Posts Tagged ‘boobs’

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Catwoman Breast Cancer Awareness Ad (I swear to God, this costume thing should not be that hard)

January 9, 2012

Catwoman Breast Exam Ad

Does it really matter what I say at this point?

Okay, in case anyone is actually reading down here, that picture is from a breast cancer awareness campaign rolled out by an advertising agency in Mozambique late last year, when it might have received a little more attention if we weren’t all occupied trying to figure out what Bane was saying in The Dark Knight Rises prologue and resetting the trailer audio against footage of The Lion King.

That said, this should have been a really good campaign.  Because there are factions in comic book fandoms that rail against the titties, who rail against fantasy and sexuality and anything men enjoy looking at as if it’s an insult to women.  But in the words of West Wing’s Josh Lyman:

You know, I realize that as an adult not everyone shares my view of the world, and with an issue as hot as gun control I’m prepared to accept a lot of different points of view as being perfectly valid, but we can all get together on the grenade launcher, right?

It’s breast cancer.  We’re mammals, we can all get together on this one.   We’ve all got ‘em, ladies.  A-cups, D-cups, and the most vitriolic Balent-bashers of every size and shape can all raise their hand for this one: Breast Cancer BAD.  No matter how much it offends you that men like looking at them, dying because a lump went unnoticed in all that fleshiness would suck.

The message of this campaign, which features Catwoman among other busty comic book icons like Storm, She-Hulk and Wonder Woman performing various stages of a breast exam is simple and solid:

There are no super women, nobody is immune to breast cancer, every woman should do this.

That message is delivered following the most basic rules of communication as first codified by Aristotle: Step 1 – Get their attention.  It doesn’t matter what you have to say if you don’t nail that.  You have to GET YOUR AUDIENCE’S ATTENTION.

And unlike some generator repair shack in Mobile, Alabama headlining their webpage “SEX – SEX – SEX, Natalie Portman Naked,” this picture is actually ABOUT the very thing it’s getting your attention to talk about.

So seriously, this is a good ad.  This is a good campaign.  And I desperately, desperately want to tell anybody who has a problem with it to reexamine their screwed up sexual politics.

If only it wasn’t for the claws.  ‘Cause that just looks painful.  I love Catwoman, and I am practically the spokes model for “Get over it, there’s nothing wrong with big-titted women in comics!”  But I look at that and wince.  Of course, if you’re featuring iconic, busty comic book women, you’ve got to include Catwoman.  And of course, you’re going to have the claws in there because how else do we know who it is?   But… look at them.  In the way everything else about this attention getting campaign is exactly right for the message they’re delivering, that is exactly wrong.  It screams (as someone posted on Facebook) “This is an idea from a bunch of teenage boys” – because I don’t believe any woman who has actually done this is going to see anything but those claws.

And who is the ad really for?

So, Mozambique ad guys, love your idea, love your enthusiasm.  Little tip from the target demographic: next time it’s a message intended for the curvilinear customers, run it past a curvilinear coworker first and if she happens to say “These three are great but lose that one” even though “that one” is the center of an upcoming Hollywood blockbuster with unprecedented image recognition—do it.  Doesn’t matter if you don’t understand why.  Just do it.

Chris Dee
catwoman-cattales.com

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The Dressing of Cats is a serious matter…

January 21, 2011

So it’s to be Catwoman and Bane in Dark Knight Rises… Meow!The Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes #1 Anne Hathaway

I haven’t put forth any opinion on Anne Hathaway simply because I know enough about actors to know what I don’t know. If it’s a bad actor (Katie Holmes) you can see a train wreck coming without knowing any particulars of the role. In all other cases, none of us out here have seen enough of most actors to know what they are capable of. You watch Mr. Mom, you would never dream Michael Keaton could play Bruce Wayne. You watch The Doors, you would never that dream Val Kilmer couldn’t. So good luck, Anne! I have already mentioned the je nes se qua of Selina, as I see her, is best seen in Jennifer Ehle’s Eliza Bennet. She is about 120% more alive than the rest of us, there is a core of fun, joy, and good humor that makes a perfect foil to the dour intensity of Mr. Darcy…

Now, performance aside, there has been a certain concern raised about her “Complexity” – non comics folks, let me explain. There is a particular idiocy among a certain subset of comics readers that think cup size is inversely proportional to a complex and sophisticated portrayal of the character. A curvy and bouncy Catwoman that men enjoy looking at can’t possibly be a serious, realistic and complex treatment of the character, because of course, big breasted women don’t exist in nature. Fear not, fellas. What you saw in The Devil Wear’s Prada is creative costuming. Anne Hathaway is plenty lacking in complexity.

So, that’s Anne. The first thing most of my male friends and readers brought up immediately after hearing the casting was – no surprise here– the costume. I can certainly appreciate the desire to start forming that mental picture asap, and since it’s going to be quite a while until we learn anything about the production, let’s have a little survey of Catwoman’s looks over the years.

As all Cat Fans know, Selina made her debut way back in Batman #1 as an uncostumed jewel thief known as The Cat. She was modeled after sex-goddess of the day, Hedy Lamarr, looked smashing in an evening gown, and the first thing Batman noticed was her very shapely legs. Her first “costume”consisted only of a full face furry cat-mask, which wasn’t exactly flattering.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - The Cat

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - ClassicAlmost immediately she moved to the Classic Skirted Costume which is most familiar to modern fans from The Brave and the Bold cartoon. It is easily her most enduring look, having been the original costume in the 40s, returning in the 70s and remaining unchanged right up until Crisis on Infinite Earths, returning in numerous Elseworlds and other comic appearances since, and now in the Brave and the Bold and its related games and merchandise.

Now that’s the 4-color world. Up until Batman Returns in 1992, her best known look to non-comics fans was certainly Julie Newmar’s from the 1966 series, which the comics promptly copied, changing only the color.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Julie Newmar

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Go Go BootsIn comics, the “Go Go Boots” look came next. It seems to be universally known as the Go Go Boots Catwoman despite the fact that the ’60s hair and domino mask version is actually wearing the low ankle boot more often associated with the Classic Skirted Costume. Go figure. In any case, like all bad hair and clothing choices of that period, it was quickly changed and forgotten – a lesson the present comics could learn from, god knows. Admit it was the quaaludes, change it back, and move on.

But back to Julie. I always say that a lot of boys became men watching her in that black catsuit, and in 1992 history repeated itself with Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. The influence of the ’66 look can easily be seen, and the ’92 was in turn inspiration for Dolce and Gabbana interpretation in Vogue.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Iconic Body

That bring us, at long last, to the Jim Balent, the iconic look released on the cover of Catwoman #1. This costume drew upon the Classic Skirted Original, obviously, updating it for a more modern flavor while retaining all that connected Catwoman to her Bob Kane, Batman #1 roots.

Definitive History of Catwoman - Jim Balent

Batman the Animated Series wisely adapted it, opting (foolishly, IMO) to recolor for their Gotham palette which erred on the side of black.

Definitive History of Catwoman Costumes - Jim LeeThat brings us up to a present rife with mistakes. The less said of the Halle Berry disaster, the better. The movie was a mistake from start to finish, but more than a few industry watchers have observed that the multi-million dollar fustercluck could have been avoided if DC had admitted the disaster of their Volume II comic. If you put Catwoman on the cover – or the title of a movie – and you do not deliver a Catwoman story or the true Catwoman character within, then you will fail. The Darwyn Cooke goggled costume is a warning sign (Arkham City game designers, take note!) It means “This ain’t Catwoman.” It means you have been taking notes from the comics division which failed because it rejected, ignored, or tried to rewrite the DNA of the character and failed accordingly. Goggles mean you have probably got it wrong. You’re starting with two strikes against you. Even if the look were feline and attractive, you would not want that.

But it’s not feline. It’s based on Aviator Snoopy. I like Charlie Brown, don’t get me wrong. And I like his dog. But Snoopy the dog has nothing to do with Catwoman. So there’s that.

There is also the fact that they look markedly unattractive and bee-like. Jim Lee is the only artist on record who can make them kinda-sorta not nauseating, and he a) had scenes like this to work with, b) got them off her face every chance he could and c) is Jim Lee. Let’s face it, most of you aren’t. Nuff said about the goggles.

What the Nolan movie will do? We’ll have to wait and see, but there is a rich history to draw from. It should be fun seeing what they come up with.

Oops, almost forgot the Cat-Tales news!  A new tale has begun! Trophies from the Latin tropaeum, a prize, memento, or monument to an enemy’s defeat. Of course in the Batcave, it might mean something else.   We’re also just days away from a lifting that “Beta” tag on the iPhone front end, and making the catverse much more accessible to mobile readers (Yes, that means you Android and Windows Phone people too.)

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

Thank you for reading. If you are viewing this post anywhere other than The Catitat you are reading a mirror. Please visit the original posting in The Catitat to leave a comment.

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Cupsize is not Characterization

November 15, 2010

I’m pretty sure the most popular entry in this blog is the one from late April: Women Lacking Complexity—For SCIENCE! about blogger Jen McCreight’s initiative Boob Quake.  Wow, who would have thought it?  The most popular blog was about tits.

Yes, there are two big issues looming when it comes to women and comics. Seriously, that’s not a rhetorical flourish, there are two. Let’s deal with the D-cups first, because there is a reason they go on the cover: Men like breasts.  A couple months ago, Warner Bros posted screencaps to Arkham City, the sequel to the Arkham Asylum computer game.

The gullible souls who bought into the Brubaker/Cooke scam and continue to believe that flat-chested and short hair are the hallmarks of a dynamic empowered woman started frothing at the mouth: Look at those breasts!  How can it be!  It is the goggle-whore costume we have all been trained to defend as practical no matter how nonsensical the word is as applied to any costume in any comic including the one this displaced.  It is black and not purple, she has no long flowing hair cascading luxuriously out the back of her cowl, how can she have breasts that can be seen without special lenses?! It does not compute.  The horror, the horror!  How dare they defame the good name of Catwoman by giving her a body men will enjoy looking at!

I really had hoped the Iranian cleric that started the whole Boob Quake thing would have woken those silly women up. Because if you buy into the idea that boobs are bad and there is something wrong with men who like them, then you’re standing with Fahas Ahardtime Acceptinghalfthehumanrace-majad.  That doesn’t strike me as very enlightened or feminist, ladies, but hey, you don’t see the problem with the whore/stripper/ambiguous street trash origin, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

For those who aren’t irrevocably committed to the doctrine of Men Suck, let’s briefly revisit why the male of the species like the breasts. I’m sorry Notting Hill fans, there is an actual reason and it’s not “because they’re stupid.” It’s because we’re primates. For a long, long, long, long time, the male approaching a female for mating purposes is looking at a rump. Now fast forward a few million years.  We’re all walking upright. What in the general vicinity of the new eyelevel looks like that? There’s nothing perverse about it. Men are hardwired to notice cleavage. Put it on the cover, they’ll notice your cover. That’s not an automatic sale, but it gets their attention. What you do then is up to you.

Which brings us to the second issue when it comes to women in comics: who they are as opposed to how they look.  Let’s start with a quote from a creative writing forum, which was sent to me after the recent blog on Fridging:

“As it was explained to me by a comics professional years ago at a convention panel on the topic, the vast majority of comic writers are men who simply don’t understand women. Since they don’t understand women (and earn more by churning out stories as quickly as possible), they save time by reducing women to cliched roles as either the girlfriend or the victim.”

I include the elaborate provenance – that this is something told to a reader in a con/panel situation—because there is always the possibility that it is simply not true. That it was given in the context of “Look, we don’t serve up all these rapes and murders because we’re sad little trolls who can only feel like men by bringing down women.”  If that was the tone of the panel, then this could have been presented as a simple expedient.  Rather than debating if there is any palpable difference between murder of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis and the murder of Duncan in the Scottish play, the above quote diffuses the situation quickly without controversy by playing into the widely held preconception of comics writers as arrested adolescents.

The irony is if that’s true and not an invented excuse, it’s completely unacceptable.  Women are 53% of the population.  You can’t be a professional writer in any medium and “simply not understand” half the human race. You’re going to embarrass yourself, embarrass the idiots who hired you, and you’re going to fail—over and over and over.  So let’s cut these guys a break and reveal the key to writing the kind of female characters that the entire audience will love.  Then everybody will be able do it and that removes “I don’t understand lumpy people” as an excuse.  The following has been said elsewhere, but never as well as by the late Harold Ashman:

“In every classic musical, one of the first three songs belongs to the heroine.  She comes downstage, often sits on a convenient planter or bale of hay, and sings about what she wants from her life.  And the audience falls in love with her… and they spend the next three acts rooting for her to get it.”

It is, honest to god, that simple.  And that complex.  Start with what she wants.  If Cattitude succeeds where other Catwoman origins have failed, it is because it is grounded in what Selina wants from stealing: a restoration of the love and safety she felt as a child, which she came to associate with the wealth and comfort she knew in her parents’ home.  I cannot accept that the ability to pee standing up somehow short-circuits the ability to understand that simple human motivation.  What we want is seldom a function of gender.  The best art and jewel thief in the world comes from privilege and not poverty because the root associations make sense.  If any man wants to step up and explain what in his anatomy screws up his comprehension of something that shampoo simple, I would be fascinated to hear it.

Food, shelter, love, freedom, a sense of self-worth.  None of them have anything to do with reproductive plumbing.  If you “simply don’t’ understand” women, then you simply don’t understand people and if that’s the case, you have no business writing at all.

Now, if you don’t get a particular subset, join the club!  Twilight fans, the gals who take the Sex and the City bus tour, the Real Housewives of anywhere… Don’t ask me, fellas, I’m as confused as you are.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com

Originally posted with the title ( . )( . ) for humor.  Edited to the descriptive headline for happier indexing.  Sorry, Google.

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Women Lacking Complexity – FOR SCIENCE!

April 21, 2010

I’m several weeks behind on the fun links, pics, and video clips from the mail bag, so we’ll be getting caught up for a while. This one has to take precedence as it is time critical. The event is April 26 and women lacking complexity will want a few days to prepare (read: shop) for Boob Quake 2010.

It began with the kind of story that gets bloggers in a lather: some Iranian cleric spouting the kind of idiocy guys like that are always spouting. In this case that women dressing immodestly corrupt men, provoking God’s wrath and bringing earthquakes. Jen McCreight, one of the wittier bloggers, ran with it. Monday she declared she would test the claim on April 26 with Boob Quake. After all, if…

Postulate: Boobs >> lust & adultery >> godwrath >> earthquakes
Test: Bring on the cleavage and see how much movement we can get on the Richter scale.

That was Monday, and today there’s a Facebook page with about 10,000 participants already signed on.

My delight in this is twofold: ( * ) the celebration of women’s sexuality fused with all the fun and sass that is so central to a proper depiction of Catwoman, and ( * ) Remember the pseudo-intellectual, faux-enlightened dipshits that went along with the Balent-bashing as if there was something degrading and wrong about a beautiful woman in a comic book being drawn with big breasts? They are now in a delightful position where they can either get with the program or side with the Iranian clerics. Win-win for the rest of us, particularly those of us who bounce.

Gentlemen, remember, you too have a part to play on Monday. We show off the goods and you are duty bound to look, enjoy, and try to, y’know, be corrupted. Remember, it’s for science.

Chris Dee
www.catwoman-cattales.com
cattales.yuku.com
cattales.wikispaces.com

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