…But I don’t say much myself on the massive amount of harassment going on right now - and pretty much always - against women in comics. Fans, creators, critics, everybody, you name it. Rape threats, misogynist T-shirts, sexual harassment at cons, and worse. It’s constant background radiation aimed at women in an active way by horrible little fucked-up men with dead, shriveled morals and a cloak of anonymity, and in a passive way by the culture in general.
And like I said, I’ve been reblogging bits and pieces that have popped up on my dash, so if you follow me you’ll have seen people affected talking about it in their own words. But I don’t say much about it with my own words, and that’s not really good enough. It’s not like anyone’s going to threaten me in the same way, after all. I’ve no excuses.
Part of it is probably the shame. It is absolutely shameful. It makes me ashamed to be in comics. It makes me feel like the whole thing is tainted, because it is. That this is going on taints everything we do. I’m ashamed to be in comics, and I’m ashamed it’s taken me this long to write something like this. and I’m ashamed that it needs to be written, that the systematic abuse of women has been normalised in this subculture to the extent that opposition to it cannot be taken as read.
If you are one of the toxic men who belittles, harasses, threatens, makes uncomfortable or otherwise attacks women on the internet or anywhere else, I don’t want you. I don’t want you reading my stuff, it’s not for you. I don’t want you reading comics at all, ideally, or being part of culture in any way. I want to replace you with people who don’t make me want to be sick and just keep on being sick until there’s nothing left.
You fill me with shame and nausea and you are not wanted.
Anyway, I’m sorry for not saying anything about this before. I’ll try to do better.
I’ve been reblogging a fair bit of what Al Ewing’s been reblogging, lately. FWIW, I really appreciate that he’s been amplifying the voices of women talking about this first. And I also really appreciate him speaking up himself and telling sexist wee-brains that they are not welcome, and for doing so without loading his words with language that implies women need male protection.
I noticed a real shift in the water last year. It was a shift towards women and other marginalised people either demanding that spaces be safe and suitable for them or (especially in the case of the very successful Nine Worlds) making there own. And I wrote a post about The Clubhouse, and how I grew up assuming that the clubhouse was mine, somewhere I was welcome just by virtue of liking the things I liked, and was confused to find as an adult that male geeks kept testing me, as though they were gake-keepers, or outright tried to bar my entry. And I expressed my feelings about the shift in the water as being a recognition that we already have a clubhouse, and if certain male geeks want to wall off their own little space as a clubhouse, they are welcome to do so, because our clubhouse is bigger and better and older.
What I was talking about was a reclaiming of space and a sense of ownership for geekery and geek product that was always ours by right, and a ceasing to grant value to misogynist/racist/homophobic/transphobic/ableist/heteronormative jerkbags and their products. There are plenty of things out there for us to geek over without them. Better things.
What I did not anticipate is that the shift in the water last year - the demand and creation of positive change, the reclaimation of areas of geek space - would be followed by voices of men (cismen). And not what we have seen before - men speaking up to try and dominate the conversation and find a new place of control (well-meaning men, but men who cannot let go of their privilege, nonetheless) - but rather, men who are turning towards the mysogynists in their midst, and telling them they are not welcome. Men who are saying that the little mysogynist corner of the clubhouse has negative value, and should leave. Men who would rather be in the better clubhouse women (and other and overlapping marginalised groups) have envisioned. Men who would rather be with us than with them.
Granted, this stand against misogyny isn’t always as intersectional as it could be. Disdain for misogynist harassers could be more often extended to transmisogynists, cissexists, racists, albeists, and so on. These are narrow issues that are currently drawing attention and raising awareness such that men are taking a stand against them. I hope that recognition of the harassment and abuse received by ciswomen is just a starting point for these men, much as feminism has been just a starting point for those of us who have realised that our feminism needs to be intersectional or be bullshit. I’m not saying this to shit on the efforts of the men who have been speaking up, lately - far from it! I’m saying this as a woman who doesn’t want to just be grateful for the change she sees that benefits her and forgets the other people she said she would stand with. If the issue that is current is currently narrow, we need to make it broader.
So many of the well-meaning men of my acquaintance are simply unaware of the complexity and discussions I see going on around me. Talking to them about sexism is like having to rewind ten years. And I know that in writign this on Tumblr, the men who will see this are not likely to be the men who are completely oblivious of these conversations. I think Tumblr has been an eye-opener for intersectionality for anyone who has engaged with it (even if some of those people have only learned of its existence to rail at it and call it ‘social justice’ as if that were a bad thing). But hey, we write what we can write, where we can write it, and I’ll link to this from Twitter, and you never know, a non-Tumblrite may read it.
Anyway. Thanks to Al Ewing for joining his voice to ours in telling the undesirables to buzz off. It matters and it helps.