10 comments on “The “creative” industry has the wrong people in charge

  1. I take your points, and the points of the other writer who was complaining about the anatomical drawings in the D&D player’s handbooks, but I would like to point out (as I did there) that a minority of women exists whose shoulders *are* the broadest, heaviest part of their body.

    I am one of them. I am 5’8″ tall, about 200 pounds, and few women’s shirts, even in plus sizes, can accommodate my shoulders. I usually have the seams where the sleeves attach ending up about halfway between my neck and my shoulders, even when the shirt is otherwise roomy. The circumference of my shoulders, measured at about collarbone level (i.e., too high for boobage to enter into it) is 50 inches. This is, you can see, only a foot and a half shy of my vertical height.

    I think I made my body be that way by taking up weightlifting as I was going through puberty, and keeping at it with such intensity throughout my adolescence and young adulthood. Specifically, I focused on developing my upper-body strength, with an eye toward overcoming my sex’s natural disadvantage there. (I have entertained the thought that I might be a trans* man. I decided I am not, that I am happy to be a woman as long as I possess the size, shape and strength of a man in my woman’s body. Which I do!)

    I actually don’t know where my center of gravity is … I have a man’s heavy shoulders, but I also have a woman’s hips. So maybe it’s my shoulders, since they are bigger, maybe it’s somewhere in between, or maybe it’s awkwardly shared between both.

    (It is absolutely not my intention to quibble with you about a dearth of well-realized depictions of women in fantasy — I agree there are not enough, and ought to be more! I was just pointing out that bodies like mine exist.)

    • I cannot remember precisely when this article was written, but what I do remember is that I was really struggling to find the right way to say the words that were coming to mind.

      It is also probably worth noting that centre of weight and being the broadest and heaviest part of the body might not have quite the same meaning, as I reflect further on it. I might reexamine this subject further soon. But now when I think about the words “centre of weight”, it makes me think of the part of the body that moves the most in an involuntary and non-locomotive action when walking, running, or skating. Whilst I obviously cannot speak for you, I would be unsurprised to be told after years of watching women walk that the hips are still that centre of weight in 99.9999 percent of cases. This is also one of the things that modern videogames actually get right in terms of rendering Humanoid motion. In World Of Warcraft, for example, the female models do most of their moving in a very different place to the male models.

      And that is quite an extraordinary measurement of shoulder circumference if I do say so myself. It would not be a lot less than the same measurement for myself or other males in one branch of my family. I am only slightly more than 5’8″ myself when I am not wearing shoes, and would likely measure at least five feet in circumference. And whilst my problem with finding shirts that fit is different (the size they think suits 5’8.5X” males strangles me), I understand what you mean. It would truly be nice if we could have a world where it is truly recognised, not just acknowledged, that Humans come in all shapes and sizes.

      Weightlifting as a sport does do things to the body to change its shape, sure, but a person who is built like a broom cannot make themselves resemble the shape that we are through weightlifting as far as I know. At some point, the body just stops expanding sideways. But one thing I try to subtly look at in my writing is how the women of all of the Humanoid races in my canon are built differently to a degree. Halfling women can be mistaken for children from a great distance (unless they have DD-size boobs and hips like Linula, anyway), Elf women are tall, slender, and have biceps like a couple of my fingers put together, Human women are about the same height as their Elf counterpart but are noticeably heavier as a survival adaptation, and Dwarf women are so wide both at hip and shoulder that two women of each other race could fit into the same vertical space (three or four in the case of Halfling women). But the basic thing I am referencing there is that Human women vary so much in shape and size that the presence of one body type in our big-ticket media is embarrassing. I have been acquainted with two women, one of whom only comes up to my shoulder, the other being about an inch and change taller than me, who are both from the same country. *shrug*

      As I said earlier, I think the proper way to think of centre of gravity is what moves the most without being asked to when walking, running, etc. I do not believe it is solely a physical thing, either. Otherwise this difference would exist in both sexes of children, and although I am not willing to swear to this, I am pretty sure it does not. The difference seems to only really be in the ways people after their bodies morph into the shape it will have for the rest of their lives. I am also pretty sure the actual size of a man is a factor in how much his weight is centred in his shoulders when he moves. A 6’7″, 350+ pound man is going to move his shoulders whilst walking a lot more than say, most of the smaller cast shown in Band Of Brothers.

      I am not a biologist or any other kind of medical specialist, so I can only make a guess based on my experiences of trying to write about subjects involving these physics. But I think the guess of it being awkwardly shared between both is probably closest to the truth in your case. You probably will not like the sound of this, but the shoulders are definitely not a natural adaptation, you had to train them to become that way, whereas the hips are. So I would guess that the hips and shoulders are both trying to pick up the role or compensate for each other in it. But that is only a very rough guess.

      I am actually glad you brought this up because it is a subject I would like to learn a bit more about, too. Although I have not really written much about it yet, I do have one pair of characters in my canon that are basically berserkers, soldiers who are trained to fight in ways that frighten the enemy as much as destroy them. The elder of the two is a man I call Kríblach (pronounced “cree-blark”). Obviously, at 6’9″ and 400 pounds, he is going to do all of his moving in his upper body. I am still trying to figure out a way to make it clear to readers that he does *not* have the toothpick-like legs you see on Jesse Ventura during one part of The Running Man. But he has a daughter who, in one part of the canon, is old enough to be part of the army now, and is similar in design to the character Ellie Chidzey plays in Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath Of The Dragon God. The thing is, as both characters are berserkers, I am wondering how much Morthwel, the daughter, would have to build herself up in upper body strength before wielding a two-handed mace like her father’s would be practical in battle. Not to mention whether being taller would confer any advantage (Dwarrow are four feet tall, and have a whole division of berserkers; I have already mentioned Kríblach’s dimensions, and Morthwel is described as being about 6′ 3″ and roughly the same 200-pound weight as an average Dwarf).

      Phew that’s a lot in one comment. 😀

      • This is also one of the things that modern videogames actually get right in terms of rendering Humanoid motion.

        Yeah, I’ve noticed that, too! I have TERRIBLE hand-eye coordination, so I’ve never been much of a videogamer at all, but I was given Skyrim as a Christmas present and found I could play it, that it wasn’t too hard to manipulate the controller (it helps that you don’t have to do a lot of jumping. I always hated having to time the jumps right in the Super Mario Bros. games, because I could never get it right and dying time after time after time when you accidentally jump down a hole, or miss a moving platform, or land in front of instead of on an enemy, gets really old), and I have indeed noticed that the female characters in that game walk like real women! Probably they put in a rough three-dimensional model of their bodies and had the computers figure out the optimal way to move.

        … I think the guess of [the role of center of gravity] being awkwardly shared between both [the hips and shoulders] is probably the closest to the truth in your case.

        That is what I think, too. I thought more about it, and paid more attention to the way I move, since typing that comment, and I have found that, when I’m running, it is my upper body that moves the most (besides my legs and feet, obviously), with my shoulders sort of rocking back and forth rhythmically, and also turning a bit from side to side to match whichever of my feet is to the front. (I’ve noticed before that, if I’ve done a really tough shoulder/back workout on the previous day, running on the next will make my shoulders ache a bit. That is what gave me the clue that, hey, I guess my upper body must be doing something too). But doing other things, like walking or climbing a hill or stairs (on the rare occasions that I do not RUN up stairs … I have a compulsion to do that, to take them as fast as I possibly can), it is my hips that move the most, swinging from side to side. So those things definitely seem to argue that it *is* passed back and forth between those two foci. (I guess I am an ellipse, and not a circle, with two foci rather than a single center!)

        I am wondering how much Morthwel, the daughter, would have to build herself up in upper body strength before wielding a two-handed mace like her father’s would be practical in battle.

        Ha, wow, I guess I would be a good person to model this character on, physically at least! Based on my own experience, she’d have to work a lot harder, and specifically target the arms and shoulders, a lot more than her male peers, but if she did that she could certainly equal all but the strongest of them, and surpass quite a few. It would take her longer, though. It took me years to get to a level of strength an unathletic, but sturdily built, male friend reached in months.

        But it depends a lot on heredity, also! I come from stock that’s not super favorable to developing strong, bulky muscles: on my dad’s side, which I favor more, we are tall and weedy, with long lanky limbs. My mom’s side is shorter and stouter. I really did effect a dramatic transformation of my body, which I ascribe to 1) timing: starting doing it while I was still growing probably made all the difference as far as the broadening of my shoulders is concerned; 2) the intensity of my training and its targeted nature, and 3) I ate prodigiously. (The third one seems like a “duh” but apparently a lot of women who exercise do not eat more to compensate! This, you can see, would naturally undercut whatever muscle-building processes get activated when you exercise, and probably contributes at least as much as inherent hormonal differences to women’s observed inability to bulk up.)

        Anyway, it’s complicated, there’s a lot to it, but I would be happy, and honored, to tell you all I can about how I did it and what it was like to help you write this character!

        You can pepper me with your questions at (redacted so as to *really* protect the address from the creeps out there -Ed).

        (Why do I have such a goofy, random-ass email address? It’s an artifact from a high-school creative writing class, where we were encouraged to come up with noms de plume. I picked that one, because that phrase, “the little Greek guy” was bouncing around in my head — hello, unvoiced echolalia — from my civics class, where the teacher was trying and failing to remember George Stephanopoulos‘s name. Also, as I am a f**king enormous North European woman, taking the identity of a small Mediterranean man would be a pretty good way to hide.)

        Also, what are Morthwel and Kriblach? Are they dwarves? I wouldn’t think so since they are so tall … Orcs? For some reason I am seeing Orcs in my imagination, but I know little of your canon, just that some of the races seem to mirror those in D&D.

        • I have a lot of issues with physical hand movement these days, so I tend to keep my videogame playing to a minimum myself. If you told the twelve year old or even twenty-one year old me that this would happen one day, neither of them would believe you. But the imagery and video content these days is produced in a very sophisticated manner compared to what it was in those days. Often, certain parts of the company get “actors” (often just staff from the company) to double for the characters that they are putting into the game. And they would do a lot of tedious filming and motion capture of each double, so as to have a good “reference” for how each individual part of a double’s body moves. Quite interesting stuff if one is into filmmaking, but otherwise…

          So yeah, basically what you said. *laughs* There is one awkward point in World Of Warcraft at the farm where one purchases the Dwarvish racial mount (essentially, a giant Ram). Running around part of the farm after a pet rabbit, one finds what is meant to be a little Dwarvish girl. Only she is basically an adult Dwarf woman model, scaled down to about the size of a small Dwarf girl. It disturbs me sometimes.

          I would say it is definitely a practical physicality matter, then, in terms of what part moves the most. As I said, when one watches children move, the difference between the two sexes as they move tends to be minimal in terms of how different parts move. But I would also imagine that Dwarvish, Halfling, and possibly Elvish children would also move with significant differences compared to Human children. The first of that lot would be especially different, given that the “body mass index” (I hate that phrase, by the way) of Dwarvish children would be very different. But as I only study the subject in order to avoid huge foul-ups in storytelling terms, I can really only made educated guesses with these things. I also really need to figure out how to use quote tags in comment. :\

          I am still in a lot of two-mindedness about how exactly I am writing the character of Morthwel, as the “arc” of stories that she was originally designed for is on hold, so to speak. Her first appearance was going to be in an epic piece (my typical novel length is 75,000 to 100,000 words… this one was going to be around 150,000 or more) in which the enemy that I refer to as Overlanders is introduced. I do not absolutely urge you to do so, but if you get a chance to see the direct to DVD film Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath Of The Dragon God, then do so and pay attention to the character they name Lux. With some minor differences, that is basically what I envision at present when I think of Morthwel. Morthwel would probably have more of an athlete’s upper body, and be a bit taller (Ellie Chidzey is said to be five-ten), but other than that…

          And oh my god I am so glad to finally cross paths with someone who recognises that eating ≠ teh ebil! Haha. Odin above, some of the myths and flat-out nonsense you hear from people, especially Americans, about what to eat and what not to eat, is just amazing. And their attempts to justify it. “Oh, we have the highest obesity rate in the whole world!” Gee, you have the highest level of income inequality in all of the nations that are called First-World… maybe that has something to do with it? *laughs* But yeah… after years of being acutely familiar with what happens when one does not eat…

          I am going to “redact” the email address in the comment, although I will keep it on file, just in case. At the moment, I am still umming and ahhing about what I am going to write about next. But since it has been a while since I have visited the Human lands in my stories, that might be happening next. One thing that has always bugged me though is how some… writers… go on about how certain types with less than bulging muscles would not be able to pick up the swords shown in films line Conan. It does not seem right to me (especially as the sword Mel Gibson is seen swinging in Braveheart is semi-authentic and nearly as tall as he is).

          Morthwel and Kríblach are both Humans, but I have not determined whether they will be “thoroughbred” Humans or Humans with relatives of difference races. The central King-hero in that arc was a Dwarf with a Human mother. I had a table all planned out in my head as to which mixes produced which results. For instance, a Dwarvish male with a Human mother would be taller and heavier than his peers. Given that I have designed the canon so that the Humans are the tallest and most adaptable people in the land, it does not leave too many possibilities concerning hybridisation.

  2. Odin above, some of the myths and flat-out nonsense you hear from people, especially Americans, about what to eat and what not to eat, is just amazing.

    Really? I guess I had assumed the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada et al. were just as bad. That’s funny if it’s just us.

    Gee, you have the highest level of income inequality in all of the nations that are called First-World … maybe that has something to do with it?

    I know, right?! We have a serious allergy to looking at things on any scale larger than the individual in my country. Poverty? Sickness? Well, why aren’t you doing a better job of rising above your circumstances? Environmental catastrophe? Just do your homework! Consume ethically, but for gods’ sake don’t stop consuming ….

    (That makes me very sad and angry. All of it, but especially the last one. It took me forever to learn the difference between sadness and anger, as I feel them, and I still find they tend to go together.)

    I am going to “redact” the email address in the comment, although I will keep it on file, just in case.

    Thanks. I tried to hide from the spambots by spelling it out rather than writing it as you would to actually email it, but not having it publicly visible is best.

    [S]ome … writers … go on about how certain types with less than bulging muscles would not be able to pick up the swords shown in films like Conan.

    Yeah, that’s a silly one. A sword is not going to strike you as heavy when you are first picking it up, but when you extend your arm with it and hold it there, or when you try to fight with it for, like, five or ten or twenty minutes straight. It’s muscular endurance, not raw power, that is more needed there. Plus a sword would have to be made out of lead or something to weigh so much most men couldn’t lift it, yet also be of the size most swords, even greatswords, are (like, between three and five feet long, and between three and six inches wide, very roughly). Iron and steel are just not that dense.

    (I suspect the lavishing of authorial attention on Conan’s sword, and how big it is, has Freudian significance.)

    Quote tags:

    whatever you’re quoting, which is either very witty or very profound if it comes from me

    Remove the spaces between the word “blockquote” and the little carroty things, and you’ve got a working tag.

    • Really? I guess I had assumed the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada et al. were just as bad. That’s funny if it’s just us.

      Oh, it is not *just* Americans, I should qualify. But whereas people in Europe in particular hear these endemic myths, see their untruths proven (eg. special diets for credibility defecit disorder and how children prescribed them where I grew up are being diagnosed as autistic at one of the highest rates in the country, if not the world), and learn from it. America as a society, especially in the celebrity section, seems to let myths like that recycle themselves.

      It kind of relates that that Isaac Asimov quote about people believing their ignorance is just as good as someone else’s knowledge. He says it is an American thing. Based on how people like Jenny McCarthy get the time of day there when multiple people with multiple PhD.s proclaim her claims have no basis in fact at all, I believe him. It is unkind, but there it is.

      (That makes me very sad and angry. All of it, but especially the last one. It took me forever to learn the difference between sadness and anger, as I feel them, and I still find they tend to go together.)

      I think the individualism over collectivism thing has dug in like a tick in most English-speaking societies, too. The UK and Australia might not be quite as bad with it, but they definitely have a problem. I think it relates to how we are educated in our school systems and how our media reports. One thing I have noticed from the slivers of Northwestern European media I have seen is that whilst there is still a fair amount of celebrity worship, there is also a sense that other things need to be covered, too.

      Maybe when the resources have run out enough to plunge the entire world into war, that will make it stop.

      Thanks. I tried to hide from the spambots by spelling it out rather than writing it as you would to actually email it, but not having it publicly visible is best.

      I tend to try and keep things like ICQ numbers or email addresses as hidden as possible. It really would be nice if they could find some way to attach costs to bulk sending of unwanted messages. But given how slowly real changes occur on the ‘net…

      (I suspect the lavishing of authorial attention on Conan’s sword, and how big it is, has Freudian significance.)

      *laughs* Well, given how the Rambo-syndrome-exhibiting writers on the ‘net often yap about how the players of Dungeons & Dragons could not lift the swords that their characters swing about like silly string, I am pretty sure you are right with that one.

      Also notable in my view is that there seems to be a lot of overcompensation among web writers. This group is too weak to do this, that group is too stupid to do that, and so on. For instance, they go on and on about how “dumb” Schwarzenegger and Conan are. But the former is actually a very shrewd businessman, and the latter would need to know a few complicated things in order to be able to strategise in battle.

      I think the biggest sword I ever heard of was a claymore that is often used as evidence to support the assertion that William Wallace really was unusually tall for the time. The sword in question was almost exactly six feet from tip to pommel. Clearly designed to chop rather than stab, slice, or parry. A Scottish sword, in other words.

      Remove the spaces between the word “blockquote” and the little carroty things, and you’ve got a working tag.

      Although it did not quite come out right in the comment, I think from viewing it in a few different “modes”, I have sussed it out. 😀

  3. CRAP!!!

    That’s (greater than sign) blockquote (less than sign) whatever you’re quoting (greater than sign) /blockquote (less than sign)

  4. And it also occurs to me that I mixed up “greater than” and “less than” signs in the above comment. What the fuck ever.

Chuck shit at me here

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