A friend of mine posted something about catcalling and street harassment. To the absolute shock of … well, pretty much nobody, the very first comment on her post was a guy explaining why women shouldn’t be afraid of catcalling, and isn’t it funny how the women complaining aren’t the ones…
Hey, guys? Maybe you’re one of the GOOD ones. The NICE ones. The ones who are catcalling as a sincere compliment because you truly believe that’s the way women like to be addressed. (Oh, I’m sure you are. You are so special. And sensitive. You have the soul of a poet. It says so in your Tindr profile.)
Guess what? To borrow a phrase I heard…somewhere, can’t recall where…NOT ALL MEN are like that.
Many of them are raging assholes. Many of them are scary and insulting. Maybe, I dunno, you should deal with those guys. Because obviously by being scary and insulting, they are fucking up this precious beautiful catcalling thing that YOU do, which is totally emotionally healthy and leaves everyone feeling just marvelous about their day.
Yeah, you should definitely go work on that, Nice Man.
In which Ursula Vernon shows how she earned her black belts in Snark and Awesomeness.
A friend of mine posted something about catcalling and street harassment. To the absolute shock of … well, pretty much nobody, the very first comment on her post was a guy explaining why women shouldn’t be afraid of catcalling, and isn’t it funny how the women complaining aren’t the ones experiencing the “privilege” of being catcalled in the first place? Also, women wouldn’t be afraid if they carried guns, and the real threat are guys “in a dark van with no windows parked next to your car in the Walmart parking lot.”
His suggestion? “Now what would happen if a woman who’s the center of the cat call took the power back, walked up to the offending rake and asked for his number and told him to show a little respect and maybe if he was lucky she’d let him earn the opportunity to do some real cat calling?”
This is the point where I facepalmed so hard I gave myself a concussion.
Guys, is it really that hard to shut the hell up and listen instead of immediately trying to tell women why they’re wrong about their own lives and experiences?
It’s pathetically predictable.
- Woman complains about harassment.
- Dudebro feels uncomfortable.
- Dudebro tells woman why she’s wrong to feel that way.
Because Dudebro’s discomfort at women complaining about harassment is somehow more important and valid than women’s discomfort about actually being harassed.
The CDC put out a report this year about sexual violence, after completing more than 12,000 interviews. They found that one in five women have been raped in their lifetimes, and 99% of those rapes were committed by men. (The report states that about two percent of men were raped as well, which I strongly suspect is an underestimate. They also found that approximately 80% of those rapes were also committed by men.)
“But I’m not like those other men,” says Dudebro, waving the “Not All Men” flag with righteous pride.
Then stop acting like them.
- When a woman says she’s uncomfortable with something and wants you to knock it off, stop arguing. Stop telling her she’s wrong, and stop making excuses to keep doing it.
- Stop pretending it’s about complimenting women. (Here’s a tip: Compliments don’t go from, “Hey baby” to “Fuck you, you stuck-up bitch” in the blink of an eye.)
- Stop treating women as objects you’re entitled to instead of people.
You seriously want women to believe you’re not an asshole and a potential threat? Start by shutting up for a minute and actually listening to what women are saying.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Some of you have already seen Milo Manara’s cover art for Spider-Woman #1, which generated a great deal of unhappiness across the internet. As io9 pointed out, she basically looks like she’s wearing body paint. One of many complaints raised was that a male superhero would never have been drawn like this.
Au contraire, says some dude on the internet, who heroically stood up to defy the “Social Police,” those “preachy, bloviating, pharisaic shit-heads,” and to explain why everyone who was upset about this cover was wrong, and it’s really a non-issue.
What his point seems to mostly come down to is the fact that J. Scott Campbell did a Spider-Man cover just like Manara’s, and you didn’t hear the Social Police converging on Tumblr for an outrage-fest then! Total double-standard and made-up non-controversy. So there!
Let’s take a look at both covers, shall we?
Yes, there are some superficial similarities here in that…well, they’re both crawling. But where Spider-Man is clinging to a spherical mass of webbing and bad guys, Spider-Woman is perched on the edge of a rooftop, thrusting her ass at the city skyline for no particular reason.
There are some issues with Spider-Man’s artwork. For starters, what the heck is going on with his fingers? And his costume is almost as tight as Spider-Woman’s. You can see a few small wrinkles in his suit, which is a step up from hers, but they’re both wearing some serious butt-huggers.
Internet-dude’s whole rant sounds vaguely similar to the, “What about the Romance Covers?” response I got for pointing out the oversexualization of women on SF/F cover art.
So let’s take another look at these two covers.
Point 1: One of the basic rules of climbing is to keep your body/hips close to the wall. Or if you’re a superhero, to whatever surface you happen to be climbing. Which is exactly what Spider-Man is doing. He’s hugging his climbing surface. Spider-Woman, on the other hand…she’s not climbing. She’s posing.
Point 2: Look at how the two characters are drawn. Both are in skintight costumes. Spider-Man’s costume highlights his muscles. We’re seeing a physically strong character with random extra finger joints. Spider-Woman, on the other hand, is drawn to highlight the curves of her body, sans muscle. It’s not about drawing a character who looks strong or powerful; it’s about drawing boner-bait for young teen boys.
Point 3: Even if both characters were equally sexualized (they aren’t), you have to consider the larger context. I have nothing against sexuality, or against characters being portrayed in sexual ways. But when we’re consistently reducing female characters to sexually appealing/inviting caricatures, regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate to the character or the story, then we have a problem. When women are being drawn time and again in ways that prioritize exaggerated sexuality at the expense of all else, we have a problem.
The problem here isn’t one cover. The problem is one more cover. One more woman reduced to a sexual object. One more woman portrayed in a way that de-emphasizes any strength she might have — because women can only be strong up to a certain point, and only if they’re also sexually submissive to the male reader/viewer.
Are there exceptions? Of course. Are guys sometimes sexualized? Absolutely. But don’t try to pretend that the sexualization of men occurs on the same scale as that of women, or that men are sexualized in ways that rob them of strength and agency the way women so often are.
Or to put it another way? Double standard my ass.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Friday meant to get this post up four hours ago…
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.