Feminists who critique comics are not a unilateral whole. There are as many opinions on what constitutes exploitation and misogyny as there are women who read comics. While I may not agree with everything every woman who critiques comics has to say, I can generally squint at the big picture a little and figure out where she’s coming from with it. I still may not agree, but I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of critique and opinion.
However, almost every time the subject comes up you get some guy who comes in, claims to be a feminist or feminist friendly, blathers on and on, and then sums up his statement by essentially telling all us over-emotional little gals that we’ve got it all wrong, and there really isn’t anything to get upset over. Or that we’re taking the wrong tack.
I had one in the LJ comm I started for discussing women and comics, and when I countered that his paternalistic attitude was unnecessary and unwanted, I was informed that I obviously didn’t want to discuss things rationally, but instead just wanted people to agree with me. The funny thing is that in the big post of his he linked to, he made my points for me twice while overall disagreeing with me. I don’t get it. Reading comprehension, not so much.
Seriously, before you go telling women that what they are feeling and how they are feeling it is wrong, perhaps you should take a deep breath and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I have tits?
2. Do I have a vagina?
3. Do I have a uterus and/or ovaries?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then perhaps you should take a step back.
A couple of years ago I got raked over the coals by my male friends for grandiosely (and wrongly) announcing that vasectomy couldn’t possibly be that big a deal and that someone who was whining about it needed to shut the fuck up. And honestly, I shouldn’t have said that. I do not own testicles or a scrotum. I can not know what it feels like to be vasectomized. But by this same token I’ll thank men to keep from telling me that cramps can’t be that big a deal, as well.* I don’t know where the guy bitching about post-vasectomy swelling is coming from, and guys don’t know where women who have been acculturated differently from them are coming from.
Now, my second pet peeve about critiquing comics: “You just hate comics, you big frigid lesbian prude bitch.”
First, I don’t hate comics or I wouldn’t be wasting my time on them.
Second, I am neither frigid, lesbian nor prude. I am, however, big and a bitch so maybe two out of five isn’t bad. Well, ok, being bi I can maybe give you the lesbian thing at a half a point: being correct on 2.5 points gives you a pretty good major league batting average, I guess.
As I’ve said before, liking something does not preclude you from noticing the things that are wrong with it. I have a buddy of mine whom I adore, but when he’s on the net he’s a dick. Ok, I have a lot of friends like that. Sometimes you like things that aren’t entirely awesome 100% of the time. That’s called life. But ignoring the problems doesn’t mean they go away, nor does learning to live with those specific problems.
I love comics. This means that I buy them, I read them, but it does not preclude me from bitching about what’s wrong in them. And sometimes I have to make the hard choice to not read a certain title anymore because the bad has started to vastly outweigh the good.
The comics industry needs to realize that Geeky Girls dig on superheroes, too. We don’t want “Barbie” comics, or comics about ponies and princesses. We want strong, super-powered women kicking ass and taking names and doing it in REASONABLE clothing, among other things.
Ok, I’ve blathered enough. Maybe there will be more later, or maybe not. I’m finally recovered enough from my surgeries to experience the nookie again so it’s kind of eating up a lot of my time right now.
*One time in a fit of pique I offered to beat my husband across the lower back with a 2X4 to demonstrate to him exactly what my cramps felt like. Funny. He declined.