Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sexism among the Robert E. Howard Fandom.

Disclaimer: The Following is a Rant about Fandom, It is neither fairly balanced not presenting both sides of the picture, I doubt many people from the specific fandom I'm citing even read this place..

I know what you are thinking, so let me explain, This isn't a post about all those Frazetta covers, or some sort of attack on Howard, I understand that a certain amount of objectification of women happens in his work and even amongst his fandom..

What I want to talk about is, the sexism towards MEN among the REH fandom. There seems to be an extremely prevalent attitude among the posters of Conan.Com that unless you are 6'4 and 220lbs of solid rock hard muscle.. You aren't a Real Man. The forum is filled with endless bitching every time some one who dosen't fit that strenuous qualification is cast in well.. just about any sort of action role.

This happened when James Purefoy was Cast as Solomon Kane.. And its happening again now due to the rumor that Jason Momoa is going to be playing Conan. endless calls of " He needs to bulk up, He needs to work out more, they are just doing this to cater to the teeny boppers" I've seen them moan about Viggo Mortenson playing Aragorn, and endlessly whine about essentially anything Matt Damon, Josh Hartnett, Orlando Bloom, among others.. in just about anything they are in.. The howls of derision when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker still echo despite the phenomenal job he did...

The same few actor suggestions are brought out over and over again, Charlton Heston, Charles Bronson, Jack Palance, Clint Eastwood.. In case you guys haven't noticed but three of them are dead and one of them is pushing 80. Tastes Change, Fashion Changes, Film making Changes. The World has changed, Physical prowess, a psychoctic sneer and a bad attitude do not make sales anymore.

apparently, having simply appeared on Baywatch disqualifies Momoa from being anything but some sissy boy in the eyes of some of these posters.

This is one of many things I've noticed among Conan and REH fans in general.. and I don't always like to go after people like this.. but after having read 8 pages of whining.. I felt I had too.

I've seen pictures from Howard Days.. Most of the guys in those pictures wouldn't be counted among the " Real Men " either.

I will agree I'm not really sure how to take Momoa as Conan, some of the posters on that forum have made some pretty convincing photoshops.. and I always liked him as Ronon Dex on Star Gate Atlantis.. He's not a huge name, so he won't distract from the character.. I think he is the least of the problems this new Conan Movie faces.. the biggest are the fact its being directed by the guy who directed Pathfinder(Euck!).. and so far bears only slightly more connection to the Conan character than 1982's Conan with Arnold Schwarzenegger..

And at this point, after the two Transformers films and 2009's GIJOE.. I'm used to having beloved properties raked over the coals in order to try and get people in the seats at the theater..


Taranaich said...

The question, as I see it, is not so much whether Jason is a "real man" or not, but whether anything less than 6'4" 220lbs of muscle is *Conan.*

Conan is more than just a real man, he's Peak Man. He makes "real men" like Jason look like little girls. That's basically what's happening on the forums, in my opinion. On his own, nobody's really calling Jason a girly man: they're just calling him that because compared to their vision of Conan, he is. I'm sure some of them really do think of him as a wimpy surfer dude, but I doubt everyone does.

People aren't bringing up Bronson, Heston, Eastwood and Palance because they can "sneer" and show a "bad attitude", they're brought up because they have the sort of charisma that utterly dominates their environment. When one of those guys walks into the room, you pay attention. That's the single most important factor a Conan needs, for me - more than muscle and a strict Black Irish ethnicity (though given how easy it is to put in blue contacts and black hair, I don't see why he shouldn't have those things). Think of how the tavern in TTotE crashed to a halt when Conan approached the Kothian. Think how he took control in "Black Stranger". Does Momoa have that quality? I don't know. Nothing on SGA gives me that impression. I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, though.

And, of course this is the least of the problems. However, just because you've already been kicked nine times in the crotch doesn't mean you shouldn't curse when you're kicked a tenth time.

I totally feel you on Transformers. There's a special circle of hell set aside for Michael Bay.

Lagomorph Rex said...

As I see it, we won't really know what Momoa is capable of until we see some sort of screen test.. Forced perspective, post production special effects.. all of those sorts of things go into making a modern movie..

I agree that whats on SGA isn't exactly indicative of what he could do as Conan.. I suppose when Song of Ice and Fire comes out we might get a bit of a better view of the subject.

And I certainly don't want you to think I was going after EVERYONE (since I used to post there and obviously don't share the opinion)on that forum, mainly a few specific ones.. But I'd not like to be thought of as rude, so I simply kept it as general as possible.