A while ago, I wrote a long-ass article about a certain animated movie’s less-than-stellar treatment of its female character designs. It was not the first, last, or most popular post on the subject, but it did get over 19,000 notes, which is about 18,900 notes more than I thought it would get. By now, everyone is sick to death of hearing about Frozen, and especially about how all the women look the same. So rest assured that I’m not here today to talk about Frozen again.
Instead, I’m here to talk about The Book of Life.
People seem to be getting pretty hyped about this movie, and why shouldn’t they? It’s a film about Mexican culture with an actual Mexican director, and the visual style is certainly a far cry from anything that Disney has ever done. But upon my first viewing of the trailer, I couldn’t help but notice something.
Once again, all of the female characters have the Exact Same Face.
Okay, when I say the Exact Same Face, I don’t mean that their faces are literally exactly the same. What I do mean that if the only difference between their faces is that one has slightly more curved eyes on the top, or one has their nose and mouth placed four millimeters lower, than we have a problem…especially when the male characters look like this:
Last time, we examined why Sameface Syndrome occurs (hint: it’s not about laziness!) and I explained that it’s much more common for it to happen to women than men, since it’s tied to female beauty standards. But what exactly are those beauty standards, and why does the ubiquitous Exact Same Face appear across films and studios in a similar form every time?
Friends, welcome to the wonderful world of gender dimorphism.
I still really want to see Book of Life, but the women in this movie are so homogenous it’s confusing. Every time I’ve seen La Muerte in the promotional materials my brain immediately registered her as Maria with a painted face.
Basically, the temptation to say a character is super rich is appealing because it seems like it makes things easier if your character never has to worry about finances. Like, you can just wave your hand and say “and we never had to worry about how they afford this nice house/education/collection of possessions again”. But at the same time you can write yourself into the “why don’t they just-” corner with it. Wealth is almost like magic in a storytelling perspective. What are the limitations of this magic? What are the consequences of this magic? What happens when a character who has never experienced magic suddenly becomes imbued with powers? What happens when a character who’s used to having unlimited magic at their disposal is suddenly depowered? If a character has basically all the magic they could ever want, what’s stopping them from fulfilling their every whim?
Plus they had Angela’s dad be a member of ZZ Top so I doubt “poor” ever really applies to either of them or their family.
I remember an episode where Angela is pulling her hair out over trying to assemble this baby toy and says that she doesn’t want to pay $50 to have the woman at the store do it and it’s like… okay I think stressed out mom rock royalty best selling novel co-author respected forensic scientist wife of one of the richest dudes in America character isn’t going to be so stressed over saving $50 that she’d go through this headache. The joke is there because it’s an easy relatable new parent joke to the average middle class American watching the show, but nearly every character they’ve written is too wealthy to believably kill themselves over fifty bucks. Like, even I would be like “fuck it here is $50 release me from this play structure prison” in that situation and I certainly don’t have Angela money.
They keep trying to do all these “lose all the money” and “get all the money” storylines, like Bones’ crazy novel paycheque or Saroyan’s identity theft, but whatever sum of money they’ve “gained” or “lost” never seems to really effect anyone as more than passing remarks or moral-of-the-day buttons. It’s like, just stop talking about money guys, you clearly have no idea what it’s worth or how it effects people. The subject of finances could never come up again and all of the characterization would remain the same.
Hey, sorry for the random question but a buddy of mine is in Burbank for a while and wants to know of good piercers in the area! He's looking to get an industrial I think. I dunno if that's relevant.
I went to Atomic Tattoo in Hollywood, I think Liz was the piercer, she was super friendly and professional. Like the difference between her attitude and the guy who did it the first time and messed it up was so completely different. He was super laid back and acted like I was a buddy he was piercing in his basement or something, even let his friend watch because she’d never seen someone get their nose pierced before. And because I’d never really visited a piercer before I was like “I guess this is what piercers just act like?” I had no idea what to expect. But she was super professional and informative without being impersonal and told me what to expect every step of the way and triple checked all her guide markers to make sure everything lined up right. I went back to her again when I wanted to swap the wire gauge for something thicker and switch from a horseshoe to a ring.
I think that’s because we mostly don’t see them in social situations. Hodgins has been working at the Jeffersonian for years and most of the time, they only talk about work or work-related things. Because of his basic anti-social personality, he probably listened and learned the differences before speaking up. He isn’t a child, he understands the differences between the two worlds, and has fully experienced both of them. I think his character is wonderful, and if the wealth part isn’t as played-up as you like, it’s probably just because they were focusing on the other, more prominent aspects of his personality.
Nnnnah dude, it’s still pretty lazy writing regardless of a cool dude you think Hodgins is. It’s not a matter of “acting like a child”, it’s a matter of growing up entrenched in a particular culture, deciding they don’t like it, and trying to pass themselves off as another.
It’s like, okay, say you’re writing a story about American characters living in rural Kansas. You have one character who is British, born and raised in London. They went to British school, they grew up with British news, British peers, British junk food, British celebrities, British poiltics. Their childhood experience was enriched by the art and culture of a bustling historical metropolis, they have their city routine, the shops they visit every week, the restaurants they visit, the food they eat, the colloquial slang, their idea of the value of a dollar is entirely influenced by wages and prices they grew up with in the city. As they grow up they can logically teach themselves that these experiences are not universal, but this cultural immersion they grew up with still makes an impression, it sets the “standard”.
So this British character decides he doesn’t like London and moves to Kansas, he doesn’t want to stand out so he perfects his Kansas accent, tries to pass himself off as a born and raised backwater Kansas native, but there are very fundamental life experiences they have that he cannot. There is exposure to a completely different style of art, education, and economics that he can’t just deprogram from his brain that might make him say things without realizing no one has any experience with what he’s talking about. Like, he might be a rational responsible adult, but he’ll have his moments where he gets confused when people talk about Smarties candies that aren’t chocolate or gets super excited about the price of electronics or even just instinctively locks the door when he goes home (I dunno about Kansas but that was a thing that always indicated someone wasn’t used to living in a remote, small town up North). There are just little subtleties that shine through the cracks that remind people “oh this guy didn’t actually grow up here, he is from somewhere else entirely.” Think like in inglorious Basterd the “three fingers” slip up, it doesn’t need to be big obvious faux pas, just little things that wouldn’t even occur to them.
Or you know, you could just say “Oh but he didn’t really hang out with British people much so he barely absorbed British culture at all and he’s a really smart guy who’s awesome at pretending to be American so there’s basically no indication he’s British at all beyond him occasionally saying as much. But that would be kind of lazy cop-out writing. One might wonder what the point of the decision to even say he’s British in the first place was if it’s entirely a “tell” thing, never a “show” one. They might draw the conclusion you just like the idea of a character being British because it sounds cool and don’t actually have any clue what their life experience would be like.
Wealthy people in America have such a completely different experience from the rest of the population that they may as well be living in a different country. It wires these entirely different entrenched sociological connections in their brains. Studies have been done on everything from the way they drive to the way they donate to charity, and how you can identify the different thought patterns between wealthy people who came from humble origins and made their own fortune and wealthy people who grew up surrounded by extreme wealth, as well as how this second-generation wealth effects politics and the economy at large. If you’re going to look at absolutely none of that and completely disregard it in your writing, what’s even the point? It’s a meaningless sticker you tacked onto your character because you thought it looked cool.
We went to get ramen and a pigeon flew into a torch at the tiki bar next door and caught fire so fablepaint scooped him up in a towel and we brought him to my place and set him up in the vet cage with a shallow dish of water to lie in and a towel and a bowl of food. We left him there to calm down, I’ll pick up some polysporin on the way back, it looks like his body is fine but his feet are kind of burnt.
ha! driving around austin the other day I saw 3 separate pejorative bumper stickers w/ the Obama logo as the O in a word and thought “what if this is actually an anarchist car or something” … must be political sticker season
You can’t be sure, especially in Austin, I guess. :D There really are some weird common areas between some parts of the right and some parts of the left ( some group of folks in Arlington, TX recently showed up in the news getting arrested for filming the police, and they seem to all be… fervently pro-gun, pro-open carry libertarians? )
It’s definitely political sign and billboard season around here — I’m not sure if I’m seeing more stickers or not. (There’s some local car I keep seeing which still has both a mint condition McCain/Palin 2008 and a mint condition Mitt sticker on the back)
my favorite thing about austin is the insanely large amount of Ron Paul 2012 stickers I STILL see everywhere. Usually on a car with a bunch of infowars stickers, too.
Up until a couple months ago one of the wireless routers next to me was named RonPaul2012 :D They moved away.
Ah, Austin. I don’t think it’s happening, guys.
But Ronpaulstiltskin was supposed to teach me how to spin American legal tender into Libertarian gold!
assuming you’re talking about hodgins, wasn’t he always trying to downplay his wealth and not use it (at least he was earlier in the series)? but i definitely get where you’re comin’ from on this
Regardless of how much he tries to downplay his wealth there’s still such a fundamental social disconnect between a real person born and raised in circumstances of extreme wealth pretending to come from average income America and a person who actually DOES come from a middle/upper middle class background that the wealthy person trying to “slum it” is going to come across like undercover Steve Buscemi.
Like, there are things that you grow up with that subconsciously stick with you and are just stored in your brain as “the way things are”. It’s a case of a person from one culture trying to pass themselves off as a person from another, there are certain facets of every day life that the tourist doesn’t even know they’re getting wrong because it doesn’t occur to them that those are even things they’re supposed to be paying attention to. It’s undoing a whole life of social programming. there are “life experiences” that average income people have that people who grow up surrounded by birth will never have, as well as experiences that were commonplace to them that no normal person will ever be able to empathize with, so “downplaying” wealth like that basically requires either never talking to anyone about anything completely fabricating a whole persona that they have to wear like a costume every day.
It frustrates me that they just say “oh he doesn’t like to talk about it” to handwave their own bad writing, because the rich-guy-trying-to-pretend-he-isn’t-rich can be a really interesting character to play with considering those occasional complete faux pas’ that will stick out to everyone else and don’t even register to him, like social uncanny valley, and they just handle it in the most amateur possible way.
I think one of the most telling examples that the writers keep forgetting this dude is supposed to be rich was this episode (before the “I lost all my money” thing) where he wants a piece of lab equipment and his boss keeps saying it’s not in the budget, so he finds projects to use it on so he won’t be able to return it. And it’s like, dude if this guy is that mega rich he’s gonna buy all the fancy lab toys he wants, he’s not even going to consider a government operating budget. A purchase like that to him would be like a teacher deciding to buy their own pad of post-its or whiteboard markers because they want cuter colours than the school provides.
I mean, that aside it’s almost like they’re treating a piece of forensic equipment like it’s a pair of underwear or something “OP PUT MY BUTT ON IT NOW WE CAN’T GET RID OF IT IT HAS NO RETURN OR RESALE VALUE”
Going from one to the other is not a fun experience either, in either direction. Sure you’d rather come up in the world than go “down” (good lord being poor sucks), but the stressors of being rich are not the same as middle or lower class.
I figure just the fact that they had a character go from a multibillionaire to “Poor” (only his double income family with his wife who herself has a dual income stream coming from her prestigious day job and share of best selling novel royalties) via circumstances that clearly show the writers have no idea how money works (the bad guy like… “downloaded all the money” from one of the top ten wealthiest people in America because it was apparently all in liquid assets in one bank account with no fraud protection), and the effect it had on his personality and lifestyle was completely negligible is kind of a big indicator of the problem they have writing this sort of thing. Like “sometimes he eats cold cuts sandwiches with leftovers in the fridge at work and injects ‘I guess I’m not rich anymore’ into conversations” is how this creative team shows what they feel is the lifestyle shift that comes with losing like eleven billion dollars.
The writers on Bones are so bad at characterizing wealthy people sometimes I wonder why they even try. It’s like when young, developing writers do that thing where they say “this character is so rich, they have billions of dollars” but then writes them in a relatable way they’re familiar with from the mentality of the average American middle class teen who doesn’t stress necessities but pays mind to saving and cutting corners where they can, because they don’t have any kind of experience with class and wealth sociology.
And when I say “It’s like” I mean “it’s exactly what they do”.
Like even the most relatable, down to earth person raised in a situation where they were surrounded by extreme 1% style wealth is going to have a fundamentally different understanding of how money works and what a particular sum of money “means” than the average Joe.
Hi I'm looking to maybe get a tattoo. And since you're like THE tattoo authority in my internet world, I wondered if you had any tip on what to look for in a tattoo artist and what to watch out for? Thank you~
I appreciate the vote of confidence but my stock answer is to direct people to the CritInk blog, they’ve got a super comprehensive guide to tattoo preparation, care, and culture. If you go through their archive and take their advice, your first tattoo will be like ten times better than anything you’d get if I tried to give you advice in an open-ended single ask.
I just recently got a tattoo. Didn't put much thought into where to get it because it seemed so simple any moderate artist could do it. The end result isn't bad, but it's not perfect. I'm looking for another place to do touchups and possibly add to it. What kind of research did you have to do for your tattoo? It's so gorgeous, and similar to what I eventually want to end up with--but finding really good artists is seriously daunting. I have no idea where to start, and it's terrifying.
Honestly the guy I got my half sleeve from is one of the best in the world (in my opinion, at least, but he’s definitely recognized on a global stage), and I’ve known him about him since I was a teenager. I just kind of has a realization one day like “Oh, I’m a grown up with a comfortable adult job and no children, I can afford a really premium tattoo.” I figure my parents have spent as much on art for their house, I can justify it on art for my body.
If you want something in that style (I assume you mean geometry and/or dotwork) you absolutely want to look for someone with a confident, sizable portfolio of work in the area. Best idea is to look up the style you want and research what names come up the most in a favourable way in whatever your acceptable range for having the tattoo done is (like, you know, would you be willing to fly to Copenhagen to talk to Walrus if you really like Meatshop). A lot of shops have portfolios on their websites, so you can look for shops with favourable reviews, find their websites, and see if any of the artists’ portfolios impress you.
Think like… if you wanted to commission an artist to draw a Balto style wolf, you probably wouldn’t look at someone with a gallery full of shoujo fairies and be like “yes this is the person for the job”. It’s like that but on your body forever. Tattoo reality shows are always pushing this idea that the BEST artists specialize in everything or that realistic portraiture is like the final boss of tattooing and portrait artists can work in all “lesser” styles, but every style is it’s own discipline. Getting a tattoo artist to work on a simple-ish piece in a style that isn’t their specialty is less throwing a level seventy charizard at a level five weedle and more trying to use Fenris to pick a locked chest.
Everyone who thinks a body mod is simple enough that any reasonably competent person could handle it as a walk-in is bound to learn their lesson the hard way. That’s what I thought when I got an impulse septum piercing and that was a two month adventure of pain, infection, rejection, and healing before I got it redone properly by a talented piercer with solid testimonials to back her up and it’s been fine ever since.
Maybe the Gerudo are the product of Impa being so impressed at what a gentleman Groose was doing errands for her little old lady future-past self that she decided that was the dude she wanted to settle down with after they got all the time fluxing and magical demon business settled.