Titillation vs. Sexism
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Boobs.
Guys are fascinated by them.
Through single-digit ages, they find the very concept of them hilarious, and when puberty kicks in the mere thought of lady-lumps generally causes some movement in the trouser department. These weak-willed creatures will follow them anywhere and they will do almost anything if it means simply being permitted to gaze upon them for a few moments more.
The entertainment industries, from the big movie makers to the lowly art whores (like me) know this, and have played upon it for years in order to separate males from their money. As a result, mass media is awash with the female form in all manner of provocative poses and dress.
Many women are fed up with this, but is the whole thing “sexist”?
Well, it’s impossible and indeed wrong to say a whole industry is one thing or another. Ultimately it’s all one, big, dumb organism that simply moves with the cultural winds. It perpetuates what sustains it. It’s only when you break it down into smaller elements that you can accurately identify what is and is not sexist.
An industry that is almost entirely staffed by one gender will naturally create products that primarily appeal to that same gender, but something that is created with the intention to titillate isn’t sexist. It only becomes so if it is held up as an expectation of how a gender should behave.

Let’s use a fictitious video game as a basic study.
This game is made by an all male development team, so it’s naturally going to cater to male tastes. This team all love the Frank Frazetta style of swords and sorcery, so this game reflects that: the main character is a scantily clad warrior princess who is animated to be as provocative as possible and who emits orgasmic groans every time she launches an attack.
None of that is sexist, just immature. It’s indulgence of male fantasy, designed by males for males. Electing not to appeal to a female audience doesn’t make you sexist, just dumb for alienating a group of potential consumers.
Moving on, when the game ready for sale, it is promoted with full page ads in the gaming press featuring the main character in a sexy pose. This alone wouldn’t be sexist, but the tag-line reads “Are you man enough to take control of me?”
That is sexist (and horribly out-of-date). It suggests inferiority/superiority based on gender, which is the definition of sexism.
Everything else is simply visuals and how offended someone is by those is dependant on that individual’s personal attitude toward them. Puritanical minds will see every piece of exposed flesh as an affront to their sensibilities, the more hormonal driven will be thankful for a new piece of material to add to the Wank Bank and the level-headed will treat it for what it is and ignore or follow it without fuss.

As you may have noticed, I draw lots and lots of absurdly proportioned females, but I have never been accused of being sexist or that I objectify women. I’m putting this down to the fact that I try to inject personality into my pin-ups. Yes, they are drawn that way to titillate, but the characters ARE characters, designed only to promote a sense of care-free, confidant fun and never used to belittle or demean.


The Sorceress from Dragon’s Crown was obviously drawn to titillate and is constantly being held up as an example of sexist character design, but if you look at how she moves in the game, you see that she’s a comedy character, intended to look absurd.
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SaintOfTheDragons's avatar
SaintOfTheDragons|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I would politely disagree on most points, and your argument is all over the place. However, sexism is not the same as sexual objectification, and you're right about that. That does not mean that one of those is okay. To simplify a complex issue of definition, sexism applies to how men treat women differently from men due to preconceived and false notions of the personalities and/or thought processes of any individuals of that sex, and sexual objectification is how men see women's bodies or "ideal bodies" (according to subjective preference, of course).

It seems like you're arguing that if you put some personality into a character it's no longer dumb sexism but enlightened sexual objectification aka "titillation". However, there are a couple of problems with this. 1) Even a sexually objectified character isn't necessarily "sexist". 2) Looking at your gallery, it looks like the personality you claimed to insert all went into the breasts. Seriously, I took one look:
jollyjack.deviantart.com/art/O…
jollyjack.deviantart.com/art/M…
jollyjack.deviantart.com/art/A…
Hey, this one's actually pretty awesome - jollyjack.deviantart.com/art/R…
And, back again. jollyjack.deviantart.com/art/C…

In other words, I understand that everyone wants to be right/justified. But sexual objectification is not justifiable in that it strips a character of its personality and is just a body on display.
Reply  ·  
TheGutterBunny's avatar
TheGutterBunny|Student Digital Artist
OK, so two out of those examples are clearly meant to be humorous. 

Overwatch Helga

Kinda hard to be titillated with an absurd looking cartoon hamster sticking out of the breasts. It's an example of "yeah, a sexy women, but here's the catch."

Art v Artist

THIS example isn't even attempting to degrade women, this is the artist self-deprecatingly poking fun at HIMSELF. "lmao, I'm a pig, ladies and gentlemen." 
Reply  ·  
SaintOfTheDragons's avatar
SaintOfTheDragons|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm sorry for the death-by-comment.

Yeah, he's saying that he likes breasts, and true, they're designed to be humorous. That doesn't mean that it qualifies as any less sexual. Like, he's trying to justify it on the grounds that the objectification part's fine as long as it's not sexism, but he doesn't actually say why it's automatically fine. I mean, he does say, "characters ARE characters, designed only to promote a sense of care-free, confidant fun and never used to belittle or demean"... but it's still representative, and not really harmless. Life imitates art, after all.
What I'm trying to say is, the boobs are still the boobs, even if they've got comic relief. That doesn't make objectification alright, especially not without an explanation.
Reply  ·  
ares12's avatar
ares12|Hobbyist Writer
Did you actually read the Apsara comics?

Because trust me, you haven't even seen anything yet =).
Reply  ·  
SaintOfTheDragons's avatar
SaintOfTheDragons|Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I read one. Regrettable.
I know this guy's work, it's all over DeviantArt. I was just taking some instant examples.
Reply  ·  
ex-he20brine's avatar
ex-he20brine|Hobbyist Artist
Oh my god this such bullshit.

"I'm not sexist I'm just making stuff that people like me would enjoy. Because all guys just love to think about girls. There couldn't possibly be anybody that would deviate from I would assume to be "normal" sexuality. I'm going to make this half-baked thinkpiece about how me assuming the opinions of ALL women while also assuming that only straight people exist."
Reply  ·  
Bulbaderp's avatar
Bulbaderp|Student Digital Artist
Seeing boobs as sex toys is dumb
Boobs just feed babies
Reply  ·  
Drake-Darkess's avatar
Drake-Darkess|Hobbyist General Artist
I find it interesting how women (not all of them are women, but most) are so vocal about any character (fictional or real) being sexist because they are made to look sexually attractive. If a woman is portrayed with huge boobs and a big butt, and meant to make most men drool over them, it's sexist. But they don't blink when they see a Chippendale's calendar for sale at a store. Never mind that in media all over the world; in video games, movies, TV, books and magazines, a vast majority of men are portrayed to have sexy bodies- a perfectly chiseled six pack, large pecs and biceps, a strong jaw-line and usually short-ish hair. They don't look at that as being sexist, but the moment a woman is put in such a postion; STOP THE PRESSES AND GET OUT YOUR PITCHFORKS, SOMEONE IS ABOUT TO BE BURNED AT THE STAKE FOR THEIR SEXISM.

Ladies, before you say anything about something being sexist; ask yourself if a man was in such a position, would it still be sexist? Would it still suggest, imply, or persuade that one gender is superior to the other? If you've stared at pinups or posters of a man, you have no right to call pictures like the one above sexist.
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8Darkness-Seeker8's avatar
I thinks it's the lack of clothes that is most bothersome, and the fact that it seems that this is the only way woman are portrayed sometimes
Reply  ·  
QDLA's avatar
Amen to that, from a woman. (Oh, and well, I love playing scantily clads amazons, so they didn't lose the whole group of potential consumers I guess !)
Reply  ·  
Queen-Soulia's avatar
Queen-Soulia|Hobbyist General Artist
So it is just a dude thing to like boobs?
Guess I got a problem, hence I am a girl.
I am called sexist no matter what I draw equipped with boobs.
Reply  ·  
capfal's avatar
I hate when people claim product is sexist just because an attractive women is used to promote it. Sex appeal is a thing and is used because it works. You can argue on the merits of using sex appeal to sell not sexy items, but the markers aren't be offensive for using it.
Reply  ·  
VitamynWatyr's avatar
VitamynWatyr|Student Digital Artist
insanecree.deviantart.com/art/…
stop trying to justify sexism
why can't you just draw women of all body types?
women who are skinny and flat chested, chubby women, average women, etc
Reply  ·  
uwasanopetals's avatar
uwasanopetals|Hobbyist General Artist
THANK YOU THIS IS GOOD
Reply  ·  
Raleigh33's avatar
People drawing what they want isn't sexism. Unless they force their image and opinion on real people, it is not sexist. Let people draw what ever they want. It's pathetic to think you can police what people do.
Reply  ·  
Queen-Soulia's avatar
Queen-Soulia|Hobbyist General Artist
Sexism has nothing to do with it.
It is like screaming that a person is a racist for only drawing "white people" or only "black people"
Some just prefer to draw something, it is a choice .
Reply  ·  
Psychosauras's avatar
I'm pretty sure Jack already knows what real women look like. It's just fun for some guys to draw them in their own image. Same could be said for women drawing men and dare I say, furries drawing anthros. I should know, being able to draw all 3. Also, I don't think he was trying to "justifying sexism", just trying his best to give a difference between that and titillation.

He does not have to draw them if he does not want to, but you, I, and others can, if we'd like, but I can see how you can slightly fed up with that kind of publicity. I get that it might add diversity, but some of his characters, while sexualized, are still enjoyable and even hilarious, personality-wise. Just because they have peaches and melons, doesn't mean they're sex toys/objects.(But if you wanna get technical, all drawings are objects, since they are non living matter, and paper CAN be used as a sex t- let me stop.)

In my opinion, Insane Cree, while good at her art skills, seemed kind of like a hypocrite for generalizing a lot of heterosexual guys on that one drawing in the link. I get that work like that one Maya post may piss her off, but simply labeling any guy that does this Stupid Shit Straight Boys while some, or most(not all), could actually be nice, smart, caring human beings with social standards that still like to draw specifically stuff like that, is just asking for a flame war.

A straight man could even say "That's sexist.", because of the work. Of course, it's prbably gonna be potentially unrealistic, it's pretty much a cartoon/a piece of fictional art, nothing more, nothing less. What matters most is your work and your effort, as well as mine, no matter how fictitious or realistic, and judging by your profile picture, you must be a Five Nights at Freddy's fan, like I am a Pokemon fan, right? So let's get those pencils.

If you feel you wanna draw in an artstyle that is more akin to real life, go for it. If you wanna go for something a bit more and let your imagination take a little bit of control, go for it. If you wanna go full out and let your mind run absolutely wild and free in many ways, I won't stop you... Unless it's child pornography, cuz that's kind of illegal. Just my two cents on the subject.
Reply  ·  
RoyalRagequit's avatar
RoyalRagequit|Hobbyist General Artist
...666 comments.
Reply  ·  
JohnSegway's avatar
JohnSegway|Hobbyist General Artist
Cool argument, covered all bases =O
Reply  ·  
onyxinterior's avatar
onyxinteriorEdited |Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remember how the outbursts were when Dragons Crown was first announced, while trying not to undermine what their actual (personal) issues were.
This article can easily be applied to other series such as Dead or Alive, Bayonetta, and other games with some character that depict a played up sense of eroticism, and it would still hold the same meaning.

In regards to that crap article from Kotaku a while back, and others misuse of the word 'sexism'; it's the misguided indignation that makes this topic so frustrating, to try and carry a conversation about it.
So it becomes kinda difficult to not just write it off as radical feminism.
Reply  ·  
Mavrosh's avatar
Mavrosh|Professional General Artist
I am a woman myself and I do agree here. Some ladies really have to calm down, not every man who puts their own fantasies or likings into a piece work is automatically a sexist who does not respect women. Titillation is totally fine with me personally and I will explain why:

My art subject is almost only male (Well, there you go) and I have had reactions from men that actually felt I was a sexist - just the other way around! I just say - what men can do, me as a straight woman can do as well and I have my own fantasies. Why not? In this case, I am not better than the male artists who love to portrait women with certain focus on their boobies. And you know what, I find that totally okay. Those who do not want to see what I create are invited to simple look away.

On a side note: Some men like their girls atheltic, others like the bigger ones.... why not? Variety is what makes this worls interesting.

Gerenrally people should be more relaxed and tolerant. Especially relaxed... life is too precious. :)
Reply  ·  
Forcedlactationlover's avatar
I don't believe that titillation is automatically sexist, partly because both sexes can, and do, titillate the other. As men, (me, too) we tend to prefer the view of a sexy woman. That's what you draw, and, at my best, I write. It can, and does, work both ways.
Equally, however, if there is no humour in a picture or story, it is more likely to be sexist. It may be titillating as well, but the humour is part of what helps it to be non-sexist.
(I, for one, am seldom 'politically correct', simply because the position seldom evinces a sense of humour. Does that make me sexist? Maybe, sometimes. But, I'd far rather be sometimes wrong than incapable of laughing at myself, and, by extension, others.)
And anyhow, the sexual, and sensual, appeal that is part of titillation is much of what keeps us all alive, and, so far, breeding. Without that latter, mankind soon ceases to exist. Not an outcome that I would look forward to.
I like your thoughts here. Well expressed. (I also enjoy the drawing.)
Reply  ·  
misakikinuta's avatar
misakikinuta|Student General Artist
It bothers me more that the example sorceress in this journal's right index finger appears to be missing than the fact that she has big breasts XD

I embrace all art styles; besides, titillation is pure business, it is made to make money. I am fine with that. Art is made for the sake of two things: beauty (in the eye of the beholder), and money.
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