Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gender confusion

So, Wonder Wife ran across some greeting cards and said that once she saw them, she had to buy them for me. Here's the first one, called Heroes & Villains:

Let's see, we have:
  • Darth Vader,  Iron Man, a Tusken Raider, and Robin (Burt Ward version)
  • Some bug guy I don't recognize, Bobba Fett, another guy I don't know (although he puts me in mind of J. Jonah Jameson's son in his Man-Wolf identity), and Batgirl (Yvonne Craig version)
  • Robocop,  Red Power Ranger, Batman (Adam West version), and C3PO
  • Another guy I don't know, a Storm Trooper, Spider-Man, and Skeletor.
A fairly wide-ranging group. Odd to see C3PO without R2D2, or Skeletor without He-Man.

The next card, Heroines & Villainesses:

This one has:
  • Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Wednesday Addams (I think), and Storm
  • Sorceress of Castle Greyskull, Wonder Woman, Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland version), and Catwoman.
  • Pink Power ranger, Uhura, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Supergirl 
  • Evil-lyn, She-Ra, Princess Leia, and someone I think I should know but don't - is it Hit-Girl?
An even more wide-ranging group, I think.

The non-traditional style of illustration just seems to add a more fine-arty cachet to the pieces, and the Warhol-style array design drops these works squarely into the Pop Art bucket for me. They're pretty cool - it doesn't show here, but the colors really pop on the printed cards - but one thing I can't figure out.

The first piece is Heroes & Villains and the other is called Heroines & Villainesses. The use of the almost-totally-out-of-style feminine forms of these words clearly signal a presentation divided by gender.

Then why is Batgirl on the Heroes & Villains card?  She is the only female depicted in the group. She is also on the Heroines & Villainesses card, though, and there are no males depicted in that group at all. I can't get his to make any sense - is it an error, a message, a change in focus, what?

I like these cards but it;s hard not to let this bug me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Little things mean a lot

So, I saw this:

and it reminded me of one of my favorite bits of Douglas Adams's writing, from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.  The eponymous hero is helping his client and friend remember an encounter with a woman. Dirk tells him:

'She was wearing a dark blue cotton velvet dress gathered to a dropped waist. It had raglan sleeves gathered to the cuffs, a white Peter Pan collar and six small pearl buttons down the front - the third one down had a small thread hanging off it. She had long dark hair pulled back with a red butterfly hairgrip.'
'If you're going to tell me you know all that from looking at a scuff mark on my shoes, like Sherlock Holmes, then I'm afraid I don't believe you.'
'No, no,' said Dirk, 'it's much simpler than that. You told me yourself under hypnosis.'
Richard shook his head. 'Not true,' he said, 'I don't even know what a Peter Pan collar is.'
'But I do and you described it to me perfectly accurately.