Web Crush Wednesdays: Repair Her Armor

webcrush picIf you’ve ever read any science fiction, played any video games, watched any anime, or if you’ve just generally seen any Escher Girl-like drawings, you know that women in pop culture are typically designed with the male gaze in mind. That is to say, they’re normally drawn in unrealistic poses and terrible costumes in order to cater to the tastes of straight heterosexual guys. (Dom even did a post on this recently.) That’s why sites like Repair Her Armor are so important. Much along the same lines as The Hawkeye Initiative, Repair Her Armor attempts to show uncreative designers the error of their ways through collective group shame:

This blog is dedicated to show and change the looks of ridiculous female armors (and other outfits) that women tend to have in media; such as games and comics. The purpose is to show that over-sexualized women is not “empowering”, but clearly offensive and ridiculous – not to mention it’s also clearly out of context. We’ll also show that their clothes could be greatly improved with a touch of common sense, equality and character.

In other words, Repair Her Armor goes by the idea that even small changes to an outfit or design can be much better (and make much more sense) than whatever the original is. They also accept submissions for characters who don’t have armor in their source material and spotlight existing good costumes for both men and women, among other such things. Some of my favorite RHA armor redesigns are below the cut!

Warning: possible NSFW images past this point.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Fandom Grammar

jr9fangirls1111Aside from writing awesome posts, one of my duties around this blog is to make sure everyone else’s posts turn out awesome too. (Translation: I’m Editor-in-Chief.) Editing for a geeky blog has its quirks, to be sure, and that’s how I found myself Googling “is muggle capitalized” a few days ago. The first result that wasn’t Yahoo Answers was from the livejournal community fandom_grammar, and this is the story of how I fell in love.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Oh Joy, Sex Toy

To the surprise of probably no one, I enjoy some good smut every once in a while. Who am I kidding? I even like terrible smut every once in a while. However, despite my fluctuating tastes, one of the issues I think is important to cover, whether it’s through fandom or real life teaching, is sexual education. Today’s web crush isn’t about all those anatomical tidbits—although I do have one such site saved up for a future web crush. Instead, today I present to you a webcomic all about exploring your own sexuality with the aid of outside tools.

Web Crush WednesdaysNow, I know as well as the next person that having a webcomic about sex and/or sex toys has the propensity to become much more about the hyper-sexualization of the act rather than a learning experience. However, comic artist and co-author of the weekly series Oh Joy, Sex Toy, Erika Moen, has taken a much more innovative and user-friendly approach to the sometimes risqué world of silicone and latex. What I mean by user-friendly is that even though the comic is rightfully rated 18+, readers aren’t going to be inundated with tasteless images of genitals or ads for whatever porn site is popular these days. As for the comic itself, a typical page consists of a review of a certain sex toy. With however many billions of toys that are currently for sale, it’s nice to have such a concise opinion—as well as an opinion that clearly comes from a place of goodwill rather than being paid off by such and such company.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Not in the Kitchen Anymore

Recently I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled more than ever for articles talking about gaming culture and its effects on its members, in addition to its effects on the people that supply us with our drug of choice (i.e.: game devs). This may come as a shock to some people, but apparently when you keep your eyes open, you actually find things. Today’s Web Crush hits a spot very close to my heart and combines two of my favorite things: Xbox Live and laughing at stupid people. What? I never said I was nice.

webcrush picNot in the Kitchen Anymore is a site that documents fellow girl gamer Jenny Haniver’s day-to-day experiences as she plays games over Xbox Live. This doesn’t sound all that interesting from my description, but it’s the simplest way to explain the layout of her posts. On a deeper level, she’s exploring the misogyny that’s so rampant within the community. Or, well, I wouldn’t say exploring—it’s “exploring” if the temples Indiana Jones “explored” came up and knocked on his door. What’s happening here is more like watching Cops.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: transclothesswap

webcrush picBeing trans in today’s day and age is difficult enough. If you’re sure about your own identity as a child, your parents might not believe you, and as adults, people who identify as trans are met with disbelief and confusion if they’re lucky; outright discrimination and transphobia if they’re not. The murder and violence statistics alone for trans people are terrifying, and if you’re a trans person of color, well, you’re pretty much out of luck.

But we’re making some progress. Even though the media hasn’t quite wrapped their collective heads around the idea of calling people by their preferred names and pronouns, there are people who are starting to realize that trans people should have all the rights and privileges as do all human beings, even if some jerkfaces don’t think so. Enter Tumblr’s newest initiative: transclothesswap.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: bettersupes

It’s no surprise to anyone at this point that there’s misogyny in the Western comics fandom. This sexism is even committed by some of the people that work on said comics, which is unfortunate because then we end up with a bunch of people circle-jerking about how super cool male heroes are and how super sexy female heroines need to be. Though in recent times there have been some pretty major improvements—such as Wonder Woman as portrayed in Justice League: War and Starfire’s character becoming a bit less based around sexual objectification—the bar really should be set higher about how female characters and the female audience itself are treated. Of course, changing an industry so set in its ways is going to take possibly until the end of time. So to tide us over, allow me to show you this amazing site that proves that the female comics audience isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And with a tagline like “Little girls are better at designing superheroes than you”, how could your curiosity not be piqued?

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Yu+Me Dream

The start of a new year brings forth the changes that we want to make in ourselves and the world around us. These resolutions are what propel us forward, even if they end up being just a little out of our reach. What I have for you today isn’t a nerdy way to lose weight or a petition to bring about a well-needed shift in media; however, if your resolution had to do with reading something new, have I got a webcomic for you.

webcrush picOn the surface, Megan Rose Gedris’s Yu+Me Dream doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. Main character Fiona lives her day-to-day normal, boring life going to Catholic school and being teased because she’s an outcast. Although content with her life—save for the bullying—Fiona can’t help but feel there’s something missing, and when new girl Lia transfers in, Fiona realized that it might just be this new face she was looking for this entire time.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: ColeenaWu

It’s no news to anyone here that I’m a huge fan of good translations. Honestly, who isn’t? It’s quality translations that lead to both an increase in interest in other cultures and media produced from said culture, as well as an increase in quality from the translation community as a whole. Both are super important aspects to a world that is increasingly opening its borders to each other. Although the cultural sharing that goes on between America and Japan is nothing new, what is new is how much VOCALOID—essentially voicebanks (with adorable personifications for each) that music composers can use to add vocals to their songs without using their own or employing anyone else’s—is starting to get into the American market.

Ranging from collaborative apps from Domino’s Pizza, western PS Vita ports of previously unavailable rhythm games, and even VOCALOID cameos showing up in popular web shows like Bee and Puppycat, the American market is in closer contact than ever with the counterculture of Miku Hatsune and the other singers that make up VOCALOID. Yes, I admit some of these songs can be rather tragic in quality, but surprisingly a majority of them are really good. Today, I want to celebrate one of the many, many translators of these VOCALOID songs, ColeenaWu.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Big Bang Press

webcrush picFanfiction seems to get a pretty bad rap, especially amongst the mainstream publishing community. Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey and, well, Fifty Shades of Grey, most people now think of fanfic as some sort of really terrible internet porn. Those of you who read fanfic, though, know differently. There are so many fics out there that have great plot, great characters and characterizations, and yes, great sex scenes, they just make you wonder “why hasn’t this author been published yet?!” Today’s Web Crush is working on answering that question.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: The Season of Giving

As the holidays loom ever closer, the part of us that is so over all the never-ending choruses of carols is constantly at war with the parts of us that try to keep the cheer of the season in the forefronts of our minds. While it’s easy to slip into the familiar mindset of Scrooge and the Grinch, I implore you to allow this year to be a year of giving. Of course, this site being all about geeks, nerds, and all the lovely in-betweeners, I’ve found a couple sites for you that fit with our theme and exemplify the giving spirit.

webcrush picFirst up is Fandom 4 Causes: a website that simply wants to bring people of a like charitable mind together to participate in a variety of causes. Fandom 4 Causes reports on charities from both a global level and a community level. It’s an interesting touch, I think, and really gives the sense that fandom is a community where people care about their fictional characters just as much as the well-being of their own neighbors. Since the site runs off user-submitted ideas, it’s also a great place to submit causes that are important to you personally. It’s a great resource to take advantage of!

Second is The Box Scene Project. As we’ve discussed many times on this site, fandom usually takes it upon themselves to add into canon what has been unfortunately left out, usually taking the form of little to no representation for people of color or for QUILTBAG characters. So, what better way to show support, ally or otherwise, than to help donate to causes that aid marginalized groups? The Box Scene Project doesn’t stop there; check out some of the things they’ve done:

The Box Scene Project is a fan-based non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal representation for LGBT*/minority characters, actors, and issues on network television.

Since our inception, we demonstrated fan support for equal representation by successfully lobbying for the release of a deleted scene between TV’s most popular gay teen couple, and raising over $100,000 for charity by offering fans prizes and items from their favorite diverse celebrities and television shows.

An admirable goal, I think. And while a little less open-ended than Fandom 4 Causes, it’s still a worthwhile project.

None of us can avoid the negative feelings that surround the perception of fandoms, and in some cases, it is warranted. However, by no means should that stop anyone from trying to make it better. Fandoms can come together and achieve some really great things, especially in terms of charity. Even if you don’t feel comfortable donating in the name of fandom, or you just don’t care to, I encourage you to donate this season anyways. There are tons of causes that would appreciate it, and truly every little bit helps.

Warning: you may get a feeling of the warm fuzzies after doing so

Warning: you may get a feeling of the warm fuzzies after doing so.