Comic Talk and General Discussion

Sexism in comics and pop-culture?
ozoneocean at 7:44PM, June 23, 2015
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We may have talked about this before but it's always good to re-hash.
 
When people get on this subject, I think they tend to get sidetracked by superficial stuff: mainly apearence.
A good example of that is the Hawkeye project where you draw hawkeye in amusing poses that female characters have been put in to be sexy… and yet are ridiculous with him because of the obvious differences in anatomy and the fact that those costumes and poses are mento  to show off things he just doesn't have on his body…
So it doesn't highlight cultural inequity (as it's supposed to), so much as biological incompatability, which in turn highlights the superficiality of the aproach.
 
Where I tend to think sexisim shows up more is that fact that in most hero groups, you usually have a minority of female characters. Traditionally Wonderwoman was pretty lonley with the Super friiends and the Justice league… The Black Widow in the Avengers movie, that one female hero in Gaurdians of the Galaxy, the one female hero in the Thor movie (Sif?), etc.
 
Then you have the female characters who need saving, who're there so other characters can fall in love with them, who are there to show who tough they are despite being depicted as a week “female”, to cry over the male characters or nurse or mother them, to cause emotional tension between male characters, overuse of rape as a character defining trait, they're always very young and beautiful (not saying they shouldn't be, just that they shouldn't have to be), they're the “straight man” to the comedy and silliness of the males…
 
I think THAT sort of thing is where sexisim shows up most. I think that is changing a bit but it's still a problem. I also think that focussing too much on superficial sexuality detracts from and degenerates the issue.
 
-Something like Mad Max Fury Road is a good example of something that does it right and breaks away from this problem.
 
last edited on June 24, 2015 3:45AM
bravo1102 at 3:18AM, June 24, 2015
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I think a big part of sexism is seeing female characters as  “accessories” for the male characters.  They're there to be used, abused, captured and then rescued by males.  Damsel in distress to the girl in the refrigerator.

The female character can't take care of herself and always has various “female” weaknesses; perfume, staying clean, shopping, “this place is such a mess!” and so on.  Or if women do prey on each other it's always some jealousy about a guy or  more recently girl (girl-on-girl) or competition over looks and hair color or boob size.  
KimLuster at 8:25AM, June 24, 2015
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I'm probably gonna set feminism back 150 years lol…  While I don't read superhero comics, I read ‘about’ the industry (and look up images for pointers), so I'm aware of this movement…  I sometimes think we're afraid to portray things as they ‘really are’ because the reality doesn't fit our agenda…
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Consider the Hawkeye initiative…!  There's a reason Hawkeye looks stupid in those images - Guys don't pose that way!  But (and this is a fact) - girls do…!  Or at least try to…! Google a bunch of selfies of girls posing!  Check out butts sticking out, the bendovers, the pouts…  When it comes to poses and postures, a Female's sexy pose in RL is more likely be curvy, to display her ‘humps’.  Now, find a selfie of a man sticking his butt out like that (where he's not being purposefully stupid) - good luck with that!  A man is more likely to do some sort of muscular pose, dipslaying his shoulders and chest!  
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And Skin!  Girls in RL do tend to show more skin than guys…!  I was in court (as an observer lol) the other day and I was stunned to see the number of girls standing before the judge wearing the highest and skimpiest dresses imaginable (did it help or hurt them is a good question…)!  Go to the beach - how often are you gonna see most of man's buttcheeks…?  But we're actually surprised when we see a woman wearing something besides a bikini bottom.
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Yes, it''s true the comics often greatly exagerate a woman's poses and sexual characteristics, but then, how many men actually have a chest like Superman…
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Like Ozone, I think we've gone too far with the physical as examples of sexploitation.  We're barking up the wrong tree…!
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I also don't have as much of a problem with fewer woman on superteams either…!  We're just not really acclimated to seeing women in such situations in real life.  What's the closest analogy in RL?  Probably Armed Special Forces…  How many women are on teams like that?  You'll see a lot more ‘diversity’ in movies about these groups than exist in real life (by fare it's white males that make up these teams).  Yes, I know that women can succeed in such things but (in general) they just don't seem eager to do so.  Watch children play.  Girls don't pretend be soldiers and spys near as much as boys do.  I've never seen a little girl do so in all my years…  Once, one of my girl's was playing with dolls and Daddy introduced a Storm doll, a Thor doll, and some other superhero…  He tried to get her to play with them like they were superheroes, smashing stuff and fighting…  But instead she wanted play Thor and the other Hero contending for Storm's Love and Affection (much to Daddy's humorous exasperation :D)!
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In my comic the Godstrain, I'm attempting to portray a woman thrust into combative scenarios, but it often comes across as a ‘fish out of water’, which, forgive me, feels real!  I'm all for women being portrayed in such scenarios more often, in all media…  I simply don't see the need to make it ‘equal’ to the portrayal of men.  You don't have to have as many or more women on the ‘super team’ as men.  It's okay if you do, but you don't have to…  To force it feels false…!  And it's okay if the woman is NOT the best sniper, the best combatant… it really is.
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As Bravo said, a much better argument is the ‘Girls in Refrigerators’ meme.  Women getting raped, killed, mutilated as plot devices, to give the Male Hero something to be Avenge!!  This is an area where more care needs to be taken!  Even so, if done thoughtfully and respectfully, even this can be used…  In RL, when I think about those women being used as prize wives and sex slaves by ISIS…  I wish a Special Forces team (who would probably be all males) could get in there and rescue some of them…  One thing I know: a team of specially trained females ain't ever going in there to rescue them…   
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Disclaimer: I know there are exceptions to all the above, but the reason they are exceptions is because they're rare!  My own daughter is an exception (she's training to be a helicopter nurse in the military), and most of her female friends tried to talk her out of it, so there ya go…
maskdt at 12:15PM, June 24, 2015
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I agree! Using skimpy outfits and sexy poses as the default for all female characters is just one facet of the problem. The fact is, many writers still seem to have trouble including a variety of female characters. It's perfectly okay to have a sexy female character or two who seems to constantly pose like she's checking herself out in a mirror, but things get fishy when all of your female characters are like this – especially if there's really no good reason for them to be!
If you want to avoid sexism in your writing, write a variety of characters with a variety of goals, motivations, and levels of control over their lives. It's okay to have some who just seem to have things happen to them, and who seem to exist only in relation to other characters. Not every character needs to be fully fleshed out for the audience, after all, but the author should know their characters better than anyone else. Other characters should be more ambitious and should make things happen.
As for gender, keep in mind that gender is a very complex aspect of everyday life. Yes, men and women behave differently, but how this plays out varies from culture to culture, and changes throughout time. Almost no aspect of our gendered behaviour seems to be inherent to our sex; there's no biological reason for women to favour sitting cross-legged or with their feet beneath them while men favour sitting with their arms and legs spread. It's just something we're inadvertently taught from a young age. It's also important to take into account the fact that every single person in any given society accepts, rejects, and subverts some of the gendered expectations society places on them. Myself, I reject the notion that I should be passive, quiet, and shouldn't like mechanical or “gross” things just because I'm a woman – but I still adore “beautiful” things, I still like wearing feminine clothing, I still wear makeup from time to time, and I still like cooking and baking. I'm willing to bet that every single one of you could make an extensive list of aspects of your gender that you reject and aspects you accept, and you should be able to do this with your characters.
bravo1102 at 2:24PM, June 24, 2015
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maskdt wrote:
 there's no biological reason for women to favour sitting cross-legged or with their feet beneath them while men favour sitting with their arms and legs spread.
A urologist and a gynecologist would disagree with that.  The reasons are the different arrangments of stuff between the male and female's legs. Cross-legged and feet beneath isn't the optimal position for the male scrotal sac to hang to allow the proper regulation of temperature for the production of sperm. There are all kinds of other considerations for how men and women are built inside as to how they carry themselves.  
You find this stuff out the hard way when stuff goes wrong with your or a loved one's plumbing.
KimLuster at 4:45PM, June 24, 2015
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bravo1102 wrote:
maskdt wrote:
 there's no biological reason for women to favour sitting cross-legged or with their feet beneath them while men favour sitting with their arms and legs spread.
 A urologist and a gynecologist would disagree with that.  The reasons are the different arrangments of stuff between the male and female's legs. Cross-legged and feet beneath isn't the optimal position for the male scrotal sac to hang to allow the proper regulation of temperature for the production of sperm. There are all kinds of other considerations for how men and women are built inside as to how they carry themselves.  
You find this stuff out the hard way when stuff goes wrong with your or a loved one's plumbing. 
Going with biology, some might also say the legs splayed out with everything on display is an ‘invitation’ - certainly could've been that way before our ancestors started wearing clothes.  Maybe females have a subconcious hold-over from those times!
ozoneocean at 8:32PM, June 24, 2015
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LOL, Kim and Bravo like to think deterministically about aspects of gender :)
 
I'm definitely with maskdt here.
On the crossed leg/splayed leg thing: boys learn by example to splay them. We also lean that tightly crossed legs are supposedly “effeminate” so we avoid that… -I don't though. I will do what's right for the environment, time and place. i.e. I don't spread like a moron on public transport, If I'm cold I'll cross my legs etc.
Girls are taught from a young age not to “splay”. I've even advised my niece to be more “ladylike”… that's a big part of our culture and w're conditioned to enforce it.
 
OK, I don't want to get hung up on gender differences and nature VS nurture!
I agree that I may not be right on everything I say about that and that the determanistic approach is the right one.  Please agree that it's possible that cultural influence could play the  leading role instead.
 
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Kim- you say there are less women on military teams and police swat teams etc, but is not that also just another artifact of the sexist work practices and attitudes that have traditionally been in place and directed some people to some jobs becaise of their gender? For example, in Israel where a lot more women serve in the military you don't have that gender dvide in those jobs.
 
You COULD say that the gender mix of hero teams just reflects the current gender mix in dangerous rescue/action jobs in society…
But even if that were the case, SHOULD it? These things are fantasies, idealised representations, shouldn't we aspire to show something better? - if society wasn't labouring under a sexist legacy, what would change?
To that end they got things pretty badly wrong in one of my fave series, Star Trek The Next Generation, and a lot more right in Star Treck Yoyager and Deep Space 9.
 
last edited on June 24, 2015 8:40PM
KimLuster at 4:38AM, June 25, 2015
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Ozone, I really do think alot of our mannerisms, likes and dislikes, etc, are rooted in biology.  Our bodies are animals, and instinctual behaviours, developed over eons, don't just go away.  However, unlike (most) animals, we have ‘something’ (call it whatever you wish) that enables us to override our biology.  Everytime we use birth control or restrain from attacking someone who insults us, we're overriding biology.  So it can be done, and for modern society to work, we pretty much have to do it.  But those things are still there, inside us, driving to exert themselves.  And they do exert themselves when we don't suppress them, as when we do things we consider inconsequential (like sitting ;)).  Just my opinion… ;)
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And as far as gender ratios in various RL combative and dangerous occupations…  We COULD say it's due to the reasons you gave.  I already gave my reasons.  However, I did say (buried somewhere in my dissertation post haha) that I do think it's okay for womenn to be portrayed more often in such scenarios in various media (as you do with the awesome Pinky TA), but I don't think a creator shouldn't feel she has to, as some sort of quota thing (Ooo I need more women on my team, and minorities…)
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Now, it is a noble thing to do so if your goal is to move readers to be more accepting when there's an existing prejudice…  But it's also okay to cater to your audience.  Romance Novelists should feel no pressure to have the Men be the main protagonist in their stories half the time…  An author who is black can make his characters also black without feeling weird about it.
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I actually gave some thought to making my main character in the Godstrain a hispanic woman, but then I thought, why am I doing that?  Is it just an attempt to be diverse?  I finally decided that doing so JUST to be diverse is really not the point of thing, so I went with a white girl ;)
KimLuster at 10:20AM, June 25, 2015
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Oh, and to do as Ozone asks and not derail this thread into a nature vs nuture thing I'll respond to this, he said: “Please agree that it's possible that cultural influence could play the  leading role instead…”
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Absolutely this is possible.  Like I said, I think we humans have a ‘something extra’ (what I think that is is a whole ‘nuther matter, for another topic) that enables us to override our biology all the time…  And this ’something extra' can be vastly influenced by culture.  While woman in physical leading roles isn't equal to men in western media, in cultures such as conservative Saudi Arabia it's non-existent…!  That's totally cultural and sexist!
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However, I think sometimes we overthink equality into being a ‘sameness’…  Men and Woman are NOT the same, though, and while it's okay for gender roles to be blurred, I wonder if some creators are becoming a little fearful now of writing anything that seems to play to stereotypes.  I have a female heroine - she's strong and resourceful and can save the day, but I better be careful about scenes where she's vulnerable and in danger and have *gasp* a male hero save her…!
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I know I've caught myself doing it over and over and I have to steel myself and create the scene as I see it ‘really’ happening, and force myself not to overly worry about whether people think I'm being ‘equal’ and ‘fair’… 
last edited on June 25, 2015 10:23AM
bravo1102 at 3:35PM, June 25, 2015
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nature versus nurture?   I wanted to know how best to stay healthy and I got some education about this stuff from medical professionals not social scientists.

Go ahead men try sitting legs together.  Unless a eunuch you'll invariably find something in the way of doing so comfortably.  So crushing penis and testicles is not good for them and can lead to infection and cysts. Sperm count goes down when the testes are overheated by somehting as simple as sitting legs together. Look it up.  It's true.  There can also be issues with the urethera in the penis. That's why really tight undies aren't good for men in the long term.  So those Speedos are the worst thing you can wear for long periods especially if you're going to get wet.

Similarly a human female sitting legs spread invites infection.  So legs together to keep foreign objects out of there.  But not so tight as those Speedos as that can trap moisture in there and again cause infection.  You mean there is a practical reason based on physilogy why women wear skirts rather than cultural sexism?  Maybe and the cultural norm evolved to reinforce the pre-existing physiology.  That's known as “There were eggs before there were chickens” answer to the age old question of what came first.  These are physical things that preexist cultural norms by millions of years.  Ask a doctor. Cultural norms reinforce this but the bodies existed for millions of years before there was anything resembling nurture outside of “where's the food at”?  

Oh yeah and did I mention that one way to avoid STDs is something as simple as urinating after sex?  Holy shit, woman in the refrigerator Batman!  Wish they'd tell you that with all that nurturing and cultural norming going on during those long years growing to maturity.

And just what does this have to do with sexism?  Gender bias is often based on subjective viewpoints regarding what is better as opposed to just practically accepting that both are equally valid and just different because they evolved for different functions.  Not better or worse, just different because they do different stuff.

Maybe that's nature versus nurture.  Nature has different stuff for different purposes and we humans have to categorize everything into better or worse so cultures evolve defining stuff that really doesn't need a definition, just acceptance that it is what it is.  All -isms (racism, sexism, ageism) are like that. Categorizing somehting as better or worse when it is simply just not the same as the other.

Or I'm a wrong-headed knuckle-dragging baboon who doesn't know his bright red ass from that hole in the ground over there.  Oh wait that is my ass.  Moron. Oh wait, it's actually a mule.  Big stupid-headed me with my convoluted thought processes that resemble nothing so much as a room full of screaming pre-schoolers. 
ozoneocean at 6:16PM, June 25, 2015
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/ragequit
 
Genejoke at 4:54AM, June 26, 2015
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ozone got pwned.
I'm mostly with Bravo and Kimluster here. Nature inspired nurturing.
Anyway, sexism.

Meh! It's ingrained in society and refelcts in all media and creativity.
Visually… Sexy women, perfect tones abs on the men.  it's eye candy all round.
Story wise, well most mainstream writers are male and are more comfortable writing men their stories are naturally malecentric. Some will naturally be social retards and their knowledge of women will come from porn mags.  ;-)
Like most things in society it's there, sometimes more prominant than others.  For the most part it doesn't really bother me, unless exceptionally bad.  I used to groan at the marvel swimsuit specials of the early nineties.  Clearly drawn by undersexed and over porned artists for horny 14 year old boys.
fallopiancrusader at 7:18AM, June 26, 2015
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I believe that all the media we consume, (whether it's comics, movies, video games, music, or fairy tales) all have the same sexist themes.
I am reminded of one literary critic who said that the relationships of male to female characters in Hollywood movies could be described by analogy to a football game: If the movie were a football game, then the male characters would be the men on both of the opposing teams, and the female characters would be the football.
In my opinion, all media (or common narratives) are an expression of the values held by the society in which they occur. For example, I would posit that the Aztec myth of Huitzilopochtli, the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the movie “Star Wars” all have the same message. The superficial details might be radically different, but all three contain the same symbols because they are propagating the symbols of three societies that all have similar values. 
I believe the kinds of sexism that have been discussed in this thread are an artifact of our collective socialization into a patriarchal society. I think that American sociologist Allan G. Johnson put it succinctly when he described our society as “male-dominated, male-centered, and male-identified.” It would therefore follow that the majority of narratives told in our society will have the same themes: They will be stories about men competing for power, they will take place in a world populated predominantly by men, men will always be at the center of attention, and they will always be told from the male point of view. They will also invariably be characterized by the disenfranchisement and eradication of women. 
As to the nature versus nurture debate: there is ample anthropological and archaeological evidence of societies that do not follow the patriarchal model, so it therefore follows that patriarchy and gender roles are a 100 percent artificial construct that is imposed on us by the process of socialization. It needs to be stressed that “sex” (biology) and “gender” (sex based role models) are completely different entities. For further reading, I suggest “The gender knot” by Allan G. Johnson, “The origins of patriarchy” by Gerda Lerner, and “The chalice and the blade”, by Riane Eisler.
last edited on June 26, 2015 7:22AM
El Cid at 1:48PM, June 26, 2015
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As far as superhero and action comics go, I think the fact you see so many more male action heroes in comics is because most action heroes in real life are male. I don't see anything wrong with that. While you certainly *can* do a comic that goes for more of a fifty-fifty male-female action hero ratio, you're under no obligation to, and it's not “sexism” to do a comic that reflects reality. If anything, it's sexist to shoehorn in female characters where they don't fit, just to satisfy someone's artificial notion of how genders *should* be distributed.
 
We don't live in a fifty-fifty world. People are different. Women are different from men. Black people are different from white people. Americans are different from Canadians. It's depressing to me that we all celebrate diversity, yet so many of us don't seem to understand what diversity actually means, and what it implies.
 
I think it would be interesting if someone took the time to calculate exactly the ratio of male-to-female superheroes, and contrasted that with the ratio of males-to-females in first responder and combat roles. I wouldn't be surprised if women weren't over-represented in comics somewhat. But if they're underrepresented, it's probably not by much.
maskdt at 3:13PM, June 26, 2015
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I'm more than willing to concede that many gendered behaviours do have a seed of nature in there – but it's often just a tiny seed. To take my example of how men and women sit, yes, it's more comfortable for men to sit with their knees apart, but that fails to explain guys who sit so splayed out they're almost doing the splits. There's no anatomical purpose to it. It's also extremely important to keep in mind that most gendered notions aren't universal, which absolutely defeats a number of arguments that these behaviours are purely the result of instinct. When a behaviour is timeless and universal across cultures, then it probably is instinct (eg: the pressure placed on parents to stick around for their young children.)
Like I said, gender and sexism get complex. When we create fiction, we're given the opportunity to reflect the systems we're all subjected to, to critique those systems, or to create a world where those systems are different or absent altogether. You can aim for a gender ratio in your superheroes that reflects contemporary gender ratios in American soldiers, sure, but you can also create a world where the ratio is more even because women weren't/aren't discouraged or even outright banned from joining the armed forces.
El Cid at 4:21PM, June 26, 2015
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Yes, creators certainly *can* create worlds in their fiction where social conditions are radically different from those in the real world. That much is obvious. What is pertinent to the discussion is whether they are obligated to do so. Most comic writers aren't driven by a social agenda, so you shouldn't expect them to engage in such things. Adding feminist themes to a story that has nothing to do with feminism is only going to add unnecessary noise.
 
Also, as an aside: I'm not sure who this is you claim is “discouraging” women from joining the armed forces. The armed forces have jumped through hoops to attract female volunteers. Is it really surprising to anyone that going away to the darkest corners of the world for years on end and getting shot at does not appeal to nearly as many women as it does to men?
ozoneocean at 8:08PM, June 26, 2015
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-not even going to approach that spreading thing. Too stupd.
 
Fallopian has the right of it  here: you look at society as it is and think it's normal, natural, the way things should be; they must be like that for good reasons so there's no reason to change 
 
The justifications here are the same species as those that showed up in the early 20th century to justify the racial inequality of the day. Bad scientific reasoning and determinism was used to explain why things were the way they are and should continue to be that way: i. e. Low IQ scores for black people, black people being poor, living in poor communities, lacking education, and so on.
 
It was justified that this was the natural state of things because they were less able and less intelligent, and more violent than white people…
While in 2015 we know that the prejudice left over from the old culture of slavery was what caused that situation. Black people were pushed into the margins, denied opportunities or good jobs, denied proper education and worse and THAT is what created such a poor social situation for them. These things perpetuate, snowball and continue down through generations.
 
When Fallopian uses the term “Patriarchy”, this is the sort of that that means: institutionalised sexisim is the same as institutionalised racisim. 
You have to closely examine WHY things are like they are if they appear unequel or unfair, not just sit back and come up with justifications.
 
last edited on June 26, 2015 9:04PM
ozoneocean at 8:14PM, June 26, 2015
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It starkly makes me realise exactly why people focus so hard on superficial sexisim now: sexy clothes and poses.
It's because anything else is too hard for the average person to understand or accept.
 
KimLuster at 5:01AM, June 27, 2015
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I don't think the subject of biological differences playing a significant role in modern society is at all stupid!  To me it's so painfully true that the question isn't ‘Does it affect anything at all?’ but ‘How much?’
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Yes, history has a deplorable track record of using race and gender (amongst others) to justify institutionalized prejudice, but if the only way to make sure that doesn't happen is to stick our heads in the sand and pretend we don't have any differences at all (or they are just cosmetic)…  To me that's just using makeup to hide skin cancer…!
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To develope as a society, we have to learn to acknowledge differences but at the same never let them be a default reason to prevent anyone from even being allowed to try…  It's a hard road, because we humans also have a tendency to treat those that are different badly (which I think is also rooted in biology).
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But it can be done.  There are significant differences in men and women (women can have babies, duh..)  And due to the differences, it used to be that women were treated very badly (couldn't vote, were men's property), and yet, somehow, while allowing that differences are still there, society decided that women should be allowed to vote, could work on their own, had control over their on bodies…  This is recently modern (thus rare) and wonderful thing.  There's still some ways to go, but we can't pretend like lots of progress hasn't been made.
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I don't think any poster here is saying that culture has no place in this, and that it can't override biology.  It clearly does (and I'm grateful in most ways).  But biology has a root in much of it, and I think acknowledging that enables us to better deal with its effects.
fallopiancrusader at 8:28AM, June 27, 2015
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You are quite right. Biological reality and institutionalized cultural role models are very different, and both play a part in creating our cultural world-view. I think that it's impossible to engage in a meaningful discussion about gender without using surgical precision to separate the distinct influences of biology and culture. Those who have a vested interest in preserving sexist institutions will do everything in their power to obfuscate the difference, for two reasons:

1)
Because that allows pseudo-science to rationalize injustice. It's the same as when social Darwinists used the principle of “survival of the fittest” to rationalize colonialism
and class-ism.

2)
All systems of oppression
rely on invisibility to preserve themselves. We constantly get duped into believing that sexism is justified “because it's all genetic,” because then no one will will get around to acknowledging the existence of patriarchal culture. If no one acknowledges the existence of patriarchy, we will never be able to dismantle it.

Considering that our misogynist culture has had at least 5000 years to develop and perfect itself, I suspect that it will take several generations to unravel its pathology and ultimately eliminate it.
last edited on June 27, 2015 8:30AM
bravo1102 at 5:40AM, June 28, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
It starkly makes me realise exactly why people focus so hard on superficial sexisim now: sexy clothes and poses.
It's because anything else is too hard for the average person to understand or accept.
And that's an example of another -ism. Elitism.  Oh you can't understand this so we're just going to disregard what you say because we're just so much more intelligent than you are.  Prompting the anti-intellecualism rife in the USA with such pundits as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity ridicuously flouting scientific fact and re-intrepeting historical evidence according to their own mindless “common sense” agendas.
 For further reading, I suggest “The gender knot” by Allan G. Johnson, “The origins of patriarchy” by Gerda Lerner, and “The chalice and the blade”, by Riane Eisler.
There is also the anthology “Womanspirit Rising” especially the essay “Whatever happened to God the Mother?” by Elaine Pagels. Critical readings of the Old Testament and the Pauline letters are also helpful to understand patriarchy as early Chirstianity almost overturned it.  “Sex In History” is useful to see how the partiarchal culture expressed itself over time.  “Everything You wanted to Know about Sex but were Afraid to Ask” also addresses the way and why men and women sit the way they do.  Pull your groin from lifting heavy things as a manly man and you'll see why guys sit spread legged. Yeast infections are rife in cultures where women sit spread legged as opposed to kneeling. Get either and you'll see how stupid the topic is. 

PreChristian pagan culture as it existed in the 2nd Century AD was opening up for women.  Roman law was much more responsive to women as citizens than any code previously. Except possibly Minoan but we can't be certain until their alphabet is fully translated?  Surpirsinlgy if a woman avoided marriage and expressed her sexuality freely in much of the ancient world she was accepted as a full person rather than a piece of male property. Something to think about especially with George R.R. Martin's apparent love of the prostitute as the mover and shaker of dynasties. (Lots of examples of that from most harem culutres though from China to the Ottomans)
KimLuster at 6:18AM, June 28, 2015
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bravo1102 wrote:
And that's an example of another -ism. Elitism.  Oh you can't understand this so we're just going to disregard what you say because we're just so much more intelligent than you are…  
I've been accused of Elitism before…  I try to explain to people that I'm not; that I know the intricacies  of the various ‘-Isms’ better than they do, because I'm smarter than they are…  But they always just look at me weird… :D
ozoneocean at 7:36PM, June 28, 2015
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Well I did ask that we agree to disagree on the nature VS nurture stuff and focus in popculture instead, but that seemed to have exactly the opposite effect…?
The justifications for spreading/non-spreading though make me tear up with the giggles :D
 
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Anyway: popculture:
 
Both sexes enjoy it equally, so it follows that it should cater to them both. Shouldn't it?
Not equally in every single thing, that'd be shit. Some things should be more equal, some things more female focussed, some male, some even for those asexual types, whatever, but the main thing is that both men and women consume popculture so it's unfair not to give half the population good characters to idenify with in the creative products they consume.
 
You might say that we already have that: action films for boys, chick flicks for girls.
Sorry, that's fucked up. Women love action films too just as men like chick flicks. What turns people off isn't the genre, it's the fact the characters are writen to be too gender biased.
 
KimLuster at 8:13AM, June 29, 2015
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Hehe, well as you have seen, many of us of think biology plays a HUGE part in it.  We can agree to disagree but if we're instructed to focus on the cultural to the total exclusion of the biological…  That's a big hamstring - I simply can't meaningfully do that!
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But as I've said, I DO believe we humans have the ability to override our biology, and I'm all for creators making stories where women are the main characters, where they're the heroes and saviors, where they kick all the men's asses.  I personally want MORE of this!
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I am leery of saying there's a NEED for it though.  Ultimately, since we're talking about culture, we're also talking about the Market!  This stuff if largely money-driven and we can't ignore the profit incentive…
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Would the Avengers make as much money if they used five female characters and one male character?  It's a serious question…  Would men (and women) go see it in the droves they did with the existing movie?  If not, is it because there's not enough established female heroes?  And why are there more female heroes not established?  Is it because Men have been suppressing them?  Or could anything else be in the play?
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Let's hypothetically pretend that, back in the day when superheroes first started making appearances that there was zero suppression; everyone was free to create any character they could and anybody could buy any story about them. In such a scenario, is it a guarantee a ‘Super Woman’ would be as popular as Superman?  Would girls flock to Super Woman in the same numbers as Boys did Superman?  I know I’d love a Super Woman but I seriously wonder if I’d be the exception.
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And that’s because I can’t let biology go.  I read about an observance once.  A setup was made:  a school gym and several baskets out there full of toy balls.  They allowed group of very young kids, equally boys and girls, to start playing with the them.  They noticed two phenomenon:
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1) the boys got the balls and tried to kill each other with them
2) the girls ran around, giggling, and trying to collect the balls and put them back in the baskets
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Sure there were exceptions (there always is) but there is pretty concrete observable differences too.  So the question is: Did the boys and girls act that way because of upbringing - that culture molded them to act and think in certain ways?  Or (in general) are boys just Hardwired to be more warlike and girls more caretaking?  It’s an honest question…
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If it’s hardwired (and I’m not insisting that it is even though I strongly believe it very likely) then we CANNOT ignore biology when thinking about this stuff!
fallopiancrusader at 9:58AM, June 29, 2015
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I hear mainstream media producers use one particular excuse for sexism
very frequently: “Our demographic is teen-age boys/ young men, and
we are just giving them what they want.” I work in the video game
industry, which is pretty similar to the comics industry, and I hear
this statement all the time, along with “Girls don't like to play
action video games, so it's OK to only create male characters.”



Well, last year, a pair of researchers said “Let's make a statistically significant study of what the teen demographic really wants.” They set out and
asked 1500 boys and girls ages 11 to 18 all across America
about their gaming preferences, tabulated the results, and presented
their findings at GDC 2015. The results were that “what the target
demographic wants” was way off from what the big
publishers were producing. Many girls liked to play action games, the
majority of girls wanted to see more strong female characters, and
the majority of boys were offended by the sexual objectification of
women in video games.


The reason that I bring it up is that the “we're just giving the public what it wants” excuse ignores the agency ofthe author. Sexist producers will behave in characteristic ways, and create sexist product, regardless of the reality that they are clearly out of touch with. When I hear mainstream publishers say
“we're just giving the public what they want,” I am forced to
think: “until you show me the evidence, I am going to take it with
a huge grain of salt.”
last edited on June 29, 2015 3:39PM
KimLuster at 1:25PM, June 29, 2015
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FC, I actually want that to be true….  I'd love for it to be true…
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But when I see surveys like this and then I look and compare with the actual world I see, I just wonder…
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Maybe they should survey the parents of the children?  I've raised boys and girls.  I'm good friends with lots of people who’ve raised boys and girls.  Boys want GI Joe and Call of Duty - Girls want Barbie and the Sims and dresses and makeup…  I saw similar with my friend's kids…  Boys want Godzilla on their wall - Girls want My Little Pony…
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I know I can't make a complete judgment based on my small corner of the world, but I KNOW I didn't raise my own by trying to purposefully mold them into gender roles, and yet they did tend to gravitate to them…  I'm positive a lot of it is culture (even I can't shield them from the whole world, nor would I want to) and I know there's immense pressure to conform once we reach a certain age… but I simply can't help but see what strongly appears to be something innate as well…  That it is not ALL cultural…
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I know there are exceptions (I'm one!) and that boys and girls are often discouraged from partaking in things that are supposed to be for ‘the other team’…  But there are also true differences in personality and temperament that I see over and over… and over again.
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Anyway, I'm going to read up on that survey you mentioned. Like I said - I'd love for what you say to be true… Or at least more true than the world I see…
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Finally, an interesting self-reflection on my part… I want my girls (and girls in general) to be more interested in ‘rough stuff’, action movies and thrillers, learn to play guitar, etc…  But I don't necessarily want my boys to delve into super ‘girly’ stuff.  I'm okay if they do, but I don't really want them too…  What does that say about me (and the world) :/
fallopiancrusader at 3:31PM, June 29, 2015
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Here is an article about the presentation at GDC 2015: http://www.polygon.com/2015/3/5/8153213/the-games-industry-is-wrong-about-kids-gaming-and-gender
Here is the deck that was presented by the authors: https://www.scribd.com/doc/257893404/Wiseman-and-Burch-GDC-2015-study
The deck linked above was only part of the presentation.
Obviously, comics and video games are different beasts, so don't draw too many conclusions from those numbers. I just wanted to point out that many publishers claim to know what the public wants, and they are frequently wrong. (full disclosure: I have revised my post above to remove any reference to the actual statistics, because the number differences are more complex than I remembered them.)
More germane to the topic: I believe that collective narratives like fairy tales, myths, and comic books are part of how culture is transmitted between generations. If the media we consume all our lives present us with predominantly patriarchal narratives, we are more likely to internalize patriarchal roles into our own identities.  The authors of comic books play a very real role in the propagation of culture, and need to take responsibility for that. This holds true even for incredibly obscure fringe authors like me.
last edited on June 29, 2015 4:06PM
KimLuster at 6:42PM, June 29, 2015
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Thanks for those links FC - rather illuminating!!  The part they said about Elsa (from Frozen) is so true…  I went to a Halloween costume party (family oriented), and (this is no exageration) probabally a 3rd of the girls 14 and younger came as Elsa.
El Cid at 10:00PM, June 29, 2015
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I don't think it's an “excuse” when companies say they're aiming to give the public what they want. That's exactly what they *are* aiming to do, even if they miss the mark at times (and no matter what, they'll never get it 100 percent right). You're not going to convince me that game companies, or movie producers, or comic book companies, are so inexorably misogynist that they're willing to watch millions of dollars fly out the door rather than add more female characters. That's a little bit nutty. And even worse, you'd have to believe there's collusion between companies as well. That's just not what's actually happening. If gaming companies are convinced they can sell more product by including more female characters, then believe me, they'll be adding more female characters. It's a mundane marketing issue.
 
And btw, key point: When they say “what the people want,” they don't mean, what people say when you ask them to answer survey questions. They mean, what people actually put down their money to buy, what they actually go out and see at the movies. Talk is cheap, and people like to be thought well of. Teenage boys can say all they want about women being objectified, but they're the ones more than anyone else going out and buying those gamer magazines with the scantily clad vampire fighter on the cover. What people *really* want is going to be reflected in their behaviors, in their purchasing habits, in what sites they click on, and that's what ultimately drives companies to make the decisions they do.
 
I should note, as a disclaimer, that I'm not much of a gamer personally, and never was even back in high school. But even from what little I can remember, and from what I do pick up about the current gaming universe, there already do seem to be plenty of female characters in games (Samus from ‘Metroid,’ Chun Li, Lara Croft, Aveline de Grandpre from ‘Assassin’s Creed'), so I don't even understand why this is something we're supposed to be upset about. Because there aren't “more” female characters? How much is “more?” When is “more,” enough? Likewise, there are plenty of butt-kicking female characters in comics and movies ('Kill Bill,' the entire ‘Alien’ franchise, ‘Colombiana,’ ‘Salt,’ ‘Lucy,’ the list goes on). I've probably seen more female police detectives on TV proportionally than exist in any metropolitan police department. And I've *definitely* seen more sword-wielding warrior vixens than ever stalked the Earth. So it's hard for me to get too worked up about it. No one's going to argue that women are absolutely ignored as leading characters, and if you're upset that entertainment companies aren't meeting your own personal arbitrary benchmark, well, that's *your* benchmark, not theirs.
KimLuster at 5:05AM, June 30, 2015
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joined: 5-15-2012
El Cid wrote:
You're not going to convince me that game companies, or movie producers, or comic book companies, are so inexorably misogynist that they're willing to watch millions of dollars fly out the door rather than add more female characters. That's a little bit nutty…
You know - I wanted to counter with a similiar argument, but then I thought about all the countries and time periods where women weren't discouraged, or outright barred, from working in particular occupations, no matter how well qualified they were.  And of course, we know now how beneficial and profitable it is to allow women to work, but there was a cultural barrier that just made it inconceivable to consider at one time…
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I know it's not an exact comparison (employing vs. selling to), but it does show how ingrained thinking can prevent progress, and profit…  But in this day and age I more or less agree with you.  If a gaming company thought they stood to make a few billion extra profit by introducing more female characters driven games, they'd do it in a heartbeat!  
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Even so, were I a gaming company marketing person, those surveys might make me rethink a little… I'd probably research and experiment with it…

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