Only 5 more days until Christmas and I have to say I have had some trouble hitting my Christmas stride this year. The mood just hasn't struck me. If it wasn't for Emily I'm not sure their would be any semblance of the holiday at our house. But thanks to her all the decorations are up and the tree is up and beautiful. Although we did have a mishap with the lights on the tree and had to throw a strand of lights on it despite the fact the tree is pre-lit. I think Zoey might of had something to do with that as she wasn't sure what to make of the Christmas Tree and at times would try to knock it over.
I got out over the weekend and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie. I really liked it, but I admit part of my reason for wanting to go see it was for the new Dark Knight Rises trailer that was suppose to be with it. Instead I saw the teaser trailer again. Thank you internet and daring cell phone camera men for uploading it to the internet so I could see it even if it was released in HD a day later. I'm really excited for the final installment in Nolan's Batman franchise. I think it might be the best Batman movie yet. Although I'm still not sure how I feel about Bane's voice in the movie. To much mad scientist? We'll just have to wait and see.
In comic related news I really want to thank Jeff for coming on and doing any excellent job. His work has breathed new life into EOTW and Brian has also been working overtime on making the comic look fantastic. However I want everyone to know that I have a few stories left in me to be told.
I have a confession to make that is a bit difficult to admit. I know that it may seem to some to not be logical or mature but it is a real issue for me. I have absolutely no desire for anyone on this website or anywhere else to know anything about my physical appearance. The reasons for this run deep for me and start with one admission that is likely to not be popular with some. I am a man with gender identity issues.
When I was young and I was reading my fathers donated collection of comic books from the 80s and early 90s I subconsciously found myself less interested in the male characters then their female counterparts. It’s hard to tell exactly why that was as I had few positive role models in general at that time in my life regardless of gender. In retrospect I partly blame the fact that the two leaders of the X men during the run of comics I had a hold of were Storm and Cyclops. Most people’s taste dictates that Storm is the superior character there and Cyclops mostly just sucked the life out of any scene he was in, so maybe that helped shape my interest a bit.
Later as I watched more TV I saw this sort of prevalence of male writer’s guilt around the time of the early 90s where it seemed like every animated children show’s token female had to be the smartest person in the room to balance out the comedic dumbness of everyone else, and also presumably because they were only going to have one so they might as well make it a good one. This didn’t always make the character more interesting but it usually made them less annoying, and considering how annoyed by stupidity I got as a child that was sometimes important.
When the show Power Rangers hit the airwaves it had a profound effect on me not because any of it’s characters were any good, but because an unintentional current of gender ambiguity ran through the series. This was partly due to the fact that the Yellow Ranger in the original Sentai of the first season was a man, and even the Pink Ranger’s stunts were done by a man. Also lets all just admit it to ourselves, brightly colored spandex catsuits are a femmy concept no matter how much you make the helmet look like a T Rex. They even had an episode where the nerdy Blue Ranger switched bodies with the airhead Pink Ranger and the super intelligent aukward version of Kimberly ended up to me at the time as a 10 times more entertaining character then either of the two ever were in the series.
So with Superhero comics, Power Rangers, and men walking gently around the concept of writing female characters in TV the groundwork was set and only one more thing was needed to push me over the edge into understanding and accepting my priority for femininity as a concept.
That one thing was Anime.
Holy ever loving crap does Anime have the largest crop of genuinely interesting and varied female characters. Washu Hakubi, Haruhara Haruko, Motoko Kusanagi, Edward Wong Hou Pepelu Tivrusky the Fourth.
This was just the list of ones that changed my outlook personally. There are too many fun characters to possibly list.
So you must be thinking ‘gee that’s great and all, but what does that have to do with you not being a man’s man?’ The truth of the matter is after exploring all sides of things, once I developed as a person I began to find maleness to be a boring as hell concept. When I could track down female characters that were everything that men could be from a badass, strong, and intellectual perspective and also have a unique and attractive visual identity it just didn’t even seem like a contest for what was more interesting. This then distanced me from my identity as a male because I had very little connection to it already.
See, I am one of the unfortunate subset of men unlucky enough to be an ugly ass nerd. I have had to wear glasses since I was five, I’ve had weight problems off and on for my entire life, my facial structure is kind of goofy looking and I spent a large chunk of my formative years in braces. I, needless to say, spent the lions share of my growth as a person being judged negatively on my appearance and as a person with severe emotional issues from a childhood fraught with emotional abuse I was ill equipped to handle it.
The end result was a complete and total destruction of my self esteem which to this day makes it completely impossible for me to take my own physical appearance seriously as something worth anything but disgust. The thing that filled that gap to give me some kind of mental image of myself that wasn’t ‘horrible nerdish gremlin’ was losing any distinction between traits I found attractive and traits I personally wished I could possess. The works of fiction I talk about above provided a framework for a sense of identity for myself that didn’t involve wanting to crawl in a hole and die.
Now that I am grown I know that gender is largely irrelevant and my appearance has nothing to do with anything but the most superficial judging of me as a person. There are good men and bad men same as women. There are ugly women and good looking women same as men. Nothing about appearance and personality is really connected in any way aside from ‘work ethic at maintaining a perfect appearance’ usually being somewhat less prevalent in people who have ‘work ethic in maintaining an emotionally honest personality’
Just the same I can’t really throw out my entire life up to this point and just stop liking the female gender identity better then the male one. So I just think of it like Eddie Izzard does. I am the male equivalent of a tom boy. If I want to dress or act differently from the traditional man there is no reason not to because it hurts no one.
This is also why I choose to use female characters as representations of myself in online games and avatars in forums and the like. I simply can not overcome my long nurtured negative reaction to my own physical appearance and want my interactions with people online to not be marred by me looking at my own face next to my posts. I want to show people what my own sense of style is like internally rather then what the limitations of birth and poverty have provided my appearance in real life.
This to me is obviously a facet of my long running trend of escapism. My life has largely been defined by contextualizing my problems and struggles as reaching for things I do not have rather then reaching to improve the things I do have. I know the rational ways of thinking but there has always been a large difference for me between knowing a problem and acting on that knowledge. For me it is more natural, and more interesting, to accept who I am and learn what I can from my differences then to try to ‘fix’ myself. Hopefully so I can teach new things to others one day.
That was cleansing. I love a good confession for feeling like all your troubles and fears have been put to temporary rest. Look for a blog in the future about how I feel that the modern media portrayals of transgendered and non traditional gendered peoples are dehumanizing and crappy. As for the comic, look for female characters to be much more prominent then previously under my pen. They will hopefully be on an even keel with the males as I don’t want to undermine any of the perfectly awesome male characters in this comic because of personal bias.
Also if I ever get another artist who I’m not currently burying with work (sorry Brian) I’m totally looking into making another webcomic with a respectable and awesome male crossdresser character. There aren’t enough of those.
So I had a hilarious Twitter conversation with Don Elson over on Twitter that lead to him drawing too great guest comics out of it. I was originally going to post them between comics story line breaks but since we’re a long out from that I’ll just post them here and in the fan fiction section.