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Street 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…)
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.