|Jungle Pickup, a.k.a. Catch of the Day|
The picture above, Jungle Pickup, caused a stir when I published in in an art group on Facebook. Here is an example of the comments I got:
Well, at least one sword and sorcery trope was fulfilled: weasily, weak men using cheap shots to attack their betters.
There was plenty more like that, and several suggestions that I ought to leave the group. So, what had I done that so offended people? When I posted the picture, I wrote the following:
Jungle Pickup, a.k.a. Catch of the Day
Much as I love Fantasy illustrations from the 60's, 70's, and 80's, there are some things I find a bit annoying.
One of those things is the trope of a huge warrior, sometimes a skulking ape-man, walking with a terrified woman slung over his shoulder.
I do not like it because the narrative is one of horrific abuse instead of adventure, and causing pain and degradation, rather than triumphing over dangerous obstacles.
So, I decided to flip the story around. Note that who carries whom, is not the only thing I flipped.
The response for the picture was mostly positive. There were more than 70 likes, which is good for one of my pictures in that particular group.
I'd like to stress that most comments were either positive, or straightforward questions about the picture. I appreciate those a lot!
There were also several negative comments, and I found them both revealing and disturbing. Not one negative comment was about flaws in the picture itself. Instead, the comments were about misogyny, and the commenters attacked me for being against it.
Let's have a look:
The question is, why these attempts to defend a trope showing kidnapped, abused women?
I checked the home pages of some of the commenters. The first page looked fairly normal. The first post of the second page was a recommendation to see an action movie that featured two rapes at the beginning.
I really did not want to check any further.
From time to time I work with female models, and they see and hear, and experience, a lot worse things than the above. They have to be very careful when meeting an artist they haven't worked with before. When the work they have contributed to is published, they are often subjected to denigrating comments. Misogyny is quite common in the art world, both among artists, and audience.
I am very well aware that a blog post like this does very little to reduce the misogyny that exists in the art world, and our society at large. Still, it is important to talk about it, to recognize it for what it is, even though arguments are disguised, or so silly they are difficult to take seriously.
The idea that men and women have equal rights, which includes the right to be respected by, and well treated by others, has not yet taken hold as strongly as it should have.
We still need major changes in our social systems and our attitudes, but I do believe small changes matter too. Misogynists should be opposed, in small matters, as well as large.
Be seeing you!