Magic Meat March (March 1st- March 31st)

Magic Meat March (March 1st- March 31st)


Magic Meat Week is reformatting into a month-long challenge (with a theme for every day of March). We encourage all artistically inclined fans to participate and give male empowerment a shot! 

Though, as @magicmeatmarch publishes essentially every submission to its tag, we encourage all artists to be aware of potential transphobia of jokingly putting masculine characters in feminine-coded costumes and makeup. Please always be sure to not frame the humor of reversing sexualization as “that’s funny, because he looks girly”. 

While is hard to draw the line, we also encourage anyone entering to remember that as terrible as costumes for female characters often are, they generally don’t include explicit material like brazenly exposed genitalia (outside of hardcore porn). Please keep that in mind when satirizing them!

~Ozzie & – wincenworks

(h/t: @sourshock)


Just so we’re clear, Chandra, Torch of Defiance wears the most practical version of her armor to date. (The least practical goes to the manga adaptation of The Purifying Fire.) But compared to the armor designs worn by other residents of Kaladesh, it seems a little out of place.

For those curious regarding the fore-mentioned manga:


Essentially the spectrum highlights the problems that happens if a company like Wizards sets a vague design for a character then tries to “fix” it (depending on their priorities on any given day) without ever changing it in a meaningful way.

In this case, if you compare to the previous images of Chandra from the official Magic the Gathering imagery, the changes are:

  • Swapped chainmail for scalemail (both of which are absent in the manga)
  • Given her more substantial faulds (which are decorative in the manga)
  • Given her a weird collar/gorget thingie
  • Added extra cloth to her loincloth and made it heavier
  • Made her boots go all the way up to (presumably) her groin
  • Given her actual hair instead of just fire

So essentially all her redesigns and attempts to redevelop her were all preemptively critiqued in 1994, by known intellectual Lisa Simpson:

– wincenworks

the-one-potato submitted (first image; bingo and other images added by Ozzie):

This is a Yu-Gi-Oh equipment spell card. It might give the wearer a big boost in their attach stats, but what it doesn’t say on the card is that the defense of the wearer will drop even more…
(Yu-gi-oh has lots of bad cards, it’d be a bad idea to send all of them your way, but this one is so BABD-appropriate, I couldn’t hell myself)

Seeing how bingo-qualifying this… thing is, I checked out what those harpy lady sisters who can be equipped with the “shield” look like… Let’s agree the anime didn’t disappoint my morbid curiosity. Also, apparently English version of the card censored out the protruding nipple spikes: 


I didn’t cross out the “More advanced armor = skimpier”, cause the harpies seem to wear this spiky atrocity on top of their usual bodypaint “clothes”:



Donnie Yen and Fans Campaigning For Him to be Cast as Namor for Marvel Studios

Donnie Yen and Fans Campaigning For Him to be Cast as Namor for Marvel Studios

So apparently Marvel has finally reclaimed the movie rights for Namor, the most empowered superhero and apparently Donnie Yen and his fan base have a great suggestion for who should play the lead!

I have to say, I can’t think of a man who could bring more empowerment (x):


Now that would be a comic book movie worth seeing!

– wincenworks

Hey, I’m just wondering, is the “male empowerment” a bad thing? Maybe I am just missing some of the subtleties, but, if I may be frank “So what?” I went through a few pages of the tag “Sexy Male Armor”, and I’m not sure what I should feel. From your tone, you often seemed like you were trying to show these costumes in a negative light. On the other hand, I saw JoJo and DIO, so I knew you weren’t saying they were bad.


While we touched upon the subject of male empowerment before, we never discussed it in detail. Also, our tone in sexy male armor posts shifts a lot between sarcasm and talking straight, so can I understand the confusion.

Let’s start with why BABD even posts examples of “empowered men”.

To us, the intent of showing men in skimpy/sexualized armor is satire through contrast. The “Women NEED to be sexy (read: show a lot of skin and do sultry poses)” mentality is so deeply ingrained in our culture that many just assume it to be the natural order of things, that “sexyness” is inherent part of the female gender. But not of the male one.


The “This is NOT a man!” reactions to the initial Mobius Final Fantasy protagonist design come from this line of thinking. Dudebros refuse to accept that men can be unironically sexualized.
Funnily, it’s often paired with the insistence that any shirtless man balances out all the scantily clad ladies. As long as he’s not too sexy, that is. Textbook doublethink.

With such widespread double standard, it takes reversing the scenario to highlight its inherent problem. The big picture gets clearer when the shoe is on the other foot.


GIF source (x)

That’s why blogs/movements like @theliberationofmanfire, @thehawkeyeinitiative or @magicmeatweek were created. And why we post sexy male warriors every Friday. To make men empathize with women’s problem.


Comic source (x)

As for the empowerment itself, we discussed before that both women and men can feel empowered in various ways, but media skews it strongly based on gender stereotypes: women in fiction usually draw power from being sexy, while men from being strong (and/or violent). 

And while there’s slow shift towards giving women more varied representation, men (who have


very diverse presence) rarely get to be the overtly sexy characters. And those who are usually get to be the villains, which feeds into “evil is sexy” trope as well as to villain gay coding, both ugly concepts that should die.

We have yet to see genuine, non-incidental sexy male empowerment in mainstream media that doesn’t come off as some sort of mockery. 


Also worth remembering that a lot of our commentary on sexy male armor is tongue-in-cheek parody of the kind of rhetoric we regularly receive in our ask box, in reblogs and in broad-spectrum posts that conflate us with other critics.

Because let be clear, if we tried to keep the “sexy male armor” tag stocked with images I came across naturally through my typical cishet male surfing, it wouldn’t happen every Friday or even every month.

But it seems we will never stop hearing that eighteen years ago a game with a villain in briefs was released, fourteen years ago a unpopular video game protagonist did a nudey run and sometimes they get funny feelings during the glimpses of male butt in spandex – so clearly the market is constantly over-saturated and it’s only fair every game have c-string clad warrior women in it.

– wincenworks

Following @queerrussetpotato‘s article about false equivalence, let’s bring back this old post discussing “male empowerment”, how sexualized male characters tend to be perceived by the assumed video game/comics/etc. audience (read: cishet white dudes) and why do we regularly feature sexy male armor on BABD. 


See also: this post which talks briefly about framing of male sexualization.




So I have this theory, after hearing a lot about false equivalence coming up in discussions about female portrayal in comic books. Every time women talk about being sexually objectified, there’s always at least one dude who shows up to whine “BUT MENZ ARE OBJECTIFIED TOO, LOOK HOW UNREALISTICALLY MUSCLEY THEY ARE!” Attempting to point out the difference between a power fantasy and a sexual fantasy – to say nothing of pointing out that both fantasies are portrayed by men, for men – is typically useless. The two are firmly conflated and no amount of actual logic will penetrate.

I figure it all ties back into some of same concepts that underwrite “fake” geek girls, friendzoning, rape apology, and other things of that ilk: namely, that men think the sexual fantasy is a power fantasy.

When creating a powerful woman, men seem to have this automatic jump to making said powerful woman a sex object, because they truly think sexiness is powerful. For them, that’s what female power is: power over men. This is behind all the guys howling that sexy geek girl cosplayers are “preying” on male nerds; this is behind all the men who say women deserve rape for what they wear; this is behind all those “friendzoned” guys who insist they can’t possibly break off the “friendship” themselves because they’re helpless before the objects of their affection. It allows them to disclaim their actions as coerced, shunt away responsibility, and blame women when things don’t go as they like. They “couldn’t resist” the power of attraction.

In comics, men both don’t understand that their male power fantasies aren’t sexy for women (horrendously muscled, bodybuilder physique is NOT typically a sexual ideal), and don’t understand why women don’t derive power fantasy from the sex appeal of the female heroes. “Look,” they’re saying, “you are portrayed as powerful, and men are portrayed as sexy!” This also slots in with the idea that women are only in anything ever because of men – that their desire to attract men is one of the principal driving forces of their existence. That, therefore, the power to attract men should be important to them in a “strong” female character.

I’ve thought about this too much today and it’s goddamn depressing. It’s the same bullshit which says a woman’s only power, her only worth, is in her physical attractiveness, that women are only powerful in relation to men. I don’t really think I can safely contemplate it more right now.

Guh. Need kittens.


(New ILU)

Sorry to reblog myself but okay there’s more. I had to go back to work after I posted this earlier and there’s nothing to do at work but think (monotonous job is monotonous) and even though it’s depressing I couldn’t think about anything else once I got started. /storyofmylife

So inherent in all of the above is the basic concept that men are sexy because they are powerful, and women are powerful because they are sexy. This is predicated on the notion that men have power stemming from something about them as people, whereas women have power stemming from how much they deserve the attention of men. Men not only provide power to women, but they do so by losing power themselves. You guys, maybe this is why men think power is a zero sum game: because they think that women only have power when they are overpowering men with their sexy sexiness.

Fake geek girls, specifically, have an element of dominance issue to them. Look at those hot girls, swanning into fandom, taking away not only attention and material goods (limited fandom resources, such as collector’s editions and etc., has been discussed elsewhere) but also stealing their very wills from them. Better put those girls in their place, because otherwise they’ll be the ones with the power, on account of they have mammaries, and unlike those chicks in comic books they’re not safe paper-and-ink mammaries created solely to be ogled!

Also, since this is all about false equivalence, may I go on a tangent here and talk about realism? Because comics, at least American comics, portray physical dimensions/characteristics for men that are outrageous and close to impossible. Professional bodybuilders can do it but it looks freaking unnatural. No reasonable person expects all men to actually go out and try to become that. However, the way women look in comics is still the way most men, including many who consider themselves quite reasonable, expect women to look. Male superheroes are escapism for men, so they can be as unrealistic as they need to be; female superheroes are also escapism for men, so there’s a limit on how unrealistic they can be. Although niches exist for all kinds of physical-dimension fetishes, women in comics are idealizations of what the men reading/writing those comics would want to have sex with, and so they’re kept pretty close to society’s ideal beauty standards (which, while unrealistic also, are not considered to be such by most men). Let me put it this way: a drawing of a crowded street in which you replace all the men with bodybuilders would look bizarre and ridiculous; a drawing of a crowded street in which you replace all the women with models or even well-dressed porn stars wouldn’t make most people bat an eye, except maybe to wonder what city it is or to make appreciative comments. Women are supposed to look like that, says society. Not just a few, exceptional women – all women, at least if they want to be worth anything.

The above paragraph exists to punctuate this point: when women complain about how they’re drawn in comics, it’s not about realism. The body dimensions of male superheroes are metaphorical representations of their power over whatever they’re up against, whereas the body dimensions of female superheroes are meant to be literal depictions of their power over men.

IDK. This post has wiped me out today and I think I’m done with saddening feminist musings for a little while. Still need kittens and now possibly also schnapps.

Can’t believe I discovered this post just now. It was literally written before I started this blog! 

What a nice writeup on false equivalence! Puts the subject of power politics in portrayals of gender we discussed here more eloquently than I ever managed. Possibly my favorite part is: 

“So inherent in all of the above is the basic concept that men are sexy because they are powerful, and women are powerful because they are sexy. This is predicated on the notion that men have power stemming from something about them as people, whereas women have power stemming from how much they deserve the attention of men.”


ht: @snarktheater

more about false equivalence on BABD

Tidy Up Tuesday #57

A few things to tidy up here, a lot of them having to do with For Honor

Since the armor is a bit complicated and there’s a lot of feedback, there will be at least one more post on the differences and design decisions.  It will take a little time to assemble though.

Firstly though, thank you for the many submissions we’ve been receiving lately, with our diminished posting schedule it’s hard to keep but we have some great user-submitted posts we want to share soon.

Back to For Honor (and other games): The world presented by the game devs is at least as much a part of the game as the player customization screen.

Gender select on most of the classes does not erase how the game itself presents gender such as, for example, refers to armies as “these men” or when the game presents suspicious dismorphism as standard.

Having a skin tone slider that allows your character to be the only brown person in the world (and somehow unnoticed for it) doesn’t make a game above criticism for diversity issues.

If you believe that cultural and ethnic diversity is a relatively new thing and so it’s fine when it’s absent in fantasy, then we strongly encourage you to check out the plethora of material available on @medievalpoc ( facebook | twitter )

If you would like to learn more about issues relating to diversity we strongly recommend checking out and supporting:

For other issues relating to feedback we’ve gotten on the For Honor posts, as I said a post is coming but some related posts are:

(And if you’re still stressing out, remember it is listed as a positive example, however we pointed out issues with it. BABD is a critic blog and no product is ever perfect. Not even our favourites.)

Some things we’ve covered before:

~Ozzie & -wincenworks