Posts tagged: sexism
This week at The Gutter: Editor alex thinks about “Naked Woman (Steep Hill)”
One night, when I was poking around on the internet for something mindless to play, I stumbled across a game called Naked Woman (Steep Hill). The description: “Control the fate of a naked woman riding down a steep hill. 20 options decide her doom. Feel free to suggest any other fates she can face!” My response was something akin to watching a horror movie between your fingers – I had a feeling that I’d wish I hadn’t seen it but I couldn’t quite bring myself to look away.
Dear Jake Vale,
Today, I saw the videos you posted where you “pranked” teenage girls by running up behind them, grabbing them around the waist, and then running away with them while they were trying to get into VidCon. I’m one of the people who was instantly upset and disgusted by your behavior,…
For the first time ever, this year’s Women Who Kick Ass panel at ComicCon was held in the convention’s largest venue, Hall H. Entertainment Weekly covers the panel here and it sounds incredible. A full transcript of the panel is here.
Unfortunately, the audience’s response to this panel was sexist and predictable.
A panel called “Women Who Kick Ass” follows Hunger Games. It’s in its fourth iteration, and the fact that it’s in Hall H on Saturday is a surprise. On the surface, it makes sense for this to follow Hunger Games, and it’s also likely the Con intended it to be something that would allow for the room to clear out a bit while shuffling in more people from the line that still snakes off across the street outside. But, all the same, there’s something gutsy about placing a frank discussion of Hollywood sexism, feminism, and the limited opportunities for women in the entertainment industry right before 20th Century Fox and Marvel come out to present superhero-heavy slates.
And “Women Who Kick Ass” is the most fascinating and enriching panel I attend at Comic-Con. In particular, its discussion of how sexism still rules far too often in Hollywood is terrific, with panelist Katee Sackhoff (of Battlestar Galactica fame) discussing a time an unnamed male actor pulled her arms out of their sockets while filming a fight sequence, in what she believes was recourse for her questioning him earlier in the shoot; and fellow panelist Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black discussing how a male crew member inappropriately hit on her when she was just 18 and bound to a bed for a shot. The moderator is good, in that she knows to get out of the way when the women on the panel — particularly Michelle Rodriguez — cut loose, and the content is engaging throughout.
For the most part, the dudes I’m sitting near either pay respectful attention or check Twitter, though there are some jokes from an older guy in front of me about how stupid he finds all of this. Then Rodriguez uses the phrase “destructive male culture” — as part of a larger answer about how women need to take more agency in telling their own stories — and something in the crowd flips. A certain subset of the audience begins to get more and more vocal, and when the panel runs slightly over, as all panels have done during the day, the vocalizations begin to get easier to hear, even to someone sitting clear across a giant room in a place that tends to eat sound from specific individuals in the audience; one really has to make a ruckus to be heard.
The final question — from a young woman about what aspects the perfect kick-ass woman would have — turns into a digression about the many roles that women play in real life and the few that they are asked to play onscreen. It’s all fascinating stuff, with Sackhoff talking about wanting to see someone as kind and strong as her mother onscreen, and Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira talking about the effectiveness of female political protestors in her native Zimbabwe, the sort of story that would almost never appear in a Hollywood film — but the longer it goes on, the more restless the crowd gets. When Rodriguez grabs the microphone again to follow up on a point made by another panelist, for the first time, the audience ripples with something close to jeering anger. When the panel finally ends and the five women on it proceed off to the side for photographs, something done at the end of most Hall H panels, someone shouts something from the audience, to a mixture of supportive laughs and horrified gasps, and the women quickly leave the stage. (I was not sitting close enough to hear what was said, but I confirmed with several people sitting in the immediate vicinity that it was a young man shouting “Women who talk too much!” after the loudspeaker asked attendees to voice their appreciation for the participants in the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel.)
It’s an ugly moment, an unfortunate capper to a great session, to be followed by many of the guys sitting around me offering up tired lines like “I hope they feel empowered now!” and several recitations of the Twilight mantra about ruining the Con. To be sure, most people in the room were respectful. But at a certain point, there needs to be an accounting for the fact that there is an ugliness that burbles beneath the surface of too many Comic-Con events, sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional. That’s not a task for the Con itself. It’s a task for nerd culture, and one that will require an earnest attempt to understand why this sort of ugliness rises up so often around women, lest all the nerd culture stereotypes prove unfortunately true.
Just going to leave this here for a while
Not just a good write-up of the Women Who Kick Ass panel at Comic-Con, but also an important one to read.
Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Writing and Doctor Who
“Writing about Doctor Whothis week got me thinking about sexism in storytelling, and how we rely on…
A Man’s Life
“The type of thing I came up with was what sold at the time: Guys with guns and gals with no pants…
I’ve got three things I’ve got to get turned in today, two kids to get fed and dressed and a bag to pack and a flight to catch, so I can’t respond to this the way I’d like, but I’m putting it here so I don’t forget.
I also need to let my temper subside a bit. If I were to reply right now I’d resort to name-calling and insults and we all know there’s no ground to be gained there.
Instead, when I’m not shaking anymore, I’ll recount my career trajectory AGAIN. [Magazine writer/research assistant—>comic reviewer—>7 years /10K+ pages adapting manga into English—>anthology shorts—>co-writing gigs—>one-shots—>minis—->ongoings]
Maybe I’ll get Alejandro Arbona to attest—AGAIN!—that I was blind-submitted for my first gig at Marvel. I’ll offer that if you’re looking for Men to Credit for My Career, you should look first to Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis, Peter Rose, Steve Niles and Jamie Rich — all of whom were responsible for making introductions or getting me chances to submit my work well before Matt Fraction had any pull in the industry. (I’ll also state in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t sleeping with any of those men, because I know, dear Anon, that is your next assumption.) Or Brian Bendis, who had championed my work in a way I will never be able to adequately thank him for. (Ditto Steve Wacker.)
(Also not sleeping with Brian or Steve, just so we’re clear.)
Maybe I’ll ponder why it isn’t Fraction who’s considered to have benefited from nepotism. After all, more than 10 years ago now, Matt Fraction was my plus one to Joe Quesada’s 40th birthday party and it was me who sent copies of Last of the Independents to Joe and Axel. I mean, clearly, it was those gestures that got Fraction his career — certainly not the merit of his work, right? I mean, come on — those Hawkeye Eisner noms are part mine, right?
(I can’t imagine how sick Fraction must be of hearing me tell that story. But I bet it’s not half as sick of it as I am.)
(The first person I met in the industry was Wil Rosado. Through him, the first editors I met were Andy Ball, who’s since moved on, and Joey Cavalieri. Just in case anybody wants to make a chart. This would be… maybe 4 years before I met Fraction, Gillen, Ellis, McKelvie et al on the WEF.)
Okay, deep breath.
Bendis is going to tell me that I shouldn’t acknowledge this, that I’m feeling trolls, but here’s the pickle: people deny that this happens. We’re told that the insults to our dignity working women face are in our imagination, that it’s a thing of sexy Mad Men past. It’s WOMEN who make this a thing, right? (Hysterical, don’t you know.) We’re to the point where I meet young women who won’t identify as feminists because the struggle is over and it’s only a thing if you make it one.
It’s not a natural assumption to leap to the conclusion that I got my job because of my marriage. It’s the product of deeply-ingrained sexist thinking. I can name for you a half a dozen men who did, in fact, get their first big two gigs because of who they knew and their dignity and their qualifications have never been called into question. I’m lucky if I go a week.
I was recently directed to a post on a snake pit of a message board (what was I thinking, even going to look?) by a man I’d known as long as I’d known my husband, a man I’d met at the same time—a man who had felt free to ask professional favors of me on multiple occasions—who was lamenting how “easily” I’d gotten to where I was because of Fraction. When friends of mine pointed him to my CV, he half-apologized because he had no idea. Apparently he thought Marvel—a publicly-owned company—was in the habit of handing out gigs to freelancer’s wives just for kicks. Then he threw up the bit about it being a natural assumption.
I would say simply ‘fuck that guy’ and chalk it up to his not being half as smart as he thinks he is, but here’s the thing:
That guy has daughters.
For them, and for my daughter and for your daughter, I am going to occasionally shine a light on these things… even though it both enrages and embarrasses me.
I don’t know if it’s the right call, but I know that ‘ignore it and it’ll go away’ isn’t working.
I need to figure out a way to contain my outrage enough to talk about it in a way that doesn’t attack, but invites dudes like Anon to rethink their ‘natural assumptions’ without setting myself up as an uppity bitch that they’re invested in proving wrong.
I… I clearly don’t know how to do that right now. But I’m going to figure it out.
Right now, the kids need breakfast and my son has questions about the xenomorph that can’t wait another second.
Thanks to @ThePurplePagefor pointing this article out.
Natasha C. Brooks skillfully argues that the current narratives around minorities in the sciences are heavily burdened with backward looking themes that can prevent the self- actualization of individuals, with the disturbing potential of stagnating the sciences as a whole.
In this week’s #BlerdChat, we’ll delve into the issue of narrative as it relates to the themes outlined by Natasha C. Brooks.
Does the current focus on past minority disempowerment in the sciences reinforce this problem?
Does the intense attention paid to disparities prevent us viewing the full spectrum of participation? Brooks points to the focus on minority health disparities to the detriment of health successes to make this point.
Does the highlighting of minority science prodigies who have “beaten the odds” reinforce the toxic assumption that minority participation in the sciences is abnormal or freakish?
To be clear, neither Natasha C. Brooks or I contend that the actual fact that barriers have and continued to exist should be ignored. The real bone of contention is how we tell these stories and to what effect.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
It’s like this…
You’re fourteen and you’re reading Larry Niven’s “The Protector” because it’s your father’s favorite book and you like your father and you think he has good taste and the creature on the cover of the book looks interesting and you want to know what it’s about….
I just noticed something strange on Wikipedia. It appears that gradually, over time, editors have begun the process of moving women, one by one, alphabetically, from the “American Novelists” category to the “American Women Novelists” subcategory. So far, female authors whose last names begin with A or B have been most affected, although many others have, too.
The intention appears to be to create a list of “American Novelists” on Wikipedia that is made up almost entirely of men. The category lists 3,837 authors, and the first few hundred of them are mainly men. The explanation at the top of the page is that the list of “American Novelists” is too long, and therefore the novelists have to be put in subcategories whenever possible.
Too bad there isn’t a subcategory for “American Men Novelists.”