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Nov 16 2013

Every. Single. One.

Where else? Comics. Doctor NerdLove says about it.

I’m lucky to be friends with a lot of insanely talented people in all walks of the comic industry, from up and coming talents, rising stars and established names, writers, artists and publishers… and every woman I know involved in the comics industry has a story similar to Tess’.

Every. Single. One.

Well…that’s discouraging.

Men in positions of power and authority – creators, editors and publishers, convention runners – making passes and unwelcome remarks or trying to manipulate young and impressionable female creators into sex… talk to enough women in comics and you’d think you were hearing about the goings-on at Sterling Cooper, not about conventions in 2013.

That’s…familiar.

This behavior is enabled by an overwhelming culture of silence, especially when it comes to bad behavior amongst pros.  Women are already socialized to be nice, to be deferential, to avoid attracting attention to themselves and to not make waves…. and this becomes even more pronounced in comics. Comics is an incredibly small industry, where getting a job is as much about your ability to network, make contacts and build relationships as much as it is about sheer talent. A person who’s easy to work with and can hit his or her deadlines is even more highly valued than the temperamental but brilliant writer or the popular illustrator who can’t get his pages turned in on time to save his life. For many women, it’s less daunting to not speak up out of fear of being blacklisted or being labeled “difficult”. It becomes even more of an intimidating prospect when the person who’s been harassing you (or worse) is entrenched in the power structure – a big-name pro, an editor, someone who has more pull in the industry than his accuser.

Are there other fears? Like fears of being harassed and smeared on social media for the rest of your life because you disobeyed the culture of silence? Like fears that the fans of the big-name pro, editor, someone who has more pull in the industry than his accuser, will do their level best to make your life hell from now on forever?

On and on and on it goes.

 

 

2 comments

  1. 1
    Brony

    Which is why posts like this are important. If they can’t work change as effectively from the inside because their livelihood is threatened, than bitingly critical, severe, and unflinching criticism needs to be applied by allies from outside of each industry. Allies in science point at bad behavior in comics, allies in comics point at bad behavior in television, and on an on it goes.

    Of course that sort of thing requires an organizing principle which is why so many people defending bad behavior just can’t stand feminism. It’s an object for more than one group.

    We need to open all the structures up to inspection and introspection. Wide open. No matter how many people squeal when they get connected to something that reflects badly.

  2. 2
    johnthedrunkard

    Problems of ‘money, property, and prestige’ are so omnipresent in relations between men and women that the ‘abuse’ in these professional settings is well within ‘normal’ behavior in ‘normal’ settings.

    To recognize, to acknowledge, the weight of oppression all across a specific community, is to feel an abyss of hopelessness about the whole world of gender and sexuality.

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