mad: Jason Todd says a lot of things (Jason Todd)
[personal profile] mad posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I had a very negative reaction to the preview for Birds of Prey #3, and wrote about it on my Tumblr, but am re-posting it here, with images added for illustrative purposes.

In total this post contains about one page's worth of art/panels from the BoP #3 previews, maybe a bit over. (Most of them are from the preview on the DC Comics website, but one is from the preview on IGN.) Also, I've included the cover art to Gotham City Sirens #9.

Fair warning: this post contexts a lot of text.



The Penguin is injured and hallucinated that the Birds are...well, doing this:





This book is breaking my heart. I’m so tired of Ed Benes’ art. I’m tired of Huntress’s stupid belly window costume. I’m tired of the Birds sporting wedgies and their asses being constantly tilted toward the camera, and I’m tired of all the Birds’ faces looking the same. (That the Gail Simone’s writing here has the characters stripping/seducing, even in a villain’s hallucination, is also alienating and tiresome.)



It’s not something that’s limited to Benes, of course, but some comic book artists have the profoundly irritating habit of making most women’s faces look the same, while giving a huge amount of character to men’s faces. Check out the Penguin, and then look at all the women’s faces. It’s a similar thing with Guillem March in Gotham City Sirens. Dudes like the Riddler and Penguin get personality and individuality in their faces, but the women’s faces are kept as bland as possible.

It sucks that while we have TWO books featuring female team-ups in Gotham, both are mired in cheesecake that, in my opinion, gets in the way of the storytelling. It pulls me out of the story and kills my enjoyment. It especially sucks as a reader, because both books are written by people whose work I usually like, and characters I’m interested in following.



I realize that cheesecake and difficulty drawing women’s faces is by no means limited to these particular comics. I haven’t been reading GCS, and it’s been a while since I’ve even bothered to look at a preview of it, so for all I know, the art’s changed over time. But what I did see when the series launched was enough to put me off the book. (Also, the constant high heels on Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn.)

I’m just tired of wanting to read books about female characters I like, and having to put up with excessive cheesecake. I don’t even MIND cheesecake or beefcake when it’s done well and doesn’t overpower the story. In the right context, I can enjoy it. But when it’s constant and mindless cheesecake in superhero stories, it grates on my nerves.

And it’s not just because it’s tiresome to constantly see your heroes and favourite characters sexually objectified for readers who are not me (just in case I needed reminding that mainstream comics don’t really care whether or not they have me for an audience), but because I see parallels to how women are objectified elsewhere.

I’m not even really talking about porn or other things aimed at straight men, where you do see those kinds of spine-injuring postures and objectification. I’m talking about how every magazine and advertisement aimed at WOMEN do similar things: soft lighting, make-up and airbrushing, eliminating any visual hint of “flaws” and personality. The Penguin's face could only belong to one person, and that is Oswald "Penguin" Cobblepot. Oracle, Huntress, Canary, and Dove, on the other hand? Put the same hair colour/style and mask on all of them and they all look exactly the same. The Penguin gets loads of detail and individuality on his face. But attempt to give a woman that same level of detail in a drawing, and people will probably view it as ugly.



Culturally, we give men permission to get wrinkles, grow stubble, and leave their grey hair un-dyed. We allow and enjoy visual representation of individuality and personality in men, we allow them the chance to prove their worth outside of their looks. We can love and enjoy, say, Jonah Hex, as a protagonist and hero, and we can love and enjoy Two-Face as a villain. But a woman? She must be beautiful, and if she’s not, chances are that her entire motivation and personality are wrapped up in the fact that she’s not conventionally attractive.

I can’t remember where I read it, but someone once said that women don’t wear make-up to look pretty, they wear make-up to feel human.

Perhaps that’s an oversimplification and is not a universal explanation for every woman who puts on make-up, or for every comic artist who simplifies women’s faces to the point where they all look the same, or for every magazine that photoshops away every wrinkle and smidgen of fat off of women’s bodies. It’s hard to articulate, but there’s always an implicit rule that women who don’t fit into the conventionally attractive mold will be rejected, individually and by society. That threat of rejection, of being dismissed, seen as sub-human, unworthy of any consideration or respect, it’s in male gaze, it’s in superhero comics, it’s in advertising, it’s in consumerism, it’s in products/magazines/advertising/other content aimed at women, it’s in the news and politics, it’s in strangers’ eyes, and it’s in the mirror. Every day. Often it’s subtle and easily ignored or goes entirely unnoticed, often it’s not and it doesn’t.

There’s a reason why I’d rather pick up Birds of Prey than Cosmo or whatever. It’s because I expect a superhero book to pull me in and make me forget about that crap, to make me feel at least a little bit empowered. It’s a superhero fantasy, and it should be fun, exciting and inspiring, not aggravating and tiring.

I realize that this is a very personal reaction to certain styles of art, that some find it difficult to draw women’s faces, and that there are other forces at work besides an artist’s particular style. Not everyone may think along these lines or feel this way, but when I read this preview of BoP, all I felt was tired. It’s not just a problem of one artist I don’t like on one book I should like, but just another facet of a much larger problem that manifests so frequently in comics, and practically everywhere one looks. When I say I’m tired of mindless cheesecake in superhero comics, it’s not just because it’s a problem in comics, but because I see it as a part of a continuum of a larger problem.

I’m tired of it.

Try to imagine what this scene would look like if the male character were swapped for a female one, and the female characters for male ones. If it were Batman and Superman sexily posing and stripping for a daydreaming, fully-clothed (non-spandexed, non-sexualized) Catwoman being creepy, DC would likely never publish it because it’d probably be seen as too demeaning to their favourite superhero guys.

You’d never see a beefcake equivalent to Gotham City Sirens, where every cover has, say, Dick Grayson, Roy Harper, and Wally West sexily and seductively posing together, with their skintight costumes highlighting their nipples, crotches and butts all at the same time. Despite how (b)romantic Superman/Batman can get, you’ll never see the same kind of sexual objectification of them in that book.

And if you believe that men are equally objectified and idealized as women are in superhero comics, you should compare and contrast. (Men are idealized as being “strong”, women are idealized as being “sexy”. Not the same thing, not equal.)

I have no idea what Gail Simone was aiming for when writing the scene we see in the BoP #3 preview, but it doesn’t appeal to me. In a recent interview, she talked about Ed Benes’ art:

That said, he is of the Brazilian tradition, so his art is always hugely sexy and sexually charged. It can be a bit much for some, but I never sense the, you know, the hate that some artists bring to their sexy drawings. Again, it’s like the Suicide Girls, and I’ve used them as an example before. What they do is so free of the kind of self- and other-loathing that infuses so much porn and cheesecake. It’s more about a sense of joy and freedom, and the effect is different.


I guess Your Mileage May Vary. I don’t see “joy and freedom” in it, but rather the same old trappings.

Date: 2010-07-19 02:17 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (no thanks)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
For fuck's sake. When I point out that your constant excuses are a problem, you make more excuses. I give you clear cut examples of places where you have been minimizing sexism, and you bleat about how I've misinterpreted you! Gosh, you never said Twilight was a special case, you just said it fit into a certain niche that meant it couldn't be used an an example! What the fuck do you think a special case is exactly.

I DIDN'T say anything LIKE 'I don't know, but I'm sure it can't be sexism'.

YES YOU DID. Right here, you're arguing there must be some other reason, but you don't know what it is.

simply saying 'SEXISM IS BAD AND A PROBLEM!' doesn't really give one much to talk about, does it?

Actually, people who are informed about sexism can have lengthy discussions on the topic. There are blogs, forums, books, all devoted to discussing 'Why Sexism Is Bad And A Problem'. The fact you can't have lengthy discussions on a topic does not mean there are not valuable and fascinating discussions to be had on it.

You know, you might even see people having valuable and fascinating discussions on sexism here if people didn't have to spend all their time explaining basic concepts like "The movie industry is pretty damn sexist".

If you cannot usefully participate in such a discusson, you might consider the options 'reading and learning' or 'joining a different discussion that you can make contributions to' instead of 'leap in and be so woefully uninformed people feel the need to correct me in case other people see my ridiculous statements and think they have some connection to reality.'

mentioning that there are other water sources besides the river (which I don't think is what I was SAYING, but...) does not deny that the problem itself is the flood.

No, but it distracts attention from dealing with the flood, it draws attention away from the fact the river is the main issue. It's derailing. Go look it up. It's on the resource page. Extensively. If you don't know or understand the basic ideas of anti-oppression work, and you aren't willing to learn them, and you won't listen to people who spell it out for you in excruciating detail, why did you click on a post that was clearly labelled as being about the objectification of women.

I think we've both said about all there is to say about our respective viewpoints, and I'm getting tired of arguing.

I suggest you address that remark to whoever is holding your feet to the fire and forcing you to respond; it isn't me.

Date: 2010-07-20 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Again, point by point:

I didn't say it COULDN'T be used as an example. I simply said that - and again, I'm paraphrasing - there was extra baggage attached to 'Twilight' because it IS an example of this niche category. Furthermore, if you want to focus on 'Twilight', it's a problematic example because it's a VERY divisive series - some people would argue that, while it is certainly a female oriented series, it's certainly not setting much of a positive example, what with the whole 'I am a girl fanatically devoted to an sulky undead sparkly creature of the night who keeps warning me that he is a MONSTER and I should stay away from him, yet I want to become a blood-sucking monster, too, and have his monster baby right out of high school' thing. You can use it as an example, sure, and it IS an example of a female-oriented picture, but 'Twilight' comes with its own problems, so it might not be the best CHOICE, is all I'm saying.

Oh, honestly, MUST we go over this again? 'Don't ask me to explain it - I can't', which is what I said, DOES NOT MEAN 'I'M SURE IT CAN'T BE SEXISM'. It might WELL be sexism; what I was saying is that I DON'T KNOW! It could be sexism, yes, and it's quite possible that there's an element of that involved, but it could also be that those happened to be the books that some studio executive's kid was reading at the moment, it could be that they were chosen for all the nifty CGI action sequences they could make out of them, it could have been the fact that those particular authors were particularly eager to sell the movie rights - it could have been any of those, or all of them, or none of them. I DON'T KNOW, which is what I meant when I said 'I can't explain it' - I can't explain it because I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I'm not a part of the movie industry, I don't have the inside track on these things, I can't interpret how or why they people choose those particular series, and unless you ARE, and/or have an explanation beyond 'well, it's obviously sexism, just look', you're no more qualified to explain it than I am.

All right, fine, so people CAN have lengthy discussions on the topic, but that's not what I was looking for when I made my initial response which you picked up on and which started all this off. I was simply trying to play devil's advocate and see things from the side of the artist and writer. Perhaps I did it somewhat clumsily, but that's not the point. YOU were the one who introduced the 'SEXISM IS BAD AND WRONG' element, and things snowballed from there. I never wanted a debate on that subject; I was just introducing the possibility that this might have been an attempt at satire that didn't come off as well as it might have. Silly me for trying to see things from another viewpoint, namely Gail Simone, a writer whom most people on this board seem to LOVE, and expecting that one or two people might want to debate the point with me.

The main issue is the FLOOD, not the river. I mean, I think the metaphor is getting a little labored at this point, but if there's a bloody FLOOD in the neighborhood, I'm not going to go around debating as to whether the river is the source or not, I'm going to break out the sandbags. Whether or not it's the river overflowing that started it all, the point is that there's a FLOOD at the moment, we're surrounded by water, and we've got to get to higher ground - I don't care if FIVE rivers overflowed, I care about the fact that it's damn well flooding.

I have been trying to wrap this up amicably for the past two days now. It was never my intention to get into a shouting match with you, I just wanted a civil conversation - if we're both too mad at each other to conduct such a conversation, then ideally, it would be nice if we weren't both stalking off in a huff. You're quite right that I'm the one that keeps responding to you, but that's because you keep accusing me of sexism or the supporting or downplaying of such, and like the proud fool that I am, I keep launching back into the fray. It may be too late for us to shake hands and part as friends, but we can at least cut off the argument before things get any more bitter than they already are. Let's face it, neither of us is going to be able to have the last word here, because every time we try, it pisses the other one off, and the whole thing starts again. I mean, if you have such a problem with my opinion, all you have to say is 'fine, let's stop', and I'll stop GIVING you my opinion. Doesn't that sound better than keeping up the yelling match with both sides getting madder and madder?

Date: 2010-07-20 05:30 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
And no. Again, there is a systemic problem where movies directed at women, no matter how succesful they are, are regarded as flukes. Explaining why a particular movie isn't being duplicate for totally reasonable reasons, you gaiz, is about as useful as going through the women in refrigerators list and explaining why each death was required by the story, gosh, how could you say it's sexist.

Whether or not Twilight is morally improving has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is an utter irrelevancy.

You still don't get it. So I guess we'll go over it again. That whole comment was basically all about how sexism wasn't such a big deal, it couldn't be causing this. Somewhere in this post you even said, "I bet there's another reason and if we got rid of the other reason there'd be duplicates!" Which is basically denying the fact sexism has any effect and attributing sexist outcomes to some other force

You came into a post on sexism and decided to take the part of the people whose work is being called sexist; but you didn't want a conversation about sexism? What the hell were you expecting?

You're not discussing the flood, damn it. You're just making excuses for creators you like. "Wah I thought people liked Gail Simone so why aren't I getting approval for defending her sexist works?"

As I said, leave whenever you like. As long as you keep setting out such ridiculous faradiddles, I will keep correcting you.

Date: 2010-07-20 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Oh, good GODS, do I want to just fling up my hands in exasperation and end this stupid conversation. I want to so bad I can TASTE it. But now I am ANGRY at you, and I am not damn well wrapping this thing up until you GET what I'm ACTUALLY saying, and stop putting words in my mouth!
Point by Point:

All right, let me button down EXACTLY what what I was saying about 'Twilight'. What I was SAYING, and what I AM saying, again, is that the reason it is so successful is the books. Yes? With me so far? That is the reason why the series is successful, and THAT is what the movie studios are taking away from it - 'successful book series make successful movie series'. THAT is why I keep saying 'Twilight' is not a good example, not because it's not successful - it is - and not because it's not female oriented - of course it is - and NOT because it's some sort of flash-in-the-pan, once in a lifetime phenomenon - although I'll grant you that's what some people in the movie biz may be saying - it's because it owes its success to a series of books, and therefore it's the BOOK aspect that the movie studios are focusing on and duplicating, not the female oriented aspect. You can still use it as an example, of course you can, but a BETTER example would be a stand-alone movie - if something owes its success only to itself, instead of a book, or a cultural fad, or whatever, then THAT will get the bigwigs thinking, and they'll start imitating it. That - and ONLY that - is what I meant.

All right, first off, what part of 'I don't know what it is' don't you understand, and second, what I was SAYING - and remember, this was BEFORE I admitted to possibly being naive about all this, so it needn't carry huge amounts of weight; it's just a theory - was that sexism may be a powerful thing, but that the almighty dollar could overturn it, if enough of it was potentially in the offing. Now, this is NOT saying that sexism is not a powerful thing, or an influential thing, or ANY of that - but GREED can be still more powerful. The movie industry is RUN on greed, arguably the entire capitalist system, the entire western WORLD is run on greed. Greed has changed more lives, affected more aspects of our culture, caused more wars and quarrels and upsets than virtually anything, save possibly religion. Now, does this mean that sexism can't overturn greed? No, it doesn't, because clearly that IS happening - it simply means that if it came to a fair fight, I think greed would win out. That's not denigrating the strength and power of either one of them, but if unstoppable force meets immovable object, who do I think would win? Greed. Just my opinion, but there it is. Therefore, greed must be being redirected by something ELSE, which is where my discussion of the book-movie-niche comes in, assuming we're still using the example of 'Twilight'. If it were a stand-alone original, I have no doubt that greed would have won, and they'd be plundering its carcass for everything they could - but wait, goes Fatwallet's mind! Books! The success must be due to books! Sexism kicks in, backed up by opportunity and ambition, and it BEATS greed, in this particular battle, and there we go back with the book adaptations again. Going by this theory, though, greed HAS won over sexism in the past, and it continues to do so every time we DO get a big-budget female-oriented movie, such as 'Titanic', or, just off the top of my head 'The Brave One', with Jodie Foster. Now perhaps you think all this is balderdash. Fine. It's just a theory; I'm not saying any of it is true or false, just that it makes sense to me.

I came into a post about a COMIC on a board DEVOTED to comics and tried to start a conversation ABOUT a comic. Yes, the post itself was devoted to sexism, and that was what kicked off my initial comment, but is it so freakin' unreasonable to expect posters on a site about comics where two-thirds of the comments are about comics to be potentially interested in talking ABOUT COMICS? I may have been going off on a tangent, but I don't think it was unreasonable one.

I'm not discussing the flood because frankly, the flood is a stupid damn metaphor that I never understood in the first place. If we MUST talk in metaphors, at least use one that makes SENSE.
Now, can we finally get this over with, or do you still insist that I'm 'setting out ridiculous faradiddles', whatever the hell that means?

Date: 2010-07-20 08:08 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
No! You are proposing that marketing executives don't know that the success of Twilight was due to its female audience. Even you know that the success of Twilight was due to its female audience. You're suggesting they looked at the audience and said "wow, that's a lot of... book nerds. Quick, option books!"

Also, even if somehow they did think that, there are lots of successful book series marketed to girls, but they're not being made into movies; so your 'explanation' sucks on two levels.

Hi, we live in a capitalist society. It's sexist. Most of the world is free market capitalism these days, and greed doesn't 'overcome' sexism; the more sexist capitalist countries simply buy and sell women like chattel. Sexism informs our attitudes and therefore the decisions we take; if we're sexist, we'll make sexist decisions whether we're Communists or Chicago School economists.

You are arguing Twilight cannot be duplicated because it is an adaption of a succesful book series; as I said, there are many such series directed at women, so your argument fails. Further, what of Titanic? Success due largely to women, and yet no attempts to target this audience with similar big budget spectacular romances with engaging female main characters. I fully expect you to come up with excuses for the studio executives. "Oh they probably thought its success was due to the popularity of large boats so they made a lot of large boat movies, totally reasonable!"

Yes, sexism doesn't always win. That's due to constant pressure by the aforemention Y and Z who are not sexist; Jodie Foster is one of them. That does not mean that the industry isn't mostly sexist, and you're continually trying to draw attention away from that and suggest other reasons for people's sexist actions.

So you started out commenting about sexism in a comic and now you're pouting that you didn't want to have a conversation about sexism? Yeah, I think you have poor decision making skills. May I suggest that if you don't want to discuss sexism in comics you don't come into posts about sexism in comics and start talking about sexism in comics?

If you don't know what faradiddles means, I suggest you look it up. You are connected to the most powerful method of accessing information that has ever existed. Use it.

Date: 2010-07-20 09:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
*grinds teeth* Once MORE into the breach...

I'm not saying they don't KNOW it, I'm saying they aren't ACTING on it, and if they aren't ACTING on it, there must be a reason, and my theory of what that reason IS is what I devoted two-damn-thirds of my last post to - I am NOT going into it again. If you don't agree with it, fine, because IT'S JUST A THEORY! So is yours! It may be a justified theory, but then again, mine may be, too - a theory retains validity until it's definitely proved to be wrong. I refuse to keep playing 'dueling theories' with you; it's ridiculous. Let's move on.

I never said that sexism and greed couldn't exist side-by-side; they can and obviously do. I was referring to a specific situation in the entertainment industry, not making a sweeping statement about the whole damn world.

I have said it before and I'll say it again - I don't KNOW what criteria people in the movie industry use to pick what they adapt. Perhaps it's sexism, perhaps they roll the bones; I don't @!#$in' know. I refuse to make broad, sweeping statements like 'it's all sexism' on a subject I know nothing about. Maybe it IS, but I wouldn't know. (And here's another theory regarding 'Twilight' - have you considered that people may not be imitating it yet because IT'S STILL IN THEATERS? I know there are people who will rip off anything, any time, but Twilight is BIG at the moment - it's possible that potential Twilight imitators are keeping things under their hats for now, for fear of having their movies be unfavorably compared to the more high-profile originals. Just a theory, but...)
And regarding 'Titanic', specifically, I DO, as it happens, have an informed theory as to why we didn't see a bunch of imitators of that (although arguably, we DID have a few - remember 'Pearl Harbor'? That was marketed in much the same way). 'Titanic' was a James Cameron movie, and apparently, there are a lot of people in Hollywood who HATE James Cameron, despite, or perhaps because of, his success. Just about every movie he's ever made has been a huge success, yet despite this, pretty much every single one has had people in the industry ranting about how it's trash, it'll never make any money, he's gone too far this time, blah blah blah. Those guys hate to be proved wrong, so it's possible that there is some pressure in Hollywood to NOT imitate Cameron's movies, in order to freeze him out or show him a lesson or something. (You will note that there aren't many imitations of his other movies, either - there are sequels to them, sure, and they've clearly influenced some other directors' styles, but it's rare that you see, for instance, a 'Terminator' rip-off, or at least not one made by a large studio.) Again, this is just a theory, but it strikes me as at least a possibility.

I never said the industry wasn't mostly sexist - remember the bit where I admitted that I may have been a little naive? This falls under that - me underestimating the extent of sexism in the industry doesn't mean I'm saying that it's not a problem in the industry.

I'm not going to justify my decision making skills to you. I'm someone who speaks his mind, I spoke it back there.

And I can GUESS what 'faradiddles' means; I was just pissed off at you and being snappish.
Thoughts? Comments? Next volley of cannonfire?

Date: 2010-07-20 10:30 am (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
The difference is that my theory is based on things like sexism being endemic to society at large, movie executives saying sexist things, accounts from Hollywood insiders talking about sexism in the industry, AND the fact that studio executives do not market to women despite women demonstrably having money and being willing to spend it. Your theory is based on... uh... look, you just think greed is a really powerful force, okay!

...wait. You think greed will overcome sexism... but you don't think greed will overcome hatred of James Cameron.

By your logic, hatred of James Cameron is a more powerful force than sexism.

And you theorise that maybe people don't want two movies marketed to women out at the same time. A) how do you explain multiple movies marketed at men being in cinemas at the same time B) Twilight did not stay in cinemas until the sequel came out, there was plenty of time for other movies.

Look, if you think talking about sexism in a post about sexism when you don't actually want to talk about sexism is a great plan, whatever, get down with your bad self. But is it really appropriate to then complain about the fact you're in a discussion about sexism? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.

Date: 2010-07-20 11:22 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
The point is, they're both THEORIES. Yours may be better-researched than mine, but they're still both purely theoretical - and greed, I may point out, is something ALSO widely practiced by society at large and studio executives. Both forces likely have a hand in this, we just have different interpretations of their role in the situation, which don't, I might add, necessarily have to clash with one another - as you yourself have pointed out, greed and sexism frequently coexist in a situation.

Of COURSE I'm not saying 'hatred of James Cameron is a more powerful force than sexism' - now you're just being ridiculous. You used 'Titanic', a James Cameron film, as an example, and I was just theorizing that ill feelings for Cameron in the movie industry MAY have been a contributing factor in Titanic not producing many imitators. (For that matter, 'Avatar' was a gigantic hit, but so far, I haven't seen any imitations of it - we're not getting a rash of 'sympathetic aliens' movies, or anything.)

I'm NOT saying people don't want two movies marketed to women out at the same time, I'm using 'Twilight' as a specific example. 'Twilight' is a big deal at the moment, and it's still in theaters, and is likely to remain so for a while - I'm no expert on the series, but I think there's at least one more book left, the movie version of which will probably be out next summer. Now, A: because 'Twilight' IS such a big deal, it doesn't strike me as very politic to put out an imitation of it while the series is still in theaters - while it's still getting that degree of exposure, people would be far more likely to watch the imitator and go 'hey - this is ripping off Twilight!' B: If an imitator is supposed to appeal to the same crowd as Twilight fans, it would strike me as only good sense to wait until the Twilight films have left theaters - if your movie's just like Twilight, why would anyone see it when Twilight itself is still playing? Once it's LEFT, however, then all the Twilight fans will be looking for more stuff in the same vein, which makes them the perfect audience for your imitation.

I'm not complaining about the fact that I'm IN a discussion about sexism - I'm just a tad bitter about the fact that you keep yelling at me when I was just looking for a friendly conversation. I understand you hold strong views on this, but I don't, and I resent being lambasted for it. If this were an actual social situation instead of just a message board, we both would have long since been kicked out of the room for being too loud.

Date: 2010-07-20 05:16 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
he point is, they're both THEORIES. Yours may be better-researched than mine, but they're still both purely theoretical

Well, call me an intellectual elitist, but have you done any research on your theory, or is just something you pulled out of your ass on the spur of the moment?

"Sure, the theory of gravity is well considered, but maybe the earth just sucks! They're both therories!"

Of COURSE I'm not saying 'hatred of James Cameron is a more powerful force than sexism'

Yes, you are. Earlier you said you could not imagine sexism overcoming greed, and therefore there must be another reason. Now you are saying you consider it a perfectly reasonably idea that hatred of James Cameron can overcome greed. Only connect.

For that matter, 'Avatar' was a gigantic hit, but so far, I haven't seen any imitations of it

Don't worry, there'll be another Avatar Dances with Pocahontas in Ferngully down the pike any minute. That was not a new idea, it is simply part of a long chain of imitators, and I'm sure there'll be another link soon. (For that matter, I did see a movie at the cinema last week where some people went to an alien planet and met aliens and proved better than them at their own game. The hero did not get to bang a Yautja princess, though. Shame.)

'Twilight' is a big deal at the moment, and it's still in theaters,

Well, actually, Eclipse is in theatres. Twilight was on for a while, then stopped. Then the fans waited for the sequel. While they were waiting, they might well have enjoyed a different film relevant to their interests, don't you think?

Now, A: because 'Twilight' IS such a big deal, it doesn't strike me as very politic to put out an imitation of it while the series is still in theaters

Yes, that's why they waited until Harry Potter was done before releasing Chronicles of Narnia, Lemony Snickett, Spiderwick Chronicles, Dark Materials, and the rest. Turns out, people see multiple movies a year!

it would strike me as only good sense

It strikes you as good sense that when you see a someone selling their product to an eager crowd, you should wait until the seller is done with that crowd before attempting to sell them your own, similar product?

I'm not complaining about the fact that I'm IN a discussion about sexism - I'm just a tad bitter about the fact that you keep yelling at me when I was just looking for a friendly conversation.

Here's a tip: if you want a friendly conversation and not a serious discussion, anti-oppression posts are probably not your best stop, especially not when you're ill-informed about the topic at hand.

I understand you hold strong views on this, but I don't, and I resent being lambasted for it.

Well aren't you fucking lucky to not hold strong views on it? Oh, well, I guess the oppression of half the population of the world based on their gender is bad... I don't really hold strong views.

And you have the nerve to tell me you resent being lambasted? You tell me you don't have strong feelings about sexism, and that you don't see why people are meeeeean to you about it? Because sexism is a BIG FUCKING DEAL and you should care about it, that's why.

Date: 2010-07-20 05:25 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Don't worry, there'll be another Avatar Dances with Pocahontas in Ferngully down the pike any minute. That was not a new idea, it is simply part of a long chain of imitators, and I'm sure there'll be another link soon.

And didn't Avatar single-handled cause the landslide of 3-D movies? I'd say it's the most blatantly and desperately imitated movie of the year if not the decade!

Date: 2010-07-20 05:29 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (my little captain)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
It may well have - I can't see 3-D, so I don't really pay attention, but I know a friend of mine loosely connected to the industry* said he viewed Avatar as just a demo for the effects tech involved, and the styles and effects would set the fashion for years.

*he programs computer games so 3-D stuff fascinates him. He's not like, Samuel L Jackson's bikini waxer or anything.

Date: 2010-07-20 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
The theory of gravity ain't a damn theory any more. Yours and mine both still are. I will freely admit that I came up with this theory during the course of the conversation, but it made sense to me at the time, and it still does, just as yours makes sense to you. This is why people theorize in the first place - to make sense of things.

I NEVER said I 'could not imagine sexism overcoming greed'! Of COURSE it can overcome greed, I was just saying that there are other circumstances where the opposite is also true!
Anyway, James Cameron is just a side argument - it was another theory, and one that others have already begun to pick apart, so I'll freely admit that perhaps it wasn't a great one. I'll also admit that my logic may have been a little shaky there, so let's just move on from James Cameron.

When I said 'Twilight', I was speaking of the series as a whole. I realize 'Eclipse' is currently the one in theaters. And as for your list of 'imitations', I call foul. Why? Because NONE OF THEM ARE IMITATIONS OF HARRY POTTER, that's why! The 'Narnia' books existed long before Harry was so much as a twinkle in J.K Rowlings' eye (and anyway, the movie versions have much more to do with 'Lord of the Rings'). The Lemony Snickett books are not even FANTASY, let alone Harry Potter imitations - they have much more to do with Victorian-era melodrama. The Spiderwick Chronicles are a bit closer to the mark, but they're much more like 'fantastic adventure with a horrific edge' than the out-and-out fantasy and worldbuilding of HP. As for 'Dark Materials', they are very, very different books than Harry Potter, and I'm reasonably certain that 'Golden Compass' was published before 'Sorcerer's Stone'. The Harry Potter adaptations may have opened the WAY for all these to be made into movies, but none of them are imitations - they all have their own fanbases and are good books in their own right, thank you very much.

I may point out that other people have added their own two cents on these matters, and THEY have all managed to be perfectly civil and friendly in tone - including, I might add, the poster who started this whole thing off with her post. The ONLY two people doing the yelling are YOU and ME, and it started with YOU, so this makes this less about actual sexism and more about the fact that you seem to hate my guts! And YES, I RESENT that! Wouldn't you?

Date: 2010-07-21 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Since you request it, I will most gladly stop, as I have been looking for a way out of this conversation for some time now, anyway. My apologies if all this has caused you inconvenience; I admit, I didn't think of that aspect of things, which was inconsiderate of me, and I beg your pardon. By all means, let's consider this conversation concluded.

I have one more thing to say to you.

Date: 2010-07-21 04:32 pm (UTC)
valtyr: (pointing)
From: [personal profile] valtyr
You said:
"movie studies HAVE been trying to duplicate that success, by snapping up the rights to book series left and right. 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians', 'Cirque du Freak - the Vampire's Assistant', 'The Spiderwick Chronicles' - these are all juvenile fiction series that have been turned into movies, which was kicked off by 'Harry Potter'," - psychopaticus_rex, July 17th

"I call foul. Why? Because NONE OF THEM ARE IMITATIONS OF HARRY POTTER, that's why! The 'Narnia' books existed long before Harry was so much as a twinkle in J.K Rowlings' eye (and anyway, the movie versions have much more to do with 'Lord of the Rings'). The Lemony Snickett books are not even FANTASY, let alone Harry Potter imitations - they have much more to do with Victorian-era melodrama. The Spiderwick Chronicles are a bit closer to the mark, but they're much more like 'fantastic adventure with a horrific edge' than the out-and-out fantasy and worldbuilding of HP. As for 'Dark Materials', they are very, very different books than Harry Potter, and I'm reasonably certain that 'Golden Compass' was published before 'Sorcerer's Stone'." - psychopathicus_rex, 20 July

The reason your responses make me angry is that you will change your opinions to suit your needs. On the 17th, you said the Spiderwick Chronicles were an attempt to cash in on Harry Potter's success. On the 20th, you 'called foul' when I said the same. You are so determined to disagree with me that if I repeat your own opinions back to you you will denounce them.

That is intellectually dishonest, and that is why I am angry, not because I 'hate your guts'.

As [personal profile] mad requested, I will cease to reply now, but I could not allow this to pass unnoted.

Re: I have one more thing to say to you.

Date: 2010-07-21 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
You misunderstand me. What I meant, originally, was that the MOVIE version of 'Spiderwick' was put into production due to the success of Harry Potter; there's no denying that, and that was my original point. However, when you referred to the Narnia series, etc, as 'imitations' of HP, that was a different story, because, as I stated previously, these all came from perfectly valid stand-alone book series of their own, several of which had existed for some time before 'Harry Potter' ever came out. They may have been put into production as MOVIES because of 'HP', but they were not IMITATIONS of it - the movies were adaptations of pre-existing source material, not made up on the spot to cash in. THAT was what I was saying. Sorry if that didn't come across as clear as it might have.
Anyway, as you pointed out, we have been requested to bring this to a close, so let's do so. Conversation ends here. It's over.

Date: 2010-07-20 03:25 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I don't KNOW what criteria people in the movie industry use to pick what they adapt. Perhaps it's sexism, perhaps they roll the bones; I don't @!#$in' know.

But here's the thing. The sexism is not found in the stated or hidden reasons for somebody not making a movie. The sexism is in the pattern. It doesn't matter if you can explain each instance away with a long series of coincidences or come up with reasons for not making whatever movie. The sexism is in the pattern, because the pattern is lots of movies made for young guys no matter what the result over girls.

And really, when we're talking about Hollywood, it's not like sexism isn't often STATED outright. Titanic was not a movie made for a female audience. It was a movie about the Titanic that was popular with general audiences. It just happen to have an exaggerated appeal to young girls, for which it has been openly reviled ever since. As has Twilight.

The Defiant One did not do well, and iirc a movie exec openly stated that it proved that movies with female leads did not do well. That's what he took away from it. Have you ever heard someone claim a flop with a male lead proves movies with male leads don't work?

HP and Twilight are both popular book series. Both so popular (though HP was more so) that they led to movie franchises. HP also led to many movies made of other books that were like HP--popular series that appealed to both girls and boys, or series about young males doing magic. Twilight is what would be called dark fantasy, which is popular with female audiences. There is no push to make a lot of dark fantasy. Valtyr gave you a lot of examples of both. No Anita Blake movies because the later books in the series weren't as good? What exec would ever care about that? I could be wrong, but are those books less popular than Cirque du Freak?

The point is that the sexism exists in the results, in the unequal responses to girl/boy movies. Something that Hollywood is openly aware of--they break down their audience by demographic: old/young women and old/young men. Young men get the most movies directed at them. This is stated outright. All those Oscar winning movies? Their audience is mostly older women. Older men rarely go to movies (the quote I heard was "they leave the house twice a year, once for Wild Hogs and once for Saving Private Ryan"). Despite the fact that older and younger women are fairly reliable audience members, Hollywood is reluctant to make movies blatantly appealing to them. (Those Oscar movies are rarely women's pictures.) At least not the way they openly appeal to male audiences.

You will note that there aren't many imitations of his other movies, either - there are sequels to them, sure, and they've clearly influenced some other directors' styles, but it's rare that you see, for instance, a 'Terminator' rip-off, or at least not one made by a large studio

No one tried to get on the bandwagon of action movies with memorable one-liners, explosions and special effects? Arnold Schwartzenegger didn't get offered more roles to play similar types of action heroes? No Jean-Claude Van Damme?

I'd say Hollywood has openly been hoping to recreate a Terminator type franchise. I even googled the term and got a site listing the 10 most blatant Terminator rip-offs. Everybody wants the next Terminator. Not so interested in the next My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Date: 2010-07-20 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Look, never in this discourse have I said sexism WASN'T a factor in which movies get made - I'll freely admit that it is. I was only saying that it wasn't the ONLY factor, that's all, and that I didn't want to speculate about something which I had little-or-no actual knowledge of.
I wasn't necessarily saying that the movie execs would care about whether the later Anita Blake books were good or not, although one could argue that their current reputation would not exactly increase their chances of being made. They just might not make for a very good movie, that's all, since there are LOTS of them, far more than in the Twilight series, which would preclude the 'direct book-by-book adaptation' route, so it would be a fair assumption that the scriptwriters would combine several of the stories, as has been done before - and if they used some of the LATER books as reference material... Well, I haven't read them myself, but I've heard that they've gotten ever-more-porny lately, which would not necessarily be a good thing if you wanted the movie to be taken seriously.
I didn't say that others haven't aped Cameron's STYLE, just that it seemed to me that there were few direct ripoffs of his actual movies. It could well be that I'm wrong - again, it was just a theory.

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