Escher Girls

Float like a butterfly, Sting like a WTF!?

This is a blog to archive and showcase the prevalence of certain ways women are depicted in illustrated pop media, specifically how women are posed, drawn, distorted, and/or sexualized out of context, often in ridiculous, impossible or disturbing ways that sacrifice storytelling.

See the "About" section in the sidebar for more details.

(All art featured on this blog belongs to their respective artists)

Thoughts & Opinions from Commenters, Disqus Mods, & Submitters are their own & do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of this site.

contact: eschergirls@gmail.com

Please read submitting and commenting guidelines (sidebar) before doing either.

eschergirls:

Hi peoples :)

Just a short note to let people know that on Monday (today/tomorrow depending on where you live), I’m going to be doing an interview about Escher Girls with feminist/women’s radio program ”Yeah, What She Said” on 90.9FM in Calgary.  (I’m both super excited and super nervous >_>) 

http://cjsw.com/program/ywss

This is their website.  I believe you can listen live on there, as well as download previous episodes.

The show is at 8pm Mountain Time (10pm Eastern)

So… um… yeah.  Just in case people want to listen or something.

*runs off screaming in nervousness*

I’ll be on in 30 minutes from now. O:


joodit submitted:


Let me just say that while I was scrolling to see the great critiques for Milo Manara’s Spider Woman as soon as that cover was released, I saw this little number & for some reason I couldn’t help but redraw this..
Personally this cover was weak in many ways, and definitely this article as a response & redraw was PERFECT.  The problem was in the way their body language was to convey conflict. There was no conflict.  AT ALL.
First of all, Batgirl’s leg was wrapped around Scorpiana’s thigh (WHY?).  This confused me because there was NOTHING in that image that would want Batgirl to STAY with Scorpiana (an electrified pincer-like attack & giant back-of-the-head stinger to the face are some things that should be avoided).  Then there’s the “tugging of the hair..embrace?”!  I thought the hair tugging is what made Batgirl wrap her leg around Scorpiana, maybe try to counteract the balance of being pulled in another direction..?  Nope.  The tension wasn’t pulling at her hair more than it was to disguise the fact that Scorpiana was pulling Batgirl IN.
And just putting it out there, these COMPLETELY different body languages (i.e. Batgirl pushing everything every which way AWAY from her only to WRAP HERSELF AROUND the villain..?!) make any sense?!  Did their minds say “no” but their bodies say “yes”!?
Anyway..upon observing just these two details, it was clear to me that this was some awkward tango-esque fight scene.  And in some digging (thanks Google), the artist’s intentions WERE to create a fight scene reminiscent of the tango (mainly because Scorpiana is an Argentinian villain & the most famous of Argentine dances is the tango)!  While I applaud his efforts for trying to create a scene of conflict with a famous dance..the tango is a very sensual, sexy dance.  His hint about using a move from the famous dance is more like a blunt object to the head, which ultimately dazes & confuses you into thinking that there was more of a sex vibe than a cultural one.
It’s difficult to incorporate something into an artwork without having your original intentions be skewed upon releasing it to the public because not EVERYONE has the same way of thinking.  And honestly, I would have just thought that this was just another anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-hot-babe-action.  Instead, I now see it as an anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-trying-to-be-subtly-cultural.
Speaking of anatomy, Batgirl’s spine is quite honestly thee thinnest, bendiest spine I have seen in a while.  Why?  It seems like the elasticity of her spine has made itself clear in her neck. Pushing her back & pushing her neck in opposite directions will surely sever that poor thing that is her skeletal structure.  As well as her head that seems to be unaware it’s moving too far away.  But for whatever reason, as structurally unsound her body looks, Batgirl lives.  Believe me when I say my rendering of anatomy is NOT accurate, but if it LOOKS somewhat structurally sound then it can work.  This cover didn’t have that stability.

In the redraw, I immediately discarded the fact that this was meant to be a tango scene (and while the tango is sexual, it also conveys a strong feeling of trust..I mean, look at how close & how fluid tango partners are with their movements.  IT’S FREAKIN’ AWESOME, but that is NOT the feeling I wanted to convey between Batgirl & Scorpiana).  I also tried NOT to have Batgirl’s body bend in an unnatural fashion.
I tried to create a scenario where the very details I noticed about the image that threw me off were to be justified.  I had the Scorpiana threatening Batgirl off the ledge of a building by her hair (sorry for not drawing the buildings, maybe next time..), stinging her with her stinger or pincer-like thing or choke her.  This would all justify why Batgirl would wrap her leg around Scorpiana’s thigh.
Is my redraw anatomically accurate?  Nope.  But at least Batgirl’s head isn’t poppin’ off any time soon, nor are the two going to dance while killing each other.

Thanks for all the work you did to explain what’s going on in the original, and finding out the intent of the artist! :)  I had thought it looked like a dance too (as had another redrawer) but it’s good to know for sure.
And also thanks for going through your entire thought process as to why you drew your version the way you did, and what you thought it should convey thematically.  I love seeing different people’s takes on pictures featured on this blog, and I especially enjoy reading people’s breakdowns of what the scene evoked for them and how they see it.

Let me just say that while I was scrolling to see the great critiques for Milo Manara’s Spider Woman as soon as that cover was released, I saw this little number & for some reason I couldn’t help but redraw this..

Personally this cover was weak in many ways, and definitely this article as a response & redraw was PERFECT.  The problem was in the way their body language was to convey conflict. There was no conflict.  AT ALL.

First of all, Batgirl’s leg was wrapped around Scorpiana’s thigh (WHY?).  This confused me because there was NOTHING in that image that would want Batgirl to STAY with Scorpiana (an electrified pincer-like attack & giant back-of-the-head stinger to the face are some things that should be avoided).  Then there’s the “tugging of the hair..embrace?”!  I thought the hair tugging is what made Batgirl wrap her leg around Scorpiana, maybe try to counteract the balance of being pulled in another direction..?  Nope.  The tension wasn’t pulling at her hair more than it was to disguise the fact that Scorpiana was pulling Batgirl IN.

And just putting it out there, these COMPLETELY different body languages (i.e. Batgirl pushing everything every which way AWAY from her only to WRAP HERSELF AROUND the villain..?!) make any sense?!  Did their minds say “no” but their bodies say “yes”!?

Anyway..upon observing just these two details, it was clear to me that this was some awkward tango-esque fight scene.  And in some digging (thanks Google), the artist’s intentions WERE to create a fight scene reminiscent of the tango (mainly because Scorpiana is an Argentinian villain & the most famous of Argentine dances is the tango)!  While I applaud his efforts for trying to create a scene of conflict with a famous dance..the tango is a very sensual, sexy dance.  His hint about using a move from the famous dance is more like a blunt object to the head, which ultimately dazes & confuses you into thinking that there was more of a sex vibe than a cultural one.

It’s difficult to incorporate something into an artwork without having your original intentions be skewed upon releasing it to the public because not EVERYONE has the same way of thinking.  And honestly, I would have just thought that this was just another anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-hot-babe-action.  Instead, I now see it as an anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-trying-to-be-subtly-cultural.

Speaking of anatomy, Batgirl’s spine is quite honestly thee thinnest, bendiest spine I have seen in a while.  Why?  It seems like the elasticity of her spine has made itself clear in her neck. Pushing her back & pushing her neck in opposite directions will surely sever that poor thing that is her skeletal structure.  As well as her head that seems to be unaware it’s moving too far away.  But for whatever reason, as structurally unsound her body looks, Batgirl lives.  Believe me when I say my rendering of anatomy is NOT accurate, but if it LOOKS somewhat structurally sound then it can work.  This cover didn’t have that stability.

In the redraw, I immediately discarded the fact that this was meant to be a tango scene (and while the tango is sexual, it also conveys a strong feeling of trust..I mean, look at how close & how fluid tango partners are with their movements.  IT’S FREAKIN’ AWESOME, but that is NOT the feeling I wanted to convey between Batgirl & Scorpiana).  I also tried NOT to have Batgirl’s body bend in an unnatural fashion.

I tried to create a scenario where the very details I noticed about the image that threw me off were to be justified.  I had the Scorpiana threatening Batgirl off the ledge of a building by her hair (sorry for not drawing the buildings, maybe next time..), stinging her with her stinger or pincer-like thing or choke her.  This would all justify why Batgirl would wrap her leg around Scorpiana’s thigh.

Is my redraw anatomically accurate?  Nope.  But at least Batgirl’s head isn’t poppin’ off any time soon, nor are the two going to dance while killing each other.

Thanks for all the work you did to explain what’s going on in the original, and finding out the intent of the artist! :)  I had thought it looked like a dance too (as had another redrawer) but it’s good to know for sure.

And also thanks for going through your entire thought process as to why you drew your version the way you did, and what you thought it should convey thematically.  I love seeing different people’s takes on pictures featured on this blog, and I especially enjoy reading people’s breakdowns of what the scene evoked for them and how they see it.

Hi peoples :)

Just a short note to let people know that on Monday (today/tomorrow depending on where you live), I’m going to be doing an interview about Escher Girls with feminist/women’s radio program ”Yeah, What She Said” on 90.9FM in Calgary.  (I’m both super excited and super nervous >_>) 

http://cjsw.com/program/ywss

This is their website.  I believe you can listen live on there, as well as download previous episodes.

The show is at 8pm Mountain Time (10pm Eastern)

So… um… yeah.  Just in case people want to listen or something.

*runs off screaming in nervousness*

whiterosebrian submitted:



A friend gave me a batch of trade paperback comics that he had read earlier.  Unfortunately, in my blunt opinion, they were all mediocre.  When reading through E.V.E. Proto Mecha, though, my mind eventually went to your blog.  Hence this scand scans of the cover.  I have other scans too, but for whatever reason I couldn’t insert a full photo set.   

+1 for her turning her head towards us rather than swiveling her waist.

Too bad about her vacuum sealed butt and random boob though.  Presuming this will be corrected in the later Mecha lines.

submitted:

A friend gave me a batch of trade paperback comics that he had read earlier.  Unfortunately, in my blunt opinion, they were all mediocre.  When reading through E.V.E. Proto Mecha, though, my mind eventually went to your blog.  Hence this scand scans of the cover.  I have other scans too, but for whatever reason I couldn’t insert a full photo set.   
+1 for her turning her head towards us rather than swiveling her waist.
Too bad about her vacuum sealed butt and random boob though.  Presuming this will be corrected in the later Mecha lines.

maplepoutine submitted:






This is not really an Escher Girl, but the LoL cinematic trailer submission on this page made me think of this screencap of an FF XV trailer.  Notice how every male character have textured, realist skin while the two female characters have perfect pale skin with makeup on.

This is referring to a previous post where somebody brought up the lack of wrinkles or facial creases of any kind on a woman character in a League of Legends trailer, and I also posted a picture of the male and female faces in Batman: Arkham City as another example where female faces must be devoid of any lines (even expression lines) while male faces can have all sorts of interesting features and details, and can be exaggerated to give more character to the faces.

This isn’t just about women having to be portrayed as eternally young, or how women’s standards for beauty are so tied with having no lines on our faces, but it’s also incredibly limiting when designing and portraying female characters.  If all your female characters always have to have smooth round faces, no wrinkles, etc (and often big eyes and pouty lips too), then it’s going to be that much harder to try to make them look different than each other.  And if they also aren’t allowed to show lines on their faces for expressions, then it’s going to limit the range of their expression too, or they’re going to end up with a weird doll look when you do have them emote.  The point is, it can end up creating a very limited box for female character visuals, and creating characters that all look very similarly, even if you really don’t mean to. And that in turn limits how much information you can convey about those characters, visually.

This is not really an Escher Girl, but the LoL cinematic trailer submission on this page made me think of this screencap of an FF XV trailer.  Notice how every male character have textured, realist skin while the two female characters have perfect pale skin with makeup on.

This is referring to a previous post where somebody brought up the lack of wrinkles or facial creases of any kind on a woman character in a League of Legends trailer, and I also posted a picture of the male and female faces in Batman: Arkham City as another example where female faces must be devoid of any lines (even expression lines) while male faces can have all sorts of interesting features and details, and can be exaggerated to give more character to the faces.

This isn’t just about women having to be portrayed as eternally young, or how women’s standards for beauty are so tied with having no lines on our faces, but it’s also incredibly limiting when designing and portraying female characters.  If all your female characters always have to have smooth round faces, no wrinkles, etc (and often big eyes and pouty lips too), then it’s going to be that much harder to try to make them look different than each other.  And if they also aren’t allowed to show lines on their faces for expressions, then it’s going to limit the range of their expression too, or they’re going to end up with a weird doll look when you do have them emote.  The point is, it can end up creating a very limited box for female character visuals, and creating characters that all look very similarly, even if you really don’t mean to. And that in turn limits how much information you can convey about those characters, visually.


waterbottleisland submitted:


Here is my quick fix for this poor gal. Hope this makes it a bit less painful to look at…

Simple and effective. 
I’d be curious to see various people’s different takes on this scene though, redrawing all 3 characters in what they think the spirit of the panel is.  Maybe that should be the next contest. o:

Here is my quick fix for this poor gal. Hope this makes it a bit less painful to look at…

Simple and effective. 

I’d be curious to see various people’s different takes on this scene though, redrawing all 3 characters in what they think the spirit of the panel is.  Maybe that should be the next contest. o:


racklestackles submitted:




Cover of The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior #10 by Michael Golden

I think the woman at the front looks kinda cool, but the woman in the back is so oddly out of place to me.  It’s like an arena double booked a ballet performance with a gladiator contest, and just went with it.

Cover of The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior #10 by Michael Golden

I think the woman at the front looks kinda cool, but the woman in the back is so oddly out of place to me.  It’s like an arena double booked a ballet performance with a gladiator contest, and just went with it.


happybluedashes submitted:


as a marvel comics fan, I’ve been subjected to many a greg land catastrophe. but this one may actually take the cake as the worst god damn one I’ve seen in the ten years since I’ve been aware of his art

"C’mon sugar, this is getting painful.  Are we on Escher Girls yet?"
"I don’t know, but I hope we get posted soon because I can’t keep altering our bodies with my powers like this."
(Cover of Uncanny Avengers #20, Marvel Comics)

as a marvel comics fan, I’ve been subjected to many a greg land catastrophe. but this one may actually take the cake as the worst god damn one I’ve seen in the ten years since I’ve been aware of his art

"C’mon sugar, this is getting painful.  Are we on Escher Girls yet?"

"I don’t know, but I hope we get posted soon because I can’t keep altering our bodies with my powers like this."

(Cover of Uncanny Avengers #20, Marvel Comics)


painkitty submitted:




Tristana from Mass Effect: Foundation issue #11. Artist: Tony Parker. Apparently asari have evolved past a need for a spine or ribcage…

Zero G brings new meaning to rock oldies like ‘Twist & Shout.
(caption by aesmael)

Tristana from Mass Effect: Foundation issue #11. Artist: Tony Parker. Apparently asari have evolved past a need for a spine or ribcage…

Zero G brings new meaning to rock oldies like ‘Twist & Shout.

(caption by aesmael)


solitary-serenity submitted:


Spider-Buck, Spider-Buck, poses just like Spider-Woman does
This is a quick parody painting of that recent Spider-Woman variant cover by Milo Manara, complete with painted on spandex uniform!! 

This is very good work for a parody. 
Little known fact: Mandatory sexiness is part of Hydra training.

Spider-Buck, Spider-Buck, poses just like Spider-Woman does

This is a quick parody painting of that recent Spider-Woman variant cover by Milo Manara, complete with painted on spandex uniform!! 

This is very good work for a parody. 

Little known fact: Mandatory sexiness is part of Hydra training.