Get the Pitchforks! The Mermaid Has Breasts!

realmsoffantasyThe cover for the Realms of Fantasy reboot (pictured at right) has generated a number of prissy blog posts from the likes of K. Tempest Bradford — truly inhabiting a teapot — and Jim C. Hines. The charge? Because the cover features a mermaid who has bared breasts, it is somehow sexist. Never mind that the image in question here does not present the mermaid as a sex object. (Surely a pair of extended gumdrop nipples, a sexist “Fuck me” pout, or some dreadful violation from a satyr would have done the trick. But the star on the mermaid’s right shoulder here is far more prominent than the mermaid’s scaly and subdued torso.)

The line of reasoning by these two sanctimonious pinheads is that, by featuring a topless mermaid, the magazine is, in the words of Hines, “worshipping at the Altar of Big Breasts.” This assumes, of course, that any human being who sees a Big Breast is going to immediately have sexual thoughts about it. But if the cover’s intent was mammary allure, then surely it has failed. For if the cover wanted to emphasize the breasts, certainly it would have made the glands in question ginormous. Never mind that the breasts being depicted here do not possess nipples, are asexual, and are completely occluded by the mermaid’s rather ridiculous New Wave haircut (truly deserving of the pitchforks!). Does one truly need to dredge up the many breasts that have appeared in numerous paintings, sculptures, and artistic representations over the course of human history? We’re in the 21st century.

What makes these protests any different from former Attorney General John Ashcroft installing blue drapes to cover the Spirit of Justice’s bare breasts at the Justice Department? Or those craven Christians who were “shocked” by Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction a few years ago?

Are the numbskulls who object to the breast even aware of the women who have fought battles against Puritanitcal forces to breastfeed their children in public? Do they truly not understand how objecting to an artistic depiction featuring a breast is the equivalent of confessing in public that some realities are just so gravely offensive that it is necessary to shower with one’s clothes on?

Personally, I’m wondering if Bradford and Hines will direct their energies at the Venus de Milo. After all, that sculpture actually has nipples! Should some generous soul establish a fund that would send Bradford and Hines on a trip to Paris, where they could then furrow their dour and humorless brows in a manner reflecting the significance of their offenses, I would happily donate a few dollars, if only to see the French put these two Pollyannas rightfully in their place.


  1. I’m just happy that magazine’s back — the genre can’t afford to lose more paying venues for short fiction.

    The cover doesn’t strike me as out of character from the magazine’s original incarnation. It’s not a great piece of art, but it’s pretty stylized, and not like a skin mag painting.

    Heck, it’s not like skiffy and fantasy mags have nobly eschewed depicting the scantily clad female, historically speaking.

  2. As Tempest said many times in the threads spawned from the post, and more or less in the post itself, the issue isn’t breasts for a single issue. I think she even stated she liked this particular piece.

    The problem is that RoF is well known for catering to male taste in their presentation of artwork despite the fact that its readership skews female. Why not start showing more male beefcake? Seems fair enough to me.

    Tempest is no prude. I was present at a panel she was on in May where she went on at length about Vin Diesel’s attributes.

  3. Agreed, Eric. But consider this: mankind as we know it will perish due to global warming/rising sea levels and we’ll either adapt or not adapt. Do you want children, Eric? Because you sure as shit aren’t going to have any with that attitude. I give it 10 years tops before all there is left to fuck is nippleless smelt. Forgive my language, but this point needs to be made. I don’t know you, Eric. Maybe you don’t want kids. That’s cool. Maybe you’re just out for excitement, a little of this, a little of that, you know, we’ve all been there. If I had a nickel for every time I had the figurative itch for some sweet tranny action, then got a literal itch from said sweet tranny action, I’d have about thirty-five cents (it’s a biannual thing). I know you know where I’m coming from. You’re airing personal tit aesthetics on a lit blog. “I was reading Bleak House the other day, but i had to put it down. Some books just don’t have enough anal in them. Just my opinion.” Well, Eric, when you’re floating on a raft in the middle of the Pacific in 2020, horny as fuck but too scared you’ll get sunburn on your cock, you might take a dip–a plunge, so to speak–into the ocean that is fishfucking. No one will judge you for having sex with something that has boobs without nipples. If anything, they’ll judge you for trying to throat-fuck an halibut. And, Eric, you’re seriously kidding yourself if you say, “Harold, the whole nipplesless boob thing really turns me off. I’m not worried about being judged for buttfucking urchins.” Turns you off, Eric? I hate to quote Andrew Dice Clay, but truer words were never spoken: “Two tits, a hole, and a heartbeat.” That’s all you need. ALL you need. Not: two tits with nipples, a hole, and heartbeat. Two tits. Give or take the nipples. Sorry for blowing everyone’s mind. And sorry for the gutter talk, Ed. Just needed to talk to my boy, Eric, ’bout man things.

  4. Mr. Champion,

    I shall avoid the obvious pun and instead say that I appreciate you going to bat for the magazine.


    Douglas Cohen
    Art Director

  5. Oh don’t kid yourself, Ed. We all know that this type of magazine caters to young, prepubescent men as they have since we were prepubescent (even earlier). Obviously, this cheap tradition has been continued throughout the fantasy genre culminating in this particular magazine cover, enraging the right people. We should go to book stores and cover them up with bedsheets. There should be a federal decree. We must protect the children! Particularly prepubescent boys! And Girls! How can they possibly live up to the standards presented by this mermaid (well, when gene splicing becomes commonplace, I’m sure they can, and will, add fish scales to their bodies, and we know that’s coming, so I guess that point is moot)!

  6. Dear Harold,
    Your bold insights are truly a breath of fresh seawater in these times of troubles and tribulations. But I would be remiss if I pretended I didn’t prefer to paint nipples on fish when I have the inclination to have sexual relations with them, as that really rocks my waves, if you know what I mean. If I had a nickle for every time I’d painting nipples on a fish and had sex with it, I’d have some nickles. Oh yes.


  7. I’ve said elsewhere that it’s one of the ironies of our times that the militant progressives who crusade against ‘objectification’ basically sound just like the suppressive prudes on the conservative side of the fence.

    Perhaps this is simply a demonstration of how extremes tend to mirror one another?

    Who knows. I found the cover for ROF to be tasteful and eye-catching. Sexist? Eh, I think anyone who says this cover is sexist is saying way more about the sort of baggage they’re bringing to the debate, than it does about the cover or the magazine.

    Anyway, good commentary.

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