The internet these days is full of posts from women arguing against the sheer brooding neanderthalism of men. There are also men taking on one of two roles – that of the sympathetic man who is ashamed of his penis-owning gender, and cromagnon assholes saying that the women doing the complaining should go fetch sandwiches and come back barefoot for their three-fifteen raping. It’s getting so it’s tough to know just how to respond, and I think most guys would just as soon keep their heads down and avoid being labeled either misogynists or milk-sops.
Enter into this discussion the Kickstarter project for a line of pretty bad-ass toys depicting female heroes who have believable bodies and some pretty cool powers. They’re called IAmElemental, and I think they’re cool enough that I backed the project. Thinking about it prompted me to write a little blurb about society, men and our place as slavering, sex-crazed drones.
Really, it’s kind of tough to break this all out. I mean, I love sex. I love boobs. I love a killer rack and a shapely ass and short skirts and strippers. I have a healthy sex drive, and like most men, I am drawn to a woman whose figure makes me want to pretend I’m interested in her mind so that I can get into her pants. I willingly accept and admit that I am a creature of desire who likes to see naked dames.
The thing is, I’m also a dad. My daughter is about to go off to college, where I will not be close enough to gently insert a tire iron into the cranium of any boy who puts his greasy hands on my little princess. She is a tough kid, so I don’t worry too much – but normal dad worry in this case is still a whole lot of worry. I have watched her battle unfair and unrealistic gender stereotypes her whole life, and while I think she is ridiculously pretty, she sometimes gets down on herself for not looking like Megan Fox. Which is crap – I’m a graphic designer who has done a fair bit of Photoshop to bikini models, and I can tell you that nobody looks like Megan Fox – not even Megan Fox.
So back to this IAmElemental thing. These are action figures of chick heroes who look good. They are fit and attractive and healthy – but they are not the ridiculous, freak-sized women you see in comics. They have normal boobs, which are still very nice boobs, and normal asses and normal waists and they’re not about to go off and fight crime in a one-piece bathing suit designed to distract opponents with jiggling girl bits. They’re not just stand-in crap, either – they actually look kind of bad-ass, and have accessories and everything. These are fully functional toys, and they’re not some kind of man-hating feminist agenda, they’re just an attempt to allow girls to see that you don’t have to look like a Hustler centerfold to be a bad-ass. (Sorry, Pamela Anderson.)
But here’s the thing – I think Pam Anderson was smokin’ in Barb Wire, even though the movie itself was crap and she’s a horrible actress. I like looking at Pam Anderson in some sexy getup, and then making fun of her candy-ass arm tattoo that doesn’t go all the way around because it hurts too bad to get the ink under the arm. I’m a man, and when I see a fine-ass college co-ed running past in a jogging bra that isn’t holding everything in place, I want to look, because that looks good to me. Sure, I’m a pig. Because I’m a man.
I’m not going to apologize for being attracted to a killer set of juggs. I’m not going to feel the least bit guilty about enjoying the view when a woman wears revealing clothing. It doesn’t mean I treat that woman poorly, or assume that she’s into me. I don’t hoot at girls or act like a gorilla chasing Jane through the African forest. But dammit, I do love to see a nipple.
Here’s the thing, though – years of doctoring photos has bred a sort of immunity to unrealistic figures. I love to see nipples, but I love to see them on a believable female form. I am more annoyed by fake beauty than attracted to it. I prefer a real woman with real curves, not an artificial construct built of retouched imagery. And that’s why I backed IAmElemental – not because I want the toys (though they are pretty damned cool), but because I am 100% behind anything that works against a societal hyper-sexualization of the female figure.
I also admit that I’m more sensitive to this issue because I have a daughter. If I were a single man, driven nearly mad with an insatiable craving for all things booby, I don’t know if I would care as much. No, strike that, I know I would not care as much. I would probably just go, ‘yay, you go,’ and then try to get digits so we could hook up later for a booty call. I can tell you that I prefer to be with a woman who can challenge me intellectually, who has a quick wit and a sense of humor, who can hold her own in a game of Risk Legacy – but I am still a man, and I still love a well-built ass.
If you have a daughter, you probably already realize how important it is to combat society’s unreasonable expectations on women. If you don’t have a daughter, you should still acknowledge that no woman anywhere will ever look like Emma Frost. And if you just like kick-ass action figures with a good range of motion and a variety of cool accessories, you should check out IAmElemental. It probably won’t change your mind – but it might help some little girl somewhere come to grips with the fact that she is just fine the way she is.
Check out the IAmElemental Kickstarter right here, and throw ’em a few bucks. It’s for a good cause (especially because the cause is cool toys).