Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Heartfelt Appreciation

I never intended to post on the subject of "How to Make Money Like a Porn Star". I've never read the comic. I have no interest in reading the comic. I have also never read "Lost Girls". Shelling out 80 dollars for what amounts to glorified femmeslash doesn't appeal to me, Alan Moore or not.

I have no opinion of whether one is better than the other. I have no interest in said subject and if it weren't for the fact that the various discussions surrounding made for a workable Point/Counterpoint piece for Newsarama, I would have been comfortable enough not acknowledging it at all.

However, this post from Occasional Superheroine has finally mattered enough to me to provoke a response.

I have a lot of respect for the proprietor of this blog. She's thoughtful and intelligent, fun to read. But this entry did something very few things over the internet are capable of doing for me.

This entry sent me into a BLIND CAPS-LOCK ABUSING RAGE.

It's a novel feeling, one that is rare and thus appreciated.

So I thank you for that.

Thank you, for belittling the sincere efforts of female comics fans in making our voices heard.

Thank you, for implying that the sole reason any of us complain about matters such as the over use of rape or dehumanization of female characters is out of some sort of misguided attempt to change the industry.

Thank you, for not acknowledging that sometimes we express our horror, anger or disgust simply because the object deserves to have such feelings expressed.

Thank you, for caricaturing the whole of online comics feminism into a blind, regulation happy, creativity stifling bunch of feminazis who can only be happy with a list of impossible, idiotic rules.

Thank you, for reducing us into some sort of hive mind that all blindly rage at the same issues with the same priorities.

Thank you, for including on the aforementioned list of rules, that no woman should be portrayed above a C-cup, which, when considering that real women do occasionally exceed this measurement, satirizes us as misogynistic and self-hating as well

Thank you, for constructing this image that is so very much like those that our opponents use to deride and lambast all those who take up the feminist cause.

Thank you, for providing our opponents with another weapon to use against us.

Thank you, for reminding me of my feminist pride.

Because, frankly put, I don't care about "How to Make Money Like a Porn Star". I don't care about "Lost Girls". I DO care about feminism. I may not be as outspoken or direct as most. But I AM a feminist and I'm proud of that.

And I don't care to be derided, caricaturized or belittled, not even by one of my own.

Labels: ,


  • At October 18, 2006 11:26 AM, Blogger Elayne said…

    Melissa, I think the "Cassie Code" bit was a little like Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" - that is, it was designed as deliberately exaggerated so as to be satirical. The Video Store Girl knows very well that a "Cassie Code" is about as restrictive as a "Comics Code" (perhaps more so), but you start reading and go "hmm, that would have merit if you'd tone it down a bit..." then you realize none of it is enforceable or practical which is her point.

    You can disagree with her premise, as Lisa does today, but don't get caught making the mistake that the Cassie Code stuff is serious.

  • At October 18, 2006 12:03 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Year, well I read this too, and got a little pissed at the condecension. I don't really care if the superwomen have ginormous breasts...I love Peej after all...all I want is them to tone down all the rape for cryin' out loud!

  • At October 18, 2006 12:43 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Yes. Toned-down, more civilized rape, please.

  • At October 18, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    elayne: I know it was a satire. That's why I was angry. I felt (and still feel, to some extent) that her satire was actively belittling what feminists are actually fighting for.

    She's not defending feminists here, she's mocking them. And doing it in a way that's belittling and condescending.

    I understand her intent was to show the impossibility of such a code, but the truth is that very few feminists are asking for anything resembling a set of uniform rules. She's basically using an extremist characterization and rather than say "I'm just targeting a few fanatics", she's using broad generalities to imply it to a whole group.

    Which naturally portrays her as completely reasonable, if only by comparison to those crazy feminists who actually want to put RULES on COMICS.

    It's the strawman argument. The "feminazi" portrayal. Enemies of feminism use it all the time to portray their opponents as unreasonable and crazy supremists. It really upsets me to see that the tactic isn't limited to the enemy.

    sallyp: Yeah. That's my issue here. If she'd left off that stupid code and the condescension I'd be more likely to not mind the rest...though I certainly disagree.

    But that post equates a simple reasonable desire with a bunch of extremist demands.

    the dane: For the purposes of storytelling, I certainly wouldn't mind that.

  • At October 18, 2006 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "And I don't care to be derided, caricaturized or belittled, not even by one of my own."

    I imagine it must be ESPECIALLY frustrating/annoying when this is done by "one of [your] own"

    Good post, Kalinara!

  • At October 18, 2006 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My heartfelt appreciation for writing this.

  • At October 19, 2006 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not familiar with the said blog, I may not be a fair judge (I read the entry). It has good intention. But I didn't sense a satire. A satire is, of course, about being hysterical, outrageous, and mocking and exaggerating. But exaggerating what? Swift exaggerated English imperialism, and his clear position was that those who thought beating up those dirty Irish’s OK was smoking crack. But what did the author of the blog entry exaggerate? Feminist blogger's supposed tendency to demand "polic[ing]" the industry and creative process? Feeling some social progress was made by calling Frank Miller a dirt-eatin’ pig?

    Sure, there may be some like that, but all? Satire should be based on truthful observation of the given situation, and righteous anger thereof is the motivation. If a satirist misses the mark of reality check, then it's called something else (punditry?)

    As to the author’s skepticism over the 100 posts about how Frank Miller is studid; To make a satire out of comics bloggers who want to see things done better and right in an influential mass consumer medium is like making a satire out of a civil rights worker in America who needs to shut up cuz things are much worse in Africa. That fact doesn't prevent us from calling bullshit on bullshit.

  • At October 19, 2006 7:54 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    nenena and chuck: Thanks for the support.

    anon: I agree completely with everything you've said. This...really sit ill with me.

  • At October 19, 2006 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A little history
    The Comic Code Authority was founded by censoring extremests after a real incident (the Swampthing "incest" Cover) raised concerns. This resulted in the establishment of the mature reader lins. Which has actually benifited the industry.

    That said the CCA is now an injoke amoung us against censorship.


    Please don't hit the guy in the wheelchair, he's alreadyb crippled;)

  • At October 19, 2006 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The CCA was actually created in 1954, long before the Swamp Thing stuff went down. A group of comic publishers got together after Wertham raised up a storm (and lost, a lot of people don't know that) and decided to set up their own censorship body to avoid government regulation. I still maintain that it was kind of a coward's move that kept comics down for ages, but I think that DC may be the only company left that still actively uses the code on a few of its titles.

    Comics and rating systems/content guidelines is probably a whole other conversation, though.

  • At October 19, 2006 2:48 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    I'm pretty sure you know I was joking, Kali :) I think the surreality of a civil rape just got the better of me. kinda like Strangelove's No Fighting in the War Room bit.

    As far as the post that made you so mad, I don't quite have the same reaction as you (likely because I cannot take it as personally). I think she's welcome to her opinion that the expression of the fangirl community via blogs and liveJournals will do little to effect change in the industry. I don't necessarily agree that feminist blogging won't help the situation either.

    As far as the satirical bit, do you really think she was aiming at you so much? Your posts have always struck me as pretty thoughtful and useful - even in those cases where I disagree with you. Still there's a whole gaggle of bloggers who don't get it, who - in the name of their cause - alienate people from their cause. Probably about a tenth or so of the articles I read linked from WFA are seriously deserving of skewering or satire or what-have-you.

    I think what helps here is that this isn't some outsider satirizing the whole movement, belittling any and everyone who blogs about women in comics, demanding better from the creators. I think audience matters here. I read this as more of a call to a community from within the community to take more seriously the goals of the community. She may not be the most gifted satirist, but honestly, her point shouldn't be over-looked entirely. The ridiculously ridiculous Super Girl merited one or two really good posts, but the proponderance of Gak! She has no underwears! Ma Kent made her a skanky costume! Ourage! really does get tiresome, if only because most of the posts really have nothing to say other than to point and rage.

    Re: "And I don't care to be derided, caricaturized or belittled, not even by one of my own." I can only say, "Who does?" and reiterate that I don't think she was doing that to you.

    Of course, I'll allow that I'm quite wrong :)

  • At October 19, 2006 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks David and if you read even the ones that are aproved you begin to wonder about rubberstamping, which of course increases the joke:)

  • At October 19, 2006 4:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    green and david: :-) Cool. I admit I know NOTHING about the CCA.

    dane: I know she didn't mean me, actually. Or Ragnell. Or possibly Karen Healey. Or Mary Borsellino. Or the women at Sequential Tart. Or Elaine Riggs. Or Carla Hewitt. Or any of the women on my blogroll.

    (I say possibly to Karen Healey, as one small part of me finds the timing of all this a little...suspicious.)

    The thing is, she doesn't say "I'm targetting this one group of extremists." If she said that, I'd have no problem. I've done that myself in my Christianity rant.

    What annoys me is that she doesn't specify. She creates this spectre of extreme feminism which, without any such qualifier, reads as though attributed to the whole.

    It's stupid. It makes it seem that her actual point (which has a lot of valid elements, and is not one I actually necessarily disagree with) can't stand on it's own, without the strawman to contrast herself with. ("See I'm reasonable compared to THEM!")

    I admit a lot of my anger is overreaction and over-sensitivity, but the strawman technique is one of the main weapons used against the feminist movement. The "feminazi" is the image designed to keep us portrayed as unreasonable bitch-crusaders out to supplant and crush men under the heels of our incredibly sensible shoes. (c.f. "the PC police")

    It just really gets me annoyed and angry to see a colleague resort to the same harmful and cheap technique.

  • At October 19, 2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I like you and one of the reasons is that you don't point at a Vicki Vale ass shot and scream foul. You very well might, but you point out things that are still cheesecake (or beefcake).

    You can appreciate a sexy pose from Power Girl, because she isn't just sexy, she's strong, smart, and accomplished.

    I don't have a problem with an artist drawing Vicki Vale in her underwear. But, that was way over the top. It's one thing to have a close up of her ass or to have a couple of panels of her in sexy lingerie. It's another thing when it was part of six pages of Vicki Vale being in her underwear, then followed up with her being in a skin tight dress that looked painted on, and then to have a male cop hit her.

    That being said, I do think way too much attention is being spent on stupid stuff, like this stupid arguement about Supergirl's new costume.

    First, I believe most of it is being generated by fans of Peter David's Supergirl and John Bryne's Man of Steel. They are upset that some silver and bronze age aspects of the Superman characters are back. That these are obviously different characters completely escapes them and ironically it's them that can't "get over."

    Second, it's obvious she's wearing spankies, like a cheerleader. And, that costume is far less "skankier" then what she wore in the seventies (low cut blouse, hot pants, choker, and go go boots).

    Again, my problem with the character is that bullshit evil thing every single powerful woman now seems to have. Superman and Thor don't have this problem, but push the wrong buttons and apparently the Invisible Woman starts dressing like a dominatrix and commiting acts of evil. Superman who can destroy a planet as easy as one sneezes is okay, but Jean Grey can't handle too much power.

    Stories about a teenage alien living on a planet with issues of alienation, politics, race, religion, etc. is something that not only current comic readers like me would like, but might actually attract girls to the book as well.

    Anyway, I'm proably rambling, so I'll stop.

  • At October 19, 2006 5:13 PM, Blogger Seth T. Hahne said…

    Fair enough! And I agree that the lack of limitations presented leads to ambiguity, which of course leads almost inevitibly to brand confusion - of which you are currently feeling as victim. I think you're probably justified, but just wanted to offer another view.

    And I'm not sure what Karen Healey has said recently that could be seen as touching this off, but my personal feeling is that she probably deserves any satire that comes her way. I confess I only occasionally can bring myself to read her posts because I find them so damaging to any kind of sensible feminism. Despite the fact that she shares some of the same goals as those who really want Good Things for Women in Comics (and despite perhaps her desire for such Things), she does not really help anyone get closer to that at all. If anything, I think she alienates the sensible.

    At least, she alienates me (and I like to imagine myself sensible).

    This is not necessarily to say that she's bad or incompetent or anything like that. I just think that her vitriolic style (which would be amusing if she weren't discussing anything of Very Great Importance) has a tendency to end discussion before it can begin. That kind of talk-show host ranting is great for bandwagoneering and preaching to a mob, but isn't that great for wooing those on the fence - let alone those who really don't get it yet.

    So yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing a site devoted to satirizing her Girl-Wonder columns. Not because I wish any harm on the noble Girls in Comics goals, but because the people who actively damage noble goals by their purported support need to learn to censor themselves.

    It's for this reason that I would pay nearly any amount to stop the mouths of people like Jerry Falwell, who muddy the reputation of my beliefs with nearly everything they say.

  • At October 20, 2006 1:58 AM, Blogger Marionette said…

    "One of my own"?

    I don't think I want to be on the same team as her.

  • At October 20, 2006 2:01 AM, Blogger Marionette said…

    Oh, and BTW have you seen who's popped up to agree with her on the comments to the original post?

    It's our old chum, James Meeley!

  • At October 20, 2006 4:40 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    David: I see what you're saying. I occasionally complain about costumes myself, though, sometimes it's fun.

    I know where I stand on the Supergirl issue. Despite the patterns its based off of, I think the suit's design is inappropriate for a teenage character.

    I'm a little prudish. It wouldn't bother me though if it were portrayed as Kara's own creation. That she altered a more conservative costume. But the idea that MARTHA KENT sewed it for her is just plain ridiculous to me.

    It's bad characterization that I complain mostly about.

    But yeah, I definitely find that women-are-inherently-less-stable element really freaking annoying. Related to how if a man loses his wife and kid, he's usually a tragic protagonist. When a woman loses her kids, she usually ends up a villainess.

    It's the hysteria concept. And I HATE it.

    the dane: I do appreciate the other view. I admit. This personally grates against a huge pet peeve. I *like* the blogger in question. It's just in this case, she ticked me off.

    In the case of Karen, I can see why she might alienate some people. Personally though, I admire her a lot. Feminism can be a hard fight, and it's easy to be derided, devalued and discouraged. Fighters like Karen, armed with righteous anger, keep the rest of us going and push forward when we need the momentum the most.

    I can, personally, be a moderate today because of the changes and improvements inacted by crusaders like Karen. :-)

    But I can definitely see how her column isn't for everyone.

    marionette: I had noticed rather...

  • At October 20, 2006 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yep, feminism...the downfall of american society.

  • At October 21, 2006 6:32 PM, Blogger Mickle said…

    Kalinara - I love you so very much right now

  • At November 26, 2006 2:45 AM, Blogger DivaLea said…

    'Scuse me Dave, if I'm not the person you're referring to that "called foul" on the Vicki Vale ass shot, but I didn't just point at that stupid ass shot and cry foul, I objected to the context, the text that accompanied the art in a published book, and the overall peurile and hateful attitude diplayed.

    So, you know, don't try so hard to tell Kalinara you like her because she's not like those other icky feminists by reducing what I and many others had to say to a trivial objection.

    On the other hand, if you didn't mean me, oops.


Post a Comment

<< Home