Monday, May 10, 2010

Free Comic Book Day gives me mixed feelings.

I'm going to start this off by saying "I love comic books." I do, a lot, and for the most part I am happy as a clam to sift through and ignore or acknowledge just how sexist certain artists and writers are, all in the desire to find and read some damn good comics. This year, just like I try to do each year, I went forth to gather some of the newest (free) comic material in the desire to a) see what new shiny books catch my support and b) see what might be worthwhile to send to my brother overseas in the army. While I admit I took Fraggle Rock and Domo comics for the amusement, and because my brother would get a laugh out of them, I also took many from a variety of other styles.

This year looked great! I really am looking forward to the newest Storm Lion works, and Aspen is always very visually appealing. I am well aware the drawing of the female body seems to be magically off but I'm forgiving, and I honestly don't care that much unless the other nerds in the store call me 'fat' (no it's never happened before, I doubt it ever would, just saying that would be the only time in which I would even bat an eye). Then I would be more than elated to express to people the advantages of a well muscled body. More likely I'd just laugh, but what I am trying to say is there is nothing I can do to change the art, and I don't feel so insecure that I avoid my secret interest. So it's not every day the world of comics tosses me off guard.

My jaw fell, though, when I flipped a comic book over to see "Lady Gaga" staring me in the face. Her name is not in quotes because it is not her real name, hell, I know a girl named Winter Berry so I don't really care what you decide to call yourself. It was the title of the comic, and thus gets quotes. I looked at it for a moment and thought to myself "is this a prank?". I seemed to be having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. So, being the curious cat I am, I opened to the first page.
Nope, not a prank. What in all the Hells?
The story moves with a man who is watching TV and commenting on current music in general. He thinks it's really lacking. I hear you, little fake man, when you say some of the contemporary music is not up to your liking. I understand you think lyrics should be thoughtful and creative. But why do you complain so much? And why Lady Gaga? I know you won't get the full preview from the internet, but this is a short chunk of what was in the free comic.
I'm not sure how much I have to say on this. I'm not a huge fan of Gaga (nor do I hate her or her music), but this was my first drop into music cultural in a comic. The art style wasn't something I favor, but I really feel like it undersold the main characters for the sake of saying something. He goes on for another few pages about how music these days is pathetic, and he is annoyed by the younger kids in the music store that have never been introduced to the 'classics'. What to do expect? The children of this generation are notorious for being left unsupervised. When are they supposed to be 'educated' when no one has time for them anymore, and so many people blow them off just like you are doing now? I could go on all day about education issues inside and out of the classroom, but the point is that both of the introduced characters did nothing for me. Perhaps if I purchased the whole comic, I would understand better, but what I saw did not motivate me to make that choice. In short, this was one of the few comics this year that disappointed me.
Again, I am well aware that this is aimed at an audience that is clearly not me, but I think with some better writing, even I would have had the desire to look further than the freebie.

In some completely different news, apparently there is a lot of tension in Arizona over a film that relates to the issue of immigration (I'm being vague, I know). This isn't something I've had much time to look into, but I bumped into a funny Cinco De Mayo related video. You'll understand when you check it out.

That's all from me for now. Rawk on!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

So, so much fail

So if you ever want to see privilege at work, just hop on over here to John C. Wright's gender/trans/feminist fail. John C Wright is a multi-published Nebula finalist with Tor. Goodness, another white cis heterosexual male writer in a still largely patriarchal field showing off his goddamned privileged douchebaggery. Shocking.

His entire post pretty much sent me into a rage blackout, and there's so much fail here that to address it all I honestly would have to take this sentence by sentence, not to mention unpacking the goddamn comments, my favorite of which advocated encouraging the Walk of Shame to curb whorish behavior. Funnily enough, that' s only in regards to the women, and not, you know, the increasing raunchy, frat boy culture that teaches young men that they should aspire to fuck as many women as possible, and that their behavior is not only acceptable but lauded, because women are objects of desire and not actual people.

The first sentence of his post starts out with "I have long been of the opinion that the feminist movement seeks to raise the standard of womanhood by erasing differences between the sexes," and immediately out comes the strangly hands.

And no, Wright, you are wrong. You are wrong and willfully ignorant and you need to shut the hell up. Feminism doesn't seek to "erase the differences between the sexes." Feminism advocates the radical idea that women are people too. Feminism demands that women have the right to own property, vote, not be beholden to their husband, equal pay for equal work, and in general be treated like human beings.

What you want, Wright, is a return to some kind of idealized Victorian past, where woman were married off at their fathers wishes, and in general were treated like objects of desire. That is not modesty. That is being treated, at best, like second class citizens, and at worst, like chattel.

Of course, it gets even better: "The basic flaw is that feminists start by seeking equality, but finish by seeking androgyny. Girls are not taught to be feminine and modest; boys are not taught self-command and decency. When mixed, narcissistic cruelly selfish males will then simply exploit, as far as they can, the narcissistic but defenseless females. Equality starts as a perfectly reasonable demand for women's suffrage and the right to own property, but ends with the oddly unnatural equality of a naked jello wrestling cage match between a rapist and a nymph. Unless she is Xena Warrior Princess, Wonder Woman, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her chances of emerging from the cage unscathed are dim."

Ah, yes, so we have women being "powerless" and it's up to the big, strong man to protect us. Also, Wright, no, it does not end in a fucking jello cage match. It ends with privileged assholes like yourself shutting up and actually LISTENING TO WOMEN. I know this is hard for you, being in possession of a penis and all, but feminists are trying to change the culture so we don't have gendered, privileged men like yourself telling us how we should dress, act, behave.

Feminism is about equality. It's about how I should be able to stand in a crowded elevator or train and not worry about being groped. It's about how I should expect basic respect because I am a person. It's about me getting paid equal to male employees for the work we both perform. It's about me being able to choose who and when I want to have sex. It's about how I should not be expected to be "shamed" into modesty because of the idea of women enjoying and wanting sex makes you clutch at your pearls. It's about you recognizing me as an individual with all the rights that you have. It is NOT about me fitting to some make believe fantasy about how real women should be modest, silent girls.

It also means what you say something like this "The equalization of men and women in the sexual sphere leads to more male hatred for women. I am confident that being slapped by a Playboy bunny or Hooters Gal is more humiliating than being slapped by a Vestal Virgina, Nun, or Schoolmarm." I can tell you to shut the hell up, you fucking privileged douchebag.

Because this is you slut shaming. This is you saying that a woman who works as Playboy bunny or at Hooters, two things our culture fetishes and idolizes, is beneath you. You say she, who you grope and leer and entertain masturbatory fantasies of, is not worth the respect you would afford a fellow male human being. How very enlightened of you.

The ONE thing I mostly agree with you on is your stance on date rape: "One of the most disturbing indicia of the modern return to barbarism is the phenomenon called ‘Date Rape.’ While some of my fellow conservatives dismiss this phenomena as a rhetorical pose of the feminist, I submit that the conservative who supports that dismissal brings shame on our noble mutual cause. If anything, we conservatives should be trumpeting the horrid statistics about Date Rape from the rooftops"

Yes to raising awareness. Yes to changing the way our culture views it and makes it possible. Yes to making sure this doesn't happen again.

Unfortunately, you can't resist being an asshole, can you, Wright? Because you immediately follow up with this: "An impromptu militia with torches and pitchforks should seize Hefner and Kinsey and all those in the camp of the sexual libertarians frogmarch them to the nearest lamp-post for a quick drumhead trial and a slow hanging. Or, if that is too dramatic for these soft and modern times, let us at least hang them in effigy and damn their ideas to hell...We were promised promiscuous harems, and all we got instead is a new and oddly puritanical form of anti-Puritanism."

No, Wright, you were never promised harems. What you were promised was sexual equality, where men and women could be free of this gendered, outdated bullshit about how they should view sex. It's because you wanted harems (only for the men, because we women are here to please you) we ended up with this horribly dichotomy of raunchy/puritanicalism that hurts everybody.

What we ended up with is your privileged ass telling me that women need to be modest. That we need chaperons. That boys will be boys, and women are the mystical gatekeepers of virginity.

What we have is more of the same inequality we've been struggling against for generations.

So congratulations, Wright. You are not the savior of women's rights. You're the problem.