Geek Girls Rule! #25.25 Something about feminist critiques of comics.

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.” 

sigh

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.

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39 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #25.25 Something about feminist critiques of comics.

  1. “If the answer to any of these questions is “No” then perhaps you should take a step back. ”

    The problem with this theory is that I think it works better in the reverse. If you aren’t a man, what are you doing telling men what their sexual fantasies mean? Why are you calling them misogynistic if you don’t really know how guys feel about women?

    Personally, I have no problem with female comic fans saying “I don’t like this” or “This makes me uncomfortable” or whatever. My problem comes when people say “You are demeaning women” as if there was a universal understanding that lusting after women for purely physical reasons was demeaning. What if guys think that lusting after for purely physical reasons is uplifting? Or “Bendis hates women” as if they’d ever even met Bendis or could tell things about his psyche by looking at what his villains did.

    I’m all for comics that Geeky Girls want, but I don’t think that means that they then get to decide that Geeky Guys shouldn’t have the comics they want.

  2. I don’t think anyone’s telling you that you can’t have the cheesecake. Or at least, I’m not. I like cheesecake, too. However, I’d also like it to be moderated with some “real” female characters. Plus, guys like all sorts of women, not just unrealistically drawn Barbies. And I think you demean your own gender when you intimate that they won’t read comics unless there’s all that T&A.

    Runaways is an excellent comic with minimal T&A, which is doing really well. Which disproves the guys will only buy comics with TEH BEWBIES in them. Guys want writing and characterization as much as women, or at least the guys I know do. I mean, if you just want to look at Boobs, buy an Angie Everhardt calendar.

    What we also object to is comics that are ostensibly aimed at children and/or young adults coming across with the message that Men DO and Women are DONE TO. Women DO as well, and comics should reflect that.

  3. On the whole, I totally agree with you. However, I’d suggest a modified checklist, as the breasts / vagina / uterus one rules out both transwomen and a fair number of trauma / cancer survivors…

    Congrats on the recovery-from-surgery-nookie. I experienced that recently myself–the moment when you realize that orgasms no longer trigger excruciating pain is pretty awesome, eh?

  4. I don’t know, several of the trans-women I know have better racks than me. But yeah, I do need to revise it. My best friend has no uterus anymore (something she is immensely grateful for, btw). It was written in a moment of high dudgeon.

    It wasn’t the orgasms per se that were the problem for the last month or so, but rather the surgery site issues. Just, ick…

    I just love how, even though I never say anywhere that there should be NO cheesecake, or that men can’t have fantasies, that these things always come up. Fuck, fine, keep the cheesecake, but give me a couple of big girls and boys who look like most people look. Shit, even their wimpy skinny dude (reaching back for this one) Doug Ramsey was pretty fucking built. Multiple body sizes, and styles. Why is this such a hard concept?

  5. I think there are real female characters. Most books aren’t of the T&A variety. I don’t think Capt. America, Daredevil, Runaways, Thunderbolts, Fantastic Four, Blue Beetle, New X-Men, the entire Marvel Adventures line, Iron Man, New Warriors, Spider-Girl, Thor, Ex Machina, Fables, etc. etc. aren’t particularly T&A. I’ll bet you can think of other titles that aren’t that you like. Saying that Runaways is good and there could be more like it is fine. But that doesn’t say that those more T&A related titles are bad. If they are also selling well, why shouldn’t the people who want to buy them be able to buy them?

    “And I think you demean your own gender when you intimate that they won’t read comics unless there’s all that T&A. ”

    I agree. Fortunately, no one is intimating that. What I’m saying is that some guys want that, and given that someone wants to draw it for them and they want to pay for it, who are you to tell them to buy an Angie Everhardt calendar? Would you be pleased if they told you to buy manga or indies for what you are looking for in a comic? I don’t understand why anyone would suggest that there was something wrong with some readers wanting the power fantasies and the sexual fantasies tickled in the same medium? Do we say that James Bond shouldn’t do both? Comics are pulp fantasies and pulp fantasies have always had a mix of sex/romance and adventure. We don’t tell romance readers that they can either have adventure or romance/sex, so why would we do that to comic readers?

    “Plus, guys like all sorts of women, not just unrealistically drawn Barbies. ”

    You are right. And if Marvel or DC were to decide to go for those markets, that would be fine with me. It is also fine with me if they don’t go for those markets. If there are guys who like to draw the unrealistic Barbies and guys who want to buy them, what’s the problem?

    What we also object to is comics that are ostensibly aimed at children and/or young adults coming across with the message that Men DO and Women are DONE TO. Women DO as well, and comics should reflect that.

    “comics that are ostensibly aimed at children and/or young adults ”

    Chuck Dixon used almost this exact line to say that gays shouldn’t be in comics. I love that you both used “ostensibly” because that suggests that you know very well they aren’t aimed at kids. And it is about this time that I usually mention that I’m gay, so you can stop with the “if you just want to see boobs” stuff.

  6. WHERE AM I SAYING THERE SHOULD BE NO CHEESECAKE?!?!?!?!?!?!

    God damn it, will you pay attention to ALL OF THE WORDS.

    And I did not say that ALL comics are for children, but many comics that do bill themselves as for children, or at the very least, as safe for children are guilty of these offenses.

  7. “I just love how, even though I never say anywhere that there should be NO cheesecake, or that men can’t have fantasies, that these things always come up.”

    Umm, you brought that up. Not me. I never said that anyone was implying that there should be no cheesecake. What I said is that men often are unhappy when women tell them what the cheesecake or unrealistic fantasy images MEAN to them. They don’t like being called sexist or misogynists by people who have never met them.

    But I can’t help but to note that you wrote this: “I mean, if you just want to look at Boobs, buy an Angie Everhardt calendar.” Someone could look at that and say that you don’t want cheesecake in comics, just in calendars. I’m not saying that, but someone could read it that way I suppose.

  8. My point is that if all you want is bewbies, there are other outlets. Most comicfans of both genders do not want just bewbies, as there are many other outlets for All Boobs All the Time. And I think that implying that the All-boobies All the time crew are the base fanbase for comics is really insulting to comic fans in general.

  9. I’ve been thinking a lot about the “feminists are just fat ugly lesbians” thing and I think it comes from a belief that all men and all women are naturally certain ways. Men like to drink beer, ogle girls, have no self control and fight each other. Men are naturally like this except when they’re stifling themselves. Women are emotional, flighty, shopaholic, fashion mavens.

    Feminism, and wanting to break those gender binaries, are, to these people, going against nature. To them it’s unheard of and unthinkable. So the only reason that they can think of that men would not want to be like that is if they’re gay (which has it’s own stereotypes >_>) or too “weak” to compete with other men and therefore would prefer a society that allows them to “cheat” on their maleness.

    And the only reason they think women would want to be feminists is if they’re lesbians (presumably the stereotype is that lesbians want to be men) or if they’re fat and ugly and again “failures” of female “success” and are again trying to force a society where they can get around their “failings”.

    But the belief is that there would be no feminists if everybody was pretty and all men were big and strong. >_> B/c everybody would be happy just being the exact same as everybody else and everybody’s life and personality and preferences are determined by gender. >_>;;

  10. “Umm, you brought that up. Not me. I never said that anyone was implying that there should be no cheesecake. What I said is that men often are unhappy when women tell them what the cheesecake or unrealistic fantasy images MEAN to them. They don’t like being called sexist or misogynists by people who have never met them.”

    Are we reading two different articles because I just don’t see where she called anyone sexist or misogynistic. She *did* say she didn’t like when people called her a “big frigid lesbian prude bitch.” just because she expressed a desire to have more of a variety of women characters in comics. Note – she never said that there should be no barbie like characters in comics – she expressed a desire for more variety in characters.

    I hope you realized that you’re just making her point in jumping up and down and putting words in her mouth.

  11. Scott, you already beat this topic to death four months ago, and you didn’t get any more support for it then than you will now. Do you even realize that you’re trolling the same person?

    Stop taking commentary out of context, or… just stop. You don’t have a vagina. You don’t even like vaginas. This lends you exactly zero authority on the feminist perspective, as far as I’m concerned.

  12. “The problem with this theory is that I think it works better in the reverse.”

    Wait a second. It works *better* in reverse? So – men should receive *more* consideration than women?

    “If you aren’t a man, what are you doing telling men what their sexual fantasies mean?”

    Maybe I can’t. But I can tell you what your sexual fantasies mean to me when they’re expressed in comic books. They mean this: “Oh, Black Canary is your hero? And you identify with her and cheer when she kicks ass, and are horrified when she’s tortured? Well, she’s my fucktoy. And that’s what we’re going to treat her as. So if you see her and Batman being held in captivitiy – Batman’s pose and expression is going to be about his anger, and his determination to get free, and her pose and expression is going to be about a helpless superheroine in chains, whimpering in fear! Sexxxxy!”

    That’s what your saying with all this ‘men have a biological imperative to want to see sexy women in fantasy situations and all that empathy should go our way because *it works better in reverse.*’

    This isn’t about us hating your sexual fantasies. This is about us wanting to see heroes in our image being treated with the same respect as heroes in your image, and you saying that your sexual fantasies trump our desire for heroes.

  13. ‘My problem comes when people say “You are demeaning women” as if there was a universal understanding that lusting after women for purely physical reasons was demeaning.’

    Here’s the thing – if women feel you are demeaning them, then you are. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with intent, it is all about the result. The road to hell, and all.

    Intent isn’t being argued here. We can not get in someone else’s head and know what they were thinking or feeling when they created a piece of art. All we can judge is the result, and the result is showing that supposedly powerful women need to be rescued by men, or fall apart under pressure. That is demeaning.

    Mind you, the problem is societal (here’s a great new article about how emotion is perceived in men and women http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21457366/), not just in comics. But the way to solve societal issues is to start small, and focus in areas that are aimed at the up and coming generations. Comics are a fabulous forum for that.

    I have no issues with men having rescue/power fantasies involving sexy women, but those fantasies need to be directed at other adults, not children (and should be understood for what they are). There needs to be a very careful distinction made between comics intended for kids and those for adults.

    And just as a side note, misogyny knows no sexual orientation.

  14. can we get some real statistics about the average age of comic readers? i’ve heard varying stats….also it’d be good to know the male/female ration.

  15. Javagoth, You are correct. She did not say that anyone one was sexist or a misogynist. But then, I didn’t say that she did. What she said was “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.” And what I’m saying is that a lot of the blather or saying that one is taking the wrong tack occurs when guys say, “That’s not what it means to us. We don’t think that. And comics won’t cause us to act as you think.” Or they might be saying “But calling me (or the artist) a misogynist doesn’t help.” I’m just trying to shed some light on what is upsetting guys and getting them to comment.

    I agree with her that more variety in comics would be nice. Oh, and I’m not jumping up and down.

    Loree said, “Scott, you already beat this topic to death four months ago, and you didn’t get any more support for it then than you will now. Do you even realize that you’re trolling the same person?”

    I’m sorry, Loree, I don’t understand. Are you saying that I’m wrong that some of the problems guys have with these discussions is that sometimes they feel as if they are being unjustly accused of sexism or misogyny? Or was that just a comment about me?

    “Stop taking commentary out of context, or… just stop. You don’t have a vagina. You don’t even like vaginas. This lends you exactly zero authority on the feminist perspective, as far as I’m concerned.”

    I like vaginas. I just don’t desire to stick my dick in one. As for the feminist perspective on comics, it seems to me that given that the majority of writers and artist are men, that the majority of the people who are paying for comics and therefore driving what is in them are men, and that the majority of the problems that feminist claim are in comics seem to center around how men act, it seems that it would be a good idea to have a male perspective on the issue. How are you going to understand sexism without the perspective of one of the sexes?

    MM said, “So – men should receive *more* consideration than women?”

    No. They should not. What I’m saying is that a lot of feminist theory deals with what men are thinking and how they are acting. I have no problem with someone saying “I don’t like this comic for this reason.” I and many men have a problem with people saying, “I can tell you are sexist by the comics you buy (or produce).”

    “This is about us wanting to see heroes in our image being treated with the same respect as heroes in your image, and you saying that your sexual fantasies trump our desire for heroes.”

    First, they are not my sexual fantasies. My sexual fantasies have NEVER been in a mainstream comic. Second, no, I’m saying that the desire of an artist and writer to produce a comic and the money that the comic buyer pays them to produce it trumps your desire to have them not produce it.

    shanendoah said, “Here’s the thing – if women feel you are demeaning them, then you are. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with intent, it is all about the result.”

    Sorry, but no. For instance, there are straight people who say that my marriage demeans theirs. So, is my marriage demeaning theirs? There is a difference between “I feel demeaned” and “This is demeaning.” I won’t argue with you that you feel demeaned. What I might argue with you about is who is responsible for your emotions and what my response to your emotions should be. If I feel that my marriage is ethical, should I let the people who feel demeaned by my marriage change my behavior? Should I call my marriage demeaning? If a T&A comic reader feels that his behavior is ethical, should he let your feelings about T&A comics that he wants to buy from people who created it for him stop him from buying the comic?

    “And just as a side note, misogyny knows no sexual orientation.”

    Thanks for the tutorial, but I’ve met gay people.

  16. From your first comment: “I’m all for comics that Geeky Girls want, but I don’t think that means that they then get to decide that Geeky Guys shouldn’t have the comics they want.”

    No one here is saying that. Those words or words like them have never crossed my lips or fingers. READ ALL THE WORDS, please. And quit inserting words I didn’t use.

    As for the whole demeaning thing, it is ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE. I hate to say it, but if a lot of what is considered demeaning IS in the eyes of the demean-ee. Do guys who yell shit like, “Hey, Baby!!” out the windows of moving vehicles mean to demean the girl they yell at? Honestly, probably not, or if they do it’s well buried in the subconscious, BUT are the odds good that the girl they yell at is going to be freaked out by it? Yes. Does she feel demeaned? Quite probably. So, who’s right? Is the redneck in the pick up correct in assuming he’s complimented her? Or is she right in feeling demeaned or threatened because some guy she doesn’t know yelled something at her from a moving vehicle when she’s walking all alone?

    Honestly, I think a lot of women get all het up over things that are innocent compliments. But by the same token, I also understand where they’re coming from. Women are taught to live in a state of constant seige in our society, so of course they’re spooky.

    Back to intent and perception:
    Person A loves chocolate. They love chocolate more than anyone in the world.
    Person B is deathly allergic to chocolate. It is poison to them.

    Person B hates Person A, so they do the one thing that is the most awful thing they can imagine in the whole world. They send Person A a bunch of chocolate.
    Person A gets the chocolate, and loves it.

    So, did Person B do a good thing or a bad thing? The intent was bad, but the result was good. Reverse the situations, where Person A sends chocolate to the Person B, who then thinks Person A is trying to kill them. Intent good, result bad.

    It’s all subjective. You might think some guy has a great ass, but if he’s homophobic or uptight, odds are good your commenting on it is going to create static. Are you wrong for complimenting what may well be an amazing ass? Is it different if you’re complimenting his eyes or hair? Is he wrong in thinking you’re a jerk for even noticing?

    But my main bitch is the fact that you never come in with an air of “I feel that…” You come in guns blazing with comments like the one I quoted above. You put words in our mouths that weren’t there, you don’t read all of the words that ARE there. And you construct these amazing straw man arguments around concepts like “Always” and “All Feminists”

    You’ll note that nowhere in that first paragraph do I say that “all guys” who comment in feminist blogs say things like that. Because they don’t. But I do object to the condescending and paternalistic tone you and a few others take. And I know it isn’t just me. I’ve read your comments in other blogs, I’ve read the responses to your comments in other blogs. Seriously, if you want discourse, you may want to rethink your delivery, because I don’t mind debate, I do mind condescension.

    Also, the word “demean” is the wrong one for the gay marriage debate, regardless of by whom it is used. I believe the fundy-asshats actually mean “devalue.” They’re still wrong. But that’s another rant.

  17. “No one here is saying that. Those words or words like them have never crossed my lips or fingers. READ ALL THE WORDS, please. And quit inserting words I didn’t use.”

    I’d like to know that what I say next I mean without any irony, just complete sincerity. You are correct. I assumed I hadn’t written what I had and didn’t bother to look. Assuming you were the crazy one and implying that in my writing was a crappy thing to do and you are completely justified in thinking that I’m a jerk. What I did was inexcusable, but I hope not unforgivable.

    Regarding you analogies, let’s look at the guy in the car. I think we could safely say that he is either socially inept or a jerk. He either wrongly believes that what is does is likely to be seen as a compliment or he knows it is more likely to be seen as a demeaning remark but he does it anyway. If he is socially inept and I would hope that someone would say to him, “what you are doing is annoying” and he’d learn from his error and change his behavior. If he continues to do it, however, he’s gone from being social inept to be a jerk.

    The thing is, I don’t believe the T&A artists are being socially inept. In their case, they aren’t creating the product for you; their creating it for the guy who wants to buy it. Neither party is upset about it. Then a third party comes in and say “what you are doing is annoying me.” To which they respond, “Then don’t buy it.” The same thing we say to people who don’t want gays or don’t want strong women in their media. If I believed that the artists didn’t realize they were doing T&A for guys who wanted T&A, I say it made perfect sense to tell them to quit, but I really think they know what they are drawing and who they are drawing it for, so why does a third party have a voice in this?

    This is what I meant when I said I think your “do you have a vagina” questions work better in reverse. If a gay artist put in beefcake images in a comic for a gay male audience, I wouldn’t want a straight man or a woman saying that I was demeaning men, and if they did say so, I wouldn’t care.

    When it comes to comics, I would like virtually everything you are asking for, more variety in body types, less hypersexualized images of women, more female protagonists, etc. But there are comics that fit the bill, and I don’t think the vast majority of male comic readers object to those kinds of comics being produced. I’ve never seen anyone say “There shouldn’t be comics with small breasted women in them!” I think virtually all male readers of comics would say that if someone wanted to produce those comics and someone wanted to buy them, that would be fine. I’ve never seen a guy object to a comic made with a female audience in mind.

    And this is were guys get upset and say those things that I think are bothering you. They don’t think they would ever tell a woman what fantasy material shouldn’t be available to her. They would never say that there shouldn’t be comics that appeal to a mainly female audience even to the exclusion of most men. They would never say what should or shouldn’t be in romance novels, young adult series, movies, music, magazines, TV shows, etc. in a way that implied that if the product wasn’t for them but was for women, then it was sexist or misandry, so they wonder why a woman would feel free to attack their sexual/romantic fantasies as sexism or misogyny. I honestly believe that the vast majority of anger coming from the male side of his is not about wanting to keep a variety of body shapes out of comics, but is about being labeled as sexist, misogynistic, or demeaning by people who have never even met them, people, who to them, appear to be overstepping the boundaries of attacking other people’s thoughts/fantasies.

  18. Scott Anderson:
    You’re a backpeddling troll. You ride the ragged edge of getting banned/deleted/whatever and when someone provides an ultimatum you back down. Do you get a sick thrill out of baiting people? is that it?

    Sirriamnis:
    Give up on debating. Just delete him.

  19. I don’t even think you need your checklist. I think “Seriously, before you go telling women that what they are feeling and how they are feeling it is wrong” is already the moment when someone should take a step back. Same goes for how any other individual/group-member is feeling. If a person wants to try to *understand* where person is coming from or how they’re feeling, that’s fine and arguably admirable in our current society. But to tell people their feelings are “wrong” is just plain annoying, unproductive, and attacking.

  20. Thank you. That is pretty much what I have in my own incredibly indelicate and sledgehammer-like way been trying to say.

    Thanks for understanding what I meant.

  21. Perhaps a link is in order? There seems to be much disagreement about what geekgirlsrule is or is not saying. But this all appears to have come up in a LJ discussion that we haven’t seen. Can we get a link, so we can have that example circumstance in which a man should not have interjected?

    As a note, I don’t think that Scott is a troll, and I think it’s rude to attack him personally or suggest that he be “deleted,” for honestly presenting his opinion regardless of whether you agree with it, OgreMarco. It is unfortunate that, in your apparent utopia, everyone would simply nod in agreement, and naysayers silenced.

  22. It isn’t that he has an opinion. It is his marginalizing the opinions and reactions of others. I find his attitude disrespectful and paternalistic. And if you read the sentence above the list, you’ll find that what I say is:

    “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:”

    Granted, I could have been less inflammatory. But then again, my blog.

    Nothing there about “No opinions for you Penis-bearing creature!” No, just don’t tell us we’re wrong in what we feel because you DON’T understand.

    So, yes, as carefully couched in faux “niceness” as the majority of Scott’s writing is, it’s still boils down to telling us we’re wrong to feel what we feel and how we feel it.

    Not to mention his habit of accusing me of saying things I haven’t said. For the love of GOD how many times do I have to repeat that I am not calling for the death of all cheesecake?

    Also, for the link, look earlier in the comments, Loree posted it.

  23. The problem here, & I don’t mean to be inflammatory (though the tone of the dialogue here is pretty much that), is that ad hominem arguments are essentially flawed. Any argument that appeals to the quality of the arguer fails to address the substance of the original argument. Which isn’t to say that you don’t have a valid position, but that your rhetoric is crummy.

    Hey, though: I think reading comics in which girls are portrayed reasonably & not reading comics in which they arn’t? Is the best & most essential thing to aiding the cause of feminism in comics. Anyone who tells you that you’re crazy for not reading things you find offensive is…goofy.

  24. Could someone please point out to me where I say that men have no business having opinions?

    What I said is that they have no place telling us our feelings are wrong. I guess I could have just said, “You need to check your privilege,” but honestly, I find that much snottier and inflammatory.

  25. I saw Loree’s link, but did not realize that it was the the same conversation that you were referencing in your post.

    I think I understand your point: when a group of people come together to voice their problems and concerns, it comes off as rude and paternalistic for someone who has a position of privilege to come in and make proclamations about how they should be feeling.

    I don’t disagree with you, necessarily. And being male, I try to be extra polite when I enter these discussions. But I would propose that bloggers (not just on feminist issues, either) should be *less* concerned with whether the commenter is sufficiently humble in his or her approach.

    Getting specific and referencing the actual Live Journal convo in question, Sirriamnis makes a lot of claims: 1. that it is sexist to draw women with “unbelievable dimensions,” , 2. That superhero comic creators are sexist pigs, 3. That the sexism is what is keeping the majority of female-would-be-readers away, 4. that male sales would not drop if comics were not “sexist.”

    Scott replied saying that he thought the post was based on a myth. (Notably, I don’t think that post or any others I saw as I perused that page said that anyone’s “feelings were wrong,” but please feel free to correct me.) Myth is a bit of a strong/arguably condescending word, but instead of properly responding, the first substantive reply attacked him personally, calling him a troll, criticizing his linking to an on-topic discussion on another site, and calling his post a “pathetic attempt” to get women’s attention. The next post called his post “inflammatory,” and got off into a lengthy discussion of whether or not he is technically “a troll.” The conversation substantially derails into a discussion of what flavor of asshole Scott is. There is name calling, even though Scott (the alleged inflammatory interloper) never calls anyone a name (again, that I saw).

    So, my point is, it is certainly true that we should all be more courteous to each other, especially on these rude internets, but I am unpersuaded that men like Scott are the egregious problem in feminist fangirl discourse.

    On the issue of entitlement to feelings, I don’t dispute that. everyone is entitled to their feelings. But don’t phrases like “sexist pigs” go beyond our tastes and feelings. Aren’t they moralisms? It strikes me that moral proclamations (sexism/racism/etc) go beyond how something makes us feel, and become a public argument about what is right/wrong and should/should not be accepted in our society.

    (Hoping this conversation continues courteously, of course).

  26. Actually I wasn’t referencing that conversation here. I was referencing a post by the “Rational Mad Man” and a comment of Scott’s elsewhere. Loree brought up the old post because Scott’s just repeating all the same arguments here he used there.

    I don’t expect humility, but neither do I expect nor appreciate anyone telling me that what I feel is wrong. If you want to disagree with me, fine. But if you’re going to come in and announce that what I’m feeling and seeing lacks value, then yeah, knickers are going to be wadded.

    I will address your points via the initial LJ post (I am Sirriamnis, by the way):
    1. Yes, it is sexist to draw all women the same, with unrealistic proportions and skimpy, impractical costumes. And yeah, I’m sure many of the comics artists are actually great guys, and I’m sure some of them deplore having to do that because of market standards, but it does not make the images any less sexist. Come on, how about some body shape variety as opposed to tall willowy anglo/black girl and short willowy Asian girl?

    2. Actually, I addressed two up above. The niceness of the guy doing the drawing does not excuse the inherent sexism of the poses or body depictions. Sorry. Whether it’s his sexism or the industry’s, it’s still sexism.

    3. Actually, I don’t say that sexism is what keeps women away, at least in the original post. I said it makes me want to shake the comics industry like they’re trailer babies, but it (obviously) hasn’t kept me, or any of the other feminist comics bloggers, away.
    If it was keeping women “away” I wouldn’t be here, now would I?

    4. This is what I said re: point four: “Really, is it going to hurt your sales so much if you just draw female heroes with believable dimensions who don’t look like they’re just waiting for the next available cock to float by? If you think so you vastly undervalue and underestimate the majority of your fans.”

    Followed closely by this: “And I thought *I* was misanthropic. Even I realize that men do not do ALL their thinking with the little head. For the love of all the Gods, no wonder you can’t write a 3-dimensional being, you don’t believe they exist in real life either.”

    See, regardless of how “ball-busting” people may see me as, I really don’t have as bad an opinion of men in general as people seem to think I do.

    And also, to reiterate for the MILLIONTH TIME, nowhere do I say there should be NO CHEESECAKE EVAR! Nowhere, not in that post, not in this post. NO WHERE. For God’s sake, I’m bi. I have a husband and two girlfriends. I eat more pussy than a rabid pitbull. And I like looking at cheesecake. But I would also really enjoy having a superhero I could identify with, who also looks like she could kick ass.

    I don’t think I entirely managed to be calm and completely courteous, but I gave it a try.

  27. So, back to point 1 and 2, no, I probably shouldn’t have blanket called all comics creators sexist pigs. However, when their art is all we know them by, by what else are we supposed to judge? Really, while I’m sure some of them don’t like the standards, I’m also not going to assume they’re the majority either.

  28. Sorry, when I was asking for an example, I meant an example circumstance you mentioned in the original post. That is, examples of the underlying behavior that bothers you.

    You said “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. ”

    My point was that since people seem to disagree about what you are criticizing, it would be good to see the actual behavior in full context.

    As mentioned before, I don’t disagree with you that it is silly for people to criticize each other’s emotions. I maintain that it is valid for people to to criticize each other’s factual/moral beliefs.

    I was not intending to get into a discussion of the substance of the LJ post, per se, so much as to 1) show the structure of the argument, and point out that, in my view, Scott attacked your premises without ad hominem attack and 2) that your arguments were based on ideas of right and wrong, and not simply “your feelings.” I do have opinions on the underlying argument, but if only for the sake of clarity, I’ll leave them out here, except to the extent they may have inadvertently seeped in. I will note that I did understand that you were not calling all comic creators sexist pigs.

    I’m not quite sure why you are reiterating that you are not anti-cheesecake. I never accused you of being anti-cheesecake.

    Oh and your post was entirely courteous enough for me :).

  29. Honestly, I’m kind of getting battle-fatigued here. I’ve spent the last three days resisting the urge to post my “reading comprehension” lolcat and leaving it at that. I don’t expect people to always agree with me, hence approving all of these comments and attempting to answer them. If I were despotic about it, I would never have allowed most of these comments. And I know you didn’t accuse me of that.

    But quite frankly, I’m a little too het up to continue this. Perhaps more later.

  30. I understand if this topic is wearing on you. Though I have only just found this discussion, it is apparently 6 days old for you. I’ll check back for any additional comments, arguments, rebuttals or musings in case the mood strikes you. I’m particularly interested in clarification of any topics I misunderstood, as I take your last post to suggest that I have failed to comprehend some of your points.

  31. The reading comprehension thing wasn’t necessarily directed at you.

    I leave you with the funniest thing I’ve seen all day:

  32. Internet/blog discourse is so frustrating at times because of a tendency for people to nitpick ancillary points and not focus on the main crux of what people are saying. I’m not trying to call anyone out on it here, just noting that the original intent of the blog entry has probably gotten lost.

    30 second recap:

    GGR basically said that men shouldn’t presume to tell women that what they’re feeling is wrong. This seemingly stemmed from often being told by men that she had no right to feel/think what she has felt about certain aspects of comics. Any of us in her position would be equally annoyed, but she has a blog and posted about it.

    Scott replied, and the first words of his own were “The problem with this theory.” Obviously aggressive from the get-go, but not belligerent or dismissive and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. There’s a back-and-forth, and then this nugget comes from Scot’s fingers…

    “Plus, guys like all sorts of women, not just unrealistically drawn Barbies. ” [quoting GGR]

    You are right. And if Marvel or DC were to decide to go for those markets, that would be fine with me. It is also fine with me if they don’t go for those markets. If there are guys who like to draw the unrealistic Barbies and guys who want to buy them, what’s the problem?

    Which basically embodies a great deal of what the original blog post was about. “What’s the problem?” basically means “you don’t really have a right to think or feel that way.” Great…market forces and artists’ preferences trump individuals’ thoughts/feelings about how (and ways) the comics industry should be more inclusive of women and/or proactive in developing a larger female fanbase, at least in Scott’s mind. Scott also seems to embody the the feminist-friendly people of whom GGR speaks in her post as he seems rather open-minded, pro-women and polite (most if not all personal attacks were directed AT him), and yet with his “what’s the problem” flippancy he has demonstrated the exact behavior if marginalizing the thoughts/feelings of GGR that was so annoying.

    That was longer than 30 seconds. My apologies. From there, the discourse seemed to move away from the crux of the blog post for the most part, IMHO.

  33. Alas, both I and several of my readers have past history with Scott that makes us prone to being more reactionary to him, than if it were someone else entirely.

  34. I LOVE YOU DEEPLY. great post and i’m in awe at your ability to repeatedly try to talk and reason with douchebags, trolls, and dumbasses. i would have just deleted them immediately @ @!

  35. Thank you.

    You know, I don’t mind debate. Not in the least. I do mind being flat out told that my opinions and experiences are just wrong. It is a big, candy-like red button for me.

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