(at least for a while)
Now, I'm going to admit here that I wasn't actually aware of what this term meant until Ms. Tokyopop came to visit and she explained it in her "What is Manga?" presentation.
I'd heard it used before, and I had a vague idea of what it meant, but I didn't hear it all that often and so I wasn't entirely clear on the exact definition. I honestly didn't really care.
But when she stated it as baldly as she did, and I thought of her examples and all the other things that I've heard the term used for, all I could think was "what a completely stupid phrase."
Because, of course, all the examples of "fan service" are not only sexual, but they are meant to appeal to heterosexual boys and men.
Am I not a fan?
How is this serving me?
'Cause I generally find it to be very rude, actually.
Now, I'd be willing to let such fan service slide as simply "not my cup of tea" if there was (more) stuff that was serving me AND if said stuff was referred to as fan service as well.
Because if panty shots in manga is fan service - then so are the lovely butts that Kalinara and Ragnell adore so much in the Green Lantern comics. But no one calls them that. Because girls aren't fans, I guess.
No, when fan service does come out for women, it's not only botched all to hell, it's derided as bad writing and pornography by all.
Look, I'm under no illusions that the latest Anita Blake books are smut, and not always well written smut at that. I also don't see how anyone can find the comic book adaptation to be anything but poorly adapted and poorly drawn.* However, I don't really see why the comic is more deserving of a smackdown than half the stuff I pass over as I'm picking up the latest Runaways or Wonder Woman. And I will defend Laurell K. Hamilton over Piers Anthony - often a favorite of fanboys - to the death. And I won't be the one dying.
The Anita Blake comic deserves all the derision it's getting, but I have to question the underlying motives of many who are deriding it. Is it really because it's so much worse than everything else? Or is it because the idea makes so many people uncomfortable? People, after all were making fun of it long before it hit the stands. And yeah, there's a lot to make fun of in the source material, but no more so than half the shit that makes the bestseller lists. There's just very little on those lists (largely due to the makers of said lists screwing with the numbers btw) - or in comic stores - that focuses so much on women having sex.
There's plenty that are all about women getting fucked, however.
I really didn't mean to go on a tangent about Hamilton's books, I'm just getting really annoyed at derision for fan service and/or porn for women masked behind derision for the not surprisingly low quality of such porn and/or fan service.
And while I don't mean to be the feminist police, may I politely suggest to my fellow feminists and fans of shapely male butts - and our allies - that if they'd like to see more of the same - even if only for other's sake, they may want to think about making it clear that they are dissing DBPro/Marvel for doing such a shitty adaptation of what has been widely regarded as a fun book and not dissing the basic idea of said fun book. 'Cause we all know we aren't dealing with mental giants here.
Please, please, please demand that comic book publishers do leaps and bounds better next time. But please try to make it clear that we want better - not that we want them to drop the idea. That we love Manhunter and we want our adolescent power fantasy, but we sometimes want that other kind of fantasy too. We just want it done well.
And please, everyone, stop calling boob shots fan service unless you are willing to call shirtless Mal and Simon fan service as well.
(Personally, I think Mal in a dress and Jayne getting knifed should count too, but I can deal with the definition remaining sexual.)
*well, actually, having seen Brett Booth's sketches, I think it's not so much that they aren't pretty, but that they don't work well for comics and that the penciler and colorist made tons of bad choices in trimming them down for mass publication.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
(at least for a while)