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Unread 08-03-2012, 06:55 PM   #16
Evil Bishounen
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Different people have different weight-bearing capabilities. It's really a matter of height, skeletal size, and muscle build. Your girlfriend looks very petite with little muscle mass, so it's no surprise she'd have trouble carrying something that's no big deal to you - particularly considering that you're very well-toned. If she's shorter than you, that's also part of it.

On the other hand, one of my friends cosplayed Seras from Hellsing and she carried the gigantic Harkonnen cannon around Anime Expo all day, usually by herself. That thing was made from PVC pipe, wood, and fiberglass, and she also carried an ammo case with it. Any problems she had were more from the size of the thing than the weight.

One thing to keep in mind when making props is that weight isn't the only issue that affects being able to carry them. The center of gravity and the physical size in proportion to the height of the bearer is just as important. A 6-foot tall person and a 5-foot tall person could have the exact same strength capability, but if you hand each one an identical large object to carry, their center of gravities will be totally different because they are not the same height. The 5-foot person will find the task more tiring simply because the large object is physically more awkward for them than it is for the taller person.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 07:13 PM   #17
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Yeaaaahhh it isn't a gender thing, it's a "how much weight does an individual want to carry all day" thing. There are guys with no muscle mass or strength training and women who can tote around 50 lbs like it's nothing. NEVER make it about gender.

Some people want light props no matter how strong they are. Sometimes it's just a pain in the ass universally. And a lot of times, it isn't the weight of the prop itself but the length of time carrying it that makes a difference, and that's the sort of thing that may not be noticeable until the end of the day when your arm hurts and you realize it's because you had that thing on it for hours on end. It's not at all about gender, so even suggesting that it is, well, yes, it does sound sexist. The real fact of the matter is, what you are personally able to handle and carry is different from other individuals. The example this time just happened to be your girlfriend. You don't know that there aren't 50 guys out there who also would consider your prop too heavy. There probably are.
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Unread 08-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #18
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I have learned, in my advanced age, that how I carry something- more than it's weight- affects how quickly I tire. I have wrist issues, too much power tool usage, too much repetitive motion. I can throw a 60 pound sack of cowboy cubes (cow treats) on my shoulder and walk it 500 feet from the road to the pasture several times in a row with no problem at all, yeah I'll break a sweat, but it doesn't wear me out. If the kid at the grocery store puts ALL my cans in one grocery tote and I have to carry it in my hand 75 feet from the car through the house to the pantry, it'll hurt and send those horrid electric shocks up to my elbow.

so TL: DR carrying over sized props around all day isn't a normal every day occurrence, and therefore will be strenuous regardless of weight, but more strenuous the slighter the build of the individual doing the carrying.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 12:28 AM   #19
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Yeah, I wouldn't make it about gender- some women would be very offended at the suggestion that they should carry lighter props just because they're women.

Some women have very little upper body strength or muscle mass, but then again, some men are that way too.

I'd focus more on the desires of the individual than their gender. Even some people who do strength training might not want too heavy a prop, just because a heavier one is a pain to carry for long periods, or more awkward to handle. The myth that real swords weigh an absurd amount can be traced back to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the original Conan movies. The props department apparently gave him a regular sword whose weight was a close approximation of the real thing. He handled it like it was a feather duster. However, the producers wanted it to look like the sword took almost superhuman strength to use, and so they made up a seriously over-weighted one for him to use instead, which produced the desired effect.
So really, you can't use an individual who strength trains on a regular basis as the basis for determining what constitutes an unreasonably heavy prop, because their tolerance for such is going to be far greater. Don't make it about gender, make it about individuals and their unique tolerances.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 02:01 PM   #20
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I both wholeheartedly support and a bit disagree with Amanita. I don't consider it a sexist question. There is a physiological difference between men and women's strength bearing capacity. On average, for a man and woman of the same height and similar builds for their gender, the man will have a naturally easier time carrying heavy things. However, this difference isn't incredibly huge, and there are a million personal habits that can change things (maybe she works out and he doesn't (true story in my cosplay group)). That said, I agree when Amanita said that some women would be offended by that suggestion--I was, when I first read it.

Also agree with the rest of what she and most others are saying. It depends on the individual. Make it as light as possible unless heavier materials were specifically requested. Even a strong person may not want to carry a heavier prop around all day.
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Unread 08-04-2012, 03:35 PM   #21
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I actually have a harder time carrying heavy things than my female friend does.

I am a hospital intern, so I am on the computer or at a desk a lot. I still make time in my schedule for walking and at least some normal exercise, but it can't compare to her job at a book warehouse. She sometimes lifts boxes of books all day, 5 days a week, and some can be very heavy. You wouldn't know it by looking at her, but if someone gets physically tired at a con, I'm always the first one, haha.

Even so, I don't think she would want to be carrying around anything too heavy either. It can be a hassle to keep track of any prop even without weight being a factor. So I agree that you should aim to naturally make it as light as possible. Even those perfectly capable of lifting heavier materials probably don't go to conventions to "work out" with their props.
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