people don’t usually call someone they know is African-American, white.

          • Christopher Crowson

            Look man, I’m not going to presume to tell you who you are. My mixed race friends don’t claim to be either race of their parents unless they are of African descent, then they’re “black.” But 2 of them have dreadlocks and dark skin, and the other has African features, so I’m fairly sure most people have never thought of them as white. I just think that prescribing to the one-drop rule is a weird anachronism to carry with you.

            Really, my point is to just try to be accurate. I think that the whole race angle in the case has been so distorted and blown out of proportion, as to be a red herring. People got Zimmerman’s ethnicity wrong and then ran with it. That’s just as bad as if I _had_ said,” then you’re not really African-American/Black.” So many people _assumed_ that he was a racist because Martin was black, even though Zimmerman lived in a gated community with black people, went into business with a black business partner and used to tutor disadvantaged kids, some of whom were black. The only credible evidence for racism is against the Florida law enforcement that didn’t arrest him immediately after the homicide, because of Martin’s race.

          • Gabriel Marie Valentine

            well just think about if for a second. I don’t know what race or gender you are but let’s say you look like a white male. Now let’s say that both of your parents are Mexican, which is believable because a lot of Mexican children do come out looking fairly white. Now assuming everything I just said, how do you think that you would grow up? How would you be treated by your peers? Policeman? Employers? Potential lovers? As a Mexican? Or a Caucasian? If everyone but you’re family looks at you as a white person, can you really claim to have a Hispanic experience? (what does race actually mean anyway?)

          • Christopher Crowson

            I would say that you could claim to have a Hispanic experience, because you were brought up in a Hispanic household, with Hispanic values instilled by your Hispanic relatives. Although they would still probably tease you about it and call you”Guerito.”

        • Katrina Payne

          Hello, I have First Nations stuff in my background, as well as stuff indicating having a black guy in the family tree. This on top of the Irish, Scottish and Dutch in my family’s history.

          Do people call me First Nations where I am? No… I’m treated like I am white. It is really fucking nice too. I also don’t have band papers, so in Northern Alberta, where my cree traits stand out, I kept having to deal with the police acting like I was First Nations, and me not getting any help, because it was always, “talk to your band council”… unfortunately, my dad and my dad’s dad are both racist assholes… and will usually say terrible things against First Nations (my dad didn’t say as much against black people as my dad’s dad).

          You also get a lot of black people with white people in their family tree, which create kind of white children born to black parents. Essentially black people with white privilege.

          And yes… the issue is confused. That is the whole reason racism sucks.

          It only confuses the issue at hand.

        • EarlMoray

          Color does not equal race/ethnicity. But white privilege is solely based on skin colour and how you are perceived because of it. If you’re going to spout off on a topic you know nothing about, at least go read the wikipedia article first.

          • Christopher Crowson

            I think you’re missing my point, too.

            If you’re raised to think of yourself as Hispanic, how can you not call your perspective Hispanic, just because it doesn’t conform to other people’s Hispanic experience? Just because someone looks white to you, does not mean that they have received the experience possible by white privilege that YOU might have ASSUMED them to.

            Additionally, you would do well to take your own advice. The Wikipedia article you referenced specifically mentions shortcomings of the entire concept, even in cases where the subject is perceived as white. It’s not as “black and white” as you make it out to be.

          • EarlMoray

            You’re missing the entire point of the privilege concept. The whole idea of unpacking your privilege means putting aside your perceptions of the world and your perceptions of yourself and how you fit into that world. Privilege is invisible unless you look for it, and that’s part of the problem. I’m not saying that Zimmerman isn’t Hispanic or is wrong to think of himself and call himself Hispanic, I’m saying that he was white privilege because he can pass, and he probably often does (or did, he’s pretty well known now) *without even realizing* that he’s passing and that he is treated differently because of that.

            If you understand nothing else about privilege, try and get that it’s about putting aside all of your learned experiences and beliefs and looking at yourself from someone else’s perspective.

            ” Just because someone looks white to you, does not mean that they have received the experience possible by white privilege that YOU might have ASSUMED them to.”

            You’ve got it completely backward. Yes, they receive the experience of being treated as though they have white privilege because that’s how they are seen. Are they aware? Most often not. Because what other people see as a privilege they see as their ordinary life, as just “the way things are”. Zimmerman having white privilege means the way the world worked
            for him and reacted to him was fundamentally different than the way the world worked for and reacted to Martin. Is Zimmerman unaware of this? Yes, likely. But it’s still there. It’s always there.

            Let’s move to John Scalzi’s gaming analogy for a second.
            http://boingboing.net/2012/05/16/unpacking-privilege-straight.html
            Straight, white, male is the lowest difficulty setting and you don’t get to chose that difficulty setting. You can identify as Hispanic but that doesn’t mean that the game settings are set that way. Zimmerman doesn’t notice his white privilege because to him, he’s just playing the game of life, just like everyone else. He’s completely unaware of the fact that not everyone is playing on the same difficulty setting he is. It doesn’t mean that the game isn’t hard and it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t face injustices. It does mean that he’s playing on a lower level of difficulty. If it’s the name that offends you, call it “passing-as-white privilege” if you like but it’s the same thing. It’s the benefits you get based on a light skin color.

          • Christopher Crowson

            Look. I understand what you’re saying. You know what you’re talking about.

            I understand the concept of a subconscious bias. I understand it’s something that’s not noticed unless named and examined.
            I don’t care what it’s called.

            Yes, I’m sure Zimmerman has enjoyed white privilege. But I am equally sure that there were occasions where he did not meet the criteria of “whiteness” to afford the white privilege that someone may otherwise have conferred on someone else.

            This really seems like I’m splitting hairs here, but the posts responding to me did not address the point I was trying to make, and veered further from my original intent, even though yours were using similar ideas about the role of self-perception-vs-the-other in constructing social reality.

            The “easy mode” analogy works fine on a basic level, but does not mean that the “difficulty setting” exists in every instance where it could be applied. Because it is a social dynamic, it is not a uniformly applied quality. That is my point.

            What I’m attempting to express is that the idea is a social construct that is in every case a transaction between two or more people. Because it is an interpersonal interaction based on perception, it is NEVER going to be exactly the same in every case where the dynamic might occur. It’s just not as simple as “looks white -> gets white privilege ALWAYS -> easy mode.” In other words, because someone looks white TO YOU, you would expect that dynamic to be applied in other situations that you will never perceive. It might be; it might not be. My secondary point is that it is dangerous to make assumptions about things you haven’t personally witnessed. If that person does not look white TO SOMEONE ELSE, then that dynamic does not exist between them. It is exactly about each person’s perception of “whiteness” as applied to the other.

          • EarlMoray

            No one is saying that having white privilege means easy mode. It simply means that it’s the easiest mode. Did he enjoy that privilege in every situation? Probably not. He was probably occasionally looked at and treated (possibly negatively) as a Hispanic. But that’s not the point. No one ever looked at him and saw a black boy and with it, all of the negative connitions that that carries.

            You’re original point was not that while privilege is more complicated and nuanced then it was made out to be, especially for Hispanics, it was: “Zimmerman identifies himself as Hispanic, so it should be “If Trayvon Martin had been a Hispanic kid, and George Zimmerman a black man, would the verdict have been the same?”"

            The point the article was making was not about whatever relative racial baggage that they carried, it was about what the police and judicial system saw when they looked at Zimmerman compared to what they saw when they looked at Martin. And the author is assuming that they looked at Martin and saw black boy and looked at Zimmerman and saw a light colored boy. The author is talking about skin color, you are talking about race and it’s not always a 1-1 equivalency.

            In re a couple other things, you mentioned that you didn’t think that African-Americans were ever referred to as white. You’re wrong. Having skin light enough to pass has been a thing for a long time. There’s also been a lot of studies showing that the lighter your skin the better you’re treated. Mixed-race kids often do fair better.

            Also, I wouldn’t take Zimmerman’s word on how he views himself as Hispanic. His driver’s license has him listed as Caucasian. I don’t know whether he sees himself as Caucasian or simply understood that there was an advantage in choosing a Caucasian label for official papers, that’s something only Zimmerman truly knows. But Zimmerman looks white, and he certainly looks much whiter than Martin. And Zimmerman knows that he looks white enough to fill in an X next to Caucasian on official documents. He may not be aware of just how blinded he was by privilege, but he knows something of the various ways that skin color is perceived and he used this to his advantage. Zimmerman called himself white until it was a disadvantage. Then he was Hispanic and people who referred to him as white were race-baiting.

          • Christopher Crowson

            Yes, easy level of difficulty is exactly the metaphor used by John Scalzi to describe white privilege.

            As far as his driver’s license listing him as white, where did you see/read that? I can’t find any evidence of it. The only mention of it that I can find says,”Though the initial police report on Martin’s killing listed shooter George Zimmerman as white, he self-identified as Hispanic on both his driver’s license and voting records.” This goes back to my (later) point about making assumptions on things you’ve never seen. To be fair, neither of us know what’s on his damn driver’s license, because we’ve never seen it.

            As far as blacks passing for white, you obviously didn’t read my exchange with Lochinvar above, and the point in my exchange with you was not the same as the point of my very first comment here. Just for further clarification. you are pointing out things which I had already agreed to, as if I were contesting them, because they happened at a different point in the thread. I did say that the justice system seems the most racist because of the police’s delay in arresting Zimmerman. The thing is, most people are accusing Zimmerman of being racist without knowing his personal history of close contact with black people discredits that.

          • EarlMoray

            I haven’t kept track of the entire conversation, it’s very long and it’s sprawling. It’s apparent that we agree on a lot of things and that you’re trying to make some nuanced points, but you’re doing it badly. Short blunt sentences about privilege are not a good way to convey a nuanced point and you’ll notice that just about everyone took them to mean things that you never intended.

            Couple other points: Easy level of difficulty does not mean easy. It means comparatively easy. It means that everything else being equal you have an easier time than a ____ would. Ethnicity and skin color do overlap, but they aren’t the same thing. The way race and ethnicity work in the US is, well complicated to say the least. It may have gotten a ton of flack, but the term “White-Hispanic” is a more accurate assessment of the situation. I don’t think anyone on this thread was trying to deny that he was Hispanic–I think that what people have been saying is that when looking at things in the context of white privilege, ethnicity details and how you self-identify are not what we’re talking about. No one is saying that they aren’t there or that there aren’t other issues, they just were not the issues being talked about in the piece and are really irrelevant to the point that the article was making. Even if you’re well aware of how racial issues in this country work and the concept of white privilege, looking at Zimmerman and Martin having been race flipped may shock you. Experiencing that shock and trying to figure out where that comes from and how these images effect you and to what extent is important.

            In several places it’s mentioned that Zimmerman put down white on his driver’s license and application to the police academy. One article suggests that he actually put down Hispanic and none of these articles mention where this information is coming from. And his getting pulled over recently and that video has just made this search even harder. If I find a mention of this that is properly sourced, I’ll try and link you.

          • Christopher Crowson

            My sentences are blunt because I’m trying to be succinct, since I don’t want to repeat myself unnecessarily, but it never ceases to amaze me how people read into things what they want to see. If you can’t be bothered to read the thread, you’re being willfully ignorant. I think your posts may actually be the longest ones on average, so it’s really not that much reading.

            Really, if you could sum up everything that I’ve been talking about from my first post onward, it boils down to one thing: accuracy in our description of the world around us. That’s it. I’m just trying to remove as many barriers to an objective consensus as I can by pointing out inconsistencies and assumptions that I see.

            Your easy vs. easier bit just seems like an argument over semantics when we really agree on the concept. If it’s the easiest level, then it’s easy.

          • Guest

            est

          • Christopher Crowson

            Really, if you could sum up everything that I’ve been talking about, it boils down to one thing: accuracy in our description of the world around us. That’s it. I’m just trying to remove as many barriers to an objective consensus as I can by pointing out inconsistencies and assumptions that I see.

            If the sentences I kept short in the interest of being succinct aren’t taken at strictly face value, then yes I can see how they may be misunderstood. I try to keep my writing minimal and devoid of ambiguity, but all words have connotations that are different for each reader.

            The easy/easiest bit is semantics. If it is easier – enough to be the easiest, then it is easy, but I think we agree on how confused the issues of race and ethnicity can get, and how people have visceral reactions to race that need to be deconstructed.

            The conversation is really not that long. You may even have posted the longest comments on average.

  • http://chostett.tumblr.com/ Chelsea

    Thanks for featuring my artwork (Catwoman vs. Hawkeye)! This is an excellent article, and I am proud to have my work featured on an article calling out sexism.

    • Katrina Payne

      Shrug–I mostly comment that it looks really Po-ju there.

    • jandiser127

      Some more superheros

      • Katrina Payne

        That… is kind of retarded there.

        I need feminism because people assume that because I have looks I have fluff in my head. The notion that looks/brains are xor type situation in women.

        “You look attractive and are female… ope… you got to be a slobbering idiot. You might thing you are intelligent, but I know better. What to know how I know I know better? You look nice.”

        “Wow… you look like your face was shoved into a sink garbage disposal unit before being backed over by a garbage truck inside another garbage truck’s trash compactor… well, you must have talent then.”

        Or the fact that if I a look nice and have some self awareness of what I can do, I suddenly become arrogant.

        Guess what? I want feminism too.

        • Andra Alley

          I realize I’m late, but I would like to point out that using “retarded” like that is offensive and ableist. Please don’t.

          • Katrina Payne

            How is it ableist?

            What word do I use instead? “Special”? “Stupid”? “Idiot”? “Moron”?

            Honestly, rather than trying to ride the Euphemism train… try changing how the condition is seen.

            Right now, I am using Retard how it has always been meant to be used. As an Euphemism for “fool”.

            Now, if I were to be insulting any group of people with an actual disorder, I’d use a REAL disorder.

            Here… I’m just using “retard”… which is less of a real disorder people are diagnosed with, or suffer from… and not like if I used “flu” as an insult. Or “Bubonic Plague Quarantine Member”…

            “Retard” is not an official diagnosis, and is a way for people to say “fool” and for a few years, think they were being nice.

            So… yeah… what the fuck was your point again?

          • Andra Alley

            Katrina, you claim that it is not “a real disorder” or “an official diagnosis”, but that is clearly untrue (see the ICD-10: http://apps.who.int/classifications/icd10/browse/2010/en#/F70-F79). This is basic Google-and-Wikipedia-level fact-checking. The term “mental retardation” is meant to be a medical classification for a kind of disability, but you and many others have appropriated it as a slur.

            In the same breath as telling me to “try changing how the condition is seen”, you also defend your use of an ableist insult. That is hugely self-contradictory.

            You are being hurtful and offensive, Katrina, no matter what your intentions were. It is astonishing to me that you, as a self-identified feminist who cares about social injustice against marginalized groups, would react like this when called out on it.

            Like you, I need feminism. To quote Flavia Dzodan, it will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.

            (http://tigerbeatdown.com/2011/10/10/my-feminism-will-be-intersectional-or-it-will-be-bullshit/)

          • Katrina Payne

            Dude… if you have a doctor who says you are “Mentally Retarded”, get a better doctor.

            If would be like if the doctor diagnosed you with “Homosexuality”, “Female hysteria”, “Drapetomania”, or “Dysaethesia Aethiopica”

            It is not about fact checking. It is about I fucking know the material well enough to know that the diagnosis, “Mentally Retarded” is NOT a proper of useful label. Hell, a diagnosis of “Lupus” has the job done better.

            Yes… homosexuality exists. How it went from a doctor diagnosing somebody with it, to just something people do is a long arduous struggle, that changed how people view homosexuality, as an inherently harmful set of activities to just good ol’ fn.

            Look… the fact that “Female Hysteria”, “Drapetomania” and “Dysaethesia Aethiopica” even EXISTED was symptomatic as a problem with society. Female Hysteria isn’t a real diagnosis either… it existed as one, and that is a sign of an issue the medical profession had that is viewed on par with applying leeches and blood letting.

            Acknowledging “Mentally Retarded” as a real concept is the REALLY ablest way to do things. The fact that you even acknowledge that ridiculous concept is the REAL hurtful thing here. To me, it would be like you acknowledging “Female Hysteria”, “Drapetomania” and “Dysaethesia Aethiopica” as real things.

            Hell, I should start using “Dysaethesetic” as an insult on lazy people–of ALL skin colours. Because I am just that kind of jerk. You miss, are FULL ON DYSAETHESIS, for your irritating allowance of the condition of “Mentally retarded” to exist.

            It only exists as a “real condition” in rather dysfunctional societies and medical practices.

            If you doctor uses “Mentally Retarded” in any real sense… your doctor fucking sucks. And is retarding the entire medical profession.

          • Katrina Payne

            To take my rage against being “mentally retarded” existing, I shall give an old koan: “a fish would live its entire life, thinking less of itself, if it measured itself on its ability to climb a tree.”

            For deal with people who were misdiagnosed with “mental retardation” is to first find something they enjoy doing, and work from there, to demonstrate how intelligent they fully are.

            Further more, the existence of “mentally retarded” is RACIST due to how culturally bias IQ tests and quizzes are in their nature. It was used, in amongst other things, to control people with Black Skin, First Nations and anybody who wasn’t white or looked like they were from oriental origin (originally).

            The whole notion of IQ is bunk, designed to control minority groups, political dissidents, the mentally ill, etc. and that is what “mentally retarded” is based on. It also is yet another black eye on the medical profession in and of itself as a result.

            I get that you want to help. However, you need to make certain your help is not hurting everything even further–and your help is not just incorrect.

            If you want to know my IQ, as people usually assume I just scored crappily, and use that against me (I’m prepared for comments of that nature). I cannot take IQ tests. I always get results indicating the test was flawed. Such as 450 or what is more common 650. Typically IQs are not able to go past 200 or 300 depending on if you are using the old system or the new one (100 is the average intellect in both. 300 is the new highest level for the system).

            My way of viewing things is not hateful or ignorant. It merely is inhuman. I am not better than you… any more than indoor plumbing is better than you. A toilet does a wonderful job trying to handle and help with people’s shit–and is a well engineered marvel. Even then it is hard to argue the toilet is better than people. Which, with my inhuman intelligence, I’m pretty much a toilet as a result.

            The whole IQ System itself is busticated and fucking stupid, and merely a way to placate and control people. Usually minority groups. So Mentally Retarded, being the worst end of it, and often times a modern day version of Dysaethesia Aethiopica that has a few token whites so as to not come across as too racist, is the worst thing to argue FOR.

            I think the whole notion of mental retardation existing, is mother fucking retarded.

          • Andra Alley

            Wow. Good for you, I guess. Bye.

          • Katrina Payne

            You don’t like being proven wrong, do you?

            Especially on something you are doing that you think is being helpful, when it really isn’t.

            “Mentally Retarded” is not a medical condition. It is an insult, and at best, an insult that is lying to the person about not being insulting.

            Claiming using retard in a bad way hurts people, hurts people by suggesting they are a ridiculous fictional condition created by people who are not fit for the medical profession.

            Maybe… learn a bit more of what your help actually does, instead of claiming it actually helps people.

            Much like this Gender Flipping. It does NOTHING to help feminism. It merely adds stuff to my fap folder.

            Just because it feels nice, doesn’t mean it is not a masturbatory effort.

          • Garrett

            Retarded used to be the common word for mentally slow for those who are learning disabled it has been changed to be an insult so it is somewhat offensive. Special is another word that is used for mentally disabled and hence is also kind of offensive to those who are mentally disabled or have mentally disabled relatives. Stupid, idiot or moron would be better. Your kind of rude at the end of your message as well.

          • Katrina Payne

            Yeah… you technically are agreeing with me.

            At the end of the day, and insult is still an insult. Be it a nice insult, or a meaner insult… the person is still being insulted.

            And of course the end of my message is insulting. If a Doctor actually lists that as somebody’s disorder… like as a primary disorder and not a possible symptom that may or MAY NOT show up… then the Doctor is fucking terrible, and you need to dump him… terrible insults more required than good insults (seriously? That is now going to be a thing?)

          • Katrina Payne

            I should reiterate my statement:

            Mentally disabled is not their primary condition or issue. It is a side effect of other problems and matters.

            Take it this way… Jaundice. It is a matter of the liver.. that creates a higher temperature than normal, eye discolorations and yellowing of the skin.

            There are two notions here: help the person function and work in the world, and be accepted despite how yellow his skin has become, and how his eyes are slowly destroying. Help come up with things that his higher than normal temperature is not an issue, and stuff to deal with his odd gate, and call it a day.

            Or… you can understand the real issue is his liver… deal with that, and the other stuff will begin to clear up.

            Mental Retardation as a disorder and target for treatment makes about as much sense as giving somebody normal skin colour make up to treat Jaundice.

            There is ALWAYS something else that is the matter. Clear that up, and give them a bit of material to rehabilitate–such as a Nintendo with Brain Age or Wii Fitness or Wii Sports, or a membership on Luminosity–and the issue is solved and done.

            Then understand that if you point to somebody with an addictions issue and be all, “look at that jaundice skin asshole!”, that can be understood as an insult. Going around all “ol’ Jaundice Skin here”… as it doesn’t directly talk about the condition itself in a bad way, but one of the more irritating symptoms that isn’t a fun part anyways.

            I mean… yes… my point sounds confused here, as I honestly am having issues understanding how you are not getting this or understanding this as a concept. So elaborating this further to you gets hard to pull off.

            The Brain is Plastic. It can heal. It can regain its ability. Intelligence is something you have to constantly practice or you will lose. It is also something that you WILL gain the more you make use of it. It is a very “use it or lose” it type notion, that gets better the more you use it.

            People also learn many different ways. This was experimental knowledge in the 1970s… and yeah, I get that it is knew, and has yet to proliferate outwards… but typically what a learning disorder usually means is, “a teacher tried one way, and decided to put the kid on drugs, to try that one way again… with not a high chance of success”–and more an indication the teacher isn’t doing their job properly.

            Once you figure out how somebody learns something… it becomes REALLY easy to make use of that, to have them able to learn all things and function BETTER than most other people. It mostly requires using something that most people don’t understand, “everybody is different”

            From an angle of a person who knows this shit, using “Mentally Retarded” as anything other than a temporary side effect condition that can be fixed after the condition that caused it has been adequately resolved… and going as far as to suggest it is permanent… is just… like… “whoa… fucking retarded here much?”

            Hell–one of the main issues we are having dealing with various forms of Dementia, is that this notion the brain cannot improve itself and once it is broken “that is it”, is actually GETTING IN THE WAY of solving Dementia. Luminosity pretty much is putting Scientific Themed Graphics and images to Nintendo Games, after it was confirmed that the Tetris Effect is an actual thing… and is pretty much a Nintendo Game Website for people too self conscious to just whip out a 3DS or a 2DS or Xbox Controller, PS Controller, Wiimote, etc. and be all, “going to have fun challenging meself!”… but at the same time, the research Luminosity bases itself on, is only possible because Nintendo recovered Video Games from the Great Crash of 1984.

            The brain can rebuilt itself. The brain can repair. Mental Retardation is just a temporary difficulty. Like shitting your pants. Except you cannot demonstrate “not shitting your pants” as easily as “not being a moron anymore”… so if anything, teasing somebody for being an idiot should be viewed as not as bad as teasing somebody for shitting their pants in second grade as their mother never told them they were lactose intolerant until they were twenty five, and even insisted that they drink lots of milk to grow up “big and strong”…

            … right… my own battle with my mother’s Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy aside… but only enough to let you all know… THIS IS HOW I KNOW THIS MATERIAL INSIDE AND OUT…

        • Ranoldus

          So you disallow women to be portrayed as sexy, because ‘men’ will think they have no talent or are stupid? I’m sorry, I refuse to see the world through these weird glasses. Just because there are some men who will be like that, does not mean there should be a ban on being sexy. And you are making me empathize with disrespecting men, I do not like that.

          • Katrina Payne


            > So you disallow women to be portrayed as sexy, because ‘men’

            > will think they have no talent or are stupid?

            God fucking dammit… what the hell is it with you people and not knowing how basic reading comprehension works?

            I’m saying the issue today is women can be viewed as “sexy” or “competent”. I never said I agree with it… I’m just saying it is something that I have noticed happens. A lot.

            The girl with the avatar that has her bewbs popping out all over. Which if I agreed with that observation as a good thing (I see it happen, it doesn’t make it a good thing), would completely contradict my point by putting me as an idiot. Just by the sheer convention being presented here.

            > I’m sorry, I refuse to see the world through these weird glasses.

            So you simply displace this bullshit onto other people then. Gotcha… pass the buck… or something.

            > Just because there are some men who will be like that, does

            > not mean there should be a ban on being sexy.

            … why… is this a reply… to my posts?

            The.
            Girl.
            With.
            Bewbs.
            In.
            Her.
            Avatar.
            Like.
            Right.
            There.
            And.
            Stuff.

            > And you are making me empathize with disrespecting men, I
            > do not like that.

            I’m not making you do anything. You are fucking crazy.

            Why is this reply on my posts?

          • Adalaide Kahless

            To troll the crap out of you. o_o

          • Justin Robb

            perhaps it’s because you’re posts often make little sense and are full of grammatical and spelling errors despite obviously trying to demonstrate your “inhuman intelligence”…. leave your personal issues at home and out of the argument and stick to the topic of discussion…..

        • Garrett

          This happens to guys too but more often in the capacity that if you are uber athletic or a big fella people assume you are dumb as well. I think its just hard for people to accept that someone can be bigger, more athletic, more handsome, AND more intelligent than you are.

          • Katrina Payne

            Okay… I’ll give that. Never really got why people assumed athletes were fools or how that stereotype even really got started.

            There is more evidence to show athletes as spousal abusers than idiots… and yet, we have one as a standard stereotype and not the other. -scratches her head-

            Not suggesting a stereotype is accurate for maybe a “screaming small minority” of the cases… screaming applied to indicate how loud and impossible to ignore… but I really cannot say I can think of too many dump athletes.

            I can think of many athletic people with self esteem problems about there intellect… but not really that many ones that aren’t really intelligent outside their own personal self image issues.

            I hate only having four paragraphs in my responses.

        • RuthWasHere

          I have no idea what you look like, so my opinion is based entirely on your many posts. You are mistaken in your belief regarding the level of your intelligence. This is clearly evident by your poor spelling, grammar, punctuation and sesquipedalian attempts to sound educated.
          Stick with that psych course though. You might just have to repeat a few subjects.
          You can do it sunshine.

      • Scott Stewart

        It hurts because it’s true.

  • Simon Barry McNeil

    I like gender flipping. It confronts sexism with humour and helps to differentiate situations that may be sexualized but are all in good fun / with good intentions from the actual creepy stuff / straight up sexism.

  • Rhiannon Richards

    Glanced over the comments- you know what a real feminist superhero is? One that appeals to both women and men? Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon was way in front of the curve with that one. Ditzy blond? Hell no.

    • Zac David Schneider

      Know what my favorite example of this is? “The Legend of Korra”. It’s a series about a dark-skinned female superhero that started as a mini-series, but became so popular it’s got three more seasons slated to run. The main character appeals to all genders and ages, and the entire show succeeds not because it appeals to a certain demographic, but because it’s genuinely GOOD.

      And yes, I’m aware that “The Last Airbender” was not a superhero show, and that “The Legend of Korra” is also technically not a superhero show. However, she spent the first season as a figurehead with unusual powers stopping a villain with unusual powers, all taking place in an urban environment. She technically fits the superhero bill.

      • Joel Roberts

        It’s so hard to judge Korra objectively. Having a muscular tan woman as the hero is truly fantastic, but the quality of the script and characterisation is nothing compared to its predecessor. (Where all the female characters were notably boss-as-hell, even if the protagonist was male.)

        • Adalaide Kahless

          Korra has her faults, which makes her more human than super. :)

    • NI MEN HAO-DY TRAMPOLINA

      Keep telling yourself that Joss Whedon is some kind of feminist storyteller or something. It is just not the reality. Google is your friend.

      • Rhiannon Richards

        Huh. So I’ve been watching Buffy since I was 8 and have been a lifelong fan and somehow the wool has been pulled over my eyes? Interesting.

      • http://atomdrawing.com/ caratcake

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjg5TuXV09U <– feminist storytelling

  • Katie B

    I’m not a fan of “The Hawkeye Initiative.” There’s a strong undercurrent of femme-bashing behavior involved in it, and the implication in it is that feminine behavior in male-assigned people is “gross” and “unnatural.” Does it point out a negative trend in comics, yes. Does it do so by hyperbole? In a depressing number of cases, yes.

    • Caketin Welsh

      I agree the Hulk-goatse pose, for example, is over the top, but when the poses are properly identical, it’s very powerful. I don’t think it’s trying to shame feminine women or imply that Hawkeye looks dumb because he looks “feminine”. I read it as criticising male-gaze-driven portrayals of women’s bodies that emphasise their sexual attributes over their abilities. And Hawkeye’s poses look unnatural because the poses themselves are unnatural, not because the poses are “feminine”. The idea that those poses are “feminine behaviour” is exactly the kind of idea THI is trying to combat.

  • Hugh Robertson

    Here’s a perfect example: Robin Thicke’s kinda rape-y ‘Blurred Lines’, with the genders flipped by a Seattle burlesque group. It really underlines just how ridiculous men look when behaving the way we have been conditioned to expect women to behave. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKfwCjgiodg#at=101

    • Days of Broken Arrows

      Quit trivializing the violent crime of rape by saying hipster words like “rapey.” You’re embarrassing yourself and demeaning actual rape victims, both make and female. I hope this White Knight act gets you laid, because it’s intellectually stunted.

      • Jess

        I don’t think Hugh was being hipster, I think he was adapting the word rape to describe a song which sings about having sex with a girl against her will.

        • Hugh Robertson

          I’m certainly not trying to trivialise or demean anybody, especially survivors of violent crimes. But rape doesn’t have to be physically violent. It is about power, and about opportunity, and about one person pressuring another to do what they don’t want to do. And, fundamentally, it is about dehumanising women – objectifying them – because if we actually considered them as human beings then it becomes much harder to treat them like objects.

          Also, please quit trivialising my feminism by suggesting I’m only doing it to get laid. I am a feminist because I don’t understand how anyone can look at the disparity in the way women and men are treated every single day and not think something is wrong. I also don’t understand people who think it makes sense that women get paid 85% of what men do, or that male lawmakers have every right to legislate on decisions that should be between a woman and her doctor. And I don’t understand people who leap to attack someone for perceived hyperbolic use of “rape-y”, and then write the words “women need drama in their lives and feel the need to be victimized by something all the time” in the same comment thread.

          Let’s do a quick straw poll, shall we, and see whether women would prefer (a) to feel victimised all the time or (b) to never feel victimised at all.

          • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

            Rape isn’t about dehumanising women… It’s about dehumanising PEOPLE maaaan. Remember; men can be raped too, and it seems some feminists forget that. Did you know that 80% of homeless are male? Also men are nearly 4 times more likely to be murder victims than women? Women have it worse; I don’t doubt that, but IMHO we need to approach equality from a gender-neutral standpoint.

          • Amy Singleton

            Sounds good in theory Guest, but stopping the patriarchy from being
            proliferated cannot be handled gender-neutrally because women are
            exercised against based on our sex and/or gender. We’re not trying to
            not include the sufferings of men, but we are trying to stop the
            over-abundant sufferings of women, and the fact that many of those
            “sufferings” are at the hands of men.

            Check out Louis CK on how men treat women, very sadly funny!

          • Joel Roberts

            I think we should agree that the sufferings, while predominantly directly effected by many males, are proliferated by culture as a whole that includes ambivalent, apathetic and antagonistic men and women.

            If you’re going to change from a patriarchy into an egalitarian society, you need support from all parts of the “egalitariat”.

            Or to put it another way. Discrimination in an attempt to end discrimination isn’t going to work.

      • edenblue

        Have you not SEEN the video? It and the lyrics are ridiculously sexually agressive. “Rapey” is a pretty adequte description, it’s not trivialising anything.

        • Katrina Payne

          Thank you for not going all crazy and protesting over a proper use of the word “rapey” here.

        • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

          What so you think Thicke and co. are rapists? That is a /heavy/ accusation, and just because the song objectifies women and you don’t like it doesn’t mean that you’ve got any evidence to back it up. The song is sexist, don’t get me wrong, and I can’t even bear to watch the video but still… “Rape” is a trigger word for me; can I not even contribute to supposedly wholesome discussions about music videos without people throwing it around sans warning?

          • Porst

            So you want a trigger warning for the word “rapey”? If that word actually sets you off, and I mean literally sets you off in a PTSD-trigger sort of way like you’re describing, then get off the internet and get therapy. Seriously. I’m not joking or exaggerating. Go nowhere near internet discussions and social media until you get some serious help.

            If YOU’RE the one exaggerating, then maybe you shouldn’t ask for trigger warnings for single words or things you simply don’t like, because it waters down the actual need for real trigger warnings. Someone who can actually be severely triggered might see a sensitive conversation with a trigger warning and think “Oh, okay, I can handle this because it’s just a word”, but then see a warning elsewhere and think “Oh, I could handle that last one so maybe I can handle this too” and then find an actual severe trigger that sets off some very dangerous symptoms. So as much as you say that throwing around the word ‘rape’ is dangerous, it’s even more dangerous to diminutize what it means to actually have a severe trigger.

          • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

            Yeah actually, genuine anxiety attack. What really set me off was that it was used in that context. What set me off was the fact that someone essentially just accused someone else of committing an absolutely heinous crime with no evidence to substantiate it. I’m actually getting help but it’s nice to know how little people respect anyone mencap.

          • EarlMoray

            “someone essentially just accused someone else of committing an absolutely heinous crime with no evidence to substantiate it.”

            Um, no, it wasn’t. Saying a song is about rape is not accusing someone of rape unless the song is based on a true story. So if someone accused Taylor Swift of writing a rape song you might be able to draw that conclusion. Might. It’s still a pretty massive stretch.

            But here? No one said that the song was detailing a rape. But people have used the word “rapey” to describe the serious undercurrents of rape (i.e. the language used to describe actions you’d often see in cases of non-consensual sex).

            Also, it’s more than a little disconcerting that your reaction to rape is not a reaction to the actual act but the the guy supposedly being accused without any evidence. Is that your reaction to hearing about murder, assault or theft?

            You really don’t need to worry about that guy. Odds are that he will never be accused. And if he is, don’t worry, because his odds of spending even one day in jail are 3%.

            Of the 46% of rapes that are reported to the police only a quarter lead to an arrest. A quarter of these cases stop right there. Only 9% of rapes get prosecuted. 5% end in a felony conviction and even though only 3% actually get jail time. A woman who is raped is often pressured not to officially report it and not to press charges. She’s often not believed. Hearing something from the cops like “you weren’t rape because your rapist didn’t orgasm” happens, and that stuff really isn’t that rare.

            And yet somehow, when you hear the word raped you’re worried about the man who might (but probably won’t) be reported. One out of every six women will be raped (or attempted rape) in her lifetime. The numbers on sexual assault are much higher. Worry about these women. Worry about the fact that if you use the numbers from a 2002 study, over 6% of men identified that they had raped or attempted to rape a women. That means in a pool of a hundred men, about 6 of them are rapists. When you look at other studies that lower the bar to sexual assault the numbers get higher. Yes, the word rape should serve as a trigger for you. You should get sick thinking of the women who are assaulted all the damn time. And that the men who assault them walk free. That everyday you probably speak with women who have been assaulted and never gotten justice and men who have assaulted women and faced zero consequences.

          • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

            So I am literally having a panic attack over something, and I’m being criticized over getting triggered by the wrong thing? You are really ignorant; you know nothing about me and any of the things that have happened. Moral of the story: men aren’t allowed to be weak.

          • Porst

            Here’s a tip: Instead of aggravating yourself further, stop. Calm yourself down. Talk to someone. This comment board will survive without you, and this particular discussion thread will not survive if you don’t consistently defend yourself, which could trigger you further. Hope that helps.

      • John

        This comment is so painful. Seeing as the bit on his use of “rape-y” has been discussed I’ll just go onto the White Knight part… Really? He contributes to a feminist discussion, and that means he is putting on an act to get laid? This “White Knight” bullshit that goes around the internet is just painfully stupid. I don’t think anyone posts to a group of strangers on the internet with the assumption that they are going to get laid from it. Do you think his thought process was, “If I make a feminist comment, then one of these women will realize that I am better than the other guys, and message me to meet up for sex”?

        Ever thought that maybe this “White Knight act” is simply a male that happens to think that females are people, and doesn’t like that they are treated as if it is ok to treat them as lesser beings as males, put here for us to demean and over-sexualize.

        PS: Just to clear up any possible confusion, I have absolutely no intention or desire to get laid from this comment.

        • Porst

          Oh, make no mistake, the white knight thing on the internet is real. That’s not what Hugh was doing, but it does exist. And yes, unfortunately there are some men who think defending women will get them laid…somehow. These are the self-professed “Nice Guys” who believe that the “Friend Zone” is a real thing and complain incessantly about women despite pretending to defend them. They may have even convinced themselves they have women’s best interests in mind. Fortunately they’re extremely easy to spot, because their mentality is obviously not feminist. Well that, and the fedoras.

          • Caketin Welsh

            I can’t remember where I read this, but someone described those guys as “dudes who think women are a game where you put in the cheat codes to get to the sex level”.

          • EarlMoray

            “And yes, unfortunately there are some men who think defending women will get them laid…somehow.”

            Total tangent here, but can we focus on the how for a second? Seriously, how the fuck is that going to happen? A woman hundreds or thousands of miles away is going to be so greatful that she’s going to pull on a sex nightie and kitten heels and drive as fast as she can and hop into bed with him? Seriously, where is this train of thought heading? Is the guy going to try to awkwardly work this incident into a conversation with a woman in hopes that her panties magically drop?

            The only way a guy is going to get off from white knighting it is if he does it himself.

          • John

            The white knight thing is not as prevalent as people make it out to be though. Most the time I see a guy defend a girl he gets called a White Knight who is only trying to get laid. Even if that guy has a history of defending guys as well. It makes no difference.

            I also hate the “Nice Guy” thing for the same reason. Any time a guy is nice he is apparently just too much of a pussy to go up to a girl and say “I want to fuck you, let’s go now!” and so instead does that in a huge roundabout way of first becoming friends and making her become dependent on him, and waiting until she realizes that other guys are dicks and finally settles for him even if he doesn’t bring her happiness.

            I just think it’s quite a bit more likely in many cases that all this is is a guy who’s not being a total asshole. That he stands up for a girl not because of anything to do with her gender, but because she’s in the right and he’s defending the side he agrees with, even if he knows he won’t get sex out of it.

          • joy2b

            The guys that play the role online are usually doing it because they also play it in real life, and it does work some of the time. (It is significantly more effective than never talking to the opposite sex.) The attitude is often just retro-naivety, and good friends can knock it out in college. Both nice guy and white knight are descriptions that can only be accepted as complements. Anyone who calls themselves either one is as much of a ******* as Booster Gold calling himself a hero.

      • Katrina Payne

        Wait? “rapey” is a Hipster word?

        Uh… from where I am from, it is word that mostly works as a quick short hand of something to stay away from, never mind watch your drinks around. “Every vibe coming from this person/place/thing indicates that they/it will end up sexually abusing you.”

        Its right up there with suggesting a woman who gets black eyes regularly, is with a guy who talks about going to the moon one day and the girl mentions she has issues making toast MIGHT point to them being domestically abused.

        Back the fuck down a bit there… put the safety back on the gun and put it back in the holster. I mostly reminded you to put the safety back on, as I can see you shooting yourself in the foot.

        Heal mad dog! Heal! This is a squirrel, not an actual threat to the home!

    • Katrina Payne

      … and this video gets saved in my standard porn collection.

      It has entries in it from roughly the 1980s. The 1980s stuff unfortunately has Madonna in a lot of them… some nicely has Anne Lennox in it as well.

      Sorry if I’m demeaning tactics and stuff that have been around and have been getting done for about… ooh… close to forty years now.

      It still is an awesome idea! Don’t get me wrong… it just isn’t a NEW awesome idea.

      Now then… to continue viewing this in private…

    • Scott Stewart

      Apparently the irony here is lost on you: the fact that you find this video ridiculous reveals your own sexist views. Otherwise, you’d find it perfectly normal.

  • Rich

    This is pretty stupid, male characters are just as sexualized as female characters in comic books with perfect jaws, impeccable muscles etc etc. Female characters would look equally as ridiculous if made to behave/given male features. It is part of the sensationalism of the genre, skinny male characters are never shown and equally as much flat unattractive females are never shown, but you don’t hear men (and the majority of women) crying that it is an unfair practice because they do not look the same way.

    Its all just part of the ridiculous feminist double standard, I have no idea why angry sexist feminism is allowed to run rampant through our society under the false covering that is political correctness, no one dares say anything against it because they would get slewed by a barrage of accusations of sexism. It is ironic because modern day feminism in the western world is in fact extremely sexist….

    • playacher

      Thanks for not reading the article! There’s way more to it that just a comment on comic books, you know. Any comments on the rest?

      • Scott Stewart

        He just did, dude.

  • Scott Stewart

    Sure … there’s been some programming. But only because we’re already hard wired that way.

  • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

    The problem with comics is that men buy comics. Men (a lot of them who buy comics etc.) WANT high boob/butt:rest of body ratios, it’s one of the things that appeals to them about the genre. Why would the publishers change an established and working business model to try and appeal to new customers when they already have a large fanbase of comic-geeks that keep buying the comics? I definitely agree with the point here, and obviously that is a reflection of the society we live in (hence the rest of the article I agree with) but when it comes to paying the bills/getting rich, why would these companies do something to be “politically correct” when they can just keep doing what they’re doing and make a fat buck while they’re at it. I hate to be a cynic, but that’s capitalism for you.

    • richardstarr

      I don’t know that men “want” them so much as they will still buy them when the writing is poor. Cheesecake is to comics what CGI is to movies, a way to get people to buy stuff that they would not otherwise bother with.

      • Dominic-Oliver William Jean-Lu

        If they still buy them when the writing is poor then is that not an indication that they DO want them? People will always complain about the writing in comics but the cheesecake (that made me laugh when I read it fair play :P ) as you put it is universal. Most of the people I know that complain about it wouldn’t buy the comics even if there was none, so it doesn’t really affect them in the slightest. I feel bad for these nerdy guys who girls won’t touch and who are now getting their softcore taken from them because people are saying that it objectifies women… Well if women actually bothered to talk to them, they might see that they aren’t objects but until then they’re happy to just read Power Girl. (By the way some of that was said in jest, you really shouldn’t take me too seriously, in no way am I actually trying to debate with you because I don’t really care either way about this stuff)

    • Jennifer Anker

      I’m not sure it’s really good business when you pretty much throw away at least 50% of the potential market you could get. Sure, you have a model that works. But you could create a secondary model, as well. It’s not like once you design a vacuum cleaner, you cannot also design a carpet cleaner. However, the companies do stick to ridiculous stereotypes, so any comic that is intended for girls is ridiculous stuff about shopping and boys, which doesn’t appeal to me, either. Sadly, this is why my comic preference is from Japan, where manga has so many different aspects that I can find ones that are not ridiculous sexist.

      • joy2b

        The remarkably strong sales of manga make me wonder why U.S. comic book shops aren’t offering and advertising them.

  • zenfrodo

    People that are griping that “the men are just as sexualized as the women are”: Bull. Crap. The men are NOT “sexualized” in the comics. They are “power-ized”. You ask women what they think is sexy, and they will not point to how most men are depicted in comics or video games — not those overly-detailed muscled hulks. Those men are drawn to fit a man’s idealized image of power — they’re drawn to a MAN’S power trip fantasy, not a woman’s sex fantasy.

    It’s all marketed to men. Men’s power trips & men’s sex fantasies. I’m waiting for advertisers/designers/marketers to stop marketing exclusively to the male brain.

    • sondre

      I guess you can make a lot of money off mens power trips, mens sex fantasies and women’s insecurities.

    • Katrina Payne

      Pssst: in the future use stuff from Japan and Korea for examples of men being sexualised.

      Also, Justin Beiber is more of a “sexualised male in the main stream” that North America actually has… and that isn’t even that well done or as refined as to what occurs with women.

      Suddenly, I’m inclined to use my dollars to vote and purchase Beiber’s stuff, solely so the industry works to refine doing whatever the fuck it is that they are doing with Beiber.

    • Alex Reynard

      Marketers do whatever makes them the most money. They spend obscene amounts of this money to statistically determine the most effective means of making more. The most effective means is to give the consumer what they want to see. Any media which is designed heavily with marketing in mind has no agenda other than making money.

      You are assuming that either marketers DON’T give women what they want to see, in which case they would be throwing away money for no good reason, or you are assuming that something that appeals obviously to men cannot appeal to women too in a subtler way. Think about this: When most males see a gigantic, muscled, powerful man, do they want to fuck him? No. They want to be him. Why’s it such a stretch to think the same might be true for women? I was at Con Bravo this weekend and there sure seemed to be a lot of women choosing to cosplay as charachers you’d describe as male sex fantasies. Hmmm, why would they do such an inconcievable thing?

      • AnathemaDevious

        I love how so many sexists just assume that marketers are perfect omniscient gods who never make any mistakes. Recently, one game company hired a marketing agency to test market their game. The marketing agency didn’t include a single woman in their entire test group. These are the guys you expect to be absolutely perfect money making machines who are obviously doing exactly the most profitable thing at all times based on the most thorough of research.

        Recent media history is FULL of marketing departments swearing up and down that a given product won’t sell… and then being proven wrong. Modern marketing is full of self-fulfilling prophecies, and assumptions based on past sales. This may be part of why the movie industry is floundering so hard.

        As for why women cosplay characters who are male sex fantasies… sometimes a character is a cool, well-written character in some incarnations, and an over-sexualized mess in others. Of course, for you to understand that you’d have to read widely and think critically, and since you blindly trust all marketing to flawlessly and ideally serve all demographics, I really doubt you do that.

        • Alex Reynard

          You just gave a perfect example of how to give a good point badly.

          You are absolutely right that marketers sometimes screw up for the exact reasons you gave, and I was wrong for not taking that into effect.

          But you just had to call me a sexist and insult my intelligence on top of that. It’s not possible that I could be merely wrong; no, I also have to be evil and stupid too. Screw you for being rude.

          I fell into the trap that te free-market capitalists sometimes do, of thinking that everyone acts rationally. And rationally, a marketing agency has no agenda but to make money, so they should only do what makes money. But you’re right that I forgot to factor in humanity’s tendency towards accepting traditional stereotypes as facts without examining them. The video game marketers you mentioned are idiots and should be fired.

          Still though, I will stand by the idea that if the images presented to us by marketers were *completely* wrong, they wouldn’t have succeeded as long as they have. Yes, it’s true that marketers will feed us what they assume we want based on the past. But it’s ALSO true that a lot of the time, it seems to work. For instance, I don’t know why in the hell dirt-stupid comedies like Paul Blart and Grown Ups manage to make so much money, yet somehow they do. I know that studios only give us the illusion of choice at the theater by only releasing films from a very narrow group of genres, but at the same time, they’re not pointing guns at our heads to make us buy tickets. Stupid, offensive crap does seem to make money. And the public is partially to blame for that as well as marketers.

          >As for why women cosplay characters who are male sex fantasies… sometimes a character is a cool, well-written character in some incarnations, and an over-sexualized mess in others. Of course, for you to understand that you’d have to read widely and think critically

          I don’t even know what you mean by this. Examples maybe?

          • AnathemaDevious

            Sorry for snapping. I just hear the “it’s what the market wants” argument far too often.

            Media studies have increasingly shown that pushing a progressive, tolerant agenda in media eventually CHANGES what the market wants. You make a show with positive gay characters who raise a child, for instance, and it causes the opinion of people who watch it to change – even if they wouldn’t have said “Yep, we want to see a show about a gay family” in the marketing materials they were given up front. Portraying women more respectfully might not be something people know they’d like to see, but media can be an incredibly powerful force when it comes to fostering tolerance and respect.

            As for female characters with different portrayals, let’s take one of the classics: Wonder Woman. She has had a live action incarnation, several animated incarnations (in which she was not heavily sexualized), and then many comics incarnations with various levels of sexualization. See a girl dressed as a DC hero, and she could be thinking of a less sexualized version from a different incarnation. Is she sexy in person? Sure, but nobody’s calling for a moratorium on all physical appeal.

            To try to figure out why girls are dressing up as Wonder Woman, go to cons. Look at them pose. How many are posing twisted impossibly, so as to display both their boobs and butt? How many are posed crawling on the floor, or bent over? Maybe a few, but the vast majority stand confident, hands on their hips, smiling rather than simpering. Sometimes is there a flattering angle, or a fashion magazine pose? Sure, we all like to look our best in photos. But in certain specific comics you’re much more likely to see Wonder Woman in a less powerful pose, twisted and off balance, or fallen to the ground, and that’s the problem. Context matters.

            And finally, one of the big problems with art in these mediums is that many women in comics and video games are barbie dolls – unrealistically exaggerated in a way that is literally biologically impossible – bodies twisted to remove organs or boobs that defy gravity. A real woman dressing up like one of these women automatically fixes that problem, by presenting a real human body that must obey all the laws of physics. You can see that in comics too – some people draw Black Widow as if she’s wearing leather that behaves like actual real-life leather or vinyl, and others draw her as if she’s covered in nothing but body paint.

  • jakobus

    Yes lets pander to the feminists a little more, God knows that’s done enough these days, and honestly if comic artists listen to crap like this I hope sales drop like a stone, enough pandering to whiners, you don’t like the way some comics present their female characters don’t read it , its just that simple. Heck they re-did Powergirls costume to pander to the feminist crowd, laughably the comic fans hated it so much they have currently switched it back.

    • NI MEN HAO-DY TRAMPOLINA

      Fuck off, troll. You’re boring. Go have your testerical mantrum somewhere else.

  • jakobus

    Yes lets pander to the feminists a little more, God knows that’s done enough these days, and honestly if comic artists listen to crap like this I hope sales drop like a stone, enough pandering to whiners, you don’t like the way some comics present their female characters don’t read it , its just that simple. Heck they re-did Powergirls costume to pander to the feminist crowd, laughably the comic fans hated it so much they have currently switched it back.

  • MotherGinger

    Great article, says a lot of what’s on my mind. But seriously – George Zimmerman is NOT white.

    • Caketin Welsh

      I admit that that was a very reductive way for me to refer to that discussion – “Hispanic” is a really complicated identity that can include people of white, black, Asian and Latino appearance, and Zimmerman apparently identifies himself as Hispanic or white Hispanic. But then, so does Alexis Bledel, who spoke only Spanish until she was five but can pass for the granddaughter of Connecticut bluebloods on TV. Zimmerman apparently identifies strongly with his mother’s Peruvian heritage and almost certainly experienced anti-Latino racism even before this case. But he also benefits from white or passing privilege in various ways – for example, does anyone think a black (or darker-skinned Hispanic) man who shot an unarmed kid of any race would not have been arrested more quickly than GZ was? As someone pointed out above, race is as much to do with what other people assume as what you identify with. Here’s an interesting discussion of the blurred lines there: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/03/29/trayvon-martin-confusion-over-zimmerman-highlights-changing-discourse-on-race/

      But I’ll absolutely concede that my link to that flip could have benefited from a little nuance/consideration of the very kind I’m advocating above.

      • MotherGinger

        Actually, I don’t think Zimmerman passes for white at all. He looks obviously Hispanic (with indigenous background) to me, and is obviously a man of color.

        I do not think that a darker-skinned Hispanic who shot an unarmed kid would have been arrested more quickly if, like Zimmerman, his head was beaten & bloody, he had a history of correctly identifying to the police (by calling them in) people who ended up breaking in to his neighborhood in the past, and he was a duly designated neighborhood watchman whose story lined up with witnesses and the 911 call. No, I do not.

        Again, while I think you are spot-on with the gender flipping, I think that the portrayal of the Trayvon case as “white man shoots unarmed black child” is a caricature that serves race-dividers in this country far more than it serves people of color.

      • Larry McAwful

        How Zimmerman self-identifies isn’t really the issue here. Zimmerman, we should remember, profiled, stalked and shot Trayvon Martin because of the color of his skin.

        No one is profiling Zimmerman because of his appearance. And certainly, he doesn’t look Hispanic. I’m a pale, white guy with no Hispanic heritage at all, but my job has me teaching a classroom full of mostly Hispanic (and Brazilian) high school students every day. These students come in a full range of colors, from dark black skin to skin as pale as mine.

        Many of them don’t appear to be Hispanic at first glance. Now if you talk to them, you’ll likely find they’ve got an accent, and that they know quite a bit about their native countries (or their parents’ native countries). Since I teach ESL, these kids are more comfortable in Spanish or Portuguese than they are in English; very few speak anything nearing a native command of English.

        Still, if any of these actual Hispanics found themselves in a situation like Zimmerman, you can bet they’d be willing and even eager to give an interview in Spanish to Univisión or their native country’s media, right? There’s enough Spanish-language media in this country—and certainly in Florida—for that to be an easy interview to score. And if Zimmerman’s Hispanic roots actually mattered in this case, he’d have done so.

        Of course, I’m not convinced Zimmerman even speaks Spanish. Whether he identifies with his Peruvian ancestry or not is irrelevant. I identify strongly with my Polish ancestry, though I’ll be damned if I can speak more than seven or eight words of Polish. I can speak Spanish, though, and I’ll do so when I need to (which is often).

        I can tell you that if I saw George Zimmerman walking down the street, and if I knew nothing else about him besides what I saw with my eyes, I wouldn’t presume him to be Hispanic. He appears to be an American to me, and he certainly has a command of English that doesn’t hint that he might have had to learn it as a second language. His skin is a little darker, but then, so is the skin of plenty of descendants of Italian and Greek immigrants I know. George Zimmerman is as white as I am, and is better able to navigate white American culture than Hispanic immigrants or black natives. Claiming that George Zimmerman’s Hispanic ancestry makes him not white is basically falling back on the tired old “one-drop” trope. He’s white, he’s part of white culture, and even if he changes his name to Jorge Hombre de Cuarto, he still gets all the benefits—and passes—that the rest of us pale, white males get in this country. Anyone who thinks that George Zimmerman is a “man of color” clearly doesn’t talk much with people of whatever color they seem to think Zimmerman is.

  • Porst

    I don’t know about you, but I’m a man and I routinely pose in positions where my chest and butt are facing the same direction. It’s great for the core muscles.

    • Katrina Payne

      I’m guilty for hitting “like” when I see pictures like that… too … >.>’

  • L. McAllister

    So…

    “We, as consumers of media and culture, absorb a lot of sexist, racist,
    heteronormative bullshit every day, and we never really question it
    because we see it every day.”

    Which comes right after your use of rank ethnic stereotypes about the French. And, as far as I can see, this is done without any hint of self-awareness. I have to wonder if you would have dared to speak of typical Jewish greed, to feature a watermelon-eating pickaninny in a cotton field or to have a Native American say “Ugh!” in order to make a point. Really, now?

    • Caketin Welsh

      To compare the portrayal of a fictional frog with a French accent to calling Jewish people greedy (leaving aside “watermelon-eating pickaninny” because oh my GOD, dude) is one of the actual dumbest things in this entire comment thread. They are, essentially, cartoon frogs with French accents. They are speaking silly Franglais, using a couple of French idioms used by real French people. “French” is not an ethnicity, let alone an oppressed minority group. I didn’t assign to them any personality traits or behaviours (positive or negative) that could be perceived as stereotypically French – unless you somehow read into that little fable that I was calling French men arrogant, or something? Man, you must really be suffering on my behalf every time the Bart vs. Australia episode of The Simpsons is on*.

      *To be fair, we ARE all hard-drinking racists with corks on our hats and our Prime Minister does live in an inner-tube on a billabong, and we all have Cockney accents. It’s a riot down here.

    • Caketin Welsh

      Ta gueule. “Typically Gallic dismissiveness” is SO not the same as “typical Jewish greed”. It’s more like saying Australians are laconic. I have great respect for typically Gallic dismissiveness – the power of a dismissive “bof” or “mon oeil” cannot be understated, particularly when dealing with morons. French is the best language in which to insult people, except perhaps for German, because everything sounds like an insult in German.

      Also, French is not an ethnicity, nor are they an historically oppressed minority. I’m sure they appreciate you leaping to their defence, though. Can you please write to Matt Groening next and ask him why The Simpsons depicted Australians as aggressive boofheads with funny accents?

      • L. McAllister

        Typical Anglosplaining. You should get out more. There are places where French-speakers are oppressed minorities and the association of French-speakers with a derogatory term such as “Frog” (suggesting frog-eating and other unsavoury practices) does rank with the classic kike, cunt, wop, N-word, etc. used to demean. Of course, you may claim that the media has inured you to that.

        Looks to me like you talk the talk, but not much more. Especially when the tables are turned.

  • Days of Broken Arrows

    This blog post, and this entire school of feminist-derived thought is the modern day version of what the Catholic nuns used to teach in school. How did feminism come to have a total disdain (or perhaps lack of understanding) for basic biology as it relates to male sexuality? Gender-flipping is ridiculous pandering to women who need drama in their lives and feel the need to be victimized by something all the time. Men invent the Internet and this is your contribution.

    • Hugh Robertson

      “Men invent the Internet and this is your contribution.”

    • myowndrama

      Ada Lovelace invented computer language before computers even existed, how can you be so blind and ignorant that you believe no women were involved in the creation of the internet?

  • Dubael

    I was in a computer store recently, and noticed, among a wall of sound and video cards that one stood out because it featured a young shapely woman in military style gear, but frankly nothing like I’ve seen any of my friends in the forces wearing. I laughed. It was so ridiculous. I wondered who would even take the picture seriously. Obviously it tested well with some focus group because all the associated product line featured the same barbie-esque gynotype in mock milwear, with only the helmet being any part of real kit that was evident. The face mask, the second skin camo, everything else about her ensemble was ridiculous. I tried reading the boxes and it took me a while to figure out what the product was, but frankly, I gathered better information by looking at the neighbouring product that was on the shelf from a competitor.
    I am also reminded of the time I used to go shopping for magazines for my first wife when she was pregnant with our twins. She was confined to her bed in the Hospital, and she’d send me out to get her a copy of Cosmo & Vogue. I recall looking at the magazine rack and realising that there was very little difference in design or the amount of cleavage/skin/ridiculous poses shown by the women on the covers for either magazines for men or women. The clerk actually thought I’d made a mistake when I walked up with a copy of Vogue and Cosmo. I had to explain that my wife was in hospital and wanted these magazines.

    I look at this sort of nonsense and wonder who really believes that there isn’t a double standard out there?
    Then I sadly realise a lot of people don’t, and it irritates me to no end.
    I concur, this Gender Flipping is important, too many frogs are being boiled, of both genders, and while I know it’s not going to stop any time soon. When both genders are culpable for the continuation of the misogyny, I know we’re in for a long haul.

    • meowhouse

      Thank you for your comment. My boyfriend recently broke up with me because of my ‘passion’ against the media’s representation of women. I made myself clear in the very beginning so I was shocked when he used this excuse to break up after 3 years. He accused me of changing him, however, in reality, he was trying to change me by dumbing me down by ridiculing me, hoping that I would submit to the media mentality. I told him, this ridiculous reason to break up with me after 3 years, especially after I made myself clear in the very beginning, has made me stronger to pursue what I believe is a worthy cause.
      My favorite website… http://www.covergirlculture.com

      • Dubael

        Hello Meowhouse,

        I’m sorry your relationship ended, however from what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re better off without him. Anyone who tries to limit you or discourage you into being less than you can be is not a healthy person to be around.

        I tried accessing the site but AVG flagged and blocked a treat entitled Exploit Blackhat SE0 (type 1720) and provided the following link: http://www.avgthreatlabs.com/website-safety-reports/domain/covergirlculture.com/linkreport/www.covergirlculture.com%252F/?utm_source=TDPU&utm_medium=OS
        I hope this problem gets resolved soon.

      • Technus

        Thanks for the website, it looks interesting and would be good for my daughter. I agree with Dubael, you deserve a guy who appreciates and enjoys your intelligence and awareness of what’s really going on, instead of allowing you to be brainwashed by greedy corporations.

  • Dominique Storni

    This is AWESOME!!! I love some gender-flipping. I actually just basically dig a good gender phuch.

  • Guest

    An incredible piece, right up until the Trayvon Martin comment; Zimmerman was latino, not white. Ironic in a piece that’s about being mindful of your subject’s “truth.”

  • Media_Wit_Large

    An incredible piece, thoughtful and powerful, right up until the Trayvon Martin comment; Zimmerman was latino, not white. It’s an ironic misstatement in a piece that’s about being mindful of your subject’s “truth.”

  • Leon

    These stupid flips take away from the message around sexual objectification in the media, undress a man who has an above average body that is airbrushed and make him strike a sexy pose and it doesn’t look so weird. Making guys look like girls but in loose underwear and ugly clothes then of course it makes you look twice and say that looks funny. Look at this picture of Rafael Nadal in underwear, he’s half naked, he’s in a vulnerable position with his back against the wall. But, his body fits what most people would say is “hot”, the underwear doesn’t look like a pair of granny panties, and the picture has been photo-shopped, and despite the arguments here, he doesn’t look “powerized”. When you look at it, it doesn’t look so weird anymore. If you are going to use flips, you have to do it right, not take average guys and put them in old man clothes and expect people to think it’s the same.

    Watch Lady Gaga’s Poker face video where she has clearly objectified the men in the video, it doesn’t looks so weird, cause they used models, not average guys off the street. The problem is that sexual objectification is used too much in the media for men and women, women definitely more so and it is wrong. Doing stupid flips like these ones take away from the message, not add to it IMO.

  • Monica Voegele Marlowe

    Way to ruin the gender issue by making the final and unrelated shot. The article was great until that point.

  • Katrina Payne

    Po-ju says hello… this is stuff he has been doing for about thirteen years now. In fact it is an entire genre of porn that I love how North America is actually making an effort to create stuff that I really enjoy fapping to. Seriously… the stuff I look at that comes out of Japan pretty much looks like how the standard Gender Flip/Flop looks like anyways.

    Well, I also miss the old 1990s Spiderman Covers, which pretty much had him in worse poses than any of the women… and Merka Nipples with my Bat Nipples. The guy behind Merka Nipples also gave us Deadpool… the most awesome Hero and/or Villain in Marvel universe.

    Oh right… nobody really wants to know how this effect could just back fire entirely, and just have it so the media sexualises the male gender just as much as women.

  • Gabriel Marie Valentine

    Curious, why are significantly more men than women talking about this?

    • richardstarr

      Because men are the one’s being challenged here for the most part.

      • Elizabeth Jaggers

        Men, the sex, are being “challenged”??? Where?

        • richardstarr

          That’s simple. Men are the primary consumers of these items and now are being told they are “wrong” to enjoy them because they are “sexist”. Thus they are being “called out” and “challenged” to justify their purchases.

          And while this is certainly true for some imagery, there is an unfortunate tendency to label anything that could be possibly interpreted in that manner as so.

          I imagine the mocking would be huge if men were to lament about the unrealistic body imagery on the fronts of romance novels.

          • Elizabeth Jaggers

            I still can’t tell if serious. You think criticisms of dominant hierarchical power structures and the media which propagates them are criticisms of…individuals? And their “purchases”?

            You think romance novels is a big share of that media pie, huh?

          • richardstarr

            The question was why men were responding.
            The answer was because they were the ones being challenged.

            Of course this is ultimately criticism of individuals. Both the producers and the consumers. The producers being reflective of the “dominant hierarchical power structures” you reference.

            “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
            Albert Einstein

            And here I thought we were talking about women as portrayed in comic books, but you want to make it a much bigger discussion than I’ve seen presented so far. I’d like to stick to the topic at hand. The meme referenced is predominantly found in comic books which is what I was touching upon.

            What it comes down to is simply money. The various industries only care about what they can sell that generates the most profit. It’s why TV is a wasteland of reality TV shows. Cheap to make, people watch, producers make profit.

            (source: Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2013)
            Romance fiction generated $1.438 billion in sales in 2012.

            2012 Comic Book Sales Figures

            Comics Sold to North American Comics Shops as Reported by Diamond Comic Distributors

            OVERALL North American
            Dollar Sales for Diamond’s Comics, Trade
            Paperbacks, and Magazines for 2012
            around $475 million

            Given that Diamond has exclusive arrangements with most major U.S. comics publishers, including DC Comics and Marvel, I
            can safely say that Romance novels have far more sales than comics. If comics are significant to the conversation, romance novels with 3 times the sales are too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.buchanan.121 Michael Buchanan

    Not everything has to be so sensationalized. Can’t a comic book just be a comic book? People over react to everything lately…

    • NI MEN HAO-DY TRAMPOLINA

      Boring troll is boring.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michael.buchanan.121 Michael Buchanan

        I did not mean to be boring. Just stating an opinion.

  • richardstarr

    It would be nice if they had it “right” instead of it just be ridicule.
    What you need to first accept is that men and women are attracted to the
    same poses. Straight women spend a considerable amount of time learning what
    will be attractive to men, usually by imitating what is out there. Men generally are
    not shown poses so much as they are shown power items. Owning the right item
    and wearing the right expensive clothes is what does the trick I’m not saying that
    it works, merely what is being taught.

    I admit to being guilty in that if the Star Dust novel had had that cover on it I would
    likely have dismissed it as being a mindless romance novel as opposed to a classic
    love story. Romance novels generally being as poorly written as the porn novels
    of the 60′s and earlier.

    The second comic cover is dumb. Why is Hawkeye not looking at his target.
    Aside from that, Black Widow in the first image is positioned to quickly alter
    form for balance. Hawkeye with bow is just plain clumsy. It’s why he is holding
    the bow in the first place rather than trying to fire it.

    The Avengers cover ignore an important point, they are standing in a wedge formation.
    In the new grouping, only Hawkeye looks potentially comfortable. Captain America
    is no longer threatening, Ironman seems off balanced, Thor is firing his bolt INTO
    his group instead of using it to push back, Blackwidow is no longer looking at her
    target, and unless Hulk has a new power ala Fartman his pose makes no sense
    and in either case he is about to run his pants.

    The Robin Thick parody has several problems. First off, the men in the video are not dressed in or acting in a way that straight men would find would find attractive. Given that this is a gay troupe that is understandable, but it means the women in the video are sexually harassing men that would never under any circumstances want their attention. This is opposed to Thicke and company who have a fan base that matches the same demographic as the models. Additionally, I have no idea how many straight men would find the women in that video attractive. *shrug* And further, calling a black man a
    “good boy” has certain negative cultural meanings mixed in.

    Please note, none of this is intended to promote the idea that there are no sexualized imagery in comics and advertisements and that many of them are negative, its just that the examples produced do a poor job of bending here in the true sense.
    Switch roles and put an attractive straight man in a pose that straight women find attractive and point out why it is unworkable and you have a useful supportive commentary.

  • zestyping

    Hi! Here’s another one you might like: regender.com has been flipping the web since 2005. It also flips names, and has the option of switching to gender-neutral pronouns if you prefer.

  • Alex Reynard

    Allright, gender flipping looks like a perfectly valid idea. Just so long as it’s done for both genders.

    Pay attention to the casualties in action movies. Pretend all the men are women and see if the scene feels different. Ask yourself how many times you’ve played a video game where you kill wave after wave of female enemies. How many times have you seen a female character sacrifice her life to save others, without anyone trying to stop them? As if they feel they are expected to?

    And of course, whenever it’s treated as comedic when a woman slaps, hits or groin-kicks a man, flip the genders and see if you still laugh.

    I’m not denying any of he examples given here. I’m just saying we should look to the other side too. If you’re a guy, pop culture seems to give you a subtle message that your pain, and your life, don’t matter as much.

    • Caketin Welsh

      Great point. The idea that a man is strong and expendable and a woman is a precious flower hurts everyone and is part of patriarchy. I’d welcome more female-looking enemies/mooks in games, for example. (Mooks are expendable – that’s the point of mooks. But there’s no good reason they should all be men.) And men’s bodies are expected to be tougher: man-on-man violence is also considered entertaining and hilarious, more so than woman-on-man, and male football players are sent back onto the field with possible head injuries instead of being given proper medical attention. Awful behaviour is often excused with “boys will be boys”, as if men are universally predisposed to violence and rudeness. And more men should be pointing out the ways men are oppressed and restricted by gender stereotypes as well – thank you for doing so without treating it like a zero-sum game. There’s more than enough sexist bullshit for everyone to fight against without tearing the other side down. Thanks for a smart take on this. x

      • Alex Reynard

        Thanks for your enccouragement and other excellent examples, but I have to point this out: the Patriarchy is a conspiracy theory like the Illuminati. It’s not real.

        The reality is that gender roles evolved over millions and millions of years, long before humanity even existed. Gender was shaped through the progression of uncountable species before us. Natural selection shaped what we view as attractive, as unattractive, the basic characteristics of masculinity and femininity; all based on the single criteria of What Behaviors Result In More Surviving Offspring? But the caveman days we evolved for are past. So now we have the same instincts conflicting with our modern needs. What results is societal rules that give advantages and disadvantages to *both* genders.

        Male privilege is real, and so is female priviledge. Female oppression is real and so is male oppression. Both simultaneously, with everyone on both sides contributing. That’s a hard idea to understand until you look at it this way: We are all hardwired on an instinctive level to reward people who conform to their roles and punish those who don’t. (Why do you think some people have such intense, irrational hatred for gays and trans people?)

        Neither side is uniquely oppressed. This is why Patriarchy Theory fails; because it explains things exactly halfway, then insists there is no other side to the story. Just because a society may be patriarchal in structure, with more men in positions of overt power than women, does not mean all men benefit. Think of it this way: Imagine a plantation full of house slaves and field slaves. Is your immediate reaction, “Those poor people. They should all be free”? Or is it, “Those house slaves are so oppressed! Having to toil at housework under the leering eye of the owners! While those lucky field slaves get to spend all day outside in the nice sunshine. There’s even field slaves overseeing other field slaves! That’s proof they’re the ones in power!” I doubt anyone would think that. But the reality is that Big Daddy Genetics has us all on a chain, and we’re not getting any more free by blaming any other group of humans as the source of all our problems.

        • Caketin Welsh

          Many an evolutionary psychologist will argue that it’s in men’s nature to cheat so they can “spread their seed” – and yet so many men manage not to do so, and so many women cheat despite not having a seed to spread. We can be better than Big Daddy Genetics, and I like to think we usually are.

          I think both genders are oppressed in different ways, and I’m certainly not saying all men benefit. Patriarchy doesn’t mean all women have it worse off than all men; it is just a way of saying that in Western society men have historically held more power and denied it to women, and that’s absolutely been detrimental to both genders. It also oppresses LGBTIQ people for the exact reasons you mention. Patriarchy primarily benefits straight, white or white-looking males not born into poverty, because that is who built the society we live in, and that’s who excluded women, non-whites, gay and poor people. (Female privilege absolutely exists in certain situations – it’s usually formed around stereotypes of women being weaker and needing more protection, or women being “naturally” nicer or more nurturing than men.) Female, non-white, LGBTIQ and poor people have had to fight for every right they have now, and there’s nothing stopping anyone else from fighting against any part of the existing social structure they feel is oppressive to them – including the feeling that they ought not to be fighting.

          It’s not about assigning blame to some vast network of shadowy male puppetmasters (Stonecutters?) keeping women down – it’s about seeing the systems that have evolved around us, and wondering if there’s a good reason why things are the way they are, or if there’s bias built into the system from back when a certain group indisputably held more power. To torture my own metaphor, it’s about wondering whether this is the temperature the water’s supposed to be, or if we’re just used to it!

          • Alex Reynard

            >We can be better than Big Daddy Genetics, and I like to think we usually are.

            My sentiments exactly. I think humans are often at their best when they collectively act against instinct. And I think the best way to oppose our instincts is to understand them (know thy enemy).

            >Patriarchy primarily benefits straight, white or white-looking males not born into poverty, because that is who built the society we live in, and that’s who excluded women, non-whites, gay and poor people.

            See, this is why I think that Patriarchy is a worse-than-useless term, because you’re using it here the same way someone uses the Illuminati; to explain _everything_. Gender roles and race and economics are different things. I certainly believe in patriarchal social systems, but the way I see most people using big-P Patriarchy it encompasses far too much. Think about this: Are women really excluded from power in this system? Do the wives of rich men not enjoy their husbands’ power? Tipper Gore sure didn’t seem underrepresented when she used her unelected position as a senator’s wife to start the PMRC and change how all music in this country is sold. In this particular country, it might be white Christians in the dominant position, in another country it might be any number of other colors and religions. but one thing they will all ALWAYS have in common is wealth.

            >(Female privilege absolutely exists in certain situations – it’s usually formed around stereotypes of women being weaker and needing more protection, or women being “naturally” nicer or more nurturing than men.)

            Also, not having malice attributed to their actions anywhere near as much, as evidenced by the massive sentencing gap among men and women convicted of crimes. As a society we are loathe to hold a woman accountable for her actions. We act as if female rapists and domestic abusers don’t exist. When wives kill their husbands, we look for answers instead of outright calling her evil. We assume he must have done something to deserve it. Plus, a woman out in public with a child is probably several hundred times less likely than a man to be accsed of pedophilia by a random nosy stranger.

            >It’s not about assigning blame to some vast network of shadowy male puppetmasters (Stonecutters?) keeping women down

            The problem is, I see far too many people using it that way. The term lends itself easily to hyperbole that then becomes the literal definition in people’s minds. Feminists understand the subtle power of gendered language, right? How do they not see the inevitable consequences of giving the ‘enemy’ the male word Patriarchy and the ‘hero’ the female word feminism? It’s inevitable that that will be internalized and simplified on a gut, emotional level into ‘men bad, women good’.

            >it’s about seeing the systems that have evolved around us, and wondering if there’s a good reason why things are the way they are, or if there’s bias built into the system from back when a certain group indisputably held more power.

            I definitely agree with the general idea. But like I said, men have never universally been in power. Rich people have. Show me a time when only single men, or men who treated their women literally as slaves, were in power, and I’ll grant that. I know the latter has happened historically, but I don’t see it in Western nations.

    • Jennifer Anker

      I agree with most of what you said, but I just want to point out how often women’s deaths and violence are also used as plot points, as well. They don’t get the same roles as men in action films, but they are too frequently also victimized as powerless as a means of pushing the male lead. Look up the women in refrigerators trope. =/

      • Alex Reynard

        Absoluteley true. But that, in a way, also shows how much more we value women. The fridge trope is one of many cliches related to lazy writing. ‘Want to convey something quickly without effort? Pull out one of these!’ Hurting a woman has the same effect on the audience as hurting a cute animal. It’s a quick way to get an emotional reaction; here is an obvious wrong which must be righted. Here is an easy conflict-starter for your story. Also, killing a random man will demonstrate your vilain is a bad guy, but hurting a woman, child or cute animal will demonstrate he’s a complete monster.

        And of course, if you have no limits of taste and you want to *really* squeeze the emotion out of your readers, throw a rape in there. “Uhh, how do we make her seem deep and vulnerable?” “Sexual abuse!” “Genius! That’s certainly original and not overdone at all!” (black, dripping sarcasm)

        I’m an author, I notice all this crap because I *hate* cheap emotional manipulation. I’ll admit some selfishness in wanting to scrub sexism out of games and movies: because so much of it is the result of lazy cliches and getting rid of them will result in more things I can stand watching. ;)

        • Bibliofilen

          Just think a second about what you wrote there Alex: “Hurting a woman has the same effect on the audience as hurting a cute animal.”
          Animals get eaten in this world. How can it ever be a position of power to be seen in the same manner as a cute pet?

          • Alex Reynard

            Quite easy, actually. We forget the power of sympathy.

            Imagine a large man lost or hurt in a public place, asking people for help. Now imagine a petite woman. I don’t think I have to guess who you imagined would get more people offering to help them.

            This is beneficial to women in times when they’re hurt, but it can also be “weaponized” by a woman who simply wants people to do what she wants. I’m absolutely not saying this is true of ALL women; I believe there’s equal amounts of cynical, selfish, controlling men AND women out there, and there are different methods of bullying either gender will naturally be better at. These types of women are often very skilled at the game of “I’m in trouble! I’m so helpless! Someone save me!” Acting like a damsel in distress to get someone to do their dirty work while thinking they’re a hero. Want someone’s opinion silenced? Claim they offended you and let others do the work. Want an ex-boyfriend beaten up? Claim he stalked or abused you and let others do the work. People will naturally assume innocence of a pretty woman. This is one of those double-edged gender roles that can be either detrimental or beneficial, completely depending on the situarion.

      • Amy Singleton

        Hell yeah, women are generally weak and need a male hero…even heroines
        are not allowed to shine in Hollywood films without some sort of male
        “brains” to her “brawn” or vice-versa.
        It’s akin to how the black guy
        is always the first to die in most hollywood films, as well. Was it the
        end of Red, where they faked Morgan Freeman’s death (the only black
        part in the main character line up, mind you), showed us that is was a
        fake…just to KILL him anyway! AND he was the only main character to
        die! Then all the white people are somberly toasting him around a dinner
        table at the end. SMH

  • Elizabeth Jaggers

    Apparently, gender-flipping IS powerful: it’s certainly disturbing the comfortable and privileged, as evidenced by all the mansplaining going on.

  • Olrac

    Is it possible to live in a world where adolescent boys can ogle over T&A AND women can have their idealized, desexualized heroines? At the core of it, this is a marketing issue over a social injustice. It’s great that more women are getting into comics and gaming, and its no surprise that they are uncomfortable with their portrayal, but this has nothing to do with patriarchy- it has to do with an entire history of nerdy adolescent boys not getting laid and escaping into the sexual fantasy of impossible women. Nerdy, unsexed men created these images, and sold them to other nerdy, unsexed boys. We can shame male sexuality until it gets pushed to the farthest reaches of the pornosphere- it won’t stop men from flipping out over T&A. Gross, unrealistic bulbous lady-bulbs. It is OK that this happens, it is healthy even. It also does not exclude the potential for female role models in the same medium.

    As more women come forward and express an interest in less sexual heroines, people will create them to satisfy the demand. It’s as simple as that. What’s upsetting about the tone of this particular feminist discussion is that it has so much potential to be a problem that women can solve instead of being a problem that women must solicit help for. Imagine if instead of focusing their energy into complaining about the portrayal of women in comics, women instead encouraged themselves and other women to CREATE the kinds of heroines they want to see. Men built the comic world, and women would benefit most by figuring out how to contribute to it and support its growth instead of trying to dismantle it.

  • Darknut

    Women and men respond to different cues so they’re not going to be objectified in the same ways.

    • Guy

      Intelligent and efficient. Thank you Darknut!

      Seems the problem with extreme beliefs, and all oppressive forces in general, is always the same, the concept of “I don’t like it, therefore no one should”. Hopefully someday the movement will be less focused on censoring current mediums/artists and take a cue from the far east, start producing additional accompanying product that idealizes men and women in a manor more congruent with the female intellect. Then more people can have fun, and these extreme movements will be less relevant and damaging.

      It might be worth pointing out that these images are being misinterpreted in order to spread a point of view in these articles. Ultimately they are just a humorous and jarring observations of the perceived importance of masculinity, femininity, and how they relate to an individuals gender/sex. This can be proven by the reversal, as seen in my image. This is an interesting statement, yes, but not the one the author thinks he/she is making.

  • quinnjin

    I’ve got to say this, I’m expecting a wave of hate messages, but most men have sex in the positions depicted here… women do. If you were going to hetero sexualise men you wouldn’t use the same poses, as that is not “presenting” for men. So the comparison there is out, you’d give them huge pants bulges, and great muscles, also women are ( I hate to state the obvious ) attracted to power and social status. So you’d also make them look proud and maybe with there chests out… Women find men to overtly sexual creepy, so he probably wouldn’t have his bits out…. Oh hang on, I just thought of something THATS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DO, and of course the male super heroes as you say impossibly perfect, in ways that most men could never hope to be. They wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work, and it wouldn’t work if women didn’t fall for it. So feminists, I say again, look to your own gender for a change instead of whining on about how men are responsible for all the evils of the world, it’s a crock of shit. Most men do all the ridiculous shit they do because they think it impresses women, and you know what? I have been appalled by what often does.

    • Caketin Welsh

      So you don’t think it’s a problem that women are drawn or photographed in “presenting” poses so often? People (women and men) can be sexy without being sexualised. (Also, some women are attracted to things other than power and social status, just like some men are attracted to things other than boobs and butts and sexual willingness.)

  • quinnjin

    My message seemed to disappear maybe being moderated… anyway, most men don’t have sex with there arses pointed in the air, so this is not a sexualised (hetero anyway) position for most men. Also women are attracted to power and social status, and I can tell you for one that men do a hell of a lot of what they do to impress women. If women didn’t fall for materialistic bullshit, then it might not be so prevalent. The naked guys and the the chick fully dressed pic makes a point, many of the rest do not. Of course the guys are muscly with impossible proportions as well, so what, same diff, as you mentioned, Just saying that women should look to there own behaviour as well if they want to change the world. But possibly because they are conditioned to they tend to believe they are the purveyors of all that is good and wholesome and so seem seldom able to do this.

  • pakas

    gender is not fleeping.. the preconcepts of sex/gender are beeing eliminated.

    • Barbara

      Exactly.

  • tincankilla

    i think the flipped comics are hilarious, but the video just doesn’t do it right. I also don’t think the video or the song is particularly gender biased or sexist. the literal women in the video were paid well, i’m sure, and the figurative women they’re singing about aren’t subject to anything other than goofy come-ons.

    • Caketin Welsh

      Yeah, a lot of my discomfort with Blurred Lines comes not from the lyrical content itself but how the “I know you want it” language of sex-positive, consensual, transgressive power fantasies or experimentation (“I can show you things beyond the vanilla sex you’re used to, if you trust me enough or want me enough to open up a bit”) tends to have uncomfortable parallels with pick-up artist culture (“Women really want sex, but they’re worried about being seen as sluts so you’ve just got to push yourself on them to make them relent and let you do the stuff you want to them.”). One’s about making the woman feel good, and the other is about men feeling good by convincing women to let them “have” them.

      I feel like the spirit of the song is fun and naughty in a consensual context. I wasn’t wild about the visuals of the original video though, as dressed men who are distinct from one another and anonymous naked women painted up in a uniform way is a pretty clear power imbalance (no matter how much the women were paid or how comfortable they were on the shoot) and put the song in a kinda creepy context. I think the parody video is just fun – the guys seem to be having a great time, the women look great, and it is poking a little fun at the original while also acknowledging that the song is an epic jam.

      If anything, the parody highlights how much we’re conditioned to see naked women as disempowered – the fact that many people are more comfortable with the men being naked and ridden shows that we feel an undressed man is not as vulnerable as an undressed woman. Vulnerability, voyeurism, weakness, softness, objectification and passive beauty are coded into the image of a naked woman in various forms of media every day – look at how women are encouraged to cover up in order to be “taken seriously”, or upskirt photos, or how men who wear deep V-necks or short shorts are considered unmanly because they’re showing “too much” skin.

      • tincankilla

        Totally get it and, as usual, these things come down to the gender narratives you impose upon the subject. the models in the original video certainly look and feel empowered to me – and they are, for all their nudity, being asked to make a choice.

        As for your last paragraph, I agree and only offer than men in deep v-necks and short shorts nowadays are actually taking on and normalizing the very submissive objectification that feminists would object to. at least, the gents I see dressed like that in DC seem to be acting out a “feminine” demeanor that seems to imply femininity requires being a submissive beauty object. it’s nothing intrinsic to the clothing, though, or displaying skin – it wasn’t too long ago that stereotypically masculine fellas like chuck norris and tom selleck ran around kicking ass in shorty shorts.

  • Kelsey Jones

    SO awesome. Love all of this.

  • Pete Bachant

    To answer the headline: No. If the “flipped” depictions were preferable to the target market, they’d probably be more common. Sex sells, on both sides, and each side (in general) has a different idea of what sexy is.

  • Tricksy7

    Don’t forget the brill
    http://www.genderremixer.com/

  • http://tycio.livejournal.com/ Ty

    One problem I have with a lot of the gender-flipping art is that it doesn’t do equivalent images, it exaggerates the poses further with the males. Hulk being a ridiculously extreme example. In the Avengers pick, widow may be turning and it shows her back, but she is in the background, so it’s not as big an impact as characters in the foreground doing a turning pose.

    Even with the initial side by side of Black Cat and Hawkeye though, the curve of Hawkeye’s back in the fan art is much more pronounced, jutting his buttox out FAR more than Black Cat’s is.

    Gender flipping will be constantly mocked and not taken seriously as a form of social commentary if it isn’t done honestly, and most examples you see are about as neutral as the tricks done in before and after shots for fitness regimes.

    If you want to actually make a point, try provoking outrage by presenting males in poses that are actually equal (rather than embellishing stereotypically female poses to cartoonish absurdity) or even better, try and provoke the outrage by posing the men in similar but slightly LESS angular shots.

    A better point is made by a half-as-erotic pose from a man provoking discomfort than by a twice-as-erotic pose from him.

  • Fahiym Hanna

    I
    understand putting humor in politics is a good way to bring up the topic
    but when are we going to get serious? you won’t tell me that my mother
    is dead in a joke, because that serious. how come the blatant disregard
    for my rights and freedoms so funny

  • Wombatika

    But why can’t the blokes from the comics to the ByPM shot be sexy? ‘lest you’re neglecting mentioning the areas where homophobia and the threat to masculinity enters the realm… for a bloke to be ‘sexy’ is to diminish his capacity as a man even in the eyes of feminism, eh?…

    The poses are just silly, absurd, foppish… faggy

    or alien; the more common offense that also includes the issues of body size, age, ethnicity and culture (inclusive of subcultures as well… all those bloody dress codes that exist within every community – ever more troubling for those mixed figures and those uncomfortable lines in trying to play to the audience’s desire or fetish)… which often reduces these less common figures in media to exoticism or a form sociocultural terrorism (alien invaders; we recruit)… if they’re not entirely hidden. the cry for social normality or the erotic exotic sideshow… freaks.)

    not suggesting that was your intention but we all know it crosses the borders … (though outside of the u.s. and commercial marketing, there are those entertaining gender bending couture editorials from both sides of the gender line. Though I do recall a few ‘hipster’ (ever the slur that has become) lines in the u.s. that capitalized on less serious, more playful displays and without necessarily going to the extremes of full on drag. Though they still received the full on hate.)

    • RubyRuby

      The reason those poses are silly, absurd, foppish and faggy are for the very same reasons women are expected to hold them.

  • Amy Luna Manderino

    I read “Egalia’s Daughters” http://www.amazon.com/Egalias-Daughters-A-Satire-Sexes/dp/1878067583 almost twenty years ago. It’s a brilliant satire in which an entire society is gender-flipped. I highly recommend it, but be forewarned, after reading it, you will think the entire world is gender insanity, which it is, lol.

  • RockyJohan

    What gender did the hulk flip?

  • bryanbear

    I love these gender flipped photos! The guys are HOT!…. More please

  • Sora

    Awesome article! It took me a few minutes to actually even notice exactly what was the problem with the postures in the original Avengers movie posture! That was brilliant. You’re right, women are twisted around to highlight their TA at every opportunity, something that I’d become inured to after having been presented with endless images objectifying women’s bodies.

    It was the same way with men’s gazes. I didn’t realise until I hit puberty that men’s eyes have a problem lifting above the chest.

    Here’s another subject to look at for gender flipping.

    Fairytales.

    A poor girl must be beautiful in order to get the Prince. (Cinderella) – all she needs is an opportunity to ‘meet’ the perfect man.

    Whereas a poor boy must prove that he is ‘worthy’ (ie get rich) to get his Princess. (Aladdin, Puss in boots) – all he needs is a fortune, if he has one, he doesn’t even need the princess (Jack and the Beanstalk)

    • Ranoldus

      you are calling it “objectifying women’s bodies”. I mean if I see a picture of a sexy woman, do you really think, that i think: she’s an object, she has not intelligence? You are putting me in an awkward position, i do not want to empathize with men who think like that. Men are portrayed in a sexy way, more and more lately. I am not complaining about that….

  • Leroy

    No, this meme is not important. Most of the content in this article is totally delusional. Men in ads just stand there wearing the clothes and only women in ads act sexy? Open any magazine and you’ll see men posing suggestively with their shirts off or open revealing their rippling washboard abs. These ‘gender bending’ images are jarring not because they show men in sexual poses. It’s because they are incongruous to the usual sexual roles for men. i.e. the woman crouched on her hands and knees is suggestive of ‘doggy style sex’, putting a man in the same role is suggestive of gay sex which will be jarring to most people who aren’t gay. The comic book images are the same, drawing attention on men’s butts which is not usually a main sexual focal point on a man, except to gay men.

    Men, who make up the major audience of comic books, find women’s butts/hips attractive so that is why the artists accentuate those parts. So is that sexualizing them? Sure. Most men would have no problem with publishers releasing comic books which sexualize men in a similar way. They just wouldn’t buy them. Women are about half the population, if they want to see comics which sexualize men, by all means make them and buy them. As it is, the market has spoken.

    • Guest

      Might want to come back over here to reality.

  • Winterhorrorland

    Of course these pictures all look awful! Who would give Hawkeye the spotlight in a picture?

  • Ranoldus

    Quote: If women told men their complaints were irrelevant, would that attitude be worth worth fighting?
    It is totally socially acceptable for women to complain about certain things, especially related to men, but it is socially not accepted for men to complain. Men know this, so they do not do this. Men and women will be treated differently, and portrayed differently, both with advantages and disadvantages. If you want men to be more sexy in comics (which i think they already are), start your own comic or address Marvel, do something about it. If you think men are sexy enough in comics, then what’s the point?
    (i am not saying there is no discrimination, i just want to let hear another sound than in the article and in the posts below)

    • RubyRuby

      Luckily for men, they are able to tell a woman she is wrong when she complains and put her in her place as her opinion can easily be cast aside. But it is true, men are not supposed to complain about certain things. Which is the problem with the Johnathan Martin situation in the NFL right now.

  • Guest

    Of COURSE the comments on this are going “Oh, you’re just wrong, this doesn’t matter! Sexism doesn’t exist! Men are objectified, tooooo!”

  • RubyRuby

    Some of the readers here might find the subject of this kickstarter project interesting. (It made its funding goal last year ago.)

    Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/566429325/tropes-vs-women-in-video-games/posts/642795?ref=activity

    • ckvega

      The only thing interesting about that kickstarter is how much of a liar Anita is.

  • tsol

    If you look at Gay media, ads and magazine layouts you’ll see impossibly fit, young men posed as sexually as any of the women in these examples. it’s just how some men like to see the bodies that they are attracted to, gay or straight. No conspiracy needed. But go ahead, keep trying to force men to think like women, good luck with all that!

  • Lapis Safeiros

    Haha. Good stuff.

  • Shona Sijin Marion McCarthy

    Julia Gillard would have been treated worse as a man. She got as far as she did because if someone disagreed with her, her supporters could always call the gender card just as this article did.

    A lot of the “hetrocentric” messages we get in the media are there for a reason. People who have easily discernible genders and prefer the opposite sex are still a majority. It’s a bit silly to assume there’s some sort of conspiracy going on based on the media.
    The media does what it does because they think it’s what people will watch and tying it in with superficiality doesn’t help. It just makes the issues involved more confusing.

    Gender swapping might be revealing. But it’s hardly the most important thing that ever happened.

  • Disco

    Yes lets gender flip things. Man developed breast cancer, can’t get free mammogram because he is a man.
    Man doesn’t want to get pregnant, pays full price for contraception.
    Man spends thousands of dollars to go to collage/uni gets qualifications, gains work related experience can’t get a job because employer needs to meet federal legislation quota for employing women in a field where 99% of applicants are male because of psychological evolution.

    Yes gender flipping is a great way to highlight sexism in society.

  • chickabrita

    LOL why do women get offended by that? i am a woman and i a proud to be found sexy by the opposite sex. plus the guy with a naked ass is hot! lol

  • wideEyedPupil

    Yeah this is the most important thing ever. I’ve been spending the last decade fighting for meaningful action on Climate Change, but I just realised we may as well let civilisation collapse given the state of much of the Western popular culture. It’s not worth saving and neither are the 80 million other species on the planet because males are overly conditioned to objectify females. It simply must stop today or let the planet burn to a crisp.