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I want to talk about boobs

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, April 2, 2022
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There is generally a debate about how women's chests should be drawn. On and off I'll come across whole essays about how drawing women with large boobs is shorthand for sexualization and objectification. There's a lot of talk about how flat chested ladies or those of the A and B cup persuasion never really get representation.


These are seen more than…


…these?

Then, there's the whole “boob physics” thing that is usually more of an issue in animation, but can be present in sequential art like comics and webcomics. The complaint is usually “boobs don't move like this!”


Trust me this would hurt

Arguments over these orbs of fun can become quite heated, on whether women should be drawn with D or E cups or not, lest they are objectified. Or, especially if we're talking action heroes, that such size boobs would be pretty debilitating for extreme action, thus are unrealistic, and a sexual fantasy or indulgence.


Nothing a bra won't fix?

And well… they can be! And why not?

Everyone fantasizes about an ideal body type and “type” they'd like to …hug passionately… with. It's natural and perfectly okay. Creating a character design that is sexy for specific audiences (or even all audiences) is totally fine. Besides, who said you can't sexualize a flat chested character?


Behold

I think the issue is never the boobs or their size (though how they move might contribute). It is how they are portrayed on the character, and how much attention is brought to them. Women have breasts of all shapes and sizes. Some happen to be quite large, others very small, and still others in between. But just like short hair, long hair, tall bodies or short bodies, the focus of a serious story or a story not interested in sexualizing their characters in an objectifying manner is not on the breasts. It is on the character as a whole. (And the boob physics are realistic)


Sophia Loren's chest has been legendary. In the movie Two Women, it's still big, she's still unbelievably attractive and sexy but she's not sexualized.


Here she totally is! Still elegant somehow.

The point I'm trying to make is that restricting character designs of women to just small boob sizes to avoid sexualizing them is perhaps a reflex reaction, but it's wrong. It takes away from the diversity of women's bodies and stereotypes women with big boobs as sex objects.

That said… please learn how gravity affects boobs. PLEASE.

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comment

anonymous?

Ozoneocean at 9:47PM, April 7, 2022

How do boobs function in microgravity? (formally called Zero-G). One day we will see naked ladies in space...

Andreas_Helixfinger at 5:46AM, April 4, 2022

This is just a piece of deliberate sillyness on my part. But it feels like one could make a plot phenomenon about breasts that suddenly begins to defy earthly physics. The Space Boobs Syndrome I think it would be called^^

UnderTheBlackHat at 1:17PM, April 3, 2022

Terry Moore has some really good teaching tools in his book, which we think is called 'How to Draw', and he covers a lot of things that some artists seem to forget or at least completely disregard. The differences in center of gravity, muscular distribution, bone structure along with the differing shape of those bones and how they effect motion. All of this leads one to think more about your female and male shapes and how those characters should move and interact. And yes, I believe he does an entire section on bustlines, bosoms and the in world physics involved in drawing them properly. While we don't 'draw' we've used some of his teachings in the design of our characters. One of the reasons we're 'life like' in our renders (or try to be).

ShaRose49 at 11:31AM, April 3, 2022

I actually used to draw my character Kat as quite flat-chested because I didn’t like the big bust stereotype and I wanted her to be “cool” and “tough.” …but eventually her being something of a maternal figure to some of the other characters became an important part of the story, and I started drawing her chest more full. Maybe I did this because it’s also kinda fun to draw her that way, but I was also thinking that a more mature and feminine appearance would make it easier for the audience to see her as motherly. She still has the big muscles tho. ;3

Ozoneocean at 5:10AM, April 3, 2022

We should have a boob drawing competition. A boob off. A boobkana. A boobsteddfod. A booblympics!

PaulEberhardt at 9:37PM, April 2, 2022

My point is, you'll always have to balance art and realism, but no matter which way you go, but when you're done take a step back and look at it all as a whole. If you want your character to wear a pair of floating beach balls that no natural causes can possibly explain, I'd say go ahead - if the story or characterization calls for it, don't you dare shrinking them or let physics get in the way - but don't pretend that that's normal (or even sexy for that matter) because it isn't. Else, people like me will think that (a) you're fourteen years old, (b) you can't draw women, or (c) both.

PaulEberhardt at 9:30PM, April 2, 2022

There are some artists who are clearly fixated on large boobs and nothing else and presumably know only those silicone valley girls from porn as a reference. Those melons will invariably look artificial, because they are. However, I wouldn't always object even to that, as long as it matches the character - only it often doesn't and also they tend to neglect the rest of the woman. And THAT is the problem. Sexy looks are not just about them knockers but about how everything fits into the whole picture. Big udders look awesome on those women who can wear them with dignity, while the same ones on a more petite character are just ridiculous, and although I am a man my spine hurts in sympathy. Age is to be considered, too. Gravity and pregnancies do take their toll with time, so with a mature character a too firm and pointy chest endowment might look a bit off (or she should sue her surgeon).

Corruption at 7:40PM, April 2, 2022

Just want to point out the first picture is of a male bear disguised as a woman in the animated Robin Hood movie from decades ago. The fox (Robin) is not actually grabbing real breasts.

davidxolukoga at 4:12PM, April 2, 2022

Milla Jovovich

hushicho at 3:50PM, April 2, 2022

I also thought I should add that I agree emphatically that it doesn't matter really how large or small breasts are, they're going to be sexualized by someone, even if they don't really intend to. We can't help what appeals, obviously, and someone out there is going to find whatever anyone does appealing on many levels. Just making everyone flat feels like laziness, shorthand and perhaps also an unintended value judgement. It can incidentally kind of promote values that weren't necessarily intended, or keep the cycle going of up with one thing, down with the other. It would be like casting guys based on how perky and full their package is in whatever pants they're wearing.

hushicho at 3:43PM, April 2, 2022

Very well-written! I mostly agree, but there's also the point to be made that comics are fantasy by their nature almost invariably, and art is typically stylized. So if something looks more aesthetically pleasing to the artist, even if it's unreal to the laws of physics in our world, it's likely the way they'll approach it. I'll be very honest, while I do draw a whole lot of naked men, sometimes I'm still a little astonished when I happen to see one in motion that isn't lines I've drawn! It's like the pinpoint muscle definition most often drawn on men, or the huge endowments, sometimes even the derrieres -- these aren't realistic at all, but they might be appealing to the artist or the audience. But when it's people, there definitely needs to be more focus on ability and appropriateness for the role, which you don't get from the size of parts of the body.

bravo1102 at 2:13PM, April 2, 2022

Date a woman who has a sister close in age and you'll get ear loads of information about boobs. As far as Hollywood and breasts go just mention that some best known actresses had very modest bosoms. Katherine Hepburn to Kiera Knightley.

Ironscarf at 8:40AM, April 2, 2022

Indeed! It seems to me that the larger breasts you give a character, the more keenly you should study the forces of kinetics and gravity that come into play. Mammodynamics - a science in and of itself.

Banes at 7:58AM, April 2, 2022

...and legions of young men resolve to spend much more time learning about physics!

marcorossi at 3:33AM, April 2, 2022

More generally, I think that the problem is, or was, that stories, movies etc. Were told disproportionally from a male point of view, and the objectification happened as a consequence of female characters only or mostly existing as love interests for the lead. However as feminist critic became mainstream, it also became mixed up with sexuophoby and some IMHO pretty conservative ideas about what should or should not be shown on media. In reality we costantly see others, and are seen by others as, potential sexual object. So while objectification beyond a certain point can become offensive, and often is a case of flat writing, an excessive fear of objectification is also IMHO not very healthy.

kyup at 2:57AM, April 2, 2022

i dont think the shape and size must be a symbol of sexualization. I mean I am a gay man who draws and i also prefer to draw them a little bigger, not because im into it, but because for me its more fun to draw them like that and they add shape to the figure

cdmalcolm1 at 2:54AM, April 2, 2022

Interesting. I would think, depending on the type of story it is can kind of dictate the “type” of women the character body type will be. Like a slice of life types tend to be in the A and/or B size. Action type tend to more busty unless made fun of by others for not having a large bust. (Referring to anime females roles). The slice of life is closer to what “real” women should be. Now action types can have a larger bust like women in wrestling. A bunch of them are large size however, they do stay in place. Even the plus size female wrestlers have a bra that keeps them in place. I will keep bust size in mind in drawing female role in my comic.

marcorossi at 1:35AM, April 2, 2022

Also "flat chest" female characters can be an objectification: I personally like more slightly masculine girls, usually with smaller boobs. I don't see how this would not be an objectification too.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 1:11AM, April 2, 2022

She brought up the everyday problems that a large breasted woman like her has to deal with and how through Lara Croft could fantasize about being able to be an awesome, capable action heroine for whom the big bust is never a problem. And how by removing that outright from all entertainment media strips away this potential power fantasy for women of large breast to indulge in and thus leviate their everyday problems for the moment. Bottomline, I agree that all breast sizes deserves representation in all manners and that it is narrow minded to think of one size and/or form as this or that when it all comes down to how you present it.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 1:03AM, April 2, 2022

It is an interesting topic that people don't seem to dive deep enough into. I remember once reading a blogpost (that I unfortunely don't know where to find now) written by a female blogger who brought up the discussion about boob represtantion in media and how the media at the time seemed to have developed this hostile attitude towards boob represenations of the larger size for being inherently sexually objectifying. She described herself as a large chested woman and how she thought of originally large chested female characters like Lara Croft and what she does in the video games as, to her, a power fantasy.

plymayer at 12:16AM, April 2, 2022

Some interestingly points. More study is required.

Ozoneocean at 10:47PM, April 1, 2022

Unless the role specifically calls for it.

Ozoneocean at 10:46PM, April 1, 2022

Hahaha! Well said. Boobs are a reality. Big boobs are over-represented- not the giant ones, I mean just ordinary reasonably big boobs. Most starring female actors in movies and TV have bigger boobs than average (or they're padded to appear that way). That probably more than anything is a bit harmful because it makes people wrongly think that's the norm... I mean it's 100% ok to have any boob size of course, it's just better to have a diversity. I feel that actors are probable cast based on their conformity to certain bodily proportions, and that's ok when it comes to height or weight, but not stuff like boob size. That should be cast blind in that regard.


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