The Importance Of Sex In Fiction (Or “This Cartoon Is Hot And That’s Okay”)

Drink it in folks; this may be the only time I can LEGALLY get away with showing bare breasts on this site. Source: Wikipedia

Drink it in folks; this may be the only time I can LEGALLY get away with showing bare breasts on this site.
Source: Wikipedia

So, one reader this week left a comment on my discussion of Steven Universe‘s Garnet and the purpose of her sexualized nature saying that they found the article after doing a light search to see if other people felt the same way about her. They also stated how they felt odd about being so attracted to an animated character and wanted to know if there was “something wrong” with them.

Well, to that reader and to others like them, I say to you this; No, there’s nothing wrong with you.

Sex and sexuality have been a major part of fiction since the creation of fiction. When someone invented the wall, someone else said, “not bad, but it would look better with a bunch o’ NEKKID people on it,” and created the first mural.

Arthurian lore is a great example of this. The tales of King Arthur and the likes of Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, Lady Guinevere, Morgan Le Fey and others are often centered around or even solely motivated by sex.

Even when the issue of censorship started coming into play, people found ways around these ‘decency laws’ to simulate and imply sex without actually showing it as a legal loophole. And thus innuendo became mainstream.

Basically, sex is a big deal in fiction because it’s something we either all do or are at least affected by; a universal constant that we can all relate to. Even asexuals are affected by the lack of desire for intercourse. That’s why asexuality is STILL a sexual orientation.

It’s for this reason that I get a little hot-headed whenever I see trolls online poking fun at people who draw erotic art, read hentai manga, or have an interest in anthropomorphism. Here are a group of people engaging in a time-honored global tradition and now they’ve come under attack by closed-minded bullies that can’t separate reality from fantasy.

Fiction is fiction and fantasy is fantasy; no healthy-minded human being will debate that. The use of fiction and fantasy is a means of self-exploration; exploration of our minds, our morals, and – indeed – our inner desires. And to this day, we have yet to find a better way to explore those notions than through fictional narrative.

Basically, if you aren’t willing to indulge in flights of fantasy – including sexual fantasy – while reading a book, watching a movie or playing a video game, why are you even bothering with a story in the first place?

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Protein Princesses: 3 Awesome Muscle Women In Fiction

Now, I know that a lot of you are expecting some kind of reflection on the election. But, I’m not doing that. I make it a point in politics to not complain about people regardless of what I personally think of them as I feel the REAL problem is in the mechanics of government. And since I’ve already made my point on that front, I’m not going to repeat myself (Side note: I did actually break my own rule and vote this year in a vain attempt to demonstrate the problems with the system so I have every right to complain).

Besides, I promised happier topics last week and I intend on delivering. So, let’s talk body positivity.

As some of you may have known/guessed by now, I’m pretty big on the idea that your size, shape, color, etc. doesn’t define you as a person. As a result, I get a lot of stories about men and women taking pride in their various forms.

But you know what story I almost never see? Women proud to be built like battleships.

There’s almost no talk about body image pride among muscular, athletic women. And that saddens me because I can think of tons of buff ladies that I admire. Ladies like…

Pvt. Jenette Vasquez

There’s something beautifully satisfying about the image of a comparatively small person with an over-sized gun…
Source: opensketchbook.tumblr.com

Aliens was the first time in my life that I was given the idea that a woman could be just as much (or more) of an ass-kicking titan of awesome as any man. But, in an odd twist, it wasn’t Ellen Ripley that I gravitated to. That honor went to Private Vasquez.

Ripley may have been the hero in the end, but I always felt like she was cowed by the machismo of the Marines. Not so with Vasquez; She took it all in stride and constantly proved that she could dish out whatever others gave her – as evidenced by her most famous retort.

Sure, she errs on the side of the butch stereotype, but she makes it clear that it’s her choice to be who she is and she owns it every step of the way.

Jennifer Walters; The She-Hulk

These muscles were forged in justice. Source: TV Tropes

These muscles were forged in justice.
Source: TV Tropes

An obvious choice, I’ll admit. But you don’t get as big (no pun intended) as She-Hulk without good reason.

See, Jen isn’t just a pretty face and/or mounds of muscle – she’s also quite brilliant. Remember, when she’s not running with The Avengers or subbing for The Thing on The Fantastic Four, she serves justice the old fashioned way as an expert defense attorney.

Basically, she will always be loved as long as she remains the proof that you can have brains, beauty, and brawn in one glorious green package.

Bismuth

There's nothing like the feeling of a satisfied customer. Source: Steven Univerce Wiki

There’s nothing like the feeling of a satisfied customer.
Source: Steven Universe Wiki

Have I mentioned my Steven Universe obsession yet? I feel like I may have brought it up at some point.

Firstly, to all of the Jasper fans out there, yes; technically the Big Buff Cheeto Puff qualifies for this list with her 80’s glamazon image. but I’m not counting her because, as a character, she’s not very sympathetic to me and has rejected every chance for redemption. Remember, this list is about RESPECTABLE muscle women.

Bismuth, on the other head, is a great example of a sympathetic antagonist. She’s not truly vicious and obsessed with strength and control like Jasper, she’s simply misguided in her attempts to protect the ones she loves. Once you get past that, you can see that the biggest muscle on her is her own heart.

Add to that that she’s a steel worker and a blacksmith – labor that is traditionally considered to be “men’s work” – and she’s a great role model that teaches us to, in her words, “… choose to do whatever [you want].”

We’ve only seen her a handful of times so far, but I look forward to doing BISMUTH with her again in future episodes.