Debate and Discussion

Girl in Comics or the Feminist in Me Complains Again
TitanOne at 5:01PM, July 24, 2007
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mlai
So I googled Michael Turner's supergirl… She's not anorexic… she's built like a marathon runner from Kenya.

Granted, 90% of USA teenagers cannot have her body type unless they starve themselves, but you can't tell me a Kenyan marathoner isn't healthy.


I googled female Kenyan marathon runners and did not exactly see what you're saying. Of course if they ran around half naked with skirts down below their pelvic bones, maybe we would have a better view of their bulging ribcages and shriveled-up abs. ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
mlai at 5:19PM, July 24, 2007
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That's not rib cage, that's external intercostal muscles. Basically Supergirl is drawn with a marathoner's basic physique, then with selected areas buffed up according to a swimmer's physique.

Her waist is skinny, but that's why I said Kenyan etc, because they tend to have slimmer natural physique (from evolving in hot climate etc) than Caucasians. Her skinny waist is not obtainable by just dieting and exercise. However, the muscular lines of her torso are the same as what you see in that Caucasian marathoner pictured.

Also, the marathoner's torso is facing more towards us than Supergirl's, just because of the timing of the camera shot. If the marathoner's torso is more in profile to us, it would also appear a lot skinner due to flatness.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
zero rose at 9:32PM, Aug. 13, 2007
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I really hate the way most superheroines look - like they're hungry and they could break if you push them over and their boobs will crush their head from pressure. Nine times out of ten, women with DD breasts do NOT look like barbie unless they are fake. I should know, I am one of these women. I, personally, would like to see heavier girls in comics just for a change.

My favorite female characters from comics are Delirium and Death (from Sandman), Molly (from the Books of Magic), Devi and Tonja (from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac/I Feel Sick), Alice and Dorothy (from Lost Girls), Genma Bovary (from Genma Bovary), and Serenity Rose and Contessa (from Serenity Rose).





…I had to do a research paper on the history of graphic novels, can you tell?
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patrickdevine at 9:38PM, Aug. 13, 2007
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zero rose
I really hate the way most superheroines look - like they're hungry and they could break if you push them over and their boobs will crush their head from pressure. Nine times out of ten, women with DD breasts do NOT look like barbie unless they are fake. I should know, I am one of these women. I, personally, would like to see heavier girls in comics just for a change.

My favorite female characters from comics are Delirium and Death (from Sandman), Molly (from the Books of Magic), Devi and Tonja (from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac/I Feel Sick), Alice and Dorothy (from Lost Girls), Genma Bovary (from Genma Bovary), and Serenity Rose and Contessa (from Serenity Rose).





…I had to do a research paper on the history of graphic novels, can you tell?
It does show a bit… Molly O'Reilly's one of my favorite characters too!
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mechanical_lullaby at 3:12AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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boobs… i dunno about boobs. Large boobs tend not to bother me in comics if they're placed accurately or sheer humor–plus mine are kind of big and when i see a down to earth character with large breasts and a good head and likeable, well that's score one for the home team. Craving Control is a comic I actually like because it's interesting how she'll binge and suddenly look like she weighs 300 pounds.
it's funny… to me, anyway.

different styles capture out different forms. the most of it goes as follows:

yaoi, the ever popular jhonen vasquez/benjamin roman– very thin people or very fat people
miscellaneous– anything goes
superhero– fat people don't exist, muscular and big breasts abound


My advice is, if you don't like the way comics are going– well you have about as much chance of changing them by complaining as you do changing the way the music industry works and releases the same songs over and over again by complaining. You have to start your own trend and make a large portion of the population feel comfortable with drawing and writing enjoyable, believable characters.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
ozoneocean at 4:57AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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Mecha has a good point: Change starts with YOU! :)
zero rose
Nine times out of ten, women with DD breasts do NOT look like barbie unless they are fake. I should know, I am one of these women.
What? You're a skinny girl with big fake boobies? Heh, don't mind me, it's just with the wording you can take that either way :)

Mlai, Supergirl is still unusual, her waist narrows ways too much on the sides before flaring out at the hips. Female swimmers (with naturally built up bodies) have all around built up, rounded bodies and massive shoulders (a good portion of evenly spread bodyfat all over). And the runners have waisted, gaunt looking limbs with thick torsos, way too much muscle definition, and no discernible bodyfat at all.

Rather than being an athletic combo of all those sorts of archetypes, she looks like she's simply got a masculanised “supermodel” figure from a little bit of steroid love, as well as the old silicone implants. But I say: fair enough. SO what if it's highly atypical, there's a market for it and a lot of people appreciate it. Comic characters don't have to look “real” to be any good, I mean, I love the Charlie Brown characters but I'd be horrified to see a real Lucy walking down the street towards me. Not to mention a “Marge Simpson”, Jebus! o_O



The “BBW” images of Wonder Woman on this blog could also be considered negative, exploitative, unhealthy stereotypes of women… But there's people who like that sort or thing, male bodies are depicted similarly skewed as well in superhero comics etc… The whole argument seems out of date really, as well as misplaced, misdirected and inappropriate. People aren't truly annoyed about depictions of women, what they're annoyed about is an art style that doesn't appeal to them so much that they complain about it and use spurious reasons to rationalise some kind of righteous justification for that annoyance, without even realising that's what's really happening. :)

A feminist critique should focus on the roles the sexes seem to be stuck with a lot of the time in this media, not the way they look, that's just so superficial. lol!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
Phantom Penguin at 5:32AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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Supergirl is unrealistic because of a few things. Her core is freaking tiny while her upper body is ripped. That doesn't work well, seeing how you have to put on mass to build it like that.

And you know, the whole superpower thing.
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Kohdok at 6:18AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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Yeah, and then there's that whole not being human and being born on another planet…thing… Way to go, guys, using an alien who gets bulked-up by the sun as the standard for human characters. I mean, I guess she's based on a human, but so is Superman in that respect, and he's also not representative of the human race. There's also the whole thing about artists, here. It's more like you're criticizing the artist, rather than Supergirl, herself.

I have noticed there seems to be only one body type for each gender in comics, sometimes,. If you had the silhouettes of the male characters, minus heads and capes, from the recent Justice League cartoon, I wouldn't be able to tell them apart.

So, who wants to start in on Batgirl?

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
mechanical_lullaby at 6:36AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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i don't mind her, but it seems to me that her entire coming into being was just a copout.
there are 4 girls in batman that I can name. one of them is our mary sue batgirl.
the other three are Poison Ivy, Cat Woman and Harley Quinn. all of these girls are basically the same. props to Pfeifer though, for giving us the best display of a cartoon femivillain EVER.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
DAJB at 7:42AM, Aug. 14, 2007
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ozoneocean
People aren't truly annoyed about depictions of women, what they're annoyed about is an art style that doesn't appeal to them so much that they complain about it and use spurious reasons to rationalise some kind of righteous justification for that annoyance, without even realising that's what's really happening.
That's a good point. I must admit I was amazed that so many (so-called) feminists accused Michael Turner of sexism for his drawing of Power Girl recently. I doubt very much if Turner (or his editors) are really misogynistic and so, as soon as the web-snowball started rolling, the argument was already lost.

They could, however, have accused him of consistently exhibiting a very poor grasp of human anatomy (male and female) and they would have been quite right. Maybe then DC would have taken some notice. (Yeah, okay it's unlikely. But at least they couldn't have shot the argument down quite so easily!)
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mapaghimagsik at 2:51PM, Aug. 14, 2007
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Ha! Thanks for that freefall.

The idea that cheesecake sells comics is nothing new. Look at the audience. Manga has been pretty clever in discovering that not all comic book readers are boys, and there's several varieties of manga that I'm definitely not the target audience of.

There's some other keywords that I think you might be interested in regarding all this. As puffy as it sounds: the madonna/whore complex –the article isn't the best, but it does a decent enough job of explaining the basics.

The other interesting phenomenon was the "Women In Refrigerators“ which was fascinating, and yet made several professional comic book artists squirm, and some get downright angry and defensive. When you have to scream ”I'm not sexist" at the top of your lungs, you *might* be defensive.

One of my other, now dead loves – role playing games had the same issue, and the art was rarely drawn or inked so well.
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Hawk at 12:28PM, Aug. 15, 2007
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One of my other, now dead loves – role playing games had the same issue, and the art was rarely drawn or inked so well.

You know, RPGs were one of the things that got me to start thinking the other way.



RPGs (and lots of manga) portray men as delicate, beautiful, and effeminate people. They have a frame and structure that is wholly impossible for actual men achieve, and yet women seem to love this look for men.

The thing is, you don't ever see men complaining about their portrayal from a “men's rights” perspective. Men don't act like they're threatened by this imagery or pigeon-holed into the impossible expectations of women.

I sometimes wonder if men are just more tolerating of women and their fantasies than vice versa, or if they just didn't care enough to do anything about it. At one time I thought about rallying men to action over unfair portrayal of men (just for a comedic sense of irony) but in the end it's just less time-consuming to allow women have their fantasies… they'll have to face reality eventually: Men are big, hairy animals and they don't wear mascara.
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Rori at 3:30PM, Aug. 15, 2007
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Hawk
I sometimes wonder if men are just more tolerating of women and their fantasies than vice versa, or if they just didn't care enough to do anything about it. At one time I thought about rallying men to action over unfair portrayal of men (just for a comedic sense of irony) but in the end it's just less time-consuming to allow women have their fantasies… they'll have to face reality eventually: Men are big, hairy animals and they don't wear mascara.

Well, last things first: I guess you haven't been to a Warped Tour lately (I keed the emos)But seriously, I can see the top of your penis, get some pants that goddamn fit, for the love of pete!

And I would say most women have a downright saintly tolerance of male fantasies.

To the whole direction of the debate, I think we're dealing with two different issues that play on each other. One is the stylistic portrayal (physically and narratively)of women in comics, the other is our society. I tend to agree that sometimes when you read all this malice into a comic, you're trying to hard. I don't think most people come into a project saying “this'll show those females not to get too uppity.”
However, as a writer/artist, you know what works and what doesn't, what's the standard and deviation, sometimes subconsciously, and you use that knowledge. On the one hand, you can't just look at SuperGirl, or Barbie, and say: If only this were different girls wouldn't starve themselves and get into unhealthy relationships, etc…" There's so much more to it! But at the same time, these works of art exist in a society where that happens, a lot. I happen to think comics are more than just pretty pictures, so that means something to me. And yes, it is superficial, but we live in a superficial society! So much of what we know and learn is communicated visually that I don't think it's ever inappropriate to discuss it, only to lay sole blame on it.

edit: Also, the only man allowed to wear mascara is Mike Ness. Thus sayeth, well, me.
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mlai at 3:31PM, Aug. 15, 2007
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You know the answer to that, Hawk. Men aren't more tolerant, they just have a different thought process compared to women. Whereas women think “Do they think I look good?” Men think “I know I look good!”

Stand a buff guy and a girly guy together in a room, have all the Jpnese women flock to the girly guy, and the buff guy will still stand there laughing at the fruit next to him.

Normal men would never be caught dead wearing mascara but it WORKS. Women won't be thinking “OMG he's wearing mascara what a ***.” They'll be thinking “OMG his eyes are so beautiful…!”

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
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Aurora Moon at 9:58PM, Aug. 15, 2007
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mlai
You know the answer to that, Hawk. Men aren't more tolerant, they just have a different thought process compared to women. Whereas women think “Do they think I look good?” Men think “I know I look good!”

Stand a buff guy and a girly guy together in a room, have all the Jpnese women flock to the girly guy, and the buff guy will still stand there laughing at the fruit next to him.

Normal men would never be caught dead wearing mascara but it WORKS. Women won't be thinking “OMG he's wearing mascara what a ***.” They'll be thinking “OMG his eyes are so beautiful…!”

lol I would have to agree.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:10AM
mapaghimagsik at 10:39PM, Aug. 15, 2007
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mapaghimagsik
One of my other, now dead loves – role playing games had the same issue, and the art was rarely drawn or inked so well.

You know, RPGs were one of the things that got me to start thinking the other way.



RPGs (and lots of manga) portray men as delicate, beautiful, and effeminate people. They have a frame and structure that is wholly impossible for actual men achieve, and yet women seem to love this look for men.

The thing is, you don't ever see men complaining about their portrayal from a “men's rights” perspective. Men don't act like they're threatened by this imagery or pigeon-holed into the impossible expectations of women.

I sometimes wonder if men are just more tolerating of women and their fantasies than vice versa, or if they just didn't care enough to do anything about it. At one time I thought about rallying men to action over unfair portrayal of men (just for a comedic sense of irony) but in the end it's just less time-consuming to allow women have their fantasies… they'll have to face reality eventually: Men are big, hairy animals and they don't wear mascara.

That's a very interesting observation. I never found those images pleasing, but I don't knock the fact other people do.

I think there's a big mess there, to be honest. Men have always had a lot of choices open to them. In a lot of cultures, certain sub-variants of the American culture included, women – well they can look pretty.

We are also an economically driven society. Men make on average 30% more than women in the same field. I know there's some defensiveness around this, but its just a statistical fact.

I don't mean to derail the thread, but there's a host of cultural and economic issues that surround the fact that women *have* to be pretty. Its all we got.

Luckily, that's changing, but not fast enough. There was a study that showed that employees responded better to a male boss who yelled at them than a feel boss that yelled at them. I think yelling's a poor management style, but the fact is that a yelling man is manly. A yelling woman is…unseeming and emasculating.

But I don't mean to derail the thread. Just wanted to give a quick taste of the potpourii of issues that exist if you decide to explore those issues.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
Mak at 12:57PM, Aug. 18, 2007
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Supergirl is unrealistic because of a few things. Her core is freaking tiny while her upper body is ripped. That doesn't work well, seeing how you have to put on mass to build it like that.

And you know, the whole superpower thing.

Wait…….you mean super powers aren't real????
No wonder I haven't gotten spider powers yet. I guess I will quit irradiating spiders now. Great thanks for ruining my whole life.


Seriously, I have a problem with the way comics are drawn, and how the women on tv are shown. I have this problem because I have a daughter, and I hate that she might do something unhealthy to herself to try and achieve what is unattainable for the majority of humans on the planet. I wish people in comics were drawn more realistically, but then the audience would shrink. I think that a large amount of the people who read comics read them to escape. And escaping means becoming something you are not. If Superman had a beer gut, people would not want to be him as much (broad general strokes people, not everyone) I also think that the majority of comic readers are male. And let's be truthful the average male enjoys looking at skinny women with ginormous breasts.
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RobertTidwell at 3:59PM, Aug. 19, 2007
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I'm a feminist adn I absolutely HATE the way so many women are drawn in comics. I think it is importantt o have women of all shapes and sizes populate the world.

An interesting tidbit though, it isn't just how they're drawn, the lack of diversity in their roles, the lack of personality, it's also the lack of numbers. Look at how many more men populate a comic book than women. Its sometimes as much as three times as many men. In a world where its very close to even, how come women are so far removed?

As far as the big breasts are concerned, I think they look TERRIBLE. Yup. You wouldn't go gah gah over a girl with a body like that in every day life. A size 0 waist and huge breasts, they don't look right together. Respect body ratios, please.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:08PM
CorruptComics at 8:07PM, Aug. 19, 2007
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I love the girls in Questionable Content .

Very real. Very smart. Very awesome.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:46AM
mlai at 9:17PM, Aug. 19, 2007
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OMG, Questionable Content is like, TOTAL GEEKDOM. It's like, geeknobabble.

I might actually read this comic now. Interesting.

Now the author just needs to draw a 16 y/o bombshell hot blonde with a tight shirt talking that way (while making out with a bombshell redhead), and he'll get 10x more readers.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
Shar at 10:24PM, Aug. 19, 2007
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Why should a writer or artist comform to your perceived stereotype of what the current stereotype is ?

If a scene only has 15 blondes with bones showing trough their bellys should they add a obese girl just so they don't get on your bad side ?

Do you not realize the stereotype of saying you want their to be a variety of bodytypes ?

Or am i the only one seeing the “Skinny, Fat, Smart, Dumb, Beautiful girl group” archetype ?

What makes you the moral watcher that makes sure every kind of body is given enough screen time ?

Obesety is a harmful condition. So is being undernurished. Does that mean people should stop using thoose body types ?
Or does it mean that they have to include them otherwhise everyone is the same bodytype and that's so Stereotypic etc.

Hypocrisy all around to be honest.

Also: Questionable Content is awesome.
I'm With Shar.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:33PM
mapaghimagsik at 12:40PM, Aug. 20, 2007
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Shar
Why should a writer or artist comform to your perceived stereotype of what the current stereotype is ?

Nobody said they did – or did I miss that. But once the art leaves the pen and table and is out there for people to see, they will draw conclusions. Are you saying that people shouldn't be able to make observations about the art? I don't think so, but in essence, you're proposing the same thing when you think that the artist has to conform to said criticism.


What makes you the moral watcher that makes sure every kind of body is given enough screen time ?


I don't think that's where people are going, but I could be wrong. But in essence, we're *all* moral watchers, as all we see and do are filtered through our perceptions of right and wrong. And, the last time I checked, we have the right to comment on it.

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Rusty Knight at 1:49PM, Aug. 21, 2007
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Y'know I noticed that too. The best reason I could gather, is that when the comic artist (who is usually male) is drawing the character, he figures, ah why not give her huge boobs? I mean, it's open to the artists' interperation how they want a certain hero to look like.

But as for me, someone pointed out that most of the girls I draw have huge breasts. I didn't do it on purpose, they just sorta came out that way. In fact I noticed that most of the girls I draw look the same except for a few features, so I started to deviate. The most noticeable is the blue haired girl in my comic. Aliah (The blue haired girl in my comic) was originally supposed to be thin, large breasts, etc etc… But then I realized I needed to change her. And viola. Also I changed another girl that's not in the comic.

So fear not, there are still people out there that don't want the DD rail thin waist with the long flowing hair.
I'm Jon. You can call me Dr. Jon… but I prefer Jon since I'm not really a Doctor.

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mlai at 6:49PM, Aug. 21, 2007
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Don't worry about it. So far there are only 2 girls in my comic. One looks like Supergirl up there except with bigger breasts and bigger hair. The other one can pass for a boy (wait, that sounds fetish…).

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 10:13AM, Aug. 22, 2007
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ozoneocean
People aren't truly annoyed about depictions of women, what they're annoyed about is an art style that doesn't appeal to them so much that they complain about it and use spurious reasons to rationalise some kind of righteous justification for that annoyance, without even realising that's what's really happening.
That's a good point. I must admit I was amazed that so many (so-called) feminists accused Michael Turner of sexism for his drawing of Power Girl recently. I doubt very much if Turner (or his editors) are really misogynistic and so, as soon as the web-snowball started rolling, the argument was already lost.

They could, however, have accused him of consistently exhibiting a very poor grasp of human anatomy (male and female) and they would have been quite right. Maybe then DC would have taken some notice. (Yeah, okay it's unlikely. But at least they couldn't have shot the argument down quite so easily!)
Exactly! And as I said:
“A feminist critique should focus on the roles the sexes seem to be stuck with a lot of the time in this media, not the way they look, that's just so superficial.”lol!

But I suppose it's just not as fun to have a genuine intellectual approach. :( And I suppose it reflects the nature of debates like this: almost entirely superficial. So then, if appearance isn't really a feminist issue in this case, what is it? I suppose it's one of aesthetics and getting tried of cliches. Maybe we could go even further and say that it's about the wilful misrepresentation, misunderstanding and reinterpretation of ideas in order to further certain lines of argument into inappropriate areas?

Hahaha! No, That's going TOO far! I'll stick with people not really understanding that appearance in this case is not at all a central feminist issue. Now, the roles… That's more complicated isn't it eh? A lot more!

What roles are there these days? How have they changed? What audience are the female characters aimed at? We know that characters like Wonder Woman and Batgirl were originally aimed at a male audience (the costume design is immaterial since male characters wear male versions of the same things, the same with their bodies). In Spiderman there was Aunt whatsername and his gal Mary Jane… Cat Woman was a villain in Batman, Lois Lane was Superman's damsel… Now all those characters fit into the various archetypes that feminists complain about: evil seductresses, mother figures, virginal maidens, virginal angelic characters etc.

But the real question is: How has this changed?

And I don't mean how big or what shape their tits are either. :)
 
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crazyninny at 6:44PM, Aug. 22, 2007
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When I design my female characters, I try to give each and everyone of them different body types, but some reason, I tend to make my smaller framed girls more sex appealing them my hour glass girls.

Like, my main characters is a size D herself. But she dosen't try like most heroine girls to show them off by wearing revealing spandex. No, when it comes to sex appeal, she uses her eyes and her words to show she's got it. But my small framed girls will tend to use their bodies before they use any thing else.

I don't know if this is sexiest or not *Seeing as I'm a girl.* but I try to break out of the old void by using other shaped girls as eye candy than the normal D-cup girl… Is that sexiest? @_@
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ozoneocean at 7:03PM, Aug. 22, 2007
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crazyninny
but I try to break out of the old void by using other shaped girls as eye candy than the normal D-cup girl… Is that sexiest? @_@
No. Sorry but I just explain why it's relatively unimportant to the case for “sexism” in comics and there you go putting the same questions I've already answered. Ah well. If you didn't someone else would have I suppose. Not your fault :P

Looks like another circular discussion… I conceptualise it like this: Everybody is just staring at the cleavage no on cares what the character is actually saying. You're either condemning her for her boobs are praising her for them but none of you care about her.

-“her” as in the female characters. :(
 
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crazyninny at 7:14PM, Aug. 22, 2007
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ozoneocean
crazyninny
but I try to break out of the old void by using other shaped girls as eye candy than the normal D-cup girl… Is that sexiest? @_@
No. Sorry but I just explain why it's relatively unimportant to the case for “sexism” in comics and there you go putting the same questions I've already answered. Ah well. If you didn't someone else would have I suppose. Not your fault :P

Looks like another circular discussion… I conceptualise it like this: Everybody is just staring at the cleavage no on cares what the character is actually saying. You're either condemning her for her boobs are praising her for them but none of you care about her.

-“her” as in the female characters. :(

Aaahh, sorry about that. ;_;

But I do try, my most appealing character is only a very small A, but she's appealing becuase she wants to suduce people just to take them home and slowly kill them as painfully as possible.

Maybe there's hope for my comic… Maybe. ;_;
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ozoneocean at 7:24PM, Aug. 22, 2007
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I didn't mean to knock you down or anything there… I apologise for being a bit brisk in that reply. :(
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:27PM
crazyninny at 7:35PM, Aug. 22, 2007
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joined: 7-20-2006
ozoneocean
I didn't mean to knock you down or anything there… I apologise for being a bit brisk in that reply. :(

Bah! *Waves her hand.* Its cool, besides, it gives me the urge to check over my girl characters to make sure they'er the best that they can be!:kitty: Besides, in this day in age, with all the stereotype that comic girls are eye candy *That I'll abuse.* will be a topic I have to face again and again. The better I understand how people feel about it, the better the writer I can be. *Wink.*
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:48AM

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