I don't usually post about this sort of thing. This is a blog where I review comics and sometimes chat about comics in general because reading and collecting comics is one of my hobbies.
But I'm a middle-aged, liberal feminist who has seen too much shit slung online and offline that sometimes, I have to not ignore it the way I usually do. Some people will never get it and you'll never be able to convince them that they're bigoted douches. Yet sometimes, a person just has to try. Maybe someone might see themselves in my words and think next time before saying something stupid.
There's a war going on these days, and women are in the crosshairs. The post that inspired this post is on Stars and Garters and is about Kelly Sue DeConnick, a writer I know little about, though I did read her story arc in Supergirl a few years ago. It is a sad state of affairs that too many people, mostly male people, assume a woman's success is due to the men she knows.
At a time when men in Congress are trying to control the female reproductive system, and even a few women holding political office seem to have no clue how the female body works -- did they stop teaching basic biology in high school at some point? -- it seems silly to fuss over idiotic comments on social websites, but those mean-spirited, spiteful comments are symptoms of something bigger.
The internet allows for anonymity and it, like alcohol, strips away people's inhibitions. What they might be too cowardly or polite to say to someone's face, slips readily out through fingers on keyboards and touch screens, things I doubt they would say to their mothers. Now that male politicians and legislators are saying these stupid, hateful things, more men likely will feel encouraged to speak up in real life, too. And that's what really gets me. Every man and boy was born of a woman's womb. Even if that mother wasn't part of their life as they grew up, a woman was as responsible for their life as was a man, and to disrespect women is so very wrong on so many levels. The amount of hate and ignorance driving these people is mind boggling, especially when you add in the people who do it to fit in with their so-called peers. This is bullying, folks, plain and simple.
Some men who spew this sort of idiocy don't realize how hurtful their words can be. They're laughing and cyber bumping elbows with other idiots who share their immature, locker room mentality. They've never experienced the anxiety a woman might feel walking into a subway car full of men. In the same situation, they wouldn't be thinking "I could get raped tonight," but it's always in a woman's mind. They haven't had to deal with the discomfort of having men whistle at them and call obscenities at them. Those men think they're flattering the poor woman, but to the woman, those catcalls can feel like an invasion or worse, a prelude to something more, something worse, a threat or possibly a physical attack. Sure, there might be men who have experienced this -- the rise in gay bashing will attest to that -- but I doubt many straight men know this particular fear.
So, too, do the lewd comments feel like an attack, be they sneers at a cosplayer at a con or smack talk in a blog post's comments. Men take liberties with women, trying to put them in their place. But they'll do it to men they perceive as weak, especially the men who dare post in support of a woman.
To too many men, it is inconceivable that women are capable, competent, and talented. They can't believe a woman could rise to a high level success on their ability and talent alone. Sure, sometimes, it helps to know someone to open a door, but that's true for men, too. It's despicable for anyone to imply that anyone got ahead for who they know or who their relatives are, but it's an easy bet that this happens more to women than men.
All a true feminist wants is equality. Equal treatment. Fridge male and female characters equally. Objectify equally. ;) But also, more importantly, treat people, and characters, with respect. As you would want to be treated. Men can be feminists, too. Everyone has a stake in equal treatment and equal opportunities. And no one should be treated like a second class citizen. Certainly, they shouldn't be treated the way Kelly Sue DeConnick has been treated by the idiots, just because she happens to make a living writing comic books.