Robot 6

Quote of the day | Kate Beaton on sexist “compliments”

“dear internet, you are well meaning, but I’d like to make a point. when you tell a female creator you like her work so much you want to marry her and have her babies, you’re not doing anyone any favors. first of all, as cute as it sounds in your head, it’s a shitty, disrespectful ‘compliment.’ No one makes comics looking for sexual attention. secondly, by doing so you invite others to critique that person’s works based on their looks, which is uncomfortable, sexist and unfair.”

Hark, a Vagrant! cartoonist Kate Beaton, on the obliviously sexist compliments with which women creators are bombarded every day. (And yes, she knows these people don’t literally want to marry her and have her babies.)

A useful rule of thumb when discussing the work of a woman artist, positively or negatively, is to ask yourself if what you’re about to say would apply to identical work that just so happened to have been created by a man. If the answer is “no,” then you’re not talking about the work at all.

I was bummed to see that Beaton got a lot of pushback on this topic, too. Even putting issues of sexism aside, refraining from doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable, when there’s no possible way that refraining from it negatively affects you — that’s just simple common decency.

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78 Comments

To be fair, I have sometimes said that I desire man- or brain- babies with male celebrities and comics creators, as well. I am an equal opportunity moron.

I thought we were past this. I think Gail Simone’s a great writer, but it’s because of the stories she writes. I think Jill Thompson’s a great artist, but it’s because of the stuff she paints.

I think Beaton’s work is amazing, but too be fair I think a lot of male artists get the “I want to have your babies” compliment. It’s kind of a cliche, isn’t it?

I make comics looking for sexual attention.

Not really.

I have said something similar to male creators before (but I don’t really want to marry them or have their babies, it’s just an explanation of HOW much I like their stuff). I don’t think she’s out of line or anything, especially since I don’t know how often she gets that type of compliment. Maybe a bit short-sighted of the fan and maybe short-sighted of me, but I get so few compliments in my life that I’d be happy with any at all.

You know, I thought about that, how people say this to male creators as well. And like Beaton, I know that no harm was intended. But I think that even still, y’all who do that can probably see how this would just feel different to someone with whom you were actually capable of sexually reproducing. It’s just another thing to think about.

The Ugly American

October 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

What if they wanted to baby her and have her marys?

I normally side with female creators in situations like this, because the stories of rampant and blatant sexism in the industry (especially inside the big two). And I don’t know Beaton or her work, but she seems like she’s blowing this out of proportion. Like others have said, I’ve seen fans referring to man-crushes and wanting to have Mark Millar’s babies.

If the compliments were based on her looks or her cooking or some other traditional female quality, I could kind of see why she’d be offended. Even if the compliments were turned around so they read, “when you tell a female creator you like her work so much you want to marry her and GIVE her babies,” I’d get it. But if they’re just about her talent, I don’t really see what she has to be offended about. It places the recipient in the position of power and the speaker in a subservient one, regardless of either person’s gender.

Maybe that’s what she’s trying to say. I’d say she’s got her panties in a bunch, but THAT would be sexist (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

Well, like Sean wrote, if she feels uncomfortable by these compliments, then people should stop making them.

But I agree with Wesley Smith: the expression “blowing things out of proportion” was invented for these situations.

Ok, as a comicbook creator, If random girls or, hey, even guys said they wanted to have my babies because they liked my work so much (which has yet to happen, but i’m working on it.) I wouldn’t immediately assume its because i’m a man or a piece of meat they’re slobbering over. I’d take it as a compliment to my work and a small self esteem booster.

Now if someone actively attempted to have my babies, i might blow the rape-whistle and stuff. Just saying.

For the record, there are tons of comicbook creators whose babies i’d have. Guys and girls.

Sean T. Collins

October 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Gents, I think it’s pretty clear that if you’re a person who is actually capable of reproduction, reproduction-centered compliments inherently and necessarily take on a different set of connotations than they do when you’re just a guy in a comment thread hashing this stuff out. It’s worth thinking about why a person of obvious talent and intelligence and good humor like Beaton, one who actually has received such compliments rather than just thinking about them in a Robot 6 thread, DOES find it bothersome and offensive–it’s PROBABLY not just because she’s getting all worked up over nothing. Right?

The long and the short of it is that as men, we have the luxury of making this into something of an academic issue. As a woman, she lives it in a way we don’t. Not paying compliments that drag sexuality into the proceedings seems like an exceedingly small price to pay in the name of civil discourse and making talented creators feel comfortable.

Sean T. Collins

October 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

And given that we’ve had to delete three genuinely offensive comments from this thread so far, I think it’s safe to say that her complaints don’t exist in a vacuum.

The spirit of her message is true, but she used an unfortunate example to make her point. That phrase has been so absorbed into the lexicon of compliments that it has been effectively drained of all sexual meaning (I’ve seen it used to praise inanimate objects, for god’s sake), and I’m sure 99% of the time she has heard it she knew that the person meant no harm. So to say it’s a “shitty” thing to do just comes off as ungrateful.

Sean T. Collins

October 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Zik, she in fact said, multiple times, that she knows the people mean no harm. That’s the point. She’s also an extraordinarily grateful talent with regards to her fans. Again, I’m having a hard time understanding why it’s so unacceptable for her to find this kind of rhetoric unacceptable.

I enjoy her work. Both males and females are capable of reproducing babies. Its a copliment that’s applicable to both genders, and, in turn, sexist to both. Its overuse has rendered genderless. When the person says they want to father or mother a person’s children, that’s when its sexist because its gender specific.

Still, if she doesn’t like them, that’s her perogative, and people should respect them.

Yeah, as others have pointed out, “I want to have your babies” is, at this point, gender- and sex-neutral. In fact, I hear it far more often directed at male creators (though this can probably be attributed to the greater number of male creators), often from male fans. I can appreciate that Beaton probably does receive a good amount of legitimately sexist material, but to assume this is what she’s talking about would be to put words in her mouth. As it stands, she’s complaining about people wanting to marry her as a result of reading her work, which is overreactionary. Or maybe she doesn’t understand that this compliment is not strictly directed at women? Since she’s someone who I expect spends a great deal of time on the internet, I find it hard to believe that.

I do want to point out that I don’t think “Well I’d like it if people would compliment me like this, so it must be ok!” is an acceptable argument here. And again, I’ve seen Kate talked about on messageboards, and don’t doubt that she probably catches some actually hateful shit for being female. But this instance, with the example she provided, is way overblown on her part.

That isn’t sexist at all.
They like her comics, and are jokingly asking to marry her. If she really wants to be a moron and take everything seriously, then why try to make comics in the first place? You’re going to get fans trying to be witty eventually.
Deal with it.

Wow Kate kind of derped here.

I love ya man, but you need to take the internet less seriously

How can a man have a woman’s babies? This is not how things work in Russia. Silly woymans cannot into Internets.

But I still love her comics. Maybe not her, but just Watson.

You keep using that word, sexism. I do not think it means what you think it means.

She’s been getting this for years. And yeah, it totally is degrading and sexist. You might not openly mean it to be sexist; but it is. Kate’s a classy girl, it’s not that she takes it too seriously, she just doesn’t see it as funny. You’re saying something serious, something the equates to having sex with her, over a relatively minor and unimportant part of her life. To her, you’re taking one tiny little tidbit of her life and saying “I would leave my semen inside of you for this”.

And the fact she’s actually responding to it in such a gentle way (rather than turning away from the internet like so many other female artists have) or raging (same), she just flat out says it bothers he.

I’m 100% behind what Ms. Beaton says. If she doesn’t like the “compliment” you’ve given her, maybe as a fan (and a human being) you should respect her opinion and apologize. Just because someone didn’t mean to make a sexist comment, doesn’t mean they didn’t make one. It’s crazy to me that people can’t just respect a person’s boundaries like this.

Preach it, Kate!

There is nothing sexist about those comments.

Wow, she really is full of herself. You don’t see male comic writers/artist getting all bent out of shape when their female fans say these compliments. It’s just an over the top way of saying “I love your work, keep doing what you do”. If she knows that it’s a joking comment and knows that they like her work, why is she turning it into something it’s not?

Somechickonline

October 28, 2010 at 2:13 am

As a woman I would like to tell her to shut up and dry it the hell up. Men and women creators get the same kinds of compliments and simply put it’s infantile for her to be insulted by such trivial bullshit. Online bullshit at that! I cant begin to count how many times I’ve seen guys tell guys they’d like to have their impossible man babies, and that’s from the straight ones.

This is a reflection of the fact that female creators’ actual work is practially immune from criticism online. Unremarkable comics are ludicrously overpraised and plain rubbish gets a round of applause for turning up. The standard tone of discussion is gush. How would Kate Beaton like it if her work got the same treatment as, say, a Chuck Austen issue of X-Men?

It sounds like she’s saying the compliment invites a line of discussion that has nothing to do with comics…

um, joe, that wouldn’t happen, because her comics are GOOD.

I agree with Kate. It’s not much different than saying the same thing using more derogatory language: “Boy, I’d like to XXXX her…” Save it for the locker room, guys. Or better yet, keep it to yourself.

Sean has it exactly right: “refraining from doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable, when there’s no possible way that refraining from it negatively affects you — that’s just simple common decency.”

Man, if you can’t see how that sort of thing is a problem, then you are part of the problem. Telling JH Williams III or Evan Dorkin that you want to have their babies doesn’t mean the expression is free of gender connotations, unless someone invented the Male Pregnancy Grendel Procedure while I wasn’t looking. Like most gender stuff, it’s an issue of privilege.

As it is, some dork saying he wants to have Jock’s babies says something about an attitude towards childbearing, even if the dork is unaware of its implications and doesn’t mean to be offensive: that to have a child is a supplicatory act done by a passive or submissive person for the benefit or glory of a dominant or superior partner. Considering that there are people who believe, for religious, social, or personal reasons, that makin’ babies is pretty much all 50% of the population is good for, and that that 50% are women, it’s not hard to see how telling a woman cartoonist you want to make babies with her is offensive, even if you’re willing to carry your dorkfetus to term. That’s just one aspect. As said above, introducing a sexual element, however innocently, into a conversation with a creator whose gender has had to put up with a lot of stupid sexualization – both in terms of the culture we live in, as well as the field of cartooning – is pretty crass. There are no doubt some women artists out there who aren’t bothered by that sort of thing, but maybe, just maybe, it’s better to err on the side of consideration. If I recall correctly, Beaton’s had to put up with a lot of sexist attention in the few years she’s been publishing. I think she’s scaled back on autobio and personal strips since some creeps took it as an invitation to try and cross the artist/audience line. Given that context, I’m not surprised that she takes a firm stand on ‘compliments’ like that, however innocuous the complimenter thinks they are.

As a male professional who has spent the last 16 years sitting at convention tables with both male and female creators, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that if you think male and female comics pros receive the same compliments, you are wrong. As someone who has also read tons of fan mail for books I edited during that same time period, I can also say without any equivocation, you are wrong. Naturally, Kate and everyone else who agrees with her are not saying this to tar all fans with the same brush, but trust me, there is a cumulative effect to the accidental creep factor. There are many comments I thought were fumblingly sweet at first, but that lost there lustre due to repetition. A simple sentiment expressed directly is way more effective, anyway, than attempts to be clever. Creators can generally tell when a fan is sincere and will be very forgiving of a faux pas when warranted, we’ve all likely embarrassed ourselves as fans at some point and thus understand when enthusiasm goes wrong, but won’t it generally make for better interactions for all of us if everyone stops and thinks for a second about what they say and why? Is that such a bad rule of thumb for life in general?

(and before someone else points it out, yes, I have “there” when I wanted “their.” once again, the simplest mistakes are easiest to make.)

“Accidental creep factor” — and thus a phrase is coined!

Joe, if you’re going to make a claim that female creators get treated with kid gloves by the comics media, Kate Beaton is not your poster girl – she gets good press because her work is very funny and her irreverent but never offensive sensibility has wide, wide appeal (how many people have read the Great Gatsby?).

Another interesting fact about Beaton is that her entire career is largely self-made – despite a huge following she is doing pretty much everything herself. It must be exhausting, so give her a break.

Those of you piling on to lash back at Kate Beaton, seriously, is it *really* so hard to acknowledge that she might have a point? Even she has stated that she knows the guys who say this kind of stuff aren’t intending to offend her (or other women). Yet she’s been kind enough to point out the fact that they *are* so that they might have an opportunity to recognize the fact that their well-meaning comments might feel demeaning to someone else. Refusing to acknowledge someone else’s experience doesn’t actually make it disappear. It just makes you look like a jerk.

What Kate has experienced is not unique to artists, either. Most women have dealt with these types of comments all their lives, and frequently they manifest themselves as outright insults rather than backhanded compliments. For instance, a commenter on my blog once accused everyone who agreed with me on a particular topic of, basically, sucking up in order to get into my pants. “You must be hot or something because so many people want to stick their faces in your [expletive],” was the quote. That’s an extreme example, perhaps, but suggesting that a woman deserves/elicits attention only as a sexual object is so disgustingly common, after a while, there’s not much difference between that and the type of “compliment” Kate wrote about. Not to the woman, anyway.

Sean, you are 100% right. This comment thread is the most depressing insight into fan mentality since, oh, any thread about the Siegel legal dispute.

Nathan, I find Kate Beaton’s work visually unappealing and unfunny. Also I have no idea what she looks like.

Courtney the Blade

October 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I think that people should always exercise consideration when they speak to others, regardless of whether those others are men, women or a combination of the two. This should be common sense.

The complete removal of gendered language is a daunting task, if such a thing is even possible or, for that matter, would be of any benefit. Likewise, it would be similarly difficult to accurately gauge how each individual will react to a given phrase ahead of time. These issues, of sexualization and the larger concept of gender inequality, cannot accurately be discussed in the comments section of a “Quote of the Day” post. Crass treatment of men and especially women is an on-going social concern. Mistakes will inevitably be made on the road to enlightenment, as we are all human beings, and it helps to not take whatever people say in any given moment too seriously.

When in doubt, Jamie Rich above gives a perfectly reasonable method for making comments to people that you respect or admire: a simple sentiment expressed directly, rather than an attempt to be clever.

Oh dudes, some really tortured justifying going on here. And TurboBubs, your an ass. That might have seemed cute when you posted it but it’s not.

Look, Kate is a very attractive lady, it’s true. It’s also entirely separate from her talent as an artist. They have nothing much to do with each other other than being two separate traits of one person.

If you want to complement a women on her looks, if you must then do it tastefully and minimally because they get it all the time and it gets old. And because it’s common it’s also low value over all on the list of things they appreciated most of the time. If you have a pocket full of pennis getting tossed another is not some great gift. If they look good, it’s a safe bet your not the first guy to notice.

Don’t whine if they get sick of it, too much of anything gets old – if you’re a guy who does not get enough attention don’t try to project how you feel about it, your just not going to get it. No way you could. It’s childish to think you can. And if your a guy who does get enough then you should know better, your being an idiot.

And if a woman is doing something other than looking good that you admire? And you want to acknowledged that? then acknowledged THAT, and don’t get it mixed up with the other thing. Simply put, your doing it WRONG. They draw good? Say hey, awesome art. Not nice ass. Their ass did not draw the comics.

How is that hard to get?

this is supper 101 stuff guys.

Ah, well “Turbo” got deleted, that’s good.

Like Jamie i’ll take the wind out of trivial snipes, i’m dyslexic so a lot of typos get by me, and yes i reduced this to the basics here, to make a point. Yeah sure someone can say it’s just an abstract joke, a guy can’t have her babies. But the fact is for a woman sex and babies are kind of linked. Try as you like it’s not possible to blow that off. Frankly, i’ve gotten this myself once and while i got that it was a complement, it was kind of creepy and i’m a guy who does not get nearly the kind of sexual attention most women do. Kate’s doing people a favor, she did not insult them, she just stated what it’s like, and let you know if you want to complement a lady on her work, this is not the best plan. Take it as first hand well informed advisement and chill out.

I don’t know why this is a humongous issue really.

This is being made into way bigger of an issue than it needs to be, why does everything have to be challenged nowadays as sexist/racist/homophobic? Maybe it isn’t funny, maybe it wasn’t intended to be that way. If you are on the internet, or in real life things like this are going to happen whether you want them to or not. I hate to say it but the pussification of people nowadays is really really annoying. Take what’s happened recently on Glee for instance and the outrage it brought out. Someone slips in using “gay” in a sentence, or “tranny” and the world falls apart.

For crying out loud stop looking for things to fight over and just enjoy the comic. I don’t even like her comic, I don’t get it. I don’t think 99% of her fanbase actually “get” half of what she posts. I’m glad she finds history or literary works hilarious enough to draw comics about it, but I want to read something that’s going to make me laugh, not something that’s going to take me to wikipedia to read articles about. I don’t need to be educated, I can do that fine on my own.

Well I’m off base here, stop blowing things out of proportion. People have been saying this SAME EXACT THING for years and it wasn’t a problem until everyone started getting uppity about it (and this is JUST recently).

Can’t we go back to a time where everything didn’t have to be so PC? I agree to the points about sexism and all that, but seriously. Can we stop this before it gets out of control? Do we really want to get to a point of a “fairness doctrine”?

Say, you know that Stan Lee guy?

I want to marry him and have his adopted children!

hmmm yes the the prospect of being trapped in holy matrimony with some pathetic creep and forced to put out his spawn certainly is a situation so desperately sought that the mere proposition of it warrants the label ‘compliment’

The example Kate used about “having babies” is just that: one example of the many, many comments she and other female creators regularly endure about their sexuality and attractiveness (in both positive and negative terms) from people who are ostensibly commenting on their work.

The notion that Kate is “full of herself” and “needs to take a compliment” is pretty offensive — you might as well call her “uppity.” No one is required to enjoy the sexual attention of others, because that’s what we’re talking about, not one abstract, euphemistic phrase. That particular thought process is pretty similar to the sort of guys who shout crude things at women in the street, although I do think some of the comments Kate is talking about come from guys meaning well and wanting to say something positive, but also having no idea what it is like to be constantly barraged by people who feel like they have to right to comment on your physical attractiveness and whether or not they would want to have sex with you. Especially IN FRONT OF YOU. And jeez, especially in a professional context where you want to hear feedback about what you do, not a commentary on whether you are HOT OR NOT.

Being reduced to this constantly and publicly in ways big and small doesn’t make you feel good or pretty, it makes you feel demeaned and less valued for the work that you doing. If you’re a guy and you’ve never had this experience, I get that it might be hard to understand. One of the best ways I’ve seen it summed up is this: http://bit.ly/bzkpHA

And bottom line, this is Kate talking about something people do that makes her uncomfortable. If someone knows that, and still wants to offer their thoughts on her physical appearance to her because they demand she “take it,” that’s a pretty messed up sort of “compliment.” In fact, it seems like it’s not really about her at all, which seems like Kate’s point as well.

Can’t we go back to a time where everything didn’t have to be so PC?

By things being ‘PC’, you mean being respectful of people, right? I’m sorry you feel your right to say whatever you want without having to be socially accountable for it has been so impaired.

I don’t even like her comic, I don’t get it. I don’t think 99% of her fanbase actually “get” half of what she posts. I’m glad she finds history or literary works hilarious enough to draw comics about it, but I want to read something that’s going to make me laugh, not something that’s going to take me to wikipedia to read articles about.

While humour is totally a subjective thing – and Beaton’s Canadian-centric strips may be a bit obscure for some audiences, I think you may be projecting your own ignorance just a skootch.

I don’t need to be educated, I can do that fine on my own.

Ah, you’re one of those uppity ignorant people, aren’t you? I realize this may not be, y’know, PC, but why can’t you types just sort of keep your ignorance and apathy to yourselves? Sorry if that’s unPC.

Holy crap, I didn’t scroll all the way down — someone actually did say “uppity.”

Jesus Christ.

I hate to say it but the pussification of people nowadays is really really annoying. Take what’s happened recently on Glee for instance and the outrage it brought out. Someone slips in using “gay” in a sentence, or “tranny” and the world falls apart… People have been saying this SAME EXACT THING for years and it wasn’t a problem until everyone started getting uppity about it (and this is JUST recently).

Can’t we go back to a time where everything didn’t have to be so PC? I agree to the points about sexism and all that, but seriously. Can we stop this before it gets out of control? Do we really want to get to a point of a “fairness doctrine”?

And yes, I too wish we could all go back to a time when people of privilege could use pejorative words that applied to other people with less social power as freely as they liked without anyone raising an eyebrow. Truly, that was a golden era if you were white and straight and Christian and a guy, and totally awesome because you didn’t have to think about the implications of your slurs.

I agree with the overall point being made by her, but the statement “I want to marry you and have your babies” is frequently NOT a comment on someone’s looks. There are many non-superficial qualities that lead that statement to be made. The emphasis isn’t on sex, but on the commitment and that you’d like the kids you might have (again, frequently not because they’d be good looking babies).

Even if this is the only type of comment she’s really trying to address, it is still valid. If she takes it to call to mind strongly the acts involved with making the babies, that is valid. And anyone who is likely to make this sort of comment can benefit from knowing how the target of their “compliment” might take it so they can rethink using this particularly flippant way of paying it.

Boys: “I say that to male creators all the time” is NOWHERE NEAR a valid point. Do you say the same things to girls that you say to boys? I think not.

And if you do, then — WOW.

Anyway, I know you don’t want to be accused as sexist — nobody wants that, especially if you consider yourself anything but sexist. But sometimes, no matter how innocent or cute you’re trying to be, you can come off as sexist. From your perspective, yeah, you see no harm. I get that. But if somebody’s finding it offensive, there’s obviously a problem.

She’s addressed the issue in the past in less explicit terms, something like “I didn’t get into comics to find a husband.” Kate Beaton’s a cute girl, yes, but that has nothing to do with her comics. She, like any legitimate creator, obviously wants people to appreciate her for her work and not some unrelated factor that has nothing to do with said work. To make her looks/gender/capacity to bear children part of the equation takes away from that, turns that into the focal point instead of her hilarious comics. Coming up to her table and making sex the topic of conversation, even if it’s something as obviously silly (and not very original) as “I want to have your babies” makes her a glorified booth babe, and that’s unfair. I think that’s what a lot of fellas need to understand.

If you feel that need to talk to a female creator, have a real conversation. Don’t try to be weirdly flattering, because there’s no way to respond to “I want to have your babies” except “Er, um… thanks?” and then look around for the nearest security. They’re there to talk about their work and have a nice chat with fans, not accept barrages of vague references to their ladyparts.

I guess what I’m saying is JUST BE COOL.

And yes, I too wish we could all go back to a time when people of privilege could use pejorative words that applied to other people with less social power as freely as they liked without anyone raising an eyebrow. Truly, that was a golden era if you were white and straight and Christian and a guy, and totally awesome because you didn’t have to think about the implications of your slurs.

That may be the best comment I’ve ever read. Thank you, Laura Hudson.

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I think this is a little ridiculous. I hear girls say they want men’s babies all the time when they admire them for stupid crap like art. Hell, I hear girls say it to other GIRLS. Seriously, that’s the worst example I’ve ever heard for this.

Isn’t this more a problem with women who sexualize a man’s work. How many females are in love with the idea of being with a doctor.

Would you rather them judge her on her looks solely which women have complained as sexist.

It seems that anything that addresses intercourse becomes sexist, and continues the stupidity of the all sex is rape antisex agenda of the feminist movement.

I love love love Kate (for her work) and her comics, but this is one of those times where I just have to say “grow thicker skin”.
I say just as much homoerotic drivel to guys as I do sexist drivel to girls. It’s part of internet culture. It’s the culture of not taking anything seriously. It’s when you actually MEAN what you say that there is a problem.

Damn, Laura! Nice job. That was really well-said.

TTHTT, Donor:
Yes, certainly, some people use it and the subject of the statement is not offended. But, it is actually irrelevant if the statement is indeed “offensive” or not. What matters is that Kate has said she finds it offensive. So just stop.

No need to have a discussion about it. No need to justify it saying, “Well gee I know girls who say things”

I mean that is great that you know women and you have heard them speak. No, seriously dude, right on for you! *high five*.

However, your personal experience with other people has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that Beaton doesn’t like it when people say that. Just don’t say it. Is it that hard?

I know people who refer to each other with nicknames like “shithead”. Great. I wouldn’t want to be called “Shithead” and don’t use that myself to talk to people.

Furthermore, just think about it. Think about why Kate is offended. It is sexist, even though it’s (slightly) subversive, because you are playing off the trope of women being so impressed that they want to be impregnated by men. It’s a statement that implies that women just sit around waiting to be impregnated by “cool guys”.

It is sexist, and even if it isn’t intended that way, one can certainly see why it bothers someone. So instead of trying to fight it or defend it, just stop saying it.

Brain:
I’m glad you insult homosexuals by trivializing their interests and personalities to great comedic effect. I am sure you are the laugh of the party and certainly a very, very funny guy. I’m glad you are perplexed as to why that type of behavior could bother someone.

streever:
It’s not playing into that trope at all. “I want to have your babies” means nothing more than “your work is really excellent”. If you take it as anything other than that, you have way too thin of a skin.
Guys say it to guys. Girls say it to girls. Girls say it to guys. And (GASP) guys say it TO GIRLS!

steever:
Oh boo hoo
Stop being such a bleeding heart. My cousin is gay and he makes fun of gays all the time because he has A SENSE OF HUMOR.

It isn’t sexist simply because it has nothing to do with gender. If a woman is offended by something it doesn’t mean it was sexist.

You are simply relabeling something to make it seem like she was a victim of a male who is just waiting around to impregnate “cool girls” on the internet.

This is an example of how modern feminism completely misses the point. Read more Bernard Williams if you want to really understand how feminism has impacted meaningful social dialog.

Also, stop bitching about stupid men. There are tons of stupid women who just spend money and talk loudly on cell phones. As a man, I ignore them. I can clearly assess that it’s not simply that there are tons of stupid women, it’s that there are tons of stupid people, and by probability around half of them are women. Therefore, I’m not annoyed by stupid women. I’m annoyed by stupid people that happen to be women, stupid people that happen to instantiate their stupidity with a slightly different character than stupid men. Perhaps this character irritates me more than the character of stupid men. Even then, it doesn’t matter. I’m annoyed at stupid people who happen to be women, not stupid women.

Just because some stupid man pisses you off with a comment doesn’t entitle you to a diatribe about how unjust the whole world is to women. All it shows is that you’re exclusively capable of creatively placing yourself in the world by identifying yourself as a woman. Newsflash: The world is unjust to just about everyone. An atheist will see all commentary as disparaging to atheists. A black person will see all commentary as disparaging to blacks. A feminist will see all commentary as disparaging to women.

Orrrr…. a person could notice commentary that disparages common human dignity. The fact that this “I want to have babies with you” comment even bothers you so much demonstrates how desperately you hope to center your self identity on the fact that you’re a woman. Get over it.

I happen to be a lower middle class white male. Whoops, accident of birth! I’m so sick of people deepening the incoherence of discussions on issues of race/gender/creed. These issues are very real and we have to have a sincere social deliberation about them. By constantly falling back on some narrow bullshit identity you make the discussion intractable and by doing so you invite others to do the same, which is uncomfortable, unjust and unfair.

So, why does this matter again? I mean, in real terms, not throwing generic terms like “sexist”.

Random webcomic artist bemoans awkward (yet common on the internet) compliment. For those of you heatedly debating about nothing, this is discussion how someone took something seriously on the internet. For that fact alone she should be mocked. However, say this were in real life, and was said to her face. While it isn’t the greatest reflection on the speaker in terms of eloquence, I don’t see his words having an actual negative impact on the recipient. If she did not respond, would it effect the perception of her work? Would it have repercussions that were greater than a slight feeling of discomfort?

Where I work, everyone can range from very crude to very professional, depending on the context. The tone chosen is appropriate. When dealing with customers we are very formal, because we want to give the impression that we will do a good job and are diligent. With our superiors we are respectful but not as formal, to give the sense that again we will do what is required, but not too stuffy to show that we can work as a team. Among each other, we are very casual because we must work together in stressful situations, and the occasional outburst must be taken in stride, so we cuss and do racist jokes to break down walls that society has built. Again, we take certain tones and expressions in certain situations for a reason. Being formal isn’t “superior” to being casual, there are certain times and situations for certain expressions.

On the internet, when viewing webcomics, the population is in extreme casual mode. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. Racism and sexism are abound, and idiotic opinions float freely, mainly for one fact: it’s irrelevant. I could be the most bigoted man alive in a place of anonymity, because I have to real power over my other users. If I were Hitler reborn on the internet, how does that do anything in real life? I check that shit at the door when it matters, but when my statements are about as worthless as this discussion, who cares? If one endeavored to never offend anyone with anything, your statements would consist of discussing the weather only. For those of you like Streever and Laura, explain in real terms why this matters, apart from the fact that some people have fragile egos, and more along the lines of how this effects a real endpoint.

For reference, this comic (http://bit.ly/bzkpHA) makes me think of one thing: she should really invest in an ipod if she doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to actually, god forbid, ignore random jackasses on the streets. I know that I curled up into a ball and cried all night when some guy on a bike said that I was a fucking moron for blocking his path, or a homeless guy thought I was satan reborn. No, I didn’t, but even if I did I wouldn’t try and have the world conform around my wishes.

To flip it around, her comment makes me feel bad because I feel that my expression is being hampered. I don’t want her to say things like that anymore because it offends me and I think it harms unhindered dialogue between parties and she is assaulting free thought.

I think the idea that a man is not part of the process of conception is sexist. A woman’s uterus is quite worthless in conception without sperm, gender is not a consequence of patriarchy but of evolution.

In addition, sexualizing something is humanizing because an object is not capable of bearing children, having sex and wanting it is an expression of a life and humanity. Being desexualized is dehumanizing because it denies a person’s sexual needs and identity, reducing them to an object.

In conjunction with what was posted above: There are clearly social issues concerning women that are real and involve real identities. A real identity is some like being a mathematician, or a doctor, or a father, or a friend. These involve projects that are involving, beautiful, fulfilling, self defining, and express something important about what it means to be human. Based on nothing but the state of the world we live in, some real identities are gender oriented. For instance, the identity of a mother and her relationship to her children and their father. This is one of the very real social issues I wrote about. Another would be abortion or planned parenthood, which necessarily involves gender in some way.

The identity of being a webcomic does not involve you being a woman in any intrinsic way. There are a million ways you could contrive it to be gender oriented, like taking well intentioned compliments negatively for no reason. One could argue that the compliment embodies an attitude that then penetrates our social dialog and indirectly influences how we talk about issues like abortion, mother’s rights, and planned parenthood.

This is clearly putting the cart before the horse. Nobody who isn’t suffering some profound stupidity draws their political attitudes from webcomic comments. However, people with profound stupidity DO insert their political attitudes into webcomic comments. Herein lies the issue: You were offended by a profoundly stupid political attitude as expressed in a webcomic. There are a lot of choices on how to confront this attitude.

You could take it seriously and whine about it over the internet. That might work. Or perhaps you can treat it as the thoughtless parlance it is and mock it in some clever way. Your webcomics are so conspicuously lacking in wit! Mostly because you probably lack the humor to deal with these issues well, like the comedienne you ought to be. You let the comment dig at you, or you dig at yourself with the comment, as it were. Again, this is because you are trying to build yourself around a bullshit identity.

I dare you to use a word that’ll get me in an upset mood and at the same time take you seriously. You could go to a lesbian and say dike, or a black person and say nigger, or what have you. You don’t even have to say it to them – just say it to the open air. One word incites all that anger, and at the same time they take it so seriously. There exists no one word that I would react to this way. I dare say there are no sentences that would provoke this response from me. In fact, you may have to string together sentences or even paragraphs of commentary for me to even begin to take something so personally and offensively.

For instance, I study philosophy and mathematics. If you just say and math is boring or philosophy is useful, I really don’t care. You would have to write some lengthy at least semi-articulate thesis to even begin to get my juices flowing. That’s partially because I intelligibly identify myself around projects that involve philosophy and math. It’s also because I don’t level every little thing I hear cut into me like razor blades.

tl;dr – Get thicker skin, and stop defining yourself around a bullshit identity. There’s very little you have in common with womankind in general, so don’t feel you have to declare war in its name.

Dear Social Student, you don’t think women are “entitled” to say anything when people direct sexual comments at them, but you meanwhile are entitled to complain loudly and dismissively about their complaints? That is a fascinating view on who is entitled to express themselves about what.

Also your suggestion that people should not talk about sexism or racism or homophobia because it exists does not make a lot of sense to me.

“Life isn’t fair” is true, to be sure, and I guess you could theoretically use that phrase to tell anyone who has suffered anyone in any way that hearing about their experiences annoys you. I can see how this would be an effective excuse for poor behavior, so I will try this out tonight as I enjoy my Halloween festivities. I will approach a stranger, throw a drink on them, and then direct hilarious comments about their personal appearance at them in a public setting. It will be extremely funny. When they object I will tell them that “life isn’t fair.” I’m sure they will understand.

I wouldn’t consider a occupation a real identity. A person with an occupation but who is desexualized is just a machine. Women are sexualized no matter the occupation, men are sexualized based on their occupation. Women are entitled to sex, men have to earn it.

When your political agenda is to silence people like Feminism’s is then yes. In the end it is your choice if you choose to live as a victim, you can choose to see these as compliments or as your own victimization. In the end you have made a victim of yourself. I can wakeup and think and rebrand everything in my life as my own victimization, but I rather take responsibility for things, because the only true power is the power of individualism not the power of pity.

“I will approach a stranger, throw a drink on them, and then direct hilarious comments about their personal appearance at them in a public setting.”

Apart from throwing a drink on someone, which is assault, if you just the insulting part it will make you, and only you, look like a gigantic asshole. If anything, I would suggest you try this, because you’ll learn the harm of such actions is mainly on the speaker in civilized society.

Hell, I’d hope you’d do it to me, so then I’d enjoy blowing you off immensely, as it is what sane people do to annoyances. I will not acknowledge to you, I may not even look at you. And most certainly I won’t try and respond reasonably to you.

>Dear Social Student, you don’t think women are “entitled” to say anything when people direct sexual comments at them, but you meanwhile are entitled to complain loudly and dismissively about their complaints? That is a fascinating view on who is entitled to express themselves about what.

I’m saying you aren’t entitled to judge people on the basis of a bullshit identity. Being a man isn’t an identity, it’s merely a property. I am not a man, I am a person that is a man. You are not entitled to complain about men to a person who is a man about a stupid person who is a man (stupid here not being simply pejorative, but in reference to a man that, say, makes catcalls or something clearly sexist). I am expressing my concerns about nonsense discourse on sexism to a person who is a woman and supports this discussion about a person who is a woman and also supports this discussion. My expression is appropriately directed.

>Also your suggestion that people should not talk about sexism or racism or homophobia because it exists does not make a lot of sense to me

Failure to grasp the point. What I’m saying is the WAY that you talk about sexism and racism and homophobia support bullshit identities around the subject that will necessarily draw out more racism, sexism, and homophobia from society. For example, if there exists a “black community” to hold up the “black identity” then there’s just all the more reason to make black stereotypes. If we face the fact that two black people have very little in common besides the platitudinous point that they’re black then we’re almost forced to treat people as the people they actually are. Talking about racism from a “black community” perspective is itself racism. Talking about sexism from a “woman versus man” is itself sexist.

To explain why we can take for example the phrase “mankind.” Sexist, no? No. It’s not. This is a phrase that originally meant “man” as opposed to “beast” not “man versus woman”, how it is often purposefully misrepresented by post-modern feminism. When we’re expected to use gender neutral language like he/she or what have you we’re approaching the real problem of gender from a sexist perspective.

Your next comment is incoherent. I can’t even make out what you’re trying to say, so I’m not going to respond directly to something I can’t even make out. Either what you’ve said carries no content at all or you need to re-express your point more clearly.

>I wouldn’t consider a occupation a real identity.

Then I would suggest don’t understand what a real identity is, nor the joys of a real identity. Fulfilling my roles as a friend and lover can be just as signifigant and meaningful to me as my role as a mathematician, writer, and designer. When a person expresses their friendship to me it can be just as edifying as when I read something they’ve written in their role as a writer.

> A person with an occupation but who is desexualized is just a machine.

This sentence clearly talks past the issue I’m arguing.

>Women are sexualized no matter the occupation, men are sexualized based on their occupation.

See above

>Women are entitled to sex, men have to earn it.

At most you can’t be serious. At least you can’t be taken seriously.

It is quite clear to me that women have the sexual monopoly, so yes I am serious.

>It is quite clear to me that women have the sexual monopoly.

Ok, so you’re between the ages of 16 and 25. Cool, I can dig that.

No doubt women lose that power over time, but that is what marriage is for.

But at no point do men have it.

“you invite others to critique that person’s works based on their looks”

Because the only value a woman has is her looks and there’s no way another person would judge them based on their character alone.

I wonder who’s the real sexist here.

Laura:
He’s saying take it like a human, not a woman. He’s saying when there is a stupid women doing something stupid, he doesn’t declare war on womanhood. It’s just a single stupid woman. In the same way, you should not declare war on manhood because one stupid man said or did something stupid. It’s just a single stupid man.

Arguments like this form useless gender barriers that only serve to infuriate one gender against another. There’s always going to be stupid, insulting people. You can’t stereotype a whole gender around them. Doing so is not only unjust to those that don’t fit that stereotype, but to the other gender as well because you yourself are erecting barriers between the two.

The same could be said of races and sexual preferences. Stop identifying yourself and just be human.

>No doubt women lose that power over time, but that is what marriage is for. But at no point do men have it.

At some point you’ll see relationships beyond power exchanges over who gets to have sex with who, hopefully. If/when you do you’ll discover a whole new realm of relationship you never before thought possible.

Unfortunately at this point we’re having to delete more comments than we are actually letting through, so we’re going to end this thread now. Thanks.



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