Robot 6

Sex and the single Marvel super heroine

Marvel Divas

Marvel Divas

In his weekly MyCup o’ Joe column on MySpace, Marvel chief Joe Quesada announced today a new mini-series called Marvel Divas by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Tonci Zonjic:

This also seems like the perfect time to announce our Marvel Divas limited series, beginning in July, from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Tonci Zonjic, featuring some of the Marvel Universe’s greatest female heroes in a way you haven’t seem them before. I’ll let Roberto explain:

“The idea behind the series was to have some sudsy fun and lift the curtain a bit and take a peep at some of our most fabulous super heroines. In the series, they’re an unlikely foursome of friends–Black Cat, Hell Cat, Firestar, and Photon–with TWO things in common: They’re all leading double-lives and they’re all having romantic trouble. The pitch started as “Sex and the City” in the Marvel Universe, and there’s definitely that “naughty” element to it, but I also think the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.) But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.

This week’s column also includes a Q&A with War of Kings scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Which gives me an excuse to link to something I’ve been meaning to mention — Kirk Warren at the Weekly Crisis has an excellent series of primers on War of Kings that introduce all the major players, in case you haven’t been keeping up with Marvel’s cosmic comics.

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Comments

235 Comments

Humph! This looks terrible. And, I’m not sure i want to see Firestar tarted up. I *hope* this is outside of continuity. Also … could that promo piece be any less interesting?

Why do they all have the exact same body type? Lame promo.

Ugh. “Marvel Divas”? Seriously?

Hey, ‘Young Avengers’ sounded terrible too, and it turned out great, so who knows?

In any case, i love me some Tonci Zonjic artwork.

Dec.

Yay, it’s our annual dose of J. Scott Campbell! I’m sure an announcement of his involvement with yet another book we’ll never see is just around the corner. Too bad this just looks like something that would be called “Danger Girl: Chick or Treat”

The Ugly American

April 9, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Firestar’s super-power is a super-elongated torso.

Did Monica retain her Nextwave persona like Aaron Stack did? I’d be interested in seeing more of her if they kept her in line with Ellis’ portrayal of the character.

I’ve been trying for years to get my waist be roughly 2/3 the circumference of my thighs! And to find friends whose measurements are exactly the same as mine so we can share latex costumes! And no matter how many doctors I ask, none will agree to break my feet and realign them so they’re perpetually in the much-coveted “wearing stiletto f-me shoes” shape. What is these ladies’ secret?!

Obviously, it’s something to do with what it “means… truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns.” I, on the other hand, am a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and convention hot dogs, so I’m not so lucky.

LOL! “some sudsy fun” and “lift the curtain a bit”? I know who this series is aim towards and it sure as heck isn’t me! What a lame miniseries.

Weird combination of characters. I’m surprised it’s not Storm, Invisible Woman, She-Hulk and… uh… Ms. Marvel? Rogue? Might as well go for the female icons.

Anyway, Jennifer nailed it. Just based off that image, juxtaposed with Roberto’s quote “asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns”, it looks like another typically demeaning portrayal of women. If your target audience is the same as Sex in the City, maybe don’t alienate them with freakishly unrealistic caricatures. If your target audience is a fraction of the same ~200,000 Marvel readers you already have… well, I guess no changes are needed. Demean away.

However, I looked up the artist Tonic Zonjic, and am much more interested in his work – http://lungbug.blogspot.com/

I think all woman in comics should be drawn wearing baggy bedazzled kitten sweatshirts with some nice slacks and sensible shoes. Because we all know that men in comics have realistic body types and modist costumes. They are comic book characters for christ sakes.

Yes, they’re only comic books. We should never look for more from them.

Also in the column: Quesada loses his mind or is on some intense drugs, look at this reader question:

Walkin-X
Hi Joe……..I would definately like to see advice for upcoming writers, the same kind as advice artists in Cup o Joe vol 13. Especially with the recession on, I am on a website of comic creators, retailers, publishers etc and they all think it’s going to get harder not easier and the big companies are a big part of that.

JQ: We’re pretty pumped up to have Jason Aaron on the Fat Cobra special, and can tell you that these five one-shots are going to be brimming with kung-fu goodness. You’ll also see plenty of the main Marvel U. – like that previously unseen Fat Cobra / Nick Fury team-up – as well as glimpses into K’un-Lun and the Capital Cities of Heaven. The six-page backup stories will also prominently feature the Immortal Iron Fist in the Marvel U.

You know what truly captures what it means to be a woman in male dominated industries, both comics and otherwise? When this: “what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns.” gets capped off with this: “But *mostly* it’s just a lot of *hot* fun.” i.e. “Hey women, you can be people and have agency, as long as you’re smoking — remotely unattainable by human standards — hot!” And by “hot” they mean, of course, “as long as I, a straight man, can masturbate to you.”

Awesome. AWESOME. Nothing like the status quo being maintained so goddamn efficiently!

A no-doubt $3.99 priced miniseries with the execrable word “Diva” in the title written as a “Sex in the City for the Marvel U” by a gay comics writer? I couldn’t pass on this fast enough!

I wish this wasn’t too late to be an April Fool’s joke. To quote my friend, “eff this industry.”

What the hell is wrong with these people? Let’s just parse that little paragraph. So, for women characters to have an active sex life, they are “naughty.” And they supposedly want to really, truely explore what it means to be a woman in a male dominated industry, but at the same time it’s going to be “good hot fun”? Good, hot fun for whom exactly? The (most likely) all male writing and art staff? The all male comic fanboys this series is aimed at?

Apparently these folks have not grasped the inherent contradiction between really, truly exploring what it would actually be like to be a woman hero in a testosterone and violence dominated world AND still titillating the male audience. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, boys. To really explore what it would be like to be a woman in this situation, you would have to acknowledge the essential sexism and misogyny in the comics field. And we can’t harsh the fanboy libido with that kind of thing, now, can we?

The closest thing I (as a newbie) have seen to seriously confronting these issues is the series “Alias,” and even that was written by a man and had some really skeevy elements. Try getting a woman’s creative opinion, here, boys, if you’re so “serious” about addressing these issues.

Really, Marvel, is this your plan to bring in more female readers? Because this female newbie comic fan feels like running screaming into the night and never giving another dollar to this industry.

His last two sentences so perfectly sum up why this series is going to completely fail to accomplish anything of relevance:

“…asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.) But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.”

There is a reason that 95% of the comics women read aren’t published by Marvel or DC. Neither of them apparently has the intellectual wherewithal to come up with something compelling for females to want to read.

I liked this when it was called Gotham City Sirens.

Look at this. Just look at this:

…sudsy fun…
…take a peep…
…“Sex IN the City”… (not “and”)
…that “naughty” element…
…doing to a deeper place…
…dominated…
…a lot of hot fun…

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has done some good things, but isn’t this the same guy who got his break in the industry by writing a play about a gay Archie Andrews?

I know it’s unfair to judge a book by its cover, but on the face of it, this is so blatantly offensive I don’t know what to say. Who is the target demographic for this series? Does any woman find that cover or the series description appealing on any level?

And Pizz, you bring up a familiar argument. But it’s not just about the idealized human form. It’s about the SEXUALIZED idealized human form. Can you honestly say the cover is not a cheesecake shot? Have you ever seen anything remotely comparable with male heroes? Batman bent over the Batmobile with his butt in the air? A nude Captain America with his shield covering up his stars and bars? The only thing I can remember being a comparable beefcake shot is occasionally seeing Clark Kent on the farm with his overalls undone.

I’m really glad that I don’t have a daughter, because I don’t know that I would be comfortable sharing anything from DC or Marvel with her, because there are so few super-heroines are written responsibly. The big two are just too afraid they’ll offend their base of middle-aged white guys to try something new.

Hey, Marvel, you want to get a good female-focused book out that women (and men) will actually buy? Go check out 2008′s King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special. There’s a story in there called “Un-Enchanted Evening,” by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, that’s an unexpected team-up of Hellcat, Mary Jane Watson, She-Hulk, Marvel Girl, Clea, Scarlet Witch, and MILLIE THE FRIGGIN’ MODEL. It turns out to be a brilliant line-up, and I’m still waiting for another team-up story that’s anywhere near as good as that one. Go make that a series, guys, and I’ll buy every issue three times, because I know three little girls I’d love to make into comic book fans.

Call me crazy, but I don’t really care who my superheroes are boinking. I’m more interested in them being, y’know, SUPERHEROES.

Wow, this is in fact an excellent example of women in a male-dominated industry: marginalized, defined by their sex lives (defined as “naughty” no less), and the only reason their stories are told are as an excuse to titillate men. Well done. I couldn’t have summed it up better myself.

Throw in a pink cover. All girls like pink. Make sure you pose the women as sexy as possible, because that’s totally necessary for a female audience. Oh, and the characters should talk about shoes a lot; women LOVE shoes. Also, keep in mind that when women hang out together, we ALWAYS wear skimpy nighties, CONSTANTLY touch each other, and ALL of our conversations revolve around men. Especially if we’re, you know, crime-fighters who’re giving up a lot of their lives to do this thankless job. Women don’t talk about serious stuff.

Bonus points for bubble baths or pillow fights.

R., you mentioned the pillow fights but forgot about those wet tee-shirt contests we throw at our sleepovers between crimefighting sessions. And the manicures that inevitably follow the crime fighting, when we — gasp — break a nail.

Apparently it is possible to both pass the Bechtel test, which I assume this comic probably will at least once, and STILL be complete misogynist drivel.

Yeah, yeah, I’m judging before I even read it. So sue me.

@ Wesley and David H – I have to say that the Cosmic Adventures of Supergirl in the 8th Grade is a great book for girls (and boys).

What struck me as annoying about this (among other things) is the assumption that comic readers like Sex in the City.

Maddy:

You’re absolutely right about Supergirl, and I got mad love (do the kids still say that today?) for both the Johnny DC and Marvel Adventures lines. But that’s kind of my point. Those two lines are designed specifically for children, ostensibly with the hopes that those readers will graduate to readers of the mainstream titles.

In other words, shouldn’t ALL the super-heroines be good role models? Isn’t that kind of the point? Why does it seem that for every genuine attempt to grow beyond the aging middle-class demographic DC and Marvel have, they both turn around and pander to that same audience. If we are maturing (as we all know we are), and they say they’re WRITING more mature stories, then why are we still dealing with stuff like this? I seriously don’t get it.

This looks fucking terrible. Birds of Prey treated their characters like actual human beings instead of just sex objects, and Gotham City Sirens is at least being penned by Paul Dini. Way to completely miss the point Marvel.

I’m hoping Power Girl makes PG a good role model. Amanda Conner at least makes the costume look somewhat tasteful.

I was hoping Gail Simone would do more for Wonder Woman, but I’m still waiting.

I haven’t read Supergirl in who knows how long, so I have no clue what’s happening there.

Gotham City Sirens might be written well, but Guillem March sure likes his T&A…

“It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic”

Marvel. Get a girl to write this story. But get the good cheese cake artists for alot of variant covers. Retro black cat back to white gloves/boots, Photon back to her Ms. Marvel suit, Firestar with her 90′s costume w/ jacket, Hell-Cat with a new costume or color, and a rotation of guest appearances from all the females in the Marvel U, and you got a lasting series. MARVEL FATALES sounds better than DIVAS, or The Avenging Fatales. They all are former Avengers except BC, but she’s got more than enough stripes to be one now.

I realized what it is about this that got me riled up… subtract the sudsy hotness and the Sex in the CIty rip off, and this is exactly the kind of comic book I’d be all over in a heartbeat. This is what I’ve been looking for since I started reading comics — a deeper exploration of what it would mean to be a woman superhero. And I haven’t found it in any of the titles I’ve tried so far, though some come closer than others. So I get pissed off when the very idea I’ve been searching for gets dangled over my head like a toy treat, only to be snatched away and replaced with the usual misogynist bullshit.

Sigh.

Why must all Marvel artists try to make all the female characters look like porn stars?

They all have large, rounded, water filled breasts.

I guess they can just smother /drown the bad guys.

Another winner from THE HOUSE OF IDEAS!!!!

Black Cat: “Get a girl to write this story.”

What difference does the gender of the writer make? Good writing is good writing and assuming you need a girl to write a good comic about girls is pretty sexist.

Jon L. : the issue isn’t necessarily who is writing these things; yeah, in a perfect world the best writer should do it, male or female. But please, spare me that argument in this context. You think this is an equal playing field for women writers? You think a woman writer who was really interested in exploring what it meant to be a woman superhero would write a frothy, naughty “Sex and the City” rip off?

I see three main (interrelated) issues here: name one Marvel superhero comic book writer with the reputation of a Brubaker, etc, who is a woman. When you can name five, maybe I’ll shut up about the lack of women in the comic business. Issue two: it’s not just that the best writer should get the job, it’s that women writers might tell the story in a different way from male writers. Not necessarily better, but a woman might tell the story in a way a man wouldn’t think of, because men and women have different experiences of the world. A woman writer, in a field dominated by men (comics) just might have some unique insight into the head of a woman superhero in a field dominated by men. And since there are so few women writers in comics, we never, ever get to hear superhero stories from any perspective but a male one. So when Marvel proposes to explore the lives of women superheroes, really explore it, if they were serious they would consider getting the woman’s POV.

Look, I’d be ecstatic if a man wrote a deep take on this subject. I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon for exactly this reason. But I have very, very little expectation that Marvel will get a Joss to write this “Divas” story. The very title gives away their true intention.

“You think a woman writer who was really interested in exploring what it meant to be a woman superhero would write a frothy, naughty “Sex and the City” rip off?”

I don’t even think a man who is “really” interested in exploring what it means to be a woman superhero would write a frothy, naughty “Sex and the City” rip off.

“When you can name five, maybe I’ll shut up about the lack of women in the comic business.”

Please focus and simmer down. First off, I never addressed you or asked you to “shut up”. Second: The point I WAS addressing was the suggestion that this specific title would be better IF it were written by a woman.

“You think this is an equal playing field for women writers?”

Did I say that? Does this have anything to do with anything I DID say? No? Okay then.

You can claim it’s an interrelated topic all you like. But by asking me this question (and phrasing it a manner that implies we have some sort of preexisting dialog) you are assigning me a position in this discussion I neither advanced nor endorse. I clearly stated that good writing is good writing. This transcends gender. The obvious extrapolation is that men and women are of equal talent and deserve to be treated equally. And you know what isn’t equal? Assuming that one gender is superior to the other in regards to writing gender specific characters.

“but a woman might tell the story in a way a man wouldn’t think of, because men and women have different experiences of the world.”

Nonsense. A good writer is a good writer. Men and women have more in common then they have apart. Focusing on the relatively minor differences is one of the worst things a writer can do.

“if they were serious they would consider getting the woman’s POV. ”

If they were serious, they’d get a good writer and not worry about gender. You’re just back to the sexist notion that male and female characters are best handled by their respective genders.

Jon L., Amy’s assertion that men and women have different experiences of the world and that might translate into more skilled handling of certain stories is absolutely not nonsense. Because, thus far, comics have proven to have a dearth of male writers who can make this leap of empathy, I think it is a good idea to get women writers involved until readers of both genders get used to seeing a balanced perspective in comics. Greater participation of women in any field that is male-dominated leads to a broader point of view, and at this point, comics seems to be in need of that.

By insisting that she someone advocating for women is sexist, you’re actually showing that your own perspective is still heavily like that of the comics industry — stuck in male privilege and without a proper understand of women’s points of view.

Excuse me, that should be “a proper understanding.”

So I am obviously not a woman, so I may not the best judge of this, but i feel that RAS is a capable writer. He had an issue of Marvel Knights 4 where Sue Richards, She-Hulk, Sharon Ventura and Emma Frost went on a night out. That didn’t seem totally insulting (again, Y chromosome here, so I could be wrong) to me, and it felt like he has a good handle on Sue’s internal monologue, and the self-doubts that any person (man or woman) has within them.

That cover, on the other hand, is a total cheesecake shot. Can’t argue with that.

Jennifer de Guzman: “Jon L., Amy’s assertion that men and women have different experiences of the world and that might translate into more skilled handling of certain stories is absolutely not nonsense.”

I disagree. It’s nonsense because the contextual suggestion is that gender in this instance trumps quality. As I already stated, men and women have more in common than the small amount of differences that separate them.

Jennifer de Guzman: “Because, thus far, comics have proven to have a dearth of male writers who can make this leap of empathy”

Comics have a dearth of male writers who can make this leap of empathy in regards to male characters as well. This stands as fact despite these writers representing their own gender. Again, this is a matter of the quality of writing. Not the gender. Quality must come first, and good writers have proven time and time again that good writing is gender neutral.

Jennifer de Guzman: “I think it is a good idea to get women writers involved until readers of both genders get used to seeing a balanced perspective in comics. Greater participation of women in any field that is male-dominated leads to a broader point of view, and at this point, comics seems to be in need of that.”

Culturally speaking, there are aspects of our world far more underrepresented than women. I’m all for diversity in the medium, but the diversity must be based off the quality of the writing. Do we need more female writers/artists/editors? If they’re good, yes. For decades women and minorities have been denied opportunity simply because of who and what they are. This is certainly deplorable. But assigning work to women or minorities simply because they are women and/or minorities is equally deplorable.

Jennifer de Guzman: “By insisting that she someone advocating for women is sexist, you’re actually showing that your own perspective is still heavily like that of the comics industry — stuck in male privilege and without a proper understand of women’s points of view.”

More nonsense. Advocating for gender for genders sake is inherently sexist. Suggesting that the perspective of either gender is so unique that the best work will come from a writer of that gender is definitively sexist. Even Amy points to an example of a male writer she feels can properly represent a female perspective. Neil Gaiman has written female characters quite well without having to be female, and as I recall the works of comics writer Christina Z… I don’t think she quite managed to represent this female perspective as well as a Gaiman did, despite writing a character of a shared gender.

Quality writing is quality writing. Gender is secondary.

“I don’t even think a man who is “really” interested in exploring what it means to be a woman superhero would write a frothy, naughty “Sex and the City” rip off.”

Well, we agree here. But Marvel certainly isn’t interested in seriously exploring what it means to be a woman superhero. Like I said in my previous comment, a Joss Whedon would get it. Most of the dudes over at Marvel obviously don’t.

“Men and women have more in common then they have apart. ”

Which is very easy for a man to say. When it comes to the topic at hand: the experience of women in a male dominated field? Men and women do not have very much in common. In fact, the idea that they don’t have much in common *is the entire point*. Why else write the story?

Look. I’m sorry you felt attacked, but I’ve heard these arguments maybe ten thousand times in these exact words about a variety of topics regarding women, and so sometimes yes, it feels like a pre-existing dialog. The dialog isn’t with you specifically but with men who are blind to their position of privilege. Male privilege exists, even if you aren’t aware of it.

“Please focus and simmer down”

Please lay off the patronizing attempt to control what I can and cannot feel and say about a topic close to my heart. I am not a child for you to correct. I may have laid on the sarcasm, due to having had this very conversation umpteen times, but I did not make personal attacks on you. Perhaps my vehemence (and the fact that I am not alone in making these points) should be a sign that maybe you need to consider that there is a difference in the way men and women experience these topics.

You do not get to dictate the terms of this conversation. If I feel these points are interrelated and you disagree, fine. But don’t tell me I’m not allowed to make my case how I see fit. From my experience, being “nice” and polite about these topics gets me ignored. So why not just be honest?

“And you know what isn’t equal? Assuming that one gender is superior to the other in regards to writing gender specific characters.”

I in fact did not say that women were superior at writing women characters. I very specifically said that women might bring a POV to writing a woman character in a male dominated field that a man might not bring to the table. If this is hard to understand, maybe it is because you as a man are in a privileged position of assuming that the experiences of men (the default in our culture) and women are the same. They can overlap in many areas, but in this one area (what it’s like to be a woman in a male dominated field) they are not equivalent, nor can they ever be equivalent. Men can *imagine* what it’s like. Women actually know from experience.

The other point I’d like to make is that for a woman to ask that *gasp* it might be interesting to read about superheroines written by women, for once, instead of by men, as they have been nearly without exception — I’m sorry, this is not sexist. Instead, it’s sexist to assume that that somehow “good” writing necessarily exists in a vacuum of gender neutrality. There is nothing gender neutral about this very loaded topic: the story of women superheroes in a male dominated field. To pretend otherwise, is in fact, sexist.

“Nonsense. A good writer is a good writer. Men and women have more in common then they have apart. Focusing on the relatively minor differences is one of the worst things a writer can do.”

Wow. Minor differences? *Minor* differences? If the differences are so minor, why bother writing a comic about the experience of a woman superhero at all? If you really think the experiences of men and women in this world boil down to minor differences, there’s not much for us to discuss here.

Jon L, responding to Jennifer:

“Suggesting that the perspective of either gender is so unique that the best work will come from a writer of that gender is definitively sexist.”

Suggesting that the problem with the writing of women characters in a field where women have a hell of a time even getting work (either superherodom or the comics industry, take your pick) is that we just need more “good writers” is to completely ignore the endemic misogyny inherent in the industry. So, the nearly unvaryingly sexist way women have been drawn and written in the history of comics is due to bad writing alone? This strikes me as incredibly naive, not to mention blind to prejudice and privilege and how the world works.

You state that there has been prejudice in the industry, but you state it as if this was something that happened in the past and is now over. So what explanation do you have for the fact that there are not more good women and minority writers in the field? If prejudice and sexism are still entrenched in the field, just how are deserving women and minority writers supposed to get published?

It’s circular logic: it’s wrong to give jobs to women and minorities based solely on their identities, but don’t ever bother to give any jobs to or seek out good women and minority writers anyway, because we never see good writing from these groups, because these groups do not in fact have access to the people in power.

Because we don’t understand them, or they tell stories that don’t interest us, or they don’t fit our “neutral” standards of what is good — because our standards of what is “good” just happen to favor people like us and the stories we’re used to telling.

There is no neutral, is what I’m saying, not in art, not in writing, often not even in scientific research. There is always bias of one kind or another. Assuming there is none means you are in a position of privilege.

John, “good writing” does not exist in a vacuum; the insistence that it *does* is a distinctly entitled experience — women do not get the benefit of being judged on merit alone, as much as we hope/pray/would like to. Believing otherwise is to not ignore the problem of sexism (and yes, even racism) within the industry, but also helps further cement it. The reason why you can’t name five female comic writers on the level of a Bendis or a Brubaker or an Ellis or, yes, even a Joss, currently in the field, is because the pool from which these writers emerge is considerably smaller for women than it is for men.

The comics industry isn’t any different from any other creative industry — the ability to get published, to get *work* is never, ever tied to merit alone — it never has been and never will be. Getting your name on a big two book often has very LITTLE to do with merit alone — it’s who you know, how you know them, and how you stay in contact. And that socialization? That networking? Heavily gendered, and heavily complicated by both sexism and racism inherent in a medium that has catered to and run by privileged, white men and boys.

So I’m sorry Jon, “minor differences” aside, merit has very little to do with anything, and insisting otherwise is incredibly disingenuous.

The simple fact of the matter is, on this specific project, with the way it is specifically presented here, in the interview and with the choice of covers: women are telling you otherwise. Women with the very real experience of loving and working in a medium and a genre that often doesn’t grant them the same empathy or care. Are you saying that your experience as a man in an industry that caters to your tastes, is more worthy or real or relevant or genuine?

Then please. Write our story for us. God knows you seem to know better.

At the risk of totally spamming this post, one more example: Men have traditionally more experience at fighting wars than women. Would I read a well written book about a man’s experience at war if it was written by a woman who’d never had that experience? Hell yeah, been there, done that. Would there be a difference in nuance and focus if such a book was written by a male veteran who’d actually fought in a war? Of course. Would anyone dispute this difference? Would one be “better” than another qualitatively? Maybe not. But they would be different stories, because one writer imagined/researched war and the other actually lived through it.

Amy : “When it comes to the topic at hand: the experience of women in a male dominated field? Men and women do not have very much in common. In fact, the idea that they don’t have much in common *is the entire point*. Why else write the story?

The specific experience itself is limited. How members of our culture react and respond the stimuli provided is more important than what the specific stimuli is. And men and women from the same culture will typically respond to stimuli in a very similar manner.

Amy : “Look. I’m sorry you felt attacked, but I’ve heard these arguments maybe ten thousand times in these exact words about a variety of topics regarding women, and so sometimes yes, it feels like a pre-existing dialog. The dialog isn’t with you specifically but with men who are blind to their position of privilege. Male privilege exists, even if you aren’t aware of it.

And how would you feel if I began assigning stereotypes to your perspective? If I made blanket assumptions about what you can and cannot comprehend, based specifically on your gender?

Amy : “Please lay off the patronizing attempt to control what I can and cannot feel and say about a topic close to my heart. I am not a child for you to correct.

Again you are assigning arguments and positions to me that I did not endorse. A ‘child”? Where did I call you a child? If you feel like someone telling you to stop overreacting is “patronizing”, then maybe you shouldn’t overreact. The fact is, I can’t control what you feel and say about the general topic. But In regards to our dialog and you attaching arguments to me that I did not make while engaging in hyperbolic statements addressed to me, I can. I am well within my rights to tell you to “simmer down” in regard to what you say to me and about me. You suggest I’m patronizing and blind to the “male privilege” in the same post. Pot, meet the kettle.

You say you’ve heard these arguments “ten thousand times”. Maybe you’re bringing to much of your history to the discussion then. Personally, I spent the late 60′s and 70′s working heavily with equal rights organizations. I’ve been having these discussions for decades. You and Jennifer can attempt to paint me as someone blind to the world of male privilege. You’re free to do that even though it dismisses and ignores the context of my viewpoint in a manner that would be held as blatantly sexist if I did it to you.

To tell the truth, you don’t even know my gender. All you have is a screen name.

Amy : “You do not get to dictate the terms of this conversation.”

I absolutely DO get to dictate the conversation in regards to you assigning viewpoints to me that I do not hold. 100%. Either you can make your point without relying on such tactics or you cannot make your point.

Amy : “If I feel these points are interrelated and you disagree, fine. But don’t tell me I’m not allowed to make my case how I see fit.”

Let’s take a look at what I actually said, rather than whatever strange dialog is transpiring in your head:

ME: “You can claim it’s an interrelated topic all you like”

Well will you look at that? There’s me, saying you are free to use whatever words you choose. Now show me where I stated that you cannot make your case “how you see fit”. Minus the absurd attempt to tie my perspective in with the “ten thousand” counter arguments you’ve heard before. I am well within my rights to counter such nonsense.

Amy : “I in fact did not say that women were superior at writing women characters.”

Yet you challenged this when I stated it to someone else. Hence our dialog. So what? Now you agree?

Amy : “Wow. Minor differences? *Minor* differences? If the differences are so minor, why bother writing a comic about the experience of a woman superhero at all?”

Yup. I agree. There is no purpose to it. And yes, the differences in gender are relatively minor. I have far more in common with the average woman in my community than I do with a man from a different culture. Focusing on what makes us different only serves to ignore everything that makes us the same. And the things we have in common far out weigh the things that set us apart.

Amy : “If you really think the experiences of men and women in this world boil down to minor differences, there’s not much for us to discuss here.”

You’ll notice I used the term “relatively”. Qualifiers exist in our language for a reason. If you can’t address what I am actually saying, rather than the “ten thousand” previous arguments you have had, then you’re right. there is little benefit to this dialog.

Amy: “So, the nearly unvaryingly sexist way women have been drawn and written in the history of comics is due to bad writing alone? This strikes me as incredibly naive, not to mention blind to prejudice and privilege and how the world works.”

How do you explain the nearly unvaryingly egregious writing of most mainstream comics? Good writing? Most female characters are poorly handled. Most male characters are poorly handled. The assumption that this poor writing is specifically due to the genders of the writers is absurd.

Amy: “You state that there has been prejudice in the industry, but you state it as if this was something that happened in the past and is now over.”

That is absurd. Where did I suggest this happened in the past? Let’s look at what I really did say:

Me: “Do we need more female writers/artists/editors? If they’re good, yes. For decades women and minorities have been denied opportunity simply because of who and what they are. This is certainly deplorable. But assigning work to women or minorities simply because they are women and/or minorities is equally deplorable.”

There is nothing in that paragraph specifying the past tense. In fact, I purposefully used the present tense. More and more, I feel like I’m discussing this with you and you’re discussing it with the previous “ten thousand” people that now exist exclusively in your head. Again: Try to address what I actually say. Not what you might imagine I might say.

Amy: “So what explanation do you have for the fact that there are not more good women and minority writers in the field? If prejudice and sexism are still entrenched in the field, just how are deserving women and minority writers supposed to get published?”

You might notice that your question doe snot in any way, shape or form address any position I have argued or endorsed.

Amy: “It’s circular logic: it’s wrong to give jobs to women and minorities based solely on their identities, but don’t ever bother to give any jobs to or seek out good women and minority writers anyway, because we never see good writing from these groups, because these groups do not in fact have access to the people in power.”

Who said we never see good writing from these groups? Certainly not I. Did I ever once suggest that women and minorities are given a fair chance? Nope. Did I blatantly state the opposite? Yup. Are you arguing with someone in your head again? Oh yes. Very much so.

Amy: “Because we don’t understand them, or they tell stories that don’t interest us, or they don’t fit our “neutral” standards of what is good — because our standards of what is “good” just happen to favor people like us and the stories we’re used to telling.”

Argument in your head. Not interested in listening to you assign positions to me that I do not hold.

Amy: “There is no neutral, is what I’m saying, not in art, not in writing, often not even in scientific research. There is always bias of one kind or another. Assuming there is none means you are in a position of privilege.”

Yet you point to the works of Joss Whedon. You state that his work transcends this gender limitation. Which shows that even to you, the limitation is arbitrary. Except when you want to pretend otherwise.

Jon L.:

“If you feel like someone telling you to stop overreacting is “patronizing”, then maybe you shouldn’t overreact. ”

Wow. Way to reinforce the patronization! The “tone” accusation is a tried and true method those in privileged positions use to dismiss the opinions of the “Other.” Who are you to judge whether my response is an overreaction? You did not outright call me a child, but by telling me to “simmer down,” “focus” and that “maybe [I] shouldn’t overreact,” you are acting out a parental role. How very kind of you to correct my behavior.

“You and Jennifer can attempt to paint me as someone blind to the world of male privilege.”

No, actually, we just point out that your words do that for you.

“To tell the truth, you don’t even know my gender. All you have is a screen name. ”

And you chose as your screen name “Jon L.” Please look me in the (proverbial) eye and tell me you’re a woman. Because typically in these types of conversations a woman would have made your argument in a very different way than you have here. Usually women who believe as you do make an effort to point out that they feel this way *and they are female*. It’s in fact vital to their point that they do so.

“Let’s take a look at what I actually said, rather than whatever strange dialog is transpiring in your head:”

And wow, that’s not patronizing at all! Nor is your repeated use of the epithet “nonsense” when referring to the opinions of women in these comments! Pointing out examples of sexist and privileged rhetoric is “strange dialog” that is occurring in only my head? Several other posters and I must be sharing a brain, then.

So, okay, let’s take a look!

This is the sequence of events, if you look through the thread.

Black Cat: “Get a woman to write this story.”

You: “What difference does the gender of the writer make? Good writing is good writing and assuming you need a girl to write a good comic about girls is pretty sexist.”

Me: (indirectly responding to this argument): “It’s not just that the best writer should get the job, it’s that women writers might tell the story in a different way from male writers. Not necessarily better, but a woman might tell the story in a way a man wouldn’t think of, because men and women have different experiences of the world.”

You: “And you know what isn’t equal? Assuming that one gender is superior to the other in regards to writing gender specific characters.”

Me: “I in fact did not say that women were superior at writing women characters.”

So when you’re analysis quotes me as saying “I in fact did not say that women were superior at writing women characters.” as a response to your response to Black Cat” you are in fact misplacing my argument in order to say that I am somehow addled in the brain and “overreacting.”

Black Cat did not actually say that women would be superior either. S/he only said “Get a woman to write this story.” Which appears to state preference, not any opinion that a woman would be inherently a better writer than a man. You are the one who brought that up as a straw man.

“There is no purpose to it. And yes, the differences in gender are relatively minor.”

Spoken like a true occupant of a position of privilege! Perhaps, even if you are a woman, you have not had experiences to show you that there are in fact major differences in the life experiences of men and women in general. If so, you are in the minority, and cannot extrapolate that your personal experience applies to the whole. It’s like a minority or person of color saying that just because they have not experienced racism themselves, racism therefore does not exist.

“I have far more in common with the average woman in my community than I do with a man from a different culture.”

Which community are you speaking of? The town where you live? The comics world? Your country as a whole? No one has tried to argue that there are not *cultural* differences, or that the differences between men and women of the same culture trump the differences of one culture to another. That’s arguing that a Granny Smith apple is the same as a Grapefruit because they are both fruit. And that both are not meat, so therefore there are no differences between them!

“Focusing on what makes us different only serves to ignore everything that makes us the same. And the things we have in common far out weigh the things that set us apart.”

Focusing on what makes us different is the only way to acknowledge the existence of inequality and bigotry. Turning a blind eye and insisting that we are the same might be more comfortable, but it’s a lie.

destronomics: “John, “good writing” does not exist in a vacuum”

Of course it doesn’t. I never stated otherwise. I stated that quality writing is gender neutral. That is not synonymous with stating that quality exists in a vacuum. what I do contend is that there is considerably more that we draw upon as individuals than our gender.

destronomics: “the insistence that it *does* is a distinctly entitled experience — women do not get the benefit of being judged on merit alone, as much as we hope/pray/would like to.”

Firstly: No one insisted that “it does”. Secondly: So basically, because women do not get to be judged on merit alone, merit should not be the determining factor? Please clarify if I have misunderstood.

destronomics: “Believing otherwise is to not ignore the problem of sexism (and yes, even racism) within the industry, but also helps further cement it. The reason why you can’t name five female comic writers on the level of a Bendis or a Brubaker or an Ellis or, yes, even a Joss, currently in the field, is because the pool from which these writers emerge is considerably smaller for women than it is for men.”

Yup. I already made that point myself. Called it deplorable. And your point…?

destronomics: “The comics industry isn’t any different from any other creative industry — the ability to get published, to get *work* is never, ever tied to merit alone — it never has been and never will be. Getting your name on a big two book often has very LITTLE to do with merit alone — it’s who you know, how you know them, and how you stay in contact. And that socialization? That networking? Heavily gendered, and heavily complicated by both sexism and racism inherent in a medium that has catered to and run by privileged, white men and boys.”

Funny, the context of this conversation was quite clearly from the onset one of ideals. In that who and what would be ideal for writing. Are there horrible realities working against the ideals? Yup. Does that in any way alter the actual point I made with my initial post? Nope.

destronomics: “So I’m sorry Jon, “minor differences” aside, merit has very little to do with anything, and insisting otherwise is incredibly disingenuous.”

I have already pointed out that sexism within the industry is deplorable. But I don’t think that countering sexism with sexism is the proper approach. Giving work to someone based off gender alone is a disgusting practice. Whether it be a matter of giving men work because they are men or women work because they are women.

And much like Amy, you seem to be having difficulty with the word “relatively”.

destronomics: “The simple fact of the matter is, on this specific project, with the way it is specifically presented here, in the interview and with the choice of covers: women are telling you otherwise. Women with the very real experience of loving and working in a medium and a genre that often doesn’t grant them the same empathy or care. Are you saying that your experience as a man in an industry that caters to your tastes, is more worthy or real or relevant or genuine?”

Nope. I’m calling it equal. Rather blatantly. It’s the side in disagreement with me that holds one gender to be superior to the other.

destronomics: “Then please. Write our story for us. God knows you seem to know better.”

Again: Equal. Funny how you take a claim of equality and suggest it is a claim of superiority. Very telling.

And are you suggesting that men haven’t written “your story” already? That men haven’t done exceptional work writing female characters? Because Amy already conceded that particular point. What difference would it make if I did write this? If it was held up as work that transcended gender? Other men have already done this, and you still seem to ignore that writing of quality is gender neutral.

“Most female characters are poorly handled. Most male characters are poorly handled. The assumption that this poor writing is specifically due to the genders of the writers is absurd.”

Yes, but you’re ignoring the gendered differences in the *way* that they are poorly handled. When male characters are poorly written, they are not overtly sexualized. They are just boring.

“You might notice that your question doe snot in any way, shape or form address any position I have argued or endorsed.”

As far as I understood it, your position was that a)there is/has been prejudice in the past and b)we should not have affirmative action in comics. You skipped from stating that women and minorities don’t get published due to prejudiced to stating that they shouldn’t be published due to special treatment. No where did you attempt to address the question of what women and minorities can do about this. Therefore it is not hard to gather that you are arguing that the problem is in the past, or is not worth addressing. It’s a convenient gap that seems to imply there’s nothing to be done, or that any proposed solutions are worse than the problem. God forbid we should publish a couple sub par women or minority writers over a couple of sub par white male writers, in order to cultivate historically underrepresented groups. That would be unfair to the glut of terrible white male writers who dominate comics!

“Argument in your head. Not interested in listening to you assign positions to me that I do not hold.”

Setting aside the repeated knee-jerk patronization, in fact, I was not assigning you positions. What I was doing was exploring my own rhetorical question to you, looking, perhaps, to find a couple of potential reasons why women and minorities do not get published. That you are not interested in listening doesn’t mean these points are not valid possibilities.

“Who said we never see good writing from these groups? Certainly not I.”

Actually, I didn’t either. The point I may have slaughtered while trying to make is that these groups have less access to the people making the decisions — that those people in fact see less good writing from those groups by virtue of the groups of people they are used to seeking out and soliciting work from.

I find it interesting that you have not responded to Destronomics, who made the point much more clearly than I did.

“Yet you point to the works of Joss Whedon. You state that his work transcends this gender limitation. Which shows that even to you, the limitation is arbitrary. Except when you want to pretend otherwise.”

I did not in fact state that Joss Whedon writes from a gender neutral place. In fact, the reason why I hold Joss up as an exception to the rule is that he writes from a position of awareness of gender privilege and sexism and how it plays out. He is very much not “neutral” — and therefore, to me, the limitation is entirely the opposite of arbitrary.

Oh, I take it back! You have replied to destronomics.

John L., I commend you for supporting women’s rights the ’60s and the ’70s. However, at this point in time, forty years later, you are calling real women who work in the comics field sexists because they have made the apparently audacious suggestion that if Marvel wants to publish a comic about women, maybe it would be a good idea to have women involved in its creation. You are discounting our experience in comparison to your experience, supposed bona fides and superior logic. And before you tell me that I am making up something that you did not say — this is based on my interpretation of your constant rhetorical device in asking Amy to address what you actually have “said.” Your constant efforts to appear to be the one arguing from a sounder rhetorical position is, by inference, suggesting that the people with whom you are interact are illogical. I can do that. You wrote in response to me, “I’m all for diversity in the medium, but the diversity must be based off the quality of the writing” — who said that women should write comics regardless of whether or not the quality of their writing is good? Nobody. It’s a typical leap of logic to say that if a member of an underrepresented group gets a job there might be a consequence of lowered quality. And in any case, if you’re creating a work in an effort show what it’s “truly like” to be a woman, all things being equal quality-wise, who might bring a greater understanding of what it is “truly like” to be a woman: Someone who actually truly is a woman, or someone who can empathize with what it is like to be a woman? It is not sexist to say that women know what it’s like to be a woman more than men do any more than it is to say that men understand what it’s like to be a man more than women do.

And you are being patronizing, whether you mean to or not. You are telling us how to act and calling what we say “nonsense.” I felt exactly what Amy did when I read you telling her to “Focus and settle down.” You didn’t actually call her a child, but you treated her like one. That is exactly the kind of interaction that women and men might experience differently based on their different perspectives. Working in this industry, I have been reprimanded by an older man who called me “young lady” when I was merely doing my job, mistaken for booth decoration, had my picture taken without permission by jerks who rove convention halls for women whose images they want to put in their very own collections, and given a portfolio review to an artist who making lewd expressions at me. In general, treated as someone not deserving to be treated professionally and respectfully because of my gender (and my age). These are all experiences that would make me interpret a man directing me to “settle down” when I’m expressing my opinion differently from someone who has not had these experiences.

I think it’s a shame that someone who supported women’s rights in the ’60s doesn’t realize how dismissive and patronizing the tone you’re using with actual women might be perceived (and, indeed, is perceived, in this case). I’m not going to interpret your actual state of mind, but whatever your motivations are, your attitude comes as patronizing and privileged. Your “relatively minor differences between men and women” perspective is utopian, and however much we wish the world would treat both men and women as if this were true, the world does not. And that different treatment leads to differences — in acculturation and perspective. It’s only when everyone can acknowledge this, I think, that there can be any meaningful dialogue and development of a presence for women in superhero comics that goes beyond the current state it’s in.

Anyway, to bring this back to Marvel Divas: I thought it was fun just to make fun of it at first, but now I see that even something so obviously sexist and silly still has to be a jumping off point for more considered discussion. I think this is a perfect example of what drives superhero comics’ aesthetic and themes — aspiration. Male physique and conduct is certainly idealized in superhero comics — but in the sense of “I am a heterosexual man and I would like to be like that man.” When women are idealized, it is in the sense of “I am a heterosexual man would like to have sex with a woman like that.” This is a deeply ingrained aspect of superhero comics culture, and calling women who would like to change it by getting more women involved in the creation of comics sexist is not going to help change that.

“And are you suggesting that men haven’t written “your story” already? That men haven’t done exceptional work writing female characters? Because Amy already conceded that particular point.”

Wow, actually, that’s not what I said. See my above response. I did not concede a point at all. I said that Joss wrote from a position of awareness of gender issues, therefore was not a gender neutral writer. For you to think that even the work of a male writer sensitive to these issues, like Whedon, is the equivalent to women writing our own versions of how we see our lives, that right there makes destronomics’s point for her.

No one has said that men can’t write good stories about women – that is the dead horse you keep beating. What several of us have argued is that women’s stories about women are severely underrepresented in this medium. And that perhaps women’s stories about women would differ in interesting ways from men’s stories about women. Which we’ve read over and over in this medium, and are problematic in ways that go beyond mere bad writing. In fact, many *good* male writers still write women characters in an appallingly misogynist ways. Often, though, the “good” writers are just more subtle about it.

The fact that you conflate this with an imaginary insistence that only women can write women’s stories, or that women inherently write women characters better than men, speaks for itself.

Thank you Jennifer, for the thoughtful response.

“When women are idealized, it is in the sense of “I am a heterosexual man would like to have sex with a woman like that.” This is a deeply ingrained aspect of superhero comics culture, and calling women who would like to change it by getting more women involved in the creation of comics sexist is not going to help change that.”

Yes, thank you again. In fact, that constant refrain does the opposite of changing it, as destronomics pointed out: it perpetuates and cements it, as well as hanging up a big honking “No Women Wanted” sign outside the clubhouse.

The amount of blatant and unconscious misogyny I’ve experienced both reading comics themselves and the discussion around them in the short year I’ve been dipping my toe in the water, so to speak, has been truly eye-opening and appalling. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked, but I still am.

Amy, I think it’s interesting that someone who insists he is not coming from a privileged male position has gotten us to focus so much on him and, thus, let him control the discussion. He had to be the lone dissenter because the discussion was motivated by perspective that he does not have and he couldn’t let that stand. Thus, we’ve wasted time refuting points and pointing out patronizing tones for someone who doesn’t thinks what we think is “nonsense.”

In any case, everyone else has been really cool in this thread — Amy, your point-by-point take downs in particular have been awesome despite being wasted on someone who can’t concede his privilege — and it gives me hope.

God, one more thing:

Jon L.: ““And are you suggesting that men haven’t written “your story” already?”

Actually, yes, I believe this is what several of us are saying. That men *have not* written our stories. They have written *their* stories about women, and it shows. It shows painfully. I did not become so aware of the lack of women writers until I noticed that all the women characters in comics that I was reading about — even the good comics (I thought the writing in “Fray,” “Alias,” and “Promethea,” all who revolve around women superheroes, to be quite good) had plot or characterization elements that reeked of a male’s view of how women exist in the world. I went looking for a story just like the proposed “Divas” book — and I didn’t find it. And more and more, I chalk this up to the lack of a woman’s perspective in the comics industry. I can’t blame bad writing. Whedon, Bendis, and Moore are all respected writers. They are not hacks. But each of these titles had major flaws that seem to stem from blindness to lived female experience — even “Alias,” which I felt was the most sensitive and nuanced of the three.

Jennifer:

“Amy, I think it’s interesting that someone who insists he is not coming from a privileged male position has gotten us to focus so much on him and, thus, let him control the discussion.”

Oh god, you are completely right. This is a lesson I have yet to learn. That said, it’s helped me clarify some of my own thinking, so it’s not a complete waste.

Such a cliche, though.

“Amy, your point-by-point take downs in particular have been awesome despite being wasted on someone who can’t concede his privilege”

Thanks. It’s good practice. And given that he was the minority here, it actually felt safer to make those points, since it didn’t feel like I’d be dogpiled for daring to state the obvious.

Amy: “Wow. Way to reinforce the patronization! The “tone” accusation is a tried and true method those in privileged positions use to dismiss the opinions of the “Other.”

So is the random assigning of arguments not advanced. so is the dismissal of opinion based on gender. Both of these are tactics you engaged in.

Amy: “Who are you to judge whether my response is an overreaction? You did not outright call me a child, but by telling me to “simmer down,” “focus” and that “maybe [I] shouldn’t overreact,” you are acting out a parental role. How very kind of you to correct my behavior.”

Considering your behavior was to suggest that I was telling you to “shut up”, my reaction was warranted. You came into our dialog as if I was already addressing you in this “parental role”. You overreacted. Blatantly. By your own admission, you assigned arguments to me I did not advance. Then your responded to these arguments in an aggressive manner. Who am I to judge? The person whose words you have repeatedly twisted. The person who you assigned the terminology “shut up”. As if I ever said any such thing to you. I’m the person you are conversing with. And if I feel that your reaction to my statements is blown ridiculously out of proportion, then I’m the one who has a right to tell you you are overreacting. You’re free to disagree, of course. But guess what? That freedom of not telling people what to think that you jumped so quick to defend? The idea that one person has no right to tell the other what to say? It’s a two way street. How easily you do to me what would be construed as an injustice if I did it to you.

Amy: “No, actually, we just point out that your words do that for you.”

And I can just as easily say that your own words paint you as overreacting. Whoops! I’m not allowed to tell you how you think or assign value to your words. Only you are allowed to act that way. Sorry about that.

Amy: “And you chose as your screen name “Jon L.” Please look me in the (proverbial) eye and tell me you’re a woman. Because typically in these types of conversations a woman would have made your argument in a very different way than you have here. Usually women who believe as you do make an effort to point out that they feel this way *and they are female*. It’s in fact vital to their point that they do so.”

It’s a cheap way to make a point. I’ve been in countless arguments that can be definitively altered just by stating ones background or identity. Relying on your credentials rather than your ability to make a point is a cheap tactic, not to mention a logical fallacy.

Amy: “And wow, that’s not patronizing at all! Nor is your repeated use of the epithet “nonsense” when referring to the opinions of women in these comments! Pointing out examples of sexist and privileged rhetoric is “strange dialog” that is occurring in only my head?”

Considering I can point to myriad instances of you assigning arguments to me I did not advance? Yup. I’m treating you with the respect you have treated me. Which is very little. Not exactly a chicken or the egg scenario here.

Amy: “Several other posters and I must be sharing a brain, then.”

So might makes right then? If most men in the world think women are unequal, is it fact? An interesting argument you make here.

Amy: “So when you’re analysis quotes me as saying “I in fact did not say that women were superior at writing women characters.” as a response to your response to Black Cat” you are in fact misplacing my argument in order to say that I am somehow addled in the brain and “overreacting.”

Considering the multitude of arguments you have assigned to me that I did not make, the only one making you look “addled” is you. But to this specific point: Did you notice the questions I asked you at that particular juncture? You claim I misplaced your argument. I placed your argument where it seemed appropriate, and ASKED you for clarification. Gasp! How terrible!

Amy: “Black Cat did not actually say that women would be superior either. S/he only said “Get a woman to write this story.” Which appears to state preference, not any opinion that a woman would be inherently a better writer than a man. You are the one who brought that up as a straw man.”

And Black Cat is free to correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation of their words. It hardly matters though, as you have seemingly endorsed the position I assumed Black Cat held.

Amy: “Spoken like a true occupant of a position of privilege!”

Spoken like a true bitter feminist incapable of making a solid argument!

I see how fun these sexist generalizations of yours are. Thanks.

Amy: “Which community are you speaking of? The town where you live? The comics world? Your country as a whole? No one has tried to argue that there are not *cultural* differences, or that the differences between men and women of the same culture trump the differences of one culture to another. That’s arguing that a Granny Smith apple is the same as a Grapefruit because they are both fruit. And that both are not meat, so therefore there are no differences between them!”

Yeah, no one suggested that there are not cultural difference. But as you (and others) refused to properly consider my actual words (including the clear conditional modifier of “relatively”) I had to expand on the concept and give a deeper example. So don’t try to pick apart my example as unnecessary. You made it necessary by refusing to pay attention to my very specif wording.

Amy: “Focusing on what makes us different is the only way to acknowledge the existence of inequality and bigotry. Turning a blind eye and insisting that we are the same might be more comfortable, but it’s a lie.”

I fully believe that we should focus on the inequalities of life in the world. What makes the inequalities so unjust, is that there is no reasonable basis for such treatment. By focusing on the supposed depth of these differences, you give definitive weight to unequal treatment.

Jennifer: “I felt exactly what Amy did when I read you telling her to “Focus and settle down.” You didn’t actually call her a child, but you treated her like one.”

And how exactly did you feel when she said: “You think this is an equal playing field for women writers?” (Note that I never claimed it was). How did you feel when she said: “When you can name five, maybe I’ll shut up about the lack of women in the comic business.” (Despite the fact that I certainly never suggested she “shut up”).

I’ve read your blogs and I’ve seen how you treat people who act in the manner she acted. You’re considerably more aggressive, in fact. You’re also clearly smart enough to note the genesis of my request that she was unfocused and overreacting.

Did I treat her in a patronizing manner? Arguably. After a point she made it clear that she came to the dialog with a bias that she was more than happy to assign to me. She brought that on herself, and considering the brutal way you typically attack those who dig themselves a deep hole, I find your defense of her behavior an empty gesture.

Jennifer: “Amy, I think it’s interesting that someone who insists he is not coming from a privileged male position has gotten us to focus so much on him and, thus, let him control the discussion.”

Yes. And it was primarily a discussion about topics I did not advance and would not have advanced. I sure took control of it, what with me having to defend myself from almost the onset.

“privileged male position”

Your words and argument mean nothing as they are made from an embittered female position. See, If my perspective must be colored by gender, than the same can be said of yours. Personally, I had hoped we were above such sexist generalizations. Evidently not. congratulations on exposing your sexist mentality.

“bitter feminist”

Aw, Jon, you’ve saved me the trouble of treating anything you have to say as having any intrinsic worth! That was sweet of you, being all concerned for my workplace productivity like that!

Context, destronomics. The “bitter feminist” argument is hardly being used as an actual opinion. But instead as an inversion of the repeated “privileged male position” argument. The argument that is being used as a dismissal of opinions. In other words: “You can’t possibly understand. You’re male.”

If you can explain why one sexist generalization is acceptable and the other is not, I’d love to hear it.

Jon:

Jennifer said it more eloquently than I am going to be able to do:

“And before you tell me that I am making up something that you did not say — this is based on my interpretation of your constant rhetorical device in asking Amy to address what you actually have “said.” Your constant efforts to appear to be the one arguing from a sounder rhetorical position is, by inference, suggesting that the people with whom you are interact are illogical.”

and

“You didn’t actually call her a child, but you treated her like one. That is exactly the kind of interaction that women and men might experience differently based on their different perspectives.”

Which applies to your constant declaration that I am “overreacting.”

You say, quite a bit upthread: “If you feel like someone telling you to stop overreacting is “patronizing”, then maybe you shouldn’t overreact.”

Wow, circular logic much? And yeah, that’s more sarcasm right there. My other reaction is to laugh until I can’t breathe, but then, it’s hard to express that on a blog comment. Let me get this straight: It’s my opinion that you patronized me. I call it out. I’m accused of overreacting. To state that someone telling me that I’m overreacting is patronizing is to apparently overreact. A girl can’t win.

And then later you say, when I ask who you are to judge whether I overreacted: “You overreacted. Blatantly.” and “And if I feel that your reaction to my statements is blown ridiculously out of proportion, then I’m the one who has a right to tell you you are overreacting. You’re free to disagree, of course.”

So, let me get this straight: I disagree with you. I do so in a snarky fashion, but do not actually personally attack you. You take this as aggression and pull out the “tone” argument, which is an incredibly commonplace accusation towards women who are not shy violets or “polite.” You react to me in incredibly patronizing tones, which Jennifer and I have pointed out to you. You get to be “the decider” as to whether or not my opinions and tones are overreaction. You state as much in a way that is not just your opinion, but fact. I’m free to disagree, but when I do I am, of course, overreacting further.

It’s really quite fascinating.

and this little gem:

“I placed your argument where it seemed appropriate”

Um… how does this counter my point that you deliberately misplaced my quote in your so-called “logical” deconstruction of our conversation? In fact, you just made my point for me.

So yeah, you can declare yourself the winner of this debate, because I’ve learned that to actually engage your points directly is to get into a distracting conversation of he-said-she-said, in which nothing is actually discussed but the frame and what tactics are allowed to be used. It all becomes word salad, because you have taken this entire discussion to be a personal attack on you, rather than an exploration of gender dynamics, male privilege, and the lack of women voices in comics.

damn it, i really am leaving after this…

Jon:

“Your words and argument mean nothing as they are made from an embittered female position. See, If my perspective must be colored by gender, than the same can be said of yours. Personally, I had hoped we were above such sexist generalizations. Evidently not. congratulations on exposing your sexist mentality.”

a)We’ve all admitted that our perspective is colored by gender. You’re the one who keeps insisting that there are no differences between the way men and women experience the world. Our very points are that we believe everyone’s perspective is colored this way.

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/faq-arent-feminists-just-sexists-towards-men/

and

“The argument that is being used as a dismissal of opinions. In other words: “You can’t possibly understand. You’re male.””

More straw men!

No one said you couldn’t understand because you’re male. A great many men fully get the idea of male privilege and take ownership of this. See Joss Whedon! We stated that you, in particular, are arguing from a position of male privilege. We did not dismiss you due to your sex, but rather due to your particular blinders. Notice no one dismissed the comments by the Daves, etc, upthread! It just so happens that you’re the only man posting here that anyone has argued with. Maybe this should tell you something.

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/faq-what-is-male-privilege/

It seems like this conversation has devolved to the point where no one is really interested in hearing another perspective, but in adamantly defending themselves. So, this may not make it through.

Jon, you originally asked “What difference does the gender of the writer make?”

From the information we have so far, this project is being presented as, among other things, “asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.)”

So, in this instance (and pretending that phrase reflected a genuine intent by the publisher and creators to do just what it says, and not an attempt to be sarcastic or ironic), talking just about this comic project, I think having a good female writer who can draw from personal experiences could be much more compelling, honest, vulnerable and interesting than having a good male writer take a swing at it.

That’s all.

Because the series hinges on a woman struggling against the other gender, it seems to serve the project to have someone that can draw from a personal well of experience. If the project was… I don’t know… four super-hero women taking on Dr. Doom in the Savage Land, then I think it wouldn’t feel as big of a deal. It would just be another super-hero mini-series.

I don’t think anyone is saying that it’s wrong or bad that a male writer is writing this, and that he can’t possibly do a good job. One of the earlier comments even praised his handling of four women in a back-up story. I think most of us are saying it’s a missed opportunity. Within the context of the concept of this particular project, it feels like a flippant take (Campbell’s cheesecake art, the “naughty” write-up) on something that could actually be quite effective.

Amy:

Perhaps you can tell me when I told you to “shut up”? Perhaps you can explain where I stated that the comics industry offers and equal playing field for women?

This is some very basic math here. You attached arguments to me that I did not make. You responded with hyperbole in a very defensive manner. You even admitted this yourself, and clearly stated that you were continuing a dialog that you had already had “ten thousand” times before.

So you admit your reaction was influenced heavily by an ongoing debate you have been involved with, but I’m somehow out of line by saying that your reaction was an overreaction?

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, ect… Yes. The terminology I used can be used to dismiss valid opinions. It can be sexist under certain circumstances. But not all circumstances. In short: There is nothing in that aspect of our dialog that you did not bring on yourself.

Here’s your actual words. You literally admit that you are reacting to an argument that I did not make and that your reaction is colored by your experiences:

Amy (from early in the thread): “Look. I’m sorry you felt attacked, but I’ve heard these arguments maybe ten thousand times in these exact words about a variety of topics regarding women, and so sometimes yes, it feels like a pre-existing dialog. The dialog isn’t with you specifically but with men who are blind to their position of privilege. Male privilege exists, even if you aren’t aware of it.”

But when I tell you it was an overreaction, I’ve crossed a line? That’s a fully hypocritical attitude to take. Deny it if you like. Take comfort from the words of the mob who are ignoring the actual dialog in favor of the one they wish was transpiring. Whatever helps you sleep at night. But your words speak volumes, as does your hypocrisy. That’s the truly fascinating thing transpiring here.

Amy: “No one said you couldn’t understand because you’re male.”

Actually Jennifer specifically made this argument in her first post addressing me:

Jennifer: “stuck in male privilege and without a proper understanding of women’s points of view.”

That’s the main instance I was referring to, as it’s the most direct. But there’s more: Rather than deal with my points, the repetition of the “privilege” argument is used to belittle my stance. It’s a standard approach.

Amy: “The dialog isn’t with you specifically but with men who are blind to their position of privilege. Male privilege exists, even if you aren’t aware of it.”

Amy: “Wow. Way to reinforce the patronization! The “tone” accusation is a tried and true method those in privileged positions use to dismiss the opinions of the “Other.”

Jennifer: “stuck in male privilege and without a proper understanding of women’s points of view.”

Amy: “you as a man are in a privileged position of assuming that the experiences of men (the default in our culture) and women are the same.”

Jennifer: “Amy, your point-by-point take downs in particular have been awesome despite being wasted on someone who can’t concede his privilege”

Amy: “you are in a position of privilege.”

Amy: “Spoken like a true occupant of a position of privilege!”

Yeah Amy. No one has tried to diminish my opinions due to gender. No. Not at all.

Amy: “It just so happens that you’re the only man posting here that anyone has argued with. Maybe this should tell you something.”

Is that how you determine quality of thought? Popularity?

Amy: “We did not dismiss you due to your sex, but rather due to your particular blinders.”

Which as shown in my post above, are said to be due to my gender. You claim I’m out of line because I suggest you simmer down after you launched an inappropriate (by your own admission) response. But if I point out things actually stated repeatedly, I’m wearing blinders.

No Amy. It’s you who is blind. Blind to your own hyperbole and comforted by the security offered by being on the side of popular opinion. But that doesn’t make you right.

But maybe when you can address exactly how you weren’t overreacting and assigning arguments to me that I did not make, I’ll “shut up”.

Corey:

“If the project was… I don’t know… four super-hero women taking on Dr. Doom in the Savage Land, then I think it wouldn’t feel as big of a deal. It would just be another super-hero mini-series.”

That is a really great way to put it. That exactly!

I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said eloquently and many (many, many) times over by Amy and Jennifer, but I do sort of feel the need to say that as a woman who’s been into comics for many years, I agree wholeheartedly with what you both are saying, and you’ve got far more patience than I do to have continued in this dialogue. Sorry, Jon! I’m sure you’re a swell guy, but you’ve been racking up the bingo points all day.

As for Marvel Divas: thanks, but no thanks.

I would just like to say that this whole thread was a blast to read.

Judging both the cover and the description, I can definitely say this book does not look interesting to me. What it looks like is a stereotypical ‘grrl power’ book, and I can’t imagine that the type of women that this book epitomizes even knows what a comic book is, let alone would be remotely interested in it.

Are we going to find out that these women, despite being ‘totally hawt’ and having superpowers, are really sensitive and just want someone to understand that they’re complicated, and still love and worship them anyway? Will they then get the man they want (and so obviously need), only to find themselves and realize they don’t need him? Will they find strength and comfort in their ‘sistahood’ while drinking tartinis and busting perps??

As a man, even I’m offended at the blatant objectification of women presented. Firestar is one of my favorite female characters; I’m not looking forward to what this book will do to her.

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Timothy Leary

Hmmm.

I might pick it up For Monica,Black Cat and HellCat.

I just hope Monica is her usual smart self and not the dumbed down nextwave version.

Jon L: What difference does the gender of the writer make? Good writing is good writing and assuming you need a girl to write a good comic about girls is pretty sexist.

This difference is women gender is what the whole book is about . Hence GIRL write book. I’m not assuming you need a girl to write a good book jack ass. I want to read a girls perspective from a girls POV. Your whole response is sexist. Give the breezies a chance at Marvel to tell a tale.

the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.)

Truly means: GET A GIRL TO WRITE THIS FRAKKIN STORY

(And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.)

If you want to hold true to what the solicit is referring. That is the type of story I want to hear from. Not Neil Gaiman. He can’t tell me what it’s like to be a female in a male dominated comic book industry idiot ignoramus.

“He can’t tell me what it’s like to be a female in a male dominated comic book industry”

Yeah… because no man could have ever experienced a comparable scenario, and used it as a source of inspiration. The idea that one must directly experience a specific set of circumstances in order to make intelligent commentary is beyond ridiculous.

Jon L wrote:

* Amy: “No one said you couldn’t understand because you’re male.”
*
* Actually Jennifer specifically made this argument in her first post addressing me:
*
* Jennifer: “stuck in male privilege and without a proper understanding of women’s points of view.”

She didn’t say you *couldn’t* understand. She said you clearly DON’T understand.

Which is pretty obvious to anyone reading this thread. Nobody is saying “it’s not *possible* for you to get it, because you’re male.” It’s certainly possible for you to “get it.” It’s just that, judging by your arguments, you clearly don’t; nor do you want to.

The only thing ridiculous is your rants.

It was my suggestion/opinion Marvel should let a breezy write the book, period. Girl on girl action written by a girl. And if it sucks, then let the boys have a crack at it. But let them have a chance, you sexist bastard!

This whole thread just proves the point that equal rightsissues have morphed into reverse sexism/racism/etc.

I want to thank Jennifer and Amy for their participation in this conversation.

Buzz Girl: “She didn’t say you *couldn’t* understand. She said you clearly DON’T understand.”

Thanks for making that distinction so concisely.

Wesley: “Have you ever seen anything remotely comparable with male heroes? Batman bent over the Batmobile with his butt in the air? A nude Captain America with his shield covering up his stars and bars?”

I forgot to mention how much this made me giggle. And want to add: Superman, fighting villains in a thong and a cape and nothing else? Oh, maybe some boots. Heh.

Black Cat: “The only thing ridiculous is your rants.”

In other words, you can’t actually construct a counter argument so you have to belittle it. Good job continuing the trend. You clearly claimed that the book NEEDED to have a girl writing it BECAUSE of the subject matter. You didn’t just say it was simply a matter of preference. And you absolutely fail to explain why a male writer can’t draw from comparable life experiences.

Buzzgirl: “Nobody is saying “it’s not *possible* for you to get it, because you’re male.”

Bullshit. I have opinions that run counter to the popular opinions of this thread, and rather than respond to the actual arguments I make, I have had arguments I did NOT make assigned to me because I am male. I was directly told that a woman would never make the argument I am making and that if I were a woman I would use my gender to validate my position. The phrase “male privilege” has been directed at me over a dozen times as a manner to belittle my arguments rather than answer them. All the while I am accused of being patronizing because I told someone to calm down when they, by their own admission, were overreacting.

In short, the actual argument being made repeatedly is that if I “got it” I would not think or feel as I do. And that the reason I think and feel as I do is because I am male coming from a position of privilege. That is literally the argument being made, but you and others on this thread choose to ignore it. If I were female and my gender was being used to undercut my argument, I suspect many on this thread would react very differently.

Amy: “Thanks for making that distinction so concisely.”

See above. Congratulations on participating in the practice of dismissing and belittling someones opinions based on their gender.

Jon, Graeme, et al: if you honestly, truly think that the men (and women) who write in the field *now* got that job purely on merit alone; if you cannot understand how the industry works, how the nature of *networking* in ANY creative industry dominated by men *works*, then it’s pointless trying to explain how and why “reverse prejudice” is ignoring the reality of the problem as it’s currently being discussed.

Demanding a fair standard where none exists? That’s a handy way of sidestepping any real solution. Handy, and completely unsurprising.

jtwonderdog: “if you honestly, truly think that the men (and women) who write in the field *now* got that job purely on merit alone”

Did I ever claim that?

jtwonderdof: “That’s a handy way of sidestepping any real solution.”

My mistake. I didn’t realize this thread was about actually conceiving a definitive solution for combating sexism and prejudice, Black Cat called for a female writer to write a book, because the book is supposed to represent a female perspective. I stated that the work should go to who is best regardless of gender. Does the world work the way it “should”? No. That’s a given. The world also doesn’t work in the manner Black Cat endorsed. This isn’t a thread about what is, but about what we as individuals might find ideal.

quoting Suzanne Pharr’s essay “The Common Elements of Oppressions” which is incredibly relevant to this discussion:

…The curious thing about lack of prior claim is that it is simply the circumstances of the moment that put the original people there in every case, yet when those who were initially excluded begin asking for or demanding inclusion, they are seen as disruptive people, as trouble-makers, as no doubt anti-American.

…For simply asking for one’s due, one was vilified and abused. This is an effective technique, making those struggling for their rights the ones in the wrong.

…Those who seek their rights, who seek inclusion, who seek to control their own lives instead of having their lives controlled are the people who fall outside the norm. They are defined in relation to the norm and are found lacking. They are the Other. If they are not part of the norm, they are seen as abnormal, deviant, inferior, marginalized, not “right,” even if they as a group (such as women) are a majority of the population. They are not considered fully human. By those identified as the Norm, the Other is unknown, difficult to comprehend, whereas the Other always knows and understands those who hold power; one has to in order to survive.

and particularly on point regarding the way women (etc) are portrayed in comic books:

…The Other’s existence, everyday life, achievements are kept unknown through invisibility. When we do not see the differently abled, the aged, gay men and lesbians, people of color on television, in movies, in educational books, etc., there is reinforcement of the idea that the Norm is the majority and others either do not exist or do not count.

…This distortion and lack of knowledge of the Other expresses itself in stereotyping, that subtle and effective way of limiting lives. It is through stereotyping that people are denied their individual characteristics and behavior and are dehumanized.

(Suzanne Pharr again.)

Jon, the women who work in this industry (Jennifer and me included) are telling you that ideals are all well and good, but they don’t map to the reality of the situation and the industry. If you want to continue to argue on a plane of existence that is simply not workable or, you know, EXISTING, then please, continue to do so. The rest of us who actually live in reality will have to continue to deal with the very real prejudice — institutionalized, incidental, unconscious or not — that define our ACTUAL day-to-day lives.

@Amy

When inclusion is demanded arbitrarily, rather than on the basis of merit, you simply heap injustice upon injustice. And since my call for quality over gender applies to both the minority and the existing status quo, your copy and paste argument is irrelevant.

And by the way Amy, I’m still waiting for you to answer these questions:

When specifically did I tell you to “shut up”? Can explain where I stated that the comics industry offers and equal playing field for women?

I suspect the reason you dodge answering is simply because you cannot. And by showing that you cannot answer these questions, you expose the fact that my call for you not to overreact was warranted rather than dismissive.

@jtwonderdog

So in your world speculative discussion of what we should strive for as an ideal should never exist on a message board? Every discussion of what should be must be qualified by what is? Yeah… in the real world there are a multitude of modifiers to each and every scenario. I was unaware that I needed to spell out the blatantly obvious realities in a discussion of ideals.

You say that ideals are all “well and good”. Great. I entered a discussion of what would be ideal, and all of my responses have been made in this context. If you want to address that discussion, feel free. But if you want to join the ranks of Jennifer and Amy in assigning positions and perspectives to me that I neither hold nor endorse, then there is little point in conversing with you. You’re just echoing the fallacious arguments that came before.

Jon: “And by the way Amy, I’m still waiting for you to answer these questions:”

I’m not answering you because every time I do the conversation get dragged further and further off course. I’m taking Jennifer’s advice and backing away from a never-ending shit throwing contest. As I said upthread, you can take this as a victory for yourself if you’d like — go ahead! If you believe that having the last word equals victory, then I’m very sure you will win this one.

“I suspect the reason you dodge answering is simply because you cannot”

No, Jon, I am not dodging answering. I am choosing to disengage with you because it is clearly without point. Congratulations on “winning” through attrition!

Jon — where’s your indignation over the fact that these jobs aren’t awarded based on merit NOW? Not just men over, women, but people who have the benefits of friendship with editors, of geographic proximity to the companies and publishers involved, of the sheer random luck, sometimes, that it can take to be published NOW?

No, the only anger you seem to work yourself up over is the idea of a woman getting a job, perceived “merit” or not, than a man.

It never has been about merit alone, and it never will be, and it never SHOULD be. Merit is never the key deciding factor, and in most cases *shouldn’t* be. There’s the ability of a writer to hit deadlines, the ability of a writer to take notes, the ability of a writer to work within the legal and creative framework given to them. “Merit” often has very little to do with anything. So demanding the women who enter the field to be held to a higher standard than the men who are already, currently involved? Completely ignoring the reality of the industry being discussed?

Is there another word for “sexist” that you’d like me to use instead? How about just “sad”? Or “unsurprising”?

jtwonderdog: “Jon — where’s your indignation over the fact that these jobs aren’t awarded based on merit NOW?”

I stated my disgust over the level of quality of male comics writers repeatedly in this thread.

jtwonderdog: “No, the only anger you seem to work yourself up over is the idea of a woman getting a job, perceived “merit” or not, than a man.”

A very telling assumption on your part. Again, I stated my disgust with the level of quality of male writers repeatedly. I have repeatedly stated that quality should be the deciding factor for both genders. I was quite clear.

jtwonderdog: “There’s the ability of a writer to hit deadlines, the ability of a writer to take notes, the ability of a writer to work within the legal and creative framework given to them.”

All of which are aspects of merit.

jtwonderdog: “So demanding the women who enter the field to be held to a higher standard than the men who are already, currently involved? Completely ignoring the reality of the industry being discussed?

None of which apply to the actual arguments I have made. Thanks for joining the ranks of those who presume they understand a topic but can’t be bothered to actually investigate. It’s people like you, the ones who can’t even be bothered to scroll up a bit in a thread and read what is actually being said rather than what they presume might be said, that are truly “sad” and “unsurprising”. What do they call it when you make a blanket assumption of someone perspective based on your own preconceptions? I call it prejudice. And if your assumptions are influenced by my gender, then it is sexism.

Congratulations on exposing yourself.

Amy: “No, Jon, I am not dodging answering.”

Convenient, as we both know you cannot answer these questions with anything other than an admission that you were mistaken. Because I never made the statements or arguments you assigned to me.

You overreacted. No big deal. It happens. But then you compounded your error by assigning a sexist motivation behind my justified admonishment. Yeah, telling someone to “simmer down” can be a form of belittlement. When it isn’t warranted. In this instance, what I said to you was clearly warranted.

Here you go jtwonderdog. I’ll save you some time:

jtwonderdog: “Jon, the women who work in this industry (Jennifer and me included) are telling you that ideals are all well and good, but they don’t map to the reality of the situation and the industry.”

Me (earlier in the thread):”Funny, the context of this conversation was quite clearly from the onset one of ideals. In that who and what would be ideal for writing. Are there horrible realities working against the ideals? Yup. Does that in any way alter the actual point I made with my initial post? Nope.”

jtwonderdog: “No, the only anger you seem to work yourself up over is the idea of a woman getting a job, perceived “merit” or not, than a man.”

Me (earlier in the thread): “Giving work to someone based off gender alone is a disgusting practice. Whether it be a matter of giving men work because they are men or women work because they are women.”

Me (earlier in the thread): “I don’t even think a man who is “really” interested in exploring what it means to be a woman superhero would write a frothy, naughty “Sex and the City” rip off.”

Me (earlier in the thread): “men and women are of equal talent and deserve to be treated equally. ”

Me (earlier in the thread): “Comics have a dearth of male writers who can make this leap of empathy in regards to male characters as well. ”

Your assumptions regarding my perspectives are quite clearly incorrect. Again, thanks for exposing your prejudice. The context of this particular discussion I joined in on is female writers, so naturally the bulk of my discussion has focused on this aspect. Even then, I hardly ignored the lack of quality found with the male writers of the industry.

But you presume to know my mind on out of context topics based off this small sampling. And even then you ignore what I actually say in favor of what you imagine I might say.

Jon,

In reference to your comment: “Congratulations on participating in the practice of dismissing and belittling someones opinions based on their gender.” (btw, there really should be an apostrophe after the “e” in “someone’s”)

You see, Jon, the women who have been addressing your arguments on this point are not calling you out on your *gender.* They are commenting on and criticizing your seeming ignorance of, denial of, and/or failure to address the concept of *male privilege* in your remarks.

Either you are very dull (which I suspect is not the case) or brilliantly disingenuous (which I suspect is the case indeed). Congratulations indeed on your intelligent use of debate and rhetoric to avoid the actual points being made by virtually everyone who disagrees with you.

Your continuing patronizing, supercilious, condescending, and arrogant responses (as is typified by “my justified admonishment”) to Amy’s remarks clearly indicate the futility of any reasonable person to attempt to reason with you. I congratulate her on withdrawing from the fray, and state clearly here and now that I will not make any attempt to respond to any replies you choose to make to my contribution.

I really do admire how skillfully you use your intelligence, vocabulary, and mastery of the language as weapons to defeat and conquer others who choose to disagree with you, and I truly hope that you find other, more constructive uses for you obviously excellent mind. It would be a pity if you did not.

never going to be a diva

April 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

Seriously? As a woman, I have a far broader rage of interest than sex and the city genre-blending. It’s tired. and sexist. And no woman who would actually reach to comics for entertainment gives two shits about Carrie Bradshaw. Stop defining us by shoes!

And goddamn it, I want to see stories with female superheroes, that deal with interesting and exciting storylines, not shopping and boys. When will they understand that women just don’t give a fuck about seeing people do what we’re told we should be doing all the time? I am more than just a wallet and a pair of breasts!

never going to be a diva:

Amen. Apparently, not any time soon. Not when the success of films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man with women viewers is blatantly chalked up to girls being dragged along with their boyfriends. Or that girls only read comics because their boyfriends/brothers got them into it, and they only read for romance. All points I’ve heard made by TPTB in the industries.

We could never be interested in superhero stories for the action, etc.!

That mindset leads most logically to the creation of publications like this “Divas” thing, and the inability to see the contradiction inherent between “sudsy hot fun” and “serious exploration of what it means to be a woman in a man’s field.”

It’s sad, really, because their blindness is probably *losing* them money. At a time when the industry is hurting for new audiences.

It’s parochial, and it’s sad.

diane: “Your continuing patronizing, supercilious, condescending, and arrogant responses (as is typified by “my justified admonishment”) to Amy’s remarks clearly indicate the futility of any reasonable person to attempt to reason with you.”

When exactly did it become a matter of condescension to point out that a person who is overreacting is overreacting? Amy already conceded that her reaction to me was colored by her previous exchanges. Yet she chose to attach an element of sexism to my response. Not exactly a chicken or egg scenario.

Let’s look at a sample exchange:

Person 1: I overreacted.

Person 2: Well don’t overreact.

Person 1: Don’t you dare tell me how to express myself!!!

You, much like the multitude of others who have addressed me in this thread, are not actually addressing my position. You are sidestepping the actual discussion advanced in favor of attacking me personally (though you manage it in an eloquent manner). When speaking of ideals, why is it wrong to suggest that work be given on basis of merit rather than gender? Is a woman automatically more adept at writing female characters? Clearly, I believe that a strong writer can write good stories with protagonists of either gender. That gender is secondary to quality. Feel free to disagree, but that’s the actual topic (before others hijacked it and mutated it beyond recognition). See, rather than focus on said topic, my opinions on this have been dismissed due to my purported position in the world. The argument has been made clearly and repeatedly, that I do not “get it”. And that I do not “get it” because of my male privilege. In other words: “You don’t get it. If your perspective were not colored by your gender you would get it.”

In other words, you can’t actually construct a counter argument so you have to belittle it. Good job continuing the trend. You clearly claimed that the book NEEDED to have a girl writing it BECAUSE of the subject matter. You didn’t just say it was simply a matter of preference. And you absolutely fail to explain why a male writer can’t draw from comparable life experiences.

I’m not trying to argue with you. I was simply trying to give my suggestion to Marvel. The only trend that is continuing is the consensus from all the other people posting is that you’re a sexist jack ass that can not be reasoned with. Suggestion/opinion = my preference. I didn’t say it needed it. I’m saying I WANT to have the book written by a woman. You can pick up 100 comics a week every week about men writing women in comics jerk. How many of those books are written by a female? Hmmmm Mr. Jack Ass, virtually none of them. I don’t want to read about a male writer drawing from his life experiences, to write what it’s like to be a female in the comic industry you ass. I want to hear it from a girl, breezy, woman, a female, with a vagina. Frak comparable life experiences from a male. I don’t want comparable, I want the actual perspective from a female writer.

Black Cat: “I didn’t say it needed it.”

Yet earlier…

Black Cat (earlier in thread) :”Truly means: GET A GIRL TO WRITE THIS FRAKKIN STORY”

In other words, your position is completely inconsistent.

Black Cat: “I want the actual perspective from a female writer.”

Because you hold the the alternative to be inferior. But for the sake of clarification, if you could choose between the book being written by a skilled male and a comparatively unskilled female, which do you find preferable?

Jennifer and Amy: Well done. You’re right.

When Marvel says “Truly Means” no man on Earth can draw his life experiences and say, Hey “I know what it’s like to be a female.” He can’t. He has no breast, no vagina, no menstrual cycles, no estrogen experiences from which he was born.

And here’s some consistency, you’re a sexist jack ass that can’t be reasoned with…

And for clarification sake. At this point, I would choose the unskilled female, because she is just that, unskilled, because there are hardly any of them in the industry jack ass! Frak your comparable male experience argument. If it’s girl on girl story, I want a girl writing it. And if it sucks, the book still has the great cheesecake I care about.

Black Cat: “I would choose the unskilled female”

Okay then. You’re a sexist. You choose gender over quality. Thanks for proving my initial assertion correct.

Black Cat:”Truly means: GET A GIRL TO WRITE THIS FRAKKIN STORY”

Black Cat: “I didn’t say it needed it.””

Black Cat: “When Marvel says “Truly Means” no man on Earth can draw his life experiences”

One moment the story NEEDS a female writer, and the next moment it doesn’t. But wait… then it does again.

Discussion with you is worthless. On top of you blatant sexism, you can’t even manage consistent thought.

Caia: “Jennifer and Amy: Well done. You’re right.”

Yeah. They’re right. despite the dismissal of opinion based on gender. Easy to be “right” when all you have to “win” is claim that your opponent cannot grasp the argument due to their sex.

It’s even easier to chime in from the sidelines. There’s alot of that going on. Addressing the actual argument is considerably more difficult.

I never stated the story needed a female writer.

Ok we’re going to have a man write this book, so he can tell the world what it’s like to be a female in the comic book industry. Ok is this truly what it is like for the female to be in male dominated industry? No because it’s not a female writing her perspective.

I pick the unskilled female, because someone has to give them a chance. All there is, is skilled males in the comic industry jack ass. So I’m sexist, because I’d rather would like to buy a story written from a girl POV.

If I wanted Pulitzer prize story, I wouldn’t pick up a comic book.

I pick the comic book up, for the sexism, the girls in spandex clad outfits prancing around kicking ass.

And here’s consistent thought. You’re a sexist jack ass that can’t be reasoned with.

Jon L.: I spoke up to support them. It would have been far easier to stay quiet, not make myself a target of your scorn, but I agreed with their points, so I said so.

They did address your arguments. I see no reason to repeat them, except for one key point: it’s not your gender that prevents you from understanding. You could understand, but you don’t. It’s become clear through repetition that you won’t. I don’t see the need for further engagement with someone whose response to disagreement is condescension and misrepresentation.

I will not reply further.

Well, all I can say at this point, being the embittered female that I am, is that I hope the writer of Marvel Divas addresses how that when women stand up for themselves, it’s always the men who are the pitiable victims.

So, what do you think should be actually done to combat discrimination against women within the industry, Jon L.? Because it creates a feedback loop where there’s a much smaller pool of available female writers with enough experience to become greats because of the sexist environment and the lack of opportunities that it creates. How do you break the cycle? Do you think that anything can or should be done at all?

Jennifer: “Well, all I can say at this point, being the embittered female that I am, is that I hope the writer of Marvel Divas addresses how that when women stand up for themselves, it’s always the men who are the pitiable victims.”

Indeed. These discussions follow a rather tiresome pattern, don’t they? It’s all so predictable, if you take a step back. Which is why Bingo cards exist. I feel like the Anti-Comics-Feminist Bingo Card (http://girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/?p=66) needs updating.

“The idea behind the series was to have some sudsy fun and lift the curtain a bit and take a peep at some of our most fabulous super heroines. In the series, they’re an unlikely foursome of friends–Black Cat, Hell Cat, Firestar, and Photon–with TWO things in common: They’re all leading double-lives and they’re all having romantic trouble. The pitch started as “Sex and the City” in the Marvel Universe, and there’s definitely that “naughty” element to it, but I also think the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.) But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.

It’s pretty obvious that this is NOT about what it means to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. It’s about three men who want to have “some sudsy fun” and “hot fun” writing about four women in Spandex having “romantic trouble” with a “naughty element.”

In other words, the women are being reduced to sex objects whose main concerns are love, romance and sex.

Yeaaaah.

Now, I wouldn’t say that a man is incapable of telling a woman’s story because he’s of the opposite sex. But this doesn’t sound like the story of four women, but the stereotyping of four women. And frankly, there’s enough stereotyping and objectification of women in comic books, literature, film and TV as it is.

Thanks for the warning, Mister Aguirre-Sacasa. I won’t be wasting my money on this.

Dana:

There was a rather flawed article a few years back that purported to deal with part of this topic: “Why Have There Been No Great Women Comic Book Artists?”

Only the author didn’t actually do her homework or explore the topic using any of the conclusions the article she patterned her article after (the seminal “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists” about women in the fine arts). It doesn’t examine the systemic and institutional reasons behind the lack of women in comics in any depth, which is a real missed opportunity.

The comics article is here: http://www.artnews.com/issues/article.asp?art_id=1924

The original article on women in art is here: http://www.miracosta.edu/home/gfloren/nochlin.htm

For the consideration of readers of this forum in re: Jon L.

From http://urbandictionary.com/

a troll: One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without *in any way listening* to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. ‘you’re nothing but a fanboy’ is a popular phrase) (or in this case repeated accusations that those contributing are “embittered feminists”) with no substance or relevance to back them up as well as straw man arguments (i.e. continual redefining of what the discussion is actually about), which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

Italics and comments added by me. Usually the best way to make a troll go away is to ignore them.

As I said initially, these comments made to respondents on this forum are simply for your consideration. I am not making any serious accusations.

diane: “continual redefining of what the discussion is actually about”

Exactly. So this conversation that was originally about the ridiculous contradiction inherent in the premise of “Marvel Divas,” which then started to become a conversation about how maybe a woman might bring some insight to the story, was hijacked into an argument about affirmative action, tone, and how we really should be discussing the topic from the standpoint of a non-existent utopia where there are no differences between men and women.

Interesting that at one point, it was proposed that this “Marvel Divas” story, even as we envisioned it sans-suds and hotness, was unnecessary, because there are indeed such minor differences between the sexes that exploring what it means to be a woman in a field dominated by men is a waste of time.

I think this thread illustrates that such a story is sorely needed. I’m just disappointed that “Marvel Divas” won’t fill that need.

Dana: “Do you think that anything can or should be done at all?”

Should? Absolutely. I think that talented female writers should be encouraged to join the industry. That said, I also think that talented male creators should join the industry, as I feel most male creators are not particularly good.

Can? I think placing women in these roles who are incapable of creating good work will only reinforce a negative stereotype. That’s one of the primary problems with assigning work on a gender basis alone. There are many talented female creators. The only solution I can suggest is that the women with talent be placed in very high profile positions, working with titles that are not based on gender alone (I see so many fan picks that always give female writers female characters, as if a talented woman is somehow incapable of writing Batman or Superman).

Quality editors/writers like Jennifer are a good example of talent that (no offense intended) is being squandered in a very small pool. Imagine what someone like her might do with a hig profile editorial position. I realize that might not fit her interests, but she serves as a good example.

@Jennifer/Amy/diane

Passive aggressive debate tactics are a poor substitute for reason. Either you can address the questions/subjects addressed to you or you cannot. And Jennifer, please cite one example where I literally referred to you as “an embittered feminist”. Didn’t happen. No… The only ones who dismissed an argument on the foundation of gender were women, including yourself.

@Black Cat:

There’s really nothing you can say to dig yourself out of your deep hole. You champion the hiring of lesser quality writers based specifically on gender. That’s sexist. You can claim I’m unreasonable. But I doubt you can cite a single attempt on your part to reason. So your argument (yet again) is empty.

@Dana

I meant to continue my thought on your question, but was derailed from some unrelated events.

Can be done? I’d like to think so. I think progress has been made, but that there is a considerable distance to go. I absolutely believe that placing anyone in such a position simply based on gender is both sexist and potentially harmful. That said, if anyone here held a definitive answer to combating sexism there would be considerably less sexism in the world.

…you honestly think the reason why female talent isn’t in the industry is because they don’t WANT to?

Oh, Jon. Honey. Have a cuppa, a nice sit down, and maybe a clue or two.

You have repeatedly ignored the issue of networking in this industry, how it works, the implications of it. I’ve experienced it, I’m sure Jennifer has, I’m sure many women have. It’s often insulting, always exhausting, and very, very difficult to gracefully sidestep unwanted sexual and romantic advances while keeping the business connection intact. Want, drive and talent often has very little to do with it. There are plenty of women who want to work at the Big Two, plenty who have tried, and plenty who have rightfully said “screw it” because it’s not worth the disrespect, dishonesty and pain.

You’ve been labeled a troll, and your latest response has cinched it, so I’m going to move back to the original issue at hand: for a comic ostensibly attempting to address the pressures of women in primarily male dominated industries, that cover and the tag line of “naughty hot fun” showcases quite neatly, and with little doubt, just how ill-suited the parties involved are to do what they claim.

caia: “You could understand, but you don’t.”

The arrogant assumptions continue. I disagree, therefore I don’t understand. Because if I understood, I would agree. And according to some people here, my lack of understanding is due to my position of “male privilege”, as seen in the quote below:

Amy: “If this is hard to understand, maybe it is because you as a man are in a privileged position”

So to all the people here who continually try to claim that my perspective has not been called into question based on my gender: Take the time to actually read what is being said. Go ahead and read it again. Look at the quote above.

Still don’t get it? Maybe this is hard to understand because you are a woman looking at the world from bitter female perspective.

Mind you, I do not agree with the sentence I wrote above. It is definitively belittling and sexist. I doubt anyone would find what i said above acceptable. But when someone says the inversion to a male, you all cheer.

Which says quite a bit about your convictions.

Wow, okay, you are *very* good at this. Perhaps unwise of me to re-engage, but here goes:

Passive-aggression is not an inherently evil debate tactic. In fact, it becomes necessary when one wishes to make an important point in circumstances where addressing the object in question has been destructive/distracting, etc.

But fair enough, Jon. What I should have said is:

“Interesting that at one point, JON L. proposed that this “Marvel Divas” story, even as we envisioned it sans-suds and hotness, was unnecessary, because there are indeed such minor differences between the sexes that exploring what it means to be a woman in a field dominated by men is a waste of time.”

Now, clearly, I was paraphrasing your actual statement to make my point, which is also a legit debate tactic, since you’re so fond of arguing over tactics. And since you are so fond of supporting evidence, here you go, from upthread:

Amy : “Wow. Minor differences? *Minor* differences? If the differences are so minor, why bother writing a comic about the experience of a woman superhero at all?”

Jon: Yup. I agree. There is no purpose to it. And yes, the differences in gender are relatively minor.

jtwonderdog:

Ah yes… you’re the one who insisted I held no moral outrage against untalented male creators. Which was a lie. You’re the one went on about speaking in terms of ideals, despite the clear fact that I myself had already conceded that the real world scenario is decidedly different than the world of ideals. You haven;’t been following the discussion. You just hopped in to support a perceived threat. But you lack the understanding to offer a rationale or reasoned opinion. Most people understand that when you lack the facts, offering up a voice can make you look foolish. You are apparently just fine with appearing to be a fool.

jtwonderdog: “You have repeatedly ignored the issue of networking in this industry, how it works, the implications of it. I’ve experienced it”

I have ignored nothing. I conceded from the onset that the real world scenario is different than the ideal scenario. What you have ignored, is my actual arguments and my actual responses. All in favor of using me as a scapegoat for arguments I did not advance and do not endorse.

Is the real world a grim and dirty place? Yup. So what? Was my call for the most talented creators to take these kind of jobs any more pie in the sky than Black Cat’s continued assertion that the job should go to a woman? Nope. Yet it’s me you single out, despite the fact that I’m not the one who introduced the discussion in the form of ideals rather than real world.

@Amy

Thank you for addressing me directly.

You’re right, I was wrong to dismiss the notion of the series out of hand. I should have been more clear that I believe that focusing on gender in fiction of this sort exacerbates the the perceived rift between genders rather than diminish it. But that doesn’t mean the book should not exist.

And yes, I do believe the difference between genders are relatively minor. But take a look. I have used the qualifier “relatively” repeatedly. The difference exist, to be sure. But focusing on them is, in my opinion, a mistake.

Since I’ve re-engaged, why the hell not:

Jon, to Jennifer, recently: “Jennifer, please cite one example where I literally referred to you as “an embittered feminist”. Didn’t happen. ”

Jon to Jennifer, upthread: “Your words and argument mean nothing as they are made from an embittered female position.”

Well, I suppose from an insanely narrow standpoint (the old “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is” brand of debate), you did not in fact “literally” refer to Jennifer as an embittered feminist. IN fact, you just called her an embittered female, so you didn’t even give her the benefit of being a feminist.

But I’m sure you can parse that statement to say you meant something completely different and that I am placing words in your mouth again.

This tactic of denial on the grounds that one did not “literally” state something is tried and true. You did it with me when you asked when you had directly called me a child. Which, of course, was not what I’d said, I’d stated that I am “not a child for you to correct” — which was an assessment of your behavior towards me.
It’s a brilliant avoidance tactic, and gives you a scot-free alibi should anyone dare to call you on your bullshit.

So really, we should be thanking you, Jon, for displaying all of these disingenuous tactics and distraction strategies so blatantly.

Jon: “You’re right, I was wrong to dismiss the notion of the series out of hand. I should have been more clear that I believe that focusing on gender in fiction of this sort exacerbates the the perceived rift between genders rather than diminish it.”

Thank you for admitting that what you did was in fact outright dismiss as unnecessary the very need for such a story that many of the women here have expressed.

“But I’m sure you can parse that statement to say you meant something completely different and that I am placing words in your mouth again.”

Seriously? Read what I wrote after your quote:

Me (immediately after): “Mind you, I do not agree with the sentence I wrote above. It is definitively belittling and sexist. I doubt anyone would find what i said above acceptable. But when someone says the inversion to a male, you all cheer.”

So yeah. You are putting words in my mouth. Blatantly. And I chose “female” in correlation to “male”. I was making a parallel statement. I have no doubt she is a feminist. But she said “male” so I said “female”.

The bullshit here is yours. You did it when you responded to me as if I had told you to shut up. You did it when you demanded I name multiple female creators and you just did it now, by ignoring the context of my words in an effort to paint me as making a statement I absolutely did not make.

Let’s keep the name-calling to a minimum, please.

“Thank you for admitting that what you did was in fact outright dismiss as unnecessary the very need for such a story that many of the women here have expressed.”

No Amy. I said I was wrong to dismiss it “out of hand”. Context is everything with intent.

Black Cat: “But everyone seems to be bashing your sexist ass! LOL”

Mob rules is an automatic failure. It used to be that the majority opinion was that women were inferior. Did majority opinion make this true? I’m not arguing my opinions to win your imaginary popularity contest. I’m arguing my opinions because I believe in them. Feel free to celebrate. It really doesn’t matter how many people champion an argument. If it’s wrong, it is wrong. If it;’s sexist it’s sexist. And arguing for gender preference over quality is definitively sexist.

headdesk. This is why I should not have re-engaged. When will I learn?

Jon: “So yeah. You are putting words in my mouth. Blatantly. And I chose “female” in correlation to “male”. I was making a parallel statement. I have no doubt she is a feminist. But she said “male” so I said “female”.”

Yes. But the point you’ve deliberately missed again and again is that “male privilege” is an actual technical term used in discussions of feminism and institutional oppression. Your statement has no correlation. They are not parallel statements, because your term is made up in order to insult. “Male Privilege” exists and there is a long history of exploring what it means and how to recognize it. We did not invent the term yesterday. “Embittered female” was just name calling.

I posted a link to a nice concise description of male privilege. It is not something we throw around lightly in order to insult people. It is in fact the definition of the blindness you have demonstrated in this conversation. Perhaps you should spend some time at the “Feminism 101″ site.

My mistake and apologies Amy. I thought you were citing my second usage rather than my first. Regardless the point is the same. Look at what I wrote immediately after the quote you used:

Me (immediately after your quote): “See, If my perspective must be colored by gender, than the same can be said of yours. Personally, I had hoped we were above such sexist generalizations.”

And my commentary on the same quote:

Me (earlier): “The “bitter feminist” argument is hardly being used as an actual opinion. But instead as an inversion of the repeated “privileged male position” argument. The argument that is being used as a dismissal of opinions. In other words: “You can’t possibly understand. You’re male.” If you can explain why one sexist generalization is acceptable and the other is not, I’d love to hear it.”

It really doesn’t matter Amy. You can argue that my analogy is flawed, and I will concede that it is not a perfect fit. But you cannot argue that I said those words and MEANT them. I made it clear (repeatedly) that it was NOT meant literally, that this was NOT my opinion. In your post above, you ignored this clear context and attempted to paint the statement as if it existed in a vacuum. That is blatantly disingenuous. far more so than anything you can accuse me of.

Amy: “Male Privilege” exists and there is a long history of exploring what it means and how to recognize it. ”

If it is used to dismiss understanding (as you did) the end result is the same. You literally said: “If this is hard to understand, maybe it is because you as a man are in a privileged position”

This is a common tactic to belittle an opinion, though I don’t believe you used it intentionally (a consideration it would be nice to see granted in return). Rather than deal with my arguments, you dismiss and diminish them as something beyond my understanding. The implication is that if I DID understand, I would agree with your position.

This creates an impossible barrier in debate. As long as I disagree, you can suggest it is due to my failure to comprehend. Attaching this supposed failure to my gender only compounds the issue.

”Quality editors/writers like Jennifer are a good example of talent that (no offense intended) is being squandered in a very small pool. Imagine what someone like her might do with a hig profile editorial position. I realize that might not fit her interests, but she serves as a good example.”

I’m afraid with this statement JonL, you’ve essentially nuked the fridge. Somebody this naive( i.e. yourself) would have an exceedingly difficult time being taken seriously in any thread,(or in real life! ) but you’re pretty much at the edge of the cliff now.

Maybe best to hold up the white flag now, hmmm? Turn off the light on the way out, would you?

Easy to say without offering explanations, CGB. SLG is a small pool in the world of comics. A great publisher that has released many fine books in the last handful of years, But still one with an unfortunately diminished output and slumping sales (by the head of the companies admission).

I believe Jennifer to have talent, and I was asked what I would suggest as a method to diversify the industry and create a greater sense of equality. More high profile women of talent seems like a positive to me. Are you going to suggest that talent is best served in shadowy corners of the industry? Bear in mind that my statement was made as a hypothetical solution with Jennifer serving as an example.

It seems you’re just following the trend of this thread to dismiss without offering up an actual argument. A poor (and very passive aggressive) discussion tactic. Full of condescension, in fact.

So I dared to offer up my ideas of what could help promote equality in the industry. Where are your ideas, if mine are so terrible?

You literally have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

”Are you going to suggest that talent is best served in shadowy corners of the industry?”

Contained within this sentence is the fundamental point which you’ve failed to understand, or even attempted to understand if you’re honest with yourself, isn’t that the truth, really?

”Wilful obscurity”, thy name is JonL.

CGB: “You literally have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

If you have something to say, how about you say it directly, rather than through innuendo?

If you don’t understand something, how about you just admit as much and change the playlist? It must get so tiresome being stuck in a loop, eh?

Either you have something to say or you don’t. You clearly don’t. And while I might argue controversially, at least I put forth a discernible opinion that can be debated. You just pretend.

Regardless of what you might think of my ideas, you have yet to present your own. How would you go about creating a more equal playing field for women in the comics industry?

But you’re here to be regarded, is that not your primary aim JonL? And here we are, regarding you.
You’ve been here longer than I and dare I say it, are far more entrenched. Yet you seem to have provided no insight, no solution, no….depth.

Again, I put it to you, if you don’t understand something, surely you should admit this than inadvertently making it known to all and sundry, as you surely have, that you have no depth…perception, as it were.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call you entertaining as such but you’ve certainly been an endless source of amusement to yourself. Did you have a good time at least?

CGB: Again, either you have something to say or you don’t. You make allusions and insinuations, but avoid direct commentary as that would open up your thought processes to discussion. And you clearly don’t want to do this. So you take the cheap and easy route. The cowardly route. The one that provides the most protection. So go ahead and sit smugly on the sidelines. If you don’t actually participate, your opinion is of the least value.

Who are you dictating to JonL? Who’s opinion is of the most value?
Di you know we’re in a recession by the way? The cheap and easy route is the most easily defended at the moment I’d say.

CGB Spender, you’re not the only one who thinks Jon L. Just. Doesn’t. Get. It.

Jon, you are arguing for argument’s sake at this point. THAT is the main indicator of a troll. Almost every point that others make is simply ignored by you, and any counter-argument you make is para-logical.

He’s a very angry person, isn’t he Alan? He’s been here for hours as well, which never bodes well and of course, would be at the root of why he’s so angry I’d imagine.
He should probably just draft a strongly-worded letter addressed to ”The Internet” and be done with it at this stage.
I’ll bid you adieu!

Is that a fact Alan? Perhaps you could tell me what points I have ignored? I certainly conceded a few, something I have yet to see done by anyone I have been arguing with. And I have attempted to discuss any argument (that actually relates to my position) put before me. My position remains unchanged. I believe that giving work based on gender and not on merit is sexism. And that such practice actually has the potential to reinforce negative stereotypes. I have offered opinion and support for my opinions. Some people have countered this with opinion of their own. That’s called debate.

I was asked if I had a solution for handling sexism in the comics industry. I conceded that I did not have a definitive solution (I don’t think anyone does). But I did my best to put forward concepts that match my ideals. Now, agree or disagree with my concepts as you see fit. But calling me a troll for arguing according to my convictions is a petty thing to do. Take a look at the poster you are defending. Tell me what great notions CGB has advanced. How about you explain to me CGB’s reasoning behind dismissing my suggestions? Can you? CGB can’t.

But you want to talk about points ignored? Let’s look at Amy who refuses to explain how and where I introduced the concept that she should “shut up”, a fairly inflammatory statement to assign to someone. How about Jennifer, who failed to answer this same question? How about the multitude of times I have been accused of being condescending based off telling someone who was (by their own admission) overreacting to “simmer down”? I’ve asked for explanations to that one a multitude of times, and have been met with outright silence.

How about the disingenuous attempts to misrepresent my position, like Amy, Jennifer and others, who claimed that I made a reference to a woman as “embittered”? And when I point out that these accusations are blatantly false, they vanish.

How about jtwonderdog, who falsely claimed that I only expressed outrage over biased treatment to women while ignoring similar treatment to men. A point I corrected and she ignored.

There’s more. There’s alot more. A vast multitude of my points have been ignored. Along with repeated requests to CGB to explain their position. You call me a troll based off of this logic, but you are failing to apply it across the board.

Jon L., I’m afraid of my love for you. Your insights have changed my life.

You’re right, Jon. You’ve been unfairly crucified. Happily, if history repeats itself, you should be arising sometime tomorrow!

@Jadefire:

Yup. I should never have had the audacity to have opinions counter to the hive mind. Because at this point, now that the pack leaders have done the dirty work, all the average straggler has to do is sit off to the side making pot shots and then smugly condescend that they don’t have to participate. It’s a common practice. It’s what people usually do to make themselves feel the comfort of group acceptance.

At least Amy and her cohorts had counter opinions to argue with. Pity they had to resort to the silence when challenged tactic. Now we’re left with the weak members of the pack. The ones who jump in when it’s safe in an effort to make themselves feel included with the popular opinion.

You scrappy little puppy you. Maybe someday you can formulate an actual argument, rather than a protective bubble of sarcasm.

and all the people said… Amen.

John L. said: “I should never have had the audacity to have opinions counter to the hive mind. ”

That’s hive vagina, thanks.

Peace, be still.

Skimming the big argument…and not going to attempt addressing every point.

I agree with Jon L. that it’s quite possible for a male to write a female character and write her well. Including a woman on the writing staff may not magically “fix the books”. Unfortunately there are some women who are worse at contributing to the female stereotype than their male counterparts.

However, given how this particular comic “Marvel Divas” is presented there does seem to be a serious disconnect from the supposed target audience. Consulting a woman, prefereably multiple women, like a test audience, would probably help, (particularly as the supposed point is to reach out to women). And hiring a few talented, capable women writers, editors, etc. might give them a more diverse talent pool, particularly if they are hoping to reach a more diverse audience.

Honestly if Marvel wants to attract a female audience, they need to take a closer look at what females are buying. Manga has grown while American comics shrunk, why? Lots of reasons, but I think one of the strongest is diversification of genres. Not every Manga is a SUPER HERO comic. I hated “Sex in the City”, however if you’re going to write a “Sex in the City” comic…do a Sex in the City comic. It doesn’t HAVE to have super heroes in it. Read your Scott McCloud, content does not equal form.

Put out a couple of unapologetic romance comics or better yet comic romances (funny stuff). Or a Nora Roberts type romance wrapped around a mystery… I prefer romance to be used as a seasoning rather than a main dish, myself, so how about a mystery series that *doesn’t* involve superheroes. Or a historical comic. Maybe some nonfiction comics…or semi-nonfiction. Quirky sci-fi…a Red Dwarf comic could be fun. How about a legal drama or a neighborhood watch group or a spy drama or a Mary Tyler Moore style humorous story, light drama about those post-college years. I’m spewing out random ideas.

The point is to diversify your audience, you need to diversify your output. Super heores are fun, and I’m by no means suggesting such staples should be dropped. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there has to be either.

I’m a girl. I like pretty. I like fantasy. Slap interesting characters and good plot on top of it, and I (who rarely buy comics) may buy yours (a lamenting sigh for CrossGen). But not all girls are like me. So you have to put out a variety of titles to get the biggest variety of readers.

Well bad cover and bad preview text. Neither works to try and sell me on the book. But apparantly the writer and artist attached are both pretty good so I might flip thru the first issue in the store. If I remember about it. But Marvel utterly failed to pre-sell me on the book. And I loved Firestar in “New Warriors”, Monica in both “The Avengers” and “Nextwave” and Hellcat in her recent mini-series…

Still wish that Paul Tobin written “Models Inc” book hadn’t vanished into the ether. That sounded awesome…

People who expect a book published by a corporation with corporate characters to have any real meaning besides the quick fix for people with lives so boring they must ingratiate themselves into fantasy are more idiotic than I thought.

“I should never have had the audacity to have opinions counter to the hive mind.”

Ah, now I see. I see that you are among the terminally deluded. Once a person decides that everybody else is part of the hive mind, that person has decided that their mind is the only mind that sees things as they truly are. Embrace your Godhood, Jon L. Then move to Mars, create a gleaming city, destroy it, then go off into the universe to create your on race of perfect beings, one and all who will worship your Godness.

And you Alan, continue to avoid actually addressing the topic. Instead you sit on the sidelines and take pot-shots. You make claim that I am ignoring almost every point put before me, yet you have ignored every point I put before you. By your own definition, you are trolling.

But you say I am ignoring almost every point? I ask you again to back up your accusation. Name these points. Name just five of them. I don’t think you can.

No, instead you take an off the cuff jab directed at someone who is only treating me with sarcasm (Are you going to actually claim that jadefire88′s posts deserved a respectful response?) and pretend you have offered a rebuttal. I’m attacked with sarcasam. How dare I respond in kind!

And you don’t actually put any real argument forward. You just want to play it safe on the sidelines. Agree or disagree with me. That’s your prerogative. Make false accusations and sneer from the safety of the shadows? Also your prerogative. But such hypocritical action says much more about you then it says about me.

…what…Marvel…do you really think the ladies who watch ‘Sex in the City’ are also buying comics (I don’t know how to explain to you that it’s a different type of lady, who buys Cosmo magazine and shops all day, generally NOT the kind reading comics)? Do you really think, if those ladies were reading comics, they’d want extremely sexy hooched up designs for the characters with some of the biggest busts and bums I’ve EVER seen? You think that’s what ladies want? Do you also really somehow think this is in any way, shape, or form aimed at ladies at all?? Because I’m pretty sure my idea of a good read is NOT watching what should be bad#ss female characters having naughty boyfriend trouble. Seriously. To you even the fighty super hero chicks biggest concern is getting some naughty sex and their bf’s!? Uhg Marvel. Stop having old MEN write your ‘ladies’ stuff. They don’t know wtf they’re doing. Or at least stop pretending when they write gross wank off material that’s obviously just for dudes to see how much sex these ladies are getting, they don’t portray it as somehow for ladies. This is not for ladies. It’s not even almost for ladies. It’s possibly the least for ladies thing I’ve ever seen.

man. i have to say that jennifer and amy do sound a bit.. uh… i don’t know if there’s a word for it. You guys realize that when you jump all over someone who is not drenched in feminist context and articles and blahblah, you sound really awful. at least to me. calling someone privileged and discounting what they say is a jump on the “proof of theory” trail here. and yeah, it DOES sound sexist and crazy and mean.

jesus. i would have told you to calm down too!!! sometimes sounding awful means you sound awful and not that the other person is trying to oppress you :/

marvel is living in a bubble where they have apparently no contact with women and don’t have the mind to ask some ladies in their demographic what they should do to make a lady title.

jon is right that good writing is good writing. just having a vagina does not make you right or a better writer or a better person or better at ANYTHING honestly. case in point? sarah palin! anne coulter! how much do i never want them representing me ever? just how “black person” does not equal “knows about civil rights”, “female” does not equal “not an idiot about lady things”.

however, what got lost in translation here is that, i believe, amy and jennifer are saying that the people who decide what is good writing are all these dumb ass guys that don’t know shit, probably have wives that think comic books are “funny” and love sex in the city and shopping and shoes. i’ve worked with people like that. they are exposed only to ladies that are stupid and think that because the dumb ass they’re married to/attracted to is a certain way, all women are that way.

the way you fix this is to, honestly, shove in more ladies. you honestly have to flood it with ladies in the hope that you’ll get a few good eggs and that the good stuff comes to the top. think about it, you’ve got a crap ton of comics written by dudes, how many of them are good? like 5? maybe? so if dumbass at the top can’t distinguish between “good writer” and “bad writer” already since they let crapface-writer write something sexist and crappy artist draw something sexist, how do you change that otherwise? is it the cleanest way to handle it? no. but when the people are in charge have absolutely no shame or clue *see topic*, what other way can you handle this?

i think a better solution would be for a lady who is not stupid or fucked up in the head to start her own comic book company. unfortunately, “hella rich comic book fan lady who is not stupid” is rather elusive, do you guys know any? perhaps we can capture an obama child and program them to love comics.

Jon L: “No, instead you take an off the cuff jab directed at someone who is only treating me with sarcasm (Are you going to actually claim that jadefire88’s posts deserved a respectful response?) and pretend you have offered a rebuttal. I’m attacked with sarcasam. How dare I respond in kind!”

It’s not whether you’re paranoid, it’s whether you’re paranoid *enough*.

Adriana: “jon is right that good writing is good writing. just having a vagina does not make you right or a better writer or a better person or better at ANYTHING honestly.”

Adriana, most of the people advocating that a woman write this story weren’t saying that a woman would do it better than a man. No where did anyone state that a vagina makes anyone a better writer or a better person.

Most of us were responding out of frustration that we never see superheroines written from a woman’s perspective. This is pretty clearly stated several times in the thread. Most people, including myself, were arguing that a woman might tell the story differently from a man, because women’s experiences of life (and the comics industry) are different from men’s, and that this particular story, that of a woman superheroine in a male-dominated field, might benefit from a woman’s insight, especially since the original statement from Marvel explicitly connected this storyline to the comic book industry itself, where women writers are a tiny minority.

This had nothing to do with some kind of vision of female superiority. I in fact pointed out that a writer like Joss Whedon would handle the material very well, most likely, because of his awareness of gender issues and the involved pressures. However, given that women *are* such a tiny minority in the field, and the fact that Marvel has such a poor track record writing decent storylines for women characters, why not take a chance and get a woman’s take on the story?

Contrary to many of Jon L’s arguments, I and Jennifer and several others never said we’d rather have a sub-par woman write this story rather than a talented man. That was a straw man argument, used to distract from the point.

dude, i know that’s not what you were saying, but it does SOUND like that to the untrained ear. if you read the rest of my post, I’m trying to explain what the REAL problem is. hahaha, sorry if that wasn’t clear, I obviously write my posts like I speak and not as well thought out points, etc etc. I think a lot of people would be stunned to hear your statement and might misunderstand it the way other people did. and i HAVE heard that horrible idea before, oh god the BBC had some horrible thing say “the economic crisis wouldn’t have happened if women had been in charge”. A few people had the sense to state that greed is something that crosses all gender lines.

which brought up another interesting point. a lot of women take on the crappy characteristics once they get a position of some worth. but to me that’s a sign of “crappy person” not “crappy lady’ in particular. i think the problem with comics is that there are bad writers/artists. period. and there’s no one with the eye to go “oh god, don’t let them draw that, that’s horrible!” the aesthetics just aren’t there. when i think about how many times I’ve seen a camel toe in comics… a writer that writes good characters, male or female, shouldn’t be a fluke, it should be the norm.

hahah but maybe i’m being unfair, is there ANY industry where quality is that high?

oh but you made one point that a woman might tell a story differently than a man. the key word there is “might”. and unfortunately, you have a lot of younger girls that have bought into the less seemly aspects of comics, i mean they’re BUYING them, aren’t they? honestly, comics have a lot of archetypes and tropes etc that have inherent gender problems and attract a certain female demographic that doesn’t see a problem with those aspects, and then if you ask those ladies to write a story…? sometimes you’re just going to get the same thing. i had a lot of problems with certain things gail simone wrote in her eariler days. someone already mentioned christina z (i remember those pictures of her in wizard in a bathing suit more than anything she ever said/did).

but i do think there are certain things that are more apparent to a female writer. i just sent off an email the other day about how the threat/issue of sexual assault is more present in japanese manga which ahs many more female creators. i’m not saying like “people constantly being raped” it’s more like, an underlying acknowledgment that creepy people exist and you should be on guard. do i think these are on purpose? no, it might just be something that comes out because a woman is writing it. or that might just be the cultural difference.

man, i don’t think any of what i just wrote had a coherent point. :D i dunno what the solution here is. sensitivity training for editors? sometimes i just want to shake them and go “NO YOU CAN’T LET THEM DRAW HER NIPPLES SHOWING THROUGH, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?”.

Adriana, outside of your obvious misread of the entire exchange (disagreeing with Jon’s attempt to frame the discussion on terms that were NOT being discussed and BESIDE the point isn’t being “sexist and crazy and mean,” it’s an attempt to politely recenter the conversation to the issue at hand, not the issue Jon wishes it was so that he can remain right. Just because Jon isn’t familiar with the terms, doesn’t mean it’s our responsibility, much less Amy’s, much less Jennifer’s, to enlighten him), I do have to point out that this:

unfortunately, “hella rich comic book fan lady who is not stupid” is rather elusive

Is an adorable pipe dream. If only because you have to be stupid, self-hating and into pain to put up with half this shit this industry throws at you. Brilliant, genius women have plenty of mediums and industries with more cultural cache and respect than fucking superhero comic book floppies. So yeah, if you have money and half a brain, and aren’t into pain, superhero comics probably aren’t your thing.

Yes, I’m saying you have to be a little bit of a masochist and a whole lot of stupid to insist/believe that this genre and industry has any hope for change. I am including myself in this conclusion, of course.

Adriana: “oh but you made one point that a woman might tell a story differently than a man. the key word there is “might”.”

For the most part, the suggestion of a woman writer for this story was a hypothetical, because the title already has a male writer attached to it. You are right that women aren’t necessarily free from internalized sexism/misogyny themselves, and can portray women just as negatively as male writers. That’s the chance you take, I suppose. Trying out a woman who wrote the character just as sexist as a man would not be disturbing the status quo; but if that woman did write with sensitivity and insight, we might get something unusual and valuable out of it, because that woman may have experience to draw from that even a really great male writer wouldn’t have.

Like I said before, the story might not be better if told by a (good) woman writer as compared to a (good) male writer; but chances are that story would be a *different* one. A story that hasn’t been told before, perhaps. And that was the point that I’ve been trying to make. That perhaps because of the lack of woman writers, some kinds of stories have gone untold.

If we disagree with the way women are portrayed, it’s clearly because there’s something wrong with US. Real women have waists the size of their heads, basketballs for tits, and spend all their time having sudsy fun and chatting about men with the girls. That’s! Good! Writing! ‘Cause men totally know what it’s like to be every other person ever, and it’s offensive to imply that women might have more familiarity with their own damn experiences.

Amy: “Contrary to many of Jon L’s arguments, I and Jennifer and several others never said we’d rather have a sub-par woman write this story rather than a talented man. That was a straw man argument, used to distract from the point.”

And this is where the disconnect began. Amy, my initial post was never directed at you. It was directed at Black Cat. And Black Cat did confirm her stance on this. How can you say my argument was a straw man when it is wholly accurate in regards to the person it was directed at?

You can’t. Again, you’re being disingenuous. I’d like to think it’s by accident. But you’re doing it so often it’s hard to give you the benefit of the doubt. Let me be clear, you challenged me. Not the other way around. The statements you challenged have been shown to be accurate in regards to who they were directed at. That’s not a straw man. Not in the least.

The fact is you came after me. Not the other way around. You engaged in hyperbolic vitriol and attempted to turn my stance into one of a patronizing controlling male incapable of comprehending your world view. You have attached arguments and viewpoints to me that do not even remotely reflect my stance or words. You have defined me as the enemy, and you are refusing to see through your own preconceptions and treat me as an individual making specific points.

That’s the very definition of a “straw man.”.

jtwonderdog: “Jon’s attempt to frame the discussion on terms that were NOT being discussed”

See above.

re: jtwonderdog- i’m of the school of thought that you shouldn’t jump down anyone’s throat, male, female, whatever the issue. it’s just not polite. and to my eyes, that’s what she did. she already admitted to bringing in stuff from previous conversations. that’s not good conversation/discussion/argument behavior. it’s just not. she jumped the gun. i think you need to take another look at how this discussion began before you accuse me of “an obvious misread”.

there’s a step in the logic amy/jennifer/etc were aware of and following that jon wasn’t and that wasn’t made clear. that is why he is sad and feels ganged up on. that’s all there is to it. he obviously wants less shitty comics that are women friendly just like the rest of us. now the argument is about the arguing and not the actual issue. and i think courtesy wise he’s the wronged party there.

i think we are all in agreement that: divas = badddd, more female writers = good. i don’t think he’s the enemy here. i am saddened when i see a dude that obviously wants the same things we do, get chewed out because he didn’t read the same book as the feminist he’s talking to. no, it’s not our job to educate, but it’s the polite, good and smart thing to do. don’t be lazy.

Adriana: “no, it’s not our job to educate, but it’s the polite, good and smart thing to do. don’t be lazy.”

I very much appreciate your points, and I’m hoping that maybe the conversation can be directed towards the topic that we all obviously agree on. But in the interest of fairness I have to make clear that Amy did provide links to the terminology under discussion, albeit after the fact.

Adriana: “no, it’s not our job to educate, but it’s the polite, good and smart thing to do. don’t be lazy.”

Adriana, Jon said that he had worked on equal rights in the past, and never asked us to clarify the terminology we were using. He refused to acknowledge the women on this thread who testified to the very real differences between how men and women are treated in this society; in fact he repeatedly asserted, even in the face of women telling him our own lived experiences, that those differences are minor. destronomics has tried to explain the difficulties of the “good writer” merit argument that Jon has made, as well as the reality for women in the comics field. So have Jennifer and jtwonderdog.

I agree with jtwonderdog that it is not up to us to educate anyone on male privilege, especially someone who has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the reality that the women on this thread live in.

“That perhaps because of the lack of woman writers, some kinds of stories have gone untold.”

I suspect this is as much (or more) an editorial and/or managerial issue as it is a creative one. I’ve been prevented from using minority and homosexual characters on some work-for-hire projects (including some WFH projects I originated.) I’m sure all sorts of sorts of stories haven’t been published by Marvel not because nobody wants to tell them, but because somebody higher up the chain of command is actively stopping them from being told (sometimes with good reason, sometimes with considerably less than that.) Or at least from being told with Marvel-owned characters.

In the case of the specific project that inspired this thread, there’s also a marketing issue. I’m really not sure if this is supposed to be sudsy fun or a serious examination of gender roles in a male-dominated profession, and I have a hard time envisioning a story doing both without undermining at least one. Certainly in soundbite form that’s the case. If it hadn’t been described as both (and, if the serious examination was the stated goal of the story, the image attached made sense for a project with that goal), I doubt it would have drawn nearly this much fire–at least not until the book was released and people could judge the actual content of the story rather than the decidedly mixed messages of its promotion so far.

Andrew: “I suspect this is as much (or more) an editorial and/or managerial issue as it is a creative one.”

Very, very good point, that I think has been underdeveloped in this thread.

And I agree that it was the egregious conflict in the initial blurb about the title that has drawn ire. If it was just a sudsy, overtly sexualized plot, I for one would be disgusted and probably roll my eyes, but the fact that Marvel is so unaware of the conflict just speaks for itself.

”I’m really not sure if this is supposed to be sudsy fun or a serious examination of gender roles in a male-dominated profession, and I have a hard time envisioning a story doing both without undermining at least one.”

Are you serious? It has to be one or the other? So basically you’re saying that these comic narratives have to be absolute and utter banal, sexist, ”sudsy” drivel, or a humourless, rigid, witless ”serious examination ” of gender roles?

And that’s basically it, isn’t it? There’s no grey area. God forbid you have female superheroes who are witty, strong, flawed, smoke far too much and look fantastical with it. I mean, it’s not fantasy we’re dealing with here or anything. There are rules to be adhered to here people.

For the love of fuck.

there’s a step in the logic amy/jennifer/etc were aware of and following that jon wasn’t and that wasn’t made clear. that is why he is sad and feels ganged up on. that’s all there is to it. he obviously wants less shitty comics that are women friendly just like the rest of us. now the argument is about the arguing and not the actual issue. and i think courtesy wise he’s the wronged party there.

Really? Calling people who attempt to engage you in logical, well-founded debate “bitter females”, in a thread with a marked female interest would seem to point to you being wrong about his wrongedness.

“jon is right that good writing is good writing. just having a vagina does not make you right or a better writer or a better person or better at ANYTHING honestly.

But Adriana, you are differentiating between different types of “ladies” on the basis of nothing more than the presence of a vagina.

i am saddened when i see a dude that obviously wants the same things we do, get chewed out because he didn’t read the same book as the feminist he’s talking to.

I am saddened when I see someone who goes on unfounded attacks get defended by someone who can’t figure out how to use the Shift key.

On the other hand, Amy, stop being sexist and crazy and mean. Gosh.

“Black Cat” is clearly the Charlotte in this scenario.

Yes, Calraigh, that’s exactly what we want. Because a serious examination of gender roles, or at least an honest one, will always be “humourless, rigid, witless.”

Questionable, weighted use of “humourless,” aside, do you honestly think that’s what the ire in this thread is directed at? That there’s only hope of one or the other? That if our fears are addressed or even acknowledged, all possible joy will be sucked out of the book?

God forbid you have female superheroes who are witty, strong, flawed, smoke far too much and look fantastical with it.

Read the interview again, look at the delightful accompanying art, and tell me if you think this is what we’re in for. We had it, at one point, it was called Alias, and I sure as heck don’t remember it getting marketed like this.

Also, shut up Jon.

Calraigh: “So basically you’re saying that these comic narratives have to be absolute and utter banal, sexist, ‘’sudsy” drivel, or a humourless, rigid, witless ‘’serious examination ” of gender roles?”

Setting aside that it’s a tired cliche to accuse feminists of being humorless and rigid… No has said anything close to that. Who said that a serious examination of women in a male dominated field had to be humourless and rigid? Speaking for myself here, as a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I appreciate the funny with the serious. You can have both, with a good writer. You can be amusing, have a flawed heroine, and still explore serious issues. It’s not an all-or-nothing situation, as you’ve stated it.

Just because something is not aped after the “Sex and the City” doesn’t make it humourless. (and personally, I seldom thought SATC very funny) “Alias” did fairly well (and was written by a man, to boot) and was neither humorless nor rigid nor witless, though from a feminist perspective it had a few elements that were problematic.

“God forbid you have female superheroes who are witty, strong, flawed, smoke far too much and look fantastical with it. ”

Again, no one even discussed the elements we’d like to see in the characters. You’re making assumptions that just because we’re asking to be taken seriously as human beings that we want some kind of boring, perfect, dour character?

You’re assigning absolutes to this discussion that don’t exist.

The reason I, for one, objected, is that “sudsy” and “hot” imply a distinctly male way of sexualizing women characters. Which is why I feel it undermines the other stated goal of “serious exploration.” If they’d said they intended the comic to be “witty” or “gritty” or “in your face” (insert adjective here!) I wouldn’t have had nearly the same reaction.

Women are constantly dismissed in terms such as these. Sudsy = thin on substance. That right there contradicts the very notion of any kind of serious exploration of anything.

To use BtVS as an example again, that show was awash in wit and hilarity, as well as strong, imperfect heroines. But I’d never in a million years call it “sudsy.”

Jtwonderdog- my comment was directed at Andrew Foley and I quoted, directly from his own comment.

Maybe read it back? I wasn’t commenting on the general ”ire”, I was responding to one particular commenter’s words.

“Are you serious? It has to be one or the other?”

I was serious when I said *I* have a hard time envisioning a story being both sudsy fun and a serious examination of gender roles without one aspect undermining the other. Whether that’s down to a lack of imagination or just cynicism on my part is debatable, but that is my current perspective on this particular project with these particular characters at this particular company, and will likely remain my perspective until I see something that alters it.

I didn’t say, and don’t believe, it *has* to be one or the other. If the creators manage to accomplish both, I’d be delighted. Part of that delight would certainly come from the pleasant surprise of seeing something pulled off in a Marvel comic I doubted could be pulled off in a Marvel comic, for a variety of reasons.

That said, from a marketing perspective, I think the current mixed message is working to the detriment of the project.

Oddmonster: “Calling people who attempt to engage you in logical, well-founded debate “bitter females”,”

There we go again with the disingenuous arguments. That was never said in the context you suggest. Read the quotes in context.

Amy: “He refused to acknowledge the women on this thread who testified to the very real differences between how men and women are treated in this society”

Where exactly did this happen? I assure you I attempted to respond to every point laid before me. Something I notice you continue to refuse to do.

Are men and women treated differently in this industry? Yes. I agreed to as much and I specifically (and repeatedly) called it “deplorable”, When asked, I explained my rationale for how I believe giving work based on gender rather than merit undercuts efforts in equality. I offered alternatives. Alternatives that no one really commented on. In short: I addressed this topic very specifically. If you feel there is an aspect I missed, by all means point it out. If you cannot, I have to assume this is another attempt at falsification of my actual position.

Amy: “in fact he repeatedly asserted, even in the face of women telling him our own lived experiences, that those differences are minor.”

I said “relatively” minor. Repeatedly I pointed out this important qualifier and repeatedly you have ignored it. If you can’t make your point without misrepresenting my stated position, you have lost the debate. And by the way, the appeals to authority you cite are more logical fallacies.

Amy: “destronomics has tried to explain the difficulties of the “good writer” merit argument that Jon has made, as well as the reality for women in the comics field. So have Jennifer and jtwonderdog.”

And I addressed all of these people on all of these arguments. In fact, you just stated clearly that no one was contending my call for an ideal. An ideal I have stated repeatedly does not fully hold up in the real world. You, Jennifer, jtwonderdog, destronomics… You’re all ignoring what I am saying in favor of what you think I am saying. I think you know this as you stop responding to me every time I point out the obvious flaws and contradictions in your revisionist history of this debate. Unfortunately for you, the conversation is recorded in this thread. And you blatant hyperbole and attempts to misrepresent me are here for anyone who chooses to read.

Unfortunately, the majority here choose to simply look at the surface. That’s why it is so dangerous when you attach an inflammatory statement to someone else. As you did when you said “when you can name five, maybe I’ll shut up.” You did it again when you falsely claimed I called someone a “bitter female”. You assign false context or false arguments to someone, people come on the thread and all they see is the most recent statements. They don’t bother to investigate. Subsequently we have folks like Oddmonster, who continue to repeat an out of context statement that was used as an example of an insult, as if it were intended literally.

That’s how you whip up a mob. Through lies and willful ignorance.

I’m sorry Amy, what?

I agree with you. Completely. I’m responding to Andrew Foley’s comment and inference that there are two ”extremes” as it were, in female narratives, i.e. frivolity and solemnity.

When the hell did I accuse feminists of being ”humourless”? I didn’t say anything about feminists!!
I’m not assuming anything nor am I ” assigning absolutes”.
Why the hell are you attacking me when I actually agree with everything you’ve said?!
Sheesh.

Selina: “Also, shut up Jon.”

Also, shut up Selina.

Oddmonster: “I see someone who goes on unfounded attacks”

Name one legitimate instance. With a quote, please.

Andrew- thanks for your response.

I apologize for confusing your own beliefs with those concerning the industry to date and in particular in relation to Marvel but without clarification, I suppose it’s easy to assume, as Amy accused me of doing, that they’re one and the same.

The notion that the great minds behind Marvel think that aligning Sex and the City-type branding alongside such established and beloved characters such as Black Cat makes me want to go on a homicidal spree.

The only vague outline of a solution I saw from you Jon, was this:

The only solution I can suggest is that the women with talent be placed in very high profile positions, working with titles that are not based on gender alone

While at the same time you’ve repeated time and time again that women shouldn’t be given work based on their gender alone, for fear of unqualified or “bad” writers would taint the progress for the rest of us. That’s very considerate of you.

And yet, the only solution you offered is that very option: “…women with talent be placed in very high profile positions.” That very practice that you actually called “disgusting” in a previous comment.

How do they get there? Where do these “women with talent” come from? How do you recognize that talent? Where do you find these women and how do you keep them? How do you encourage women into the very positions you feel can usher in the most change? Those answers are strangely absent.

No one commented on your solutions because they were flawed, ill-defined, unworkable to implement, and largely ignored the current reality of the industry.

In short: they were kind of lame.

Calraigh–No worries.

Calraigh:

No one is attacking you. I disagreed with the argument in your comment. This is an open thread and an open discussion, not a conversation between two people at a time. We’ve all commented on each other’s posts all along, therefore it is not inappropriate for me to comment on your comment to Andrew. If we only addressed those who addressed us, there wouldn’t be a discussion.

I disagreed with your assertion that what Andrew was saying was that it had to be an either or. What Andrew stated, a frequent critique on this thread, was not as you stated an “inference that there are two ”extremes” as it were, in female narratives, i.e. frivolity and solemnity.” That was what I was taking exception to.

As Andrew was reiterating what many posters here have said as well, and threads are cumulative discussions, I didn’t think it was inappropriate to assume you were saying that the rest of us who made Andrew’s exact point felt that there was such a either-or situation as well.

No, you did not say that feminists are humorless. But many if not most of the people arguing these points are arguing from a feminist perspective, and I was disputing your characterization of Andrew’s point. Which is that a feminist reading of the Marvel blurb necessarily means that either-or dichotomy that you suggested. And as I stated, any sort of remotely feminist idea often is met with the criticism of being “humorless” and “rigid.” These words are loaded in conversations about women, as jtwonderdog said, as loaded as “sudsy” and “hot.”

jtwonderdog: “While at the same time you’ve repeated time and time again that women shouldn’t be given work based on their gender alone, for fear of unqualified or “bad” writers would taint the progress for the rest of us. That’s very considerate of you. And yet, the only solution you offered is that very option: “…women with talent be placed in very high profile positions.” That very practice that you actually called “disgusting” in a previous comment.”

You’re really stretching to make your point. I clearly qualified my statement with the term: “talent”. There is no contradiction with my earlier statement that gender alone is not sufficient. Talent is also imperative.

jtwonderdog: “How do they get there? Where do these “women with talent” come from? How do you recognize that talent? Where do you find these women and how do you keep them? How do you encourage women into the very positions you feel can usher in the most change? Those answers are strangely absent.”

Actually, the answers were included in the original statement. I specified that women with talent, and framed my statement using a woman currently working in the industry. I presumed it was implicit that I referred to talented women currently existing in the industry. Are you suggesting they don’t exist? That there is no benefit to these women being put in higher profile positions? My thought is that more high profile female creators/editors of talent will help encourage future women to pursue work in the industry.

Is my suggestion a cure? Of course not. I said that from the onset. I was asked what I would do to “combat discrimination”, not end discrimination. I think putting strong woman of talent in high profile positions could help achive the goal of combating discrimination.

And you actually offer no reason why it would not help. all you do is tear down what you think the suggestion was, while treating it as if it were offered as a cure all. I don’t have a cure. Do you?

jtwonderdog: “In short: they were kind of lame.”

And your counter proposal? Promote women arbitrarily regardless of talent in an attempt to force equality? I don’t know if you endorse this option. But it’ s the only other option that has been offered. And it is VERY lame.

Not as lame as offering nothing though.

correction, I shouldn’t assume Andrew is speaking from a feminist perspective… wish you could edit these things:) But the point stands — many of the other people making similar if not the same point as Andrew are doing so from a feminist perspective.

Amy, again, I agree with you. I really don’t know what you’re taking issue with.
Andrew and myself agree.
I just think you misunderstood what I was saying. Which was that from Marvel’s perspective there *is* an either/or and that’s it. I was talking about Marvel’s interpretation of the characters, not how they’d be read from a feminist perspective.
I sure as hell don’t expect Marvel to even attempt a feminist approach to characterization.
Pigs will literally be flying independently before that happens and I will be a millionaire- yet a full-time writer too!

Jon L. said:

“…you take an off the cuff jab directed at someone who is only treating me with sarcasm …”

Seeing as I didn’t read the post to which you may be referring, that can’t be possible. If you are saying I took a jab at you, then you didn’t word your statement very well. I suggest some writing classes.

And I do have opinions on this matter. It’s just that they pretty much mirror the sane, rational comments made by Jennifer and Amy. I thus felt no need to make a post to just say, “You go, Girl!”

They are right. You are wrong.

Calraigh: “I just think you misunderstood what I was saying. Which was that from Marvel’s perspective there *is* an either/or and that’s it.”

I apologize, I understood from your original comment that you were saying that Andrew was taking that either-or stance.

Also, I want to add this general comment.

Perhaps women SHOULD be given writing jobs just because they are women.

The reasoning? Because for decades, men were given the jobs just because they were men.

And after the women have written for 3-5 years, perhaps they would be held in the same regard as the men writing the books.

The only reason against this? Because those in power are men, and they want to keep it that way.

Alan: “They are right. You are wrong.”

So where am I wrong Alan? I suspect you, like many others on this thread, haven’t actually read any of my arguments in context. You’re just jumping on the bandwagon, refusing to commit to anything that would call your stance into question.

Am I wrong to suggest that quality is more significant than gender? Am I wrong to suggest that the industry would benefit by placing more women of talent in high profile positions? Am I wrong to argue that the differences between gender, for the sake of storytelling, are relatively minor? Am I wrong to suggest that attaching arguments to me that I did not make in the least is a disingenuous tactic? Am I wrong to suggest that someone who (by their own admission is reacting inappropriately) should not overreact? Am I wrong to suggest that a dismissal of my opinion based off a “if you understood, you would agree” is a piss poor tactic and closes the door to reasonable discussion?

Most of the opinions I have espoused on this thread are summarized above. Some of the points I would consider debatable. Some of them I would not. But you don’t even offer discussion. You just pick a blanket target and throw stones. Cheap tactic Alan.

Alan: “The reasoning? Because for decades, men were given the jobs just because they were men.”

Were they? Any man could get work just because he was a man? That’s not my understanding. Was it perhaps that women (with or without talent) were denied work because they were women? These are two very different scenarios and I think you are conflating them.

No problem Amy. Kudos by the way for sticking with this. The circular logic at work in a certain individual’s comment is truly astounding.

That should be ”comment(s)”. Argh.

“You just pick a blanket target and throw stones.”

And now we are at the point where I say:

Yes, you do.”

I’m done here. I’ve said all I care to say about this subject at this time. I’m not going to keep updating the page every 30 minutes just to find things to argue about.

Thanks again to Amy and Jennifer for carrying the load in this discussion.

oddmonster:

“jon is right that good writing is good writing. just having a vagina does not make you right or a better writer or a better person or better at ANYTHING honestly.

But Adriana, you are differentiating between different types of “ladies” on the basis of nothing more than the presence of a vagina.

—-

I have no idea what you mean with that statement! So perhaps I am??

On the shift key note: I was even thinking “ugh, I should go back and fix that, someone will bitch” but then thought “no one would be so petty to discount what I say because of the shift key”. AND LO. BEHOLD MY MISusagE OF thine SHIFting!! hahaha god, whatever. I had to type properly all through college, now i am free and do as i please!

I’m just saying that I understand why he felt attacked and that it is not strange or surprising that he would feel attacked and that the argument here somehow turned into “why jon is a douche” and not “why Marvel continues to fill us with sadness”. As for him “working in equal rights therefore should know X”, I’ve worked with a lot of volunteer orgs and again, just because you work for something and believe in something and support something doesn’t mean you’ve all read the same books, especially when you’re talking about grassroots movements. I learned in that field that you’ve just gotta be patient and not baffle people with terminology when you’re trying to explain something. Re: Flies, honey vs vinegar.

Again, just reading how this started, I, as an outsider to the conversation, was also through off by the reaction he got. I’m trying to say that I understand why this went downhill. Talent is more important than gender? Yes, of course, but that doesn’t work when you’re talking about an uneven playing field. Hell, Quesada doesn’t even recognize the merits of manga, something that he can see the numbers of everyday, so the idea that he’s going to understand that the value system instituted in his company is fucked and out dated is probably next to none.

but to actually try and get a different topic here that’s more constructive to this than “jon sucks”, ARE there any other solutions other than “hire a bunch of ladies”? Come on, there has to be some newer theory. Boycotting? Letters? I just feel so impotent (ha) crying about this on CBR. There has to be something more tangible that we can do.

you know i’m making a portfolio as we “speak”, and this made me stop and go “oh my god, even if I got picked up by Marvel, would I want to work for them???” But does that make things worse? Or would it be worse to subject myself to the kind of work environment that would make something like Divas?”

Oog. This is getting deep and rather dirty. May I attempt to sum up some of the key positions here?

* Marvel Divas looks like a pretty thoughtless and stupid book, based more on cleavage than any serious discussion of feminism.

* If Marvel was hoping to create a book about female characters, appealing to and read by females, it absolutely makes sense that a woman would have better insight into that market than a man would.

* Regardless of gender, the best possible writer should be chosen for each project. And each writer has strengths. You wouldn’t want Jane Austin to write a crime noir, and you wouldn’t hire Raymond Chandler to write a space opera. Frankly, I wouldn’t hire anyone from Marvel to write a feminist book.

*Incidentally, sex does create a difference in thinking, if only due to unique life experiences (and it almost certainly goes deeper than that). A woman has a different perspective from a man, just as a veteran has a different perspective from a civilian. A really good writer can imagine vividly what those experiences might be, and create luscious stories from the perspective of someone completely different from him or herself, but people like that are rare, and are generally smart enough to stay away from mainstream Marvel.

* There is a dearth of high-profile female writers in the comics industry, which I attribute to the fact that most comics readers are still male, and desperately crave familiarity in story structure. I suggest the hiring of talented female writers and artists by the big two just for variety, if not for unique feminist perspectives.

* It is entirely possible for men to be feminist, and to write feminist stories, the same as it is entirely possible for women to write choppy dialogue and gut-bursting violence and “manly” stories. And there is nothing stopping either one from doing so.

To conclude: Marvel Divas (I predict) will flop like a dying whale, and Marvel, wallowing in its veritable pit of testosterone and Hollywood money, leeching off the pockets of slavish fanboys, will probably not put two and two together, and fail to hire a new, fresh load of talented women to write its comics, eventually succumbing to a creative XY-chromosome-induced vacuum, imploding, and and leaving in its wake a dark, smelly hole in the comics world. The vacuum will slowly be filled by increasingly popular independent comics projects, with a much more equal male/female creator ratio. This will occur, I suspect, somewhere between 2010 and 2020.

Any thoughts?

Well…maybe gender relations will be better by 2020 anyways!

I refuse to purchase anything with “diva” in the title unless it’s a French film from the 80″s.

Wow more comments than I can believe! hah.

“but I also think the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns.”

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? How can you make that statement with cover art like that? WTF.

Oh and Sex & The City was semi-popular about . . .5yrs ago. way to be on the ball with that one.

I would have no interest in this whatsoever if it were not for Roberto writing this. I’ve enjoyed everything else of his thus far.

(I’ve never seen an episode of Sex and the City myself, either. I know, it’s one of the rules, better go hide my gay card so they can’t take it away for that.)

The marketing copy sounds ghastly… but it’s by Roberto so I have faith in it. Despite the way JQ is promoting it, it might be humorously cheesecakey, but in the way that Robert Rodi’s incredibly good and funny Codename: Knockout was, rather than what everyone seems to be expecting — though I’d obviously prefer beefcake. Although I’m told that Sex and the City has a fair amount of beefcake too.

Hmmm. Maybe we can get a nice series featuring Logan and Herc done the same way… ;)

David

I hope they have an in-depth discussion on the problem of finding a supportive bra that will work with their superhero costumes. Because that’s clearly the third thing they have in common judging by that picture!

OUCH!

junk bond trader

April 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm

it’s all about money. would marvel put out a book that is designed to really explore female identity? No, because it wouldn’t sell to the male majority demographic. it’s really about economics, not some conspiracy to keep women down. if more girls read comics, they’d be more inclined to put out books designed for females.

David: “The marketing copy sounds ghastly… but it’s by Roberto so I have faith in it.”

I’ve been trying to organize thoughts about this topic for the last couple days, so sorry if it’s stream of consciousness! I’ve heard this comment about the writer from more than one person, and someone linked me to the artists’ website, which I quite liked the look of, and I’m thinking that if this turns out to be more than I expected from the marketing ploy, the writer and artist should kick the marketing department’s ass.

Here’s why: I’m a comic newbie, I’ve been reading for about a year. A female comic newbie – one would think I’d be a coveted demographic, since Marvel seems to be making awkward attempts to reach out to women. However, as a newbie, I don’t know the artists and writers by name unless I’ve already read them. So all I have to go on is Marvel’s descriptions of the books, unless I want to do research on each title.

This is not how marketing should work — the potential customer shouldn’t have to work that hard to decide if they want to buy something like a comic. To me, as a newbie/outsider, this and Marvel’s other recent attempt at marketing to women (don’t have the link — basically, they mentioned glitter, and taking care to not upset the fanboys was specifically mentioned) reeks of incestuous parochialism. They’re only prepared to market to the audience they already have — mostly male, mostly life-long comics fans. This is a winner of a business plan, let me tell you.

From the blurb that sparked off this conversation, they clearly have no idea how to reach other audiences, or even who those other audiences even would be. As a commenter above said, what are the chances that a woman who is into superhero comics is also into something like Sex and the City? I’m sure there’s overlap, but probably not much, if this thread is any indication. Most of the women into superhero comics that I know are in it for the … superheroing. For the action and the drama and the saving-of-the-day and the kicking of ass.

“Hmmm. Maybe we can get a nice series featuring Logan and Herc done the same way…”

I think this is part of what is at the heart of the ire here. Because the male heroes would never be treated in this fashion. Can you imagine someone saying they’re writing “sudsy, hot fun” about Captain America or Logan or… etc. It’s the double standard that rankles.

I am not a comic book newbie. I’m a very rare, I think, woman who has been reading comics since about 1958 (yes, I am that old). I have every X-book since Giant X-men #1 and I mean every one of every title including the first appearance of Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk in 1974. I would have Spiderman #1, The Fantastic Four # 1, and even The Uncanny X-Men # if my mother hadn’t thrown them all away.

I fully know that a male writer can write kick-ass, believable, wonderful female characters. I can remember when Chris Claremont wrote Storm, who had lost her powers, still beating the snot out of Cyclops in the Danger Room in order to remain the leader of the team. She was dynamite back in those days.

Similarly, Larry Hama did a fantastic job with Wolverine from issue 1 of the comic until about issue # 100 or so (I can’t remember when he quit exactly and can’t find it on google or in Wiki right now), and he did a fabulous job of making Logan a fully realized, three dimensional characters. I also think he did a fabulous job with the women in the series.

So, yes, I believe men can write female characters. Just as James Tiptree Jr. wrote wonderful, fully realized male characters in the science fiction books that she wrote (much to the embarrassment of Robert Silverberg who wrote a glowing review of Tiptree’s books and stories, stating how obvious it was that only a man could write such an insightful depiction of male characters).

I am, also, very happy and impressed that IDW has hired Kelley Armstrong, a gifted woman writer, to write Angel in the issues following the resolution of After the Fall storyline. Armstrong has written a mostly amazing series of wonderful urban fantasy novels called in collective Women of the Otherworld .

However, the basic point still remains that the the big two, DC and Marvel, are still ruled by “the good ole boys” network, and it is astonishingly difficult for gifted women writers and artists to break into the club. It is all very good and happy to type the words: ”Quality editors/writers like Jennifer are a good example of talent that (no offense intended) is being squandered in a very small pool. Imagine what someone like her might do with a hig profile editorial position. I realize that might not fit her interests, but she serves as a good example.”

The question is how in hell does Jennifer get into that position? How many unwanted sexual advances does she have to refuse, how many feet does she have to lick, how many sexual advance does she have to actually accept to get to that position? (Pardon me, Jennifer, I am really not directing this at you personally. I have no idea what your experiences have been. I just know what other gifted female writers and artists have told me and what they have written about their experiences).

I am truly sorry if some of the readers of this thread find what I have just written to be offensive, but, in my experience, that is the kind of absurd, horrific, mind-boggling humiliation that many women face if they try to break into the comics industry.

I will never forget the experience, over 20 years ago at a NASFIC, I had when I met Julius Schwartz (a major player at DC for many, many years and a man who takes credit for creating silver age Green Lantern and Flash . He was terribly impressed that I knew who had originally written the Green Lantern incantation:”In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil can escape my sight. Let those who worship Evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light.” (Written by Alfred Bester, a noted science fiction writer for those who are curious). He was engaged and interested in my intelligence. Was he interested in me writing for comics? Oh dear, no. This 70-something year old man at this time was really only interested in getting me back to his room to seduce me. Can I begin to describe how slimy and distasteful this experience was to a woman in her early 30′s who only wanted to talk to this man because I respected the work he had done?

The problem is not whether it would be better for a mediocre woman to write or draw comics than a talented man. The problem is the enormous sexist obstacles even very talented women face in trying to enter the field.

If there is anyone writing or reading on this thread who can contradict my statements and give me specific examples of gifted women being welcomed to DC or Marvel without sexual harassment or discrimination, I would truly love to read your input.

“if more girls read comics, they’d be more inclined to put out books designed for females.”

If the industry had more to offer prospective female readers than this, more girls would probably read comics.

Diane: “It is all very good and happy to type the words…”

I’m sorry. I failed to realize that I was meant to give an answer that would abolish all sexism ever. At the time when I answered the question of what (if anything) can be done to combat sexism, the only other suggestion was that women should be given jobs in the industry regardless of quality. I responded that women with talent should be promoted to high profile positions. I also specified on multiple occasions that this was a dialog over what scenario would be “ideal”.

Diane: “The question is how in hell does Jennifer get into that position?

By working. Many women have achieved such goals, despite the odds against them. There are many (though not enough) talented women working in comics. How did they get where they are now? Accident? Blow-jobs? Perhaps through talent and effort?

Are there a multitude of things that can (and should) be done to ensure a more level playing field? Of course. It’s a given that such a complex question would require an overly complex answer. I answered with one approach. One approach that was never meant to exist in a vacuum. I answered to the best of my ability. Lets’ be fair here. What would have been the attitude if I had just stated the truth without offering up something to consider? That no one has a definitive answer.

No one here has offered up anything more concrete than what I have suggested. Not jtwonderdog: and not you. It’s very easy to dismiss while offering up nothing in return. Easy and useless.

Diane: “The problem is not whether it would be better for a mediocre woman to write or draw comics than a talented man. The problem is the enormous sexist obstacles even very talented women face in trying to enter the field.”

The former isn’t “the problem”. It’s the topic the statements you are challenging were made under. The latter is a separate (even if related) topic. More than one person on this thread has endorsed giving women of lesser talent work simply because they are women. Meaning that they are arguing that gender should trump merit. That’s a legitimate topic, despite the fact that most people here are pretending it does not exist.

“If there is anyone writing or reading on this thread who can contradict my statements and give me specific examples of gifted women being welcomed to DC or Marvel without sexual harassment or discrimination, I would truly love to read your input.”

Are you suggesting that all women working at DC suffered sexual harassment and discrimination to get their jobs? Even if that is the case, which I sincerely doubt, what are your suggestions for countering it? I put a thought out for consideration. You dismissed it without offering up something in return.

Is that all you have? Dismissals and questions founded on supposition? Do you have ideas? You say you’ve been faced with this sexist mentality for decades. Where are your answers?

Jon, you jerk, the answer would be people who are privileged being empathetic with those who are not, and moreover being supportive of the non-privileged in their efforts to overcome the obstacles they face. And before you say anything: no, I am not saying give so-and-so a job without regard to their qualifications/talent simply because that person is a woman. I am saying: root for them. Give them advice, introduce or point them to editors and publishers where they might have luck, share with them any resources you might know, give them feedback if they want it, offer comfort and encouragement if they encounter some sleazebag of an editor who ogles them and/or is dismissive of their work just because their bits are different.

Nobody is asking you or expecting you to level the playing field. They are simply asking you, like they would anyone else in your position, to take a moment, lower the hackles that go up whenever the words “privileged,” “sexism,” or “feminism” come into play, and really LISTEN to what women and other minorities have to say, instead of being dismissive and turning it into a conversation about YOU (YOUR hurt feelings, YOUR offended sensibilities, etc).

JSwitch: “Nobody is asking you or expecting you to level the playing field.”

If you believe that, you haven’t been reading the thread. I was asked what “could” be done “to combat discrimination against women within the industry”. Not “end it” mind you, but “combat it”. I offered up the notion that established female talent needed to be put in more high profile positions.

Yet here are the responses…

Diane: “It is all very good and happy to type the words…”

Yes. And within those words were written contextually addressing and countering a specific point. The point being the suggestion that women of lesser merit be promoted due to their gender alone. A considerably emptier suggestion than anything I ever advanced, yet no one attacks those who forward this. No, they only attack my counter argument as if it existed in a vacuum.

Then their are such fine contributors as…

jtwonderdog: “How do they get there? Where do these “women with talent” come from? How do you recognize that talent? Where do you find these women and how do you keep them? How do you encourage women into the very positions you feel can usher in the most change? Those answers are strangely absent.”

jtwonderdog: “lame.”

Absent? Really? One: The answer I gave pointed to women of established talent already at work within the industry. Two: I was unaware I had to solve this problem all on my own, rather than offer up an idea.

Then people like you chime in Jswitch. Yeah, by the way in which my suggestions were dismissed contemptuously and taken out of context and treated as if they had been advanced as absolute solution, I was asked to level the playing field with my singular idea. Absolutely.

JSwitch: “instead of being dismissive and turning it into a conversation about YOU”

Here’s a challenge for you JSwitch. Go through the thread. Actually read it, and see if you can find out how many of my posts were active rather than reactive. See who really has been continuing the dialog. You claim I’m trying to turn this into a discussion about me? I entered into a discussion about the issues. Forumers like Amy and Jennifer and jtwonderdog (and many, many others) addressed me… NOT the other way around. Formers like Amy and Jennifer and jtwonderdog (and many, many others) switched the discussion from the issue to one about me specifically. Not the other way around.

Just like our little exchange. You jumped into to address me. To attack me and accuse me when I was responding to Diane. And why was I responding to Diane? Was it because she quoted me, perhaps?

But I’m the one responsible? Riiight… You don’t want the conversation to be about me? Then don’t participate in the clusterfuck of people who are misrepresenting me and attacking me. I reserve the right to defend myself and my position. Who wouldn’t? But you? What’s your excuse for talking about me?

Well, this certainly has been interesting to read! I think I’m joining this party a bit late, but I’ll go ahead and take a shot anyways.

The first thing I think when I see the art at the top of the page is not, ‘wow, MALE artists have no idea what real women look like’, it’s ‘THOSE artists have no idea what real women look like’. Yes, that image is pretty absurd – the body types are the same for every woman, their breasts are of such a gigantic size that I doubt their tiny waists would ACTUALLY be able to support them, and their poses leave a bit to be desired.

however.

this doesn’t necessarily mean that a male perspective is responsible. Now, we know of course, that males DID draw that image. But to say that a woman would necessarily always have drawn something more realistic is also a gross generalization.

now to the heart of the argument – I think, that if a comic book is ‘truly trying to delve into what it means to be a female superhero in the male dominated superhero universe’, it couldn’t hurt to have some women on board. Not because a woman is automatically going to be able to write a story about women better than a man could (which is untrue), but because I feel like it’s more genuine, somehow…and maybe that’s not a rational argument; maybe it’s emotional, and I admit that. In a perfect world, gender WOULDN’T matter – and to me, really, it doesn’t – not all that much. Ideally, I would like the best writers PERIOD working on projects that I’m interested in, irregardless of their gender. But I think that if the situation were reversed – if an all female team came together to explore the ‘perspective’ of males in comic books – I’m pretty sure a bunch of men would make arguments similar to those that amy and jen have been making.

women and men DO think different ways. there ARE differences between us. A lot of them have to do with biology – women have estrogen, men have testosterone. Women are more likely to respond verbally (ie, bullying by girls is done with cutting, emotional remarks, while bullying by boys is done physically, usually.) rather than physically, our physiques differ….the list goes on and on….this is of course only the general ‘rule’ though – there are exceptions. And the thing is, is that most of those EXCEPTIONS are the superheroines themselves!! Wonder woman is so great because she rises ABOVE female stereotypes – the same goes for catwoman, and many other female super heroines. So to see a comic say that its going to really try and figure out how women feel and live in the comic book universe, only to COMPLETELY REINFORCE GENDER STEREOTYPES – it’s a bit sad.

The problem I find with this whole idea actually, is – why do we need to group four completely different women with different experiences into a general ‘gender’ category? Nobody ever says, ‘let’s explore how these four different men react to these situations based on their gender’. I mean, it’s absurd. Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and….the flash, let’s say (just an example of four comic book characters) are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. They’re all men, yes, but…so what??? What’s it like to be a woman in comics? Well black cat and photon are sure not going to agree on a lot of points! And it’s stupid (and sort of degrading to the individual characters) to say that you could group them all together because *gasp!* they’re all having relationship problems! We must be similar in every OTHER way as well!

If the writers REALLY wanted to do women in comics justice, they could do a series of stand alones, each one focusing on a female comic book character. They would focus not on her femininity (or lack of it) but on her character as a WHOLE – exploring ALL aspects of her personality, instead of just grouping them all together and focusing on the most BASIC and GENERAL levels of characterization that they share. They would be realistic about boob size (that’s what seems to turn off most female readers), because while male superheroes often have huge muscles, they never actually get in the WAY with what their job is – can’t say the same for those jugs up there. And they would put great writers on the project – men, women; doesn’t matter. Great writers who know and respect the CHARACTERS, and who want to tell compelling stories, not write harlequin romace.

As a female comic book reader, THAT would get me excited. Women in comic books aren’t interesting because they’re women – they’re interesting because their characters speak to people. They rise above stereotypes and kick major ass – they are superheroes no matter what gender lens you look through. Stop trying to knock them down, comic book writers/artists/editors…start writing about what makes them unique, and worthy to be on a platform held so high above the rest of us! If I wanted to read about relationship problems and shoes, I’d pick up a ‘cosmo’.

jospehine: “The problem I find with this whole idea actually, is – why do we need to group four completely different women with different experiences into a general ‘gender’ category?”

That’s at the heart of what I have been saying with the phrase “relatively minor” in regards to gender differences. The things that set people apart are many and varied. Focusing on gender and gender alone dismisses all the aspects of characterization that make the individual unique. If the character is a woman, will a woman have a better sense of writing the character? Possibly. What if the female character is supposed to have been born to wealth and privilege? Or a life of poverty? Or a foreign culture?

We are shaped by many things. Gender is one of them, yes. But in comparison to the multitude of other input it is relatively minor. So why focus on gender as a point of the story? Why isn’t it enough for the character just to be a person first and her gender second?

jon l – exactly. I think arguments like this are hard because people do feel so strongly about the issues that they go from rational to emotional very quickly…not to dismiss the points other have made, of course.

A woman (and many of the women in this thread have stated the affirmative here) who has been shaped by gender negative experiences especially in the workplace, will (generally) feel that a woman has an instinctive ability to read other women better than a man could. And you know, maybe that’s true. But what I (well, we, I think) am/are saying is that even though men might be able to understand men better, and women might be able to understand women better, that shouldn’t be a justification for grouping or dividing these characters based on those waaaaay too general lines.

these characters (and we, ourselves) are shaped by so much MORE than our gender…we are collective bodies, and complicated creatures,

you said, “Why isn’t it enough for the character just to be a person first and her gender second?” that’s exactly it. well put, sir, well put!

Jon: As I saw it, your language, whether intentional or not, has been repeatedly dismissive of a lot of opinions and shared thoughts/experiences, a lot of them sensitive and still hurtful to the people sharing them. A lot of the women speaking here are in the trenches, so to speak. To me, your search for an answer/solution for sexism has come across as marginalizing these women’s real life experiences. Like you’re throwing out suggestions from the comfort of higher ground to the people down in the mud.

That was my excuse for talking to you. But you’re right, way too much of this discussion has been about you.

Josephine: women and men DO think different ways. there ARE differences between us. A lot of them have to do with biology – women have estrogen, men have testosterone.

That’s exactly the initial reason why I said Mavel should have a girl write this book. I wanted to read this mini-series with the notion that only a women can pull her own life experience living with estrogen to combat what the solicit says.

“truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns.”

And what better perspective to have is a women in this one mini-series alone.

“And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.”

I want to hear a womans POV from the comic book industry side. I know life has a balance to it. The obvious. Good/bad, male/female, and because of the solicit is suggesting once again “testosterone”, I’m thinking the obvious choice gender wise, is the complete opposite which is the “estrogen.” And another comic book featuring 4 super heroines written by another skilled male writer on this topic is going to be the same comic I’ve read for the past 20 years. That’s why my original suggestion was “Marvel get a girl to write this one book” on this topic.

To answer Jon L’s original question which sparked this rather very interesting debate.

JonL: What difference does the gender of the writer make?

If it was a girl chosen to write this book at Marvel, she would be an accomplished writer already. That’s why I never thought the skill/quality of the writer or merit idea does not apply to my original suggestion. It would show other aspiring women writers, her personal struggle to come into the majority boys club industry.

I’m all for good writing with every book I purchase no matter what gender is writing it. But when given the question: (and crappy choices)

JonL: “if you could choose between the book being written by a skilled male and a comparatively unskilled female, which do you find preferable?”

(let’s emphasize in his question: the book, meaning THIS BOOK. )

And this being the only choices he gave me, I’m in a win\win situation with this particular book. Because the disclaimer at the end of the solicit “But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.” Which is the cheesecake! So the skilled male writer or the comparable unskilled female is not what I’m worried about in this particular book. I’m all for the up and coming, on the rise so called unskilled female to break out.

The male writer is already a given entity in the business at Marvel ie. Bendis, Brubaker, etc. But I want to see a female writer rise to that level. And what better way to show her personal struggles/life experiences, reflect that in these 4 strong superheroine characters. It would show other aspiring women writers, her personal struggle to come into the majority boys club industry.

@JonL Your a master of debate and rhetoric. Apologies for the past derogatory remarks. Your a good guy. I’ve enjoyed reading this thread.

A revise to my last paragraph.

The skilled male writer is already a given entity in the business at Marvel ie. Bendis, Brubaker, etc. But I want to see a female writer rise to that level. And what better way to show her personal struggles/life experiences, reflect that in these 4 strong superheroine characters.

JSwitch: “To me, your search for an answer/solution for sexism has come across as marginalizing these women’s real life experiences.”

This is how I know you have not read the thread. It was never MY search. It was never a topic I introduced. Here’s how the argument was falsely assigned to me.

Me: “What difference does the gender of the writer make? ”

Amy: “You think this is an equal playing field for women writers?”

Me: “Did I say that? Does this have anything to do with anything I DID say?”

It degenerated quickly from there. Primarily due to Amy’s hyperbole.

From her first post, Amy attached arguments to me that I did not make. And ever since multiple people (yourself included) have continued to attach said argument to me. Yes, I did answer a question in regards to how to combat sexism. Still not my search. It was a direct question relating to a topic I did not introduce and had little interest in discussing. Then my opinion was picked apart as if it had been offered up as anything other than a casual “here’s a direction that would benefit the situation” sort of answer.

But it’s the topic now. One that others initiated and I am now participating in. At least in a reactive manner.

I’ve basically been told that it is unrealistic to suggest women strive to achieve positions of influence. That there are to many hurdles stopping their progress. That they would have to go through hell to even climb halfway up the ladder.

Until this dialog, I had never had self-proclaimed feminists tell me that something was to difficult for women to achieve. But yes. It would be difficult. And if enough women achieved it, it would become easier for the next generation. And so on. I was asked how to combat sexism. Not cure it. And the way you combat sexism is by fighting to change the status duo. Put women in positions of influence. Even if it hurts at first to get there.

Regardless, you would be hard pressed to find a post from me discussing myself that was not instigated by another person. Like this post here, responding to you. Frankly, my excuse for talking about me is far better than your excuse for talking about me.

As for the dismissive claim… Feel free to quote me in these instances. I think that if you go back and read the dialog in context, you will find very little that could be defined as such.

Black Cat: “And this being the only choices he gave me, I’m in a win\win situation with this particular book.”

You are correct. I concede that point.

Black Cat: “But I want to see a female writer rise to that level.”

Yes. Absolutely. I think that more women prominent in the industry will encourage more woman to pursue work in the industry, and that as more women become entrenched the rules of the industry will slowly change.

Manga has gone a good way towards helping things by bringing in a larger percent of female readers. More young female readers means more potential female creators vying for shelf space. I hope.

And while female readership is on the rise, the percentage of young male readers is standing still, if not dropping off.

Black Cat: “Apologies for the past derogatory remarks.”

I apologize for getting off on the wrong foot with you. Sincerely.

black cat – I understand what you’re saying here, and respect it, even though I myself disagree.

I consider myself a feminist (and I would assume you do as well, would that be correct?) but I think that some generalizations have been made in the context of this argument that I hesitate to agree with.

people say (not anyone PARTICULARLY in this conversation, although this had been alluded to here) that the comic book industry is inherently sexist because of the lack of female involvement. In other words, it is a ‘male dominated industry’. Well, yes. It is. It is male dominated, but I don’t think that’s sexist.

Men and women have equal opportunities. Any girl could go and become a comic book artist/author if she WANTED to. So it isn’t sexist. ‘Sexist’ and ‘Male dominated’ are two different terms that are often used to mean the same thing, when really, they aren’t at all. The fact that the industry is mostly males, I believe, has A LOT to do with the fact that generally, when we’re younger, MORE BOYS READ COMIC BOOKS! And grow up WANTING TO BE INVOLVED WITH COMIC BOOKS! and the target audience IS BOYS! Comic books appeal to young boys more because they have fighting and action and blood and MOAR FIGHTING, haha.

when someone says something like, ‘comic books are sexist because there are no female writers/artists, or too few’, I cringe. Most girls do NOT read comic books. It’s just a fact. Most girls don’t. There is a much smaller pool of women artists/authros than men. Comic books would be sexist if they regularly turned down skilled female authors/writers in favor of less talented male writers/artists. But we don’t know that they do that.

What we should be asking for is this – that comic books in general raise the bar so that authors in GENERAL don’t succumb to gender stereotypes; so that they start using REAL REALITY as a basis for their female character rather than a ‘male fantasy’ – and that instead of writing for the easy ‘male audience who is attracted to buxom blondes’ , they start writing for a general audience that responds to great writing.characterizations/plots, etc….

I agree with what you’re saying, that there should have been some kind of female perspective involved in this project, based on the mission statement of the project. However, the reason i think this should have been done is not because it would have reduced sexism or stereotypes, but because it would have been better research. You wouldn’t write a research paper on ww2 veterens without looking at perspectives of the war from ww2 veterens, just like you should write a comic book about the female perspective without consulting the female perspective.

Stereotypes exist for a reason – because a lot of women are that way! The comic book as it is right now, would appeal to alot of women I know. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. What IS a bad thing, however, is when people start to think that the stereotype is necessarily the way that ALL women act.

Again, I stand by my earlier point – trying to separate men and women in this way, with comic books like these, does no service to women. I would argue that women in comic books – strong, female characters – are perceived that way because they have within them traditionally more MALE characteristics than other females. I don’t want to like someone just because she’s a woman. Nor do I want to hire someone just because she’s a woman. And just because I’m a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to act inna different way in a certain situation than a man would. a comic book about four women who are related just by their gender holds NO interest for me. who cares that they’re girls? I don’t. If somebody wants to write me a story about a great comic book character (who happens to be female) struggling with real issues (that might happen to be sexist, or gender related) than I would be gung ho.

But I don’t believe that a woman is NEEDED on the project, just because she’s a woman. My gender does not necessarily define the way I view the world, and these comic heroines shouldn’t be defined that way either.

and also, when women say things like, ‘oh, that comic heroine has been written in a sexist way because after work she thinks about shopping’, well, I say again – so what? I like shopping. I do it a lot, and enjoy it. And a certain female character might feel the same. That’s not sexist. What’s sexist is when ALL female characters are written this way. My gender doesn’t negate the fact that I like shoes. It’s my personality.

this argument is not about male vs. female. It’s about the distinctions between females themselves. We can’t group women together by their gender alone because its unfair to US.

Hey guys! I was away from my computer yesterday. Did I miss anything?

Josephine (That’s my mommies name =)

Anyway. I’m all for the rights of women, men, animals, aliens etc.

You say “But I don’t believe that a woman is NEEDED on the project, just because she’s a woman. My gender does not necessarily define the way I view the world, and these comic heroines shouldn’t be defined that way either.”

But regarding this one particular mini series and it’s mission statement by the publisher.

You contradict the need for a female woman writing this book when you say “women and men DO think different ways. there ARE differences between us. A lot of them have to do with biology – women have estrogen, men have testosterone.”

And it’s in that biology that should be explored and the obvious perspective to contrast the testorerone and guns is the women estrogen filled life experience.

But agree with rest of your views. =)

*But I

*But I agree with the rest of your views. (Sucks you can’t edit before you post.)

I actually meant, you can’t re-edit an earlier post.

Black Cat: “I actually meant, you can’t re-edit an earlier post.”

It’s kinda maddening. Isn’t it?

I think in regards to the mission statement by the publisher, the fact is that they are probably counting on the wave of outrage that has been generated. There’s just no way the company is that obtuse in regards to it’s PR. This has to be by design.

D-CUPS! WOMEN LOVE THOSE, RIGHT?

Hey, Josephine,
Sorry to do the line by line breakdown thing (I really dislike the picking apart of people’s words, since things get taken out of context so easily). But your writing is pretty dense, and there are a lot of ideas packed into it that piqued my interest, so I hope you don’t mind me addressing them that way. I might just be adding more fuel to the fire, but hopefully I can add something to the debate with this response rather than just drawing it out further.

I think the key issue many posters might have with your position in your most recent post comes down to this:
“Men and women have equal opportunities.”

If I’ve understood your argument correctly from there, you go on from there talking about how women are not literally prevented from making or reading comic books, so any lack of involvement in comic books must be due to choice and preference rather than any inherent sexism. Since there are no laws or industry rules or any other requirements that bar women from comics, then comics and the industry are imbalanced but not unfair.

What Amy and a number of posters have pointed out (and have put much more eloquently than I am) is that built into the comic book industry are advantages given to men that aren’t to women. Granted, these aren’t rules, and are mostly unspoken guidelines. But they do exist. Like most media, who you know matters more than what you know. Men have had and continued to have greater access to those business connections, leg-ups, and so on in the comic book industry. I hate to say this without a source to cite, but I feel pretty confident saying that this has been the case since the start of the comic book industry. For a women in a male-dominated field, even with the same skills, chances are the network she has to draw on is smaller. Therefore she has fewer opportunities presented to her, less mentorship, and less chances of broadening her network further.

Granted, one can go the self-publishing route. Then, like you said, ” Any girl could go and become a comic book artist/author if she WANTED to.” And many independent female comic book artists do go this route. But it is not easy. Production costs, publicity, business management, things that a place like Marvel or DC can easily handle without the involvement of the artist, must be shouldered by the artist herself. And that’s a lot more time, work, and capital to invest for the artist that the artist might not have. Plus independent comic book artists aren’t just women, so besides being less able to get ahead in big comic book businesses, they also have to compete with other independents of both genders.

“‘Sexist’ and ‘Male dominated’ are two different terms that are often used to mean the same thing, when really, they aren’t at all.” You make a good point. These terms are different. But often a male-dominated field can be sexist. As myself and others have tried to point out, the male-dominant aspect of the comic book industry does contribute to sexist standards. Besides business relations, women also face challenges of being taken seriously, as diane has posted.

Essentially, it’s a chicken-or-the-egg situation. We know men read more comic books than women statistically. Do men just like comics more? Or does the content of comics cater to men, thus making it less likely for women to find comics they enjoy? Added to this is the fact that most popular comic book writers are men, making it harder to find a woman’s voice in comics.

“Stereotypes exist for a reason – because a lot of women are that way!” But that’s not the only or even the primary reason many stereotypes exist. Stereotypes are often created and used to lock people into certain roles, denigrate them, and deal with a diverse group as a single entity. Even if you fit the stereotype. Even if everyone you know fits the stereotype. It still does a disservice to the created group to enforce the stereotype in portrayals of the group. Think of a negative stereotype of any racial group. Even if you know people of that racial group who act that way, it is still unfair to characterize everyone in that group in that way. That’s why in media depictions of a particular group, it’s particularly important not to just fall into stereotypes. So when a project like this wants to portray a female perspective, it’s worrisome that stereotypes that do a disservice to women would be used.

I’m not going to argue about which sex has preferences for violence or romance or action or talking. Many people of both genders cross traditionally understood truisms about what each gender prefers. I also hate being reduced to my body chemistry- regardless of the amount of testosterone or estrogen I have (and everyone has both! Just in different proportions), I have a wealth of experiences and rationality that go beyond my body. I’ll assume that most people are more than the sum of their chemicals as well.

” Comic books would be sexist if they regularly turned down skilled female authors/writers in favor of less talented male writers/artists. But we don’t know that they do that.”
First of all, many people would argue that this does happen. Secondly, your point seems to be that that discrimination would only take place if talent was rejected in favor of mediocrity. I’d argue that discrimination occurs even when mediocrity is rejected in favor of mediocrity, because of the difficulties that one mediocrity has to face that the other one doesn’t. Women can’t move ahead in the comic book world unless they are exceptional. Many men get by with meager talent. The solution that Jon L. proposes that only the best be published, regarldess of gender (no quote, just what I’ve gathered from reading this thread. If what I said isn’t true, please feel free to correct how I’ve interpreted from your post). I personally don’t think it will be a fair playing field until women are able to be mediocre, to only be passable, and still remain in the field along with the mediocre men. As it stands, women must *prove* that they deserve to be in comics. Men are assumed to deserve to be in comics. That’s my problem.

Long post is too long. orz

OMG who cares already. We, and anybody else knows this “Marvel Divas” isn’t going to last. If a man wanted porn he would go out for porn. The only type of men that get off on seeing comic/cartoon women like this are sickos. You know it, I know it, every-body else knows it.

All they are doing is trying to boost the popularity of these characters, and make a quick buck at it. To do that they have to make it appeal to as many people as they can. For females it is more story, and plot drivin. For males it is pictures of sleek, sexy women.

But ultimately this will fail. Once a women gets tired of looking at the pictures that go along with the mediocre story they will be done with the comic line. On the same note once a man sees a picture of each character 2 maybe 3 times he is going to get bored, and begin to invest some time in learning the mediocre plot. Which will again end in the comics demise.

Women need
1. Life like characters, life like both physically, and in personallity.
2. Gripping storyline with a centered plot which shows how the characters grow as the plot progresses.
3. For number 2 to continue on and on and on even if it is ridiculously boring.

Men need
1. Fast, hard action which is ussually tied to sex and/or violence.
2. Gripping stoyline with a centered plot which shows the characters lives while doing one of the above acts
3. To be eventually included in the acts described in points 1, and 2.

That is why it will die. The storyline will eventually become so damn boring, and once men realize the sex is not involving themselves, and the action scenes will not top one another. So it will die like so much other garbage.

Firestar I only know about from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends from back in the 70′s. And Black-Cat I know from the Spider-Man cartoon in the 80′-90′s. The other 2 characters I don’t know at all.

It will have a half-life of half a month, then die very slowly.

Girls win this round. Boys lose.

Ok I started out reading this being so excited/proud of the fact that I had actually found a forum discussing a topic I cared so much about. I’ve been reading comics since I was 12 (now 25) and have been greatly let down by Marvel in many respects. Actually their x-books have a lot of wonderful well rounded female characters (that weren’t written by women) I just feel as though it’s the rest of the Marvel universe that needs stronger female role models/characters. I love Jessica Jones and think that the entire concept of her character and the role that she plays. I would have loved it if this turned into more of a general debate about specific characters and what we all think Marvel could do to progress more strong female characters. Don’t get me wrong I actually really like Jessica Drew but why the #%^* call her Spiderwoman? For me I wouldn’t have any interest in picking up a book (if I was new to the medium/industry) where I felt as the the lead character was a Spiderman knock-off with breasts. I’ve similar feelings toward Ms Marvel though obviously Captain Marvel is less well known outside of comics than Spiderman.

I do feel as though you guys wasted far too much of your energy fighting Jon (who is all for more women in comics and agrees that women are at a disadvantage in the industry. And it is an accepted feminist position to argue that women should not be treated any differently than men or ever be hired just because they are a woman). Just wanted to say I agree with Adriana about you guys just coming off all wrong and waaay too aggressive. Surely your time would have been better spent writing to Marvel and addressing your concerns with them? Jon L isn’t the ‘enemy’ by any stretch of th imagination.

And sorry but I only read about 3/4 of this (it’s hella long now!) and I know no one is really going to read this cause I found this way too late but there it is anyway =)

Judas –

hello! No, I don’t mind the line by line breakdown thing; we all do it, and sometimes it’s just necessary. I liked your post a lot, and you raised some great points (..even if it was HELLA LONG, haha).

this, particularly, was really interesting:

“I’d argue that discrimination occurs even when mediocrity is rejected in favor of mediocrity, because of the difficulties that one mediocrity has to face that the other one doesn’t. Women can’t move ahead in the comic book world unless they are exceptional. Many men get by with meager talent. The solution that Jon L. proposes that only the best be published, regarldess of gender (no quote, just what I’ve gathered from reading this thread. If what I said isn’t true, please feel free to correct how I’ve interpreted from your post). I personally don’t think it will be a fair playing field until women are able to be mediocre, to only be passable, and still remain in the field along with the mediocre men. As it stands, women must *prove* that they deserve to be in comics. Men are assumed to deserve to be in comics. That’s my problem.”

A part of me agrees with that, and a part of me doesn’t. I mean – I see your logic, totally. And it makes sense.

I just don’t like tolerating mediocrity based on gender – you know? I’d rather have less women in comics who are excellent than more women in comics who are mediocre. That doesn’t sound like gender equality to me. That sounds like laziness.

To be less discriminatory, Marvel shouldn’t hire more women who are mediocre just because their male writers are mediocre too – Marvel should instead focus on hiring PEOPLE who are qualified writers/artists; they should focus on raising their standards across the whole board.

The world is competitive. As the economic liberals like to say, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’. I feel like people in this thread have made up this hypothetical situation that they’re saying is reality – that there are hundreds of amazingly talented female writers that have been overlooked for jobs (or just THIS job) in favour of less talented male writers’. But that ISN’T reality. I mean really…there are simply LESS GIRLS that like comic books than guys. That’s just the way it is. less girls read comics. less women apply for jobs in comics than men. So, naturally, there are less women in the industry. Until somebody can give me proof showing that the industry regularly turns down talented female writers/artists, etc…I’m not willing to use gender as an excuse for mediocrity.

So, yeah. That’s that point. But since I posted here a while ago, I’ve really seen the internet go up in a frenzy over this. I hope Marvel is paying attention. Again, my main point is – why do we need a comic book about superheroes who have been placed together simply because they all have uteri? Why do women necessarily have to have different experiences in comic books because they have breasts? The thing that’s wrong with marvel divas is that it uses gender as a catch all net for these characters – they’ve taken the heroines we love and stripped them down to a level where they all connect; the problem is is that that level is ‘gender’ and not ‘personality’ or ‘experiences’ or ‘character’….they’re only giving us one side of these women, and that’s not fair. They’re characters in their own right, with powers and abilities that kick MAJOR ASS – but writing a great comic book about all that stuff is too hard, so they instead chose to talk about their hair and makeup and boys and how they all take baths together.

I wish they’d treat these characters like they were real people, taking into account all 360 degrees of them, instead of focusing on ONE aspect of their personalities, you know? They never do that with male superheroes, and THAT is discrimination.

but anyways, yeah! Great comment – it’s great to have real, non petty debates about this stuff – just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you’re necessarily polar opposites! And a different opinion is not always a personal attack, either, which is important to remember. These issues are spectrums, not points on either end of a line….the only way change happens is by talking about it!

-j

R
So are you suggesting that women don’t always talk about their sex lives and aren’t obsessed with shoes or wear pink? Because that’s pretty much the whole storyline of Sex & the City, so if that’s such a demeaning cliche why is that series so damn popular with women? Honestly I’m asking a legit question here, I really don’t get what’s so great about Sex & the city :|

OK. I read PET AVENGERS. I like pet avengers.

Marvel Divas was quite possibly the worse comic I have read since the mid 90′s. This was boring, and clearly not funny at all.

I bought it because I REALLY wanted to see Captain Marvel and Firestar kick some tail. I did not pick this up to read whining and about one of them getting.. well i won’t spoil it in case someone wants to read it.. I was bored to tears reading it but stuck it through until the end. Then the ending sealede it as the worst comic I ever read.

My only hope was the paper it was printed on was recycled.

I read just about everything marvel. This was terrible.

Jane Austen was quoted as saying she would never write dialogue between two men with absolutely no woman present or in sight. Why? Because anytime she has been able to observe two men, there has been a female present, so she has no idea what they are really like with no females around.

I wish that some male writers would do the same.

I am offended. Frankly, flat out offended by the sexism in this threat. It sickens me, and makes me lose hope in my own gender. I’ve read through the entire thread, and feel like it has to be said: true feminism is about equality. It’s seeking equality, so that every single human being is treated the same. I’m a proud feminist, and I’ll fight sexism wherever it stands. That being said, I completely agreed with Jon L. throughout the entire argument. He’s the only person here who has managed to create a clear, concise argument, matching the sort of professional talent that impresses me. I feel like you need some support for that, considering how little backing you have had. Bravo, my friend. You have gained my respect, despite being “privileged.”

I also am bothered by the apparent belief that people of a specific gender can write their own gender far better. Many men have told me I can write male characters perfectly well, and yet I am not a male. (At least last time I checked.) In fact, I find that I can be more comfortable writing a male character under some circumstances. Writing isn’t even about the experiences a man or woman has faced, but rather the ability to place yourself in those shoes. Is it any harder to write a fantasy novel than a modern day one, simply because you don’t face dragons day by day? From my own experience as a writer over many years, I would say no.

I’m just disgusted by the women in this thread. To demean someone’s argument for being “male” (which you have been quoted on, and therefor denying will be pointless) is the sort of crude tricks that I feel we as a gender should be above. For years and years we endured our arguments being demeaned because we were women. We didn’t know better. We were raised for cooking, cleaning, childbirth, etc. What did we know about the affairs of men? It’s a poor metaphor, mostly due to the hour which I’m writing this, but it’s effective nonetheless. If you can even slightly be compared to the above situation, you may feel in the right but understand you hold no respect with me.

Believe what you want, but understand that you do NOT have the backing of every female.

Say what you will, take my argument apart piece by piece, but I don’t care. I probably won’t even come back on this page to read this ever again. This is the first and only post you’ll ever see, and it’s for this statement:
Amy, I’m ashamed of you.

That’s all.

Lucretia: I, in turn, am completely appalled by your comment.

“I’m just disgusted by the women on this thread.”
“Amy, I’m ashamed of you.”

That high-horse you’re on, I suggest you dismount.

Amy, Jennifer, Jon. L and Jtwonderdog were having a *debate*. You seem not to be familiar with the concept of debating – I suggest you do some research. They are entitled to voice and defend their opinions, regardless of whether or not you approve or disagree. Frankly, it amuses me that you even consider yourself in a position to be ashamed of anyone.

IMO their debate was quite a good one, it’s just a pity that Jon. L lost sight of what they were debating about and focussed instead on being pedantic (contrary to your opinion, Lucretia, that is not a very professional debating tactic). To Jon. L’s credit though, his last few posts were back on track.

“I also am bothered by the apparent belief that people of a specific gender can write their own gender far better.”

If you had, as you claimed, read the entire thread, you would be aware that that is NOT what was being argued. What Amy and Jennifer WERE arguing is that a women can provide a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE to a women’s role in a male-dominated industry.

Perhaps you should read things properly and in context before mounting your soapbox.

And for the record, Amy might not speak for you but she definitely does speak for a large percentage of women out there.

Anyway, what I originally wanted to say was: this seems to be a desperate attempt by Marvel to squeeze more money from readers… what doesn’t make sense is that they could ensure a more impressive increase in income if they took the time to find out more about their target market…
Market Research: you’re doing it wrong.

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