The Grapes of Thorns, The Figs of Thistles


There’s no easier way to strike a raw nerve in the comic book community than to point out rampant sexism. Which is precisely what’s happened over the last couple weeks, since artist Tess Fowler alleged that a prominent comic writer (whom she later revealed to be Brian Wood) tried to get her up to his hotel room during a comic convention–under the pretense of looking at her portfolio, of course–and later shouted at and insulted her when she refused to go along. This opened the gates for more women to come out and tell their stories, and for a discussion to be had about harassment in the industry.

Naturally, these people are all overly-sensitive, lying bitch whores who hate men and wish to ruin the comic book industry, which is pure and noble and has absolutely to no problem with women at all, ever, in the history of time and space and mind and besides it’s not everyone just kick the perpetrators in the balls, you wuss. At least, this is what a large number of white guys have had to say on the subject. Insults, obfuscation, and deny, deny, deny: the one and only strategy for the privilege class in any modern culture or subculture. They claim to literally not see what’s so apparent to anyone with functional eyes and a brain who pays attention to the trends and norms of comic’s culture: it won’t matter whether popular creators have “semi-ironic harems,” or publish misogynist screeds about how women who dress up in costumes are “fake nerds,” or how normal it is for the industry to conduct “meetings” in strip clubs, information which has been widely known for years. Nor will it matter how prevalent it is for guys to grope, harass, or take upskirt shots of women at comic conventions, or how the brunt of fanboy rage about negative reviews of superhero/sci-fi/fantasy movies will either be directed at women or use feminine-based slurs (“bitch,” “cunt,” etc.), or how any time a woman pipes up to say she doesn’t like being treated like a sex object by guys, a whole mass of them will tell her to shut up. Point out the disparity between the number of women looking to get into comics and the number which actually get in, and you’ll be told it’s because women don’t make “good content” (as if that were ever a barrier for entry at Marvel or DC), and the ones who do get in are only there because of “affirmative action.” Mention harassment, or having malicious rumors spread about you for refusing someone’s advances, and some guy, somewhere will be saying, “But he didn’t touch you, so what’s the big deal?” And another guy will say the perpetrator is the real victimwhich sounds eerily similar to CNN’s interpretation of the guilty verdict for the Stuebenville rapists, don’t ya think?

So entrenched in their Batman caves, it is quite literally impossible to convince them anything else matters. As one “DavidtheDuke” quite succinctly states on Noah Berlatsky’s Atlantic article cited above: “Thing is I\we don’t care.” And that, there, is the long and short of it: it doesn’t matter how much their behavior sounds or reads like rape apologia and enforces a culture where guys can routinely debase women for their own amusement, as long as they get to keep their toys. Comic’s culture, like the Do-Nothings which make up the American right-wing, is stuffed full of people who see a problem, but don’t want to do anything about it. So they pretend it isn’t there, ask what the fuss is all about, and declare anyone who expresses justifiable outrage over the state of affairs as being “insecure” (if you’re a woman) or a “Mangina” (if you’re a guy who thinks this isn’t okay behavior).

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.”


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