Recommends: More Escher Girls

Content Note: Fat Acceptance, Disability Acceptance

(Is it only an "addiction" if it causes harm to my daily life? Until then, can I just call this Tumblr a guilty pleasure? While I keep recommending it at least once a month?)

This month's winner (as determined by me) because I'm so bloody sick of comic artists forgetting about Legs and Arms because they're not Boobs and Butt.

In other news, I actually walked into our local comic book store with Husband the other day because he wanted to buy new card sleeves for his Magic: The Gathering cards. (He's teaching me; I do a lot of yelling. Progress is being made.) Only it turned out that the tiny comic book store was packed because there was (coincidentally) an actual Magic: The Gathering informal tournament-meeting-thing going on there that night.

I've been house-bound for almost two months since the surgery and going to small stores filled with lots of strangers has begun to intimidate me even more than it usually does. (Target and Walmart are fine. Teeny-tiny comic book store where you basically have to brush up against 3+ people to get to the card sleeves in the back? Not fine.) And this isn't helped by the fact that I have hearing issues that boil down to "if there are 8 people in a room talking simultaneously, I can't hear anyone clearly, period" and when I can't hear, I bottle up even further lest someone try to talk to me and I'll have to fake my way through a one-sided conversation with grins and smiles and polite laughs.

So in trying to find something to make eye contact with that wasn't a person (who might then try to talk to me), I landed on this:

Yeah. (That link cracks me up, as it notes that her "'assets' aren't as in-your-face as they were in the comics". Great gravy, what does she look like in the comics, if that's the case?)

I love my body, at least as much as I can in a society that tries its best to shame me for being fat and invisible me for being disabled. But this sort of thing makes me uncomfortable, especially when I'm already anxious in a noisy crowd full of people who I secretly believe are all looking at me funny. (If they were, I'm sure it was because of the back brace and not because I fail to conform to Power Girl standards of beauty. But still.) I'm not uncomfortable because there's anything wrong with looking like this or with liking this. I'm uncomfortable because, as I panned my eyes around the comic store, this was pretty much the only way all the girl character statues looked. And the older I get, the less hopeful I am that there will ever be a major comic book character that looks, well, like me.

I now have no idea why I typed any of that, but I'm not deleting it.

RECOMMENDS! Ramble at will.


JenL said...

I have a little card game app on my cell phone. It's free, but with ads. No big - after every few hands of cards, there's a text ad, or a short (10 to 20 second) video ad that plays, and in the game itself, there's a little ad bar. Or you could pay a few bucks to make the ads go away. Never really considered paying for that, until...

One particular set of ads, for a video game, ran for a solid week. The video ads were actually fine - they were monsters, and some male character doing some kind of summoning. But the little bar ad, up while you actually played? Was a woman, laying on her back, in an "OMG, that poor woman's back is BROKEN" pose. Her chest and even her stomach looked like they were a good foot in front of where her shoulders and head were. And her "assets"? I swear that each of them was *larger than her face*.

You know, I don't mind looking at barely-dressed women (there was a strip of cloth down each boob). But the disproportionate size, and the broken-back posture - it made me cringe. It looked painful. I wound up trying to play the game while covering up that ad bar with my thumb...

chris the cynic said...

This past week I've been very much out of it. I woke up yesterday morning with the hope that I could finish a .hack post and a Deus Ex post so that I'd have something I could share for This Week in the Slacktiverse. I managed that, even if I ended up being way late in submitting. So I've got that:

.hack//Sign: What happened - The second half of the post I was supposed write in it's entirety last post but, due to falling plant, had to be cut in two. We finally learn how the confrontation at the end of episode 3 ended, Subaru is asked to look into the system access logs so she can see the truth with her own eyes, and BT finally learns the name of the thing she's decided she wants to spend her time tracking down. And with that I finish episode 3.

Deus Ex: Intro Cinematic - The two big bads get together to catch up which we oversee for the purposes of an exposition dump. We get a sense of Bob Page's evil that we'll never really get elsewhere because his administrative villainy is generally not as in your face as Walton Simons' hands on villainy.

And that's it, for me, for the week. Wait, no, because Left Behind. *Goes to upload things to the blog*

Skewed Slightly to the Left - Rayford meets Earl during World War III - A short piece, with a different kind of meeting.

Left Behind gets the Terminator Treatment - Sometimes, "I'm from the future, I'm here to rescue you," doesn't go the way you expect.

Brin Bellway said...

And this isn't helped by the fact that I have hearing issues that boil down to "if there are 8 people in a room talking simultaneously, I can't hear anyone clearly, period"

I only recently learned that there are people who can make out what others are saying in crowds. Not only that, it seems this ability is sufficiently common to be considered "normal". Who'd have thought?

(In hindsight, it occurs to me that if not being able to do it was the norm, people in crowded places would have to take turns having conversations (or rely primarily on writing or maybe signing) as several simultaneous ones would be untenable. The fact that this generally doesn't happen points to the capacity to do without such turn-taking.)

On the other hand, every single comment on that blog post is along the lines of "No, I haven't wondered how I can pick out specific voices from crowds, because I can't."

Jake said...

Apropos of "what she looks like in the comics", there's a possibly apocryphal story that the artists at some point (in the late 80s? early 90s?) decided secretly to start drawing Power Girl's breasts bigger and bigger with each issue, with the intent of figuring out exactly when editorial would notice and tell them to knock it off. The answer to this question is apparently "never". Add in the cleavage window (a feature retained through several costume redesigns) and the fact that Power Girl is (or was — continuity is so confusing sometimes) canonically rendered psychopathic by consuming artificial sweeteners, and she kind of represents an enormous passel of body-image Issues.

BaseDeltaZero said...

Power Girl is (or was — continuity is so confusing sometimes) canonically rendered psychopathic by consuming artificial sweeteners, and she kind of represents an enormous passel of body-image Issues.

... bwuh? Who the hell looks at that storyline and thinks 'yeah, that's a good idea'.

Makabit said...

This is one of the reasons that Penelope Garcia of "Criminal Minds" is so incredibly important to me. (OK, it's not comic books, but). The presence of a quirkily dressed, chubby FBI employee who catches bad guys is just incredibly calming for me, even if every other woman on the team ever has an identical haircut and physique.

JonathanPelikan said...

So as usual, the answer in this case is More Diversity. That also neatly sidesteps the risk of developing a 'stop having a sex drive/porn/fetishes/exploitation/fun, guys' ideology. Part of it is trying to change the culture around us, though, while another part is specifically about affecting comic books as an industry, which may be an even trickier proposition. Like book publishing or Hollywood, it's got Entrenched Thought so deep a nuke couldn't dig it out, and we've got to work on that to introduce more diversity and thus cut down on the 'only one body type' thing.

As with many things, when we win, Everybody Wins in the long run; more body types mean more interests catered to, more legitimization and less shaming all around, a fairer representation in art of our people, perhaps even less anatomical failure...

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

Something I noticed about the woman in the top image... When regular artists (not comic book artists) draw people, the heights of the people drawn are based on multiples of head heights. Iirc, I think a 'normal' person would be 7 head-heights tall. Fashion designers draw their people (who are essentially mannequins for the fashion designs) with 9 head-heights. Runway models often seem almost to actually *be* 9 head-heights tall because they often have such long legs.

But woman in the top image looks like she's not only 9 head-heights tall, but a full *7* of them are her legs. And that's WRONG.

Aidan Bird said...

I went on deviant art the other day, because sometimes I upload some art there and I have a few friends there, and decided to just browse random art for the fun of it. I soon came across a couple of amazing paintings - beautifully detailed - until I realized that the person decided to make the woman's armor only on the shoulders and breasts. WHY? I can't stand it when artists do this; no person in their right mind would ever go out in battle without armor that covers all of their torso and probably a good portion of their body. You don't go walking around in a battle with huge amounts of skin showing - especially if that skin is in very sensitive areas that wouldn't take a stab or gunshot very well. It's mind-boggling stupid, and the only reason it's done is to cater to the Male Gaze.

This is why I can't stand looking at a lot of game and/or comic art (notably fantasy game and/or comic art), especially from older games, because they often do this with girl's armor. The guy's armor will be complete and useful and covers everything, but nope, not the girl.

The butt and boobs poses were at the very least rarer the day I was looking at random art on Deviant art, but I know that was just that they weren't coming up. I know they're on there, because that stupid, stupid pose saturates too much comics, and there's too many copy artists out there, replicating the pose and keeping it alive. It's maddening.

Though every time I see Escher girls, I think of Jim Hines trying to replica poses like that.

Pqw, who used to be Laiima said...

Wrt any Escher Girls image ever *and* Power Girl, well, I'm essentially flat-chested. (A cup.) I haven't worn a bra since high school, and I've never *needed* one.

There are pluses. The breast tissue I have remains as 'perky' at age 46 as it was at age 16 - no sagging. Bras are expensive - that's money I don't have to spend. No man has ever talked to my chest instead of my face.

But there are tons of minuses.

(1) Lots of clothing styles don't look good (or look TERRIBLE) because they're designed to showcase big breasts. (1a) Swimsuits are a special kind of hell because of that. (1b) The bridesmaid dress my sister made me wear for her wedding 25 years ago still fills me CAPSRAGE to think about, or see photos of. Princess seaming - oh how I hate you! (1c) I actually have lots of traumatic events in my history that are clothing-related.
(2) The media almost never show a woman with my body shape. I make careful note of the ones I have seen, especially if they refuse to wear padded bras. Selma Blair is the only one who never pads. Keira Knightley rarely does. I think that's it.
(3) Lots of men think I'm not just unattractive to them, but deformed. Some have told me that to my face.
(4) I look 'androgynous' without any effort whatsoever. I get mistaken for a man ALL THE TIME. Even when I'm wearing a skirt and/or jewelry. (Maybe being tall is part of it.)
(5) Redefining 'sexy' so it includes me/my shape? I've given up. I try for Appealing In A Quirky Way.
(6) My gender identity is so fluid I don't really know what to call myself. Am I really a woman if no one but me thinks I am?

chris the cynic said...

Am I really a woman if no one but me thinks I am?

Yes. If you think you are, then yes.

bekabot said...

No wonder the chick-in-the-pic at the top of the page is so pissed off — her leg just went all bendy. That would ruin my day too.

fizzchick said...

If anyone hasn't seen it yet, Scalzi had a nice article this week on how not to be an overbearing creepy ass.
By my count, Edward-not-better-than-chocolate fails on all of his points except #8, and that's only because sexual innuendo is incompatible with Meyer's rigidly traditional worldview.

Silver Adept said...

Agreed with chris. You are a woman if you think you are.

That cover is very...leggy. As best I can tell, we're not looking at an alien race or something. Although, in a strange sort of way, its kind of refreshing to see the legs as the exaggerated item, rather than the breasts or the butt. (But only for a moment.)

Speaking of female armor, its it me, or would armor that's not so...form-fitting make more sense for women to wear? With as many that do need to wear padding and protection for modern life, I don't think anyone wants steel or leather that close to sensitive areas without a lot of cushioning.

And on body types, I like watching Olympic sport competitions because they showcase all sorts of body types as acceptable and desirable - from the gymnasts to the weight lifters, with all the team sport players in between. And then there's some capslock rage at how often the media wants to focus on the conventionally attractive ones for the fluff human interest stories... So it's not perfect.

bekabot said...

"That cover is very...leggy. As best I can tell, we're not looking at an alien race or something."

They are Gumbies in women's guise.

Loquat said...

The linked statuette of Power Girl - boobs noticeably smaller than her head; could probably buy bras at a store catering to large-breasted women

Comics Power Girl - boobs often as large as her head or larger; once featured on a 2 part cover where her face and shoulders were on one cover and her boobs were on the other (can't find it on the internet, too many other pictures of Power Girl's boobs flooding Google)

On the plus side, she apparently got a redesign this year where they closed the boob window.

Anthony Rosa said...

I would agree with chris the cynic that yes, you're a woman, even if no one but you thinks you are.

Also, A-cup breasts aren't unattractive, I dunno what's up with people thinking that... the sort of people who would call you unattractive or deformed because of it are asses.

Cupcakedoll said...

Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor in case anybody here hasn't seen this lovely gallery yet. =)

My local games store has taken to having Magic tournaments nearly every day, much to my sorrow as the gamers block my access to the glitter dice and the noise impedes chatting with the cute guy who works there.

"if there are 8 people in a room talking simultaneously, I can't hear anyone clearly, period"

I can't either. For years I thought nobody could, and was very confused about why anyone would want to sit around in a bar when you can't hold conversations. Realizing other people apparently CAN communicate in noisy places was a revelation.

chris the cynic said...

I wonder if the internet self selects for people who can't deal with a thousand and one conversations going on at once. Those who can are likely out in such spaces while we speak... type. Whatever.

depizan said...

Some of the art - if I dare call it that - that shows up on Escher Girls makes me suspect we have aliens living among us, earning a living in the comic book art industry. There are times when the anatomy is soooo far off, you just want to ask the artist, "Have you ever seen a human being?"

Of course, it also makes me want to take a life drawing class or two. I have some small artistic ability, but am too lazy and impatient to really be an artist. But then I look at the stuff people got paid to do and a part of me says, holy shit, I could do better than that! Also, I've come to notice that my artist friend does wonky anatomy from time to time, which makes me sad. Also, also, I get the occasional idea for drawings, either humorous ideas or the desire to sketch some scene from a story (mine or someone else's) only to run into the problem that I don't actually know what I'm doing.

depizan said...

You're a woman as long as you think you are. What other people think doesn't matter.

*sigh* Okay, it matters a lot more than it should, sometimes. But, since there's not generally a non-gendered-person restroom, I'll have to continue scaring little old ladies in the women's room. :(

Lonespark said...

Oh, oh, Chris brought up time travel missions, so I figure it's a good time to plug my idea:

An (awesome) Original Female Character in an Avengers fanfic story facetiously raised the idea the Rush Limbaugh is kind of like a Culture War Terminator, sent from the past (I think. Possibly it was an alternate universe? I need to look this up and edit in the link...) to prevent certain kinds of progress in American society.

I just think that idea is really awesome. When I was Really Really Sick this afternoon I was lying in bed thinking of other people who could be candidates for that distinction. I think Culture War media figures fit really well. Of course you could also have assassins (John Wilkes Boothe? James Earl Ray? As long as you don't give the impression that all racist violence is due to time travel...) or maybe heads of state, although that might well require a more sophisticated conspiracy. (Woodrow Wilson is totally my candidate for this one.)

And then I've been thinking lately of Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, so you could always have dueling time travel teams pushing their different social agendas. (Was Franklin D. Roosevelt grown in a lab? Or...) I think it's harder to do the Terminator thing on the liberal side, partly because it's hard to predict the time frame for social movements. Maybe some kind of future/past/AU funded version of the Koch brothers?

What do y'all think? Know any works that do this well? Inspired to write any?

Rikalous said...

A post about the lack of diversity in the body types of comic book women? Let's talk about Amanda Waller. Amanda Waller was, as she once mentioned, "fat, black, cranky and menopausal." She ran the Suicide Squad, a group of supervillains doing black ops missions, generally in exchange for reduced sentences. She kept said supervillains in line without needing any superpowers or even combat training. She was nicknamed "The Wall'" for her utter refusal to take shit from anyone. She glared down the Goddamn Batman, after revealing that she had his fingerprints. She once tried to shoot Darkseid, the go-to villain when the seven A-list superheroes that make up the Justice League need a convincing threat. She was generally awesome.

Then came the New 52 reboot, she suddenly looked like a supermodel, because we had too many nice things. (On the other hand, there was a woman who looked an awful lot like classic Waller in the most recent Suicide Squad issue, so maybe she's coming back.)

@Lonespark: The closest thing I know of is the Time Lincoln comic book, but there Lincoln and George Washington Carver and J. Edgar Hoover and all the other time travellers were historically significant before they gained time powers and started fighting.

Aidan Bird said...

I agree with Chris and Anthony. If you view yourself as a woman, then yes, you are one.

By the way, one of my guy friends love girls with smaller breasts, especially A cups. Always told me that he found it sad and frustrating that more people didn't appreciate women with smaller breasts more. I don't know if that helps you feel any better to know people exist that do find your body type attractive?

It's sad that those men said those awful things to you, for they aren't true at all. The combination of socialization and asshatery both probably plays a role in that. :/

Aidan Bird said...

I have this same problem! I seriously can't hear people when there are numerous people talking in a room. And I really can't hear people in bars with the heavy music and people talking. I often have to sit ridiculously close, with my ear near their mouth, in order to get some inkling of what they're saying. It's so frustrating, and why I don't really like talking in bars if my friends insist on taking me to one. Unless it's a super quiet bar - but those are practically nonexistent and generally not friendly to gender-variant people.

chris the cynic said...

So, Ana, I just noticed that Fred Clark recommended you. Congratulations.

Ana Mardoll said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you! (I don't go to patheos very often lately because I get these strange pop-up ads on that site and nowhere else, which seems weird, but it's probably just me.)

That brought tears to my eyes. Especially this:

C.S. Lewis mistakenly wrote that Susan had turned her back on Narnia, but what it really seems is that Lewis had turned his back on Susan.

I know there are other, equally valid ways to read the tale. But that ... just ... that, it's how I feel, too. Poor Susan.

chris the cynic said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you! I'm so excited to hear that!!

You're welcome.

(I don't go to patheos very often lately because I get these strange pop-up ads on that site and nowhere else, which seems weird, but it's probably just me.)

I get popups at patheos but nowhere else, but usually it's just asking me to enter the publishers clearing house sweepstakes, which I do compulsively because the one in one billion two hundred fifteen million, five hundred thousand odds I have of winning that often seem like the best chance I have of my life going right.

Ana Mardoll said...

Here is a Tray of Comforting Things, if you want them. :/

chris the cynic said...

Tray of Comforting Things sounds intriguing. What Things are on such a Tray?

Ana Mardoll said...

For me, it would be hot chocolate, some homemade (in someone else's home, not mine) marshmallows, and a warm cookie or three. Some people stack them with crunchy vegan food and/or nice hand held video games, though. :)

chris the cynic said...

I'd go with yours over the vegan food.

Anyway, didn't mean to dampen the mood.

Ana Mardoll said...

No worries. Here are some internet hot chocolates. :)

chris the cynic said...

Since you don't go there as much, I figured I should point out that there's been a follow up.

Ana Mardoll said...

Thank you. That made me cry a little. I always weep for Susan. It would be so hard for me to lose my entire family like that. Possibly irreparably hard.

chris the cynic said...

I kind of do like hapax's interpretation that Susan escaped the story. The others still have their fates written by the dread god Lewis, but Susan has stepped out the side exit and gained her freedom.

Silver Adept said...

What a wonderful thing, to see all if those interpretations and yours right there with them! Major congratulations.

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