So about three years ago I blogged about DC editor Janelle Asselin. She’d posted some very sensible criticisms of a Teen Titans cover and as a result, got rape threats online. Wouldn’t you know, misogynists have managed to top that one? Last week Marvel editor Heather Antos posted something even more innocuous, a photo of herself and some female coworkers having milkshakes. And once again sexists and misogynists freaked out.
Those women are just social justice warriors! Their heinous feminazi political agenda and all the propaganda they put into comics is what’s killing Marvel sales!
Those women are just fake geek girls (for some discussion of that meme, see this linkpost)!
How come Marvel employs so many women?
Look how stupid they are!
Plus the occasional rape threat.
All of this based on … absolutely nothing. A group of young women having milkshakes does not automatically code as SJW (besides, I think fighting for social justice is awesome) or fake geek (what, real geeks don’t like milkshakes?). And I’m pretty sure nobody bothered to research any of the women in the photo to get the facts down before tweeting. The hate tweeters are flinging around memes without any thought, or possibly knowledge, of what they mean, much the way “communist” and “Marxist” have been flung around for much of my life. “Fake geek girl” is simply a reflex shot at a woman involved in comics. As the Mary Sue points out, the real issue is that these women are visible, online and in comics, and their presence is what’s infuriating the misogynists (something I wrote about here).
Which brought me back to the book White Flight by Kevin Kruse. One of the things that struck me reading it was how obsessed Atlanta whites were with having what we’d now call safe spaces. The problem being they wanted the entire city as a safe space, somewhere they could walk around without seeing or encountering black people (what the whites defined as “freedom of association.”). If blacks could use the city parks, then whites considered those parks had been taken away from them. Ditto schools. Or shopping. Or moving into white neighborhoods.
Same with gays. No, no, X is perfectly fine with queers, it’s just that they insist on going around in public holding hands or putting photos of their same-sex spouse on their desk at work. That’s shoving it in his face! Why can he have a nice civil space where nobody brings this stuff up (because of course opposite sex people never talk about relationships at work or engage in PDAs). An LGM post touches on this topic.
And likewise women. Spaces like politics, and geekdom and comics and the Internet are meant to be male only. Okay, photos of chicks with big boobs are cool, but not real women having opinions, or shoving it in your face how many chicks work at Marvel, which clearly proves Marvel sucks because we already know geeks can’t write comics. Driving them offline is just the best way to keep them from polluting our precious bodily fluids!
Sexist insults are never a logical response to feminism. They’re even less of a response to women just being there.