In the exchange below, I'm going to reproduce one of Kalinara's posts in it's entirety (she's given me permission to do this), and then I'm going to quote you from somewhere around the thirtieth comment. The commenter names will all be obscured, but the actual content is completely reproduced so you can judge what happened without looking back at the names.
What I need you, dear readers, to do for me is to explain to me precisely what Fan #1 is talking about, and what in the original post prompted such a comment. And then I need you explain exactly what point Fan #3 inadvertantly proved, how she proved it, and was she too hard on Fan #1?
This is a long one..Original Post:
An Open Letter to Male Comic Fans:
Recent developments over the cause of comic-book feminism have gotten me thinking. I don't know if a lot of guys really understand what feminism's really about.
At least what *my* brand of feminism is really about.
So I'll tell you.
It's not really about the costumes, be they midriffs, boob windows, fishnet stockings. Yeah, some of them are silly. Some of them are stupid. And yeah, when I think they are, I'm gonna damn well say so But I don't want female characters to go around in shapeless tracksuits any more than you do. I like most of the costumes, and while I might prefer it more if Kara Zor-El wore the Matrix Supergirl's costume and cheered when Huntress changed to the non-midriffed bodysuit, that's not what I really care about.
It's not about breast size. Look women come in all shapes and sizes. And in general, when it comes down to it, I like the variety in comics. I'd like to see more variety in comics. I certainly don't want Power Girl or Phantom Lady to suddenly become a b-cup or anything like that, (though I much prefer Phantom Lady in the recent BfB art style than the Freedom Fighters.) Regardless of what certain folks might think, I like Power Girl's breasts.
It's not about making comics less fun for guys. I don't begrudge you your action, attractive characters and power fantasies. I like them too. I don't begrudge you your eye-candy, though I want more male eye candy to balance out.
So what is it about?
# Rape/Sexual Assault Storyline being few and far between. It's got incredible evocative power. But only when used sparingly and subtly. It loses all sorts of impact when everyone and her mother has it in their backstory. It should Never be the default method of establishing strength and development in a female character.
# Female characters being defined as more than just their male counterparts with boobs. Having two X-Chromosomes is not a sufficiently defined personality. Female characters should be as complex and developed as their male counterparts.
# Female characters being no more or less sacrificed for a storyline than their male counterparts. Characters have to die sometimes, we understand that. But a hero character should neither be specifically targeted nor specifically spared because of their gender.
# Female characters being on average of an equivalent competency level with their male counterparts. For every Steph Brown there should be an Oracle. For every Jennie-Lynn Hayden a Katma Tui. The woman should not always be the weakest of her ilk.
# Writers caring as much about the consistency of the characterizations of their female characters as they do their males. We love these characters for their personalities as much as their appearances and powers, these should be kept consistent. Growth is a good thing, rampant out of character-ness for the sake of the plot is NOT. For a man or a woman.
# Gender not being used as a crutch to stick to the same old archetypes. Men can be nurturers, women can be ball-breakers. Men can be sensitive, women can be sex-crazed. Variety is a wonderful wonderful thing.
It's about respect.
I don't want to spoil your fun. I don't want to make you feel bad or defensive. I don't think you're all misogynists and sexist jerks. I don't really see anything wrong, for example, with you liking to see attractive female characters in revealing clothing.
I just want the gals to have personalities, brains and skill to go with their beauty. I want female characters to have the same respect and consideration as male characters. I don't think that's too much to ask.
Our desires aren't mutually exclusive. We've got no reason to be adversaries. It would be very easy for us both to be happy. Think about it
This post gets to thirty comments before I see one that really sticks out to me, so I'll be nicknaming the commenter "Fan #1"
Nice piece. Of course, the two main things that would need to change is there to be more female leads (either in their own book or another series) and more female creators (not always working on female characters, either).
But the thing feminist comic fans need to remeber, is that it's going to take time. Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was the comic industry. Things are changing to the better for women in comics (both in the books and in real life), but there is still more to be done. Guys understand that. But it seems that a good bit (not all, because not everyone is the same) of comic book feminists are a VERY impatient lot (and concidering the patience of "regular" comic fans, that's saying something).
We know you want to make things better. We even want to help where we can (because, I'm sure it wasn't just feminist comic fans who wrote in and saved Manhuter and Spider-Girl). But when you get impatient, you really hurt the cause more than help it. This is just a little something you should keep in mind, when you want to go off on rants about something you don't like. Normal comic book fans look stupid when they do it, having a "cause" behind you doesn't make you look any less so.
Let's keep making those strides to make better comics for men and women (has anyone here been reading Witchblade lately? Man, that is some good stuff.). But don't let the passion you feel for the issues, cause you to turn people sour to your points, simply bacause of your tone and attitude in expressing them.
When someone is screaming in your ears, the reflex is to cover your ears. Not listen more intently.
Just a little something to think about... :)
Within ten minutes, Fan #2 replies (With a slight edit for the name):
[Addressing Fan #1], you remind me of Terry Long.
It's a full hour before Fan #3 comes along, and feels a need to point something out:
When someone is screaming in your ears, the reflex is to cover your ears. Not listen more intently.
Conversely, when someone continually refuses to listen, the reflex is to raise your voice.
You're very quick to take this opportunity to point out the shortfalls of feminist comic fans, when none of these shortfalls apply to Kalinara's post.
The original poster returns:
[Addressing Fan #1]: Female Leads and Female Creators are all well and good, but the thing is that respect should be across the board. Many male creators clearly respect women, many female characters are written respectfully even when not the star. There's no reason to segregate ourselves to just stories with female leads written by women.
[Addressing Fan #2]: Heh.
[Addressing Fan #3]: Conversely, when someone continually refuses to listen, the reflex is to raise your voice.
There's definitely that factor. We've spent centuries not being listened to, being overlooked and disregarded, so it's perhaps understandable that now that we're actually getting somewhere, well, we're impatient.
[Addressing Fan #2]: How so? I'm genuinely curious.
[Addressing Fan #3]: True enough. But then, some people won't hear you, if you had the "voice of God" telling them something. Sometimes, you just have to chalk some people up as a lost cause and focus on finding those who aren't.
And I think it fit in fine with Kali's piece, insomuch as she seemed to think men don't understand "the cause". While I think many do, but get turned off by some of the tactics and attitudes some feminist comic fans employ. It's yin and yang here. Both sides have their weak points.
Kali: A key factor in respect if equalit and/or balance. And the comic industry isn't (although it is much better than it used to be). With each new generation of creators coming in, I think things will only imporve. Afterall, a lot of the creators who hold on to those sexist conventions, also grew up in thimes when that was considered "normal". Today's younger creators know that's not true anymore and act accordingly (both in their writing and personal lives).
But as I said, it's still going to take time. I understand the impatience (some) women have. But that doesn't mean it should be acceptable, anymore than the sexism they deplore should be.
I think what it really comes down to, for me, is exactly how women express the issues. Sure, everyone jumps on something that's "wrong." But how many also praise what's "right?" Not nearly as many. I know you, Ragnell and a few others do, but you guys hardly make up the whole of "feminist comic fans." There is very much a lack of "respect" from the feminist comic fan movement, IMO, by that lack of "fair play" in reporting events and issues. If all one does is complain about the bad, but never acknowledges the good, how can you expect someone to really listen to you, no matter how LOUD you get? Who listens to someone who is always complaining about something?
As I said at the start, a key point to repect is balance. But it's not just men who need to work on it, but the women, too. Perhaps that is something to think about for another "open letter" style entry. I certainly think you are up to the task (as this entry showed). :)
Fan #3 reads more than enough:
True enough. But then, some people won't hear you, if you had the "voice of God" telling them something. Sometimes, you just have to chalk some people up as a lost cause and focus on finding those who aren't.
Good point. I won't even bother reading or responding to your comments anymore.
>>Good point. I won't even bother reading or responding to your comments anymore.<<
Thank you for proving my point for me.
For today's Monday Misogyny, please readers, explain to me what exactly happened here and weigh in -- impartially -- on whether this is misogyny or a hair-trigger in action. Both Fan #1 and Fan #3 used passive-aggressive tactics when arguing, as those tactics are the bane of the candied civility that tends to replace actual civil discourse and productive debate. But what exactly in the original post was Fan #1 responding to? What set Fan #3 off? Was Fan #2 justified in his comparison, and was it an insult or a misguided compliment?
The original comments are still intact back at Pretty Fizzy Paradise so that you can check them for accuracy, but I'd prefer you not take the names into account while trying to explain. Although if you go over there, you'll see Fan #3 broke her promise.