Basically I think I had some stupid ideas introduced via the media and my academic background studying sociology and media, culture, post-modernism, feminist theory, and similar disciplines with healthy doses of overlapping content.
That was basically that artwork like this
is badwrong. This was a symptom of the oppressive patriarch hegemony and a relic of an unenlightened time, to be appreciated only as a relic or something with "retro" sensibilities and not something for modern artists or audiences. Unless of course you are a degenerate with antiquated thinking who has not yet been introduced to enlightened thought.
Even though I like it. (Uh oh, I must keep my degeneracy a secret!)
So as I started working on my own media, whether it was films, comic art, RPGs and most recently RPG art, I wanted to "do the right thing" and create things that were "good" and accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I would be a modern and progressive voice and do things differently than they were done in the past. I'd do them right! What could go wrong with that?
Well if you're going to do the "right thing" and include images of women, particularly, in your art you really need to listen to them about how they want to be depicted, and try to understand the things I am genetically unable to understand about lady bodies and artwork and feelings and hegemonies and such. And if you spend a lot of time online, and a gamer, it only makes sense to engage in discussion with female gamers about this. And some are very eager to discuss the topic! Excellent!
So while through my
Yesterday on G+ we had an interesting discussion where one woman and several men explained how this illustration:
is sexist. Because the tabard makes you think she is about to show you her lady parts. I kid you not. In fact the optimal way of presenting a drawing of a woman in fantasy artwork is this:
an almost literal armoured burkha where you can't even tell if it's a man, woman or monster beneath the clothing. It's completely asexual, and until you reach this point you will be "doing it wrong" in the eyes of a vocal group. If your goal is to listen to complaints and adapt them into your work, your work is going to be, quite frankly, boring as shit.
Meanwhile I've met some other women on G+ who are happily sharing their appreciation for the old Fantasy and Sci-Fi movies I grew up with like Conan the Barbarian, Flash Gordon, Beast Master and other media that existed before the current more politically correct times. They're also making their own art, costumes, and even movies that don't share these same hangups about ultra-conservative dress and Laura Mulvey's "Male Gaze" bugbear (I studied that stuff for 5 years, please don't tell me about it anymore after discovering it on Wikipedia).
So given the choice between making boring shit artwork that may or may not be conservative enough, or ideologically correct enough to make the Tipper Gores of the RPG community happy -- and the choice to just do stuff that I think is awesome and that some other guys and girls think is awesome too…
Damn, it seems like a really obvious choice.