Jan. 28th, 2013

auronlu: (franservice)
I strongly recommend reading: “Oh, You Sexy Geek!”: “Geek Girls” and the Problem of Self-Objectification by Courtney Stoker (found via [community profile] metanews)

I'm particularly taken with Olivia Waite's interpretation of Leia's "I will strangle you for making me wear this" slave costume.

Rambling thoughts in response to the essay... or just my own vague thoughts about cosplay.

I've always had ambivalence about cosplay: I rejected Barbie as a child, because I recognized the poisonous apple, and when I encountered cosplay, I thought (a) "Ugh, dress-up ... I hate clothes" and (b) "self-Barbiezation, double ugh."

I gradually overcame that because I learned that good cosplay is an art that takes great craftsmanship, it's fun, and it's creative. Also, I have a totemic relationship with fictional characters: I enjoy and feel satisfied when I see excellent representations of them, in the way that traditional cultures like seeing their gods or cultural symbols represented. There's something viscerally appealing about "Oh my gosh, there's Lulu FOR REELZ!" that still hits me when I come across a good cosplay photo, even though I've seen a gazillion good Lulu cosplays.

Which is fine: in that case, I'm just appreciating cosplay as a craft and as an activity. However, because I'm bi, there's also a part of me that responds to fanservice -- usually designed by and for guys, but it often intersects with my own tastes. (My self-chagrin being represented by userpic above.) In my case it's non-heteronormative, but still, I like looking at Teh Sexy. So I'm buying into and perpetuating fanservice by favoring female cosplayers with The Sexy bodytype, except that I have a slightly broader definition of that bodytype than some

Also, if a character is too visibly objectified and stripped of strength/intelligence/personality, I recognize the poisonous apple and recoil from what is my personal Uncanny Valley: a recognizable female character sapped of her soul for titillation purposes. Hentai does this in spades. Sometimes cosplay does it, mostly by body language and gestures that telegraph meanings which don't seem to me to fit the characters at all.

So anyway. Good essay, and that's my rambling response.
auronlu: (ronin)
We've got a lot of vaguely European armor, weapons and fighting styles in Final Fantasy and other JPRGs, but there's also ubiquitous Ninjas, Samurai, and fighting monks who exhibit fantasy variations of eastern hand to hand styles.

I was just puttering my way through Suikoden V again -- SOOOO much easier on a back-compatible PS3 where the load times are speeded up -- and I noticed that one Elf character starts to lift his bow in a Japanese archery style -- but then, no, he drops his hands and draws European style. Fran and everyone in FFXII have western stances as well. Of course, most of them are using shorter bows -- Penelo's is much too short for Zen archery, and the Elf characters in Suikoden have short bows as well. So I suppose that what I think of as a Western draw is really a shortbow draw.

Anyway, just once l'd love to see a kyudo (Zen) archer in a game. I've seen them practicing at my local range a few times, and it's absolutely mesmerizing. This video captures it.

I could've envisioned Fran and her sisters using a variation of it, since they are such meditative warriors who prize stillness and silence (when they aren't being driven into a killing frenzy by the Mist.)

Then again, Kyudo archery is usually reserved for religious ceremonies and Zen meditation, and is normally done so slowly -- maybe it would seem jarring to depict it in a battle or competitive setting?

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