Here’s something that I don’t get with some fantasy fiction depictions of comely women…at times. It’s as if whenever I read the description, I imagined the character to be fashion model skinny. Not that straight men aren’t attracted to fashion models, it seems whenever such female characters are illustrated at that their builds are closer to glamour models.
Though there’s some overlap, especially in how they’re treated and abused at times as well as with Victoria’s Secret models but generally tend to target different audiences. But it could be me expecting the pretty slender elf woman to look more like a fashion model than a glamour model. And that if the target audience for these fantasy women are stereotypical fat nerds, then they’d seem slimmer in comparison.
But it could just be me getting weirder out with what I expected and got.
I bemused about what an asexual rockist popstar would be like, given the potentially sexist implications as women get damned for their sexuality (and sometimes singlehood at the expense of motherhood and being a wife). The asexual rockist popstar, if female, would seem near-perfect and be the near-perfect muse.
She’s practically untarnished, free to be immortalised in the media in a way other muses can’t and will never be. Elizabeth Siddal’s a Victorian muse who’s also an aspiring artist as well as somebody’s troubled wife. Sometimes said muse gets married to somebody else. At other times she turns out to have bad taste or wastes her motherhood on something else.
That isn’t to say that this hypothetical creature is perfect but rather her asexuality gives a curiously saintly air to it. Unable to experience sexual desire herself instead of deliberately controlling it, she becomes the true unrequited love of many. That’ll trouble other women who feel unworthy of her.
That’s the curse of being an asexual muse.
Like I said about Fiffi Anaman and Usain Bolt, there’s going to be real life people who aren’t even actors who’re far closer to what fans expect of how the characters should be presented as. Usain Bolt’s practically a real life black Wally West not just because he runs fast but also because he’s said to be outgoing and easygoing. Much like how Wally was portrayed in the cartoons.
Logically Fiffi Anaman’s everything Supergirl’s James Olsen’s supposed to be, right down to the fashion sense being more reminiscent of the latter’s comics counterpart. It’s pretty remarkable that a real life person who’s not an actor (Fiifi’s an actual cub reporter and Usain’s a sprinter) is like a fictional character coming to life. A case of truth being stranger than fiction.
It seems redheaded men get short thrift in the media and society. Not that they can’t get laid but rather they’re hardly sexualised. There are some romance novels that do want to write about a red-haired hero but end up compromising by giving him reddish or chestnut brown hair instead. A similar process happened to Twilight’s Edward and 50 Shades’s Christian where they get played by a blond and a brunet instead.
Harry Potter’s one of the few book adaptations where the ginger characters stay the way they are (and some of the actors dye theirs red). Outlander’s another example where a blond actor dyed his hair to resemble the character who’s a red-haired leading man. Of course they’re getting lucky with calendars and books like Red Hot 100. Though well publicised, it remains to be seen if it can help overturn such stereotypes.
I wrote it on a notebook about the differences between old school and new school geek culture, the main one for me is that the latter’s increasingly fantastical even when there are geeks with more realistic or grounded obsessions. With the Internet, anyone could be a geek. There are history, language and fashion geeks after all but they don’t attract that much attention as their fantasy oriented counterparts do.
There is overlap between fantasy and medieval nerds but while the latter’s similarly influential and catered to, that’s got nothing on what the fantasy nerds get. The former gets full-blown franchises and merchandise, the latter has research material and props. Plus there predictably are festivals in Europe where you can relive the Dark Ages and Renaissance as well as folk and ecclestial clothing close enough to it.
It also happens for the overlap between folklore nerds and fantasy nerds to an extent. Keep in mind that there are people who still believe in ghosts and the like or enjoy ghost stories and folktales without being nerds. It seems geek culture in popular literature is almost always linked to either science or fantastical imaginations. This leaves out history nerds and their ilk, maybe because they can be too ‘normie’ or something.
There is a sizable number of straight men who can’t stand short, perhaps really short hair on women. Perhaps because they can’t stand women threatening their sense of masculinity. A woman can be one of the guys but not become a guy herself. Long hair has to be preferred against her choice or her biological disposition.
For people who tend to be curly-haired, long straight hair doesn’t come easy as that type grows big. The only other way to seemingly have long hair is to have it styled or braided in some manner. Not to mention that in places like Ghana and Uganda some schools require schoolgirls to have short hair to appear neat.
That too poses problems if they want to willingly grow their hair long but that’s ironically the same with those who prefer shorter hair. Keep in mind that this wasn’t always the case where in some periods and societies both men and women sported long hair albeit styled differently. Or that this was sometimes reversed in some societies.
Whatever the standard, it can get too hard on those who either want a new look for themselves or their hair can’t allow it without straightening.
A pretty trivial matter but helpful for accurate portrayals of people like Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca as they’re often seen wearing hats. The Portrait of Dante absolves the issue over whether if Dante had blond or dark hair suggesting that his hair darkened with age. (I remember reading another source with Dante implying that his eyes were green.) Logically, Petrarca’s red-haired but it’s likely his hair colour would’ve decomposed after his death.
Parsimoniously, the same book suggested that Petrarch lied about his hair. When they dug up his grave, people discovered his real hair colour. There are no known pictures of them without their hats in their lifetimes. If it does show up for either one of them, it could confirm my suspicion that their actual hair colour would’ve been mis-remembered over time.