From one former fifteen year old boy to another: piss off

My friend Ami has an amazing tumblr called Escher Girls. She posts pictures of anatomical injustices in “professional” comic books and, with the help of the community, critiques them.

She also gets a lot of badly thought out complaints. This is my response to a horrible excuse for a defense of the comic book industry.

Really? Do we have to take away the sexy comic book babes from the nerdy 15 year old boys? I mean, that’s basically all they have at that point in their lives.

No. No, it isn’t.

It might have been everything that you or that a friend of yours had at that point in your life, but please don’t speak for everyone. I don’t take it kindly when someone from the internet tries to erase what I or my friends actually lived through.

At fifteen I wrote, read feminist texts, made some friends, played video games for fourteen hours a day, got over a very bad and unhealthy crush. This is my experience but I’m willing to say that it’s more representative of fifteen year old nerds as a whole than the one you describe.

Yes, women in comic books are portrayed as ridiculous sex objects.

That’s. The. Whole. Point.

Like they say about gay marriage: if you don’t like it, don’t get one. And if you don’t like the way women are portrayed in comic books, how about you not buy them, and leave the 15 year old nerd boys alone?

Please check your straight privilege in at the door. Not every comic-reading teenager is a straight male. Some of us actually read comics in spite of the anatomically disgusting, libido swelling poses, not because of them. We are not to be blamed for wanting to point out where the comics industry fails and how it could do better.

The point of the comics industry is to tell a good story; it is not to supply you with bad superhero porn, which is one of a fanbase’s many jobs and one it does plenty well on its own.

now, there is a similar system in the minds of 15 year old boys, which is used to evaluate how sexy a woman is. and that system can be modeled and exploited. and it is, by the comic book industry, because it sells comics.

what I’m saying here is, comic book babes are the donuts for the (15 year old) male model of female desirability. they are something which could never possibly exist in a state of nature. they are designed to peg the scales in every direction at the same.

yes, they are a completely unrealistic, unfair, impossible standard of attractiveness to live up to. and that’s the whole point. they are just a fantasy. they are not a threat.

everything has its place.

Wow. You think so highly of us as a species, don’t you? I’m not going to touch upon the donut analogy (or the race car analogy you made earlier) because there are enough problems with it to prompt another post or two all by itself.

Is it so unthinkable that some teenage nerds might not be straight males? perpetually horny? sexist?

Is it so unthinkable that some people are part of the asexuality spectrum? that some people know of better places to get porn from? that people might want comic books to rise from the stereotype of cum and barbecue sauce stained rags?

If maintaining your libido’s really that high a priority, please go take off the smut filters on google or duckduckgo and blast off to actual porn. There’s nothing wrong with sexy women; the problem comes when you act as if you’re entitled to all women being depicted as sexy or when you act as if it’s okay for a woman in a serious work to be depicted as nothing but a sex symbol.

7 thoughts on “From one former fifteen year old boy to another: piss off

  1. And the most relevant arguement of all: 15 year old boys do not hold buying power in comics. They just aren’t reading them. Comics buyers and readers are an aging market. Even more of a reason the art should not look like it was made to satisfy the fantasies of a teenage boy.

  2. I just read the whole thing on Escher girls and…. wow… dis dude…
    I’m glad I grew up reading japanese manga instead. While yes, some of it is sexualized too, it is not to the degree that is found in american comics… and at the very least the girls are drawn with proportional anatomy. At its height, Japanese Manga has a lot of feminist undertones in them (either that or Japanese men are excited by strong women). Many of the heroines are strong and capable while still having their flaws, and it is something I’ve come to embody when coming up with fiction or sketches. Hell, the godly Hayao Miyazaki portrays all his female characters as strong and capable, even when the main hero is a GUY (Princess Mononoke). American comic artists could learn a lot from this man, too bad they’re too arrogant and busy drawing softcore porn to actually broaden their horizons… -_-”

    As an amateur artist myself, I’ve really focused on the foundations of drawing the body, mainly proportions which I’ve nearly driven myself crazy trying to do. And you can forget about armor bikinis… I deck my females out in full body armor. They’re there to kick ass and take names… not have sex with the enemy… -_-”

    Maybe I should go into the comic industry, so I can start drawing women right and spearhead this movement in the american comics… :/

  3. I disagree. The teenage males are more likely to act like the idiot you’re flaming than you did.

    I’ll put my half heterosexual male privilege out on the table, it needs to be done. It’s from that experience that I’ve noticed that the bulk of guys in the overall land of geek are oversexed and over pandered to. If not in comics, then in video games, if not in video games, movies and TV shows.

    If you’re a geek and you’re a dude, expect to have EVERYONE try to stroke your male privilege. Which, as a male, really sucks for me, because I don’t want to be pandered to. It feels cheap and reveals how stupid a someone is for trying to appeal to me in that way, it also makes me feel like whoever’s pandering like this isn’t really giving a shit about the humanity of women either.

    What doesn’t make this any better is that a lot of geek girls are playing into it. I mean, look at those tasteless Saber bodywash videos. Written and directed by women. It would be kind of cute and sexy if it didn’t exist in the context of a geek culture of porn, instant gratification and whiny demands that their every whim get pandered to. I’m not blaming women for this, but it’s very much a “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” situation. There are cultural forces beyond anyone’s control. It’s causing women to not just deny there’s a problem, they’re also actively working against their own interests.

    But the good news is, things are getting better. Slowly, sure, but, I’m optimistic. But let’s be real, there’s a lot of work to be done. We need to pressure nerd culture to grow up.

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