09/23/22 – Gunner Seat Therapy

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, September 23, 2022.




There’s no winning with people with goofy intentions.


    1. heckler

      Same, yet I am kinda glad to see a lead female Alien other then Choan or Gruff’s mother.

      One big difference is there is no Biological giveaways with Strangor as opposed to Choan. You also don’t have long hair, potential facial hair, etc. Mind you this suits female lions.

      Which brings me to the point, what about an alien with a 5 sex species. I can’t wait till Dimitri manages to breed a whole colony of offspring.

    2. @Jude, that’s totally normal that one would! Our culture is obsessed with gender roles and gender traits. Women should have long hair and visible breasts and lipstick and eyelashes.

      The best way I explain it to people is this: if you look at old animation, the animals all look alike. So they’re all male, except the “females” are the ones who are males in drag.

      And why? So viewers aren’t confused. It’s all so we can put them in their heteronormative boxes. So we don’t accidentally get attracted to the wrong characters.

      So, anyway, not only do I have zero interest in forcing these entirely alien creatures to conform to human gender roles or anatomy, but also, when I look around me, more and more people (generally women, as those roles historically have often been used to oppress them) are SHEDDING those roles.

      I find it all fascinating, and lovely that we’re exploring so many “new” (not new at all really) things as a culture. 🙂

      1. Paul

        Talking of dogs of indeterminate gender. Did you know that all the ‘Lassie’ actors were actually ‘Lads’? That wasn’t because of some doggy sexual discrimination (as far as I know) but because female collies are worse for shedding their hair.

      2. TB

        A good take on it.

        When you think of all the wide ranges of Earth life where males and females are distinguished completely differently than human, uncertainty for complete aliens is not surprising and probably normal.

        I have noted that conventional SF TV and movies will almost always show female aliens with breasts. Two of them. This is even if their heads look like a Cthulhu nightmare. They will also have human female voice ranges. Okay, okay, I understand that a lot of this is the need to accommodate the human female actor under the makeup and rubber suit, but we still see it as “normal.” I even see breasts here on some major characters, although I understand the cartoon “shorthand” necessary to help the reader along. Wait…are those nipples on a lizard?

        Also weird. I’ve been watching old Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 episodes, and it seems to be a standard trope that all alien males, however bizarre, find human females astoundingly attractive. This makes no sense at all, and goes beyond practical makeup and costuming issues. But it sure does open up a lot of amusing story lines.

        1. rws

          Star Trek did this. The one that took place at the worm hole had a Ferengi male marry a Bajorian woman, who are close enough to pass as human with some minimal surgery. When they had a female Ferengi, she looked just like a male, except for her ears.

  1. Pete Rogan

    Contemplating the history of anthropomorphic comics, I find it remarkable that actually making animals look and act human is a relatively recent development. Political cartoons up to the beginning of the 19th Century would either put animal heads on patently human figures or just dispense with the idea altogether. I’m thinking of the vengeful crane depicted firing a musket on the ground with one anatomically correct crane leg.

    Before there were comics, newspapers made great use of political cartoonists (Thomas Nash is probably the most famous, but they were legion) and over time, pursuing the merger of animal traits and human personages, these became more and more skilled at the tricks of combination. There were few female public figures to so depict, and in any case the ones who were prominent (Carrie A. Nation, the nascent suffragettes) needed no disguise; they were known for who they were and what they were, and that was considered caricature enough. The arrival of newspaper comics saw some exaggerated female features, but they were not universal; realistic depictions of women and female anthropomorphized characters were at least as prominent (cf. the various manifestations of the Katzenjammer Kids).

    The arrival of film animation changed the course of female depiction utterly. We can say what we will about Betty Boop, but what do you say to Olive Oyl? The Max Fleischer studio would go on to do more realistic depictions of women in the Superman animated series, but it took the Disney studios to bring the exaggerated breasts, long hair, lipstick, and long eyelashes to the question of identifying gender, particularly with female animal characters. This from the studio that for nearly a hundred years has depicted animals without genitalia.

    So I can’t really blame the creators who came after, from Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera to Walter Lantz (whose famous Woody Woodpecker was voiced by his wife Grace Stafford from 1950 to 1991), Chuck Jones and Fritz Freleng, for perpetuating the stereotype. It was what the audience had come to expect.

    It would take another fifty years for those stereotypes to be challenged and made obsolescent, if not actually obsolete. For a surprising percentage of the viewing public, this is still the way they recognize female anthropomorphized characters. It’s all they know. And before you disparage their lack of imagination, consider how you see a character in an apron drying a glass with a cloth as a bartender and nothing else. You’re as much the victim of lazy characterizations as anyone.

    Now back to reading “Rae the Doe.”

    1. TB

      That said, if you put a moustache and beard on Minnie Mouse, I don’t think it would work at all. And the only Disney female I can think of whose breasts are actually exaggerated is Jessica Rabbit.

      It has always been traditional for cartoon characters who wear clothes to wear the same basic “uniform” in every appearance. Donald Duck must be so damn tired of that sailor suit, or Charlie Brown of that yellow shirt with the jagged stripe.

      This has eased up in recent years–you can see Minnie Mouse in images nowadays in almost any outfit worn by contemporary women. Although as live characters in the theme parks, they tend to gravitate back to the “traditional” outfits.

  2. Pete Rogan

    Thinking further: Wasn’t it Chuck Jones who devised the transgender Bugs Bunny? If you’re talking about being attracted to the wrong character, that was precisely the intent. Or was that Fritz Freleng?

    Arthur C. Clarke may have been right: Some of us may live to see the end of the Dark Ages.

  3. Daniel Almeida

    I have the same issue with Stangor, I have a tendency of thinking of she as a male.
    I believe the main reason for this is the outfit.
    No female would wear that scuba suit all the time.

    Stangor parents on the other end do not suffer from this problem (even if I never remember which one is which).

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