Size does matter

When it come to science, whether physical or biological, size does matter. Larger bodies require more heat conservation and larger, heavier bone structures to support it reasonably so. Especially if you exempt gigantism. At least among humans, if there are people predisposed to being tall enough to support heavy body weight it would be the Polynesians baring those in Indochina and the Philippines to a possible extent.

Tall, fat people do exist. The Samoans are stereotypical proof of this. So do several of my maternal relatives so to speak. Such characters are practically close to what’s needed for a biologically plausible humanoid giant (barring certain hominid species and arguably does with gigantism) as possible. Like I said, they have the ideal body to support excess weight for their heights.

They also make good rugby players. It seems this also applies to fashion where you need a bigger yard to make a longer skirt (I know this from experience) as well as having to adjust to taller, fatter or muscular men. If you’re going to make a maxiskirt for a taller woman, you’re going to be needing a wider waistline and a bigger yard of fabric for this.

Maybe a lot more for you’re dressing a tall, very muscular man. But it still works in practise.

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Lady Shiva

She’s one DC Comics character who’s seems like that to appear exotic. She’s of Chinese descent and yet she named herself after an Indian/Hindu god. Though there’s some interaction between China and India, it seems mistakenly chosen at the very least. (To be fair, some people find it hard to name their characters. Sometimes they’re named after fashion brands, really random words or musicians like in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures.)

I guess moreso when the Internet’s not readily available, let alone in its current form. One could say that they’re trying. One argues it would’ve been more plausible for somebody of Indian descent to call himself Lord Shiva (and wear dreadlocks to boot, evoking their god’s fashion sense). There might be later writers who rectified this.

But at least somebody who’s of Indian descent would be more familiar with it than somebody of Chinese descent is. That makes sense that unless if said character (and its author) went to India or knows about it, I guess the writers behind her stories simply didn’t know any better and couldn’t be bothered to find a better name for her moreso when the Internet’s inaccessible and crude.

 

Adaptation’s a bane

As I said before, adapting comics to live action’s going to be painful when they’re dealing with things that’s easy to get away with in the former. It’s possible to work around it in real life, albeit to a handsome extent especially for makeup artists and cosplayers alike. Even if it’s practically and cosmetically possible, there’s always the issue of budget and availability of such talents and resources needed. Even time matters in here.

Some fabrics aren’t just expensive but also inaccessible and finding the right one’s hard especially if it goes out of fashion. It’s completely possible for a superhero costume to have really skintight fabric. There’s a thing called micro-modal where it’s composed of beech bark (might be wrong about it), it’s sometimes blended with spandex and/or nylon to form something that resembles body paint.

It’s even breathable but it’s often commonly worn as underwear. It being so tight that it seems took ‘erotic’ for its own good. Ben Affleck wore a costume that’s close to what his role wore but remarked that it looked like it’s worn for BDSM clubs. Plus with that sort of fabric, you’re going to have it outsourced from such a corporation that those productions become walking adverts of sorts.

Superhero productions now go for a more militaristic look. Even if it’s possible to have Jon Bernthal dress up exactly like the comics Punisher (black catsuit with white gloves and boots) with the fabric made out of micro-modal and spandex, it would get too weird. Albeit not in a manner that Punisher’s creators never intended to if realised with the right fabric to exactly replicate those outfits.

I think an entirely accurate Punisher costume made out of micro-modal and lycra would put Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin to shame. (And poor ol’ Jon would have to wear dancer belts to keep people from staring at him too much but would accidentally provide butt shots.)

It could be possible, while such fabrics might have more advantages over leather these run the risk of making even the least erotic of superhero productions seem pornographic. If it ever happened at all in reality, the Punisher would’ve fared much worse by now.

Razib Khan on Western Beauty

I somehow managed to understand where Razib Khan’s coming from in a way. I guess the suspicion over whether if blond hair’s really desirable isn’t just generational but cultural at that. When it comes to Asia and Africa, pale skin’s only as tolerable but as long as there’s considerable amounts of melanin. Really pale skin and hair not only increases the chances of health risks (especially for skin cancer and bad eyesight) but also bullying and the like.

Such people get abandoned, rejected and hurt many times over though not all of them suffer like this, at least to the same extent. A good number of albinos in China get abandoned. Almost every albino has to be put up with taunting and bullying every now and then. They’re even the targets of daft superstitions which sometimes get them killed or mutilated.

It seems the association of blond hair and pale skin with beauty really doesn’t jive well with Asians and Africans in general, maybe not at all to begin with.

Unfair Lives

Like I said before, whenever Razib Khan scrutinises ‘Western beauty standards’ (especially with regards to blond hair) I get the feeling that his suspicions come from being raised in a different culture beforehand. Unless if you’re Aboriginal, Papua New Guinean or one of those Dravidian groups in India (or even Hmong in parts of East Asia) blond hair’s really not that common in Asia (and Africa too), much less naturally so.

The other problem is that outside of European (descended) foreigners, natural blond hair would inevitably be associated with maligned demographics like the Hmong and people with albinism. I remember there was a report on ABS-CBN about albinos and that they’re often taunted with things like ‘engkanto’. I also recall some essays on blond hair in anime that they’re sometimes associated with delinquents.

If not delinquents then snobby rich people which is part of such suspicions even if it’s not always intended to be malicious and hateful on their part. It’s something that’s alien and exotic at best. Even I find the association of blond hair with beauty to be baffling. The youthful association is understandable for Westerners as they’re majorly pale and would’ve been paler before.

Not so much for Asians and Africans where unless if they’re part European (and thus could get away with it) blond hair and really pale skin makes you a big target if discrimination against albinos is any indication. Bleaching hair and skin is one thing, being naturally this pale is another albeit more depressing matter.

Even this attitude persists despite Westernisation and may help fuel double standards between those who are of detectable Western descent and those who have albinism. So life’s unfair.

Anglophones and the rest

Even before Britain left the European Union, some Britons don’t see themselves as (continental) Europeans taking advantage of Britain’s insular isolation. Perhaps this too manifests in language. Whereas Anglophones use ‘fashion’, Francophones as well as Hispanophones, Lusophones and Italian speakers use ‘mode’ or some permutation of it. The English say ‘bodybuilding’, the French say ‘culturisme’.

There’s always the odd possibility of non-English language media having more information on what someone else wants and vice versa. I had more luck finding out about a mention of Kikuyu canine witchcraft in an online French study (though it’s based on an old book written when Kenyans and especially Kikuyu weren’t so big on dogs yet) than with Anglophone sources due to availability.

While there’s considerable Anglophone data on old maids and their dogs, there’s relatively more German language data about it online. At least from my experience but that’s saying for those who seriously want to learn more. Same thing with French language sources though I could be wrong about it but that’s still valuable.

That jumper

Given the painful dehumanisation black people have been subjected to for years, even I myself could be guilty of this, especially whenever blacks are often compared to primates due to perceived primitiveness it’s inevitable that a black boy in a ‘monkey’ jumper will alarm everybody. I guess if there ever was a more satisfying, less insulting alternative it already exists.

There’s a substantial fashion industry in the African continent, especially in the more developed places like South Africa and Nigeria. Some of them have brands and catwalks on par with their Western counterparts. Based on what I’ve seen but you want a better look, head over to Bella Naija Style for those examples. Nigeria’s not without its problems, whatever problems it may have.

But in some regards, when it comes to less racist fashions countries like Nigeria have the upper hand over here by being more ‘authentic’. It’s African fashion made for Africans and to some possible extent, foreigners too if they’re willing. That still depends on country and community but at least there’s a proper sensibility to it waiting to be marketed outside of Africa.

Maybe it already is, just not yet.