Toy Preview and Rant Of Sorts – IAmElemental

iamelementalThe 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).


8 Responses to “Toy Preview and Rant Of Sorts – IAmElemental”

  1. Mathias Lundqvist says:

    I could’ve written this…except my daughter’s only 11 and I didn’t back the game, but still.

    I my not know art, but I know what I like.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised this topic hasn’t stirred up the idiots again. I guess you’ve finally convinced them to stay away. That’s a plus.

    I get where you are coming from on this topic, but doesn’t your stance on this bother your wife at all? She can’t be too excited to share your attention with joggers?

  3. Matt Drake says:

    My wife knows that I’m a man. She isn’t ignorant of how the male lizard brain operates. I’m not hitting on other women, or attempting to score with strippers. And I don’t leer like a predator. I notice, but I don’t crash the car to get a longer look. There’s a difference between acknowledging my human nature and acting on it.

  4. Tal says:

    This just about the only thing you’ve written I agree with. My wife is beautiful but doesn’t believe it because of advertising relentless telling women they aren’t pretty or skinny enough.

  5. Kyle James says:

    These things are awful and are going to bomb. Not because they’re challenging female stereotypes, but because they’re just so boring and aside from a different hairstyle and color scheme they all look exactly alike. I would definitely love to see younger girls take more interest in the ideas of take-charge women and doing something other than playing with dolls, but these designs are honestly awful. Also, without a well-written cartoon series to give these bland designs some interesting back stories, these are going to do well and be supported heavily by well-to-do kickstarter backers, and then they are going to completely fail on a retail level.

  6. Ray Gott says:

    Yup, gotta agree with Kyle here – not seeing the appeal. The toys remind me of the 80’s… and strangely enough HeMan, even though SheRa would probably be more appropriate. Plus what would I do with them? They’re not pretty enough to showcase, not detailed enough to paint and I haven’t seen any backstories yet (on iPad, hard to check) so there’s no draw.

    If you were looking for some BadAssChicks or some challenges to male-dominated toys check out RagingHeroes – . It’s too late to get in on this kickstarter, but look at what they did. Yeah there’s a huge difference between models vs action figures, but just look at the thought’s/bodytypes/concepts they’ve reimagined to break a male dominated role.

  7. Matt Drake says:

    Ray, they may have made female models, but the Toughest Girls are very much hyper-sexualized. The sniper’s primary article of clothing is an ammo belt. A male sniper would be generally uninclined to go into battle wearing a thong and a halter top, but somehow we don’t balk at a snow commander leading her troops into a blizzard wearing a bustier and mini-skirt. Not every model is flashing cleavage, but there’s a lot more bare skin on those figures than you would see on the same number of men. I think those minis are bitchin’, but they’re not exactly an argument in favor of female empowerment.

    I certainly can see why you might not want the Elementals. I think they’re pretty neat, and if I still bought toys, would pledge for the whole set. But yeah, they are a little samey, and if you’re not cool with the sleek silver look, they definitely would not appeal.

  8. Ray Gott says:

    It’s interesting you see hyper-sexualized.

    I see three armies (close to a hundred models) all led by women, fighting against women with realistic bodytypes and strangely no jello or creamed corn is involved. There are little children, grandmothers, mothers and daughters depicted though a wide range of bodytypes (mesomorph and strangely endomorph). Heck they even threw in naked werewolves, zombies and giant robots… all of which are curiously lacking DD breasts, thongs and vapid expressions. The poses are silly, scary, playful, gentle and psychotic but all radically different. The entire line would be free of male influence were it not for the inclusion of one armies dad. So 1/100 or 1% male inclusion I’ll accept. ps: and hes not even the one in charge!

    I love companies that do this and to understand how and what they’re doing so well it helps to have a background in sculpture (or a minor in art:P). The defenseless of bare flesh is in direct contrast to the openness and in fact direct confrontation of the pose. Two conflicting thoughts which are meant to invoke a feeling of conflict or aggression. The concept of the Jailbirds is derived in part by movies/cult comics like TANKGIRL (*probably not helping my argument), but in any case it’s a very punk look.

    Or to really dumb it down: they aren’t selling SEX, they’re selling SEXY.