#JeanBookNerd tour for #HALFTheMakers book 2 in @NatalieWright #ya #scifi series with #review and #giveaway

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Mama Reads Blog


Roswell. Area 51. The X-Files.

You’ve seen the aliens known as “the Greys” in movies and on T.V. But what if everything you think you know about them is wrong?

And what if the Greys are only the beginning?

Erika Holt dodged death and departed Earth in an alien ship. It wasn’t how she’d planned to spend her senior year. Is Erika on her way to paradise? Or to a hell worse than the underground lab she escaped?

The greys rescued Tex from the underground lab and promised him a life he could never have imagined. But what will he have to give up to become one with The Conexus?

Jack Wilson is still Commander Sturgis’ prisoner, but a promise of freedom comes from an unlikely source. Will his liberation cost more than he’s willing to pay?

On a nondescript planet on the far side of the galaxy, the…

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Manic Monday: Colorado Students School the School Board on Democracy and Fight Back Against ‘Big Brother’

1984 by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell

One of my all-time favorite books is 1984 (Signet Classics) by George Orwell. You like dystopian? Now that’s dystopian! 1984 may not be a horror story per se, but to me it is may be the scariest story ever written.

Scary because it feels plausible. And scary because for a person such as myself who values the freedom of thought and speech above all else, there is nothing more frightening than losing both.

1984 was published in 1948 as the super powers entered the cold war. Orwell may have been reacting to the events in pre-war Germany and Italy or perhaps looking east toward Russia and China.

But a recent news article brought Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece to mind. Have you heard about the brave students, educators and parents in Jefferson County, Colorado that are fighting back against an all right-wing school board?

Via Associated Press
Via Associated Press

I found this story via the LA Times. Apparently the recently-elected school board decided that it did not like the AP History curriculum. Here is a quote from the board calling for instruction in which “theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”

Okay, we’ll stop it right there for a moment. Read the words of the school board closely. “Promote citizenship, patriotism …” Sound familiar? Does it not sound like the “Ministry of Truth” from 1984, the organization responsible for propaganda and historical revision? After all, Winston Smith’s job in 1984 was to rewrite past newspaper articles so that they always reflected the current party line. This is exactly what the Jefferson County school board is attempting to do.

The school board also said: “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard for the law.”

I suppose, then, that the board proposes that students not learn about the Civil Rights movement, Women’s Suffrage movement, and other events in which citizens used their rights of Free Speech (yes, you know that thing guaranteed by the First Amendment, i.e. the law) to attempt to change to system and obtain freedom for all people, not just the white male people.

In fact, the board’s plan to revise the history books was “drafted in response to a new set of history standards adopted by the College Board, which gives more attention to minorities, Native Americans and pre-Columbus early American history.” (Source, Portland Press Herald.) (As an aside, the Herald also reports that the school board blames the student protest on “dissident teachers”, a phrase which also sounds a lot like it came from a spin-doctor handbook. If someone points out the problems with your agenda or policy, then call them “dissident” or “crazy” to discredit them.)

There was a well-written opinion piece on the Huffington Post blog yesterday written by Joseph Palermo. Mr. Palermo, speaking about Gretchen Carlson and Ken Witt, said: “And I doubt if Carlson and Witt ever heard of George Orwell who wrote: ‘Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past.'”

What Ms. Carlson or Mr. Witt know (or think) is probably irrelevant. They are mere pawns belching out the party line. You can be very sure that the right wing politicos behind this move in Colorado, even if they have never heard of George Orwell, absolutely know how to gain power through control of history. And make no mistake that their agenda is to control propaganda so that they can increase their own power.

That’s what totalitarian regimes do. And that’s what we’re talking about here.

Totalitarian is a system of government with only one party (or leader) having complete control and power over the people.

And what is the antonym for totalitarian?


And what is the foundation of democracy?

Freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, the freedom of speech in our country mainly serves the purpose these days of delivering free porn to every smart phone, tablet and computer in America. As I write this, more people right now are viewing porn than are engaging in political debate. Many, many, many more people.

That’s okay with the Koch brothers and their ilk. Because if you are sidetracked by porn and cat videos and such, then you’re not paying attention to what they’re doing to consolidate their power. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Kudos to the students, teachers and parents in Jefferson County who saw the move by their school board for what it is: an attempt to white wash history in furtherance of their own political agenda. Kudos for exercising their First Amendment rights. It takes courage to speak out against the actions of institutions and people in power. But now, perhaps more than ever, we all must be vigilant about our freedom and muster the courage we may not believe that we have to preserve our freedom. This is our right – and responsibility – in a free society. I for one feel a surge of hope today as I witness young people pushing back against what is most assuredly a threat to their freedom of thought.

Sci Fi Friday: 3 Cool Future Identification Technologies


Face Recognition - Enhancing security in public places Copyright 2005 BAE Systems DSEI goodAA045744[1]There are certain technologies that are ubiquitous in future stories. Flying cars. Laser guns. And identification technology.

It’s hard to imagine fingerprint dusting in the 22nd century. Instead, crime investigations may be “dusting” for DNA. And forget about a mere iris scanner to gain entry to that above top-secret lab. Instead you may have to pass the sniff test.

Good luck trying to fake someone else’s scent.

Here are three super cool, super futuristic identification technologies that I read about recently on LiveScience and provide some cool inspiration for futuristic sci-fi stories:


dog noseYou read the correctly. Apparently, each person has a unique odor. That’s an “of course” to dogs. Companies are working to catch up to dog tech by finding ways to identify our unique smell signature.

But don’t worry about having a computer sniff you yet. Although researchers have attained a recognition rate of better than 85%, the technology is still in the research stages.



While I can see the “sniff test” being used at border crossings and airports, this one seems more like the kind of thing we’ll use every day. A Toronto company called Bionym is developing a bracelet called Nymi that uses your heartbeat for digital identification. Each of us has a unique pattern of electrical activity in our heart. Who knew? The bracelet reads ECG (electrocardiogram) waveforms to identify the wearer.

But here’s where this one gets super spiffy. The Nymi bracelet can them communicate via Bluetooth to our devices. It seems that the possibilities there are endless. No need for a password or even a finger scan to log in to your computer. Just wear the bracelet and it could seamlessly connect the wearer to their devices. But why stop there? How about your car? A hotel room? Bank deposit box? 

And this one isn’t just theoretical. You can order this device from Bionym now and it will ship next year.


This one is even more strange than the others. And a bit creepy too. Apparently we not only have unique fingerprints, odors, and heartbeats, we also have unique vein patterns. This sounds like it’s straight from a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually a technology being branded as BiyoWallet (originally called PulseWallet). Imagine waving your palm over a machine that scans your veins. Once you’ve introduced yourself to the machine, the device would automatically deduct payment owed to the merchant from your account. Good-bye credit and debit cards. Sounds like one of the more promising technologies to prevent identity theft related to credit/debit card use.
Until some evil genius finds a way to counterfeit our veins! (Just wait – you know it will happen 😉
Do you think we’ll see widespread use of any of these technologies in the near future? Do you embrace these technologies? Or do they scare you? What one would you like to use the most?

Sci Fi Friday: When Art and Science Meet It’s a Beautiful Thing

If you’ve been reading my blog on Fridays, then you may have surmised that I frequently geek out over scientific discoveries. Whether its news about a new technology for space travel or the latest from CERN, I can’t resist a headline that hints at a cool discovery. 
This week I was blown away by this elegant idea from Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde. Roosegaarde’s team has conceptualized interactive highways and parks that remove smog. But this latest idea is where art meets science.
Here’s the pitch: What happens when you take the biology that produces bioluminescence and merge it with plants? Think algae street lamps that store energy from photosynthesis to generate light at night. But Roosegaarde’s team takes it one step further.
Roosegaarde’s team, inspired by deep water jellyfish, imagined bio luminescent trees. Check out this video as Daan Roosegaarde explains the concept. Imagine, a street lined with trees instead of street lamps.
How cool is that? Imagine a landscape lit at night by glowing trees. My sci fi imagine is spinning …
What other applications can you imagine for bio luminescent biology?

A New Award for Emily’s House: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award

I got notice this week that my first novel, Emily’s House, received a Pinnacle Book Award in the Juvenile Fiction category! The Pinnacle awards recognize excellence in Independent Publishing. I’m thrilled, of course, to receive a recognition for my “first born” book and labor of love. 

The award feels almost as good as the Reader’s Favorite 5 Star award that it received earlier this summer.

Awards are nice but nothing compares to happy readers. The nearly 2 Million reads of Emily’s House on Wattpad as well as the votes and comments – that’s what it’s all about. Readers that enjoy the adventure, the mysticism, the action of the book. The readers who “get it.” That’s what keeps me writing.

But I’m happy to accept the awards too 😉

If you’d like to read an excerpt of Emily’s House, you can do so here on my blog. Just click this link.

Thanks to all of my readers and blog followers for your support! 😀

3 Loglines for H.A.L.F.

I’ve been working on a spiffy log line for H.A.L.F., my speculative sci fi-ish novel that launches in March. For anyone not familiar with a logline, it’s a one sentence (short) summary of the big idea of the book. It’s the “elevator pitch”.

After playing around with it for some time, I’ve come up with three and would like your opinion. Which of these do you think is the most intriguing? Which one makes you interested to know more? Or have I missed the mark completely?

Please drop a comment below and let me know your honest opinion. And thanks so much for dropping by 😀

1. When a teenager liberates an alien-human hybrid from a government lab, she triggers an inter-stellar war.
2. Three teens become fugitives when they help an alien-human hybrid escape a government lab.

3. While inter-stellar war looms, a teen must liberate the government’s top secret weapon or be terminated.

So let me know which is best for you – #1, #2 or #3 – and why 🙂 Thanks!

Writer Wednesday: Hitting the Mark with Amy Durham

I am pleased to welcome author Amy Durham back to Writer Wednesday! Amy has a captivating new release, Asher’s Mark, a New Adult Romance book. Please check out the book’s description, excerpt and buy links after Amy’s wonderful guest post about doing the hard stuff.
by Amy Durham
My oldest son is a junior in high school. YIKES! It seems like just yesterday I was writing about him on my website as he was beginning middle school!
High school is a really fun stage in his life, as he’s discovering the things he loves to do, fine-tuning the things he’s good at, and beginning to make decisions about his future. I’m enjoying every minute of watching him become a young man.
When he was a freshman, he auditioned for All-State band for the first time. This is a rigorous audition process – that involves 2 different “cuts” – to determine the very best instrumentalists in the state. For his instrument (French Horn), only 20 players from the entire state are selected each year. He made it through the first cut, finishing 5th overall in our district. Already a tremendous accomplishment for a freshman competing against students who are sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school. When he didn’t make it through the second cut to be one of the 20 selected, he was bummed. So was I. But not too terribly disappointed.

We had a talk about what it meant to do the “hard stuff”. Auditioning for All-State band, especially as a freshman, was hard. He didn’t have to do it. He CHOSE to do it. And choosing to do the “hard stuff” is how we improve, how we grow, and how we eventually “get there”. There’s such value in doing the hard stuff. When we stretch ourselves past what is comfortable or easy, that’s where we find who we truly are. Where, after several tries, we find success.

I told him it was sort of like writing a book. Writing a book is not easy, as all authors know. It’s difficult, toiling, gut-wrenching work. It takes a long time and can drain you mentally and emotionally. But authors choose to do it, because we know that by “doing the hard stuff” and stretching ourselves beyond where we’re comfortable, a book eventually comes to fruition. And with each “stretch” and each “completed product”, we grow and improve.

This idea is true no matter what area you pursue. So… dream big… run, don’t walk toward the things you want most out of life… even if it means you have to do the hard stuff. It’s always worth it in the end!

I agree with what Amy says in her post. It’s all too easy to slip into a comfort zone, doing the same thing day-after-day more because it’s comfortable than because it’s the best thing for us. I retired from the practice of law last year and threw myself off of a proverbial cliff to pursue a writing career. And boy, is it a hard thing! A full year later, I still feel like I’m trying to figure out my day, my routine and truly own my choice. But I can absolutely agree with Amy that doing the “hard stuff” is worth it. 

Back to Asher’s Mark, Amy’s newest release:

Asher’s Mark Book Description:
Asher’s Mark by Amy Durham
Grace Ballard has been
in love with Asher Howell for a long time. When she was sixteen, he became her
hero, and she fell head over heels for the boy with a ring through his eyebrow,
a big heart, and an unending sense of justice. But two years ago he left for
college without a backward glance, leaving Grace to wonder if she’d imagined
With no reason to wait
for Asher to return, Grace moved on, and Asher’s brother, Adam, stepped in to
help her pick up the pieces. But Asher never left her thoughts … or her heart.
Now, two years later,
tragedy brings Asher home and back into Grace’s life. The boy who left her
behind is now very much a man – a licensed tattoo artist, much to his parents’
dismay, and still carrying a major torch for Grace. But two years apart has
changed them both, and the things that happened during their separation may
create a divide that can’t be crossed.
Asher and his brother both left their mark on
Grace’s heart. Will Asher’s be able to stand the test of time?

**This New Adult romance features characters 18 years and older. However, this title does not carry a content warning, indicating readers should be over the age of 17.

Would you like a little preview? You’ve got it. Here’s an excerpt of Asher’s Mark:

I’m kissing Grace. Finally. Every molecule in my body screams with the rightness of it. How had I ever thought I could stay away from her? How could I

have put so much distance between us?
         I have no answers. All I know is that my arms are locked around her as her mouth
fuses to mine, and I never want to let her go.
         There are all sorts of reasons I shouldn’t be doing this… namely Adam… but I can’t stop. I don’t want to. Something in me shouts I saw
her first!
Two years of wanting her, loving her, have finally exploded between us. She’s in my arms. In my lap. Under my skin. In my heart.
She is everywhere and everything.
         Maybe to her it’s just a way to forget. A way to stop thinking about losing Adam. But I just don’t care. I don’t care at all.
         All that matters is that we are together in this moment.
         I pull back a fraction of an inch, still hugging her close. Her golden green eyes
are glassy and gorgeous, hazy with the desire we just stirred up. Strands of her auburn hair have escaped her ponytail and now hang wistfully around her
face. She’s so beautiful it makes me ache.
         She doesn’t look upset, which is a relief. I thought I’d gauged her reaction
correctly, but I’m glad to know I was right.
         She’d wanted to kiss me just as badly as I’d wanted to kiss her.
         I refuse to think too much about the ramifications of it.
         I run my hands up her back, from her waist to her shoulder blades, pulling her toward me again. Pressing a kiss to one eyelid, then the next, I take a deep
breath and speak.
         “Mom’s gonna text me any minute,” I say, already dreading the moment I’ll walk out her door. But I know it’ll be better to leave now, while things are still dreamy between us.
         Grace nods, letting her hands slide out of my hair, over my shoulders, then coming to rest on my chest. My stomach flips over.
         No one’s ever made me feel like this. Not even close. A simple touch from Grace does so much more than…
         I shove that thought way down and slam a lid on it, knowing that after all the stuff I’ve done the past year to try and forget Grace, I shouldn’t even be touching her.
        “I should go,” I whisper, leaning in to brush another kiss on her lips. “Before she gets antsy.”
         Grace smiles. “Okay.”
         “I don’t want to, though.” I grin back at her.
         All this talk about me leaving, and yet she’s still on my lap and my arms are still
wrapped around her. If I don’t go now, I might not ever.
         I stand up, taking her with me and placing her feet on the floor. I grab my button-up shirt from the love seat, throw it over my shoulder, and turn back to
face her. Our hands find their way to each other, fingers lacing together as we walk toward the door.
         I shift close before opening the door, intending to ask if I can see her tomorrow. On the bulletin board by the light switch, I see the picture… the picture I drew her just before I left for Flagstaff two years ago. Had it been
there the night before? I think back and realize it wasn’t. It must’ve been covered up by the big picture of Grace and Adam.
         Between last night and tonight she’d uncovered my picture. My mind races with what that might mean. I open my mouth, unsure what I’m about to say.
         But she speaks before I do. “We should probably talk about…” She doesn’t finish the sentence.
         But I know she means Adam.
         The guilt bounces around inside me, but I can’t find it in myself to regret what just happened. What I hope very much will happen again. Very soon.
         “Later.” I reach up and push a stray tendril of hair behind her ear, my hand lingering on the soft skin of her neck. “I know we’ll have to, but not right now. I just want to feel this right now.”
         She nods. “Me too.”

         Leaving her right then is about the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I do it, before something ruins what was absolutely the most perfect moment of my life.
*     *     *
If you’d like to check out more of Asher’s Mark, please use these handy buy links:

Author Amy Durham
After spending every work day with classrooms full of tweens and
teens, then going home to three boys of her own, two of whom fall into the
tween/teen category, you’d think that Amy Durham might like to leave the world
of teens and young adults behind. Not so!
Instead, she spends her spare moments – which sometimes consist of
waiting twenty minutes for her oldest kiddo to get out of band practice – with
her laptop and a multitude of teenage characters trying to navigate their way
through the twisted, difficult road of adolescence.
You might ask… “Why Young/New Adult Fiction”? Well,
because it’s what she knows. As a teacher and a parent, Amy is around teens and
young adults on an almost constant basis. And while it’s true they can be – ahem
– challenging, they are also full of life, vision, and dreams. And that’s a
really cool place to be.
Young Adult and New Adult Fiction allows young readers the opportunity
to find hope for the situations they find themselves in, find determination to
keep on going, and courage to pursue their dreams. It also allows adult readers
the chance to revisit the exuberance of youth, remember the joy and poignancy
of first love, and recall how it felt to dream with abandon.
Natalie Wright, P.C.




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Durham is a wife and mother, an author, a teacher, an avid reader, and a
musician. If she weren’t writing books, she’d be a celebrity chef!

You can touch base with Amy here:
Twitter – @amy_durham
Natalie Wright, P.C.




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Instagram – @authoramydurham


Manic Monday: Martha Graham and Averting a Crisis of Confidence

Last week I jammed on revisions to my current work in progress, H.A.L.F. Friday afternoon I felt great. I’ve done revisions and rewrites to the first half of the book and sent the first chapters off to a few select beta readers for feedback. I felt confident with the work so far and happy with my progress. I even felt a bit disappointed when the weekend started because it meant two days away from my work. But I left my writing office Friday evening feeling that all was well with my creative life.

Natalie Wright, Author
Crisis of Confidence
But I awoke this morning to a crisis of confidence. Perhaps you, too, know this particularly heinous beast and foe of creatives everywhere. The insidious monster, once it takes root, can quickly supplant all feeling of worth and reduce a writer (or painter, dancer, sculptor, etc.) into a shell of a person bereft of a single articulate new idea.

Rather than allow myself to wallow in it (been there, done that), I decided to reach for inspiration from other creatives much wiser than myself. I didn’t have to look any father than my vision board where I had posted this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that activate you.

Keep the channel open. – Martha Graham

Whenever I’m having a crisis of confidence, I usually trace it to my mental habit of comparing myself to others. And that is, of course, the death knell of creativity. This observation by Martha Graham always rights me and sets me back on the path of artistic well being.

Natalie Wright, Author
Crisis Averted
It really is simpler than we make it out to be. We need only “keep the channel open.”

What quotes, beliefs, thoughts, or words of wisdom – of your own or someone else’s – helps you through times of crisis of confidence? 

Sci Fi Friday: The Science Story of the Century You Probably Have Heard Nothing About

EmDrive, illustration by Elvis Popovic
I scratch my head as to how how journalists decide what’s newsworthy. Why do people living in caves know about Justin Beiber’s legal troubles yet few have heard about NASA’s recent success with a new propulsion system that could take a manned ship to Mars and back in eight months?

I heard about this a while back when the Chinese announced that Prof Yang Juan had successfully shown that British scientist Roger Shawyer’s so called “EmDrive” created thrust without a propellant. The system uses electricity to generate microwaves that bounce around a closed space and generates thrust. The implications are huge. Panels could convert star energy into electricity – perpetual space travel fueled by the stars.

But scientists in the west seemed less than excited by China’s news. It was less than a blip on the radar of mainstream media.

This is how Wired.co.uk explained Shawyer’s system and what critics have said about it:

Shawyer claims the EmDrive converts electric power into thrust, without the need for any propellant by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container. He has built a number of demonstration systems, but critics reject his relativity-based theory and insist that, according to the law of conservation of momentum, it cannot work. (wired.co.uk, “NASA Validates Impossible Space Drive,” July 31, 2014, David Hambling.)

EmDrive, Image: SPR Ltd.

Fortunately, an American, Guido Fetta, had a similar propulsion system that was pitched to NASA and they finally ran the tests on the Cannae drive. NASA’s test of the engine they called “impossible” showed that not only does it work, but it would allow humans to travel freely about the solar system without the necessity of carrying a liquid propellant.

Here’s a bit about going to Mars: 

The Nasa paper projects a ‘conservative’ manned mission to Mars from Earth orbit, with a 90-ton spacecraft driven by the new technology. Using a 2-megawatt nuclear power source, it can develop 800 newtons (180 pounds) of thrust. The entire mission would take eight months, including a 70-day stay on Mars. (wired.co.uk, “10 Questions about NASA’s ‘impossible’ Space Drive Answered“, Aug. 7, 2014, David Hambling.)

What the what?

Here’s something that really gets me about this story. Scientists believe that Shawyer’s science defies commonly understood laws of physics. But they have yet to prove that it doesn’t work! 

So multiple experiments by different organizations are able to create a machine that defies the current understanding of physics yet it’s still “not proven”?! And as far as I can tell, getting little attention in mainstream media (but being talked about in the science world).

It seems to me that scientists should be excited about this. Physicists were jumping up and down (literally) when CERN announced that they’re “almost positive” that they’ve discovered the Higgs Boson, one of the holy grails of physics (and the main reason they spent billions on the LHC). Don’t get me wrong. The work being done at the LHC is cool stuff (so awesome I included it as a plot point in my first book, Emily’s House).

But come on guys. You have a few (relatively) tiny experiments which defy your current laws. That means there is new physics to understand here. And in the grand scheme of human existence, potentially finding a viable way to propel ourselves off this dying rock and into space in search of a new home is pretty fucking exciting. And useful.

What do you think? Am I celebrating prematurely? Do you think this could be the answer to our question of how to get to space?

Manic Monday: I Want to see Gamora’s Boob Window and Thor Shirtless. Who’s with Me?

Over on Tor.com’s blog, Alex Brown’s post “Guardians of the Galaxy, We Need to Talk,”  pointed out various issues she had with the summer blockbuster film. I consider myself  a feminist and frequently agree with articles that point out the (still) rampant sexism of Hollywood movies (as well as T.V. shows, advertising, and pretty much anything spat out at us from the L.A. screen industry). But as I pondered her post (and the copious comments to it), I found myself disagreeing with much of what she said. My post will focus on just one of the issues raised and that is of the outfits superheroes wear.

This is what Alex Brown said:

“Listen up, superhero creators. There are 3 big no’s in creating costumes for female characters: no boob plates, no high heels, and no boob or belly windows. There’s no reason for Gamora or Nebula to wear something as impractical as 3 inch wedge heels. And no, Drax and Star-Lord being shirtless doesn’t count as a male objectification. They’re propped up as an admirable, desireable male physique, whereas Nebula and Gamora’s skin-tight, revealing outfits sexualize them. If Star-Lord doesn’t need heels or a costume that defies gravity, then neither do Gamora or Nebula.” (Alex Brown on Tor.com’s blog, 8/13/14)

In case you have not seen Guardians and/or wish to see Zoe Saldana in a “boob window” outfit, here it is:

Alex’s has some points. Breast plates and “boob windows” are ubiquitous in comics and movies featuring female superheros. I’ve seen numerous articles written by women bashing male movie makers for putting female superheros in high heels and skimpy outfits. Women argue that female heroes should wear cloths that are comfortable. Clothes that make sense for all the action and fighting that the character does in the movie.

A good point. But this point seems to assume that male superheroes are wearing outfits that are “comfortable” and sensible and that do not accentuate their sexuality. Let’s review male superhero gear. Do they, in fact, wear sensible clothes appropriate for all their running, punching, jumping and superhero work? And do they wear clothes that “sexualize” them?

Let’s start with Superman. Check out Christopher Reeves rocking’ the 80’s version of The Man of Steel.

Does this outfit say ‘I’m ready for fist-fights and flying’? First of all, as we all know, the cape is impractical.

We all know how dangerous they can be. So why do flying super heroes wear them? Because they look friction’ cool, that’s why.

And then there are Superman’s tight knickers and knee-length plastic bootie things. He doesn’t exactly look like he’s ready to thrown down with the bad guys. But the outfit does do one thing: Show off Reeve’s junk (which I’m kind of thinking is the point).

And because the old Reeves costume wasn’t testosterone pumped enough, they had to create an even more manly edition for the new millennium.

Does this outfit not accentuate his manly features just as much as Gamora’s outfit highlights her womanly features? Not a lot left to the imagination here.

Okay, what about Iron Man? Surely a suit made to enable to man to fly, fire weapons and generally kick booty would be robust and machine-like, right? Something like this maybe:

Prototype Iron Man Suit Commissioned by U.S. Military
Granted, it’s primitive but probably more in line with a realistic military iron man suit than this:

Even when forged in metal, male heroes are molded into the shape of an Adonis. Their chests are large, their abs smooth and taut, and their manly bits … Well even Iron Man’s junk is accentuated.

Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at Thor.

Okay, you can stop looking at him now.

How did Thor strutting with his shirt off, displaying his rock-hard abs and teasing us with his low-slung jeans revealing his muscular groin further the plot? Could it be that it was there just to give female movie-goers a bit of eye candy?

Yes, of course it was. And while I saw this movie in the theatre I was wishing for a remote control so I could rewind that bit and play it over and over. (Thanks to the above gif, now I can watch it over and over 😉

Both Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins are clad in demigod worth costumes in Thor, The Dark World
Costume designers routinely “sexualize” the costumes for superheroes, both male and female. Why?

Because it’s sexy. 

And we want our superheroes to be sexy, whether male or female. I want to see Zoe’s beautiful body and Thor’s manly one. That’s part of the attraction. Their virility and sexiness separate them from us and we like it that way. I don’t want to go to a movie and see some middle-aged, pear-shaped mom whose boobs need an anti-gravity booster to keep from sagging to her navel dressed in sensible shoes. If I want to see that I’ll look in the mirror!

It’d be like going to see an super hero action flick and watching Amy Farrah Fowler trotting across the screen in her cardigan doing judo kicks.

Okay, it would be funny. But not exactly the image of a super hero.

What about Jim Parsons in skin tight spandex?

Give it up, Sheldon. It’s clearly padding.

Or how about Jack Black flashing the eye candy for the ladies?

I didn’t think so.

Super heroes are mythic. Someone larger than life. They are a reflection perhaps of how we’d like to look and be (i.e. hot and heroic) rather than a mirror of what we actually are (i.e. too-large around the middle and bold only in virtual realities).

If women told the truth, my guess is that most of them would prefer to look like Gamora, green skin and all, than like themselves. And if we had her body, many of us would dress like that too. But the truth is, over 90% of us don’t have anywhere near the body that Zoe Saldana has and we don’t rock Lycra (some of us would get banned from dropping our kids off at pre-school if we dared dress in Lycra from head-to-toe like some super heroes).

When I go to the movies, for a little while maybe I get to imagine myself as Gamora (or more likely I imagine myself as Rocket because he’s a friggin’ talking raccoon with cool weapons). And in my fantasy world, I prefer to look way hotter than I actually am because, you see, that’s the fun of pretend time.

I’m guessing that men are much the same way. Yes, Gamora (and Pepper Potts and Black Widow, etc.) look hot to appeal to guys. But the guys look hot to appeal to guys too (and to appeal to women as well). Because my guess is that guys cast themselves in the role of Thor (or Superman or Iron Man, etc.) and why would they aspire to a dude that looks more like them than like a demigod?

I think the success of the Marvel Universe movies is the plain old fun they are. And part of that fun is escape from our everyday looking-more-like-Amy-than-Zoe life and married to a man that’s more Jack Black than Chris Hemsworth.

I’ll leave you to ponder these thoughts as Chris takes his shirt off again … 

 And again.
Do you think I’m on to something? Or do you think these movies objectify women (and/or men)?

And if you were a character from the Marvel Universe, which would you be?

Author of Adventurous Stories for Middle Grade, Young Adult & Adults

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