Wow! It’s been a while since I posted anything, and I feel like I owe you all an explanation! In September, I got my first studio job and moved across the country, so since then my life has been insanely busy! Things are finally starting to settle down enough that I have time to finish the personal work I start, so expect to see more from me from here on, and thanks to everyone who stuck with me! You guys are awesome.
Now let’s talk about Dwarf women. Recently I decided to take on the task of designing dwarf women who didn’t just feel like little humans, who could be considered attractive, and who also have beards- because Dwarf women really really should have beards, even if it’s just a little. Over the course of designing them I considered that probably the main reason Dwarf women are so rarely portrayed with beards is that in our society, beards are a sign of masculinity and being women, they are often still drawn to appeal to our society’s sensibilities. But Dwarves in fantasy are an entirely separate race from humans with their own styles and sensibilities and saying that their females shouldn’t have beards because it doesn’t appeal to humans is kind of like saying a bird shouldn’t have a beak because it doesn’t appeal to cats. That all led me down the rabbit hole of thinking about what would likely actually be considered attractive in a Dwarven society– well-maintained beards; Solid, muscled bodies; dainty hands suited to detailed crafting, etc.- all in all, it was a pretty fun and challenging project!
Did these people [in academia who claim that they are not exposed to disabled people] realize that when they encountered the work of Rosa Luxemburg (who limped), Antonio Gramsci (a crippled, dwarfed hunchback), John Milton (blind), Alexander Pope (dwarfed hunchback), George Gordon Brown (club foot), [Jorge] Luis Borges, James Joyce, and James Thurber (all blind), Harriet Martineau (deaf), Toulouse-Lautrec (spinal deformity), Frida Kahlo (osteomyelitis), Virginia Woolf (lupus), they were meeting people with disabilities? Do filmgoers realize when they watch the films of James Ford, Raoul Walsh, André de Toth, Nicholas Ray, Tay Garnett and William Wyler that these directors were all physically impaired? Why is it when one looks these figures in dictionaries of biography or encyclopedias that their physical disabilities are usually not mentioned – unless the disability is seen as related to creativity, as in the case of the blind bard Milton or the deaf Beethoven? There is an ableist notion at work here that anyone who creates a canonical work must be physically able. Likewise, why do we not know that Helen Keller was a socialist, a member of the Wobblies, the International Workers of the World, and an advocate of free love? We assume that our ‘official’ mascots of disability are nothing else but their disability.
Lennard J. Davis, Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body
“The elf had regained consciousness - sort of. He leaned against Blitz, giggling silently and making random signs like, Butterfly. Pop. Yippee. Blitzen clutched his stomach and stared into space as if he were thinking of interesting ways to die.”
(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, Chapter 53, Rick Riordan)