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Art, Criticism and Freedom. (Contains Disturbing Topics, Please Be Aware)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
    Why are there two threads for this?

    ​You know, on a personal note, I'll also comment on how it's worth being critical of art depicting women in extremely skimpy clothes in fantasy just because it's a bit lazy.

    ​Not just in the sense of lacking variation and going to a very basic template, but on the most basic sense of "doing less work"; one has all the potential for unmoored creativity that fantasy permits, and instead opts to draw as little cloth as possible. A thin strip around the chest, a skirt with a slit in it and boots, and then done.

    ​Bringing up Jen before was interesting, considering that on most of the occasions in which he draws women, he puts them in elaborately layered and patterned and folded clothing.
    Sorry, I thought theinternet had eaten my post creation, and posted twice, thats why I deleted the other one.

    I brought up Jen because he is a self proclaimed sexual person. Who produces sometimes sexualized art most people here enjoy. It's just that generally he sexualizes men, so that is alright.

    I like sexualized art of both males and females, Even though I'm a straight guy, who doesn't like looking at Chris Evans, Tyrese Gibson or whoever is the hunk of the hour?

    Why people complain about Hot and Flexible Djala Girl and not Jockstrap Sexgod Demonsword Guy?

    Its tiring. Be consistent.

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    • #17
      Oh God I remember why it's so difficult to handle discussions like this; deeply investing in them is exhausting, but avoiding them makes me feel like a coward.

      Keep it simple, keep it simple...

      ​The manner in which actual women choose to dress is their own business, and there's something to be said for a particular style as representation. That would be a case in which I would still be critical of an oversaturation because of it obscuring styles as representation of particular people amidst a generic default.

      ​Criticism is not invalidated by the usual statement of "if you don't like it, make something else", because the purpose of criticism is to analyse things. Negative criticism can become conflated with just stating hatred for something, but it doesn't have to be, it's fallacious to assume that it is, and when it is not it is a valid method of evaluating art.

      ​The point about men is a false equivalence because the cultural context is not the same; I think that we're long past the criticism of oversexualized art as an unrealistic standard for women, because even that idea is evaluating primarily in terms of how the appearance of women is a commodity for others, which is not the point.

      ​I think it was fine to remind somebody of how that particular thread was not really a space for the criticism, and would have had no challenge for a comment requesting that it stay on focus. I do challenge the general sentiments of "people being critical in this way is happening too often" and "having an objection to art is as simple as ignoring it".


      I have approximate knowledge of many things.
      Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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      • #18
        Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
        Images of sexualized women are everywhere?!

        Sexualized pictures of humans are everywhere!

        If I may, do you identify as male? If so, do you consider yourself an average male? If so, when was the last time you felt represented in superhero art?

        Who is the mainstream superhero who is not the picture perfect sex god? Who is the mainstream superhero without a six-pack, tree trunk legs, a mountanous back, jaw dropping arms and an italian salami in his pants? Who is this guy?

        I think a good way to look at the discrepancy I'm trying to point out here is to go to a picture repository of your choice (I use Pinterest nowadays, but I'm sure there are alternatives), and search for something relatively innocuous like "[insert gender] warrior".

        When searching for female warriors, it took me five pages to get flooded with an absolute deluge of swimsuit combatants such as this, this and this. On average, I got two such pictures per screen in the first five screens (Pinterest's weird layout means that you usually get more than six, but less than twelve images per screen, so let's call this a roughly 20% rate of images where characters are sexualized to the point of excluding practicality).

        To my surprise, when I entered "male warrior" into the search field, I also got quite a few images that featured bare-chested hunks. I had to exclude one for having realistic proportions (including belly fat - when was the last time you've seen a sexualized image of a warrior woman with belly fat?) and two more for having monstrous features (maws with gaping teeth) that seemed like clear signifiers that these characters were not meant to be seen as sexy. This left me with five guys in total, roughly half the number of sexualized women. (These five do, however, seem to fit the description you gave: example number one, two, three.)


        So apparently, even after meticulously taking the time to allow Pinterest's picture recommendation algorithms to get used to the idea that I generally won't click on, much less save images of scantily-clad women, I still got roughly twice as many hits of sexualized images with a search keyword that has no business giving me sexualized images when I was specifically looking for women than I got when I was looking for men. Sexualized pictures of both genders may exist, but there is definitely a discrepancy in how prominent they are!


        Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
        Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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        • #19
          Isator Levi

          Yeah, we'll have to just disagree on this.

          I believe we're way past about caring for women or men, and should be on track about caring for people.

          Monolithic art portrayals are just as damaging for boys as they are for girls, but it is common for people not to think so. It is a relic of sexism that progressive people should be fighting to end, but strangely is dismissed most of the time.

          I grew up feeling completely inadequate, well into my twenties, even though I am very lucky looks wise. I was a male model in my late teens and early twenties and had body dysmorphia. I went from a 15 BMI to a 34 a couple of times before I was finally able to figure it out, by that time I was 28 years old. I lived in confusion and depression from around 9 to 27.

          It affected my family life, my socal life, my school life and my professional life.

          You think I'm alone?

          And I dare not ever speak of this, cause I'm a guy right? So we have it easy. We don't need help or for the people who fight for decent things to fight for decent things for us too. We will just figure or tough it out, since we're men, and we're so smart and strong.

          Yeah, ok. Got it. Very progressive and caring.

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          • #20
            aluminiumtrioxid

            What happens is that female warriors are by a innumerably vast majority a product of fantasy.

            For males, there are reality based comparisons.

            ANY man in most countries, TODAY, can still be drafted and made to be warriors. To sent to fight and die for whatever reason.

            The female warrior, is by her very nature, an idealized fantasy. For the longest time that wasn't, and still isn't, something that is expected of women.



            But I asked you to look into a superhero. Who is the ideal male who is generally depicted in art? Who is the ideal woman? Are they that different? Is one less based in sexual fantasy than the other?

            And sex is seen as a "female power". Women fought FOR this until last decade or so. We have "PUSSY POWER" we have "SLUT WALKS".

            Super artists with so much girl power, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga. How do they dress when they want to project power? What do they present? Do you think they are victims? Do you think they are wrong?

            I don't know. Like Isator said, this discussion requires too much thought and emotional investment for it to be worth it most of the times, and I think I'm about reaching my limit...

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            • #21
              Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
              What happens is that female warriors are by a innumerably vast majority a product of fantasy.

              For males, there are reality based comparisons.

              ANY man in most countries, TODAY, can still be drafted and made to be warriors. To sent to fight and die for whatever reason.

              The female warrior, is by her very nature, an idealized fantasy. For the longest time that wasn't, and still isn't, something that is expected of women.

              I mean - looking at the outfit of male warriors on a lot of these pictures, the amount of unnecessary and sometimes even counter-productive ornamentation, one could easily make the argument that the images of non-sexualized male warriors are no less rooted in fantasy than the sexualized ones. Yet the discrepancy remains, despite the fact that these male warrior figures also represent idealized fantasy versions of the real things.


              Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
              But I asked you to look into a superhero. Who is the ideal male who is generally depicted in art? Who is the ideal woman? Are they that different? Is one less based in sexual fantasy than the other?

              As for superheroes - male superheroes are depicted as attractive and powerful. Female ones as attractive. It should not be very difficult to draw superheroines with reasonable muscle mass who are, nevertheless, attractive. Yet it is not being done (exceptions notwithstanding - I recall some Wonder Woman art is pretty good in this respect). Again, a discrepancy.


              Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
              And sex is seen as a "female power". Women fought FOR this until last decade or so. We have "PUSSY POWER" we have "SLUT WALKS".

              Super artists with so much girl power, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga. How do they dress when they want to project power? What do they present? Do you think they are victims? Do you think they are wrong?

              A fantastic quote jumps to mind: "Beauty is powerful because it is pleasing. Real power means not having to please."


              Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
              I don't know. Like Isator said, this discussion requires too much thought and emotional investment for it to be worth it most of the times, and I think I'm about reaching my limit...

              That is perfectly fine - the world is not going to spontaneously explode just because a stupid internet argument gets dropped halfway through. Take care of yourself, you don't have to do this if it is not fun. We can always just agree to disagree.


              Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
              Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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              • #22
                Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post


                I mean - looking at the outfit of male warriors on a lot of these pictures, the amount of unnecessary and sometimes even counter-productive ornamentation, one could easily make the argument that the images of non-sexualized male warriors are no less rooted in fantasy than the sexualized ones. Yet the discrepancy remains, despite the fact that these male warrior figures also represent idealized fantasy versions of the real things.

                As for superheroes - male superheroes are depicted as attractive and powerful. Female ones as attractive. It should not be very difficult to draw superheroines with reasonable muscle mass who are, nevertheless, attractive. Yet it is not being done (exceptions notwithstanding - I recall some Wonder Woman art is pretty good in this respect). Again, a discrepancy.
                For both, warriors and superheros, I believe it traces back to what you see as attractive and what you see as powerful. You seem to be separating the 2 too much. The line between those things are very blurried and tenuous. You say superhero men are depcited as both "attractive and powerful" and women only as "attractive". You're equating muscle mass with power, when for the idealized male muscle mass is just another attractiveness dial. To dissociate male muscle mass from attractiveness you have to tone it up to absurd, practically impossible proportions (Hulk), for it to start being a power factor.

                Until you reach that point, you're establishing a baseline look that is had by all who matter. Just like for women. So I disagree that there is this division here.

                I don't know if you want to discuss why men and women have diferent FFMI, and why "general" optimal attractiveness is at a different percentage for each sex.

                Women have naturally lower lean mass and need more fat to operate optimally. That is biological reality. At very low body fat women start having hormonal problems that result in temporary infertility.

                They are unable to naturally sustain the same proportions as a male without modern medicine and unhealthy side effects. Perception of health has been, with the exception of a few fads (ex: heroin chic) one of the best measures of attractiveness since forever.

                Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post

                A fantastic quote jumps to mind: "Beauty is powerful because it is pleasing. Real power means not having to please."
                I think that quote is a bit contrived. Beauty has been power for both sexes for ages.

                Look at all the data at how all beautiful people, men and women, have major advantages in practically any endeavor they attempt. Its reality. Beauty is very powerful.

                Are you implying those women are powerless men pleasers? That their exploration of their sexiness is not real power, and no matter what they think, they're victims? Who do they have to please? Me? Because by what you're saying it seems like you think they have to please you and your standards to be considered powerful.

                What do they have to do or be to look "really powerful"? Beat Lincoln Hawk in arm wrestling and look like Rene Campbell or something?
                Last edited by TGUEIROS; 06-06-2018, 04:37 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
                  For both, warriors and superheros, I believe it traces back to what you see as attractive and what you see as powerful. You seem to be separating the 2 too much. The line between those things are very blurried and tenuous. You say superhero men are depcited as both "attractive and powerful" and women only as "attractive". You're equating muscle mass with power, when for the idealized male muscle mass is just another attractiveness dial. To dissociate male muscle mass from attractiveness you have to tone it up to absurd, practically impossible proportions (Hulk), for it to start being a power factor.

                  Until you reach that point, you're establishing a baseline look that is had by all who matter.

                  As somebody who is very much attracted to men, I can safely tell you that this guy:



                  could, in my book, easily lose something like 10-25% of his ridiculously exaggerated muscle mass without it impacting his attractiveness in any meaningful way.

                  I don't seem to be alone in this assessment:




                  Muscle mass definitely does hit diminishing returns on the attractiveness scale after a point. Male superheroes are usually depicted way, way beyond that point - this seems to signify that the exaggerated proportions are meant to signify power, not some sort of fuzzy "baseline attractiveness".


                  (I'll address the rest of your post at a later date, I have an exam coming up at Friday, so posts that require constructing a nuanced argument about the nature of power are somewhat beyond my ability to produce right now.)
                  Last edited by aluminiumtrioxid; 06-06-2018, 05:15 PM.


                  Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                  Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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                  • #24
                    later on now


                    I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                    Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                    • #25
                      aluminiumtrioxid

                      I agree with you completely. My wife says that all the time. She hates body-builder type physiques. We actually get into arguments, because I'm constantly trying to be "fitter", and she says she likes more when I'm at what i would consider 10-20 lbs overweight (yeah right, amirite?).

                      As a man who is totally attracted to women I can safely say that most of the women depicted in the problematic way you're arguing against could be have 50% more coverage, have all their sliders dragged closer to the middle and still be, or be even more extremely beautiful head turners.

                      And?

                      Does reality matter? Aren't we talking about unreal depictions causing distorted expectations?

                      Do you think that boys that read Batman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash, have this perception? That is baseline ideal. To be anyone that matters, thats how you look. Was there a time when one of those guys got told by a crush, they looked too buff? Did the girl ever look at a more realistic man with longing in a comic? Hell, did they ever lose the girl to some normal guy?

                      Even Peter Parker, nerd hero supreme, only gets Mary Jane after he becomes the shredded beast Spiderman.

                      I don't if I'm reading or understanding something wrong here, but I see this last post of yours as arguing the same as me.

                      The exact same shit happens to both sexes.


                      Isator Levi

                      Ah, I didn't now we had to wait for everything on the Ever Unfurling Scroll of Grievances to be checked before we started arguing for what is right. But ok, I guess doing good things will have to wait until thats done.
                      Last edited by TGUEIROS; 06-06-2018, 05:57 PM.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post
                        I agree with you completely. My wife says that all the time. She hates body-builder type physiques. We actually get into arguments, because I'm constantly trying to be "fitter", and she says she likes more when I'm at what i would consider 10-20 lbs overweight (yeah right, amirite?).

                        As a man who is totally attracted to women I can safely say that most of the women depicted in the problematic way you're arguing against could be have 50% more coverage, have all their sliders dragged closer to the middle and still be, or be even more extremely beautiful head turners.

                        And?

                        Does reality matter? Aren't we talking about unreal depictions causing distorted expectations?

                        Well... no? I'm specifically trying to support the claim that there is a discrepancy between how male and female superheroes are portrayed, with the first group's portrayal primarily being aimed at depicting strength (as evidenced by the fact that they are more muscular than a purely attractiveness-based approach would warrant), and the second group's portrayal... not really having that goal.

                        (Which is not to say that the images of idealized male bodies we're inundated with can't fuck somebody's self-image up just as effectively no matter what the artist was meant to convey, but I made a specific claim, you contested that claim, so I brought up an example in support of it.)


                        Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                        Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by TGUEIROS View Post

                          Ah, I didn't now we had to wait for everything on the Ever Unfurling Scroll of Grievances to be checked before we started arguing for what is right. But ok, I guess doing good things will have to wait until thats done.
                          I don't understand this.

                          ​I'll admit, when you started bringing in personal issues, I both hesitated and felt an impulse towards responses that would have been insensitive. I'm sorry about that.

                          ​But I do think that the image of machismo that you're talking about having been hurt by is not something created for the benefit of women. Patriarchy hurts men too; it hurts them when they don't live up to its standards, it hurts them when they act in defiance of it, and it hurts them when it compels behaviour that just alienates them from others.

                          ​And I probably do argue about that less than I do the other side; not because I think it's all right, but as something that has stood out less to me personally, and where the other side is something that I feel a need to make up a lot for.

                          What you've expressed is giving me a sense for how I might improve upon that.

                          ​I do find myself feeling as though Jen's depictions of men don't fall into the trap of problematic machismo very much due to coupling their physiques with a sense of emotional sensitivity and honesty that is uncommonly coupled with that image.


                          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                          • #28
                            aluminiumtrioxid

                            Ah, I'm starting to have a realization... I think that in believing I found common ground with you, I understood where we are misunderstanding each other.

                            You're saying that all this serves male power fantasies, that originate, obviously, in males. So males are the "abusers" here.

                            I don't dispute that. I agree. Let me just add that what you see that as "power" decoupled from sex (attractiveness), that fat bald dude in the comic sees it as "power to be the most sexiest to get all the girls". He is clueless as to what females actually want, and he inflicts that cluelessness on the masses of kids. The greatest power of all is to get the girl. Don't for a minute forget that.

                            Batman does not have impossible forearms because he needs those to justify his strength. He has impossible forearms because fat bald guy thinks women love that, and Batman needs to have those so that he looks boss for Catwoman.

                            So all that muscle is his misguided attempt at making the most attractive guy ever. Real "power" fantasies are actually decoupled from physical equivalence, they are more magical, reality-bending, Superman is stronger than the Hulk, even though the Hulk is bigger. Because Superman is special, he has the power of the sun. That is power fantasy.

                            Looks are just peacocks fanning their tails, its for one reason only. Don't think that because they're failing at being attractive to females that they are not trying to do that.

                            I'm just saying boys suffer as much as girls from this agression. I'm asking people to raise their standard for all victims not only half of them. If you're asking for less unrealistic and sexualized art depictions, please do so when you encounter that for males too. Its just consistent and decent.

                            In essence we don't disagree that much, I think.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                              I don't understand this.

                              ​I'll admit, when you started bringing in personal issues, I both hesitated and felt an impulse towards responses that would have been insensitive. I'm sorry about that.

                              ​But I do think that the image of machismo that you're talking about having been hurt by is not something created for the benefit of women. Patriarchy hurts men too; it hurts them when they don't live up to its standards, it hurts them when they act in defiance of it, and it hurts them when it compels behaviour that just alienates them from others.

                              ​And I probably do argue about that less than I do the other side; not because I think it's all right, but as something that has stood out less to me personally, and where the other side is something that I feel a need to make up a lot for.

                              What you've expressed is giving me a sense for how I might improve upon that.

                              ​I do find myself feeling as though Jen's depictions of men don't fall into the trap of problematic machismo very much due to coupling their physiques with a sense of emotional sensitivity and honesty that is uncommonly coupled with that image.
                              Sorry for the snark, I responded to that before you changed your post.

                              And I'm sorry for turning this personal and unloading this here but, I was always the leftist progressive guy on my group. Latin America brims with machismo and conservative. I was always the one who spoke in defense and extended the hand for the LGBTQ people, for the socially awkward, for the less financially fortunate.

                              I embraced Equality, I thought we were this big umbrella, that we would all hug each other and demolish the oppressors to create a society that is sensible to the individual.

                              But as a hetero male recently, I just feel completely excluded. If I say a certain issue affects guys too and we should make this argument genderless, people immediately dismiss it.

                              They scream "The Patriarchy is the Problem!" "You are a man!" "You don't suffer!"

                              What the hell?

                              This shit does get personal. Yes I suffered. Greatly. Whats going on?

                              Who cares if the abuse is male generated? I'm arguing for the victims here. I'm not saying guys are depicted as super muscular in comics because girls like that.

                              Thing is boys' issues get immediately shutdown in any discussion for positive change. I fear for my son. I don't want him to suffer like I did. I want the change to happen for him as much as for my daughter.

                              I'm already over my hang ups, I'm 35 and fairly successful, fairly satisfied with myself.

                              But do I have to wait for everything to be perfect for women so that I argue for a better place for everyone?

                              Do I raise my son to be as Patriarcly Succesful as possible, because by the time we get to his issues he will be an old man? I'm seriously considering this, and maybe even unconsiously doing it already... I dunno.

                              I would be more amneable to say that we need to take more care of female depictions right now. But on a sample, when was the depiction of men in fantasy ever questioned in that thread? How about women?

                              The disparity is staggering. It doesn't even get mentioned. And when it does it is either, mocked, dismissed or vilified.

                              I'm getting repetitive here. Will leave for a bit.

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                              • #30
                                I have a friend who's an artist. He frequently draws sexy women with little to no clothing. Why? Because he enjoys drawing sexy women who don't wear a lot of clothing. It's pretty much that simple really. Given the freedom when he can draw whatever he wants, 9 times out of 10 when he's drawing a picture for fun (rather than a commission or for his job) and I peek over to see what he's drawing - yup, it's a sexy woman without a whole lot of clothing. He doesn't draw those pictures because he's particularly sexist, and he's not thinking about any kind of larger cultural issues. He just draws what he likes.

                                I think this is an issue with the way women (and men) are frequently portrayed in drawings. They tend to be idealized versions in which the artist is drawing something they think looks cool, or sexy, or what have you. Probably because, at the end of the day, many artists enjoy drawing half-naked sexy men and women more than they enjoy drawing half-naked obese balding people.
                                Last edited by AnubisXy; 06-06-2018, 10:33 PM.

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