Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

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Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Sat Mar 05, 2016 3:30 pm

Anyone else tired of this nonsense? Just Google Image any of the heroes of the Eldar and you will see homoerotic anime twinks posing seductively with pouting lips. Here is Lord Fingolfin, legs crossed:

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Seriously? That's the son of Finwe who lead the Noldor over the Grinding Ice, and fought Morgoth in single combat?

It seems some people can't imagine beardless, fair of face men that are more slender in frame than the Edain without them becoming outright feminized.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Old_Begonia » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:48 pm

I do agree, but not being an artist have little to offer instead. What about you? Can you draw? Paint?

Pick an actor who you think more closely resembles your idea of an elven badass. I'm thinking Bruce Willis.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Calma » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:34 pm

I don't agree.
Most people see Elves as the 'fair' race.
Thranduil was not a push over nor was Legolas
I don't think I'd want to question eithers manhood.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:50 pm

I don't care what he looks like, Legolas is pretty damn a bad ass in anybody's book, I mean the boy don't miss. Bruce Willis is NOT my idea of what an Elf looks like at all. They are the Fair Folk after all right so they should be beautiful. They are not Men so the standard would not be the same any way. They could be wearing full blown drag, if they can fight like that, I'll raise a tankard with'em any time. :wink: As to a modern day actor that might have the look? I submit a young Robert Redford. 8)
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:17 pm

Calma wrote:I don't agree.
Most people see Elves as the 'fair' race.
Thranduil was not a push over nor was Legolas
I don't think I'd want to question eithers manhood.


Well, this is kind of the mentality that I am trying to call into question. Being "fair" precludes outright ugliness, fatness, etc. but need not preclude virility.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:29 pm

Old_Begonia wrote:I do agree, but not being an artist have little to offer instead. What about you? Can you draw? Paint?


Unfortunately, I am lacking in that department. But when I read and re-read time and time again the works of JRRT, I spend a lot of time visualizing it all in my imagination. To the extent that I do not pass a paragraph in the Silmarillion or UT until I feel I have a satisfactory visual accompaniment. The idea of effeminate Elves never fit into my imaginings. Nor did they fit into those of JRRT. This was a Catholic who held to traditional gender norms who spoke of there being less distinction between male and female Elves than between man and woman. I think our contemporary egalitarian, LGBTQ-friendly culture tends to project a bit much on JRRT by composing drawings of crossed-legged Noldor and homosexual Elven fan fiction.

Old_Begonia wrote:Pick an actor who you think more closely resembles your idea of an elven badass. I'm thinking Bruce Willis.


To be honest, he's probably the last person I'd look to for a resemblance to the Eldar. I think Elves should have "sharp" features. If I was making a film about Middle-earth, the Elves would only be played by very fair-faced Baltic, Slavic and Germanic actors.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:33 pm

that is what I mean You cannot tell a book by its cover. Being beautiful and having long hair should not mean you are an effeminate man and as I said Elves are NOT MEN so what would be considered a manly image for a Man might not be so for an Elf. Lets face it they are not gonna be growing beards any time soon
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:38 pm

erinhue wrote:I don't care what he looks like, Legolas is pretty damn a bad ass in anybody's book, I mean the boy don't miss.


If you're referring to Orlando Bloom in Peter Jackson's film, I'm afraid I have to disagree. He was far from a "bad ass." He makes dumb jokes and delivers lines in a really corny manner. None of the spirit of the Sindar nobility from which he is supposed to be descended. In fact, Bloom actually has very little to do with the Legolas in Tolkien's work. Outside of guys enjoying his action scenes, and girls wanting to mount him, I don't see what the big deal is about him.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:41 pm

erinhue wrote:Being beautiful and having long hair should not mean you are an effeminate man


Agreed!

erinhue wrote:as I said Elves are NOT MEN so what would be considered a manly image for a Man might not be so for an Elf


Yes, but this does not therefore mean "lady-like" qualities, homosexual anime dudes, etc.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:39 am

Oh well I will give you points Bloom cannot act and has a very stilted one note delivery. check him out in Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean movies and I will admit to being one of those guys that liked the action in the movies. I am a sucker for a trick shot and I just love the Elf taking down that elephant thingy in the last film. That is want I meant but if you are talking strictly the books Legolas does not get all that much to do or say there.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:52 am

erinhue wrote:that is what I mean You cannot tell a book by its cover. Being beautiful and having long hair should not mean you are an effeminate man and as I said Elves are NOT MEN so what would be considered a manly image for a Man might not be so for an Elf. Lets face it they are not gonna be growing beards any time soon


True. There's a minor character in the movie Kngdom of Heaven, a muscle bound Nordic fellow in the retinue of Liam Neeson, not ugly and with long blonde hair. But I wince at putting these words in his mouth:

To fly would be folly,
To stay would be jolly.
Tra-lil-lil-lil-lolly, ha! ha!


Tough to reconcile.
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There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby heliona » Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:21 am

I'm not sure how crossing one's legs is effeminate. I know plenty of heterosexual men who cross their legs. Crossing legs and having long hair and a "pretty" face isn't effeminate. I personally don't think the image you have posted at the top is effeminate, either.

I can think of several examples of men who have long hair (and I don't even really like long hair on men) and lean bodies who are gorgeous and ooze masculinity.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:36 pm

This guy seems to pull it off pretty well.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/img/4/3/7 ... Muller.jpg
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Ladykat » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:12 pm

Old_Begonia wrote:To fly would be folly,
To stay would be jolly.
Tra-lil-lil-lil-lolly, ha! ha!

Tough to reconcile.


That quote is from The Hobbit, and I always felt The Hobbit---and I'm talking about the book here---was geared more towards children. I mean, look at the dwarves' names. Bifur, Bofur, Bombur?
If that's the case, then maybe that's why the Elves were singing silly, rather childish songs teasing the dwarves.

Yes, it is hard to reconcile that bit of doggerel with the Elves as they were portrayed in the LOITR books.

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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby heliona » Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:40 pm

Ladykat wrote:
Old_Begonia wrote:To fly would be folly,
To stay would be jolly.
Tra-lil-lil-lil-lolly, ha! ha!

Tough to reconcile.


That quote is from The Hobbit, and I always felt The Hobbit---and I'm talking about the book here---was geared more towards children. I mean, look at the dwarves' names. Bifur, Bofur, Bombur?


Actually, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur are versions of names from the Dvergatal (in which they were Bívurr, Bǫvurr, and Bombur/Bumburr), part of the Poetic Edda, Icelandic poetry. The Dvergatal is the "Catalogue of Dwarves" and Tolkien got most of his dwarves' names from those tales. So they aren't childish names at all.

Of course The Hobbit was a children's book - that goes without saying. The son of Urwin, the publisher, read it and said it was suitable for children aged 5 and above. The "tra-la-la-lally" is rather odd, but I think it shows another side to the Elves, where they are less serious. Why do they have to be so serious all the time? I'm sure that they're not.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:01 pm

heliona wrote:I'm not sure how crossing one's legs is effeminate.


Depends on context, how steep the crossing, really. But the above image of Fingolfin is quite effeminate. A king doesn't sit cross legged on a throne with his knee up in the air. One might as well slouch in the throne. The Elves were of a dignified and royal demeanor. Their kings would not be crossing their legs on their thrones or scrunching their knees together or biting their nails or any other form of unconscious beta male behavior.

heliona wrote:I know plenty of heterosexual men who cross their legs. Crossing legs and having long hair and a "pretty" face isn't effeminate. I personally don't think the image you have posted at the top is effeminate, either.


I can't imagine what your idea of effeminacy is, frankly. This ridiculous homoerotic elf image is not really commensurate with Tolkien's work. Certainly not with the conceptions of manhood held by a traditionalist Catholic.

heliona wrote:I can think of several examples of men who have long hair (and I don't even really like long hair on men) and lean bodies who are gorgeous and ooze masculinity.


Well sure, long hair is natural on men, and long hair and facial hair has been the norm for many European peoples from the dawn of time until about a century or so ago. I'm not arguing about hair here, or that men cannot look good with long hair, though I think dudes with long hair should grow beards and be muscular and probably live in the woods. Wield axes, work with their hands, etc.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:10 pm

OK can you tell me exactly what it is that makes you feel this image is effeminate? You say it is not the long hair so what is it, the crossed legs, hairless face? What? One more time They are ELVES so any Manly standard, Catholic or otherwise would not really apply since they are not MEN.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby heliona » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:03 am

I have to say I think you're projecting a lot onto that image - try to take a metaphoric step back and look at it again. He looks relaxed to me, not effeminate. He is not pouting, he is merely sat on his throne, in a moment of respite. We have no idea of the context of this image - it could be a quiet moment in Fingolin's life. The image is most certainly not homoerotic.

Edited to add: I have just checked out the artist's DeviantArt page, and they say (about the pose): "Yes, I did know that the pose speaks power. I specifically posed him so, so he should reflect confident power. Not 'bullying' or arrogant power, just very-sure-of-himself kind of power."So certainly the intention behind the painting was masculine power, nothing else.

Once again, you insinuate that crossing one's legs (no matter how it is done) is somehow emasculating ("beta male behaviour"). I couldn't disagree more.

Numenohtar wrote:The Elves were of a dignified and royal demeanor.


I suggest you read The Silmarillion again - there are plenty of instances when the Elves were most certainly not dignified. (The Kinslaying and the Burning of the Ships immediately come to mind, but I'm sure I could think of more.) I'm not sure what "royal demeanour" is even meant to mean. Royals act foolishly all the time.

You are trying to apply a modern opinion to a race of Elves, not Men, as erinhue points out. Also, there are plenty of people who disagree with you completely. Facial hair, head hair length, muscles, posture (and pouting) do not make a man masculine, it is his attitude and bearing and something that just oozes out of him.

Am I correct in assuming that you are male, Numenohtar? I just wonder whether gender might have some role to play in our perspectives.

Edited to add: I have also discovered that crossing legs is interpreted differently in North America than Europe. A friend of mine says "the figure is sitting in what is nearer to a knee-to-knee leg cross than an ankle-to-knee leg cross. The former is considered wholly unremarkable in Europe but is often considered rather effeminate in North America, where I believe the ankle-to-knee cross is more commonly used by men and knee-to-knee by women." (Paraphrasing from Desmond Morris, the sociobiologist.) Interestingly, it is hypothesised that the ankle-to-knee leg cross (favoured by American men) stems from cowboys and their clothing (presumably the spurs). In reference to the painting being discussed, the artist is European. Perhaps that is why I just can't see the problem with the leg cross - it is a cultural issue.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Aravar » Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:50 am

Numenohtar wrote:I think dudes with long hair should grow beards and be muscular and probably live in the woods. Wield axes, work with their hands, etc.


And leap from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia.

There is no way that that could be effeminate ever.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Frelga » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:44 pm

Well, given that Elves run along thin ropes and don't fall through the snow crust, they are probably not exactly the bodybuilder type. Recall also that while Legolas performed feats of agility and fancy shooting, it was Aragorn and Boromir who had to do all the heavy lifting.

And yeah, at least in my day, knee-to-ankle pose was considered uncouth in Europe. No one needs to see your crotch, dude.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Vanaladiel » Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:13 pm

My image of the Elves in The Hobbit was that they were a lot of partyers, They loved to drink and dance and they kept running away from the Dwarves when they came into their fire circles. I really did not see them as effeminate but as just a very jovial folk who loved their drink and fun! The Lord of the Rings elves were much more stern and badass in my opinion and they were very much as I had envisioned them, the way that PJ showed them.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:21 pm

heliona wrote:I have to say I think you're projecting a lot onto that image - try to take a metaphoric step back and look at it again.


I did. And it still looks ridiculous. And believe me, that picture is only the tip of the iceberg.

heliona wrote:I suggest you read The Silmarillion again - there are plenty of instances when the Elves were most certainly not dignified. (The Kinslaying and the Burning of the Ships immediately come to mind, but I'm sure I could think of more.) I'm not sure what "royal demeanour" is even meant to mean. Royals act foolishly all the time.


I believe I made it clear that I was referring to bearing, outward behavior, poise, etc.

heliona wrote:You are trying to apply a modern opinion to a race of Elves, not Men, as erinhue points out. Also, there are plenty of people who disagree with you completely. Facial hair, head hair length, muscles, posture (and pouting) do not make a man masculine, it is his attitude and bearing and something that just oozes out of him.


How is virility a modern conception?

heliona wrote:Am I correct in assuming that you are male, Numenohtar? I just wonder whether gender might have some role to play in our perspectives.


Yes. And just as women are better suited at understanding and visualizing the female characters of female authors, so men are better at understanding and visualizing the male characters of male authors. And indeed, gender has a major role to play in what I would argue is your confused mental image of Elven men.

heliona wrote:Edited to add: I have also discovered that crossing legs is interpreted differently in North America than Europe. A friend of mine says "the figure is sitting in what is nearer to a knee-to-knee leg cross than an ankle-to-knee leg cross. The former is considered wholly unremarkable in Europe but is often considered rather effeminate in North America, where I believe the ankle-to-knee cross is more commonly used by men and knee-to-knee by women." (Paraphrasing from Desmond Morris, the sociobiologist.) Interestingly, it is hypothesised that the ankle-to-knee leg cross (favoured by American men) stems from cowboys and their clothing (presumably the spurs). In reference to the painting being discussed, the artist is European. Perhaps that is why I just can't see the problem with the leg cross - it is a cultural issue.


Those are some interesting insights, but I don't think it changes the highly beta quality of this girl's depiction of the High King of the Noldor. I have joked with male Scandinavian Tolkien fans I know on the net about effete Elven drawings before (pasting the most absurd back and forth), so the idea that my disgust at all of these bizarre depictions is some cowboy-induced Yankee hallucination seems rather unlikely. I think it's largely a cultural problem in our post-feminist, LGBTQ-friendly world trying to grasp the works of the imagination of a rather traditional Catholic. We know from Christopher Tolkien of JRRT's "wrathful comment on a ‘pretty’ or 'ladylike’ pictorial rendering of Legolas" that it's perfectly reasonable to assume the creator of Arda would himself would be annoyed at a great deal of the effeminate depictions of the Elves. Certainly he would be nauseated by the homosexual Elven fan fictions going around.

So I don't see why it is so controversial to point some of these things out. The Silmarillion states that genders have a metaphysical basis; that male and female "exist" (I would argue, in the mind of Eru Iluvatar) before incarnate beings ("even as with us male and female may be shown by the raiment but is not made thereby"). Normally, this view is scorned as "essentialism." But it was the norm before the modern era in Western philosophy, and Tolkien seems to have been quite sympathetic to it. For example, females exhibiting certain male qualities-- the "Amazons" of the Haladin, Galadriel, Eowyn, et al.-- are the exception, not the rule, in Arda.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:47 pm

Ideas of virility change from time to time and place to place What was once considered manly not bathing not shaving and being generally gross gave way to the powdered wigs stockings and dandy fashions of Europe Virility is in the eye of the beholder. Im a guy and I do see where you are coming from I just happen to think that you are very wrong here. I will say it one more time You are using a human standard by which to judge that which is NON HUMAN Elves are not men and what might seem effeminate by one standard might be the picture of virility by another. The Elves are not men so your statements are actually non applicable. If you judge a fish by how well it can climb a tree it will always be lacking.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Storyteller » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:14 am

One should remember that "effeminate" look was not associated with lack of manhood in all cultures or at all times. Achilles, as described in The Iliad, was so fair-looking that his mother could quite convincingly disguise him as a girl in order to prevent him from being recruited by Odysseus and Diomedes to fight the Trojan war.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Frelga » Sun Mar 27, 2016 5:06 pm

Heh, right, Story. I just recently came across a student writing up how they imagined the encounter went between the slight, slim Achilles and his presumably beefier opponents. If find it again, I'll link it, it was hilarious.

Yes. And just as women are better suited at understanding and visualizing the female characters of female authors, so men are better at understanding and visualizing the male characters of male authors. And indeed, gender has a major role to play in what I would argue is your confused mental image of Elven men.


That doesn't seem logical. Surely if the character is supposed to be attractive then, well, they should attract their target group. For a straight male, that would mean that it's the opinion of straight women that counts. So if women visualize attractive male characters as slim and elegant, well, clearly they see them as sufficiently masculine.

Also why movie-Legolas has a lot more female fans than movie-Gimli.

P.S.: finally saw the art on a big monitor. That... that looks perfectly masculine to me.

P.P.S.: Went back and looked again. No, seriously, what is it that says effeminate to you? His facial bone structure features pronounced brows and proportionately large, squared chin. His posture is relaxed but not weak. He's got broad shoulders, muscular arms, broad chest and tapered torso, and long, powerful legs with large feet.

Obviously, actual individual preferences run the gamut of human shapes, including movie-Gimli. But that right there is probably the body type that most women will find attractive.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Denethor » Wed May 25, 2016 4:35 am

There's something hilarious about the manufactured outrage of this. Our poster is so desperate to find offence at Fingolfin *crossing his legs*, yet not one peep from him at John Howe and Ted Nasmith portraying the High King of the Noldor as a blond. It's almost as though this rant is less about accuracy and more about homophobia.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby erinhue » Wed May 25, 2016 9:49 am

:whistle: I'm just gonna leave that there
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Denethor » Wed May 25, 2016 11:05 pm

Numenohtar wrote: I think dudes with long hair should grow beards and be muscular and probably live in the woods. Wield axes, work with their hands, etc.


I'd probably traumatise you then. I have long hair, am clean shaven, live in a (small) city, and work for a newspaper, with writing as a hobby.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:26 pm

erinhue wrote:You are using a human standard by which to judge that which is NON HUMAN Elves are not men and what might seem effeminate by one standard might be the picture of virility by another. The Elves are not men so your statements are actually non applicable. If you judge a fish by how well it can climb a tree it will always be lacking.


The paragraph above related by Christopher Tolkien at JRRT's scoffing at effeminate depictions of Legolas invalidates this post of yours, imho.
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Re: Tired of Effeminate Depictions of Elven Men

Postby Numenohtar » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:28 pm

Denethor wrote:I'd probably traumatise you then. I have long hair, am clean shaven, live in a (small) city, and work for a newspaper, with writing as a hobby.


Can you explain to me how a white-collar urbanite with beta qualities is supposed to be traumatic?
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