Posts tagged "comic books"

ladymarvels:

I NEED A FEMALE LEAD MARVEL MOVIE

(via enterwhedonverse)




shevathegun:

callmekitto:

seraphatonin:

"um starfire’s powers are fueled by the sun that’s why she has to wear skimpy clothes" hey u know who else’s powers are fueled by the sun? superman. come on clark time for that toothfloss speedo chop chop

his nipples are covered by tiny capes

image

truth, justice, and the american way

(via rooks-and-ravens)




tasseomancer:

I have had legit conversations just like this.

This was my favorite episode.  This is my life.  

(Source: tblr292, via a-little-bi-furious)




"

The world of [comic book] collecting is not a pretty place. For a bunch of guys who like good-over-evil stories, you sure meet a lot of morally bankrupt assholes.


"

-  "Ashcan" Kemp in Wimbledon Green by Seth (via comicquotations)

(via seananmcguire)




The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their ‘Liberated Sexuality’

laughterbynight:

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Yesterday, two new comic books from the “New 52” relaunch of DC Comics provoked some online controversy: Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. They were controversial in particular because of the way they depicted women, notably with the aggressively fanfictiony on-panel sex between Batman and Catwoman, and Starfire’s transformation into a promiscuous tabula rasa who can’t even remember the names of the men she sleeps with, and seeks out emotionless sex with both of the two male main characters while they essentially high five about it.

Since pointing out my issues with Starfire yesterday, I have received numerous e-mails — from men — accusing me of slut-shaming. Since there are a lot of people who don’t understand the sexual dynamics that are in play here both creatively and culturally, I’d like to dissect this a little bit and explain why these scenes don’t support sexually liberated women; they undermine them, and why after nearly 20 years of reading superhero books, these may finally have been the comics that broke me.

I would like to say first and in the strongest possible terms that I absolutely support the right of women to embrace and act upon their sexual desires in whatever way seems right to them, within consensual boundaries. My sense of justice is inflamed by the double standard that tells us that every person a man sleeps with makes them more of a stud, and every person a woman sleeps with makes them a little less valuable and less respectable. I know this in particular because unlike all the guys who sent me angry messages last night defending the sexual honor of an imaginary character, that double standard is something l have had to live with and be judged by for my entire adult life.

And that is why books like Catwoman and Red Hood make me so goddamn angry.

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Let’s start with Catwoman. The writer and artist have decided that out of all possible introductions to the character of Selina Kyle, the moment we’re going to meet her is going to be the one where she happens to be half-dressed and sporting bright red lingerie. That is in fact all we see of her for two pages: shots of her breasts. Most problematically, we are shown her breasts and her body over and over for two pages, but NOT her face. No joke, we get a very clear and detailed shot of her butt in black latex before we ever see her face looks like. Can’t you show us the playful or confident look in her eye as she puts on her sexy costume? Because without that it’s impossible to connect with the character on any other level than a boner, and I’m afraid I don’t have one of those.

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Like I said, I’m on board with the hot ladies; part of what got me into comics back in the day was being a 12-year-old girl who looked at strong, beautiful characters like Rogue and Jean Grey and Storm and wanted to be like them in large part because they were so sexy and confident and had exciting romances. Those books managed to offer characters that I’m certain appealed to men as well, but always felt like people instead of window dressing. I have long maintained that to bring in more female readers, superhero comics don’t even need to specifically target women as much as they need to not actively offend them. This is not an insanely hard to thing to do, and yet here we are.

The money shot that most people have latched onto in Catwoman, however, is the one where Batman and Catwoman have sex on a rooftop. “What’s wrong with Batman having sex?” You might ask. There’s nothing wrong with Batman having sex. Or Catwoman, or Starfire, or any other hero. The problem isn’t the plot point. If you’re an adult, you’ve probably seen dozens if not hundreds of movies that included sex scenes. The mere fact that a piece of media depicts a sexual act doesn’t tell you very much about how that scene is going to make you feel. You might be titillated, or bored, or grossed out, or any number of things. Your reaction depends not on the facts of what happens, but on the way it’s presented. And while as with all aesthetic opinions your mileage may vary, this does not look sexy to me; it looks like a creepy fanfiction drawing.

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Here’s the question, though: Why? I know why Catwoman and Batman would have sex; there’s nothing wrong with the idea. We saw him hook up with Talia in Son of the Demon and that was pretty cool. I mean literally, why is that last page a full-page splash of Batman actually penetrating Catwoman? Why do we need to see that? What does it accomplish or tell us about the characters that would have been lost if that page had been omitted?

The answer is nothing. They just wanted to see Catwoman and Batman bang on a roof. And that is the whole problem with this false notion of “sexually liberated” female characters: These aren’t those women. They’re how dudes want to imagine those women would be — what Wire creator David Simon called writing “chicks with d*cks”. They read like men’s voices coming out of women’s faces. Or worse, they read like the straight girls who make out with each other clubs, not because they enjoy making out with women but because they desperately want guys to pay attention to them.

This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.

Here is what it looks like just before Starfire tries to initiate sex.

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Why is she contorting her body in that weird way? Who is she posing for, because it doesn’t even seem to be Roy Harper? The answer, dear reader, is that she is posing for you. News flash: Starfire isn’t being promiscuous because this comic wants to support progressive notions of gender roles. Starfire is being promiscuous so that you can look at pictures like this:

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If you really want to support Starfire’s “liberated sexuality” like she’s somehow a person with real agency, what people should really be campaigning for is more half-clothed dudes in suggestive poses to get drawn around her, since I’m sure that’s what she’d like to see. But people don’t really want that, do they? Because it’s not about what Starfire wants. It’s about what straight male readers want. And they want to see Starfire with her clothes falling off. And hey, hey — there’s nothing wrong with that specifically, but let’s be honest about what’s happening and who we’re serving (or not serving) and at whose expense. And let’s be honest about the fact that this treatment happens almost exclusively to women, which is a huge part of what makes it so problematic.

Incidentally, while Starfire here seems to want dead-eyed sex with people whose names she can’t remember that she specifically says should be divorced from emotion, that’s very much a departure from her previous incarnation, were she came from a culture that was primarily about love, not being available for joyless hookups with random dudes:

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Conversely, if you would like to see an example of an extremely well-done superhero sex scene, check out the Spider-Man/Black Cat hookup from Amazing Spider-Man Present Black Cat #1 by Jen Van Meter and Javier Pulido, where Felicia is presented as a tough, sexy lady who knows what she wants sexually and unapologetically goes out to get it. Visually, the morning after is presented on a level playing field with Spider-Man hilariously hanging out in his boxers. Note: This is also a scene where the two superheroes have sex without knowing each other identities, and yet it couldn’t feel more different from Catwoman.

imageThere’s lots of room for these books and I welcome them, the same way I welcome Empowered, which I think is particularly successful at having fun with cheesecake in a very self-aware way. It’s good for comics to have well-executed sexy books just like it’s good to have well-executed sci-fi comics and well-executed horror comics and good comics in any genre. The only reason there might be a problem with a sexed up superhero titles like Empowered was if that was the way women were depicted all the time. And the problem is that in a lot superhero comics, it kind of is.

Below on the left, I submit to you one of the starkest visual differences between men and women in superhero comics. On the ground, we see how the editors and writers and artists have chosen to dress a male Lantern, and standing above him we see how they have chosen to dress a female Lantern. These characters didn’t appear out of thin air one day; someone designed them to look the way they look, and designed it for a very specific reason. And those design choices shape the way that the universe treats women generally. And on a more personal level, it also plays a big role in how DC Comics tells me they see people like me. Because I know that institutionally, they don’t treat men like that; we’re never going to see a major hero like Hal Jordan in a costume like one on the right as imagined by Deviant Artist Bionarri.

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And the problem isn’t Star Sapphire. Or Catwoman. Or Starfire. Or Dr. Light raping Sue Dibny on the Justice League satellite or that stupid rape backstory Kevin Smith gave Black Cat or the time Green Lantern’s girlfriend got murdered and stuffed in a refrigerator. The problem is all of it together, and how it becomes so pervasive both narratively and visually that each of these things stops existing as an individual instance to be analyzed in a vacuum and becomes a pattern of behavior whose net effect is totally repellent to me. As an anomaly, maybe Starfire could be funny, the way the big-breasted, over-sexed Fritz (who even got her own porno comic, Birdland, which is pretty good if you’re into that) is often funny in Love and Rockets, mostly because the series is already packed full of incredibly diverse, fully-realized female characters. But as the 5,000th example of a superhero comic presenting female sexuality in tone-deaf ways, it’s just depressing.

In Red Hood and the Outlaws, this is DC Comics tells me a male hero looks like, and what a female hero looks like:

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In Catwoman, this is what DC Comics tells me a male hero looks like, and what a female hero looks like:

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This is not an anomaly. This is the primary message that I hear. And it one that I only hear about the people who are like me — the women — and not the men.

And the problem is that when I look at these women, I would very much like to see confident ladies who enjoy sex and are having a fun sexy time. But what I see instead are women who give me the same impression as creepy dead-eyed porn stars mechanically mouthing “oh yeah, I want it.” And that feeling of coerced sexual enthusiasm is the creepiest, saddest, most unerotic thing I can imagine. And if I were able to have a boner, seeing something like that would make me lose it every time.

imageWhen I read these comics and I see the way the female characters are presented, I don’t see heroes I would want to be. I don’t see people I would want to hang out with or look up to. I don’t feel like the comics are talking to me; I feel like they’re talking about me, the way both Jason Todd and Roy Harper talk about Starfire like two dudes high fiving over a mutual conquest (left).

I’ve heard people citing everything from Starfire’s cultural background to her recently experiences with slavery(?!) as reasons for her promiscuity, the same way I’ve heard that it is totes cool for the debut issue of Voodoo, the first black female character to get her own DC ongoing series, to open with her stripping on her knees while men throw money at her, because she has a previously established history of being a stripper. But let’s be honest — they didn’t make her a stripper because they really wanted to create a positive and well-rounded portrait of sex workers and how they exist in our culture. And you want to know how I know that? Because this is not what that looks like:

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This is not the picture of that. And honestly I don’t care if the final art next week reveals that she’s reciting the Vagina Monologues or long excerpts from books by Gloria Steinem; it is not going to change the way looking at the image makes me — or a lot of women — feel, or the message it sends about how that comic regards ladies.

Female characters are only insatisable, barely-dressed aliens and strippers because someone decided to make them that way. It isn’t a fact. It isn’t an inviolable reality, especially in a comic book universe that has just been rebooted. In the end, what matters is what you choose to show people and how you show them, not the reasons you make up to justify it. Because this is comics, everybody. You can make up anything.

Most of all, what I keep coming back to is that above all, superhero comics are nothing if not aspirational. They are full of heroes that inspire us to be better, to think more things are possible, to imagine a world where we can become something amazing. But this is what comics like this tell me about myself, as a lady: They tell me that I can be beautiful and powerful, but only if I wear as few clothes as possible. They tell me that I can have exciting adventures, as long as I have enormous breasts that I constantly contort to display to the people around me. They tell me I can be sexually adventurous and pursue my physical desires, as long as I do it in ways that feel inauthentic and contrived to appeal to men and kind of creep me out. When I look at these images, that is what I hear, and I don’t think I even realized how much until this week.

In many ways, the constant barrage of this type of imagery (and characterization) is not unlike the sh*tty neighborhood I used to live in where every time I walked down the street, random people I didn’t know shouted obscene comments about my body and told me they wanted to have sex with me. And you know, maybe a lot of those guys thought they were complimenting me. Maybe they thought I had tried to look pretty that day and they were telling me I had succeeded in that goal. Maybe they thought we were having a frank and sexually liberated exchange of ideas. I’m willing to be really, really generous and believe that’s where they were coming from. But in the end, it doesn’t matter that they didn’t know it was creepy; it doesn’t matter that they “didn’t get it,” because every single day I lived there they made me feel like less of a person.

That is how I feel when I read these comics.

And I’m tired. I’m so, so tired of hearing those messages from comics because they aren’t the dreams or the escapist fantasies or the aspirations that I want to have. They don’t make me feel joyful or powerful or excited. They make me feel so goddamn sad that I want to cry, because I have devoted my entire life to comics, and when I read superhero books like these I realize that most of the time, they don’t give a sh*t about me.

I have been doing this for a long time, now. I have lived in the neighborhood of superhero comics for a long time. And frankly, if this is how they think it’s ok to treat me when I walk down the street in a place that I thought belonged to me just as much as anyone else who lives here, then I’m not sure I want to live here anymore.


Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/09/22/starfire-catwoman-sex-superheroine/#ixzz1YilVnrTr

(via fandompoopingrainbows)




medievalfashion:

This

(via everythingsbetterwithbisexuals)




lasersandspikes:

thebookworm:

face-down-asgard-up:

ladyhippie:

womenaresociety:

Nerds and Male Privilege (definitely worth a read!)
I want to tell you a story.
A few years ago, I was dating a girl who was decidedly not nerd curious. She tolerated my geeky interests with a certain bemused air but definitely didn’t participate in ‘em… not even setting foot inside a comic store on new comic day. She’d wait outside until I was done… which could be a while, since I was friends with several of the staff.
She came in the store exactly once, after I’d explained that no, it’s a pretty friendly place… well lit, spacious, organized and with helpful – and clearly identified – staff members who were willing to bend over backwards to make sure their customers were satisfied.
She was in there for less than 4 minutes before one mouth-breathing troglodyte began alternately staring at her boobs – evidently hoping that x-ray vision could develop spontaneously – and berating her for daring to comment on the skimpy nature of the costumes – in this case, Lady Death and Witchblade. She fled the premises, never to return.
When both the manager and I explained to him in no uncertain terms as to what he did wrong he shrugged his shoulders. “Hey, I was just trying to help you guys! She couldn’t understand that chicks can be tough and sexy! Not my fault she’s a chauvinist,” he said.
And that was when I shot him, your honor.
So with that example in mind, let’s talk about a subject I’ve touched on before: Male Privilege and how it applies to geeks and – more importantly – geek girls.
MALE PRIVILEGE: WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY?
I don’t think I’m breaking any news or blowing minds when I point out that geek culture as a whole is predominantly male. Not to say that women aren’t making huge inroads in science fiction/fantasy fandom, gaming, anime and comics… but it’s still a very male culture. As such, it caters to the predominantly male audience that makes it up. This, in turn leads to the phenomenon known as male privilege: the idea that men – most often straight, white men – as a whole, get certain privileges and status because of their gender.
(Obvious disclaimer: I’m a straight white man.)
In geek culture, this manifests in a number of ways. The most obvious is in the portrayal of female characters in comics, video games and movies. Batman: Arkham City provides an excellent example.
The women are all about sex, sex, sexy sextimes. With maybe a little villainy thrown in for flavor. They may be characters, but they’re also sexual objects to be consumed.
I will pause now for the traditional arguments from my readers: these characters are all femme fatales in the comics, all of the characters in the Arkham games are over-the-top, the men are just as exaggerated/sexualized/objectified as the women. Got all of that out of your systems? Good.
Because that reaction is exactly what I’m talking about.
Y’see, one of the issues of male privilege as it applies to fandom is the instinctive defensive reaction to any criticism that maybe, just maybe, shit’s a little fucked up, yo. Nobody wants to acknowledge that a one-sided (and one-dimensional) portrayal of women is the dominant paradigm in gaming; the vast majority of female characters are sexual objects. If a girl wants to see herself represented in video games, she better get used to the idea of being the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. If she wants to see herself as a main character, then it’s time to get ready for a parade of candyfloss costumes where nipple slips are only prevented by violating the laws of physics. The number of games with competent female protagonists who wear more than the Victoria’s Secret Angels are few and far between.
The idea that perhaps the way women are portrayed in fandom is aleetle sexist is regularly met with denials, justifications and outright dismissal of the issue. So regularly, in fact, that there’s a Bingo card covering the most common responses. Part of the notion of male privilege in fandom is that nothing is wrong with fandom and that suggestions that it might benefit from some diversity is treated as a threat.
But what is that threat, exactly?
In this case, the threat is that – ultimately – fandom won’t cater to guys almost to exclusion… that gays, lesbians, racial and religious minorities and (gasp!) women might start having a say in the way that games, comics, etc. will be created in the future. The strawmen that are regularly trotted out – that men are objectified as well, that it’s a convention of the genre, that women actually have more privileges than guys – are a distraction from the real issue: that the Privileged are worried that they won’t be as privileged in the near future if this threat isn’t stomped out. Hence the usual reactions: derailment, minimization and ultimately dismissing the topic all together.
As much as my nerdy brethren wish that more girls were of the geeky persuasion, it’s a little understandable why women might be a little reticent. It’s hard to feel valued or fully included when a very vocal group insists that your input is irrelevant, misguided and ultimately unwelcome. It’s small wonder why geekdom – for all of it’s self-proclaimed enlightened attitudes towards outsiders and outcasts – stil retains the odor of the guy’s locker room.
HOW MALE PRIVILEGE AFFECTS GEEK GIRLS IN REAL LIFE
Don’t make the mistake of thinking male privilege is solely about how big Power Girl’s tits are, fan service and jiggle physics in 3D fighters. It affects geek girls in direct, personal ways as well.
Remember the example I mentioned earlier with my then-girlfriend in the comic store? Her opinions were deemed mistaken and she was told she didn’t “get it”… because she was a girl.
Y’see, one of the issues that nerd girls face is the fact that they are seen as girls first and anything else second. And before you flood my comments section demanding to know why this is a bad thing, realize that being seen as a “girl” first colors every interaction that they have within fandom. They’re treated differently because they are women.
We will now pause for the expected responses: well that’s a good thing isn’t it, girls get special treatment because they’re girls, guys will fall all over themselves to try to get girls to like ‘em so it all balances out.
If you’re paying attention you’ll realize that – once again – those reactions are what I’m talking about.
Y’see, nobody’s saying that women don’t receive different treatment from guys… I’m saying that being treated differently is the problem. And yes, I know exactly what many of you are going to say and I’ll get to that in a minute.
Male privilege – again – is about what men can expect as the default setting for society. A man isn’t going to have everything about him filtered through the prism of his gender first. A man, for example, who gets a job isn’t going to face with suggestions that his attractiveness or that his willingness to perform sexual favors was a factor in his being hired, nor will he be shrugged off as a “quota hire”. A man isn’t expected to be a representative of his sex in all things; if he fails at a job, it’s not going to be extrapolated that all men are unfit for that job. A man who’s strong-willed or aggressive won’t be denigrated for it, nor are men socialized to “go along to get along”. A man can expect to have his opinion considered, not dismissed out of hand because of his sex. When paired with a woman who’s of equal status, the man can expect that most of the world will assume that he’s the one in charge. And, critically, a man doesn’t have to continually view the world through the lens of potential violence and sexual assault.
Now with this in mind, consider why being a girl first may be a hindrance to geek girls. A guy who plays a first person shooter – Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, what-have-you – online may expect a certain amount of trash talking, but he’s not going to be inundated with offers for sex, threats of rape, sounds of simulated masturbation or demands that he blow the other players – but not before going to the kitchen and getting them a beer/sandwich/pizza first. Men will also not be told that they’re being “too sensitive” or that “they need to toughen up” when they complain about said sexual threats.
Men also won’t have their opinions weighed or dismissed solely on the basis of how sexy or attractive they are. The most common responses a woman can expect in an argument – especially online – is that she’s fat, ugly, single, jealous, a whore, or a lesbian – or any combination thereof – and therefore her opinion is irrelevant, regardless of it’s actual merits. This is especially true if she’s commenting on the portrayal of female characters, whether in comics, video games or movies.
Men can expect that their presence at an event won’t automatically be assumed to be decorative or secondary to another man. Despite the growing presence of women in comics, as publishers, editors and creators as well as consumers, a preponderance of men will either treat women at conventions as inconveniences, booth bunnies or even potential dates. Many a female creator or publisher has had the experience of convention guests coming up and addressing all of their questions to the man at the table… despite being told many times that the man is often the assistant, not the talent, only there to provide logistical support and occasional heavy lifting.
Men are also not going to be automatically assigned into a particular niche just based on their gender. A girl in a comic store or a video game store is far more likely to be dismissed as another customer’s girlfriend/sister/cousin rather than being someone who might actually be interested in making a purchase herself. And when they are seen as customers, they’re often automatically assumed to be buying one of the designated “girl” properties… regardless of whether they were just reading Ultimate Spider-Man or looking for a copy of Saint’s Row 3.
Of course, the other side of the coin isn’t much better; being dismissed for the sin of being a woman is bad, but being placed on the traditional pillar is no less insulting. Guys who fall all over themselves to fawn over a geek girl and dance in attendance upon her are just as bad. The behavior is different, but the message is the same: she’s different because she’s a girl. These would-be white knights are ultimately treating her as a fetish object, not as a person. It’s especially notable when it comes to sexy cosplayers; the guys will laude them for being geek girls and celebrate them in person and online. They’ll lavish attention upon them, take photos of them and treat them as queens…
And in doing so, they’re sending the message that women are only valued in geek culture if they’re willing to be a sexually alluring product. Everybody loves Olivia Munn when she enters the room ass-cheeks first as Aeon Flux, but nobody is particularly concerned by the girls dressed in a baseball tee, jeans and ballet flats. One of these is welcomed into geek culture with open arms, the other has to justify their existence in the first place.
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN TO YOU?
The reason why male privilege is so insidious is because of the insistance that it doesn’t exist in the first place. That willful ignorance is key in keeping it in place; by pretending that the issue doesn’t exist, it is that much easier to ensure that nothing ever changes.
Geek society prides itself on being explicitly counter-culture; nerds will crow about how, as a society, they’re better than the others who exclude them. They’ll insist that they’re more egalitarian; geeks hold tight to the belief that geek culture is a meritocracy, where concepts of agism, sexism and racism simply don’t exist the way it does elsewhere. And yet, even a cursory examination will demonstrate that this isn’t true.
And yet geeks will cling to this illusion while simultaneously refusing to address the matters that make it so unattractive to women and minorities. They will insist that they treat women exactly the same as they treat guys – all the while ignoring the fact that their behavior is what’s making the women uncomfortable and feeling unwelcome in the first place. They will find one girl in their immediate community who will say that she’s not offended and use her as the “proof” that nobody else is allowed to be offended.
Changing this prevailing attitude starts with the individual. Call it part of learning to be a better person; being willing to examine your own attitudes and behaviors and to be ruthlessly honest about the benefits you get from being a white male in fandom is the first step. Waving your hands and pretending that there isn’t a problem is a part of the attitude that makes women feel unwelcome in fandom and serves as the barrier to entry to geeky pursuits that she might otherwise enjoy.
Bringing the spotlight onto the concept of male privilege as it exists in nerd culture is the first step in making it more welcoming of diversity, especially women.
*Thanks to Madoka for bringing this to my attention.

A huge thank you to whoever wrote this article.





If a girl wants to see herself represented in video games, she better get used to the idea of being the prize at the bottom of the cereal box.
If she wants to see herself as a main character, then it’s time to get ready for a parade of candyfloss costumes where nipple slips are only prevented by violating the laws of physics.
^ FUCKING THANK YOU

lasersandspikes:

thebookworm:

face-down-asgard-up:

ladyhippie:

womenaresociety:

Nerds and Male Privilege (definitely worth a read!)

I want to tell you a story.

A few years ago, I was dating a girl who was decidedly not nerd curious. She tolerated my geeky interests with a certain bemused air but definitely didn’t participate in ‘em… not even setting foot inside a comic store on new comic day. She’d wait outside until I was done… which could be a while, since I was friends with several of the staff.

She came in the store exactly once, after I’d explained that no, it’s a pretty friendly place… well lit, spacious, organized and with helpful – and clearly identified – staff members who were willing to bend over backwards to make sure their customers were satisfied.

She was in there for less than 4 minutes before one mouth-breathing troglodyte began alternately staring at her boobs – evidently hoping that x-ray vision could develop spontaneously – and berating her for daring to comment on the skimpy nature of the costumes – in this case, Lady Death and Witchblade. She fled the premises, never to return.

When both the manager and I explained to him in no uncertain terms as to what he did wrong he shrugged his shoulders. “Hey, I was just trying to help you guys! She couldn’t understand that chicks can be tough and sexy! Not my fault she’s a chauvinist,” he said.

And that was when I shot him, your honor.

So with that example in mind, let’s talk about a subject I’ve touched on before: Male Privilege and how it applies to geeks and – more importantly – geek girls.

MALE PRIVILEGE: WHAT IS IT, EXACTLY?

I don’t think I’m breaking any news or blowing minds when I point out that geek culture as a whole is predominantly male. Not to say that women aren’t making huge inroads in science fiction/fantasy fandom, gaming, anime and comics… but it’s still a very male culture. As such, it caters to the predominantly male audience that makes it up. This, in turn leads to the phenomenon known as male privilege: the idea that men – most often straight, white men – as a whole, get certain privileges and status because of their gender.

(Obvious disclaimer: I’m a straight white man.)

In geek culture, this manifests in a number of ways. The most obvious is in the portrayal of female characters in comics, video games and movies. Batman: Arkham City provides an excellent example.

The women are all about sex, sex, sexy sextimes. With maybe a little villainy thrown in for flavor. They may be characters, but they’re also sexual objects to be consumed.

I will pause now for the traditional arguments from my readers: these characters are all femme fatales in the comics, all of the characters in the Arkham games are over-the-top, the men are just as exaggerated/sexualized/objectified as the women. Got all of that out of your systems? Good.

Because that reaction is exactly what I’m talking about.

Y’see, one of the issues of male privilege as it applies to fandom is the instinctive defensive reaction to any criticism that maybe, just maybe, shit’s a little fucked up, yo. Nobody wants to acknowledge that a one-sided (and one-dimensional) portrayal of women is the dominant paradigm in gaming; the vast majority of female characters are sexual objects. If a girl wants to see herself represented in video games, she better get used to the idea of being the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. If she wants to see herself as a main character, then it’s time to get ready for a parade of candyfloss costumes where nipple slips are only prevented by violating the laws of physics. The number of games with competent female protagonists who wear more than the Victoria’s Secret Angels are few and far between.

The idea that perhaps the way women are portrayed in fandom is aleetle sexist is regularly met with denials, justifications and outright dismissal of the issue. So regularly, in fact, that there’s a Bingo card covering the most common responses. Part of the notion of male privilege in fandom is that nothing is wrong with fandom and that suggestions that it might benefit from some diversity is treated as a threat.

But what is that threat, exactly?

In this case, the threat is that – ultimately – fandom won’t cater to guys almost to exclusion… that gays, lesbians, racial and religious minorities and (gasp!) women might start having a say in the way that games, comics, etc. will be created in the future. The strawmen that are regularly trotted out – that men are objectified as well, that it’s a convention of the genre, that women actually have more privileges than guys – are a distraction from the real issue: that the Privileged are worried that they won’t be as privileged in the near future if this threat isn’t stomped out. Hence the usual reactions: derailment, minimization and ultimately dismissing the topic all together.

As much as my nerdy brethren wish that more girls were of the geeky persuasion, it’s a little understandable why women might be a little reticent. It’s hard to feel valued or fully included when a very vocal group insists that your input is irrelevant, misguided and ultimately unwelcome. It’s small wonder why geekdom – for all of it’s self-proclaimed enlightened attitudes towards outsiders and outcasts – stil retains the odor of the guy’s locker room.

HOW MALE PRIVILEGE AFFECTS GEEK GIRLS IN REAL LIFE

Don’t make the mistake of thinking male privilege is solely about how big Power Girl’s tits are, fan service and jiggle physics in 3D fighters. It affects geek girls in direct, personal ways as well.

Remember the example I mentioned earlier with my then-girlfriend in the comic store? Her opinions were deemed mistaken and she was told she didn’t “get it”… because she was a girl.

Y’see, one of the issues that nerd girls face is the fact that they are seen as girls first and anything else second. And before you flood my comments section demanding to know why this is a bad thing, realize that being seen as a “girl” first colors every interaction that they have within fandom. They’re treated differently because they are women.

We will now pause for the expected responses: well that’s a good thing isn’t it, girls get special treatment because they’re girls, guys will fall all over themselves to try to get girls to like ‘em so it all balances out.

If you’re paying attention you’ll realize that – once again – those reactions are what I’m talking about.

Y’see, nobody’s saying that women don’t receive different treatment from guys… I’m saying that being treated differently is the problem. And yes, I know exactly what many of you are going to say and I’ll get to that in a minute.

Male privilege – again – is about what men can expect as the default setting for society. A man isn’t going to have everything about him filtered through the prism of his gender first. A man, for example, who gets a job isn’t going to face with suggestions that his attractiveness or that his willingness to perform sexual favors was a factor in his being hired, nor will he be shrugged off as a “quota hire”. A man isn’t expected to be a representative of his sex in all things; if he fails at a job, it’s not going to be extrapolated that all men are unfit for that job. A man who’s strong-willed or aggressive won’t be denigrated for it, nor are men socialized to “go along to get along”. A man can expect to have his opinion considered, not dismissed out of hand because of his sex. When paired with a woman who’s of equal status, the man can expect that most of the world will assume that he’s the one in charge. And, critically, a man doesn’t have to continually view the world through the lens of potential violence and sexual assault.

Now with this in mind, consider why being a girl first may be a hindrance to geek girls. A guy who plays a first person shooter – Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, what-have-you – online may expect a certain amount of trash talking, but he’s not going to be inundated with offers for sex, threats of rape, sounds of simulated masturbation or demands that he blow the other players – but not before going to the kitchen and getting them a beer/sandwich/pizza first. Men will also not be told that they’re being “too sensitive” or that “they need to toughen up” when they complain about said sexual threats.

Men also won’t have their opinions weighed or dismissed solely on the basis of how sexy or attractive they are. The most common responses a woman can expect in an argument – especially online – is that she’s fat, ugly, single, jealous, a whore, or a lesbian – or any combination thereof – and therefore her opinion is irrelevant, regardless of it’s actual merits. This is especially true if she’s commenting on the portrayal of female characters, whether in comics, video games or movies.

Men can expect that their presence at an event won’t automatically be assumed to be decorative or secondary to another man. Despite the growing presence of women in comics, as publishers, editors and creators as well as consumers, a preponderance of men will either treat women at conventions as inconveniences, booth bunnies or even potential dates. Many a female creator or publisher has had the experience of convention guests coming up and addressing all of their questions to the man at the table… despite being told many times that the man is often the assistant, not the talent, only there to provide logistical support and occasional heavy lifting.

Men are also not going to be automatically assigned into a particular niche just based on their gender. A girl in a comic store or a video game store is far more likely to be dismissed as another customer’s girlfriend/sister/cousin rather than being someone who might actually be interested in making a purchase herself. And when they are seen as customers, they’re often automatically assumed to be buying one of the designated “girl” properties… regardless of whether they were just reading Ultimate Spider-Man or looking for a copy of Saint’s Row 3.

Of course, the other side of the coin isn’t much better; being dismissed for the sin of being a woman is bad, but being placed on the traditional pillar is no less insulting. Guys who fall all over themselves to fawn over a geek girl and dance in attendance upon her are just as bad. The behavior is different, but the message is the same: she’s different because she’s a girl. These would-be white knights are ultimately treating her as a fetish object, not as a person. It’s especially notable when it comes to sexy cosplayers; the guys will laude them for being geek girls and celebrate them in person and online. They’ll lavish attention upon them, take photos of them and treat them as queens…

And in doing so, they’re sending the message that women are only valued in geek culture if they’re willing to be a sexually alluring product. Everybody loves Olivia Munn when she enters the room ass-cheeks first as Aeon Flux, but nobody is particularly concerned by the girls dressed in a baseball tee, jeans and ballet flats. One of these is welcomed into geek culture with open arms, the other has to justify their existence in the first place.

WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN TO YOU?

The reason why male privilege is so insidious is because of the insistance that it doesn’t exist in the first place. That willful ignorance is key in keeping it in place; by pretending that the issue doesn’t exist, it is that much easier to ensure that nothing ever changes.

Geek society prides itself on being explicitly counter-culture; nerds will crow about how, as a society, they’re better than the others who exclude them. They’ll insist that they’re more egalitarian; geeks hold tight to the belief that geek culture is a meritocracy, where concepts of agism, sexism and racism simply don’t exist the way it does elsewhere. And yet, even a cursory examination will demonstrate that this isn’t true.

And yet geeks will cling to this illusion while simultaneously refusing to address the matters that make it so unattractive to women and minorities. They will insist that they treat women exactly the same as they treat guys – all the while ignoring the fact that their behavior is what’s making the women uncomfortable and feeling unwelcome in the first place. They will find one girl in their immediate community who will say that she’s not offended and use her as the “proof” that nobody else is allowed to be offended.

Changing this prevailing attitude starts with the individual. Call it part of learning to be a better person; being willing to examine your own attitudes and behaviors and to be ruthlessly honest about the benefits you get from being a white male in fandom is the first step. Waving your hands and pretending that there isn’t a problem is a part of the attitude that makes women feel unwelcome in fandom and serves as the barrier to entry to geeky pursuits that she might otherwise enjoy.

Bringing the spotlight onto the concept of male privilege as it exists in nerd culture is the first step in making it more welcoming of diversity, especially women.

*Thanks to Madoka for bringing this to my attention.

A huge thank you to whoever wrote this article.

image

image

If a girl wants to see herself represented in video games, she better get used to the idea of being the prize at the bottom of the cereal box.

If she wants to see herself as a main character, then it’s time to get ready for a parade of candyfloss costumes where nipple slips are only prevented by violating the laws of physics.

^ FUCKING THANK YOU

(via der-kase-hexe)




Dal remember this?

Dal remember this?

(Source: princeofstardust, via ensign-rei-hino)




Marvel vs DC: the Dudebro analogy

me: It's sad how progressive Marvel looks while standing next to DC. It's completely amazing.
Kara: which is kind of awful too because Marvel needs help too Marvel needs help DC needs to be in an institution? is that fair?
me: Marvel is a middle class, middle America white dude who's been pulled from his suburban all-white high school to go to college with a bunch of people who are different than him.
Kara: ooooh
me: He's that dick who goes to the women's studies class to 'meet chicks,' and calls everyone bro, and doesn't really GET why his Cinco De Mayo party is really, really kinda racist. But he talks to people who don't look exactly like him and when he's told that he's being a dick he mostly listens and sure he's still got Maxim covers up on his wall, but now he can talk to girls without trying to hit on them.
me: DC's the guy who went to the college of people JUST LIKE HIM and entered a frat and hangs out on /bchan and takes pictures of girls who are drunk and falling out of their shirts without their knowledge and text them to everyone he knows, even the girls who are kind of like, ugh.
Kara: this is really perfect
me: So Marvel has figured out that if he wants to get a date, or more importantly, a second date, he needs to start dealing with women and other people as human beings and he's not perfect and he's still gonna get dumped when he mutters a vaguely homophobic epithet at the waiter at a restaurant, but he's listening in classes and his roommate's cool and they become friends even though they're different races and eventually he ends up in a suite where half his roommates are women who explain that the "make me a sandwich" shirt is the reason he's NOT GETTING LAID. And he stops wearing that shirt, except when he's really drunk and stupid.
me: Meanwhile, DC is on facebook, telling boob jokes and then bitterly calling women bitches for not having sex with him and going back to hang out at the local high school football games despite the fact that it gets sadder every year, because everyone who used to like him has grown up and moved out and moved away and he's still there, still talking to teenagers, except he doesn't know the lingo and they're not interested in what he has to say.



adventurotica:

christyleighstewart:

kstipetic:

DC comics asks prospective artists to sexualize suicide


In order to participate in DC’s latest talent search, you have to draw a female character committing suicide naked.

I’m gonna assume I don’t have to explain what’s fucked up about this.

But guys, they left an open submission form on their page! They claim they will personally review every submission!

I see this as an opportunity to spam their box with a Hawkeye-Initiative style inversion of genders. Or just give them an angry letter. Whatever you want.

I say we make this viral and shame them out of this talent search.

*edited at 11:21am CST

I can’t draw so I sent this

image

Is anybody at DC even awake?

As a female comic book fan this makes me want to slam my head against a wall.  DC has problems.  Major fucking problems.

(via bidyke)




The ‘Fake Geek Girl’ has got to go

randomredux:

And by that I mean the whole stupid, foolhardy concept. I’ve said before that if you really believe there’s a horde of attractive women faking interest in nerdy things just to get your attention, you have a massive case of unwarranted self-importance, and I still believe that. I also believe you’re incredible insecure, and threatened by some ‘enemy’ who is no such thing.

The world of comic books, sci-fi, videogames, all these things, is no longer a boy’s club with a “NO GIRLS ALLOWED” banner hanging on the door, and it never should have been (indeed, I suspect it never really WAS but for this very idea - girls aren’t REAL nerds, especially attractive ones! And then the internet came up and holy shit look, women came out in droves to discuss their interest in these things, going back to the 1980s and earlier like the rest of us). If you insist somehow that it should be, that you should act as some kind of gatekeeper - he is a real nerd, she is not - then quite frankly you are just one of the saddest specimens we have to offer. Many of us grew up being picked on for having a non-mainstream interest, and now that this interest is spreading you attack and snarl and demean and exclude instead of actually being happy that you have new people to share these wonderful interests with.

You complain about games being rehashes, comic book reboots that are just retreads, but actively keep out the new blood and perspectives that could actually offer something you haven’t seen or considered before.

You demean women who cosplay as attention seekers in skimpy outfits, ignoring that they didn’t create those outfits, WE did.

Who cares if someone’s exposure and love for The Avengers came from the movie, and not the comics first?

Who cares if someone plays Angry Birds more than Dark Souls? What, you never fucking played Tetris? Don’t give me that non-game crap.

Oh no, she watches Thor because he’s tall blonde and built like a brick shithouse and isn’t afraid to comment that the guy’s a stud and so’s his brother? Yeah, because you read Tarot: Witch of the Rose for the riveting storytelling and characterization, right?

Oh no, someone’s writing fanfic about Tony Stark and Steve Rogers buttfucking! What a demeaning thing to do to the characters, you say as browsing the pictures I’ve been hired to draw of the women of X-Men having a lesbian orgy.

At the core of it all, for some insane reason, you are so threatened by the presence of women in your interests that you insult, you cajole, you harrass, and you embarrass the rest of us who are just happy to share. You slam women who are attractive and cosplay as NOT REAL NERDS, THEY’RE PREYING ON US POOR WIDDLE MENZ! And when they’re not as attractive as you’d like, you slam them for not meeting your standards. Or you slam them for daring not to give you the time of day when you grope and harass and hit on them. And if you look like me while doing it, that’s even more hilariously hypocritical and out of touch with reality. She’s not there for YOU, bro.

She’s not there for you.

She’s not there for you.

Let that sink in, guys.

She’s not there for you.

She’s not dressing up for you.

She’s not interested in comics for you.

She’s not playing games for you.

She’s. Not. There. For. You.

You are not the center of the universe, you never were and you never SHOULD be. It’s time to share your toys, guys. It’s time to be more mature. It’s time to drop the entitled attitude that insists our standards and our standards alone should be met. You do not hold the keys to the kingdom, for the kingdom has no lock.

My friend Kat - a geek with a cool job making awesome videogames like NFS The Run and mad cosplay skills - said something on Twitter earlier that summed the whole Fake Geek Girl BS up perfectly;

That’s just it- “fake geek girls” DO NOT EXIST. There are only WOMEN WITH VARYING LEVELS OF INTEREST IN DIFFERENT HOBBIES.”

Many of the women cosplaying at these conventions probably know more about the current state of comics than I do, but I’ll never be asked to prove my nerd cred if I roll up in a Superman tee - and I haven’t bought an issue since the New 52 launched.

Fucking afford them the same courtesy. Don’t be a douchebag.

(via cayliana)




awesomepeoplereading:

Gail Simone reads.

dcwomenkickingass:
womenreadcomicsinpublicagain:

Gail Simone reads a hair-raising comic and does not appreciate the “hair-raising” part!

Heh.

awesomepeoplereading:

Gail Simone reads.

dcwomenkickingass:

womenreadcomicsinpublicagain:

Gail Simone reads a hair-raising comic and does not appreciate the “hair-raising” part!

Heh.




Melaka Fray from Fray by Joss Whedon with art by Karl Moline




gingahsnap:

This is Fray. It is a super-duper awesome spin-off of Buffy by Joss Whedon. The art is gorgeous, the colors are just mmmmmmyeah and I just think more people should know about this series. 

Yup, that’s all. 

OMFG Fray.   I love Fray.   Fray was what took me from liking Buffy to being a full-fledged Joss Whedon fangirl.   Fray introduced me to my ex-boyfriend.   Fray got me a job in a comic book store and all the various life developments that came from it.   I seriously owe this comic for like 64% of my awesomeness.  And for my current hair color choices.

Um anyway, so people should read it.   It’s a really good story.   Very accessible, even if you’re not a huge Buffy fan.  




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