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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sci-Fi Author Nearly Injures Himself Trying to Pose Like a Woman on a Sci-Fi Novel Cover

Posted by on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Sci-fi author Jim C. Hines is raising money for charity by humiliating himself. There's a time-honored tradition of humiliating oneself for charity, of course—I once sat in a dunk tank for 826 Seattle—but the way Hines chose to humiliate himself was an interesting one: He agreed to duplicate the ridiculous cover of Vicki Pettersson's novel The Taste of Night, in which a crossbow-bearing female is striking a ridiculous, hypersexualized pose. Hines was totally game for it, even shaving his leg for the photo. Today, sci-fi author John Scalzi also struck the same pose—after the photo went public, Scalzi complained about hip pain on Twitter—and Hines is running a poll to see who did it better.

This is interesting not just for its altruism. Hines's challenge is evoking something percolating in the nerd zeitgiest right now. A couple weeks ago, a Tumblr called The Hawkeye Initiative started up. In it, cartoonists copy popular comic book covers, only they replace the female characters with uber-macho male Avenger Hawkeye. The results are funny, illuminating, and generally pretty embarrassing for superhero comics. I think these analogies are a step—just a step, mind you, but an important step—in the right direction; they illustrate the objectification that still exists on the face the nerdy entertainment industry presents to the world. Before you go apeshit in the comments about how unfair dudes have it in the world today, bear in mind that nobody is calling for a ban or demanding anything unrealistic. They just want women to be able to kick butt and look like human beings while doing it.


Comments (18) RSS

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I'd call that pose a lot of things, but hypersexual isn't one of them.
Posted by GermanSausage on December 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
Both these guys are great. I'm entirely unsurprised that Scalzi joined in; he just seems like a great guy along with a great author. Read his essay on why being a white male is like playing a video game on the easiest setting.
Posted by NateMan on December 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 3
The Hawkeye Initiative is my new favorite tumblr/blog.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on December 11, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 4
Both those photos are hilarious. Props to both authors. I've been a fan of Scalzi for several years now, and like the humor in some of his books, so I'm not too surprised he'd pose for this. I haven't read any Hines yet; maybe I should check him out.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on December 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 5
Hines has the nicer legs, but Scalzi has better camera presence.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM · Report this

If I were a woman who'd been to a ball,
Been hailed as a princess to one and to all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing?…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 7
Definitely funny.


Sex sells. Always has, always will. If the artists start drawing realistic looking women, sales will plummet.

Clothing catalogs that experiment with using 'human' (i.e., bigger than size zero and no airbrushing) looking models? Their sales fall off a cliff.

Humans are not very evolved. Accept it. Sex sells.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
But sex doesn't sell anything but sex. Ads featuring boobs have more trouble establishing the brand over the boobs than ads without them. Viewers only remember the tits, basically. It doesn't motivate them to buy.
Posted by mubhappy on December 11, 2012 at 5:56 PM · Report this
@7: Except it's not even necessarily sex selling the product- for example, in women's clothing ads, it's not like women are lusting after the models. The idea is that the models look like what women think men want. The fact that what women think straight guys like does not actually line up with what straight guys like should make us think a little more about what "sex selling" really means.
Posted by alguna_rubia on December 11, 2012 at 6:35 PM · Report this
anarchy burger 10
@7 re: "bigger than size zero" -- you need to read this:…
Posted by anarchy burger on December 11, 2012 at 6:54 PM · Report this
@7, references please?
Posted by jt on December 11, 2012 at 7:03 PM · Report this
Knat 12
Great way to drum up support for a cause. Those images are great.

Am I allowed to go apeshit about how you're calling the people responsible for those referenced Hawkeye Initiative images "cartoonists?" Only a handful out of all the submissions are not painful to look at, or look like they took more than 10 minutes to create.
Posted by Knat on December 11, 2012 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Before anyone says "men are objectified tooooooooo!" here is Jim Hines posing like a man:…

Posted by LMcGuff on December 11, 2012 at 7:59 PM · Report this
sirkowski 14
The answer is more objectification, not less. The Yaoi fangirls know where it's at.
Posted by sirkowski on December 11, 2012 at 10:14 PM · Report this
Matt Hickey 15
Three years ago I took home one of Vicki Pettersson's novels from a Slog Happy and read it on a dare. It is still the worst fucking book I've ever read.
Posted by Matt Hickey on December 12, 2012 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 16
Attractive people have "stopping power." A sexy model will get a buyer's attention more than a non sexy model.

Yeah, it doesn't always translate to a sale, but research does show that people tend to like things more just by viewing them:…

These are comic books. Teenage boys read them. Teenage boys like looking at attractive women.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 17

I read it. I'm not sure how it relates to anything I wrote. Everyone who's ever seen a women's apparel catalog knows what the models are going to look like. Sure, they could put fat women on it, or really ugly women, or bald women, or women with hairy armpits. If they did that, you know what would happen? Some people would say, "Great job! Finally! Thank you!" There might even be a brief uptick in sales. But I'd bet sales would drop fast.

People like to look at attractive people. That shouldn't be surprising to anyone.

If you put Sex and Advertising (or marketing) into google scholar, you'll get more references than you could imagine.

Sex (and attractive people) get attention. Does it translate into an immediate sale? Maybe not, but attention is attention.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 18
The Hawkeye Initiative seems terribly homophobic from what I saw.

It would be entirely possible for comic artists to continue to make the female figure beautiful without resorting to giant tits, high heels, and weird contortionist poses.

Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on December 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this

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