This Gives a Whole New Meaning to 'Freudian Slip'

The Almighty Penis... I mean Dagger
Penis Envy

And people said I was crazy when I talked about “girl power” being not much more than male appropriation of female power. Howard Chaykin’s illustrations of Red Sonja take this to an extreme by giving her a penis dildo strategically placed dagger.

She still has the chainmail bikini to give fanservice to the boys, but Red Sonja has always been a strong (both physically and mentally) character and this illustration makes me wonder if the idea of a woman holding that much power herself was so threatening to Chaykin’s subconscious that he ended up giving her a consolation penis. No one’s accusing him of deliberately doing this (because, well, how would we know either way unless he came out and said something?), but come on. Can you honestly say that you saw this picture and didn’t go, “Whoa, she has a penis!”?

Via Dance of the Puppets.

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10 thoughts on “This Gives a Whole New Meaning to 'Freudian Slip'

  1. To be fair, she didn’t start out sexualized (the blog I got this image from does a comparison). It really frustrates me, especially because it turned into images like this. I’m fucking sorry, but no warrior — no matter how tough they thought themselves to be — would go trudging in the fucking snow with nothing but a very flimsy fur cloak and a chainmail bikini.

  2. Yeah, I saw that over at Marionette’s blog. 🙂

    I don’t mind it when characters get costume redesigns or what have you, but I absolutely can’t stand when the redesign ends up changing what a character represents–and this seems especially true in Red Sonja’s case: a cool, powerful female character reduced to skin and a fake penis.

    I’m with you in regards to the snow: it bugs me when there’s a cold weather scene and outfits aren’t changed accordingly. In video games and anime you could argue that clothing wouldn’t change because of budget or time constraints–but would it take that long, or prove that much of a problem to cover up a comic book character?

  3. LOL.

    my favorite stick figure, as draw of me by my son, featured me in a statue of liberty pose, holding up an ice cream cone. not only that, i had two round circles with dots in the center for breasts. I had a vulva — a cute little v — AND a penis.

    Now, after that, I had to find out what the Freudian theory was really all about.

    Later, no lie, I read an interesting book that re-examined Frued’s notebooks to show that children actually saw their mothers as the ones with the penis, the vulva, the breast, and more: an ice cream cone.

    go me!

  4. well, not literally that their mom’s had ice cream cones: rather, they saw their mothers as very powerful because, in freud’s day, mom was around them and ruled their lives way more than dad.


  5. At least the Dragon Wars cover – my personal standard for exploitative fantasy art – was equal opportunity.

    How is she supposed to walk with that thing? Yeah, we guys manage it, but that’s largely due to ours not being made of sharpened metal.

    Also, I’m no thermodynamics expert, but I think fur-lined capes work a little better for warmth when they’re in the general vicinity of the body they’re trying to warm, rather than billowing out to expose skin and metal. Seriously, the first thing that image brought to mind was the scene in A Christmas Story where the kid gets his tongue stuck to the metal flagpole.

    As for the chainmail bikini cliche, has anyone *ever* posited a plausible in-story reason for that? (I should get around to reading the Friesner anthologies sometime – that’s the only place I can think of that would actually address that.)

  6. BL: Interesting 🙂 I’ve never put all that much stock in Freud myself, but sometimes fun things can come from (our perception of) his theories.

    Jeff & Ragnell: I clicked on the link that Ragnell provided and immediately came across this:

    I don’t mind unabashed cheesecake titles like Red Sonja or Shanna the She-Devil, because ridiculous as the backstories may be, the underlying message is “A Woman Who Can Kick Your Ass Is HAWT.”

    That attitude makes me want to cry. I may post a new thread on the subject over there…

  7. Ragnell: Yeah, I’ve heard that one before, as well as the “more freedom of movement than a full hauberk” explanation, but it seems like lighter materials would do the job just as well.

    Also, from the link:

    Answering her cry for revenge, the red goddess Scathach appeared to her, and instilled in her incredible skill in the handling of swords and other weapons on the condition that she would never lay with a man unless he defeated her in fair combat.

    Just *once* I’d like to see this sort of backstory applied to a male character.

  8. From 2nd Edition D&D:

    “Boots of the North: This footgear bestows many powers upon the wearer. First, he is able to travel across snow at normal rate of movement, leaving no tracks. The boots also enable the wearer to travel at half normal movement rate across the most slippery ice (horizontal surfaces only, not vertical or sharply slanted ones) without falling or slipping. Boots of the north warm the wearer, so that even in a temperature as low as -50 degrees F., he is comfortable with only scant clothing-a loin of cloth and cloak, for instance. If the wearer of the boots is fully dressed in cold-weather clothing, he can withstand temperatures as low as -100 degrees F.”

    Which shows even the D&D writers were scratching their heads. But at least 2nd edition rules made no bones about the effectiveness of going armourless (even if Larry Elmore didn’t quite get the memo).

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