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Spider-Man gets a new costume! Fans are the same old sexist scum!

Apparently, there’s a new Spider-Man movie in the works, and he’s got a fancy new costume (without nipples, I’m happy to report), and it’s got the hardcore comic fans in a lather. Well, not about the costume. It turns out that a few photos of the actor playing Mary Jane Watson were also leaked, and…she’s not sexy enough for some.

There’s actually 28 pages of people arguing whether Woodley is hot or not, seven times as many as there are talking about the new costume. (Although, like all comment threads, they go off-the-rails after a while. Flicking through, there’s an intense argument over whether the phrase "lipstick on a pig" is sexist, and a fair amount of discussion about porn.)

I hope the people making the movie aren’t as superficial as the ones who want to see it, although I fear there may be some unfortunate feedback between the two groups.

Comments

  1. says

    What makes this even more ridiculous is, if I remember right, her scenes were all apparently getting cut from the film anyway

  2. says

    CX316:

    What makes this even more ridiculous is, if I remember right, her scenes were all apparently getting cut from the film anyway

    Which has what to do with the ugly, misogynistic views under discussion? Her role in the film has nothing to do with the reaction.

  3. says

    Maybe they expected her to look like some of those women in comic books. You know, the ones with several extra joints in various places and boobs filled with helium.

  4. Gregory Greenwood says

    Again we see this absolutely manic response from misogynistic arsehats. It is apparently not enough to disagree with the casting choice, or even to state that the chosen actress is not the choice you would have gone with had you been casting the movie – oh no, nothing less than a frenzy of hateful misogyny will suffice for online sexist jerks.

    It now seems to be standard practice among the more unpleasant depths of comic book fandom to not wait to see how an actress appears in the finished product, and certainly not to judge her on anything so apparently irrelevant as actual acting ability – go straight to offensive commnets about either her notional ‘ugliness’, or lurid and misogynistic descriptions of how ‘hot’ you personally find her to be, depending upon personal taste.

  5. says

    Gregory:

    and certainly not to judge her on anything so apparently irrelevant as actual acting ability

    I’m not sure these assclowns think women are capable of actual acting ability. Women only seem to matter in their fantasy fuel ability and just how much they resemble the not-actually-human depictions of women in comics and fantasy art.

  6. thebookofdave says

    Isn’t the comic book MJ supposed to be the girl-next-door? Seems to me they cast an appropriate actor for the role. As far as the lipstick on a pig metaphor, I never considered using it against a person, and so was oblivious to its possible sexist connotations. The commentary defending its use to describe women has now ruined it for me. I would search for phrases to replace it, but you know what they say about polishing a turd…

  7. says

    I meant that the misogynists getting their fedora on over the whole thing is even more ridiculous than normal because she’s not even IN the film that they’re complaining about her being cast in.

  8. says

    I suspect a lot of the costume complaints are from people who haven’t read the actual comics in a long time. Spidey has gone through various costumes over the years, including the Tony Stark designed “Iron Spider” outfit during the “Civil Wars” period.

  9. fatpie42 says

    This is seriously old news. That article was from February. Did everyone hear about Andrew Garfield’s reaction? He suggested that since the fans were being so idiotic over a female MJ, why not make Spider-Man bi-sexual and make MJ male? He even suggested real-life ‘MJ’, Michael B. Jordan.

    I think there is a problem with Shailene Woodley for the role and its nothing to do with attractiveness. She’s just so damn young. Now admittedly it’s been a couple of years since she was in “The Descendants”, but Andrew Garfield wasn’t really high school age when he was playing a high schooler in the first movie. Putting him alongside someone nearly 10 years younger than him seems like a mistake (though admittedly Emma Stone, who plays Spider-Man’s current girlfriend, is 5 years younger than Andrew Garfield already, so even this may be a pretty spurious complaint).

    I think Woodley is well out of there. She’s happily pursuing projects where she’ll be appreciated.

  10. screechymonkey says

    thebookofdave@7:

    Isn’t the comic book MJ supposed to be the girl-next-door?

    No, not quite. Spider-geekery follows, but let me make clear that I’m not supporting the bullshit asshole fan behavior here:

    In the main Marvel comics continuity, Mary Jane is the niece of Anna Watson, a friend of Aunt May’s. There’s a recurring joke for many issues about how May wants to set Peter up on a blind date with “this nice girl Mary Jane Watson,” who Peter just assumes will be plain/uninteresting/whatever. After dodging the set-up for a while, Peter is finally ambushed when his aunt tells him MJ is on her way over right now. The doorbell rings, Peter answers, and there’s MJ, this redheaded bombshell, who tells him “Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!”

    So right from her first actual appearance, she is established as being very attractive and glamorous. She was initially an aspiring actress and model; at some points during her marriage to Peter she was referred to as a “supermodel,” though I think they tried to scale that back after a while and have her career hit the skids.

    If there was a “girl next door” in Peter’s life, that was Gwen Stacy, although that was a bit of retconning. Initially, comic-Gwen was more like Emma Stone’s movie-Gwen: smart, cool, and confident (as well as gorgeous). As MJ became a recurring character, they started writing Gwen as more of a shrinking violet who cried at the drop of a hat and was the “nice girl” Betty to MJ’s sexy and glamorous Veronica.

    The Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire movies made MJ into the literal girl next door. (As did the Ultimate Spider-Man line of comics.) Kirsten Dunst’s MJ was sort of a combo of MJ and Gwen in my opinion.

    Anyway, it’s pretty funny to complain that a woman who is an actual professional actress isn’t attractive enough to play a character who is a professional actress.

  11. says

    fatpie42:

    This is seriously old news. That article was from February.

    Oh my fucking goodness! Well, that seriously cancels out the misogynistic reaction. The world is now safe for us women, eh?

  12. says

    I find screechymonkey’s analysis quite on the spot.

    Where the more “sexist” fans are concerned, I think they underestimate the abilities of the make-up artists. They aren’t referred to as “artists” for no reason…

    Regards,
    Dr. Mabuse.
    (no, not _that_ one. The _real_ one.)

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 6;

    I’m not sure these assclowns think women are capable of actual acting ability.

    As you say, they probably don’t even think of women as human beings at all, just extras in their toxic sex fantasies, and it doesn’t matter to them whether that ‘fantasy fuel’ is a peice of inanimate art or a living, breathing person, just so long as it pleases their apparently all important peens.

    Women only seem to matter in their fantasy fuel ability and just how much they resemble the not-actually-human depictions of women in comics and fantasy art.

    I have never understood the fixation some people have with that kind of art – not only is it misogynistic and exploitative, but it isn’t even aesthetically pleasing in the abstract. It just looks ridiculous, with visual tropes such as – if you will forgive the terminology – the ‘butt ‘n boob twist’ (that would probably dislodge spinal disks and damage vertebrae if actually attempted by a real person) ensuring that poses look awkward, uncomfortable and even anatomically impossible, when the artist seems to be shooting for (and falling miserably short of) ‘sexy’.

    And then there is the infamous chainmail bikini – a more pointless and ineffectual form of armour is hard to conceive of short of a choclate breast plate. The adverts that annoyingly appear on Freethought Blogs from time to time give examples of both tropes in nauseating abundance.

    My point is that, for myself at least, this stuff doesn’t work as art, even leaving aside the gross misogyny that drips from every brushstroke/pixel.

  14. stevem says

    Re thebookofdave @7:

    … but you know what they say about polishing a turd…

    To jump in with a brief sideline… Gotcha! You didn’t know The Mythbuster’s busted that saying? They actually took a turd and polished it! And it turned out quite snihey. It only *seems* likely to be impossible, but they showed us it *is* possible. Gotcha, QED! <Carry on, everyone>

  15. Fionnabhair says

    Well, had Andrew Garfield (the actor playing Spider-Man) been in charge of things, the role of MJ would have gone to Michael B. Jordan. Of course, that would likely result in the misogyny currently directed at Ms Woodley to become homophobic and racist in nature instead, I’m sure.

  16. Gregory Greenwood says

    mabuse @ 15;

    Where the more “sexist” fans are concerned, I think they underestimate the abilities of the make-up artists. They aren’t referred to as “artists” for no reason…

    Why is sexist in scare quotes here? The sexism of the fan reaction seems pretty unambiguous to me, containing as it does a dehumanising discussion of a woman as if she can be rendered down into nothing more than their negative assessment of her relative physical attractiveness.

  17. says

    I put it in “scare quotes” in order to mark them as not characterised as such by me. Because I didn’t want to place judgement on the forum commenter’s more rabid posts for a very good reason: I didn’t read that far. Having not read it, I didn’t feel comfortable judging them.

  18. zenlike says

    11, fatpie42

    Did everyone hear about Andrew Garfield’s reaction? He suggested that since the fans were being so idiotic over a female MJ, why not make Spider-Man bi-sexual and make MJ male? He even suggested real-life ‘MJ’, Michael B. Jordan.

    Awesome, that should explode some fan-boy’s heads. Never heard of Garfield, but I like his style.

  19. normolsen says

    If you want to see Garfield in a good film, which I’m willing to bet this Spiderman movie will not be, try “Never Let Me Go”.

  20. ck says

    stevem wrote:

    You didn’t know The Mythbuster’s busted that saying? They actually took a turd and polished it!

    Did they? A polished and snihey turd is still a turd. The fact it’s not impossible doesn’t mean it’s not still useless and futile.

  21. Rey Fox says

    Got to say, I’m also liking the cut of Garfield’s jib here.

    The fans, well, I’d say this is why nerds suck, but Spiderman is totally mainstream these days.

  22. carlie says

    Yes, I thought the point of the “polishing a turd” aphorism wasn’t that it was difficult or impossible, but that it was putting a nice cover on something that was still awful/useless. It’s like putting a nice plastic cover on a shitty term paper in hopes that the prettiness will somehow get it an A despite any decent form or content.

  23. Rich Woods says

    If you want to see Garfield in a good film, which I’m willing to bet this Spiderman movie will not be, try “Never Let Me Go”.

    He was outstanding in ‘Never Let Me Go’. Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan just didn’t compare (I really expected Carey Mulligan to shine in it, given her previous work and the established qualities of the character she was given). Sadly the film didn’t live up to the expectation of the novel, overall.

  24. says

    Ew she’s disgusting. They’re spitting on comic books by making an ugly Mary Jane.

    This is telling. He’s not just voicing disagreement, he’s claiming victimization. The “ugly” MJ isn’t a matter of bad judgement, it’s a deliberate conspiracy to ruin the comic books and probably American masculinity as well.

    Does Rush Limbaugh post on these things?

  25. ck says

    @CX316,

    Don’t give them any ideas. There was enough of that when the first Thor movie came out.

  26. Terska says

    She reminds me of Debra Winger. I really liked the Descendants and she was excellent in that movie. How could anyone think she is ugly?

  27. says

    She’s done other movies since the Descendants. I thought Shailene Woodley was good in the Spetacular Now and I’m looking forward to watching her in The Fault in Our Stars. I really don’t understand what the Spiderman fans are complaining about. Why wouldn’t you want an actress who has appeared in good movies?

  28. imthegenieicandoanything says

    They live in a sad, and very small, fantasy world that make no allowance for actual women, however attractive (by current so-called norms). Real women, not always professionally made-up and lit, would necessarily be people with their own ideas, interests and, especially, feelings rather than screens for this sad, empty type of, biologically, male to project the results of their interior monologues upon.

    They can’t be forgiven, really, but there are many far more immediate and horrible people to deal with, or so I would say. Do you really care what these people say? Isn’t it as useless, meaning meaningless, as responding to YouTube comments?

  29. Ichthyic says

    I hope the people making the movie aren’t as superficial as the ones who want to see it, although I fear there may be some unfortunate feedback between the two groups.

    In response, I give you the latest Walking With Dinosaurs movie.

    no further comment is needed imo.

  30. says

    This has been going on for years, the expectation that the women served up for adolescent male (of all ages) wank fodder will be cartoon perfect. I remember a similar pre web meltdown over a photoshoot in :Loaded (I know, I know I was 16 at the time!) magazine where a mole on Carre Otis’s torso had not been airbrushed out. It kept the letters page going for a good few months over whether it was or was not ok for it to be there. Even then I remember thinking it was crazy. I’m glad to see we’ve come to far in twenty years. :(

  31. Max says

    This is very old news, but if I remember correctly, the complaints had more to do with the fact that Mary Jane is supposed to have supermodel-level good looks (she becomes one in the comics). People did the same complaining about Dunst. I don’t happen to agree, but I do not think this is a matter of fanboys thinking women are all their personal fucktoys. No one really complained about Gwen’s casting in both movies after all.

    Ironically, I hear there are a lot of complaints that Woodley is TOO attractive for her role in Divergent.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

  32. says

    I have no intention of seeing the movie (never saw the first one), but my inclination would be to ask, “Can Woodley act?” not “How big is her chest?” or “Why that face?” After the wooden and talentless Kirsten Dunst, anyone would be an improvement.

    Character appearances aren’t written in stone. Nothing says that an actor has to have certain coloured hair or face to play a role. Is there an “official” Robin Hood or Romeo and Juliet look? No, so why does there have to one be for comic characters?

  33. David Marjanović says

    Ew she’s disgusting. They’re spitting on comic books by making an ugly Mary Jane.

    This is telling. He’s not just voicing disagreement, he’s claiming victimization. The “ugly” MJ isn’t a matter of bad judgement, it’s a deliberate conspiracy to ruin the comic books and probably American masculinity as well.

    Are you sure “spitting on” is meant so close to literally?

  34. BeyondUnderstanding says

    I don’t know. While some comments take it a bit far, all groups of fans are guilty of voicing their complaints/opinions when it come to the casting of characters from a particular book. Most of the time, there’s always some downright nastiness when it comes to their comments, in regards to race, sex, physic, etc. People are very passionate about favorite books and comics. Think of all the complaints raised about the castings for Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or The Lord of the Rings. People create an image of book characters, and have a difficult time adjusting to a new, “official” image of that character.

    Comic book castings suffer even more because there’s an actual, (mostly) consistent, image attached with each character. Some think if the movie doesn’t match the comic exactly, it’s going against integrity of the work or something. And to be fair, Mary Jane Watson was a knock-out model, and she was mostly defined by her hotness in the comic. So, it’s not crazy that comic fans would expect a certain level of hotness in the casting. I’m pretty sure if you were to look for a forum in regards to the casting of Christian Grey from 50 Shades of Grey, you will find plenty of the same kind of comments from women. Book-fans are a bit insane about casting, regardless of their gender.

  35. AMM says

    imthegenieicandoanything @33:

    Real women … would necessarily be people with their own ideas, interests and, especially, feelings…

    And I thought these were precisely the qualities that made someone “hot.” Silly me!

    but there are many far more immediate and horrible people to deal with, or so I would say. Do you really care what these people say?

    The problem is that people like this are everywhere, and they dominate the atmosphere pretty much everywhere. Saying women should simply ignore them is a little like saying that black people in the USA South before 1960 should have simply not patronized “whites only” restaurants.

    (For the benefit of people who think that history started some time around, say, 1990, let me point out that at that time, virtually all restaurants in the South (and a lot in other parts of the USA) were “whites only,” as were most facilities. Black people had to ask around among other black people to find out about the few places in town where they were allowed to eat, sit, drink water, or even use the toilet.)

  36. says

    And to be fair, Mary Jane Watson was a knock-out model, and she was mostly defined by her hotness in the comic.

    Having a female character mainly defined by her hotness isn’t really a great counter to accusations of sexism, though. It just means that she was a two-dimensional character to begin with; not a real person, but just part of the background for spidey’s story.

  37. screechymonkey says

    Max@38, Beyond Understanding @42,

    I don’t have a problem with fans complaining that a particular actress isn’t like they pictured, or doesn’t resemble the depictions in the source material.

    I don’t even object to someone saying that they don’t think that a particular actress is the kind of super-attractiveness they think is required for the role — but that is a point that can be made without the kind of “ew, gross, what a pig” type comments. (As noted in my comment earlier, the whole “MJ is a supermodel” thing was hardly a permanent feature of the comics. And even then, is the difference between “model” and “supermodel” really a question of attractiveness?)

    Though I have to say that my main reaction to such comments is not really one of offense, but laughter. It says much about the people writing such comments, and nothing about Woodley.

  38. says

    Are you sure “spitting on” is meant so close to literally?

    No, I’m quite sure it was a metaphor. But that doesn’t change anything.

    Of course I may just be overreacting. The the War on Christmas season does that to me.

  39. BeyondUnderstanding says

    @LykeX at 44

    Having a female character mainly defined by her hotness isn’t really a great counter to accusations of sexism, though.

    The accusations of sexism, however, were not aimed at the Spiderman series, but at the fans criticizing the actress picked.

    OP:

    a few photos of the actor playing Mary Jane Watson were also leaked and …she’s not sexy enough for some.

    Which, for a character who’s supposed to be a supermodel, her sexiness is a legit concern, no? I don’t agree, since I’m fine with movies adapting/changing source material. Some are not. I also do not condone any nasty comments (regardless of who says them).

    I’m just trying to point out that many book fans get outraged over casting choices and many descend into downright nastiness, not just male comic book fans.

  40. stripeycat says

    Sexiness is so personal, though, and these brats are demanding that we all share their vision. I can remember crying in the car-park at a party because I’d overheard some boys say my evening gown made me look like Arwen in the LoTR films – whom I thought plain and badly dressed. (A long-suffering friend had to explain it had been intended as a compliment before she could talk me into coming back inside – if she ever sees this, or any of the guys I asked for second opinions, I’m sorry I had my head firmly up my arse at that age.) If you can’t learn that your personal tastes don’t get to dictate reality for everyone else, you need a LART upside the head. I think the important concept is “learn”, in this context as in all others. Being an egocentric idiot until you’re called on it is one thing; keeping going in the face of rebuke is quite another.

  41. vaiyt says

    Anyway, it’s pretty funny to complain that a woman who is an actual professional actress isn’t attractive enough to play a character who is a professional actress.

    Extra ridiculous when you take into account that Hollywood already self-selects women performers for a narrow set of body types and physical traits. So they’re looking at someone who was ALREADY judged to be a cut above average, and complaining that she’s too average.

  42. douglasmcfarland says

    So because some vocal “fans” of Spider-man espouse dumb ass opinions all fans of Spider-man are sexist scum??? It seems like a gross sweeping overgeneralization to me is all I am saying. I am understanding that it doesn’t say all fans but is definitely ambiguous enough to be read that way. Why not be more clear? And no I am not a fan of Spider-man although I did watch the cartoon from the seventies with the catchy theme song. I would be willing to bet that a not insignificant percentage of people who consider themselves Spider-man fans aren’t terribly concerned or troubled with the costume design choices for MJP. For some reason I feel that if this post even makes it up some contingent of people will berate me. The headline reads poorly to me and I truly believe that every person deserves to be judged as an individual for their specific views, actions and espoused beliefs and not lumped into a group and judged wholesale. Maybe I am wrong or maybe that isn’t what this short blurb says or does.

  43. Chaos Engineer says

    So because some vocal “fans” of Spider-man espouse dumb ass opinions all fans of Spider-man are sexist scum???

    No, just the ones who acted like sexist scum, and the ones who gave tacit approval to the ones who acted like sexist scum.

    “Tacit approval” is a bit tricky to figure out and to some extent it’s a matter of individual conscience. In general, if you’re talking to someone in real life, and they act like sexist scum, then it’s almost always a good idea to tell them to stop doing that. But you can’t be expected to try to respond to every single random sexist on the Internet, so it’s up to you where to draw the line.

    Now, here’s the tricky part: If a third party (in this case Dr. Myers) is criticizing sexist scum, then you can’t criticize him for doing that without giving tacit approval to the sexist scum. You can side with him, or you can decide that it’s not your fight and walk on, but those are really the only valid options.

    (The specific criticism you’re making is a pointless semantic quibble, and everyone here can see through it. No one thinks Dr. Myers is saying that every single fan is a sexist. He’s clearly discussing the well-known sexism problem that infects fandom-as-a-whole; a problem that every individual fan has a moral obligation to help solve.)

    For some reason I feel that if this post even makes it up some contingent of people will berate me.

    Good. That means that you understand on some level that what you’re doing is wrong.

  44. John Horstman says

    @LykeX #44: Yeah, “The fans aren’t sexist, the original story is!” isn’t really a defense. All that does is say that the fans of Spider Man are fans of a comic that uses sexist tropes, which suggests a certain degree of sexism on the part of the fans. It’s absolutely possible for, say, a feminist to be a fan of a text that uses sexist tropes; the telling bit is that the non-sexist/anti-sexist viewer will APPLAUD the abandoning of those tropes in an adaptation, not complain about it.

  45. John Horstman says

    @BeyondUnderstanding #47:

    Which, for a character who’s supposed to be a supermodel, her sexiness is a legit concern, no?

    As above, only if one thinks that a particular, narrow, normative kind of ‘sexiness’ is an important aspect of a supermodel or of the character or that the supermodelness of the character is important. All of those are sexist views: they’re only ‘legitimate’ concerns in the sense that they’re legitimately sexist concerns.

  46. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    So because some vocal “fans” of Spider-man espouse dumb ass opinions all fans of Spider-man are sexist scum??? It seems like a gross sweeping overgeneralization to me is all I am saying.

    While people in the social justice community have gotten somewhat better about doing it on their own, for reasons that have never been really explained, asking someone to explicitly insert a word like “some” or “many” or “entirely too many (and with far too little pushback from most of the people in the group who aren’t actually doing this)” when condemning a behavior which is, in and of itself, exhibited by a part of an identifiable group of people is considered to be an unacceptably onerous and burdensome demand, to the point where making the request is often equivocated with, for instance, insisting that you cannot possibly have made the specific misstep people are accusing you of because you’re SUCH A GOOD ALLY via a lazy dismissal invoking “asking for a cookie” (because apparently no one can possibly consider “saying what you mean” to have intrinsic value without ulterior motives). This is apparently a feature, not a bug.

    On the other hand, if more people were putting as much effort into protesting this kind of shitty, sexist behavior as they put into bristling at being tarred with the same brush, there’d probably be less of it to condemn in the first place. Just saying.

  47. anteprepro says

    While people in the social justice community have gotten somewhat better about doing it on their own, for reasons that have never been really explained, asking someone to explicitly insert a word like “some” or “many” or “entirely too many (and with far too little pushback from most of the people in the group who aren’t actually doing this)” when condemning a behavior which is, in and of itself, exhibited by a part of an identifiable group of people is considered to be an unacceptably onerous and burdensome demand

    I am getting sick of the demand, because it should be obvious that when any given person is talking about Group A, they are not talking about every member of Group A unless we are talking about incredibly common traits or we are talking about incredibly small group. I am too lazy to say that every time I am mentioning a characteristic of a large group, I am talking about “in general”, “on average”, “for most of them”, etc. Because I am not a magician and real world people have very few universals that aren’t so obvious that I wouldn’t even need to mention them. Basically, I wish people would interpret such statements as statistical observations rather than deductive arguments. “A significant portion” should be the default assumption when you are talking about such things , not “all of them”. I think of there were any area where one should apply this legendary “principle of charity” to other people’s arguments, it is on this issue. The issue of not mentally inserting in “all” by default and then laughing at how wrong they are for not saying “75% of”. I blame the language. And also society.

  48. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I’m pretty sure “demanding to be read charitably” is also considered unacceptable. But okay.

  49. tacotaco says

    Isn’t the comic book MJ supposed to be the girl-next-door? Seems to me they cast an appropriate actor for the role.

    Ah, so they cast an ugly actor because the character is supposed to be ugly… like all girls-next-door, apparently. Thanks for clearing that up.

  50. douglasmcfarland says

    On the other hand, if more people were putting as much effort into protesting this kind of shitty, sexist behavior as they put into bristling at being tarred with the same brush, there’d probably be less of it to condemn in the first place. Just saying.

    True. I read through the comments on this blog and didn’t see anyone bring up what I posted so I wanted to see what people thought. If I implied that I was bristling or personally offended I need to improve my writing and communication skills. The only fans of Spider-man I actually know are like 5-13 year old boys. If the story were written to have better more interesting female characters and roles it would probably appeal to girls too. Again I don’t feel I can be too critical of the film or films because I haven’t seen them. When it comes to blockbusters I really only go in for Star Trek and Tolkien movies as of late.

    I also don’t think that anywhere in my post I asked anyone to say or write anything differently only “why this way?”. I feel that I would have had the same reaction if I read “Atheists are sexist scum” or “Hippies are brain dead stoners”. So maybe I am not understanding the first part of your post or anteprepros response to it.

  51. douglasmcfarland says

    Now, here’s the tricky part: If a third party (in this case Dr. Myers) is criticizing sexist scum, then you can’t criticize him for doing that without giving tacit approval to the sexist scum. You can side with him, or you can decide that it’s not your fight and walk on, but those are really the only valid options.

    It must be tricky because I don’t understand the logic of the statement. I don’t approve of sexist scum. I would not knowingly lend tacit or explicit approval to sexist scum. You can explain to me how the one quibble I specifically made of “over generalization” lends tacit approval to sexist scum. That would be approval not stated but implied.

    (The specific criticism you’re making is a pointless semantic quibble, and everyone here can see through it. No one thinks Dr. Myers is saying that every single fan is a sexist. He’s clearly discussing the well-known sexism problem that infects fandom-as-a-whole; a problem that every individual fan has a moral obligation to help solve.)

    Yes it is a semantic quibble the point of which was me wondering “why the generalization?” because had it been something I was going to express I would have qualified it. That is just how I am. I believe semantics are somewhat important because we can fairly easily say precisely what we mean. See through it? What is on the other side of it? I honestly don’t understand what is being implied here and I don’t want to guess. I don’t think that Dr. Myers is saying that every single fan is a sexist. I am a fan of much (qualifying here because I haven’t read or heard everything that he expresses) of what Dr. Myers says which is the reason I occasionally visit FTB and read what he writes.

    Good. That means that you understand on some level that what you’re doing is wrong.

    Unfortunately for me I guess I don’t understand that what I am doing is wrong. I very clearly said that I could be wrong but having a wrong idea is not doing wrong especially when one is willing to correct or amend what one thinks in the face of evidence and sound argument as I am and often do. To me it seems more wrong to imply that I should never have written in the first place because something I read seemed to me needlessly sweeping and general even if I am mistaken in my criticism. I am not some super genius like many here. I have 105 IQ and never graduated high school. Many people could probably benefit from interacting with participants in pharyngula discussion but most wouldn’t dare enter the discussion.

  52. Chaos Engineer says

    It must be tricky because I don’t understand the logic of the statement. I don’t approve of sexist scum. I would not knowingly lend tacit or explicit approval to sexist scum. You can explain to me how the one quibble I specifically made of “over generalization” lends tacit approval to sexist scum. That would be approval not stated but implied.

    The problem is that people who are sexist scum don’t realize they’re sexist scum. If one person calls them out, they’ll just shrug and say, “That one person is over-sensitive. What I’m doing is just normal behavior; it’s all in good fun and nobody else has a problem with it.” That’s why it’s important for the community-as-a-whole to call out bad behavior. Comic-book fandom has been doing a poor job of this.

    So when you say something like, “Sexist scum are a fringe group; they’re not representative of the community-as-a-whole”, what the sexist scum think is “I’m not on the fringe, so he’s not talking about me. I’m clearly in the mainstream; look at all the people on this Internet forum who agree with me. So I can keep on doing what I’ve been doing.” And other people will think, “Good, sexism is no longer a big problem, so I don’t need to think about it unless it affects me personally. And since I’m part of a demographic that’s not likely to be personally affected, that means I don’t need to think about it at all.”

    What you could have said is something like, “But the sexist comments were coming from about five posters, and there were lots more people calling them out.” or “The sexist comments dominated that one forum, but it’s known as the last refuge for people who aren’t welcome on any of the mainstream sites.” Those would have been valid defenses if they had been true.

  53. douglasmcfarland says

    Okay. I wasn’t trying and don’t want to say that sexist scum don’t exist or aren’t a big deal so we should just go about our business. I may have sexist notions that I am unaware of but I do try to be a good feminist. I have read a fair bit of feminist literature. This was in all likely-hood a poor choice of topic especially to post on a blog of someone who’s ideas I admire and respect especially for the first time. That is the reaction I had however and for me it made it more difficult to see the bad behavior the post was trying to illustrate. I honestly thought to myself “my 7 year old nephew isn’t sexist scum… at least not yet.”. Obviously I am irrationally sensitive but that is how I am. I don’t know how to change that and by my best estimation I am representative of some subset of people who take things personally when they aren’t meant that way. It is a constant struggle of telling myself as much but it never sinks in. It is an emotional reaction as far as I can tell. It may be a negative reaction but it is also at least partially where my sense of social justice comes from. I mean I get offended for perceived slights against others as well.

  54. Anri says

    Chaos Engineer @ 51:

    Now, here’s the tricky part: If a third party (in this case Dr. Myers) is criticizing sexist scum, then you can’t criticize him for doing that without giving tacit approval to the sexist scum. You can side with him, or you can decide that it’s not your fight and walk on, but those are really the only valid options.

    So, if the Catholic Church is critical of the Westboro Baptist Church because they aren’t “following the true message of Jesus”, I can’t be critical of the Catholics without siding with Westboro?

    Heck. I thought it would be perfectly reasonable to say “No, the reason WBC is horrible has to do with real people, not with Making Baby Jesus Cry,” but that’s apparently tacit approval of the WBC.
    Or something.

    Kinda like if, hypothetically I dunno, Richard Dawkins were to be critical of oh let’s say Islam, we couldn’t say that Dawkins was off the mark without defending Islam, right?
    Oh, wait…

    I don’t think PZ was off of the mark in particular with this criticism, but if he was, I wouldn’t have any problems being harsh on both sides.