First order of business:
First of all, hello new readers! Welcome to my blog. I’ve gotten a huge spike of traffic in the last day, so let me just take the opportunity to say that if you actually appreciate what I’m doing here, consider checking out my Patreon and throwing $1 or 2 my way per month? It helps me prioritize the time and energy to blog about games and to also deal with the grade-A bullshit like the following.
You hate me! You really hate me! *blush*
I’m pretty used to getting gamer hate, but it seems like Jonboy Meyers is a Pretty Big Deal in comics after all because I wound up closing comments after a sudden torrent of abuse started appearing on my recent anatomy correction. I’m not just getting gamer hate now, I’m getting comics hate! It’s an entirely new demographic of geek hate! Progress!
Creature of the blog lagoon. Or: It came from the comments!
A well-meaning reader who was really trying to be nice kindly informed me that there was a lot of facebook hate going on (which I’ll get to in a minute), which I appreciated. However, he then said that I should go to these facebook threads and defend myself, otherwise my opinion “is worth nothing”.
WELL, gentle reader. If this were a reasoned and nuanced discussion of the merits of artistic style, sure! I’d be happy to have a spirited conversation. However, in the 40ish comments that I got before I closed the thread (MISANDRY! FASCISM!), there was an awful lot of abuse and name-calling. The most comment sentiments break down as follows: (There is overlap, obviously, as most comments managed to hit 2 or more of these in the same comment, and several hit 3+. Overachievers.)
- Your art is bad – 10
- You are not a professional artist – 7
- Your anatomy was wrong – 6
- It’s “stylized/exaggerated” because comics! – 6
- Your degree is worthless – 5
- You’re just jealous – 4
- Your pose is static and dull – 4
- You are a terrible person – 3
- You are stupid/uneducated – 3
- U DELETED MY COMMENT – 3
- FORESHORTENING! – 3
- You are nit-picking – 2
- You are just over-reacting – 2
- Nonsensical slurs 2
- You should be embarrassed 2
- You just need to get laid 1
So please, I beg of you, explain to my why I should be required to engage with people who are so eager to tell me that I am stupid, terrible, over-reacting, jealous, and crazy? No one is entitled to my time and attention, especially people who clearly have no intention of ever attempting to see me as an actual person.
Now, before I respond to the above point-by-point (mostly), there were some highlights worth noting. Like my favorite of the nonsensical slurs:
You [sic] review and correction is full of ASS like your FACE
As a friend said on my G+: “That is some C- trolling right there.” (Incidentally, this had me giggling all evening. I might actually make this my comment policy – that instead of just deleting troll comments that I might grade them as well. Or not. We’ll see.)
This was like watching an unpublished amateur telling Vonnegutt or Hemmingway or O’Neil that they don’t know what they’re doing.
Right. Because comics art is like HEMMINGWAY. Hell, why not go further? (Not to mention picking something vaguely in the same medium.) Picking on Jonboy Meyers is like picking on REMBRANDT! MICHAELANGELO! OR MONET!
I won’t justify any more of these comments with additional words, so Let’s get on with analyzing the hate behind these comments. (Hatenalysis?)
Your art is bad/you are not a professional artist:
I find the contention that I’m not a professional artist a little baffling. How exactly does one define “professional”? I am an illustrator who has worked in the tabletop RPG industry. And while I don’t pay all of the bills with my art, I pay a good number of them. Sure I have a day job, but honestly – I know artists who have been in the business 10 years and still have day jobs. However, since this is most likely a case where “professional artist” is defined as artists receiving money for their work who aren’t me (moving the goal posts! yay!), I’m not going to bother going into the details of my freelancing life.
As for the attempt to dismiss my work by saying that my art is bad, I find it pretty hilarious that so many haters are tying themselves in mental knots in an attempt to not listen to what I have to say. MY art is bad because it’s anatomically incorrect, but JONBOY’s art is good because it’s “stylized” and “exaggerated”. Or, there’s no such thing as bad art, except for my art which is bad.
And on and on and on in that vein. Instead of actually engaging with any of the points being made, apparently it’s easier to just say NO U SUK. NO U. NO UUUUUUU. And since I’m not six years old, I have no intent to actually have this particular argument.
Lastly, the idea that my artistic skill has any bearing on my cred as a critic of art is, frankly, laughable. Do people demand that film critics make an Oscar-winning film before they are taken seriously? No, they don’t, because that would be ludicrous.
Your anatomy was wrong
Uh. Yeah. I kind of admitted that. But my anatomy mistakes were along the lines of “couldn’t find the right angle of the shoulder” and “might not have the correct angle on the ribcage”. The mistakes in the original were HOLY SHIT WHERE DID HER SHOULDER GO WHY IS HER ARM FLOATING IN SPACE. At least in my art, everyone’s limbs were properly attached.
It’s “stylized/exaggerated” because comics! / FOOOOORESHORTENING!
So, okay. There were a lot of people who jumped all over me to claim that I was wrong because FORESHORTENING and because comics are dynamic because of FORESHORTENING! And, guys. Come on. This is a classic case of “I do not think that word means what you think it means”.
I challenge you to do this pose in front of a mirror. (Not the spine-arch. Just the arms.) Her left arm won’t look like that, because the foreshortening is wrong – as drawn her upper arm is 2-3 times the length of her forearm. And dude, foreshortening is hard. I get it! Your brain lies to you, because it is an asshole. But don’t come to my blog and tell me that I’m wrong because FORESHORTENING when it is the foreshortening itself that is not correct.
As for “it’s stylized/exaggerated because comics!”, that’s taking a pretty restrictive view of what constitutes comics. Sure, the big comics publishers mostly publish art that objectifies and sexualizes women. But that’s ignoring the whole world of comics that is happening on the web by artists who are connecting directly with their audience. And a lot of those artists manage to find an audience without exaggerating anatomy in ways that objectify women.
Your degree is worthless
See, this is where I can never win. I mentioned my education because as a woman dares to criticize something online, people jump down her throat and DEMAND to know her credentials before taking her seriously. And here’s the lose-lose situation that follows. If she lists her credentials, they will be dismissed and she will probably be criticized for being arrogant and superior. But if she doesn’t, they’ll say that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. So in this instance, I erred on the side of uppity bitch. Hell, if I drop five figures on an art education, I’m sure as shit not going to hide the fact that I have it.
Your pose is static and dull
Thank you for ENTIRELY MISSING THE POINT. As blogs like Escher Girls and Comic Art Corrections have been blogging about for years, the problem with art like this is that it relies entirely on heavily distorted and sexualized anatomy to create the illusion of dynamism. When you remove the gratuitous sexualization, the pose itself is not actually dynamic or interesting. The fact that you think my drawover was dull only proves the point that I was trying to make – that objectifying women often becomes a crutch.
You’re just jealous/You are a terrible person/You are stupid/uneducated
What baffles me is that I didn’t do anything that hadn’t already been done elsewhere on some very popular blogs. Escher Girls and Comic Art Corrections are just two of my favorites – there are plenty more out there. And it’s not like I was any snarkier, because nope. There’s been a lot of snark from other bloggers (that I have enjoyed, to be honest) about the prevalence of snake women and centaur women and broken spines, etc, in comic art. So why is it that I come back to blogging after a hiatus of more than two years, do something that is, frankly, pretty common in the blogosphere, and yet I’m the one who gets the ridiculous outpouring of hate?
Also, if you think it’s okay to call someone fat, ugly, jealous, crazy, retarded, or a waste of space simply because they criticized an artist you like? I’d take a long hard look at yourself and the level of bile that you’re prepared to vent over something like that. And the people who made threatening comments or said things like I could “shampoo [their] crotch”? Seriously? You’re just fucking gross.
U DELETED MY COMMENT
Comments policy is clearly spelled out in the sidebar. I am not obligated to give you my platform so that you my abuse me however you like. That’s what the rest of the internet is for.
You just need to get laid
Thank you for being so eminently predictable. There’s always one, so I’m glad that you didn’t let me down.
Alrighty. I said I would get back to facebook, so here goes. As of the instant of me writing this, I’ve gotten almost 29,000 views in just about 24 hours. The vast majority of this traffic is coming from facebook, where comic artists like J. Scott Campbell and Mark Brooks (and others, I’m sure) are riling up their THOUSANDS OF FANS about what a terrible human being I am.
Which. You know what? In what universe is it okay to use your very large platform to encourage your followers to harass someone? Adria Richards and Anita Sarkeesian are only two of the most recent and prominent examples of the effects that online harassment can have. There is a long and sad history online of women being harassed for DARING to commit the CRIME of HAVING OPINIONS WHILE FEMALE.
And for people who’d say “well they didn’t actually tell their fans to harass you”? BULLSHIT. They made posts in which they called me things like “laughable”, “embarrassing”, and “smug”, then continued to encourage the anger in the thread that resulted. Nor did they make any attempts to dissuade potential harassers, or tell people who made threatening comments to back off. These are grown-ass-men who pointed their very large audiences at me and told them what a terrible person I was on the internet because they want me to shut the fuck up.
Going through these threads is, of course, about as pleasant as drinking a tuna and brussel sprouts milkshake, so I’m not going to go through all of the comments that have been made so far. I have better things to do with my time than marinate in internet bile. But here are some highlights taken from J. Scott Campbell’s hate-fest before I got too tired of humanity to continue.
(SEVERAL of whom I should note are professional comics artists. I’m not going to name all the names here, because I don’t actually hate myself. But it is worth asking that HOW is any of this anything resembling professional behavior? But then, given that the mainstream comics industry is happy to regularly re-affirm how much it hates women, I guess none of this should come as a surprise.)
First up, I loved the number of people who misgendered me.
Thanks for reminding me why I don’t actually have my gender in my profile on this blog. Also, WTF is up with dude who wants to come to my house and beat me up? Seriously? Thanks for being a terrible human being.
There were also several women who were very eager to let people know that THEY weren’t offended, not like those AWFUL HYSTERICAL FEMINISTS. They’re not out to kill anyone’s sexy fun! Which. Ugh. But I grew up with more than my share of internalized misogyny, so whatever. I know where they’re coming from. I did, however, particularly like these comments from someone who is a female professional comics artist.
Seriously. Someone get on that. I will give you cash moneys to read about a fat, middle-aged, sword-wielding badass woman warrior. No lie.
The one thing that made me laugh, however, was this – in which the poster tries to claim that I don’t have a right to criticize Jonboy and cites my illustrations for SexyTime Adventures.
I guess this just reinforces the impossibility of satirizing this shit. But seriously, way to cherry-pick images without actually reading any of the actual words about how those drawings are fucking satire.
Now thankfully, there were at least a few people who were willing to stand up to this insanity, in varying degrees, for which I was grateful. Like this fellow.
I can’t say I liked the qualifier at the end, but you know what – I can’t blame the dude. Given the level of vitriol I imagine it took some courage to be the voice of reason and say “hey, maybe we shouldn’t harass this person”. So thanks not-crazy internet person.
And then there was this GLORIOUS schooling which I will never, ever get tired of:
And then someone who not only agreed with me, but actually called out the hypocrisy of these commenters:
Speaking of which, Rob Liefeld agrees that I am terrible and my art is bad, which is the other thing that made me laugh.
But, you know, given that I don’t draw my women with broken spines, sameface, or LOTS OF AWESOME POUCHES!!!1!!11!eleventy!, I can see how Rob Liefeld would think that my work is bad and terrible.
Here is where I would normally write a clever conclusion. But I am tired of the universe, so instead here is a picture of a baby sloth.
[ETA: I’ve just added a followup to this followup here.]
 I’m on a roll!
152 thoughts on “Regarding entirely predictable backlash [LONG, LOTS OF IMAGES]”
For me, I think youwould be better served to just make your own stuff and channel whatever injustices your feels are in certain male artwork, into creating something of your own, rather than deconstruct it. Its trying to make your point of the horridness of the world by trying to throw torpedos at the competition. Consider, if you were to open a burger joint. And all you did was focus on telling everyone what Mcds was doing wrong instead of focusing on just making better burgers and beating Mcds at their own game. Its just bad form. Good work will ALWAYS get noticed, if its good. Not based on the gender of who makes the good work. Channel the anger away from criticism and put it into making good work, and that is what you will cultivate. Instead I feel like you are trying to sling rocks at others and then getting defensive when called on it, to the point that you don’t even take the criticism well. Of course, some aren’t as elegant as expressing their opinion, but ignore that. Just focus on making good shit and get out of the arguement. Cause while you are busy trying to “fight the good fight” there are people out there making great art and they will get noticed. And you will be left behind in anger. Just a thought to ponder.
Except that wundergeek’s point wasn’t “work X sucks, mine is better”, it was “work X sucks for reasons Y and Z”. The response to that criticism was not, for the most part “reasons Y and Z are wrong because of reasons A and B”, but “you’re a terrible human being, shut up”. Only 15 of the responses wundergeek coded (“your anatomy was wrong”, “it’s ‘stylized/exaggerated’ because comics” and “FORESHORTENING!”), 25% of the total, actually attempted to address the arguments presented. This also assumes that the “wrong anatomy” and “it’s stylized” points aren’t in the same comment, because if they are it’s silly. They should cancel out, as wundergeek noted. The rest are insults, and thoroughly unnecessary.
As with the Sarkezean row, these responses show why this critique is so necessary – because people feel entitled to the objectification of women, and throw their toys out of the pram when this is pointed out. Please keep it up wundergeek – you’re one of the most to-the-point and fantastic feminist bloggers out there. So glad you came back!
+1 million, as the crazy kids on Google+ would say
As an art historian, I strongly disagree with you. Deconstruction and criticism (even scathing criticism) is extremely important. She can and should correct people when they try to say “But foreshortening!” (because it is not simply foreshortening) or “It’s stylized and dynamic!” (it’s not stylized; it’s relying on tropes which cause art to become stagnant.)
But her criticism is poor. She does not give an accurate underdrawing of what the character would look like if there was no armor on her. That is where she loses her credibility.
Also, she offers no positive reinforcement about the artist at all. She claims that she does not follow his works and could not care.
Part of giving a good critique is as follows (it is referred to as the Critique Sandwich):
“Slice of Bread”- Open the Critique with a Sincere Compliment
“The Meat”- Evaluate with Kindness and Usefulness
“Slice of Bread”- Finish with Accolades
She did NONE of these which makes her critique nothing more than an angry adolescent rant.
If she wants to be taken seriously, maybe showing some respect for people is in order.
Seeing as she demands the same from others, she should do the same. To excuse the pun, “Tit for tat”.
You seem to be following the critique model devised for application to artists who are just starting out – often adolescents who are quite sensitive about their work. It is generally assumed that, over the course of a professional career, an artist would toughen up a bit – that they wouldn’t need two compliments to be able to stomach a single criticism.
Considering that she did not claim, for example, that JonBoy Meyers’ art is “full of ASS like [his] FACE,” or indeed anything of this sort, it’s less an angry adolescent rant and more of a blunt, honest critique.
Thank you for pointing this out. I wanted to find a way to give her positive criticism as much as any artist would to another artist. The platinum rule I was trained on was to treat the person how they want to be treated. I agree on some level of the negative attention this has ensued. Sadly, this has gotten out of hand where she still feels that foreshortening in comic illustration is not real. Research is always important; especially when someone decides to critique another person’s work. Just like Adam T wrote, she needs to get in there to show that she knows what she’s talking about by creating – not breaking.
Hi there. While I appreciate your civility (no really – I really do), I’d like to point out that nowhere did I say that foreshortening doesn’t exist. NEVER ACTUALLY SAID THAT. What I said was that the foreshortening in the original illustration was not correct. So all the people who are claiming that I’m somehow not believing in foreshortening (there have been a lot of them) are actually not reading me correctly at all.
For me, I prefer that you keep on deconstructing the tons of over-sexualized, wonky art work that is already out in the field. The above opinion is full of shit (sorry Adam). If there is a problem in the industry, common sense dictates that you show why that particular piece of art is problematic. Take it apart and then show what would make it better. This isn’t rocket science. The giant wave of butt hurt that you unleashed by daring to criticize these artists and their lazy approach to anatomy (you’re right – they use sexuality as a crutch, you take that away, they have no idea how to draw a dynamic and intreresting woman – no wonder they are upset) is indicative that you are on the right track. I’m really sorry that you had to wade through this tsunami of human waste so soon after restarting your blog, but you’re one of the voices that women need to make our sentiments known in this industry. The fact that these “professionals” didn’t do anything to restrain the ugliness on facebook says volumes to me. Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for your words of support. They help so much, for real.
And how, exactly was the drawing of this woman overtly sexual? There is hardly any skin shown and she is not in a degrading pose to entice a man. She is in a pose of a warrior. She is not scantily clothed and hanging onto the thigh of some overly muscled man, is she? No. She is in control and she is in charge.
No, she is really, really not in charge. She doesn’t even have a functioning right shoulder. Where it should be is just a huge rack. While the exposed arm and side boob might not be much skin by your standards, it’s ridiculous for a warrior. (Not to mention she’s wearing a mini skirt.) Her waist is too thin to actually support her weight. Not to mention the combination corset-boobplate. You’re right-she’s not scantily clad and hanging on some hunk of muscle, and that is better. But that’s setting the bar depressingly low.
[Deleted. Your first comment, while I didn’t agree with it, was not an ad hominem. This was.]
I want to say that I very much appreciate the work you do in criticizing contemporary depictions of women in popular art.
Many people will use a “tone argument” and say you should work “more constructively”, but I think further social progress requires construction AND deconstruction. If part of the problem is a corrupting system, we don’t get very far by working inside it, as we become corrupted.
Unfortunately deconstruction generates a lot more backlash and is a lot more draining. I hope you keep up the good work for as long as you can.
The Patreon link goes to http://patreon.com/wundergeek – which just lands on the patreon front page…
Shit! I’m super tired and fucked that up. It should be patreon.com/gmmas. I’ll fix that right away.
Can we have a monthly “grade the troll” thing? Like a troll pageant or something?
@Adam: I am sorry, but just like the commenter above me, I disagree with you. Pointing out what’s wrong and deconstructing it is an extremely important tool to help people see and understand what’s wrong and problematic, after our eyes have been basically trained for years into accepting that this kind of art is normal.
Also, you are kind of forgetting that she does work as a freelance artist, so she does spend time making at of her own.
I think this would be awesome. Such bile certainly deserves to be mocked appropriately 🙂
[Me commenting in mod-voice. The hatesplosion is still ongoing, so I’m going to be very trigger happy with the trash button. Calling me a “cunt” is an excellent way to get your comment trashed without me doing more than skimming it.]
Let me begin by way of apology for all the hate that you have been on the receiving end of. There no reason anyone should receive rape or death threats.
When I came across your blog it was already being posted numerous places, and while I encourage discussion about perceptions of women in games and all things nerdy, I found your “Anatomy: You’re doing it wrong” post grasping for straws. For me personally, I didn’t find anything wrong with it. You can make a jab at the armor, but for me, it’s almost a complete mock up of Xena’s armor. The pose, while not my favorite, is the least offensive thing in that artists gallery. I for one, agree with people making mentions of style, because at the end of the day, that image visually is entertaining in it’s cartoonishness, but also in it’s color. I’m not in any way saying it’s the most amazing thing in the world, but it is attention grabbing.
Secondly, I think you are misunderstanding some people when they are critiquing your own art. You have your portfolio up, and some of your art and you’ve just openly made jabs at a working professional. Of course they are going to want to compare your art. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with this at all.
I understand that you have worked hard for your education, but your art degree is in photography, and 2 years of life drawing is simply not enough. Make no mistake your degree isn’t bad, but at the same time, there is a reason why one opinion weighs more than another. I would not ask many design majors to draw something, because fact is, some of them can’t draw that well at all. Same goes for photography, I’ve met several photographers whose drawing skill is not on the same level as their photography. I feel that this argument also neglects the tons of people out there who did not choose to go/could not go to university because of financial reasons or personal reasons, clearly being able to afford such a thing is also a thing of privileged. The people that spend all of middle school through part of their adult life drawing and perfecting their skills and getting work without stepping a foot into a classroom, or seeking a mentor.
Again, I am quite sorry that anyone would deride your education, however, there is a noticeable difference in skill, and I have seen many talented artists talking about this, and I do think it is a valid criticism.
I understand the feeling of being misgendered, but I think this also illustrates a valid point on one end ( shitty as it may be). You note that the reason you’re being called out is because you’re a woman, but if half the people misgendering you believe you to be male how can that be the case? If anything, people are comparing artists, and while it can be hurtful to be called a bad artist, it is something that every artist has to deal with…else, this conversation would not be happening. (Though yes, I agree, you have the outliers of people who are probably just fanboys.)
I think it’s fine to critique other artists, but this is the thing about critiques, as much as they help people on the receiving end, in the end when you are more critical of others, it helps you to be more critical of yourself and improve on your own points. It’s much easier to depersonalize when looking at someone else’s work than at your own.
Lastly, if this image was for Gen-Con, I am willing to bet it was possibly commissioned. When working professionals have commissions there is not always the biggest amount of time to do something. These are people that do art essentially full-time, and particularly in comic art this process is often done by more than one person because of deadlines. Pencils, inks, flats, colors, letters, etc etc. I am more often than not willing to let shoddy anatomy slide on certain pieces than others.
tl;dr I think you have an okay blog, but I think the image used to illustrate your point just was pretty miss for me in the grand scheme of bad comic art, sucks you’re getting hate, but best of luck.
I’d have more to say, but I’ve had 4 hours of sleep so this is about the only thing I can muster up.
Since you seem to think that the image used for the deconstruction wasn’t that bad, can you explain to me why we very rarely (extremely rarely) see male characters drawn in a similar pose and with so little clothes on? Why is it that it is only necessary to sacrifice accurate anatomy “because of a style choice” when the characters are female?
On the point that her art isn’t good enough to allow her to comment on other people’s art: do you realise that one can see technical issues even without being an expert?
Of course, don’t get me wrong, there are disparities between male and female characters. Me not bringing this up has nothing to do with the sexualized component, I thought that was pretty much a given. I said so in the post that I agree that there is a problem between male power fantasy and how women are drawn, but I don’t see how this images compares to some of the others that are prime for picking, to me this just seems like grasping at straws. I am in no means defending the disparity, this just seems like it’s reaching to me.
Also, I never said, that she couldn’t critique any one person’s art. I did post that I said it was fine to critique someone else’s art. The problem is she tried to correct it, and several people mentioned even her pose was off, that is a valid criticism. If she simply pointed it out it would be one thing, but I’m not just seeing professionals talk about this. I can point out with food tastes bad, that doesn’t mean that I am a chef, but if I say I can do better that’s open to criticism.
So, we agree that there is a disparity and that the image she picked contributes to the disparity.
In my opinion, that is enough to make this image (or any other image like this) a valid candidate.
And the point of trying to correct the image wasn’t a way to say “Hehe, I can do better than this”, but a deconstruction with the aim of showing in a visual, easy understand way what is wrong with the image and why.
Also, she did point out that she couldn’t herself achieve a 100% correct anatomy and pose in her re-draw.
If there are technical issues, then there are better ways to address them. Also revealing technical issues is usually better received by someone that has some experience in the field of which they are critiquing.
Having a photographer talk about technical issues of illustrations is like having a pastry chef tell a line cook the correct way to properly cook a steak
Here is the best thing. If she has such an issue with the proportions and all the like, then why doesn’t she recreate the image in a photograph if she wants to portray “realism”?
But the aim of the deconstruction isn’t to address technical issues, the deconstruction is aimed at pointing out that accurate anathomy has been sacrificed in order to show a more sexualised image.
I’d be interested to see the photo comparison, actually. See how everything gets bent out of shape without worrying about stylistic concerns of the art form too much.
Not sure I buy the chef analogy, though; both photographers and illustrators deal in anatomical details, and something purporting to be a human figure does not appear to be one in the eyes of a photographer. In some cases yes, telling an illustrator “that’s not like a photograph” wouldn’t be right, but in this instance, where portrayal of a human is the goal, it should suffice.
And +1 to Melyanna’s comments – the discourses behind such stylistic choices are just as valid a thing to critique as the image itself.
I guess you’ve missed out on Tarzan, Conan and John Carter of Mars. The dynamic anatomy of half naked men will surprise you. Edgar Rice Burroughs had to carefully edit the boner he drew from the panel when Tarzan was surrounded by half naked women.
First of all, we need to make a distinction between “male power fantasy” and “objectification of women”.
Secondly, even if one male character in one cover is subject to objectification, it is one example vs the zillion examples in which women are objectified – which happens every single time.
– Nothing is wrong with the pose, why u mad bro? – check
– Your art sucks – check
– You don’t have the education/credentials needed to have an opinion! – check
– You should never say anything critical of anyone else until you attain perfection – check
– You were critiquing an artist who does art full time and pays his rent, bills, and buys boats and falcons and stuff, you have a day job – check
I think we have a bingo! 😀
I am confused, because I said none of that. But I am going to consciously acknowledge that her schooling, and saying is such, is gate keeping. Personally, I found it offensive giving hat historically, tee hee I have a degree, has been used to shut out dissenting opinions, not that she isn’t entitled to have one.
I think it’s fine to be critical, I agree that there is a problem, but this piece I felt didn’t embody the larger issue of it.
The last one, did you just not read it, I didn’t deride her for having a day job, I mentioned deadlines for commissions can often have an influence on time taken for anatomy.
I have tried my best to not be inflammatory so, but clearly there is something missing in translation.
No matter what, I lose, dude. Either I don’t mention my education and people are all THIS CHIX DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT. And if I do mention my education, people are all JEEZ WHY SHE GOTTA WAVE HER DEGREE IN MY FACE SMUG BITCH. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Please don’t call me dude. I am not male. But iI am sorry this is not coming across how I am trying to say. I will leave the discussion at that.
Fair enough. And I apologize for misgendering. I have a bad habit of using “dude” as a gender-neutral when it is not.
You feel the piece did not embody the core of the problem. I think that is does. It is supposed to be a more “normal” version of a woman, but even that was mucked up by making sure her boobs were the focus, rest of the body be damned. The reason you are getting push back is that you don’t think there is a problem with the art. We do. You also rely heavily on a tone argument (I don’t like the WAY she said it). She will never be able to critique ANYTHING in a way that satisfies everyone.
Since you don’t know where I’m getting my bingo points, I will spell it out for you:
-Nothing is wrong with the pose, why u mad bro?
“I found your “Anatomy: You’re doing it wrong” post grasping for straws. For me personally, I didn’t find anything wrong with it. ”
– Your art sucks
“You have your portfolio up, and some of your art and you’ve just openly made jabs at a working professional. Of course they are going to want to compare your art.”
– You don’t have the education/credentials needed to have an opinion!
“I understand that you have worked hard for your education, but your art degree is in photography, and 2 years of life drawing is simply not enough.”
– You should never say anything critical of anyone else until you attain perfection
“in the end when you are more critical of others, it helps you to be more critical of yourself and improve on your own points. It’s much easier to depersonalize when looking at someone else’s work than at your own.”
– You were critiquing an artist who does art full time and pays his rent, bills, and buys boats and falcons and stuff, you have a day job.
“Lastly, if this image was for Gen-Con, I am willing to bet it was possibly commissioned”
That last one I was having fun with.
I hope you understand why this kind of stuff is very frustrating for women. We see these images day in and day out. They range from cool, to mildly annoying, to outright offensive, but if we ever open our mouths to say anything, then all over a sudden we are “too sensitive”, “feminazis”,”need to get over it because it doesn’t bother guys, and omg guys have sooo many problems too, why aren’t you talking about those??!”
I got an e-mail for this after I posted about leaving the discussion. I would prefer it if you did not engage me again.
Also, your closing argument also assumes I am a male. I am not. I would prefer not be misgendered again. Thank you.
Maybe I missed something, but I don’t think Rachell indicated one way or another what your gender is/was.
Yeah, because drawing men as male power fantasies is *just* like drawing women as male power fantasies, amirite?
Oh, no wait – that’s actually “false equivalence”. My bad.
[Deleted – derailing]
[Deleted – derailing]
[Deleted. My house, my rules.]
Way to try and derail the argument here. Male power fantasies and female objectification are two completely different problems, see here for more info http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7290-Objectification-And-Men
Anna is saying X is a problem. You come in and say, no X and Y are the same problem and why are you not talking about Y instead? You have not refuted any of her arguments, but rather seem to be upset that she is not tackling the male power fantasy in addition to female objectification. Come back when you have something pertinent to say. If the male power fantasy is a problem, then by all means, begin tackling the issue. I would support you.
[Mod voice: Guys. PLEASE STOP COMMENTING IN THIS EXCHANGE. (Sorry, KE)]
[Deleted. Because comment-spamming some blogger because you’re mad that she won’t let you tell her WHAT A BITCH SHE IS is SO MATURE, amirite? MISANDRY!
[Deleted – victim blaming]
It sounds more like you’re putting words in her mouth as if she has said these things. I read her comment twice. She has made valid points of ‘wundergeek’s’ enthusiasm for breaking down Jonboy Meyer’s work. Perfection is an ideal – it is not what the comic editors are looking for when they commission an artist. They’re looking for creativity that captivates their soul. Most artists have day jobs. This also applies to writers too. Both Jonboy and Anna K (wundergeek) are entitled to keep their day jobs – there’s no shame in that. What KE was pointing out, just like any professional critiques out there do is they have to know what they’re talking about. I’ve had artists as young as 10 create their own style of art like professionals from the Facebook public page, ‘Pencil Drawing’. This inspires me to be more creative with my own artwork. I have given a few critiques myself. What I’m getting at is, it takes one to know one. Before you start on about my deal, I’ll point out to you that I am a feminist myself and have pointed out other female artist who do enjoy drawing out of proportioned women. Instead of taking on the helmet Anna wears, I just leave it be. For me, it is just culminating the same backlash Anna is experiencing right now. I know where I had my humble beginnings and I know where I stand. I applaud Anna for taking a stand in what she does to point out the badly drawn women both male and female artists have come to commercialize. I would like to also point out there are awesome artists out there who do appreciate the voluptuous curvy bodies of everyday women have. Ubisoft has come to mind. They have changed the way games are played. The player has the ability to create the woman to whatever size they like. I believe they have started a positive trend. I have seen Square Enix following suit. So, Anna K, don’t despair your good works are showing. Just focus on positive things. We’ll call this event an experience to remember. Just because something is not your cup of tea, it’s not up to you to fix it. You can’t save the world by yourself. That’s why the Justice League and The Avengers were formed 😉
I’m excited you’ve started up your blog again (I enjoyed reading through the archives when I first found it a year ago). You seem to have started off with a bang, even if it’s not necessarily the kind you would want.
I really enjoyed your deconstruction, and I must admit I have been enjoying Escher Girls for years. I write about feminism on the internet (not as much as I’d like) and I’m always more terrified than excited of gaining over 20,000 views. To me, it probably just means I’ve triggered a shit storm of angry commentators like this and I’d want to give up on the internet for a couple of days. Even reading through some of the comments on this post are making my head hurt, so kudos on your stamina and lady balls.
Also, thanks for this post, which makes me feel like trolls can be cut down to size.
I definitely had a bit of a panic attack when I saw the hate-spike in traffic. It’s hard not to be afraid of being the next Anita Sarkeesian.
You’re great and wonderful and I love you. 🙂
Huh. That smiley makes my comment look unintentionally creepy. Sorry. Just trying to be supportive.
No worries – expressions of support are ALWAYS appreciated.
[I wasn’t going to delete this. You were doing so well! And then you called me a stuck-up snob. Alas. I was rooting for you until that last sentence.]
This is fun, I want to do this one too!
-You’re too uppity! (having an opinion whilst feeemale!)
-Art doesn’t have to be anatomically correct; it’s ART!
-You’re not allowed to complain about why this style of art is harmful! Just do your own thing and stfu!
-You were unprofessional by pointing out the art’s flaws and did not show proper deference to said artist. The artist in question is absolved of any responsibility to restrain the torrents of butthurt and ugliness displayed by his followers.
-Your art sucks, therefore, you’re not allowed to criticize!!!
-You criticized JB’s work, so you think his hard work is null and void! You’re a hypocrite because of reasons I made up by putting words in your mouth!
-You’re going to delete this because you can’t handle the TROOF!
TL;DR – You’re an uppity feeemale and you should show deference to artists who draw boobs with other stuff attached to them for a living.
First: High Five! You are AWESOME! I loved reading your critique and I look forward to many more.
Second: The hateful responses that you’ve received remind me of religious fanatics who call for the death of anyone who dares to ridicule their particular god, as if that god is too weak/helpless to defend itself. I have no idea who Jonboy Meyers is, but is he not an adult who can DEFEND HIS OWN WORK? Why does he need a phalanx of sycophants to defend his (dubious) artistic talents for him?
Third: I’m a 47 year old woman who has been on the internet for as long as the internet has been a thing you could be on. If you ever find the misogyny, sexism, “mansplaining”, and other various rotten behaviors displayed by little boys of all ages (who have never learned that the world does not revolve around them) too much to bear, come look me up. Me and like-minded folks will always have your back. We’re not as loud and obnoxious as the haters because we’re too busy trying to make the world a better place.
Hello! Please please don’t mind the hate! I know the feeling of being called names just for drawing sexy characters in a more realistic way. As a woman, I absolutely hate how every woman (or most) in the comic world has to BE sexy. RPG armor is a JOKE. I challenge anybody to fight monsters in skimpy clothes. Sometimes I wonder if they even wear panties…
I feel pretty violated when somebody draws sexy fanart of my characters and I always have a hard time having to explain why I feel violated and why it is as if I’m the one being portrayed like that.
Anyway, the internet tends to bring out the worst in people, especially if people feel very much about any subject (women being stereotyped vs people who think sexy stereotyping is okay, or even ideal) *cringes*.
I look around me and cry because I don’t want to have a daughter who thinks that sexy is normal, or who reads comics and sees advertisements and would get the idea that being like that, behaving like that and wearing those kind of clothes is what is ideal or even proper….
Why gladiators wear what they wear. Agility – they have to move fast without being weighed down. Why warriors wear what they wear. Stamina – they rely on their endurance more than moving around. Thusly, the heavily plated fully covered body armor. Why archers/rangers wear what they wear. Agility and Stamina in cloth. They need to be able to get away as quickly as possible but also have the endurance to fight back when the enemy is in close range.
You can wear clothes for dex/agi without being overtly sexual. Not sure what you point is here. Mikumiku wasn’t bemoaning female characters having to wear leather or cloth.
Thank you! You got my point! 😀
Dude, you are missing the point here. The whole reason she is putting any of this up (the whole reason for this blog) is that, for many of us, comic book culture ISN’T harmless or fun. She has every right to point out that this lazy depiction of women as walking boob machines is not ok. Are you saying we should all just stfu if we don’t like how our gender is portrayed, cause these people have a *following*? Seriously?
I know you think you’re making sense, but really, all you are doing is trying to invalidate our experience because it doesn’t match your own. (Oversexualized women don’t bother me, so they shouldn’t bother you.) Not helpful.
(Sorry – I trashed the original comment so now yours doesn’t make sense.)
[derailing – see comment policy in sidebar]
To people who have been supportive in the comments. Thank you! The past day has been very draining, dealing with all this haterade.
To those leaving comments, saying I’m sorry you got harassed but you deserved it is victim-blaming, which is awful. (Since I’ve trashed a few of those now.)
I never said you deserved it. There’s a fine line between pointing out why this hatred happened and pointing out the insulting comments that ensued in this thread.
And I haven’t deleted any of your comments because you’ve been playing nice. Thank you! That was addressed at the (mostly) dudes who have been leaving awful comments, and then leaving even MORE awful comments when I delete their first comments. Sorry for the confusion.
You admit to deleting Mostly dudes for their comments because they are not playing nice?
How exactly are you “playing nice” by the comments that you placed about a person you know nothing about?
You go about and delete actual thought provoking commentary because it does not put you in the best of light and, let’s face it, this blog is all about you, isn’t it?
How you are victimized about how you are being bullied.
You don’t like what people have to say to you or about what you are doing here, then you really need to think about a different line of work.
Just deleting comments does nothing to make you seem “right” in all this. All it does is shows that you have an issue and instead of letting others see opinions that are not flattering to you and allow them to make their own intelligent conclusions about them, you just remove the comments and then post that “dudes who have been leaving awful comments”
I want to ask you one question. What college did you graduate from that requires two years of drawing courses for a photography major? you see, because I have been looking at course requirements for a BFA in photography for several colleges and I have yet to find one that requires two years of drawing courses.
Oh my god. I’m so tired of deleting your comments that I’ll actually answer this one.
1. Notice that I actually DIDN’T delete two of your comments? If people adhere by the comments policy which is IN THE SIDEBAR, I leave their comments alone. Simple as that.
2. Please don’t expect accusations of reverse sexism to hold any weight. There is no such thing as reverse sexism (or reverse racism, bee tee dubs). Go do your homework. Here’s a link.
3. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard to grasp that I don’t want people coming here and abusing me ON MY OWN BLOG. You want to talk smack about me? Cool. That’s what the rest of the fucking internet is for. Put it this way – would it be reasonable to expect that I be allowed into your house so that I could punch you in the face whenever I feel like it? No. Now this blog? It’s my internet house, okay?
4. I have no idea why you are so FIXATED on my education. I took drawing classes BECAUSE I LIKED THEM. My parents were paying for my degree, and New Media was a bit more practical than a degree in Drawing. So I majored in New Media, minored in Photography, and took all the drawing classes that I could shove into my schedule. BFA is a five year program – I had LOTS of room for electives. Okay? So stop hyperventilating about Photography majors being REQUIRED to take drawing. I had a friend take so many electives in theology that they got a second degree when they graduated entirely by accident. Electives are a thing that happen for people who actually like education.
5. Oh yes, why don’t I provide you with personal details of my life on the internet. That seems like such a great idea, I can’t imagine any way in which that could possibly go wrong.
“You go about deleting thought provoking commentary…” Man, which thought provoking commentary are you referring to? Is it all the people flooding in to bash her credentials, tell her she’s a shit artist, or criticizing the tone of her post? Because none of that is thought provoking. It is a rehash of the massive hate boner she produced by saying ‘this guy’s drawing was not anatomically reasonable, he was being lax in order to overplay her sexuality, here’s a better way to draw a woman.” Such horror. Literally worse than Hitler. Misandry! Did I miss anything?
Lewis’ Law in action here, I see. (“the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism”). Don’t let the haters, and those who simply miss the point, get you down!
I think the original issue many have with the blog you posted yesterday is you made extremely general and broad comments and views on someone you do not know on how and why he drew the way he did. You assumed he was a misogynist in your comments without flat out saying it. I agree that there is a disparity in male and female artwork in fantasy, gaming and comic genres. I agree that women are many times drawn to a nearly laughable extreme. I do not agree disrespecting another artist for his style or design.
That being said, the venom being sent your way was far out of line. People need to learn to discuss in a civil manner. That goes both ways though. I have seen some very well thought out counter points posted that gained a very disrespectful mocking response. I know this is your blog but you should have the same respect to those that talk as you ask of them. If someone is given a venom response, delete it. Do not just delete the insults sent your way, delete them all.
Firstly, there is absolutely a difference between saying that something that someone made is sexist and saying that they are a misogynist. AT NO POINT did I ever say JB Meyers was a misogynist. Did I say there was sexism evident in his work? Yep. But guess what? EVERYBODY is sexist. Me, you, everybody. We live in a patriarchy – it’s inevitable.
If I say something embarrassingly sexist (or racist, or transphobic, etc), I expect to be called out on it. It’s not fun, but I accept that deprogramming myself is a process and not a destination. Case in point, I used to say embarrassingly transphobic things *on this blog* when I first started it. Not maliciously, but it was still shitty and I’m glad that people called me out. Because ultimately, it’s ON ME to not be a shitty person.
As for your second post, thank you for acknowledging that people have been crappy about this. However, it’s been a long day of trashing horrible comments and I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make? If you’re trying to say that I should be giving them freedom to speak, well. I used to do that and it worked out terribly for everyone. This is my platform, and I am not obligated to lend that platform to people who only want to make me feel bad about myself.
If that’s not what you intended to say, then I apologize. Dealing with so much bile has given me a crippling headache and I’m not operating at peak acuity.
I did not mean give them free reign to trash you. It is your space and you have the right to post in here without people trashing you. I am saying that people who provide speak respectfully but do not agree with you the same respect. Example of such is below. I never once said you deserved to be insulted.
Cool! Thanks for clarifying. That’s why I wanted to check in.
Not a problem at all. I thought the concept behind the original blog was interesting and well thought out. I am just not a fan of overarching generalizations on a person’s character. I believe that is my largest issue with the blow up on all sides.
The only broad comment she made was that the artist seem like the kind of person who would give priority to showing both boobs over showing an anatomically accurate shoulder – which is a pretty legit assumption considering the sample image.
Also, are you seriously saying that she deserves being insulted and called names, because of her post, in which she didn’t insult and name call anybody?
Which well thought put counter points are you referring to? I haven’t read one yet. Can you link them of they are on another site?
I’ll go back and read your original article now – I just wanted to say (in advance) thanks for two things:
1) Standing up for women
2) Reminding me why I despise “comic” artists and their fans.
[Guys, I appreciate that you are being supportive, but please stop engaging in the thread with KE. Let’s respect their wish not to participate further, okay?]
Do whatever you want; if you see something you want to comment on, paint over, whatever; go ahead. Everyone’s always learning and improving, and critiquing work and trying to fix something can be beneficial. Try not to get pulled down by what people are saying on those other sites, though it’s unfortunate some people thought to threaten bodily harm.
Also: That sloth is cute.
A shout out from Rob Liefeld that your art is disproportionate and bad? I would frame that or stitch it on a pillow and hug it every night.
Comic art has been misrepresenting the human body for years and every voice deconstructing that is needed. It’s feeding into poor body image for men and women alike (though I rarely worry about Captain America’s spine as much as Cat Woman or Black Widow.) Thanks for adding your voice.
I know what you mean. There have been artists in the comic world I have crossed out from my list.
I just wanted to say thank you for your original article and say that I hope more art fans start holding comics to a higher standard of general anatomy. I started out in art and personally have a serious love of correct anatomy. I don’t mean that men can’t be overbuilt or stylized, that women can’t be sexy or muscled or even have large breasts with damn good support in their costumes. There are all sorts of options out there for checking anatomy/poses, including Poser for those not able or interested in having a live model or who can’t find an appropriate reference shot. If comic artists want to draw characters who have different skeletons and musculature than the hominids we know and love, awesome! Do it! Just, you know, base it on something. If Terry Whitlatch can create alien creatures that make sense, I’m pretty sure comic artists can do it too. If it’s just that they really, really want a pose to be possible but seem to have issues with how the body actually goes together, that’s unfortunate. And that is what is being critiqued here. So thank you for helping me demonstrate to my husband, a comic artist, why I would prefer he get the anatomy right so he can create art we’re both proud of. Also, Barbie got this treatment ages ago. And is still getting it now. Sorry, comic artists, you are not alone in being held to the standard of actual skeletal and muscular construction. I do this to my own art when I don’t get it right too.
I’d just really like to say “thank you”. You are awesome!
It really annoys me when we’re treated to yet another stick thin Wonder Woman (because that exudes power!). A friend of mine has recently gotten into drawing roller derby girls – while quite a few of them are slim, the majourity have this really cool balance of power and form that makes for some really interesting images. Meanwhile I found myself feeling a whole lot of rage in a comic book store. The figurines in particular had me wanting to find a comic geek boy and punch them.
Completely beside the point but: When did actual woman stop being sexy? Beside the point because I tend to think of this as a “people” problem i.e. why aren’t we treating certain people like people?. If people are going to depict woman in order to sell products… then…. how about actually using woman? I don’t mean the woman you see in a beer commercial, but actual real, you’d see them in real life woman?
i am in love with this entire post. i’m sorry that the world is full of asshats who can’t take constructive criticism.
If it had been constructive criticism, I would have gone to Jonboy’s page. Tell him, “hey that foreshortening of yours is a bit off. I did try it out myself with a little help from my husband and it did take quite a bit of bending considering I was holding a Nerf bastard/broad sword in my hand. Considering the swinging action of where the sword would land should also been considered. But hey, the awesome expression in her face definitely looks like she means business. We need more women who can take charge of things. It would be cool if you could have used a model to double check your work. Thanks. Sincerely, your new fan, Lei”
But well, Anna has her own style of critique. It was good up to the point where she had to point out that she could not care less about what Jonboy does for a living. So, yeah… To each their own.
The reason I said I don’t care about mainstream comics is because I wasn’t keen on giving money to a support companies that haven’t been shy about hating women. Why would I give money to companies that hate me? But now instead of hating me generally as a class of person, they hate me SPECIFICALLY as a person. So now I REALLY don’t care about mainstream comics.
(Which makes me sad. I quite enjoy comics as an artform and have a number of indie comics that I quite enjoy.)
I rarely comment in threads like this because a) I’m not sure it’s really helpful or worthwhile and b) I usually come to the party waaay too late. I’ve honestly not read much of what you’ve done but I thank you for sticking your neck out.
I love that you chose this image, because it’s actually one of the more demure images I’ve seen that still manages to hypersexualize the female figure (usually they involve contortionist poses – as satirised in some of your work). In fact, that’s probably part of the reason some of the Facebook commenters assumed you were male – you were pointing out technical flaws, not just decrying the image as sexist because of the T&A.
Now, I have a comic-artist husband and a daughter, both of which make me super-sensitive to everything out there. My husband would rather chew off his right arm than sacrifice at least a semblance of anatomic correctness – he is not a ‘Good Girl’ artist, though he does like some of them, like Frank Cho and Adam Hughes (we argue, but that’s ok, they are not the worst offenders).
My daughter loves comics and I hope that as she grows older (she’s 7) that she has access to seriously good comics that present women in a variety of ways – both in the writing and in the art. The frustrating thing is that a good story can so easily be ruined by crappy, lazy, misogynistic art (and writing – the writing for the women is usually bad, too). Tbh, I could probably get over some bad art if the female character was well integrated into the storyline – but that’s probably because the bar is set so low.
I got off topic – but the main point is, I appreciate what you’re doing and I think this is a good way to keep the discussion going and growing. There will be a tipping point where the powers that be realise that women reading comics are not some aberration but an underserved market. Oh, and that women and men do not really need to be marketed to separately – seriously, why are men not more insulted? Is it really because ‘boobies’!?!
LoL! Point taken. I have been into comics since I was in 3rd grade. I also do not like it when artists draw women badly. I have crossed out some of them from my list. I fell in love with DC’s Wonder Woman, Marvel’s Storm, to name a few. I know what you mean. I have seen the horror when other artists try to draw their own version of Wonder Woman by enlarging her breasts, minimizing her waist and losing most of her armor. My daughter draws her own Manga. She has definitely put in a lot of thoughts in proportions. My husband and I make sure we let her learned from the good artists. I’ve shown her some bad ones. She laughs and points out the flaws. Well deserved as it may seem, life is too short to be pointing out peoples flaws for a living. I too, have told her not to be overly sensitive when someone critiques her work. She was suspended for three days because she hit the perpetrator with her steel water bottle. I understand what it’s like to be put under the microscope.
Indeed! A lot of why I got back into blogging was because I now have a daughter myself, and the idea of introducing her to geek media as it is today is just not appealing.
I was SO DISAPPOINTED in the new all-female run of X-Men. I bought the first trade, the first comic I bought for myself since the first few trades of Buffy, because I lovelovelove the X-Men and wanted SO BAD for it to be good. But the art was full of boob perspective, broken spines, and thigh gaps. And EVEN WORSE, the writing was TERRIBLE. It’s like the writers didn’t know how to write women so they just went – uh, okay, have Rachel and Storm catfight and Jubilee? I dunno. What do women care about? Babies? Let’s give Jubilee a baby. That’ll work.
You’re awesome. The haters can go puke up their bile in a corner far away. (Though I very much wish you and others like us didn’t have to deal with that level of harassment. But our world often sucks in that regard. We can only just keep doing what we can.)
I’ll be reading and cheering you on.
[…] ← Regarding entirely predictable backlash [LONG, LOTS OF IMAGES] […]
I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your critique of the poster because – as a non-artist – I would have seen that image and thought absolutely nothing of it because I’m just not that familiar with the way the human body is supposed to actually look in “dynamic poses.” You’re making me more aware of latent ideas I have about how women “should” look because of the way many of my favorite female characters are depicted.
I will never understand commenters on this type of issue who post “I’m offended that you posted you were offended because no one should ever be offended on the internet, so stop posting your opinions on your own blog where they can offend me.” There is such a thing as criticizing the critic but that probably should never take the form of telling a critic they should shut up and never criticize anything that they (the commenter) hold dear.
So good on you.
That is a masterful breakdown of the logic involved. Thank you
sirkind person. (Shit, have to stop doing that.)
FWIW I do happen to be a sir 😉
[Okay, kids. Because I can’t trust the internet to play nicely in my absence, I’m going to turn comments off until the morning while I go and do some real-life shit. (MISANDRY!) I’ll cautiously re-open them tomorrow.]
Wow! I’m finding this backlash almost amusing.
Let’s get the argument back to where it should be: Is the image sexist and does it:
A) Come across as sexist?
B) Exhibit traits that emphasise a sexist view?
Knowing the artist isn’t at all that relevant to the argument. A pictrure of a penis is still a picture of a penis. A sexist collection of limbs is still a sexist collection of limbs. Regardless of the artist. That’s the argument put forward and yet the critics aren’t worried about the argument but rather, the authors drawing ability and her crudentials? It’s the tools of a lesser person to try and bring down the author rather than the argument. How about you stop being a bunch of whinging fanboys and argue the points put forward?
[Deleted. Male tears. TROLOLOLOL.]
You’re assuming she has ANY responsibility to help the artist in some way. She’s not really talking about the artist at all. Why do people think that everyone else exists for their validation or gratification? She’s critiqing a poster and pointing out what she thinks is wrong with it. If you want to get dispassionate, leave the damn artist out of it… You’re saying she has a responsibility to be dispassionate about sexism BUT you can to be a complete fanboy about the artist? Way to set standards… Do you do this when playing sports? Do you move the goal posts? Suddenly change the finish line? Make a bet then change the terms to suit you? You’d be called a choice names if you did this in those situations. Imagine I’m calling you them now.
She’s saying this norm – the one with a scantily clad female mascot being at the forefront of those posters – they’re annoying.
Perhaps you don’t find them a source of irritation (that’s an opinion. You don’t have to share the opinion). Do the posters in question in fact feature a scantily clad female mascot every year? If yes, then this can be taken as a fact. What are you disagreeing with? The posters don’t feature a female? They’re not scantily clad? I don’t get your objection. Are they facts are or they not?
And then you go onto a senseless “let’s cut her down” babble… which really… what are you expecting? What do you object to? Her? The article? The fact that she’s talking about a piece done by a particular artist? And why? Because she doesn’t have a penis and takes offense to other females being depicted in unrealistic ways? Because she doesn’t live up to your expectations of what a female should be? You’ve done nothing to actually argue the article in question …. want to try again? Or should I take you as the bigot you appear to be?
Offer up an argument…. or offer up an opinion…. But make it about the article in question. Again – it’s a weaker mind that argues the author, not the article.
[Deleted – insults]
So you don’t like the delivery of the post? You still haven’t actually objected to any of the arguments presented. I’m genuinely interested in your opinion here – you might not like the article…. but does that detract so completely from your interpretation of the opinions expressed? Is she not allowed to express an opinion?
And again with the double standards. Those names…. imagine I’m really mocking you with them now.
You have a problem with her tone. We get it. Now do you have anything to say with regards to the substance of her argument? We’re still waiting for it. Perhaps you should revisit her initial deconstruction of his piece of art so that you can reacquaint yourself with it’s inherent flaws in basic human anatomy (which was sacrificed for the sake of giant massive boobs).
I’m finding myself curious by your constant need to attack the author rather than comment on the content. Those names… it’s because you want to frame things to suit yourself but don’t seem to realise there are other players on the field….
You keep talking about how she should be dispassionate and then go on with a senseless attack on her. You expect her to be dispassionate (though I’d offer up the thought that perhaps you should try a day in her shoes and see how you feel about sexism then)… but then you refuse to look at the points she makes with anything close to a dispassionate manner. You’re critiquing her work and yet you refuse to hold yourself to the same standards that you’re trying to impose on her.
Yes. I’m mocking you. Keep attacking the author, I’ll keep up with the mocking. You keep making a point about a standard and then not holding yourself to that same standard. That’s deserving of mockery. Note, I haven’t actually said anything there… Those names? I left them up to your imagination… Are you imaging them to be that offensive? The really obviously one is “hypocrite” though I submit that as a demonstrable fact rather than something to upset you with.
A friend recommended your blog to me and now I am following, so maybe some good came out of this too?
I will never, ever tire of reading women fight back to trolls on the internet, and your fight is true inspiration. Keep on keeping on and please, for the love of all that is holy, do not let the haters stop you from doing your thing. The internet needs you!
I saw this as a post on facebook. The aformentioned blog, that is. I think whats missing here is that people have to understand that drawing comics and graphic novels… Now one and the same… Is NOT easy. And the great thing about being an artist in the medium… One can exagerate the posture and anatomy of figures and its actually not a problem. Some people tend to go for technigue and style over literal anatomy and thats alright also. Jack King Kirby was less about anatomy and more aboutthe technique of power and dynamicism. He could draw perfect anatomy if he wanted to, but he chose to voice his language through power.
As far as facebookers, we know at least 80% of them are frigging bonkers and will spend more time arguing to argue than to actually know something worth typing. And theyre wrong more time than not. In fact, theyre annoying. Justtry having a deep conversation over something everyone should understand and agree with and youll find that one person who cant take that and wants to roll for the Empire.
But im a pro in the comic biz….thats what people mean by professional artist….. And ive been so for over twenty years. Youll see tons of artists whose anatomy has a lot to be desired traditionally, but theyre style overrides and brings a fanbase. Im pretty sure JonBoy understands anatomy. I think youre more sensitive to the fact that a male may be exaggerating the female form to the point of affecting your feministic views…. The real point of this is that i enjoyed your attempt to fix the drawing, and the first attempt made sense.
Here’s the problem you may not understand.
Ithis is the mind of a comic illustrator/concept artist…… If youre seeing the character for the first time or youre creating a character…. You have to assume that no one has seen the character until theyve seen your rendition. So you have to show as much of that character as possible. And it has to be dynamic and eyepopping the FIRST TIME its being seen. And sometimes those two things can clash… So you may have to cheat a figure or a situation or the anatomy of such to make it work. So just because its technically and traditionally wrong, in comics as long as it conveys the message to get that attention against every other drawing out there, its the right thing.
I’ll look on in the future to see what you do in this genre next. 🙂
I speak only for myself, but I can assure you that the concept of “making a character pop” and “cheating with anatomy and poses for dynamism” is very clear.
The problem that you seem to be missing is that whenever the character being portrayed is a woman, those two things (ie: making a character pop and cheating with anathomy) always, turn into over sexualisation and objectification of women. This happens every single friggin’ time with every mainstream comic and any other type of comic that imitates mainstream american comics.
Is the character male and you want to make him pop by bending the rules a little? Fine, you get Spiderman and his crazy poses.
Is the character female? Guess what? Boobs are shown, scantly clad, side pose distorted enough to clearly show both boobs and hopefully some arse.
This is tiring, it’s not funny anymore and definitely not creative, to the point of seeing a new cover / poster / whatever and going “oh, another one…”
Well, it wasn’t funny to begin with. You tried to correct a person’s artwork without researching why he made his artistic choices, while at the same time, admitting that you yourself made mistakes correcting it. In fact, ive had a chance to see your art and i’ve reasoned its better you find a better way of critiquing peoples art, and you need to be darn sure your own art technique is up to snuff for another artist to respect your opinions. I mean, come on… You thought that going off on a veteran artist who being paid great money to draw and digitally paint that piece and various others from big companies who may have been lead by women, who obviously thought what he did was not only great but great enough to pay him upper 4 digits of company money so they can promote it, wasn’t going to incur some verbal jousting or reprisal? I struggle to understand your purpose of this part of your blog. I think YOU fail to understand that we men do the same to ourselves with the crazy musculature, making the private area way bigger than any normal man…. Or none at all….rendering us a mannequin.. Most of the characters are of caucasian origin and very lackluster on the field of ethnicity…male or female…
As i said, you seem to be a youngin’ and full of energy and ready to take on the world in your activism. But in the end, you seem to be coming off angry, condescending and very unapologetic and also nt understanding what the core of feminism was and is.
And when you take this particular approach to getting your point across, you give away all your power and dopes who are keyboard-confident are smelling that and messing with you.
Trust me, you’re not teaching me anything new. Its all misogynistic and elitist in a lot of respects, and I’ve done this twenty two years. Ive seen the meat of what you see and saw and I’ve seen and continue to see how men of color continue not to get the big projects in big companies, or how companies seek to quiet the crowd by coming up with black versions of established concepts instead of coming up with original content. When you challenge someone on your thread, you have o expect that they may be emotional about that. And if they feel insulted because they think based upon your level of work that you’re not in a position to critique or mark over their work, be ready to buckle down and have your reasons ready. Cuz they’re going to push you BACK.
AND ERASING IT just because you’re sensitive to it will only garner you laughs in the comic and game community. They’re not seeing your message, they’re seeing an angry person going off on tangents calling it a revolution.
And that cant be fitting into your feminism. There are more women writing and drawing in comics because of colleagues like myself fighting to promote them and stand in the trenches for them. We go in and ask for the book the woman is inking or writing or coloring we support them on their blogs when we hear they’ve been shortchanged. But having a go at the very people you’re trying to connect too,….. Not good.
Believe me, ive seen more than you in either medium. Its a whole lot better in most respects visually than when i came in 1993. You’re living the good life, trust me, but it can and will get better based on female content. You want a better version of females in comics! Create “her”. Don’t berate “him”. True feminism can recognize her own backbone while acknowledging the strength of man knowing its to aid her at some point anyway and it’s all good. The men will be on your side if you treat them right.
As i said, you want to show them, then create the genre to want and start the trend. Dont complain about it. Dint start a fight with Napolean, be Tallyrand.
Man, there’s a lot going on here and I’ve had a rough week. I’m super-uncaffeinated right now, but here are some points in no particular order.
1. On needing to be as skilled as someone to criticize their work. That’s just not how art works, in ANY medium. Criticism is a skill, and there are skilled critics of every art medium that people *listen to* because their opinions are seen as educated and important, regardless of their inability to actually make the work themselves. Nobody called Ebert an untalented hack who criticized movies because he couldn’t make them. It was obvious that Ebert loved movies, which is where his criticism came from. But unfortunately, culture criticism is still very much a male bastion in our culture. It’s much, much harder for women to engage in criticism without being seen as “shrill” or “jealous” or “bitchy”.
2. Speaking out against bullshit (bullshit being shorthand for sexism, racism, misogyny, transphobia, etcetcetc) and making art that isn’t full of bullshit ARE NOT mutually exclusive. I write this blog, but I’m also working on, like, four games in various stages of completion (one is with my layout guy as we speak), plus I’m launching a MAJOR project on Monday. Unfortunately, as one artist there’s no way I can possibly challenge our entire culture. Which is why I have this blog. I make art that challenges the status quo, but I need other artists to challenge it with me.
3. AT NO POINT did I ever say anything that was factually incorrect or an unfounded personal attack. WRT JB Meyers, the closest I came was saying that he seemed like the kind of artist who would prioritize breasts – which was entirely based on me looking at the body of his work available to view online. As for the things I said about J Scott Campbell and Mark Brooks? Did I say that they were engaging in unprofessional and irresponsible harassing behavior? You bet your ass I did. Did I ever at any point insult them personally? Nope. I was sorely, soooorely tempted. But I didn’t. (Mostly because I wanted to retain the moral high ground.)
4. On being angry. Yes I’m angry. I’m angry that it’s 2014 and this is shit I still have to deal with. I’m angry that in about a year, two tops my daughter is going to be old enough to start absorbing all this toxic gender bullshit. I’m angry that I have to tell my daughter that there are people who will always see her as being WORTH LESS. She’s a goddamn child, and that is fucking heart-breaking. And you know what? I used to do the thing online where I would remove every trace of emotion from my writing. But even if I talked like a Vulcan, the result was always exactly the same. The people who will respond to me be calling me a fat, ugly, jealous cunt will ALWAYS call me those things.
5. The myth about catching flies with honey just isn’t true, and really, it’s pretty damn entitled for a group in power to demand that a marginalized group talk to them about the effects of their oppression in soothing dulcet tones that don’t make anyone feel bad. In order for change to happen, people with privilege have to understand what that means and how they can use that privilege to effect *positive* change.
6. Activism needs bridge-builders *and* shit-disturbers. It needs the Martin Luther Kings and the Malcom Xes. There are women in the feminist community that I am proud to know who build amazing communities and foster positive discussion, who have boundless energy to educate the people around them. I tremendously respect and admire them, but I know I could never walk that path. I don’t have patience for 101 level activism, and I’m too angry to make a good bridge-builder. And that’s okay.
I think thats only a symptom. I think youre angry about life stuff and this is just the medium you choose to blow up on…. Hey, look, im sure youre dealing with dimwads in your medium. Theyre everywhere. Im not seeing where you think Mark Brooks is hurting anyone, and J.Scott…. It’s his style ….. Its cheesecake like Vargas and Elvgren. If you hate him, you hate them… Oh but wait… You should hate Olivia too.
As i said… You want to do something about it, change it. Complaining about it is just going to give you ulcers, ….. People will just read your rants and keep on doing what they do.
Im just saying there’s a better way.
Basically, your argument is boiling down to you don’t like the way she is drawing attention to the issues she has dedicated a blog to raising awareness about. It’s totally cool if *you* don’t understand the intent behind her blog posts, but don’t think that lecturing her on why her feelings are invalid in your opinion is going to make any difference. You just come off as incredibly condescending and tone deaf.
Girl, please… I can tell YOU like to argue. What I’m saying is what shes saying a Kindergartener can understand. Im saying she doesn’t have the artistic acumen to tell where the artist is getting his influences, what schooling he has and if he even knows so much about the anatomy that he can take license… And she’s going on this tirade as if JonBoy is some evil man trying to purposely pull down women. Trust me, women do that enough to themselves without having men do it to them. Just look at any fashion mag. The wrong ideas that women have about real men that get them into REAL trouble….
What she did was condescending to a paid professional. If someone did that to her the way she did it, she’d be steaming. And thats the point. She should do something in The industry to create a POSITIVE trend instead of complaining about it. All artists have egos. And no artist will tolerate another artist thats not sharing techniques ….but are criticizing them ….. and when that singled-out artist sees that the person crit-ing them isn’t in a place in his eyes to say what they’re doing is wrong based on some feministic diatribe…. He’s going to think she’s not busting on my work for its merits, she’s doing it to bus down men cuz she’s ticked off at the world. NO man is going to put up with that.
NONE OF THEM. At this point, no man is trying to understand her anger. They’re going to say…”man. This woman has problems. ”
She could have come at him better than that. The politics of society? This woman is filled to the brim with anger because its Friday.
Hey Chris, Yep, super condescending in your reply as well. Never once did she ever say JB was evil. Way to put words in her mouth. She took one example out of a billion and said: “This here is what I’m talking about. The woman is drawn in such a way that her agency is compromised in favor of her sex appeal. Here’s a more realistic way to draw her.” That.is.literally.it. Who gives a shit if he’s a paid professional? That’s the whole point. Those are the people that should be taken into account for their work. I totally get that you don’t take issue with it, but lots of us are tired of seeing women in comics, or gaming, or movies, or TV, etc that are sexualized first and made human second. Who are you to tell her how she should be critiquing the industry to make a change? She gets to do it how she bloody well chooses and if anything, her post got a lot of people talking. If just one of those people say ‘man, you know, I never noticed how unrealistic some of those poses are and how wonky that anatomy is, maybe I will be looking at that in the future’ then that’s a good thing. Awareness first, change next. As for artists having egos, well, they’ll just have to get over it. Constructive criticism is a good thing. Finally, I think you misunderstand her intent. You are telling her how she should write to make her message more palatable for guys who might get offended. I don’t think she gives a shit one way or another and also… Chris, she is a PAID professional for her blog posts!! How DARE you criticize! Why not write your own blog in response to her if you REALLY want to make a change! (See how idiotic that is?) Don’t mind me though… it’s Saturday and I’m just soooo angry at politics and stuff… it must be all those feeeeemale emotions and irrationality, amirite? Lol
Chrisscrossrex: Keep it civil please. I’ve appreciated your perspective, but I’m not going to tolerate insulting comments.
Shit. Forgot to add that every feminist blog has strong comment moderation for a reason, and I learned that the HARD way. Allowing *everyone* to speak means that the bigots suck all of the oxygen out of the room. By silencing the bigots, it gives marginalized people and allies a chance to have a meaningful conversation.
Understood. Its your house and people have to play the way you want because you pay the cost to be the boss.
I have views about women that burn me, and i have views about some dudes also… I make statements that get people to think rather than create an uproar. It gets you NOWHERE. trust that.
If its all bluster and no buffer, people just zoom past the stuff and forget it .. Or chastise you.
Really just deal with the issues on its merits.
Besides, not every artist fits into your perception….
This is what i bring to the table.
What’s your point Chris? A pinterest link to more boob shots and broken spines? Lol
Lol. The point is i drew it. And a woman can have a form fitting costume and be sexy and not over the top and pornographic.
This may get my post deleted, but I sometimes think many feminists hate the words “woman” and “sexy” in the same context or sentence. ;p
One thing that this post (and subsequent comments) has done for me is made me much more aware of the issue. While I don’t agree with a lot of what Geek has said, I think she has succeeded in bringing dialog to the table – always a good thing!
BTW, love your work Chris.
Thanks, Michelle! God bless.
The problem with feminists and “sexy” is (in my experience at least) when it gets presented as the only option for women. When the word “sexy” isn’t really necessary, because it gets assumed (or expected, which is worse) when “woman” is mentioned. You can get into arguments around this with Third Wave feminism, which posits that things like porn can be empowering for women because it gives them a way to exercise control over themselves and men. I disagree with this, because it’s a very specific kind of power that’s only applicable in a very specific context that also involves objectification and sometimes (when we get into sex workers in general) nasty messes about choice.
Looking at Chris’ work, it’s not distorted by anything apart from perspective, but I can see that it could still be framed as problematic – the focus appears to be on her crotch for no real reason, both from the perspective and the way that the hands “frame” it. Or I might be getting oversensitive on that score. I feel like I see sexification everywhere these days, and it annoys me. But it might just be my oversensitivity to the issue, I’m unsure.
I have no problem with sexy! When it’s a woman that is a human being that is having sex and still has agency. When women are sex objects or automatic sex rewards? That’s what I have a problem with. There seems to be this idea that feminists all want female characters to wear burquas, which. What? No.
Women who are nothing more than grossly distorted collections of sexy ladybits designed to titillate a straight male viewer do not have agency, and thus are not okay.
Crucible, I wonder if sexism and the backlash may be a result of centuries of puritanical cultural influences. I’ve known a lot of europeans who are much more laid back about sex and the human body than americans. On american tv, extreme violence and gore is rampant, but if a breast pops out of someone’s shirt, all hell breaks loose. My european friends laugh at this. Not only are women conditioned through media to hate their bodies if they’re not flawless, but we’re also conditioned to be ashamed to expose them, for fear of arousing men. Exposed body parts don’t necessarily mean “sex” or even “sexy” in many parts of the world. Public nudity is commonplace in many cultures. But here, our culture cultivates body concealment and shame, so *any* exposure or presentation of the body becomes titilating: breasts are sexy, tight pants are slutty, cleavage is an invitation. As much as you dislike living in a culture where women are objectified, I hate living in a culture where even my feminist sisters shame me into concealing my body and femininity “because men”. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
No problem with women being sexy Michelle… not sure why this argument seems to get pegged as either/or. Let there be sexy women…. BUT, let’s have MORE than just that please? I don’t think anyone is saying that what we want to see are really hideous ladies covered from head to toe. Rather, let’s have some realistic women (in addition to) what’s out there who exist as people in their own right instead of a thing that exists for the sole purpose of being an accessory to a male character or for the purpose of being eye candy. Who would have thought in 2014 that this would be such an inflammatory issue.
You have some real talent, but again, the problem isn’t women being over the top pornographic (though, yeah, it sucks). It’s that for the vast majority of female characters, it’s that they ALWAYS have to be sexy first and maybe something else second. It would be really cool to see a VARIETY of women, just like you see for the men, who maybe don’t have the sexy thing going for them, but hell, they are really intelligent, maybe she has a super compelling back story…. perhaps she has an internal struggle that resonates with girls and boys alike…. who knows? Even your drawings have unnecessary boob\crotch focuses at times and yes, it’s still part of the problem in my opinion. It’s because this way of looking at women is so freaking ingrained into our culture, it’s just the default way of drawing women at this point. That’s the thing that could stand to change in my opinion. (btw, check out the Hawkeye initiative if you are interested. They make a pretty compelling case for silly poses.)
There’s nothing gratuitous about a worm’s eye view, Rach. I think you guys are sooo sensitive about the issue you’re addressing that you’ll find ANYTHING wrong. Having boobs is fine. A character having boobs is great. Having them pushed up through your turtleneck with high heels is nuts. Although women in comics are just as bad. And they’re doing the same. And NOT to compete with men or because they fell put upon to do so either. They also want their characters to shine in a way that will get attention, as women in certain workplaces use their beauty, figure and wiles to get an upgrade in money, position and title in the world of work.
I have a problem with the nitpicking. And no artist is going to satisfy everything you want.
Ifyou want to set the trend of what you like to see then start it yourself. Show people. But “sexiness” is part of the allure for the superhero or the hero of most female-based leads…. Whether it be on Lifetime, WE channel, most movies, television shows or books. So you can’t complain when comics echo what’s trending or what movies trend following comic source material. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you have a problem with the material, the best way to make a company rethink their intentions os to hit them in the wallet- bank account.
My Lord… If i see another glittery vampire, i’m going to scream.
‘ “sexiness” is part of the allure for the superhero or the hero of most female-based leads…. Whether it be on Lifetime, WE channel, most movies, television shows or books. So you can’t complain when comics echo what’s trending or what movies trend following comic source material.’
But chriscrossrex, this is exactly the problem, that it’s so prevalent. So standard that it is ingrained, as Rachell said. Why can’t a female superhero be alluring without being sexy? Why does she need to be alluring at all, in fact? Do male superheroes have to be, in order to be successful? With things like the Toxic Avenger and so on, they really don’t. But with women, it seems necessary. Which is bad, because it typecasts female characters into certain assumed roles and behaviours. Which then over-bleeds into real life, with comments like…
“They also want their characters to shine in a way that will get attention, as women in certain workplaces use their beauty, figure and wiles to get an upgrade in money, position and title in the world of work.”
I’m not saying that no women use their looks to get ahead, but surely they should be able to use their talents and abilities to do so at work as well? And surely that’s better for all concerned? The idea that a woman has to use her looks to get ahead is a terrible one.
My apologies if it seems like I’m distorting your words, I’m amplifying parts of them to illustrate a point – that sexiness and women (whether characters or people) should NOT have to go together for female success, as is implied by the current discourse.
By the way…. I challenge anyone to do a worm’s eye view of a human figure and not look at their crotch. Sometimes its not so much the drawing as much it is the perception of the person looking at it. One person with sex on the brain will look at what pleases them. Others will look at the whole figure and its composition and are pleased that someone accomplished that. Some hear or read “dick” and think curse word, insult or body part… Some think its a detective. The kind that watches over hens and screams at the rising sun. Some see and hear, “pussy” and see a feline while others think an insult or body part.
The problem is when someone is psychologically burned by a concept, they see conspiracy in everything.
You say Wundergeek is creating conversation by nitpicking artwork and calling out another professional, i say she’s annoying her male counterparts, fighting a failing battle, creating arguments and derision with her replies and her and your gifs about male tears, (not likely if you ever met a dude) and spends a lot of time deleting comments that can be truly challenging her concept and rather than dealing with them in the open, chooses to answer just the ones that support her argument than to have valid reasoning for picking JonBoy’s art to redraw and has no real answer for also failing miserably. Its Not solving anything.
Can’t say much here that hasn’t already been said. I read the original post when it went around, and decided to check for myself. My results were different -https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39407718/anatomylessons.jpg .
I’m embarrassed that our community was so harsh on you, but I think the story went viral for a reason. I the problem that a lot of people have with your post isn’t that you don’t have a right to critique or that there aren’t illustrations/art out there with bad anatomy – but that choosing comic art as your starting point seems somewhat misguided. This particular piece is actually a pretty good example of how comic cover art (with composites of several figures or scenes) can complicate perspective and scale even more. There are styles and stylizations in comic art that veer as wildly from reality as the stories themselves. Those stylizations and fantasies can sometimes be extreme, and some find that annoying. But keep in mind, it’s speculative/fantasy! The universe where a mouse can pilot a spaceship made of candy, children grow gardens on her heads, a lone barbarian wearing nothing but a loincloth can slay an entire army and come away with no more than a few attractively placed scrapes (two on the deltoid, one across the cheekbone).
Anyway, you are definitely right by saying that artists should have a solid foundation in anatomy. But really, where they take it from there is called license. Elongated limbs, giant boobs, 50″ thighs, extreme contortion, etc., are accepted and even expected in comics.
I accepted the challenge to shoot a photo of an arm in a similar pose. My results: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/39407718/foreshortened.jpg
The problem is that, when it comes to representing women, such license is always used to make sure that the woman looks sexier, her boobs more visible, her waist thinner, and, when you are really good at it, her bottom is showing too.
You seem to think that most people agreeing with the deconstruction have no idea of what an artistic license is and that rules can be bent to favour effectivness.
I’ll speak for myself now and tell you that I fully understand that, but I am very unhappy that the best these artists can do (or want to do) with their talent is show more tits and ass…
Let’s be honest, T&A sells to the majority of comic consumers. The very best artists certainly know their market or they wouldn’t be hired for certain covers.
I don’t come from the “women should be portrayed realistically and non-sexual” camp, myself. In my eyes, women are beautiful no matter how they’re portrayed. Whether athletic, fat, hypersexualized, adolescent, androgynous, old, whatever. I get that this artist’s style is not your taste, and that’s fine. You don’t need to buy or read that comic. There’s plenty more out there that you might find suitable.
When I was much younger, I went through a phase where I had a lot of hostility about how women were portrayed in media and comics. I felt like so-called “unrealistic” or hypersexualized portrayals contributed to the objectification of women by “patriarchal” society. I’m much more ambivalent about this now. For one thing, I give men a lot more credit than that. It’s just fantasy. Especially within the context of speculative fiction/comics. In fact, as a woman, I quite enjoy the splashy, latex-embalmed, muscular/T&A look, myself. I know I’m not alone. Lots of famous and important artists have exaggerated and sexualized the subjects of their work throughout history. Sex and fantasy are a part of life. It has been liberating for me to let go of some of the anger about it.
I’ve never thought it was anyone’s right to decide another person’s taste, ideals, habits, etc. We may not like certain things, but just because we’re women doesn’t mean we’re the arbiters of how pretend women should be portrayed.
“Let’s be honest, T&A sells to the majority of comic consumers. The very best artists certainly know their market or they wouldn’t be hired for certain covers.”
Or you could read it the other way and say that a certain portion of the market is not reading their comics because they alienate it with their poor representation of women and lack of diversity. And it could be that some people among those consumers is simply so used to seeing objectified and over sexualized women that they don’t see a problem.
” In my eyes, women are beautiful no matter how they’re portrayed. Whether athletic, fat, hypersexualized, adolescent, androgynous, old, whatever. I get that this artist’s style is not your taste, and that’s fine. You don’t need to buy or read that comic. There’s plenty more out there that you might find suitable.”
If we lived in a vacuum in which there was an equal percentage of represented women (realistic, non-sexual, sexual, etc) then I would agree with you. However, the problem is that such vacuum doesn’t exist and there is a huge imbalance with the way women are represented.
Also, realise that ignoring anatomy to over-sexualize the female body isn’t “a style” , it’s a practice (you could have a cartoon style, a manga style, a realistic style and do the “tits and butt” pose, or draw bikini chainmails).
” Sex and fantasy are a part of life.”
I agree that sex and fantasy are part of life. However, you’ll agree with me (hopefully) that women are more than just “that thing that fulfills sexual fantasies”.
“We may not like certain things, but just because we’re women doesn’t mean we’re the arbiters of how pretend women should be portrayed.”
Sure, but when women are mostly and almost exclusively portrayed as a sexual object, I would say that that’s where a line needs to be drawn and it’s perfectly OK to point out how this is a problem.
” You don’t need to buy or read that comic. There’s plenty more out there that you might find suitable.”
I’ve never been a fan of that kind of american comics, so I don’t plan to buy or read any anytime soon.
However, as a woman, I am not happy with the way other women are represented in these comics: why would I want to shut up and not express my opinion?
I absolutely support your right to express your opinion. What I don’t support is believing (by virtue of being personally offended by something) that anyone has the right to dictate how others express themselves.
I could be wrong, but if the world wanted an equal balance of comics featuring realistic scenarios and women, they would likely exist. Plenty of indies doing just that. But if you honestly believe there’s some vacuum, some huge untapped market, begging for “equal balance”, you ought to get into the publishing business yourself and make a killing.
Anyway, I don’t disagree that some artists “ignore anatomy” to hypersexualize, but I disagree that it’s not a “style”. Picasso himself ignored anatomy to enhance the sexual activities and poses of his women. However, that wasn’t what Geek’s complaint was about the subject of the original drawing. She merely felt the anatomy was incorrect. My conclusions differed.
Nobody here believes that anyone has the right to dictate how others should express themselves. There isn’t some kind of ” fascist artwork police” in the making that will punish whoever doesn’t conform to the ideal standard.
Comicbook artists have the right to draw whatever they want and however they want, but if what they draw is offensive to a whole category of people, they need to be called out.
I don’t believe that there is some kind of vacuum or untapped market, I am saying that things happen in the current World, withing a current culture and mindset that affects people. And the current environment is already toxic enough and sexist enough without letting people add more to it and not calling them out.
I don’t think it’s fair to keep using the comment section of this blog as some kind of forum for our personal discussion. If you care to continue, feel free to hit me up on twitter (OoMelyannaoO) or my personal website.
Otherwise, let’s just agree to disagree: I am a firm believer that sexism must be called out, not because I am personally offended by it, but because it hurts people.
Sorry for the double comment – I just realised I didn’t comment on your re-draw, but I did see it.
In your deconstruction, I think that the figure’s torso looks really large compared to the rest of the elements (mainly her head, but also her waist and hips).
The “skeleton” proportions are OK, but when you drew the contours over it, something became “off”. One of the problems is, I think, that her shoulder in the foreground is too high – you can see it in the difference between where the shoulder line is in the blue “skeleton” lines compared to where the red lines are (ie: much higher).
The shoulder in the background, too, looks different: it seems perfectly OK in the “skeleton” picture, but it gets hidden in the overlaid red lines.
The other problem, I think, is that her right boob (the one to the left of the picture) is too big. Actually, let me rephrase that, both boobs are too big, but the right one in particular is also disproportionate, as it wasn’t subject to perspective laws and physical laws.
To be noted here, I am very well aware that the artist wanted to draw big boobs – I am not cricizing his inability to draw boobs the way he wants. I am criticizing the fact that he wants to draw big boobs at all costs.
You say that there is nothing wrong with big boobs and that boobs have all shapes and sizes, which is absolutely true, yet this specific artist only draws big round boobs.
There is nothing wrong with small boobs either, so it wouldn’t hurt to see that from time to time.
Whould you mind if I tried to draw a full picture over your red lines? I am convinced that your red lines are more correct that what the original artist did.
Yeah, go for it! I quite like the idea of someone correcting my correction of a correction of an original. ;D Keep in mind, the “skeleton” is a Loomis Method underdrawing, not a drawing of a skeleton. The geometric shapes are not supposed to represent any actual bone structure, as it’s just the 2D maquette, or basic understructure of the drawing.
Regarding boobs (or rather the “big boobs at all costs”) comment: You’re right. The artist likes big round boobs. It bothers you. I get that. Call them out if that’s your goal. The thing I object to is using absolutes in that particular context like “too big”, “incorrect”, “wrong”, “not following the laws of physics” etc., when in fact boobs can’t really be incorrect or wrong, especially in fantasy art. In other words, don’t use an anatomy critique strategy to bolster an argument that portraying women with thin waists and giant boobs is offensive to you or detrimental to society. They are separate arguments. Using that tactic appears deceptive, and really isn’t necessary to bolster your opinion or a valid argument.
In art school we had this saying “Art or Arnt”. Comments during a critique could include opinions, but they had to be constructive and relevant. Example: “I think that drawing is ugly because I hate bananas and it has a banana in it.” vs “The colors feel washed out and the composition with the exaggerated curve of the banana leads your eye off the canvas.” Although only one example would have been acceptable in school, neither critique sounds preposterous. But combining them might: “The banana has an unrealistic color and shape, therefore this artist is insensitive about my utter revulsion to bananas.”
So getting back to my original deconstruction and critique. In my opinion, the anatomy appears to fall within the range of correct. Looking forward to your redraw.
Well…, THAT aint going away. 🙂
[Derailing – “I’m a(n) [x] and I’m not offended”]
I had a question or two I was going to ask before you shut down the previous thread. Thank you for opening up the discussion again. I do laud your vigilance over negative or overly sexualized portrayals of women in the media, despite my disagreeing with your choice of target.
Are you aware of the numerous “errors” and stylizations of the male figures contained in the piece? All three left hands in the piece are made of impossible. The orc’s head is remarkably small, especially when compared to its shoulder armour. You noticed a difficulty in finding the female’s right shoulder, but did you observe the absence of the dark elf’s right arm? In passing, both the dwarf and the orc are clearly showing more skin than the female warrior in the piece.
I think the above are important questions to ask before launching into a critique of a particular example of an artist’s work.
In your two failed attempts to correct the female figure, it was clear you had no interest in matching the style of the piece. There are clearly anatomical distortions within the figure, but they’re largely in areas you failed to notice. You did notice the very large breasts. They are difficult to miss, but drawing large breasts isn’t inherently sexist as drawing small breasts inherently feminist. You could call for realistic breasts, but nothing in the work is approached realistically.
Clearly, the image still bothers you, and you have every right to express that as you see fit.
That being said, your attempt at critique and dismissal of the artist and entirety of the comic medium bothers me, and I would hope you would offer me a moment to explain why.
First, perhaps my credentials need to be outlined as balance to your 2+ years of anatomy study as a component to your degree; I studied illustration at Sheridan College, majoring in book illustration. I’ve been a working professional artist for nearly 25 years, for TV, video games, film, magazines, books, role-playing games, advertising, and comics. I’ve also been a college drawing instructor for the last 8 years, primarily in figure drawing.
My main complaint is over how little you know about what’s involved in the creation of this sort of piece, yet you appear quite gleeful when it comes to dismissing the artist’s abilities. He was hired to produce this work, so shouldn’t much of your ire should really be directed at the client? The assumption you could correct his anatomy because of the parts that bother you and failed, twice, might have been an indication of something else going on in the piece than just fundamental anatomy. A more experienced illustrator might see them, but a more experienced illustrator would place such things in the context of the entire work, and not just a politically troublesome figure. A more experienced illustrator would also recognise the grossly unprofessional aspects of what you did. Calling out your limited experience as an illustrator to attack another professional merely calls your experience and judgement into question.
My other complaint stems from how you end your article; you clearly state your ignorance of the subject matter at hand, Jonboy Meyers’s work, then argue its validity by expressing wilful ignorance of another subject, comics.
Historically, arguing from ignorance puts you on the wrong side of things. Meyers’s work is quite good for the style he’s working in (a World of Warcraft/Anime Fusion sort of thing) despite its falling outside your personal taste and isn’t typical of the comics medium.
Not being to your taste is perfectly fine, however, the latter part makes you look silly, which is the last thing you want to appear when you’re launching an attack of this sort.
There are a number of things that should have been warning signs this was the wrong work for you to go after, you weren’t bothered at first, you couldn’t figure out the anatomy on your own, you lack the professional experience to understand how this sort of freelance work is done.
It’s truly unfortunate so many people chose to attack you without an understanding of what you were trying to accomplish, but, that’s essentially what you did when you went after the Meyers’s artwork in that way.
In summary, if you want to be taken seriously as a professional act like one, and pick better targets going forward.
Okay. You know how people are mad at me for not bothering to follow the comics industry? Maybe by the same token, before you come to a feminist blog you should actually know something about feminism. This is NOT a feminism 101 blog and I am NOT obligated to educate you. However, since you actually managed to be pretty civil (if a little patronizing), here’s a reading list to start with:
Why gaming isn’t sexist against men (It’s about gaming, but it’s still true for comics)
Why scantily clad male power fantasies are not “as bad” as scantily clad female sex objects
Nope, it’s still not “the same”. Really.
The overwhelming prevalence of sexist depictions of women
Tone arguments and why they’re bad
How sexism is harming the mainstream comic industry
Sexism in comics – a collection of stories about near-ish recent events
Lastly, people keep assuming that I have some secret desire to work in the mainstream comics industry? Guess what. I DON’T. I make a hell of a lot more money being an independent publisher, since I get to keep 100% of my profits. Plus I’m not accountable to sexist writers, marketers, and management.
So don’t think this is misplaced jealousy. I honestly can’t think of artistic community I’d rather be part of less, frankly. The sheer volume of abuse I’ve gotten in the last two days is FAR WORSE than anything I’ve received from the gaming community so far. So I’ll stay over here in Gaming Land and be my own boss, thanks.
[Deleted – insults. My house, my rules.]
[Deleted – mansplaining.]
[Deleted – derailing. See comment policy in sidebar.]
First of all, I am ok with having comments deleted, but frankly that kinda of seems like internet example of derailing to a T. Dismissing other’s thoughts through deletion, an accusation of derailment that cannot be proven, and you win again! No issues, but I think open exchange of ideas has value, even when I do not agree with everyone sharing.
And I have read that article a few times, if you think about it, there really are no ways to discuss issues without at least some overlap with that list … then again, my expertise is legal and sociology, not on internet discussion on charged topics, I am pretty sure that topic wasn’t offered where I went to school.
Look. If you want to know why I took the approach I did, why not try reading some of the rest of this blog? There are even helpful links IN THE HEADER to tell you how best to do that.
Why was your previous comment derailing? Because we’re up to 122 comments on this thread so far, NOT counting all the ones I straight-out trashed, and a good number of them are focused on telling me WHY I’M WRONG and completely ignore the serious issue with misogyny and harassment that exists in the comics community. Considering that I wrote this post to highlight that as a topic of discussion, THAT is why it is derailing.
I have read some of it, when people have linked to your articles and the like … Other comments do not make me a derailer, I would hope my words stand on their own, I was responding to what seemed to be a flip flop between different issues … in some areas, you talk about his art, and granted some of the problems with the piece might be attributable to sexism on the artist’s part, others might be a lack of training, but when someone says here are ways to look at your art critique differently in regard to anatomy intentional style tweaks if you look at the male characters instead of the female as the only factor, and you said it was all about sexism, previously, but the original article did seem focused on the structural issues of the art, which leads people to question that topic of the article, not every possible related issue at once.
Granted, nothing is ever black and white, I personally thought it was a nice design, it had flash and polish and snappy, and yes, some problems that to a discerning eye were pretty obvious … other parts of the “problem” were more of a problem with the popularity of stylized art in general, and the nature of being able to sell something that looks “cool” vs something that is strictly “correct” but that is a matter of taste an aesthetic not always sexism, because indeed the men had some issues with their bones and organs too in the very same picture.
But this is a public forum, the examples of that list at the side you linked often talk about a pub and a discussion, here you are likely to get people reacting to what you intentionally put on the internet so people you do not know personally can see and agree or not with. Some of the comments had valid points, but I simply wonder what the actual point is, if someone adds artistic experience to the pot, and that is bad, and someone else adds experience as a human to the pot, that is bad … it stands to reason this comment thread is only for those who agree with you, even though the post was about people not agreeing with you, and how lame their arguments were.
I am not going to tell you my credentials or experience, or my gender, or what notable marginalized groups I fit in, I think that is a distraction, and worse, its handing easy ammo to people who might not agree with me, the words and ideas should trump that.
Also, for the people being intentionally insulting and cruel to you, they are terrible, bad behaviour is never acceptable, and you are right to blast off on them, it would also be nice if someone threw bags of flaming dog poo at their doors, but deleting comments is heavy handed if their offense was a tactic that is shunned by the Harvard Debate society, most people do not even know what those argument tactics are, but you explaining that they might be doing those things, and then ignoring it and addressing the meat of the comment might end up being more productive and cathartic for everyone involved.
And yes, I do not fully agree with everything on your site, that is a good thing, if I agreed with it all already I wouldn’t be able to learn and wouldn’t be interested in reading stuff here, it would be like reading yesterdays newspaper 🙂
Other than the socio-political manoeuvres, there is lots of spirit and interesting things in your post and the debate is spawned, lively! 😀
[Deleted – derailing. This is not feminism 101.]
[…] additional hits, the website Go Make Me a Sanwich got 29,000 hits in 24 hours after its author criticized a promotional image for GenCon, I can’t help but feel that the notoriety is not worth the damage to my ego. I desperately […]
Comments are closed.