Category Archives: Undead sexist cliches

Sexual Harassment at DC Comics

DC recently let go the long-time editor of its Vertigo line, which has seen a catastrophic sales slump. This brought back to the limelight an old issue with another editor, Eddie Berganza, who’s stayed at DC despite multiple sexual harassment allegations (not that there’s a connection between the two). Heidi McDonald says DC sources have confirmed the rumor that when Berganza was Superman editor, no women could work in the Superman office — and points out the unlikelihood of anyone tolerating a “no men in the office” rule. McDonald has also written more broadly about sexual harassment in comics, including stories about longtime DC editor Julius Schwartz (which is disappointing to me, as I love his comics work over the years, but I don’t doubt that it’s true).

There is nothing terribly surprising in this. Organizations in these cases have an ugly tendency to protect their own — and “their own” is invariably the person with authority or seniority, not the low-ranked employee. This is not particularly a comics thing: all organizations protect their own, from the Catholic Church to the military. But that’s no excuse.

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Undead sexist cliches: strong women are unbelievable women (#SFWApro)


(Art uncredited, all rights to current holder)

Sara C. Roethle discusses an article by one Nathan Albertson arguing that The Force Awakens‘ Rey is completely ridiculous and so are all other female fighters in fiction (Wonder Woman, Ripley, Black Widow, etc.) Albertson quotes the Bible saying things like “weak as women” which proves therefore women are weaker than men. And a woman just can’t beat up a man, anyway. And besides, women just shouldn’t do stuff like that (the same argument John C. Wright has made). It’s unfeminine, and denies the fundamental difference between the sexes: men are most manly when they protect the woman, woman is most feminine when she lets the man be the boss. And besides, doesn’t the fact movies keep making the men the real heroes and showing women worrying about having boyfriends and kids prove that even Hollywood knows what women are really like?

Roethle makes good points about the fact a trained woman can indeed take down a man, and that Rey is no more ridiculous in a fight than if Finn were doing the same things. I recommend reading her piece, but I’ll add a couple more points:

•Lots of women have been formidable fighters. Mary Read and Anne Bonney were pirates. Women cross-dressed as men to fight in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and countless European wars. Russian women worked as everything from snipers to fighter pilots (the “Night Witches”). The amazons of Dahomey (women selected as the king’s elite royal guard).

•The fact that movies keep writing in stereotypes such as Of Course All A Woman Wants Is A Boyfriend/Baby, does not prove that they’re true. This is an annoyingly common argument: the fact that many people are scared of black men proves blacks are dangerous; the fact that stereotypes are race specific (Jews are tight with money, Irish drink, French are great lovers) proves they’re true (otherwise why would they fasten on a particular race/nationality). No. And no. Believing in negative (or positive) stereotypes doesn’t prove they’re true.

•And while it’s a minor point, describing Ripley of the Alien films as “godmother of them all” is just wrong. Wonder Woman predated her. So did the Black Widow. And Jirel of Joiry, shown above.

For bonus sexism, here are some articles from the Federalist (not a direct link) explaining how patriarchy makes women happier than feminism because both women and men want the man in charge (which is why, according to the Federalist, women also like Fifty Shades of Grey). You know I think we’re long past the point where anti-feminists can pretend they’re “defending tradition” — women have had legal equality for more than 40 years, and second-wave feminism has been around just as long. Whatever Mollie Hemingway and the other writers at feminist want to drag us back to, it no longer counts as tradition any more than trial by combat or the divine right of kings.

•And since I’m in this vein, let’s remember David Goyer’s declaration that the super-strong She-Hulk is really a male fantasy, because (his theory) guys dream about being strong enough to bed her. Because obviously she wouldn’t just sleep with you because she likes you or you’re sexy, you have to be strong enough to take her down. This is another Undead Sexist Cliche about strong women, that the guy has to be stronger than she is to be worthy of her/interesting to her. Only Superman can date Wonder Woman. Red Sonja will only accept a man who can outfight her (Marvel’s version, Robert E. Howard’s was different). The idea has cropped up other places to. And yes, it is a kind of male fantasy (guy attains the unattainable woman by surpassing her). But She-Hulk’s never played by that rule, so Mr. Goyer, you’re full of it.

For more on this topic, check out a previous Undead Sexist Cliche post.

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Politics, starting with the state where I live

NC Governor Pat McCrory distorts the effects of our state’s new anti-gay&transgender bill (although he has tweaked it slightly). And contrary to reports about how banning trans people from the “wrong” restroom is to protect women and children, more Republicans have been arrested for sex crimes in bathrooms than trans-people (in fairness the crimes were having sex in a restroom, which is not something I’m overly horrified at).

•In Indiana, a delegate to the Republican delegate expresses doubts about Trump’s electability. An anonymous email warns him he’s going to be doxxed and that he’d better go into hiding.

•Indiana now requires all fetuses be buried, whether aborted or miscarried. Indiana women are updating the governor on their periods, just to show they’re following the law. Shakezula weighs in.

•A proposed bill in New York State would require drivers post-accident be subject to phone checks on whether they were texting/playing games etc. before the accident.

Now, moving onto non-geographic issues—

•There’s no right-winger so extreme Ted Cruz refuses his support (well almost. He eventually renounced an anti-gay activist who wants the death penalty for gays, but it took a while). But after all, Repubs have been recruiting support from the far, far right since before this century, so why not? Perhaps it’s not surprising that right-wing First Amendment Is Only For Christians theocrat Bryan Fischer sounds a lot like the Republican front-runners.

•An 18-year-old male Trump supporter wants America’s women to know that “”Misogyny was an issue about maybe 60, 80 years ago … That’s not an issue today. There are a lot bigger fish to fry”

•Scott Lemieux argues the Democrats are further to the left than they’ve been in at least 30 years (I think he’s right, and I think this is a good thing). Case in point.

•We can look at the current political furor as a clash over domination and entitlement.

•I’ve mentioned before that some Republicans are quite open that the purpose of voter-ID bills is to reduce the Democratic vote. Here’s another example.

•No, Paul Ryan is not a safe, sane alternative to Trump and Cruz.

•How much did Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill increase incarceration and reduce crime? Less effect on either than claimed.

•Goldman Sachs is paying $5 billion to settle charges it sold off toxic mortgage securities (i.e., the mortgages weren’t sound) before the financial meltdown.

•Right-wing hack Camille Paglia wants you to know she’s pro-choice but thinks the anti-abortion side is morally superior. More blather at the link.

•Andrew Sullivan, conservative gay columnist (he once accused liberals opposed to the Iraq war of being potential traitors) is astonishingly back in print. As I’ve mentioned before, no matter how wrong warhawk pundits were, their careers don’t suffer.

•Nintendo employee Alison Rapp was harassed online. Nintendo insists its firing her is a complete coincidence.

•Speaking of harassment, the Guardian analyzed its comments and found that women get the most harassment. And feminism and rape are two of the topics that generate the most outrage.


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New And column out

As you probably know, after Donald Trump said women who get abortions should see jail time, a lot of right-to-lifers insisted that of course none of them want that to happen. They’re bullshitting. Some of them apparently don’t; some definitely do; some say they don’t because they know politically that won’t fly. I would bet money many in the latter category would swing to supporting punishment as soon as it did become politically feasible. And as noted at the link, women are already being punished …

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OMG, Barack Obama is a 21st century Jefferson Davis!

Yes, according to one right-wing blogger (not a direct link), because Obama went to Cuba and Cuba criticizes the US, so there you are — “We have not seen an American President so committed to the defeat of the United States since [Confederate president] Jefferson Davis.” Which would seem to make Obama a hero to a lot of Southern conservatives—but in any case, the president’s own speech a year ago at Selma proves he’s a real American:  “What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?”

I bookmarked the speech last year, but never got around to reading it in full. It was well worth it.

•Cory Doctorow suggests that in the age of the Internet of Things, there’s even more virtue in having the right to control access to our data.

•The government has used the All Writs Act to compel Apple and Google to unlock multiple smart phones before the recent dispute.

•The recent freak-out of National Review writers about the filthy poor is in the NR tradition of contemptuous elitism.

•Ta-Nehisi Coates on why he thinks casting Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone ignores what Simone represents.

•A new barrier to abortion: require the fetus get anesthetic to prevent pain (for details of why this is unnecessary and impractical, check the link). And here’s a real sleazebag tactic: pregnancy centers trick teenagers into signing documents that say in the fine print that the signer doesn’t want an abortion and if she gets one, she’s been coerced! Which has no legal status, but in the case at the link, a forced-birth group used the document to sick cops on a teen and her mother. The trick is the brainchild of a right to life group whose founders are also backing Ted Cruz (who is very right-to-life)

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How homosexuality and feminism (allegedly) destroy male friendship

So according to an article on The Federalist, some gays are really just confused men who want friends. But the sexual revolution and the increasing belief (in her assumption) that all close relationships are sexual leads to men and women assuming their close same-sex friendships must be sex-based or why would they feel so happy, so excited, so warm about the other person? As a result, pro-gray propaganda destroys friendship and creates new perverts.

Okay, I can see a couple of friends, in the right time, trying to experiment and see if maybe… but the idea that close friendship will turn straight people completely, permanently gay because of gay rights? Yeah. Right. Just one more thing to try to explain why Gay Is Bad. And slashy assumptions about close same-sex friends go back much further than the era of the openly out. Anti-comics crusader Dr. Wertham, to give one example, was complaining about the homosexual overtones of Batman and Robin back in the closeted age of the 1950s.

Meanwhile, Mike Judge of Acculturated makes the time-honored argument that guys’ nights out are good and healthy and harmless—which I’d generally agree with—and argues this is opposed by feminists (they expect all things to involve men and women equally) and conservatives (who expect a man’s social life to revolve around his family).

Actually while I know feminists object to all-male organizations, networking groups, etc., or events that allow men to talk business while excluding women from the option, I don’t see any political opposition to men just hanging out. There may be personal opposition from guys’ girlfriends and spouses, but I doubt that’s political (most of the complaints seem to be about the amount of time guys’ nights out take up). And I don’t recall any conservatives objecting to it—does Judge have any examples or quotes (not at the article, certainly). Yes, I know feminists have said the personal is political, but I don’t think this stuff is.

And I don’t agree with Judge that “boys night out” is a universally necessary guy thing. Most of my friends are women; I personally don’t feel any gaping hole in my life by not hanging out with all-men groups. Guys’ night out is fun and harmless (I assume) for those who find it fun, but it’s not the stuff of life.

And while we’re on the subject, here’s a Jack Burnley cover (all rights with current holder) showing one classic pair of male friends (later, come to think of it, to inspire the gay couple Apollo and Midnighter).


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Margaret Sanger, David Brooks and of course Donald Trump: political links

•A detailed look at Margaret Sanger’s views on eugenics. The short answer: she had a lot of racist views and had no qualms allying with people who were much worse. However she did not advocate genocide against blacks and believed that like other women, black women would benefit from birth control.

•Just because someone has an Uber or Lyft decal doesn’t mean they’re a driver with the company.

Virginity exams in Afghanistan.

•Mitt Romney criticized Trump for not backing off from his KKK supporters. Result? Right-wing pundits Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham label Romney a liberal. As Slacktivist says, the Klan has a longer terrorism record in America than al Qaeda and done more harm. And some pundits want us to know if a Trump rally starts beating up protesters, it’s the protesters fault.

•One solution to the KKK supporting Trump: claim they’re really liberals. But it isn’t true.

•A look at Obama’s accomplishments in office.

•Businesses do not have to have a privacy policy for your personal data.

•Samantha Field on the “stay at home daughter” movement.

•Undead Sexist Cliches time: Shakezula at LGM looks at a libertarian rant about feminists who think abortion and showing off their bodies are good things.

•David Brooks has the solution to stopping Trump: spread the word about how selfish he is! And that his Trump University was just a scam! In the first place, I doubt that would help (as Slacktivist points out, some evangelicals are already citing Trump as a godless man whom God will use). And as someone who’s listened to right-wingers and libertarians lecture incessantly about how the problem isn’t crooked business, it’s us not being “informed consumers,” the idea of the Republicans suddenly embracing business ethics is … amusing (which is not to say they wouldn’t give it lip service if it would stop the Donald).

•Shakezula again, arguing that Trump isn’t that different from what’s now the mainstream GOP. Case in point, Ted Cruz and his 19 cents-on-the-dollar federal sales tax, along with other tax changes that boost the budget deficit and give most of the benefit to the wealthy.

•Scott Lemieux argues that while the GOP might be able to rally support for a non-Trump candidate (maybe. Possibly), if they shut Trump out at the convention, theyr’e doomed.

•A Russian atheist has been imprisoned for denying the existence of God.

•Georgia’s governor comes out against an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill.

•The GOP candidates on women.

•The Democratic National Committee chair comes down on the side of payday lenders.

•A libertarian law professor argues the fact nobody in Germany had heard of Marco Rubio right after his election proves the mainstream media shut out conservative views. Because how could people not immediately have seen Rubio was a man of destiny and wanted to learn everything about him?

•Another law professor once argued that the Boston Globe getting a Pulitzer for reporting on the Catholic sex abuse scandal was like Osama bin Laden getting a peace prize. Hmm, biased much? (Probably: she’s a Catholic who objected to Notre Dame giving Obama an honorary degree because she considered his politics incompatible with the Church).

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