How Can You Tell if You’re Being Sexually Empowered or Objectified? Ask Yourself This Simple Question

An article/comic explaining the very relevant issue of how power dynamics and consent make the difference between sexual empowerment and objectification.

The bit above is particularly relevant to our blog, seeing how the question of female character’s agency is brought up every so often to justify her choice of attire.

As we said a few times before:

  1. Fictional people’s choices are entirely up to their creators.
  2. While it’s valid to create some characters as “sexy” because of their personality, it stops working when everyone (particularly every woman) is somehow “sexy”.
  3. Dressing skimpily during your crime-fighting/adventutring makes no sense, no matter how sexually liberated you are off-duty.


more about fictional character’s agency on BABD

Brief rant

I’m at B&N right now, reading summary after summary of books about people with average to boring lives who get pulled into something interesting and amazing, like a fun group or a crazy trip or a great romance, by someone else.

I’m fucking tired of those stories. Because they aren’t real. And for a long time I believed they were, so when the truth hit me within the last year, I was completely unprepared to deal with reality.

If you’re someone who never engages with people, if you’re someone who is waiting for something to happen to you, waiting for someone to like you, waiting for the Interesting Life Gods, the Success Gods, the Romance or Friendship Gods, to come into your life and change everything, those gods aren’t going to pay any damn attention to you.

You can’t be grumpy and anti-social and uninvolved and then be pissed that you have no friends. I know because I am grumpy and anti-social and uninvolved and the only way I’ve ever made friends in my whole life is by breaking away from that mold. You don’t find adventures unless you go looking for them. You don’t meet friends unless you let them know you’re friendly. People, life, success–these things will not seek you out unless you give them a reason to.

So stop writing books about this. First of all because it’s bullshit. Second because let’s have some characters with agency for once. Characters who know what they want and go for it. Characters who inspire motivation instead of fantasy.

The everyday practices of the enslaved encompassed an array of tactics such as work slowdowns, feigned illness, unlicensed travel, the destruction of property, theft, self-mutilation, dissimulation, physical confrontation with owners and overseers that document the resistance to slavery. These small-scale and everyday forms of resistance interrupted, reelaborated, and defied the constraints of everyday life under slavery and exploited openings in the system for the use of the enslaved, restore the disrupted affiliations of the socially dead, challenge the authority and dominion of the slaveholder, and alleviate the pained state of the captive body. However, these acts of redress are undertaken with the acknowledgement that conditions will most likely remain the same. This acknowledgement implied neither resignation nor fatalism but a recognition of the enormity of the breach instituted by slavery and the magnitude of domination.
—  Saidiya Hartman, “Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America,” p. 51
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