You are viewing zodarzone

18 May 2014 @ 07:07 pm
Whenever I’m talking with someone unfamiliar with latex fashion the work of HMSlatex is the first that I show them. Hers is unquestionably my favorite. Sophie's fun and vibrant designs have over the years elevated latex to true fashion. As the cliche goes, she brought it out of the dungeons and onto the runways. And she has consistently retained an amazing balance of flirty and classy that few other designers ever approach.

Earlier today she officially announced that she was closing her shop. The news hit me harder than I would have expected. I actually heard about it from her over a week ago, and honestly I had to go through a period of mourning though I don't think is completed yet. Imagine if a favorite writer, artist or musician was ending their career, and not only were they not producing anything new but also that there would never be any new reprints or re-releases of their past work. (In this digital age I'd have to include that their writing and music would be removed from all e-distribution, including illegal ones.) I think of fashion as an art form, so this is a loss of a great artist.

I am glad that she is stopping by choice, and is not being forced to quit by any circumstances. So I am personally happy for her to do whatever makes her happiest. I was friends with her on LiveJournal before she started her company eight years ago. I certainly don't resent her decision or expect that she owes it to her fans and customers to continue her work when she has other things she wants to do. But it is still an exceptionally sad day for fashion as a field.

I've ordered the shirt for the Rogue outfit I'm planning. Yes, it's in latex, but this time it's from my absolute favorite designer, HMSlatex. I ordered matching shorts to make a bodysuit for wearing to places where that would be appropriate. I'll probably end up pairing it with a brown kilt and brown jacket, I'm not sure. Leather for both would be ideal but probably not going to happen. I've also been looking at gloves and leggings and tights, all in both latex and spandex, to see what may work. I won't actually be getting the shirt until July because of how many orders she already has so it will be quite a while before I need to start putting it together. I'm just excited and don't get to squee very often.

Femininity and Masculinity are not polar opposites on a single scale; instead they are their own separate scales like the color balance on your television. Almost everyone has both, and whichever one they have more of becomes their dominant gender expression. It’s exactly how your picture becomes red if you have too much of that even if the other bars are in the middle. I’d personally add a third scale for androgynous traits, i.e. personality traits that are not typically considered either masculine nor feminine, but I’ll admit my desire for that is simply that I am uncomfortable with separating EVERYTHING between feminine and masculine.

The point here is that you don’t need to choose. Seriously, you don’t. It’s not one or the other; it’s instead all at once. The balance can constantly slide, not only throughout someone’s life but from situation to situation. Accept it. Things are more fun that way.

I finally got in the latex Dark Phoenix shirt from Vengeance Designs, and it should be obvious why I was so excited. It looks awesome, it feels awesome, and it makes me look and feel awesome. Fiery hot.

I'll probably do some make-up as well as something with my hair when I wear it for any events. I also need to get a new kilt to go with it, something with straighter lines than the one I have.

Put simply, I can't wear it enough! It's better than I expected. I'm still rather silly giddy about it, and I feel justifiably so.

The ONLY downside is that it is another latex shirt that I need helping getting into. Next time I really need one that zips up the front so I can dress myself. It not only feels weird to need that help, but it also really limits how often I get to wear it.

I haven't read much new Batman in about a decade, but my brother-in-law-to-be let me borrow The Black Mirror and Death of the Family. Despite them being by the same writer, Scott Snyder, I preferred Black Mirror significantly more. Not only did I like the art more (the visuals of Jock and Francesco Francavilla are much moodier and less 90s than Greg Capullo's), but the pacing was much better as well. Additionally, I think I'm probably subconsciously favoring the pre-New 52 stories as they just feel like they have more "weight." I really like how The Black Mirror felt like detective horror story, which is a perfect genre for Batman.

I ended up dropping the last of the X-Men team books yesterday, I never thought I'd see the day. I used to be all about the X-Men, getting every single X-related book that came out. I'll keep an eye on Amazing X-Men, that was the last hold out of the FIVE different series.

I'm still getting X-Factor and X-Force, as well as Wolverine and Nightcrawler (that's still in a probationary period as only one issue has come out so far). I also dropped Savage Wolverine, that anthology series started well but I'm not interested in any of the upcoming tales.

To shake things up, here's a scene from my favorite series, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.
This entry is an expansion on a post about how the ethnicity change of Tiger Lily is not equal to the ethnicity change of the Human Torch. It's a good rant, but I think he lets folks off easy.

When a historically straight white male character is changed to be more representative in a new telling of a tale, and the straight white male audience complains that they can no longer relate to the character because of the change, then they are proving WHY it is so very important. It’s often said that a variety of representation is necessary to give minority people characters with whom they can relate, but that is false. Minority people have been relating to characters not like them for forever, because that’s all the choices they’ve had. Minority people ALREADY KNOW that people can empathize with others that aren’t like them, the people that REALLY need to learn this lesson are the straight white males that have been shown time and again that their perspective is the only valid one by virtue of how much entertainment is told from that point of view. (Yes, some straight white males get this, but every time the ethnicity of a white character is changed to something else there is a disturbingly huge number of comments along the lines of not being able to relate to or respect the character any longer said with such oblivious sincerity that it demonstrates just how deeply ingrained the racism is, as well as the shocking inability to empathize with anyone else’s viewpoint.)

The reason that a variety of representation is necessary is NOT to give minorities their own characters JUST for them. We’re NOT endeavoring to keep things separate which is the implication of that line of reasoning. No, the reason that a variety or representation is necessary is to validate the experiences of those minorities, in their own eyes and in the eyes of the straight white male audience that has not been pushed to see any other experience. Let’s take bisexuality as an example. It’s invisible because it’s not something that you know about people when you only know them casually. Hell, you can know someone pretty well and they may never reveal this because of a fear of being judged. So without representation in media it becomes a “secret” classification, the general populace of heterosexuals and even homosexuals think that bisexuality isn’t real. People that start having bisexual feelings are often confused; they feel like they have to make a choice between being heterosexual or homosexual and that they are mutually exclusive. These people struggle with something that shouldn’t actually be a big deal whatsoever because they feel the need to choose one based on how society and people are portrayed in the media. Just imagine how worse it gets when the only available portrayals are negative or dismissive. Being bisexual doesn’t mean someone is a ravenous predator lustfully looking at everyone as a potential fuck, nor is it just a phase that they’ll get over once they find the right person, but that’s what the media tells everyone. And so someone that is just realizing that they feel this way is pushed to make that arbitrary choice between heterosexuality or homosexuality, not even realizing that there is actually a complex spectrum of options available for people to explore of which bisexuality is just one valid option.

But it’s more than just sexuality, it’s every single minority. As a member of any minority, when you are FINALLY lucky enough to see a character like you portrayed and they are just secondary characters AT BEST, but are typically comedic roles, villains, or just faces in a crowd, then you feel unimportant. Because no one tells tales about someone like you, you feel like your existence and therefore your whole self is not as valid, as real, or as worthwhile as those that are being told onscreen or in the books you read. You can still enjoy the works, you can feel for the characters, you can love them even though their life viewpoint is so much different than yours. But when you look at yourself you feel like nothing that you do will ever matter. The insidious thing again is that it’s not just the minority peoples that feel like this, it’s also the straight white males that begin to think that all those other viewpoints are less important than their own. And that’s what we see again and again in comments and message boards, and don’t forget politics, where straight white men can’t even conceive of another life experience or viewpoint different from their own as being something worthwhile to even acknowledge let alone accept or celebrate.

All of this is why it's OK to change a historically white male character to something else, but it's not OK to change a minority character to white.
Every once in a while I’ve met an older comic book collector who would say they didn’t collect anything that was coming out new, only older stuff. My reaction to that was often a confused mix of pity and, I must ashamedly admit, condescension. But I may find myself at that point someday. Not right now, but I can see myself getting there eventually. I already have amassed enough to keep me occupied for many many years.

My perspective is a bit different from some of them though, I’ve heard people say that there’s nothing out now that they enjoy or want to read, and I find that unlikely. I’m sure there is, they just aren’t aware of it. But personally I know that there is quite a bit that I want to read, that is acclaimed and awarded and that I probably would enjoy, I just can’t get it all. I can’t have everything. I’m not a library, though I’ve acted like it at times. So, yeah, there are titles I’m passing over, even titles that I’ve dropped or plan on dropping at the end of the current storyline, where it’s not only objectively good but I’m also enjoying it, but there’s just too much. There’s just too much good stuff right now.

That’s not to say there isn’t stuff that isn’t to my taste, or that I genuinely think is poorly done or even downright bad, but I’m actively trying to focus on the good. Snark poisons the souls of those that consistently employ it as a way of social interaction.
19 March 2014 @ 12:21 pm
If someone comes to you and says that you’ve hurt their feelings in some ways there are a number of responses possible.

1) Deny any personal wrongdoing. You may find yourself using the phrase “I’m sorry you feel that way” as an apology that doesn’t admit culpability.

2) Get hurt. Say that you are now being attacked and refuse to further the conversation until your feelings have been assuaged. This is classic passive aggressive manipulation.

3) Get defensive. This is the blatantly aggressive version of option 2. Use anger and even personal attacks to get them to withdraw their complaint and most importantly to dissuade them from ever bringing things up again.

4) Listen to the concerns and consider them from the other person’s point of view.

If you’rea guy reading a Feminist piece and your reactions are 1 through 3 then you really are the exact problem that they are facing. Also, if you react that way in your personal life then you are doing this whole "human" thing very poorly.

This was all kicked off by a piece where a blogger said that she was tired of talking about feminism to men and it got me thinking. In brief, it's not the feminists that make it a "men versus women" issue, it's the men that don't make the effort to care that cause it to be framed that way. We need to be better.
06 March 2014 @ 12:50 pm

I've been hesitant to get into the cosplay thing (i.e. dressing up as characters, typically as part of attending conventions or other pop culture related events). A lot of that is due to my body issues and a lack of characters that I'd feel comfortable dressing as. I don't know if I'm over the body issues, but once I decided I could dress as a male version of a female character (colloquially known as genderbent cosplay) it became easier to see myself dressed up. So the first thing I’m working on is the aforementioned Dark Phoenix. I’ll probably pair the top with a black kilt, there are some good looking ones I’ve been eying.

I found a shirt on Etsy that got me thinking about doing something as Rogue, another member of the X-Men. I tried to link to the shirt but I guess it’s sold now. I should be able to find another eventually. Rogue was one of the major entry characters for me when I started reading Uncanny X-Men in 1990, she really perfectly sums up so many feelings of being a teenager.

If I dressed as a male version of Yuri from the Dirty Pair, well, that would probably only be for at home and private parties.

01 March 2014 @ 12:24 pm
How does anyone every get off of Etsy? Seriously, it's crazy difficult to pull myself away, I keep finding more and more cutely fun things that I want.

I'm really really really looking forward to the latex Dark Phoenix costume that I ordered from Vengeance Designs. I'm just having her do it as a shirt instead of the full catsuit shown here. I plan on wearing it to Cleveland ConCoction.

Becca thinks I should also do a kilted version of Captain Reynolds from Firefly/Serenity, and I certainly can't argue with that. That would be pretty darn popular too.

OK, things to do, socializations to have.