» Comics - Page 10 - June 20th, 2013, 8:51 am

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kotor, June 20th, 2013, 9:25 am ( Reply )

Important Message - Okay, so it's finally time to talk about my biggest guilt issue surrounding this comic.

In a Wild West series about an aging war veteran forcing animals to fight to the death, you're going to run into some ideologically challenging issues. It's not actually what you think - I'm mostly concerned with the portrayal of female characters.

So as I've said, I started developing this comic a long time ago, and it basically throws together Pokemon, cowboys, and the movie Taken. It's not actually the movie itself that interested me, but the concept behind it: a father's bond with his daughter, and the desperation that sets in when trying to protect someone you love. My wife has seen Taken; she saw it with her dad because watching films together is how they bond. My father-in-law spent the whole film saying that he would act exactly the same if anyone ever stole his daughter away (I believe him, too, ever since we had the typical father-son-in-law talk and my reproductive capabilities were threatened if ever I'm unfaithful). I'm fascinated by that instinctual desire to protect one's loved ones by force.

So what's the problem with this story? Basically, it conflicts with my feminist viewpoint.

A few weeks into making Dust White, I found this excellent video on the 'Damsel in Distress' trope in video games, and boy did I feel sheepish. By combining adding Western and Taken rhetoric into Pokemon, I had introduced the 'Damsel in Distress' trope to one of the few games that it is not already present in.

In Dust White, Dusty's daughter is an invisible objectified plot device. Ouch. I have done a discredit to women everywhere by created yet another story in which a female must be rescued by a man. It doesn't help that, thanks to luck of the draw, the nuzlocke run that this comic is based on featured very few female Pokemon, meaning that women are almost entirely absent in any form from this comic narrative.

Dang.

My first instinct is to give up on this project rather than perpetuate patriarchal stereotypes. My second instinct is to try to turn this into a commentary on male thinking, but no, I'm just not good enough of a writer to do that yet.
So I'm continuing this comic for now, but I'm very guilty about the male dominance that's present throughout. Why have I created another white male heterosexual male protagonist when I could have created a far more unique character? I guess it comes down to two points:
1. I'm working with an established rhetoric. Cowboys are always gruff, manly men. I wanted to play to that.
2. I am myself a white heterosexual male. I see the world through that lens, and my creative work is coloured by it. Would that it were it not the case.

So my one attempt at appeasing this guilt over dis-empowering women in this comic? I've empowered the least powerful female character in the entire Pokemon series. Bianca kicks butt. Cheren, who in the original text is a dominant overachiever, plays second fiddle to a woman who, without falling into this lovely trope:

by being strong and confident without being needlessly sexualised.

I really would love to contribute to female empowerment with my art. There may come a time in the future of this comic where I feel that I'm doing too much damage, at which point I'll likely end the comic and work on something new.

As a matter of fact, I'm quite looking forward to my next hand-drawn project in the works to replace Dust White, which will feature a female protagonist kicking all kinds of bum.

Apologies for the huge post, but this is a serious issue for me.

PS isn't it wonderfully serendipitous that when I went to upload this comic, I bumped into part two of the Damsel in Distress youtube series along the way? Some people might take that as a sign...

Advertisement, July 23rd, 2019, 10:31 am ( Reply )

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Not many people actually admit to and realize that, good job on doing so. I feel you can continue because this isn't an accurate representation of your ideologies; you're just having fun. You wanted to mix the Wild West, Taken, and Pokemon, to have fun, not to force ideologies upon people.

posted by MJM on June 20th, 2013, 10:57 am





 
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I heartily approve of empowering Bianca. *applauds*

posted by Surfersquid on June 21st, 2013, 6:50 pm



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