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Dec. 4th, 2012

The Hawkeye Initiative

So there's this movement over on tumblr to replace “sexy” female character poses with Hawkeye from The Avengers. It's become really popular on tumblr, as well as on other sites, and in way, I can kind of see why. Some of them are pretty funny and well-drawn, and it was started as a movement to sort of caricature some of the ridiculous poses that comics characters (specifically, the female characters) are sometimes drawn in. Yes, it's kind of amusing, and yes, some of the pictures copied are pretty damn ridiculous.

But despite that, I'm actually really uncomfortable with this whole thing, and I can't exactly put my finger on why.

While I think it started out in good fun for the lulz, I feel like now it's taken a really mean-spirited turn. Instead of being “yo, that pose is whack, let's draw someone else like that because it's funny!” I feel like it's now “goddamn you suck at art, let's make fun of the artist by ridiculously caricaturizing their work and making them look stupid on purpose! Let's purposely point out every single little thing we don't like about it and make it seem like that artist is a horrible person in the process!” While I said it started out in good fun, there was also a sort of political undercurrent to it. The creators of the initiative have said it started out to be a form of feminist critique. Which is fine. There's plenty of that going around on the Internet. And Longcat knows that it needs a more positive public face instead of the screeching lunatics that make it up right now.

This could have been that chance, but once again, a funny idea that could actually have made a positive impact of some sort has been hijacked, yet again, by those same screeching lunatics. And instead of actually trying to make a point, it's gone off the rails into asshat territory. Which is really par for the course, I've realized, for discussions on the Internet. You can start out with a good idea, an idea that could actually make an impact, and then the extremists show up and run it into the ground.

It's just unpleasant, and it doesn't give a very good impression of fandom as a whole. The general population tends to think of fans as ugly nerdy neckbearded basement dwellers for the guys, and fat, whiny fujoshi for the girls. Way to prove them right, folks, seriously.

But because I don't want this to be yet another entirely negative post, and because I do think the meme, at its heart, has good intentions, I'm going to put a few links to contributions that I think really did live up to the original spirit, and are just plain funny. These links feature funny dialog, an actual copying of the original image, and most importantly, they're all in good fun while still staying true to the message they were originally trying to get across, whether or not you actually agree with it or not. Unlike some of the submissions, which come across as “look, u don't art good lawlz, look how feminist I am!” they actually do try to make their point more or less... well, not exactly respectfully, but in good faith.

Feel the Fury


Yes, that suit is very practical. In fact, I think it's more practical for him than her- good for shooting arrows!

I have no idea who the original is but the copy is shiny!

Hulk looks confus

I thought they were doing the Caramelldansen at first...

Heh. Loki.

While this post might seem kind of harsh, I don't actually have anything against this project. I just think that they should try to keep the meanness to a minimum. Which might seem strange coming from me (The Douglas actually called me the Snark Knight the other day), but honestly? You can still be snarky and call attention to things without being unnecessarily obnoxious towards people who either don't know what it is you're on about, or who just don't particularly care. In fact, you're more likely to alienate people by being bitchy about the things they like than you are by explaining why something is a problem. That's not to say you can't use humor to do it- all those posts I linked are pretty funny. But they're not mocking the artist's actual ability, just the way that they chose to exercise it.