Robot 6

Quote of the Day | Jim Rugg shows how it’s done

jim-rugg-authorStreet Angel and Afrodisiac creator Jim Rugg was participating in one of those 10-question interviews when the website asked one he found problematic:

F, Marry, or Kill. They used to play this game a lot on Howard Stern, so since I have no original ideas we’re going to play The Comics Tavern version. You must assign one of those actions to the 3 choices given, and I would like to hear your reasons.
Baroness (GI Joe…)
Kitty Pryde
Tank Girl

Rugg’s answer was polite but firm:

I’m going to refrain from answering this question. Sexism, gender inequality, sexual harassment, and misogyny are major problems in the comics industry and I don’t want to contribute to it. I’m sure you don’t mean any harm with this question, but I don’t want to alienate anyone when it comes to comics.

How about – draw, read, ignore? I would read Tank Girl, draw Baroness, and ignore Kitty Pryde. When I started reading comics, I LOVED X-Men, but it was after Kitty Pryde had left the team. She might have been on Excalibur then. I’m not sure. But I never really connected with her character.

This exchange really struck me because there has been so much conversation lately, in the comics blogosphere and the larger world, about sexism and misogyny and the valuable role men can play in refusing to go along with it. That’s easy to talk about but often difficult to do when you’re in the situation. However, Rugg handles it nicely here, first politely declining to answer the question as stated, explaining why in a deliberately non-accusing fashion, and then reframing the question and answering it that way.

It’s tough, when we’re shocked and offended by a question, to think about the person asking it and what the end game would be. If Rugg had slammed down the phone or blasted the questioner, he might have gotten momentary satisfaction but not really changed anyone’s mind. By treating the other person with respect, he really added to the conversation.

Also, props to Comics Tavern for going ahead and running the interview whole, rather than cutting the question.

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Comments

12 Comments

I can only agree with the comment, this is how you start change! Great reaction to such generally accepted sexism.

I’m not proud to say that I probably would have played along and actually enjoyed the game. I’m not exactly ashamed either, but it gives me a lot to think about in terms of sexism engrained in our culture in ways that I (or some men) might not even realize it when it occurs.

I personally would find it very amusing to hear women play the same game with their favorite (male/female) superheroes, but I understand how reducing a female character to what romantic status you’d want her to play in your fantasy world would be extremely offensive.

But Jim Rugg’s answer is very classy.

Never been a big fan of Rugg’s work, but I gained a ton of respect for him for his answer. While I probably would’ve played along, even if I had the self-awareness and self-confidence to not play, I don’t think I could’ve give as eloquent an answer.

Good for him!

Rugg is pretty much a model citizen. Years ago, a reviewer suggested that an issue of “Street Angel” glamorized homelessness (or something to that effect). Anyway, IIRC Rugg responded by explaining why he disagreed, but also thanking the reviewer for taking his work seriously, and for getting him to think more about its implications.

Hi, everyone!
I’m the culprit who asked the question in err question..hehe.
I loved the way that he answered it, and as said by others here, Mr. Rugg is a class act!
A friend of mine cringed when I told him about that question, and he suggested it was a bad idea.
Perhaps, it was poor judgement on my part to ask that question, but I didn’t mean to offend anyone by it, or promote sexism/misogyny by it.
I try to keep my interviews fun, and a little random. Sort of like just hanging out at a bar(or tavern..) and having a casual conversation with friends.
I actually used to play that game with female co-workers at a flower shop, and we all had a good time coming up with ridiculous options for each other. For example, I remember names like Wilford Brimley, Ronald McDonald, and Margaret Thatcher frequently being brought up.
I guess, at the end of the day, it’s all about the context of who you’re asking, and the platform where the question’s being asked.
I wonder if folks would be less or more offended if the interviewee was a woman?

I totally agree with the other commenters. Good job Rugg!

I’m super impressed to see the comments here supporting Rugg. Based on previous interactions with the commentariat here, I had predicted a more negative reaction.

akkadiannumen

June 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Is it immature? Sure. It’s the kind of thing a kid would ask. And just the kind of thing many comic book fans talk about from time to time which I guess is why Andy asked that question. Sexist? Misogynistic? I don’t think so. It’s just a silly question about fictional characters which is often done with male characters as well. Being politically correct can be overdone and this is one of those cases. Sure, sexism, gender inequality, sexual harassment and misogyny are major problems I’d love to get rid of but that will be in the real world where it causes actual damage to real women.

@Andy Yates: Thanks for stepping up and saying that your the one who asked the question. That took guts.

Lol, akkadiannumen’s is the exact comment I thought I’d see. It reads almost as a parody of the dismissive attitude to these types of situation. “Wah it’s too politically correct wah don’t take my sexist toys away”

I have seen the game with non-gendered options as well, it still rubs me the wrong way. I mean, a bunch of drunk friend play it in private, ok, but I havee seen gossip interview shows do it, just the juxtaposition of it is disturbing.

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