The Hobbit Cast Swaps Genders in All-Female Photoshoot

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The Hobbit Cast Swaps Genders in All-Female Photoshoot

An all-female Hobbit shoot has envisioned the film's main cast as a company of female adventurers.

While the lands of Middle-Earth clearly aren't devoid of women (someone had to birth all those sword-wielding men), by-and-large the works of Tolkien tend to be a bit dude-centric. Granted, you have your Galadriel and your Eowyn, but they tend to be exceptions to the rule. It's an arguable flaw that the film versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit both took steps to remedy. Even so, the fact remains that when hobbits go a-questing, they don't seem to do it with women.

All of that said, Russian photographer Alexandr Turchanin recently shot a series of photos with the aim of giving women and Tolkien fans a glimpse into a gender-swapped version of The Hobbit that imagines Thorin's company as a party of intrepid female adventurers. The results are pretty stunning, even if Turchanin neglected to give the lady-dwarves beards (which is totally a thing if you didn't know).

Despite that error, we'll let that slide on account of how spot-on many of these photos are. While a few of the models are perhaps a bit too young for their parts (here's looking at you Gandalf), I'm pretty sure a female Bilbo would look pretty much exactly they way she's pictured. Likewise for Lady Oakenshield who does a great job of emulating the male version's persistently dour expression. What do you think? Does this gallery hit its mark, or would it be better off disappearing with the One Ring?

Source: The Mary Sue

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I'd say the point they seem to be trying to make is somewhat undermined by the simple fact that all models used are rather conventionally attractive.

It's not so much a gender swap as a hot girl swap.

Huh. Article is looking strange on Google Chrome once I'm in the forums. The pictures are overlapping. I don't know if there's anything you can do about that (nor if you need to - it was fine before I went to comments).

OT: I like it. Bilbo looks just about perfect, Gandalf is recognisably Gandalf, and I could pick out most of the other dwarves. Female beards would have been a nice touch for the dwarves, but it can be tough to make that work, so I can't blame them for skipping it.

Eh, these don't look like dwarf women at all. Aside from the lack of beards, the wigs are pretty crappy and WAY too clean and WAY WAY too vividly-colored, the ladies are all too slender (even Bombur is considerably thinner than she should be).all their skin is too smooth and perfect... at best this is misguided, and at worst it's a waste of time.

P.S. Thanks

Oh come on, they did all that and they DIDN'T do a male version of the made up elf lady? That just would have been perfect.

Still, Rule 63 is always welcome, even if it's dwarves.

Eh I think some of them are (admittedly sadly) progressive for portrayal of female characters. It's a small step in the right direction at least. I'm still sad the dwarves aren't as dwarf-like as they should be.

They look fantastic. Should have gotten bigger girls though, or at least have made them more, well, stout. I do love the way how they´re instantly recognisable as their counterparts and I especially like Bilbo.

Man, female Gandalf looks so fucking hot! You know, eventhough she totally matches Ian McKellen in age. I never knew women in their 70's could look so youthfull and vibrant.

But in all seriousness, female Bilbo's hair looks pretty cool.

The pictures look good, but as others have said, if they're trying to make a point about limited representation of women it's kind of undermined by the fact that they're all stunning, young models.

I can imagine the shoot and putting the costumes together etc must have been fun though.

Never thought I'd have that reaction to Thorin haha. Anywho, I like the photoshoot.

Also, *insert joke about lack of Legoolas*

So apparently, in fantasy, women age to their late twenties then stop aging entirely. I like some of these, but they could have at least tried to capture Gandalf and Radagasts age. But no, old women are just ick. amirite?

Bilbo (would his female swap be Bilba...?) was a nice start, since Martin Freeman isn't exactly hard on the eyes either, but as soon as they touch on the Dwarves and the Wizards I just felt like they were trying to generate fap fiction.

To be fair it might be due to a limited pool of models, but being completely honest with myself it's because 20 something year old women are not allowed to have flaws that affect their attractiveness in any way... at least not in fiction (and modelling).

I would have said this was a step forward, but they failed to actually go anywhere with it.

All that said, nice costumes.

EDIT: Also, I'm under the assumption these aren't magazine models, just models in the general sense. I've sketched a 62 year old female model nude, it didn't kill me or ruin my sexual appetite. Surely finding an old and wise looking woman and have her cosplay could have been done with little effort.

EDIT EDIT: I'm not even griping about the beardless dwarves, some things are okay to take liberties with. But let's just look at the Hobbit Cast:


There's quite a bit of diversity here (ignoring the apparent lack of women and the whitewashing) between the characters. Some of these differences would be difficult to capture (like height) in individual shots since they require forced perspective, but things like weight, age and fitness aren't.

I mean, Bombur is fat as a defining trait, not chunky or plump, but proper fat. The Lady Bombur here has a cookie in her mouth and looks like she might need it she's so thin.

A more interesting question than why there aren't more women in Tolkien's works would be why there aren't more women writers with the ability to create epic fantasy works of their own with a more equal number of women instead of cribbing from things that are already popular (and in a manner that basically amounts to anti-creativity: the gender swap) just so they can make a point?

Oh great. I can't wait for the inevitable anti-feminism rage that this will (for some reason nobody can ever explain) un-doubtable cause.

I could tell who each one was--except Fili/Kili. I still mix up which one has the dark hair and which is the blonde--and I was very impressed. My favorite is Bilbo, with Thorin being a close second (all that blue...love blue...). Gandalf was probably the weakest in my opinion, simply because she looked like just a traditional wizard without the beard. Which I suppose shows how much Gandalf's design has influenced fantasy over these many years.

They need to do the rest of the Company now please. :-)

xNicolex:
Oh great. I can't wait for the inevitable anti-feminism rage that this will (for some reason nobody can ever explain) un-doubtable cause.

Care to explain what this photoshoot has to do with feminism?

And dear god, I sincerely hope that this won't turn into another flame-war....

matrix3509:
A more interesting question than why there aren't more women in Tolkien's works would be why there aren't more women writers with the ability to create epic fantasy works of their own with a more equal number of women instead of cribbing from things that are already popular (and in a manner that basically amounts to anti-creativity: the gender swap) just so they can make a point?

A lot of female writers used male pen names when writing for mixed audiences. Most famous of these in recent fantasy books would be J.K Rowling. Her name is Joanne Rowling, no middle name, and that's what she initially submitted the first harry potter book under. The publisher urged her to use initials due to anticipated loss of readership among young boys if they used such an obvious feminine name. So she named herself J.K Rowling, despite the K standing for nothing at all, to make it sound masculine.

There are loads of examples of this throughout the literary world, Fantasy included. Just google "female authors with male pseudonyms".

The only books (EDIT: specifically referring to fantasy) that are commonly released under a Female pen name are once with heavy romance plots. I read somewhere once that this was a "trick" to get around a publishers reluctance to publish books by female authors (especially in fantasy and sci-fi), but whether that's true or not doesn't defend the Twilight series, before anyone thinks to bring that shlock up.

EDIT2: I'm actually a little irked by the implication of your post. Are you suggesting that women aren't capable of doing what Tolkien did? Or that women can only bastardize male work for their own ends?

(double scratch that, I tried following it to a source and I haven't been able to clear up whether Alexander Turchin is a man or the name of a studio.)

xNicolex:
Oh great. I can't wait for the inevitable anti-feminism rage that this will (for some reason nobody can ever explain) un-doubtable cause.

I'd be more concerned about the inevitable nerd-rage over whether or not female Dwarves should have beards or not.

Which, admittedly, will somewhat touch upon the anti-feminism rage when someone inevitably says "of course female dwarves don't have beards, they're female", at which point someone calls them a "fake nerd girl".

Anyway, as your friendly local neighbourhood agent of Chaos:
Jeez, what kinda hack made this? Don't they know Dwarven women have beards!?

The one depicting Thorin is fantastic, but the rest are just a bit meh. A couple are just downright terrible.

I love it- in fact, they could all be another set of adventurers in Middle Earth entirely, which is exciting!

...

A male Legolas would have been a nice choice! WHA-HEEEEY!

...

what? everyone already thought up that joke, upon seeing the article?

Oh.

*sadly ninja'd*

Dwarven women with beards is an aesthetic choice, I feel. I know it's canon in the books, but a beard is such an overtly masculine trait that I can understand why they opted out on them. On the other hand, I do find their respective ages suspect- they all do seem rather young. Again, an aesthetic choice... but I feel it is one that could be challenged more, in the future.

Looks neat on its own

But their faces look far too clean, as if they were made from this fine clay and not actual people, needs more dirt, general grime, and so on.

This is rubbish. Except for Frodo and Thorin they dont match at all.

Bilbo looks waaaaaaaaaaay too competent, I mean shit, it looks like her second breakfast would be your ass for that weak ass sh*t you're bringing in her house!

Actually, nearly all of them look kinda... excepting Thorin who I can kinda get behind, they don't feel like they're characters. They feel like hot girls in costumes. I like the concept but it's not great execution :-/

No. Unforgivable. Needs more ladybeards.

Incidentally, can we get an actual version of this six years from now, when it's time to reboot LotR? And get someone like Dame Maggie Smith to be Gandalf? Because that would be awesome.

Pretty much what I expected from a Russian photographer; all the women are young, gorgeous, and most are "tarted up" a bit, and god forbid if they actually looked mussed or dirty.

Yes, I'm prejudiced when it comes to (mostly male) Eastern Europeans - especially Russians - and their portrayal of women. I try not to be, but they confirm them time and time again. It's almost gotten to the point where I can tell if the artist is E. European just by looking at how they draw/paint/photograph/design women. Occasionally one will surprise you though =)

One of the few times western audiences get to see some legitimately normal-looking people star in a movie (except for Kili. Heaven forfend that the pretty elf girl fall for a dwarf who actually looks like a dwarf instead of a miniature dark-haired elf. Fuck that guy) and their lady versions are the standard whitewashed, pretty, thin twenty-somethings. Can one of the models at least be bald, or wrinkled, or normal-sized? Something?

Hagi:
I'd say the point they seem to be trying to make is somewhat undermined by the simple fact that all models used are rather conventionally attractive.

It's not so much a gender swap as a hot girl swap.

Pretty much what I thought after scrolling through them. Which, in all honesty, is rather disappointing.

Yes, yes, the girls are quite attractive and the costumes (mostly) fantastic. However, I would have LOVED to have seen a proper gender swap; right down to an older female Gandalf and a genuinely fat female Bombur.

That would have been far more appealing than just putting Hobbit costumes on standard-affair, attractive photo-shoot models.

Still: points for effort and some for execution.

I'm not even that big of a fan, but these girls are too perfect, too young, not stocky enough, the fat one isn't fat enough (But then I guess a fat woman with food in her mouth would be called fat-shaming or something)

And of course, no beards, and no male version of the elf woman...

It's a nice cosplay effort, but if you're gonna go for it, go all the way.

image

Hagi:
I'd say the point they seem to be trying to make is somewhat undermined by the simple fact that all models used are rather conventionally attractive.

It's not so much a gender swap as a hot girl swap.

My thoughts exactly.

And kinda weird. Don't we all love grandmas? What's the deal with this Gandalf...ina then?

My one complaint, they couldn't get a Sting? I have one I bought for $10, the Thorin outfit has to cost more than that.

Not a complaint, second hottest Gandalf I've ever seen.

Well if they toned the Barbie doll thing down by about 150% then this would be pretty cool, right now it just looks odd, really really odd.

Nurb:
I'm not even that big of a fan, but these girls are too perfect, too young, not stocky enough, the fat one isn't fat enough (But then I guess a fat woman with food in her mouth would be called fat-shaming or something)

And of course, no beards, and no male version of the elf woman...

It's a nice cosplay effort, but if you're gonna go for it, go all the way.

image

Now that's perfect!

As it is, the OP isn't really a gender swap or experiment. Just an excuse to photograph hot models dressed as dwarves.

StewShearer:
While the lands of Middle-Earth clearly aren't devoid of women (someone had to birth all those sword-wielding men), by-and-large the works of Tolkien tend to be a bit dude-centric. Granted, you have your Galadriel and your Eowyn, but they tend to be exceptions to the rule. It's an arguable flaw that the film versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit both took steps to remedy. Even so, the fact remains that when hobbits go a-questing, they don't seem to do it with women.

Eh. Playing the devils advocate, I say that this is a complaint I'm hearing more and more about LOTR but we need to remember that this was written in the 40's, by a man who was literally born in the 19th century. While we may have stronger demands for more reasonable representation of the fairer sex, this was something that really wasn't a concern back then. And like you said, at least the film is trying.

xNicolex:
Oh great. I can't wait for the inevitable anti-feminism rage that this will (for some reason nobody can ever explain) un-doubtable cause.

So far, all the complaints seem to be more about how the models are too young/pretty looking/beardless, so I reserve the right to call you a pessimist.

People complaining about the lack of female characters in Tolkien's work seem to have missed the point that he was writing his own version of a North European epic. Women weren't exactly main protagonists in that genre...

What, no Smaug? Are they even trying!?

I could make some lame joke about 'Bagging' that Bilbo... but I won't...

Alandoril:
People complaining about the lack of female characters in Tolkien's work seem to have missed the point that he was writing his own version of a North European epic. Women weren't exactly main protagonists in that genre...

If I wanted historical accuracy, I'd read a historical novel. To me, the greatest strength of science fiction and fantasy is that this nonsense can go die in a fire.

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