Monday, February 23, 2009

Fighting Cobra

I was originally just going to heads up some people - namely Kali921, because she's a professed GI Joe and more importantly, a Baroness fan.

The Baroness has no internal organs. Apparently the other female characters don't either, witness, Scarlett and Cover Girl.

It's been a while since childhood for me and a longer while since toys - but I don't remember female action figures looking so 'break like a twig' back then. In fact, I'm finding myself thinking of something I mentioned in the comments concerning the characters in Wolverine & The Xmen. Someone else has noticed just how skinny the female characters are in this new incarnation of Xmen on TV.

Stylistic choice or not, it is worth noticing, as they did, that Storm's hair is bigger than she is.

Also of note in the GI Joe toy packages, is that when Scarlett isn't pinched in at the waist, she's got a plunging neckline. Male characters? Exo-skeletons and body armor. Scarlett? V for... something.

I'm actually looking forward to the GI Joe Movie. It's one of the few things/enterprises of nostalgia I don't think I'll walk away from feeling as if they messed everything up (barring huge ass plot holes) - mostly because I don't remember enough about it. I was a GI Joe the cartoon series (with cartoon movies) fan girl when I was very, very little. Sleepovers involved watching the movies and shouting 'Go Joe!' and then playing out missions the next day. I remember my play missions more than the cartoons, you see.

But I think my childhood fascination with red hair may have started because of Scarlett (or maybe it was my Batgirl doll).

Anyway, it's not the movies that are likely to make me take a deep breath and pause and shake my head right now. It's the realization that once upon a time, Scarlett had thighs and didn't look as if she'd break if I made her do a roundhouse kick.

Well of course I played with action figures as a child, I'm a girl! [ /end sarcasm ]

I've also got a thing for Matchbox cars. (Hmm pretty cars in pretty colours with sleek, sensual shapes and incredible detailing....)


  1. *grins* I went through a big Matchbox car-collecting phase when I was about nine. I loved those little cars.

    Size and the X-Women: that's grim. As I commented over at the blog where the problem with the new cartoons was noted, it really skeeves me out when I remember the response a reader got when they wrote to Marvel UK's (reprint) X-Men comic in the mid-90s to ask why everyone was so attractive and there was no variation in body types. The editorial response was that the X-Men were meant to represent not just a moral ideal, but also a physical one. The awful thing is that I kind of bought that at 14.

    I really notice it with toys, when I look at dolls and action figures in shops now and compare them with the toys I had. The bizarre thing is that it even happens with non-human toys - I remember how, when they relaunched My Little Pony in the late 90s, the toys were much, much thinner than the cute, chunky original series I'd grown up with. Now they seem to be plumping up a little, but it was a real WTF moment for me...

  2. Ami Angelwings, mentioned either last year or within the last two years about a new set of horse toys, like MLP, where the horses were on stick legs, in highheels! Ridiculous doesn't even begin to cover it.

    I'm still boggling over the fact that Barbie is less realistic now than she was when I was small, and also less agile - she can't bend at the waist anymore, cause it's sculpted to give her the ability to wear low rise jeans, and to sport belly rings.

    I've mentioned before this very year, that we're beginning, less and less in Western society to have any clue at all what a normal healthy body looks like, for men and women. Though personally, I'm beginning to believe that for me, the problem might be more - young men no longer having a clue about their bodies and what's a normal erection vs the need for drugs. The ads when I do notice them, seem to say more and more "Just try it!" Without any consideration to chemical imbalances, illness (like cancer), depression or other things that might keep willy down.

    It's becoming one of those things where I don't actually think men are derailing the arguments when they point out the un-realistic bar held up for their gender. I just end up thinking they don't have nearly enough analytical experience to realize exactly where their weak points are being poked.

    On the other hand, there are things like Bratz, which I loathed, until I loathed Barbie more for shutting them down, cause I realized Bratz at least was authentically and equally multi-ethnic.

    I don't even want to look at dolls these days in case I can't conquer the urge to smash my head into a wall in despair.

  3. It's frightening to me how often ppl who make action figures now (since I'm huge into trying to get my favourite superheroines) seem absolutely FRIGHTENED of adding any weight to their female figures, which is why you get those ridic figures above. Also for some of the lower quality figures it seems like they are just like "make the boobs big and the waist small or nobody will know that's a girl" >.<;;

    And here are the horses you're referring to. -_-;; It's just sorta ridic now how we have to enforce the idea of thinness to the point that our animal toys are getting into it. :\ To me when looking at some of the designs of action figures that clearly go wrong (and there are good ones, I own them, but they've been rly hard for me to track down >.<) it seems like often they "go wrong" b/c they're just SO AFRAID to add enuf heft to the bodies to allow them space to add proper facial designs to the head, or for the rest of their bodies. >.<;;

    And yus we're rly screwing up our ideas of what a normal healthy body should be for both genders, and you've rly got a good point about the eternal erection, always "being on" for men, and buy our drugs! I think men do have a bunch of body image issues (that maybe many of them are not even aware of outside of "superheroes have big chests") but too often I see it paired up with "you girls have nothing compared to that!" or that there's nothing we deal with body image wise that compares to feeling like the size of your manhood doesn't measure up or something >:\ And it's like... it doesn't make your concerns any less valid if you acknowledge that other ppl have a ton of other concerns about their body image that are very valid as well. Also as you said, they dun often realize where their weak points are being poked.

    For Bratz and the new "giant head" thing (even My Scene Barbie got into it to a lesser degree) it rly makes the body seem even thinner, and even if you know that's not realistic, growing up on images like this around rly screws up your perception of what your own body should look like :( (the obsession with celeb thin is starting to give us some pretty big head thin body celebrity looks :\ )

  4. My Scarlett action figure had HIPS, and looked like she could kick your ass. I don't know what the heck this new thing is, but it sure isn't Scarlett. (And the Baroness looks like some kind of insect, OMG.)

  5. GI Joe fan here.

    And I'm stepping as far away from this movie as possible.

    I've seen the cast list for the movie and I can already tell that we're going to get an idiotic backstory involving Hollywood Asian stereotypes - and we're going to be subjected to p***-poor attempts at bad comedy.

    COBRA is going to be reduced in scope and methods to take over the world (which I doubt this new COBRA organization even wants to attempt).

    The only thing that would make this film worse would be if it were directed by Michael Bay or Uwe Boll; but a quick look at the director's previous work only reinforces the decision to keep the money in my wallet.

    Oh, and Willow? You would have been very welcome in my neck of the woods as a kid.

  6. I collected Matchbox cars, too, when I was around 5 or 6 or so. I also collected these little 2" high dolls called Kiddles and I had a pink collectors box for them with little clear plastic windows you could see each doll through. I kept my matchbox cars in that box. And I knew I was making a statement, though I didn't have that term at the time.

    My Xena and Gabrielle action figures, though a little too thin, are the only female action dolls I have that look like they could have internal organs.

  7. Heavy Armor:

    ... You are so not wrong about 'The Battle Of The Ninjas'. I guess I totally blocked that out. Who knew I still had hope and yearning enough to mentally avoid something that troubling. Thank you for reminding me - cause I might have walked into the movie and then walked out going 'But...but.. why??!!'

    Hollywood and Orientalism *face palm*

    I've already mentally prepared myself for The Baroness to be 'Destro's Girlfriend' and not much else.

    And thank you as well - it's good to know where on the playground I'd have found a friendly face :)

  8. [Valerie M here -- I realized belatedly that I should really be commenting here under my LJ name, as that's my fannish identity. My blog over here is my actor blog, which I don't mind fannish people connecting with my fannish identity, but my "public persona" there isn't often relevant to fannish conversations. Just wanted to clarify which occasional commenter I am, and why the switch in ID.]

    I know this post is a couple weeks old, but I thought of it immediately when this was brought to my attention this morning. O.o Um, yes, Zoe Saldana's body reflects her ballet background. She is not, however, made entirely of pipe cleaners.

    I've been avoiding buying new dolls for a while due to expense issues and running out of shelf space, but it can't have been much more than a year since I looked at the Barbies on the store shelves and noticed favorably that the current sculpts had much more sensibly proportioned hips and non-concave thighs. What the HELL happened???

  9. WiliQueen:

    I have no words right now for pipe-cleaner Zoe Saldana. My brain needs time to defrag and reformat, cause WTH?