Venting about the debate on objectivity

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Mezike
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Venting about the debate on objectivity

Everybody else is doing it. It’s always been done this way. It doesn’t hurt [-]me[/-] anyone.

It’s charming to see the menfolk round here cautioning the little ladies not to worry their purty heads about stuff that upsets them so. I’m particularly surprised that so many of the normally rational people round here need so much convincing that the objectification of women in superhero comics is a bad thing. Quite frankly, some of you need to get your knuckles off the ground about this.

I’m sorry if it offends some of you guys, but I can’t look at my daughter every day and feel like a man if I just shrug my shoulders and say that this is the way things ought to be, and she should accept that as her lot in life.

It's not the way it ought to be. We all deserve better. Maybe SotM was always intended to be this way, in which case I would find it quite hypocritical that under all the flag waving of inclusivity in the game the rusty old squeezebox of the objectification of women and sexualisation of children’s cartoons is still playing on. In some ways, it makes it worse. But I truly don't believe there is anything malicious from >G here; I'm just pointing my finger, like so many others, about what we perceive as a negative trend in the world of Sentinels Comics.

It’s striking how dismissive so many people have been of this issue without recognising that a number of other people, all of whom are ardent fans of >G, have all independently come to the same conclusion. We've also disappointingly gone from knee-jerk defensivess to the active championing of peurile and demeaning art in comic books. It's like the last thirty/forty years didn't happen.

I’m not going to campaign over this as I think I’ve said everything that I want to say. I’m just not particularly happy about the uncharacteristic uncoolness of the general attitude round here, and in particular the dismissiveness being handed out around it. It doesn't feel normal for these forums.

Thanks for letting me vent. I do agree that the discussion probably shouldn't be in the speculation thread for Villains, hence why I'm posting here.


Edited by: Mezike on Mar 2 2015 - 4:10am
Reckless
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Dang.

Now I feel foolish for posting up more stuff on the speculation forum about this.

Well said, friend.


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You'd better make the London's Sentinal Day. Otherwise, how am I supposed to buy you a beer for this?


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I've mostly kept out of the debate because it seems to mostly center on Tactics which I haven't actually had the opportunity to play and look at the art for yet outside of the preorder updates for Broken City.

I'm a bit surprised. We haven't had much controversy here since the Dr. Medico incident of 1784 which led to the 100 year forum war. It looked like we had gotten past all that.

For what it's worth, Mezike, you don't come off as a rambling lunatic, and I can agree with your sentiments.


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While I wouldn't say that I feel it's a prevailing sentiment on the forum that this art style is acceptable because "hey, comics", I completely agree with your sentiments.  As a male reader of super hero comics his whole life, I will admit this is something that I gave little thought to until I started dating my now wife and was introducing her to comics and she was flat out uninterested in super hero comics purely because of this issue.  I am even more aware of it now that my oldest daughter is 8 and loves superheroes (and just started playing SotM).  I want her to be able to enjoy the powerful female characters without having to explain why we can see "everything but".

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Mezike wrote:

I’m particularly surprised that so many of the normally rational people round here need so much convincing that the objectification of women in superhero comics is a bad thing. Quite frankly, some of you need to get your knuckles off the ground about this.

I don't think anyone here agrees that the objectification of women is a good thing (maybe I'm wrong there? I sure hope not).

But what I have a harder time seeing is that this is a trend. Pointing to one or two expamples of whats being considered a bad portrayal out of the myriad of examples of really good portrayals doesn't make a trend in my view. That is my one and only objection to anything you said. 

At the risk of being a "knuckle dragger", I think it's ok to have both a Mindpyre and a Parse exist in the Sentinel Comics world, with the caveat that the Mindpyre-esque depictions are kept to a minimum and are not the norm. If it starts to become a major trend where the majority of female characters are going to the Mindpyre side of that spectrum, then count me right there with you. I just have not seen that just yet. 

Regardless of trending or not however, it's still very worthwhile to discuss because it continues to be such a large issue in comics over the past few decades. That's exactly what these forums are for and what we are really good at as a community discussing.

As a side note I think, at least for me personally, is excedingly hard to disagree with small bits of a topic like this without totally sounding like a "Red Pill philosophy" d-bag. It's too easy to dismiss even a slightly different view as just being "knuckle dragging". It's rough territory to tred and I'm doing so at my own perill. So I hope my stance is a little more clear than it was in the other thread (where after re-reading it I very much missed the mark).

-------

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Honest question here for everyone willing to chime in, if given the chance to be in total creative control, what would you change?

I'm assuming the biggest offenders are MindPyre, new Miss Info, and probably Tactics Unity? Is there anyone else you would put into that catagory?

Would you just reign in the breast size? Costume changes? Could Unity growing up and "maturing" storywise get more of a pass artwise if MindPyre and Info were reigned in? Would there just be a wholesale rule against large breasts depictions at all, or would it a case-by-case basis depending on the rest of the character? What would those factors entail? 

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Would there be any merrit to discussing male portrayals as well? It's very hard to pose this question without again going into Red Pill territory, and I don't know how successful I'll be at avoiding that, but can't males also be objectified (look at most Calvin Kline ads)? What makes portraying males as large, athletic, and muscular any less a promotion of a certain ideal body type than portraying a female having large breasts and skimpy clothes? Have you seen Setback's butt and pecks? It makes a straight man blush. 

I am in no way saying that male objectification is anywhere near the importance of female objectification in media (to do that would be to falt out ignore all of the historical context behind it). But I think it's interesting to think about how differently we view the two subjects and why we view them that way.

 

/Brace for the flamethrowers

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Foote wrote:
I'm assuming the biggest offenders are MindPyre, new Miss Info, and probably Tactics Unity? Is there anyone else you would put into that catagory?

I'm largely staying out of this discussion but I will add that I would put The Contract (from Tactics) firmly in that category. I think she uses her beauty as a distraction to get a better contract, (and going by the guy in the back of her picture I'd say that's a high probability) but I am unsure if that means the character portrayal is justified.


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<<<slowly backs away from the can of dynamite that is this topic.


My wife thinks Sentinels is ruining our marriage. I think she doesnt know what shes talking about because she wont sit down to play it

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Femme Fatale (very fatal in that case) is a perfectly valid trope, so the Contract is probably safe as there's a reason for her sexed up outfit. It's for a definite purpose rather than just because.

Personally, I don't have a problem with MI's costume, but the jump in cup size is a trifle jarring. She's a reality manipulator and so things like practcality and realism are quite a way down her list of priorities. "Oh, I can't run in heels? No problem, I'll just ride a wave of tarmac where I want to go."

Unity was more of a problem. Although I can see the pink costume over more regular clothes, as she's trying to show she's as much a super-hero as the others, she moves from fairly small to fairly top-heavy without the other changes to her body you'd expect to go along with sudden voluptuousness.

Mind-Phyre, even ignoring the "how do you get that costume in a ruined wasteland?" that afflicts all the Spites, the costume is pretty ridiculous in its skimpyness. Even Power Girl or Tigra, comics characters not noted for the modesty of their costumes, would look at that one as why? Also, how does it stay on? TBH, I think just filling in the gaping hole in her costume and makiing her waist a little wider than her head would be good. Unless she's supposed to be emaciated, she needs a bit of thicekning as her waist is about the same size as her thigh, which is only a little less ridiculous than if she had a Liefeldian twisted spine.

So, yes, it is a few instances, but they're glaring instances. I mean, La Capitain has perfectly sensible clothes that cover her, as does the Operative and neither have slightly silly bust sizes, so why the bra-busting on MI, or the sheer impracticality of Mind-Phyre?


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Hey, I'm not a Sith Lord or anything, I'm totally fine with open debate. My opening paragraph was a bit harshly worded but was a direct response to Anna and Julia in particular being given flak for daring to object to the "all this is completely normal" argument. Like you say, nobody needs to be told that is wrong except, well, some people clearly do. I apologise if my words made you feel bad. For the record Foote, I have no particular problem with you over this or anything else for that matter.

I agree with you on the male form also being objectified in comics, but I don't think it's close to the same extent as the ladies. As was mentioned in the Villains thread, there is an obsession with female heroes going in to battle in high heels and strapless tops with a heaving cleavage all but hanging out. I can get behind the occasional freak as a stand out but when everything is boobs and beefcake it starts to look tired and derivative. In that respect, I think I could tolerate Mindphyre a lot more if the bodyshape wasn't prevalent elsewhere at the same time.

I can just about understand head-to-toe spandex as a uniform even though it's patently ridiculous; you only have to look at Parkour runners jumping over rooftops to see that most of them go about it in jeans and sneakers, spandex does nothing other than, you know, show off your awesome buff physique and stuff.

What I would ultimately welcome is something more along the lines of 'Zenith' in which Steve Yeowell managed to portray superheroes as everyday people wearing (shock) everyday clothes (everyday for a nineties strip set partially in the sixties though...) 'The Watchmen' also managed to portray heroes a bit more realistically, taking a few digs at traditional comic book artwork along the way. In my opinion something as awesome as Sentinels also deserves to do better than typical.

 

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Well, if we're going to get rid of the cheesecake factor, then by extension, we must also get rid of the beefcake factor.

No more shirtless Ra. Legacy needs a beer gut. Can't have Mainstay showing off his guns. For that matter, can't have Expatriette showing off her guns, either.

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this is how I feel (your mileage may vary)

Unity, the biggest change (for me) is that in SotM she dressed in a way that was practical for her work- she had a bandanna to keep her hair out of the gears.  she wore gloves to protect her hands and goggles to protect the eyes.  she was grungy. You got a sense that the way she dressed was based around the setting she was in and the way that she acted.  the empahsis wasn't on her body, it was on what she could DO.

A lot of that felt lost with Tactics Unity.  She changed to a uniform- I'm OK with the pink, since maybe thats her favorite color.  she had a pink headscarf, so thats acceptable (to me).  But she lost the grunge that is part and parcel of working with machinery.  She lost the headscarf, opting for the kind of ponytail that would get your hair ripped out in shop class.  you lost a lot of the sense that her life revolved around working closely with moving parts and machinery, and it was replaced with... not much.  I vastly preferred Unity the machinist who we saw in the midst of what she loved to Unity superhero intern, who is just kind of hanging out.

 

For Miss Information: she used to dress in a demure outfit, and her villain costume was a coverall.  the emphasis at all times was on what she could do and the power that she wielded as a manipulator.  When she reveals the villain outfit, the change is dramatc- like coming out of a cocoon. she's taking off the disguise.   

In VotM, her chest takes center stage.  what should be given prominence- the fact that her face is marked, the fact that her hand is scarred, the way she is manipulating the world around her- is overshadowed by the way that she is filling out her dress.  Her chest is the exact center of the panel, and it almost feels like the entire character was built- the way she is standing, the outfit, the lines of the dress, buildings and street- to draw the eye towards her chest.  It feels really weird for the character. 

 

Mindphyre- We know NOTHING about the chracter, except that she screws with peoples minds and is the only female of the Spites.  Everything about her outfit aside, I don't like it when someone's defining characteristic is "the girl".  I wish I knew more about her, but I don't.  all I know is that she is the lady of the group, for reasons that have not been provided. Personally, I hope that all the spites are the chairman's clones (his children, which would explain why he knows Demon Fist could betray him), and that Mindphyre is a clone of the Operative (though again, why only have one of the Spite's be an operative clone....)

I really prefer seeing a diversity.  I also know that Adam puts a ton of thought and effort into the artwork, so I think that theres a lot of possibilities that we'll see other male and female characters with a wider range of outfits and body types. 

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Thanks Mezike, you expressed that far better than I could.

I think the one piece that bugs me the most is App Unity. Her boobs have gone from the small ones that match her body shape on the physical card to a fair bit bigger, without even the spurious "it's 5-10 years later" of Tactics - realistically the breasts of a 20-year-old aren't going to grow much unless she gets fatter or has a boob job.

I think that's it. Unity looks like she's had a boob job. WHY WOULD UNITY HAVE A BOOB JOB?

Drilling down, it seems there are two main things bothering me.

1) Significant increase in cup size of existing characters, e.g. Unity in the app, Miss Information in Tactics. I don't see any reason for this, and it bothers me. Big boobs don't bother me in general.

2) Perceived recent trend towards boobs-on-a-stick, e.g. MindPhyre. It may not be a trend, but obviously enough people have picked up on it that it should be addressed.

And a general point about comic book art. Comics and comic readers have a certain reputation in wider society. People think that comic readers are juvenile, socially inept, never-had-a-girlfriend-can't-talk-to-women-living-in-their-parents'-basement types. Sexist comic book art not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes about women, it perpetuates harmful stereotypes about comic fans too. If someone's reading something that's full of the traditional T&A art, it's easy to assume that the women in it are there for titilation purposes only and that the reader is enjoying them because he finds that sort of objectification appropriate and attractive. Why would it look a little bit like softcore porn otherwise?


Just assume I'm always doing that.

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Mezike wrote:

Hey, I'm not a Sith Lord or anything, I'm totally fine with open debate. My opening paragraph was a bit harshly worded but was a direct response to Anna and Julia in particular being given flak for daring to object to the "all this is completely normal" argument. Like you say, nobody needs to be told that is wrong except, well, some people clearly do. I apologise if my words made you feel bad. For the record Foote, I have no particular problem with you over this or anything else for that matter.

You didn't make me feel bad. I wanted to try and point out that, especially on a topic such as this, contrary opinions can be very hard to get across accuratly, even if they have solid intentions. At least that's how I felt.

I still agree with the majority of what you said and what PWatson has said above. I'm pretty confident that these discussion will be taken to heart by >G though and it will be kept in mind moving forward.

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Re male vs female objectification - here's the difference.

Let's look at how the body shape is changed in both cases. In general, the men have broader shoulders than the "normal" male form. They have increased muscle mass and definition. They look stronger than Normo Man, more able to smash buildings or beat people up, more physically competent. More powerful.

And the ladies. They are skinnier, often with waists the width of their heads and small arms and shoulders, than Normo Woman. They are young. They have prominent boobs and hips and butts, larger than those you'd normally expect on such an otherwise slim form. Their thighs lack definition and are often simply rounded. They wear clothing/shoes that restrict their movement, that would reduce Normo Woman to awkwardly pulling her top up every five seconds as it slid down. They absolutely scream "straight male fantasy". They look less powerful, less competent, more, I dunno, sexy in a caricatured kind of way.

So objectified male characters look more powerful. Objectified females look more sexual, and less powerful. The beefcake look is a male power fantasy rather than a female sex fantasy - both males and females are drawn for men.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

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And honestly, it's infuriating when someone expresses concern about female objectification and someone else chimes in with "but, picture of man with muscles!" without any concept of why the two things are different.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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On the topic of Unity and gaining breast size, there a very few picutres that show off her breast, as she is typically covering them in some manor. Such as her character card has her hand over them. Inspired Repair has her arms crossed. The best picture I could find in her deck is Supply Crate, to me her breast look fairly large in there. Outside of her deck there is Caspit's Playground, which is definitely big breast.

Sadly Caspit's Playground is not in the Video Game, so I couldn't attach a photo, though I do have one of Supply Crate.

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Greywind
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Silverleaf wrote:

both males and females are drawn for men.

Granted, because for the longest time the audience was solely male. The audience has changed to include women and the stories themselves have matured to where the average comic reader was in their 20's and 30's, as opposed to teens.

Writers on successful books include, and have included, women for the last 20 years or so.

Artists now include women. Some of which tend to draw more realistically.

As to the outfits in question: did Unity's bust inflate, or was she hiding it under her work jacket? In the question of Miss Information, she wore a business suit. When she popped out of that, the suit underneath looked pretty skin tight. Now, for some reason she is opting for an evening dress. Perhaps that evening dress was her cover for whatever she was doing that night.

I see each picture on a card as a snapshot of the moment. Often without immediate context.

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Although I didn't notice, I think one of the points of contention is that there appear to be differences between the physical card and the digital card from the video game in which Devra's chest size has increased.

Since I constantly use the art as a "selling point," I'll add mine to the voices who have noticed a change from the original EE boxes and have concerns about what it might represent. I'm a male, but have a 4-year-old daughter & 9-year-old son. SotM is hands-down one of his favorite games to play; I look forward to being able to introduce her when she's cognitively able to play the game. It'll be a long time before I actively hunt down Tactice to try, let alone introduce either of them to, if what I perceive as the trend on the art continues.

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I would agree there is a distracting difference between Unity in the card game and Unity in the video game.

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Silverleaf wrote:

And honestly, it's infuriating when someone expresses concern about female objectification and someone else chimes in with "but, picture of man with muscles!" without any concept of why the two things are different.

Yeah, thats pretty much why I was afraid to bring it up in the first place. But I really hope It came across that I know full well why they are different and why the female objectifications holds more social importance. That's why even mentioning it is difficult, but I thought it held some merrit in the discussion.

You can say that male objectification is all about power, and in a sense you're totally right. But what they both have in common is a theme of a portrayal of an ideal body type, an archtype for what it means to be "male". Female objectification does the same thing right? To be feminine you must be sexy\To be male you must be strong. I'd further argue that Male objectificaion in media in general still has a large sex appeal component (I'll point to Calvin Kline ads again just because those are easy targets to pick on, though the examples are endless in pop culture). I think dismissing it as an appeal to male power fantasies is too simplistic, though there is a fair share of it no doubt.

But to be clear, I'm not pointing to male objectification as a means of dismissal for female objectification. I hope it didn't come off that way.

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Foote wrote:

Honest question here for everyone willing to chime in, if given the chance to be in total creative control, what would you change?

I miss Newest Legacy's skirt. When she became Beacon, I really wish she'd kept it...

Foote wrote:

]/Brace for the flamethrowers

No flamethrowers allowed - thanks to everyone for continuing with the awesomely civil discussion!


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Foote wrote:

 
Silverleaf wrote:
And honestly, it's infuriating when someone expresses concern about female objectification and someone else chimes in with "but, picture of man with muscles!" without any concept of why the two things are different.
Yeah, thats pretty much why I was afraid to bring it up in the first place. But I really hope It came across that I know full well why they are different and why the female objectifications holds more social importance. That's why even mentioning it is difficult, but I thought it held some merrit in the discussion.You can say that male objectification is all about power, and in a sense you're totally right. But what they both have in common is a theme of a portrayal of an ideal body type, an archtype for what it means to be "male". Female objectification does the same thing right? To be feminine you must be sexy\To be male you must be strong. I'd further argue that Male objectificaion in media in general still has a large sex appeal component (I'll point to Calvin Kline ads again just because those are easy targets to pick on, though the examples are endless in pop culture). I think dismissing it as an appeal to male power fantasies is too simplistic, though there is a fair share of it no doubt.But to be clear, I'm not pointing to male objectification as a means of dismissal for female objectification. I hope it didn't come off that way.

 
Understood. I think that male objectification is absolutely a problem, I just can't stand when its existence is use to excuse or lessen the supposed impact of female objectification. It's like if you complain about the gender pay gap and someone tries to negate your point by saying that men are discriminated against when fighting for custody of their children. (And I don't think you did that, but other posters definitely have). It's true, but one doesn't mean the other isn't important. Equality shouldn't be on a points system.
 
And I totally agree that the idealised body type for both males and females is problematic. That's one of the reasons why I'd like to see variety in male bodies too - much more than we see now. Non-beefcake men can be powerful too.
 
In terms of Sentinel Comics the males do have more variation then the females, but this is probably only because of a single outlier - the Scholar.
 
I do feel that women have it worse than men and that's why I'm primarily concerned with the depiction of females. As I was trying to say, it seems less bad to me that men are idealised to look like they function better as superheroes, while women are idealised to look like they function worse.
 
Men = strong and women = sexy. By definition, being sexy means you have to be attractive to other humans. You can be strong completely in isolation. Women are idealised based on how they are perceived by others, while men are idealised based on their own ability (i.e. strength).And studies show that the beefcake look isn't the "default" female sexual fantasy anyway. So what we're getting is not equal in that way - it's not like all comic book characters are drawn as "default sexy".

Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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Rabit wrote:
Foote wrote:
Honest question here for everyone willing to chime in, if given the chance to be in total creative control, what would you change?

I miss Newest Legacy's skirt. When she became Beacon, I really wish she'd kept it...

Agreed! I liked that skirt.

 


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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Ronway wrote:

On the topic of Unity and gaining breast size, there a very few picutres that show off her breast, as she is typically covering them in some manor. Such as her character card has her hand over them. Inspired Repair has her arms crossed. The best picture I could find in her deck is Supply Crate, to me her breast look fairly large in there. Outside of her deck there is Caspit's Playground, which is definitely big breast.Sadly Caspit's Playground is not in the Video Game, so I couldn't attach a photo, though I do have one of Supply Crate.

They look pretty small on her character card, hand or no hand. At least smaller than in the app.

On Supply crate she's leaning forward so they'll naturally look bigger.


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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morph147 wrote:

<<<slowly backs away from the can of dynamite that is this topic.

Huh. You'm not from 'round theze here parts, am you? smiley Dynamite strictly not tolerated any more than flamethrowers round here old chap!

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Silverleaf wrote:

Men = strong and women = sexy. By definition, being sexy means you have to be attractive to other humans. You can be strong completely in isolation. Women are idealised based on how they are perceived by others, while men are idealised based on their own ability (i.e. strength).And studies show that the beefcake look isn't the "default" female sexual fantasy anyway. So what we're getting is not equal in that way - it's not like all comic book characters are drawn as "default sexy".

There is a comercial thats been airing on American TV recently that couples well with this particular line of discussion. I figure I'll share it here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJBRpylC9-Q

Every time I see this TV spot I cringe. In order to be a strong, worthy, and sexy man, I must drive a truck. I love driving trucks, don't get me wrong, but the entire point of the commercial is to demasculinize the guy driving a standard (and gas effecient!) car. This was a Superbowl comercial, though to be totally fair, GoDaddy.com Superbowl ads are particularly egregious examples of female objectification as well. In both cases the target audience is males, which is worth noting (speaks to your point of how women are precieved by others vs how men precieve themselves).

I feel like I'm starting to get away from the important topic at hand though of female portrayals in SotM though. I studied media theory in college (university?) and the history of portrayals of women and men in media was always a great topic to write reaserch papers on. It's an area I have a lot of familiarity with.

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On the subject of idealized male/female forms in comics, I would be utterly shocked if Iron Fist's open chested half-shirt was designed so the ladies would swoon, and I doubt anyone at DC said "Y'know what would make Power Girl look so cool!? A giant boob window!"

There was an audience in mind when these tropes were cemented. Young boys. Even if there are folks out there who find Ra, Legacy, or Setback's well toned glutes to be the sexiest thing ever, the muscle-y, square jawed and conventionally handsome designs for male super hero characters were wish fulfillment for guys. The idea was that all guys wanted to be buff, strong, and conventionally attractive.

Yeah, that is limiting for men. Whatever. But there is so much more diversity in male designs than female ones.

That's why Sentinels is so great. It isn't that oversexualized female characters are bad or wrong. It's that they're the most prominent. These new characters aren't just a concern for representation as much as a regression to something less unique and interesting than what Greater Than Games has been doing so well for so long. Variety is the spice of life.


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Late to the discussion, but the biggest thing that bothers me is Tactics Visionary's hip size. Like, geez, that's an absurd amount of junk in a trunk. I agree with Foote that at least this isn't the norm in Sentinels, so I suppose it's alright if it happens once or twice, but I certainly don't want this to become more common. I think with the amount of discussion this has sparked, our voices have been heard and we'll see some positive change in the future.

But Foote, I disagree with you on one point. If you really think that no one would be in favor of objectification and sexualization, then you've clearly forgotten our old friend Envisioner.cheeky


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Boom!


Just assume I'm always doing that.

Damn it, Ronway!

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Ooh, didn't realise the discussion was continuing in this forum.  

I think that there should be variety of looks and also that looks should be appropriate to the character.  This applies to body shape as well as costume.  In terms of body shape, for instance, a musclebound appearance makes sense for Legacy, with his super-strength, or Setback, who was empowered by the reverse-engineered regression serum.  I don't think every male hero should look like that.  It's a bit daft that even a being of "pure energy," Dr. Medico, has a six-pack and massive biceps!  At least Writhe is just a shadow.  The Argent Adept, with his power coming from music and magic, could do with being less muscular.  In this respect, I actually think there's a bit more variety with the female heroes: some of them, like K.N.Y.F.E., have very nicely developed muscular arms, whereas others, like Unity, have a more slender build.  Maybe Young Legacy should be a bit more musclebound, but I'm happy enough that she has very muscular forearms.

As for costumes, a certain amount should be decided by style and comicbook flavour, but I don't think any of them should be completely impractical.  Heroes need to be able to move when they're fighting and it's inappropriate for costumes not to allow that.  Also: what's with Expatriette, a gun-toting mercenary who possesses no superpowers (*cough*probably*cough*), wearing a thin, midriff-baring tank top?  The actual pattern on it, mirroring Citizen Dawn's, is cool, but it seems strange that she doesn't wear more, with the exception of her Flat Jacket card.  Maybe it's intended to represent a devil-may-care attitude, though.  I'll repeat myself when it comes to Mindphyre: it looks like she's wearing nothing but body paint.  However, I won't complain about her looking a bit emaciated in the rib area, because she's supposed to be drug-ravaged.  Overall, with outfits for male and female heroes, we do see variety: some wear heavy armour, others wear normal clother, and still others have a stylised costume look.  I really only mind when an outfit looks like it would seriously impede a character's effectiveness.

To finish, I just want to add that really liked Young Legacy's skirt too, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who was surprised she didn't keep it as Beacon.

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I took the change in YL's costume to be a comic reference. She goes from Supergirl to Powergirl, although her costume is better than Powergirl's.

 

I think CR in addition to the Scholar slightly breaks the mold on male superheroes. He's stil very masculine but in Clint Eastwood way, and not in the large biceps superhero way.


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Re Medico - I'm pretty sure Mainstay encouraged him to work out during their college roommate days, so that kind of makes sense.


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I think Medico can look however he wants, and so at this point, he's manifesting as his idealized self.


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Nielzabub wrote:

I took the change in YL's costume to be a comic reference. She goes from Supergirl to Powergirl, although her costume is better than Powergirl's. 

Good point!

Nielzabub wrote:

I think Medico can look however he wants, and so at this point, he's manifesting as his idealized self.

This I'm not so sure about.  The Sentinels' bio said that his transformation was gradual, so he spent at least a while looking partially like his old self and partially like an energy form, associating his energy form with his old appearance somewhat.  I mean, it just feels weird for him to be thinking "yes, yes, come on, transform faster so I can look beefier!"  This is especially given that he's supposed to be a bookish contrast with Mainstay (though I appreciate Silverleaf's point that maybe their friendship got him to train physically).  I'd just find it odd if the idealised form of a cerebral character was super-buff.

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Estelindis wrote:

Nielzabub wrote:

I think Medico can look however he wants, and so at this point, he's manifesting as his idealized self.

 

This I'm not so sure about.  The Sentinels' bio said that his transformation was gradual, so he spent at least a while looking partially like his old self and partially like an energy form, associating his energy form with his old appearance somewhat.  I mean, it just feels weird for him to be thinking "yes, yes, come on, transform faster so I can look beefier!"  This is especially given that he's supposed to be a bookish contrast with Mainstay (though I appreciate Silverleaf's point that maybe their friendship got him to train physically).  I'd just find it odd if the idealised form of a cerebral character was super-buff.

 

People who are bookish can be incredibly insecure about their appearance, especially if they're teased for it. We don't know what Medico's insecurities are outside of the high probability that he cares deeply about the Idealist's as well as the rest of his team and family's safety. "yes, yes, come on, transform faster so I can look beefier!" This made me laugh.


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Reckless wrote:

On the subject of idealized male/female forms in comics, I would be utterly shocked if Iron Fist's open chested half-shirt was designed so the ladies would swoon, and I doubt anyone at DC said "Y'know what would make Power Girl look so cool!? A giant boob window!"

Power Girl's expanding chest was a running joke with an artist. He wanted to see how big they could get before editorial caught on.

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Greywind wrote:

Reckless wrote:

On the subject of idealized male/female forms in comics, I would be utterly shocked if Iron Fist's open chested half-shirt was designed so the ladies would swoon, and I doubt anyone at DC said "Y'know what would make Power Girl look so cool!? A giant boob window!"

Power Girl's expanding chest was a running joke with an artist. He wanted to see how big they could get before editorial caught on.


I'm aware. A joke is not the same as designing a character to be heroic.

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Estelindis wrote:

This I'm not so sure about.  The Sentinels' bio said that his transformation was gradual, so he spent at least a while looking partially like his old self and partially like an energy form, associating his energy form with his old appearance somewhat.  I mean, it just feels weird for him to be thinking "yes, yes, come on, transform faster so I can look beefier!"  This is especially given that he's supposed to be a bookish contrast with Mainstay (though I appreciate Silverleaf's point that maybe their friendship got him to train physically).  I'd just find it odd if the idealised form of a cerebral character was super-buff.

This doesnt seem off to me at all.  I've worked with computers all my life, I love toys and comics, I'm out of shape, overweight and very much the anti-jock in word, thought and deed.

Give me some sort of reality altering super powers and damn right the first thing I would do is make myself a ripped superman.  If I can be composed of pure energy too, thats a nice bonus.

Superheroes are superheroes.  I wouldn't want to read a comic about a dude like me because frankly it would be a crappy comic! ;)

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MightySi wrote:

Superheroes are superheroes.  I wouldn't want to read a comic about a dude like me because frankly it would be a crappy comic! ;)

Out of interest, how would you say that ties in to your preceding comments on body shape? I must admit that I have no love for most superhero comics as I find them far too derivative, but I do really enjoy the likes of the early work on Astro City, Alan Moore's Top Ten, and the above-mentioned Zenith and Watchmen. All of those comics feature fully powered super people and terrific comics writing, and yet they also manage to largely avoid unrealistic body shapes and ridiculously inappropriate costumes and poses. To me, it doesn't follow that super people need to look over muscled and beach-ready in order to become interesting. Bringing this point back full circle, I would (up to now I guess, hence the whole point of the discussion in the first place) have included SotM on that list.

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I'd read comics about the Scholar. I agree that to an extent that male superheroes doing a lot of physical activity should be fit, but that doesn't mean they all need to be bodybuilders. If your character relies on magic to save the day, or even has a power like teleportation, they don't need to be the pinnicule of the male form. It really just depends on the kind of story you're telling.

Likewise, I do think that female superheroes doing a lot of physical activity should probably be at least a little muscular. She-Hulk's hot.


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Out of interest, how would you say that ties in to your preceding comments on body shape? I must admit that I have no love for most superhero comics as I find them far too derivative, but I do really enjoy the likes of the early work on Astro City, Alan Moore's Top Ten, and the above-mentioned Zenith and Watchmen. All of those comics feature fully powered super people and terrific comics writing, and yet they also manage to largely avoid unrealistic body shapes and ridiculously inappropriate costumes and poses. To me, it doesn't follow that super people need to look over muscled and beach-ready in order to become interesting. Bringing this point back full circle, I would (up to now I guess, hence the whole point of the discussion in the first place) have included SotM on that list.

Honestly, I couldn't really say.  My taste in comics is highly tempered by art style.  I've been put off comics that I enjoy the idea of because the art didnt click with me for whatever reason.  As an example, the current IDW Transformers comics, which have some fantastic ongoing storytelling, sometimes use an artist named Livio Ramondelli.  His style is very different and distinctive, but not to my tastes and I find those stories more of a chore to read.  But this is subjective and some people love his style.  And thats good too.  As an aside, the Transformers fandom seems to be having a gender dispute at the moment too, and they are giant genderless space robots.

Too bring it back to superheroes, I enjoy the derivitive, often cartoony aspects of super comics. That's my taste.  Watchmen is a work of art, certainly, but not something I will read for a rollicking fun time.  I like my heroes over the top with Herculean physiques. That goes for the guys and the girls.  Does it go to far sometimes?  Yes of course, but every form of entertainment does at some point or another.

Do I enjoy She-Hulk, Power Girl and Starfire?  Yes.  Is some part of that due to the way they are drawn? Also yes, but not exclusively for that reason and I think that is important.  Would I like to have the build of Batman, Namor or Wolverine?  Again yes, and I hope that doesn't somehow make me a bad man with selfimage issues, cos I'm not! :)

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EvanDan55 wrote:

.But Foote, I disagree with you on one point. If you really think that no one would be in favor of objectification and sexualization, then you've clearly forgotten our old friend Envisioner.cheeky

I stand corrected!

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I don't think anyone could forget our old friend envisioner...

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It's absolutely fine to enjoy a particular style, and to find particular body shapes pleasing and attractive. It's cool to have physical preferences. Most of us do like some shapes more than others.

I think at some point though you have to take a step back and realise that the things you like are excluding and harming a group that is already marginalised. Is your pleasure worth it?

 

If I could change my own reality I'd make my body functional well before I made it pretty. I don't think I'd even bother with the pretty. There are far more useful things I could do than that.


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Humble-Knight wrote:

I don't think anyone could forget our old friend envisioner...

Please let's try.


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Thank you for the open and honest reply MightySi. The idea of heroic figures being attractive and having an athletic stature is hardly new and is as old as art and sculpture, as is the inherent sense of wish fulfilment in stories about those figures. I don't think it makes you a bad person for enjoying that per se. The disappointment expressed in this thread is more to do with how the presentation of characters in modern day comics typically reinforces inappropriate views on women, specifically presenting them primarily as objects of titillation above all else. I can totally accept a super-heroine being portrayed as athletic and beautiful, but I do not think she needs to have enormous gravity defying breasts and a costume that looks like she just stepped out from a night at an S&M club. Comic books also tend to go one further with ridiculous sexualised poses for female heroes (anyone not familiar with that argument only needs to google Hawkeye for some revelations)

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Silverleaf wrote:

I think at some point though you have to take a step back and realise that the things you like are excluding and harming a group that is already marginalised. Is your pleasure worth it? 

Oh absolutely. There are many comics out there with an art style I enjoy but absolutely no character work or story, drawn purely for tittilation. These dont get a look in from me once I see them for what they are.  Its comics like these that are more damaging to the comics community than any others, I believe.  

I've seen a few people on here saying that they don't read comics and found Sentinels for the game first.  I was the other way around, i was drawn to Sentinels because I am a comics fan and I liked the references it was making and the style and flavour that it captured.  

Also of note is that as a white, nerdy male I have *always* been the demographic targetted by, lets say alluring comic art.  Coming from that viewpoint I honestly wouldn't have given strapless combat dresses and buxom heroines a second thought as being "bad".  I'm not saying that this is a good thing, by the way. A community of fans and a good debate does wonders for spreading some empathy around and opening eyes to previously unpondered issues.

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MightySi wrote:

A community of fans and a good debate does wonders for spreading some empathy around and opening eyes to previously unpondered issues.

You get my gold star for the day yes

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Foote wrote:

 

MightySi wrote:
A community of fans and a good debate does wonders for spreading some empathy around and opening eyes to previously unpondered issues.

 

You get my gold star for the day yes

QFT.

yes

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Ok, now you've made me feel bad haha

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