You read the title, right? This is a jocular follow-up to my earlier link to a Slate article on all sorts of reasons to not get tattoos. But by now this post is its own justification. Laura DePuy has written some wonderfully funny stuff.
I've hung around complementarians of different stripes over the years and I've had a thought. It does precious little good to bewail cartoony depictions of the appearance of women in comics or in fashion amongst evangelicals if they depict a cartoony portrait of the ideal character a woman should have, eh? There's cheesecake of a 'worldly type' but there may very well be a more dangerous cheesecake of a 'spiritual' order. If you find this proposal incredible realize that a person can be serious and tongue-in-cheek at the same time. It's true that there is a visual ideal of cheesecake that can inspire or promote eating disorders and a lot of heartache but what could be said, at least, is that if a woman doesn't measure up to an idealized measure of physical beauty she can literally see how she doesn't measure up. But spiritual cheesecake? Is that less pernicious?
Or, to play with the categories DePuy shall shortly be shown to introduce, is all cheesecake even the same thing? I'm going to suggest there's a difference between a Proverbs 31 woman and a complementarian's home-schooling fantasy wife. The difference may be seen as the difference between "bad" cheesecake art and "good" cheesecake art and there's no woman better suited to discuss the distinction between these two categories that I've ever come across in my reading about comics than DePuy. So here you go:
Breasts as Personality Traits
J. Scott Campbell and the Danger Girls
by Laura DePuy
No, really, it's called exactly that and as snarky yet serious commentary about depictions of females in cheesecake (i.e. comics art generally) it's brilliant. Here's a sample.
If I know my Bizarre Breasts readers like I think I do, I'm willing to bet that you'll be wondering where the real BB writer is, and who this pod person is who's replaced her. You see, I'm about to praise the work of a guy whose entire portfolio features female figures with wacky physiques.
I'm talking about J. Scott Campbell, the celebrated penciller of Danger Girl.
That's right. The co-creator of such characters as Abbey Chase, the other globetrotting heroine in hotpants, and Sydney Savage, who makes Emma Peel look like Gilligan in a black garbage bag. If you're familiar with Jeff's work, you know that his art is extremely stylized, practically cartoonish, and that his females' physiques are distorted, with cinched waists and painted-on clothes. What in the world would I have to say that's positive about such (waggles fingers in quotation mark sign) "blatantly exploitative" artwork?
What I'd say is the same thing I'd say about Bill Ward's erotic art, or the art of Coop: the exaggeration works because the form has an underlying structure that functions believably, and is appropriate to the character. [emphasis added]
There's more but since I know lots of Christians are likely to read this blog who have conscience issues I should consider there's obviously going to be discussions of drawings of boobs. So don't read the rest of DePuy's very funny and insightful commentary on cheesecake if you're in that place. Of course here's hoping that by putting DePuy's title in my post title I've told you all you needed to know before even reading to this paragraph! For the rest of you, enjoy, it's pretty funny!
And what I've bolded from DePuy's essay gets at something I'd like you to think about regarding not merely cheesecake of the "worldly" type but cheesecake of the "christian" type.
Tempus fugit. Sitting around for hours while some dude enlivens your back with lotus blossoms, ghouls, and moonbeams is a colossal waste of time. You could be learning to tap dance or play the accordion.