Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Boys can be Idiots

The whole misogynistic attitude of a percentage of male comic book fans irritates me.  This all started with the recent incident involving Janelle Asselin and a T-shirt sold at Wondercon 2014.  Janelle Asselin, a comic book industry professional, wrote an article about her opinions of a cover of a comic book.  She gets rape threats, someone attempted to hack her bank account, and a site hosting an article about this whole mess was down for over three hours.

What in the name of the creator are people thinking?  Just because someone disagrees with you does not give you the right to assault them with words, threaten physical harm to them or their family, hack their bank accounts, or squelch their thoughts by hacking a site that contributes an article about their ordeal you created.  This all started because some fanboys got upset that a WOMAN threatened the possibility of them seeing underage drawn over-sized plastic breasts.  That was one of the points to Ms. Asselin’s critique of Teen Titans #1’s cover.  They questioned her qualifications and her history in the industry.  They accused her of having an Agenda and being a Feminist or Feminazi.  These trolls, ogres and troglodytes want to see drawn breasts of someone they are too old to look at in that way for it to be appropriate. 

The T-shirt sold at Wondercon that caused a stir, had printed on it, “I like my fangirls like I like my Coffee….I HATE Coffee!”  This spurred a debate about censorship, because one Pop Culture commentator asked Conventions to police this kind of garbage.  Someone misunderstood the meaning of censorship.  Censorship is when a governmental agency restricts speech not when private citizens, organizations of society at large.  The problem is we have people who think Free Speech includes freedom from consequences of what they say.

Let’s look at this situation; comic books were traditionally a male pursuit in the U.S.  In the late 1980’s to early 1990’s during the second Independent comics boom that started to change.  Back between 1999 and 2002, I was on the Warren Ellis Forums.  He was welcoming to ladies in comics both as fans and creators. He thought that the fanbase and what was published needed some serious widening. Through him, I and countless others were introduced to many female creators and a wonderful site from the female perspective called Sequential Tart. It has been almost 12 years since the forum closed. The audience has widened, but there is this misogynistic backlash towards the female fans and creators.

Most male comic books fans are portrayed as intimidated by females.  There is truth to some of it.  There is still a part of the comic book fan community that needs to mature emotionally.  Their reaction seems infantile to me.  This recent behavior is a continuation of a horrible trend, female Cosplayers being sexually harassed, female comics professionals getting rape threats by disgruntled fans, and then these incidents.  I do not care for the terms Fanboy or Fangirl when referring to grown men and women.  I wonder if this label makes some men think it is okay to behave like an utter idiot.  I do not know.  I do not want to brush this under the rug as boys will be boys.  That is due to the fact many of these morons are grown men.  They need to act like it. 

Now there are females that like the same thing as you.  Do not act like it is some private club that you have a right to say who belongs.  You do not.  This whole fake geek thing is utter garbage.  Who are we to judge others?  Comic book fandom has been judged by the mainstream harshly.  This only feeds into those stereotypes. It also does what others have done to the comic book fans.   Without this widened fanbase the comic book movies would not have been economically viable.

I personally do not care for coffee, but I love having Female fans around.  I prefer tea.  I like women and I have many as friends.  Many of them have geeky and nerdy interests.  I want them to have a great time at events without dealing with trolls, ogres or troglodytes.  Women broaden our perspective.  I want the comic books community to have a diverse perspective.  The perspective that is at the center of this problem is seriously myopic.

Women bring a voice that we have been missing, but this behavior discourages many of them from engaging with the Comic Book community.  Calling their Geek/ Nerd credentials into question does not help either.  If you would not behave that way with a male then do not with a female.  We need to show respect and civility in this Pop Culture arena, we all love.  If we did not love it, male and female, would not be inspired by it.  Also behave like these women are your mother, aunts, sisters, daughters, and other female family members.  

It is toxic, this attitude.  Toxicity like this does not help anyone. The only two Pop culture areas I see this kind of mentality are Comics and Video Games. I could be wrong. It saddens, irritates, angers, and frustrates me to no end this kind of small mindedness. I, myself, am not perfect. When I realize I am out of line, I stop rethink things, and then do my best to resolve the problem. Those of us who do not agree with these attitudes need to speak up and out. We need to make ourselves heard to the industry, the event organizers and other fans. I want to make our passion a safe place for ALL.  This has been My Not So Humble Opinion.

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