Female Warriors in Fantasy

Okay, so if you spend any time on the Internet and are a fan of fantasy literature, I am sure you’ve seen the movement to provide female fantasy warriors with reasonable body armor. (Also see this i09 article)

I am for this movement. Bikini chain mail has it’s place as a novelty item for those inclined, but when you’re slapping it on an Amazonian character who kicks major ass, it’s just ridiculous. Give the girl something to cover her vitals.

Gathering your entrails up with your fists is not fashionable, ladies and gentlemen.

I thought there had been enough chatter on the Reasonable Body Armor Movement, so I wasn’t going to post anything until I saw a BuzzFeed article on “fierce warrior makeovers” of Disney princesses.

My first thought was “Oooh, cool!” And then I opened the article. The first picture is of Ariel in mermaid form, sporting a purple steel bikini top, vambraces, and a trident. Okay, as she is a mermaid, I’ll give the artist this one. It’s not so far off her regular Disney costume as to cause me any kind of concern.

Then, I scrolled a little further down. The outfits, if you could call them that, became increasingly ridiculous, even for a sexualized fem-warrior fantasy. I have no objection to the art itself–the models are lovely, the digital manipulation on the armor quite well done. But these are not “fierce warriors.”

These are hyper-sexualized images of women pretending to be warriors. These ladies, while attractive, aren’t really the physical type you would associate with a warrior. And then there’s the fact that the armor leaves little to the imagination. Actually, the only thing I’m imagining is whether these women would survive in a duel.  (SPOILER: They wouldn’t.)

If we’re going to produce these images, let’s call them what they are: Sexy Fantasy Warriors. And, let’s throw in some Disney princes in beefcake outfits with large, phallic swords to make it all equally exploitive, mmmmkay? Ladies need some eye-candy, too.

You want a fierce Disney princess warrior? Allow me to present you this palate cleanser of Pocahontas by Jeffrey Thomas–who, while not wearing much actual armor, is not hyper-sexualized. At least this Pocahontas would be able to kick some ass. She’s ripped.

Twisted Princess: Pocahontas by ~jeftoon01 on deviantART

This is from his Twisted Princess series, which you all should totally check out.

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David the Disappeared

You know what’s quite annoying? Waking from a dream at a crucial moment and not knowing what happens.

I’m not talking saved-by-the-alarm-bell moments, like where you’re about to die/get eaten/are falling in your dream and your alarm jerks you awake just in time to avert a tragic dream end. No, I’m talking about the kinds where you’re on a quest and don’t find the object before the dream ends or something.

You go to sleep the next night (or back to sleep if you deciding to ignore your alarm) and hope the dream continues, and it doesn’t.

That ticks me off.

I have an example. I’m going to call it “The Fairy Tale.”

Setting: Nighttime in a random field surrounded by woods. In this giant field is some kind log cabin off to one side, and in the center is a giant wooden tower. This tower resembles the shape of those big honking industrial power line supports. It is also surrounded by briar. And the top of it is on fire.

The dream starts. I am around fifteen to twenty feet away from the edge of the tower. I have two friends behind me, who are personified as Belle and Aurora–but the versions from the show Once Upon a Time, not the Disney cartoons. Someone is entering the tower, pushing through the briar. It’s a man, with dark hair, dressed in modern clothes. His back is to me.

I am screaming at the top of my lungs for him to stop. “David!” (That was weird, the fact the he had a recognizable name that I said, versus just an implied persona) I screamed for him a couple of times, but he couldn’t hear me, and Belle and Aurora where holding me back.

The tower, apparently, was evil. It turns your friends against you. David was going in to get his brothers as part of a quest of some kind, something only he and his brothers could complete. He enters the tower and I freak right on out, shaking off the girls and scrambling after him.

I chase him up the tower, Belle and Aurora on my heels–no one wanted anyone else to get hurt, so we all ended up in the tower. I stop on the platform just below the flaming platform at the top and see David and his two brothers, now dressed as fairy tale princes, complete with swords, leap from the top of the tower. They disappear into the ether. I start back down the tower.

About half way down the tower, Belle and Aurora turn against me. I sprint down the stairs, yelling for help because these girls went all axe-murderer on me. I get to the bottom of the towering, dash across the field and make it in to the house. I manage to trap both my assailants in closets. David’s two brothers show up–we’ll call them Adam and Philip, because they each went to a closet and removed their respective girlfriends, breaking the towers curse. I knew the curse was broken because both of them appeared in Disney costumes for their respective characters. Belle in the gold dress, Aurora in the pink, but still real people, not cartoons.

No sign of David. I was worried, and then I heard my alarm going off.

The end.

Um, David? Hello?

Um, David? Hello?

…  …

WHAT HAPPENED TO DAVID?!

Seriously, Unconscious Mind, what have you done to the dream-love-of-my-life? I was distraught about him going into this tower, and then he jumps off it to help his idiot brothers—seriously, who jumps off a tower waving swords around—and then the losers turn up without him. What in the actual fuck?

David, if you can hear me in there, don’t go back to that tower. Meet me at the house.

DO YOU HEAR ME, DAVID? MEET ME AT THE HOUSE!

In other news, I may be the only one that gets this attached to my own figments of imagination.

1,000 Words XI: The Alter-Ego

Evil Me

Evil Me

I recently started watching ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” which is quite an excellent show. Part of the show’s theme is exploring the dichotomy of its characters, specifically the villains. What makes a villain a villain? Are villains evil in all ways at all times–or, because they were once not villains, is there still some shred of good floating around in their shriveled up husk of a soul?

Can they be redeemed?

I really enjoy this particular exploration. As I’ve said before, I have a special place in my heart for the baddies. Part of it’s because I operate on the theory that we all start as something different. It’s interesting to consider that maybe some of our favorite heroes actually started out as villains. Can you imagine? Characters you know and trust, characters you feel incapable of harming others, could once have been merciless killers.

That would be a neat device to shake up your story, the good guys having started out as something bad. Evil is a matter of perspective.

1,000 Words X: Yarn

Homespun yarn from Williamsburg, Va.

Homespun yarn from Williamsburg, Va.

I love this picture for no other reason than the color and texture. But, lately, I haven’t been writing much or paying attention to submitting completed projects and this picture reminds me of my kid’s fairy tale manuscript. It’s working title is WORDPSINNER WORDSPINNER. It’s full of color and whimsy, like this picture. It reminds me of happy things.

Do you have nay pictures that remind you of happy things, that aren’t necessarily related to those things?

Soul eaters and rattlesnakes

A long time ago, when I was in college, I read this book called “The Plucker.” It is written and illustrated by Brom, and it’s a story about a toy jack-in-the-box coming to life and having to defend his Boy from an evil spirit that eats children’s souls. It’s a very dark story, but I highly recommend it. Brom has a few other books out, one involving zombies, and another novel–a retelling of Peter Pan called “The Child Thief,” and several more. I’ve only read the one. I need to read more. “The Plucker” inspired a poem. It’s not one of my better ones, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

“I sewed the petrified heart of a copperhead pit viper into your breast. A copperhead ain’t gonna let nobody tread on it, cause it’s down and mean, down and mean as they come.” –Mabelle,  “The Plucker”

There is no title for this one.

*

Give me broken thoughts–

fragments of a trusting soul to stitch together like a misused rag doll.

Sew inside me the heart of a rattlesnake

ornery and cold

Because it will take all my womanly wiles to survive

without unraveling at the seams.

Make me a Maneater

so when Lovers lie I can strike–

lightning-in-a-bottle quick

Leaving unfaithful, useless

Love

bleeding on the floor.

I am the Killer Lady

throwing words like battle axes,

Half-moon fangs

Clearing the way of half-gods

laying out a golden path for kings

Know a brave heart when they see one

appreciate deadly charm

wild abandon

Know to cherish the snake and the doll,

poor Raggedy Anne,

Because someone made her

down and mean.”