Down for this, of course. Complaining is not enough—we need to take concrete action, individually and in numbers, against sexism in comics. Call to arms, kids etc. etc.
But then there’s this:
Support the books that do it right. Stop calling attention to all the offensive material, because seriously? What you’re really doing is helping the very things you hate find a wider audience. So, stop.
like the good little fangirl you are.
Listen up ladies, boyfriend’s gonna show us how to do feminism, fandom and media activism right. Complaining about sexism in superhero comics is silly, because what else did you expect, right?
Except—ALL sexism is harmful, ALL sexism is worth calling out. The micro level matters, because by and large, that is where people live.
Except—superhero comics are not in fact simple soft core, id-porn. Heroic fiction is, culturally speaking, kind of a big deal. Superman means something to people. By dint of being on a massively popular cartoon, Starfire means something to people. Superhero comics can be better, and they should be better.
Except—new readers deserve the chance to weigh in on this issue, and they don’t deserve to be scolded for not being into cool comics. What I’m saying is that, a) not everyone is ~over this conversation, and b) “But why are you reading The Outsiders anyway?” isn’t helpful in this context.
Except—“What you’re really doing is helping the very things you hate find a wider audience. So stop.” Nope! People are bringing attention to the comics and to the problem at same time, and in the process, finding new allies and enemies. They’re opening the conversation to new voices, and that’s a good thing.
Short version: I don’t need or want bullies or predators for allies.
Longer version: There is sometimes a tendency in social justice/activist circles to accept all comers, so long as they are ‘right thinking’. Welcoming bullies or predators, though, degrades the quality of work your group can do, and destroys any sense of safety in your formerly safe(r) space. Character matters more than ideological purity.
No slate of social justice bona fides is so magical, as to make up for your being, say, a sexual harasser. Honesty is more important than volume. Fortitude is more important than where you went to school, who you’ve read, or how pretty your rhetoric is. At the end of the day, what I want in an ally is someone who is willing to work hard, and keep working hard. Someone who’s willing to listen, change direction, and own up to hir failings.
I don’t want guns for hire; I want allies.
[Aside #1: Character is not tone. I’m not interested in defining the hows and whens of activism. Getting angry, lashing out—these are not indications of poor manners or a lack of character, but natural reactions to violence and oppression.
Aside #2: I’m not trying to draw a line in the social justice sand—Sarah Palin, call yourself a feminist if you like, we can be, idk, fellow travelers, even if we will never be friends or allies—but I don’t need or want to work with people who are ethically repugnant to me.
Aside #3: These comments are not prescriptive. I know there are lots of people who will take whatever allies they can get. Do your thing, and I’ll do mine.]
Yeah, so hey. I’m back!
I’ve spent the last month-ish finishing up various DIY projects (my own, and for my parents and friends), settling into a new program at a new school, and taking comic book classes on the side. I’m also looking at a series of workshops on community development and social economy. Things are happening, is what I’m saying.
I’ve also been prioritizing Toronto Comics Review over my Tumblr projects, hardcore, but hopefully now that I’ve settled into my new schedule, I’ll be able to once again find time for this Tumblog and my two FYs.
So how have you been?
“Turning a straight character gay is just like turning a black character white.”