Sexism is alive and well in SF art

posted in: Science fiction | 6

picture of sexy SF heroine

I’ve just been amusing myself looking for pictures of female science fiction characters which may be appropriate for the cover of my new book (Kuralon Rescue, out soon at an online venue near you).

And let me tell you, sexism is alive and well in the realm of SF art. Yes, I know we’ve had one or two tough as old boots heroines. Ripley and Sarah Connor spring instantly to mind, but they’re in the movies. Check out this sheila on Pinterest Or maybe this one. At least the first two women had kind of sort of clothes covering them. There’s no doubt that these sexy ladies are all courage. But I can’t help feeling that their fathers ought to be asking where they think they’re going dressed like that? Now contrast those little ladies with this male space marine.

Mind you, lots and lots of the “science fiction” women seem to be able to survive out there in the depths of space wearing very little. And they always seem to have big tits and either womanly curves, or legs up to their armpits, or both. Even if they’re clearly robots. And if they’re not robots, they have long hair. And high heels. Like the girly top left. Have you ever tried running in high heels? Somebody ought to point the designers at this song by Kirsty MacColl.

Then again, she could use the shoes as a weapon.

Good for the girls, I suppose. We won’t have to wear those ugly suits, which all seem to have cod pieces (even if they’re robots). Presumably this will be because we will have evolved to be much, much, much tougher than the blokes.

Hurrah for us.

Oh, and while I’m here, this is another area where AI art is much more amendable. Instead of trawling through stock art sites looking for something vaguely suitable after you’d allowed for the compromises you’re prepared to make, you can ask something like Midjourney to come up with a female space marine.

Like this one.

6 Responses

  1. William

    I’ve always hated the idea of women fighting in high heels and skimpy armor in ANY fiction. The female spartan armor in Halo is the most ‘feminine’ any functional field armor should be.

    There aren’t any women in my unit, (mech inf.) but I’ve known female soldiers through ROTC and RSP. The good ones are badass and sexy in their own way. Not in the ridiculously glossy nerd graphic designer wet dreams you tend to see a lot online.

  2. Susan Wilson

    From “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett:

    In fact, the hero even at this moment galloping toward the Vortex Plains didn’t get involved in this kind of argument, because they didn’t take it seriously but mainly because this particular hero was a heroine. A redheaded one.

    Now, there is a tendency at a point like this to look over one’s shoulder at the cover artist and start going on at length about leather, thighboots and naked blades.

    Words like “full,” “round” and even “pert” creep into the narrative, until the writer has to go and have a cold shower and a lie down.

    Which is all rather silly, because any woman setting out to make a living by the sword isn’t about to go around looking like something off the cover of the more advanced kind of lingerie catalogue for the specialized buyer.

    Oh well, all right. The point that must be made is that although Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan would look quite stunning after a good bath, a heavy-duty manicure, and the pick of the leather racks in Woo Hun Ling’s Oriental Exotica and Martial Aids on Heroes Street, she was currently quite sensibly dressed in light chain mail, soft boots and a short sword.

    All right, maybe the boots were leather. But not black.

  3. Nickey

    Enjoyed how you view things, always do. Yes, I agree the stereotyping is getting old. It is far more intriguing seeing woman in action who knows what to do and is completely at ease with their sexuality. Combat Barbie is so yesterday

    • Greta

      It’s downright embarrassing. Even the female robots wear nose-bleed high heels.

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