Saturday, November 10, 2007

Screw You, Feminist Comics Bitch.

I apologize for that title.

However: I'm betting it made a number of you look, assuming you're following a link from WFA.


And I bet a number of you arrived pretty angry, already forming before you'd even read this far some sort of reply or retort that would tell me off in some way. Some of you may have interpreted the title as an attack on a specific person, and may have been curious to see what the confrontation was about and who it involved; some may have even had a knee-jerk reaction, an instinct to defend the supposed "victim" of my outburst.

Before actually reading past the title, did anyone, anyone at all, even for the slightest instant, think that this post would be in any way benign or even helpful?

If so, I admire your keen insight and ability to keep an open mind, but you are probably in the vast minority.

In the comments section of my last post, an anonymous commenter expressed a dislike for the term "being nice", describing it in essence as a call to sit down and shut up. They (assuming it was the same anonymous) then defended the use of angry stances and rhetoric as a tactic to shock (or "shove", as they put it) those who might be ignorant or apathetic into realizing the scope of the conflict.

I'm skeptical about the chances of success for such a tactic, frankly. Most people don't like it when you yell at them, and I'm pretty sure the commonest response is to get defensive and grumble something like "what the hell are you yelling at me for?" or "I didn't do anything to deserve being yelled at!" Maybe some folks would step back eventually and think, "hm, maybe I should think about this a bit". Perhaps a few.

But anyone who arrived at this post ready to tear me a new one should keep in mind that if it doesn't work that way on you, you can't expect it to work that way on others. Even if you say "but see, we're thinking seriously about your words now that you got us here with your nasty title", it's ameliorated by the fact that in this post itself, I change my tone. Once past the title, I'm done with the seemingly angry name-calling. One hopes nobody finds my subsequent words as insulting or infuriating. At least, not yet.

And there's the matter of reward vs. penalty: would the few who would indeed tolerate a figurative "shove" and open their minds be worth the ill-will generated in others who maybe don't take kindly to "shoves", regardless of the underlying causes?

While you're considering that (or not), consider this:

The thing that disturbs me about this kind of justification for uncivil behavior is that it kind of echoes other, more despised patterns of behavior.

Like wife beaters.

I mean, isn't that the stereotypical excuse you hear? "Baby, I'm sorry I clocked you in the head with this pipe, but you know, it was your own fault for making me so angry. If you'd just done what I said like I asked, it wouldn't have gotten so bad." Every bit as stereotypical is the woman who's been battered into believing this kind of crap. "No, Mom, this black eye was my own fault for not having dinner on time, I should know how mad it makes him."

"I have to call this fanboy an asshole, it's the only way he'll ever learn. He needs to know exactly how angry I feel."

Yes, there's a difference in scale and effect, but the rationale is remarkably similar: less-than-polite behavior is justified because it's for their own good, it's the only way they can learn...

Because some people apparently, when they see words they dislike, lose all ability to parse English, some clarification seems to be in order.

Wife-beating is not equal to making angry internet posts, and that's not what I'm saying.

What I am saying is that justifying your angry/abusive intarwub rants with the reasoning that some people somehow need to be yelled at by you for your message to be understood is the same kind of faulty logic that leads, for example, spouse-beaters to rationalize smacking people around because otherwise they just won't get it through their heads what they should be doing. It's all okay, because someone else has to be made to understand what you want them to understand.

Yes, of course there's a difference between physical abuse and verbal abuse. No shit, Sherlock. But as I've said before, this "ends justifying the means" business is exactly that, the ends justifying the means. If you don't tolerate the angry language from the other side of the debate, what makes you think they're any more receptive to you when you act the same?

But let's take this from theory to experience. I challenge anyone to give me a personal example of when, as an adult, being yelled at or insulted by another adult (genuinely, not banter between friends) convinced YOU that the other person was right, and perhaps you were in the wrong. Who yelled at you? A friend? Someone you knew or respected? Or some random person online?

When have you ever yelled at or insulted someone else and had it work out to where the other person genuinely said, "oh, well, my bad, sorry, I see your point" out of a sincere desire to correct a mistake and not just chagrin/embarrassment at being yelled at? Are you sure they really saw your point of view, or did they just want you to stop yelling at them?

And compare both examples with how often the opposite result happens: when you feel only anger when someone else gives you a hard time, or when you gripe at someone and they gripe right back at you, perhaps louder and more aggressively.

I mean, if this actually works for you in practice, fine, guess I was mistaken... but unless I get a flood of people saying how minds were actually persuaded by yelling in their direct experience, I'll remain skeptical that the less polite path has any benefit besides stirring up the converted and giving someone a bit of catharsis.


LurkerWithout said...

Angry blog posts on the internet = DOMESTIC ABUSE?!?


Anon, A Mouse said...

Are YOU?

Because I did not say they were equal. I said they were similar in their rationale.

Are there no gradients in your worldview? Do you bump your chin with that jerking knee?

James Meeley said...

Are there no gradients in your worldview?

For that type? Only when it benefits their worldview or rhetoric. And as far as for an opposing viewpoint to their own, there never is.

But you already knew this, of course. ;)

James Meeley said...

Angry blog posts on the internet = DOMESTIC ABUSE?!?

Not in the traditional and physical sense, no. But on an emotional level? It might be a lot closer than you want to believe.

You know the nursery rhyme about sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? Not true. It does real damage. Has a PTSD feel to it. Joy is the engine of our spirits, but verbal abuse can take it all away. You get depressed, and hurt all over. Your own words fail you. The damage can last for years.

That’s the intended effect, too. It’s meant to hurt—to be so nauseating and dispiriting that the person who’s the target shuts down and stops communicating. It’s not just a matter of triumphing (albeit by grossly unfair means) in the argument of the moment. The underlying message is: "We don’t care about what’s right, or fair, or accurate. We care about winning. If you stand against us, you will lose, and we will hurt you as much as we can for having fought us."

At least, that's how it can go for those "middle folks" the poster anon talks about here in this entry.

Simply point of fact: Sometimes, words can hurt as much as fists. A simple truth, that those running around fighting for their causes, by any means deemed fit, seem very much willing to ignore. Just like those they claim ignore their points and feelings. In fighting their peticular demon, they have now BECOME the demon.

They sow the seeds for future conflicts and are more likely than not, to push people away from listening to thier views and thoughts, not listen more intently.

This is the ultimate legacy of such tactics. Those who think otherwise, either don't care or are as blind as those they seek to enlighten.

Marionette said...

Call me picky, but I'm not sure you can have a vast minority. It's like having a huge small thing.

The rest of the article doesn't work, either.

Nice to see James has such an understanding of tactics he personally uses so often.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"Call me picky, but I'm not sure you can have a vast minority. It's like having a huge small thing."

Or having a play on words.

"The rest of the article doesn't work, either."

Apparently, neither does your ability to explain why that is the case.

James Meeley said...

Nice to see James has such an understanding of tactics he personally uses so often.

What can I say Mari? I learned from the best. You, Ragnell, and plenty of others have been great teachers.

Like I said in the last topic, keep creating the enemies of tomorrow with your tactics. You give ebvery feminist a very good sense of "job security."

James Meeley said...

...but unless I get a flood of people saying how minds were actually persuaded by yelling in their direct experience, I'll remain skeptical that the less polite path has any benefit besides stirring up the converted and giving someone a bit of catharsis.

I'm not sure you even get that much. Because if your intention is to create a meaningful and positive change/difference, then how would yelling and screaming, which does nothing to bring anything like that about, bring you any real sense of catharsis?

You might get a moment of release from doing it, but not only is that short-lived, but more likely it's more due to fatigue from using (or maybe wasting) so much energy yelling. But if it doesn't result in anything close to why you say you did it, or in fact does very much the opposite, I don't see how it can be very cathartic... unless creating change wasn't really your reasoning for doing it in the first place. Which then brings up the point of just why you really are doing it. And in my expreience, the reason is usually nowhere near as "noble" as the one they want you to believe.

Just another part of the reason why those type of tactics are doomed to fail... over and over and over again.

Kim said...

"I mean, if this actually works for you in practice, fine, guess I was mistaken... but unless I get a flood of people saying how minds were actually persuaded by yelling in their direct experience, I'll remain skeptical that the less polite path has any benefit besides stirring up the converted and giving someone a bit of catharsis."

I believe any randomly selected military organization of your choice could tell you many such stories. Some people react best to shouting, some react best to rewards and some don't react to any.

Some day, we're just going to have to start considering they're individuals instead of abstract concepts that we can argue to appeal to the consequences we desire.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"I believe any randomly selected military organization of your choice could tell you many such stories."

Well, unless you're willing to elaborate, I'm going to call that an assumption of yours, and not direct experience.

But even if we accept that premise, then it's worth noting that the goal of a military organization is often quite different than that of a social movement.

The military, as I see it, is mostly coercive in nature, as opposed to persuasive. "Do what we want, or we'll shoot you." Granted, things aren't always expressed in such a blunt, thug-like manner. Still, the military is at its core, a tool of force to be used if need be. And within its own ranks, quite often people are compelled to do things they dislike. Boot Camp is not trying overtly to persuade you their position is correct, they pretty much want you to MARCH UP THAT HILL BOY or do whatever else they say with minimal objection. Whether you wind up agreeing with any stance the military takes is incidental. At least, that's the way I see it.

Do I HAVE to say Internet blogging is not equivalent to a Boot Camp Drill Sargent? I really hope people aren't that retarded, though it seems some people think if you mention two things in the same paragraph THAT MEANS THEY ARE THE SAME OMG.

That said, like a Drill Sargent, some discourse can be said to not be attempting to actually persuade anyone, merely shouting angrily at what it objects to. If any change happens, it is through intimidation or aversion: "Oh, okay, I won't do whatever you don't like anymore, just stop yelling at me!"

And, for some people, maybe that's acceptable. Maybe that's all you want, is for someone just to stop doing whatever the bad thing is.

But I don't think that actually does much good in the long run. It's cosmetic, fixing the surface, but not dealing with the underlying causes. Imagine some guy with his buddies in a bar: "Yeah, my girlfriend gets all pissy if I watch my tapes of the Victoria's Secret shows. So I stopped watching them, at least while she was around. Hey, you guys wanna hit a strip club?"

Maybe such a guy will ultimately turn out to be unreachable regarding that kind of thing, and a cosmetic fix is the best you can hope for from him. But not using genuine persuasion will almost guarantee a cosmetic fix is all you get. I submit that real change needs persuasion, primarily, to change minds about what is acceptable and what isn't.

"Some day, we're just going to have to start considering they're individuals instead of abstract concepts that we can argue to appeal to the consequences we desire."

I'm having trouble following what you mean with the second half of that sentence. But if you're saying that people react differently to various types of arguments, well, yes, sure, they do.

But then, doesn't that go all ways? Isn't this something to be considered by those who insist that angry vitriol is the best method to get through to other people? That maybe bitching people out isn't going to work all the time, or even most of the time?

If the desire is to convince/convert others regarding the rightness of your cause, then isn't finding the method that's most effective on the widest range of people the sensible course of action? And if that's the case, does anyone seriously believe shouting and insults is that most effective method?

Look, I'm not above a bit of snark myself, from time to time, but I try to be aware that when I use it, the odds are pretty good I'm not going to wind up changing anyone's mind by its use. And nobody has admitted having their mind changed by my snark, certainly.

Cui bono?

Ami Angelwings said...

No offense, but I think every person coming here from WFA who saw that link (and your name next to it), knew that it was a "attract attention to prove my point" title. XD

Vail said...

Actually as soon as I saw the poster's name I rolled my eyes and thought "how is he going to wag his finger at us today" and being a) bored and b) a sucker I thought I would click. Sure enough it's the "hey I'm going to yet again (and again and again) tell you how to protest things happening to you. Yes really it's none of my business, but you really should listen to my words of wisdom." BTW I'll let all those people waving signs and yelling (i.e. protesting) that they're wasting their time. It's not like anyone notices that stuff right? Oh wait thats how we got the vote...

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Vail, the majority of women wanted women to have the vote. The majority of men thought it was more just that women have the right to vote, but the vast majority of women aren't interested in reading comics. The majority of men don't see any problem with reading comics written for them and allowing women to have media that is created exclusively for women. Calling men potential rapists, misogynists, and idiots does not create a moral imperative in men to act for women. It creates resentment. I’m all for women getting what the want in comics, but surely they can do so without calling men they have never met potential rapists, misogynists, and idiots.

I’ve seen some very good ideas that men and women have come up with to improve women’s power over comics book products that have been called telling women to sit down and shut up. But they weren’t saying “sit down and shut up.” They were saying, “here are some ideas that might make your voice more effective” which is worlds away from saying “shut up.”

Vail said...

Scott, please. I'm replying about yelling. Did I say anything about calling people names?? I will not talk soft and ask pretty please can you change things. People have used yelling to protest many things (some not so popular). As for how many women read comics isn't the point. Way to bring in another straw man. No here we're talking about someone wagging their finger about how we're protesting something.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Apparently word choice is important, for when I chose to use the term "shove," it struck a nerve. A word used in a figurative manner causes irritation, leading to trains of thought which end up being laid at the door of domestic abuse.

But, of course, the way people interpret words doesn't matter, does it?

For instance, say..."nice." You didn't mean to use "nice" to imply "be quiet, stop complaining, stop making waves" but rather to encourage courtesy.

But, of course, it's out of the realm of reason for some people to get annoyed at your word choice.

Naturally, when I use the word "shove" it becomes a problem. My word choice is poor; yours is well-intentioned. I shall make a note of that for future reference.

But to another topic; if I understand your argument, you are clearly stating that being aggressive, using harsh or rude language to protest something that one finds unfair or irritating is counter-productive. Polite, reasoned discourse gets attention, while loud, obnoxious protests garner nothing but defensive reactions.

May I point out that the polite route has been tried, many times. Many have written comics publishers to request different plots, to ask for certain characters to be featured more prominently, to request different artwork. I would reference the recent Wizard questionnaire handed out at conventions to female fans to gather their input; I feel assured many of them wrote positive, encouraging things - in gratitude at being taken seriously, at having their opinions requested.

And yet...nothing was done with this input. The suggestions were not just ignored, but rejected.

The essential point is that "nice" has been tried. It hasn't seemed to work so far. I believe that if you did a search on other forums you would find threads where a fan says "I think it would be great if X happened or Y character was more prominently featured" only to face indifference or even hostility for daring to make any suggestions whatsoever.

"Nice" hasn't gotten anything changed so far. Maybe "nasty" won't either, but at least someone's listening.

megs said...

To straight out answer the question - no, I have never had someone yell at me and immediately been influenced by it.

But later, thinking about it and not being able to stop thinking about it because yelling is something very strong and hard to forget, I'd have been thinking about it so much that yeah, I could think about WHY they yelled and WHY they were so passionate as to yell.

Maybe it's because it's my parents and they really do want the best for me so strongly that they'd yell at me for putting myself in danger?

Maybe it's some random person on the internet who believes SO STRONGLY in said rant that he or she can't help but use the strongish language? Because language is about effectively communicating and yelling certainly betrays something about the yeller.

Sometimes I dismiss yelling, because it can be a sign of a purely emotional argument with no calm, steady facts. But sometimes it's a bunch of calm facts added up that produce a rational, emotional outburst.

Not all yelling is abuse, especially when it's a widely directed rant on the internet. Being emotional about something doesn't preclude logic and facts.

And seriously, I'd find it hard to believe that anon here has NEVER been affected positively by someone yelling or angry speaking their mind.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

But Vail, I don't think Anon’s post that you are responding to is about yelling so much as it is about name calling. That's why it has the title it has. By saying that yelling is OK, it is you who are using the straw man argument. Anon says that name calling isn’t helping and you say, no, you are wrong because protesting has helped. You are knocking down the argument of protesting, not the argument that Anon brought up which is rancorous attacks and name calling.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Anonymous, I suspect that you are correct that polite letter writing hasn’t done much … if anything. But I’m not convinced that calling people names has either. May I suggest a third way? How about women promoting comics to women? How about creating your own comics? I keep hearing that this can’t be done because Marvel and DC have cornered the market, but in the same breath the people who say that will claim that there’s a big female market out there that Marvel and DC have barely touched. It can’t be both. And if an indy comics does well, one might expect the creative team to be hired by one of the big two. It’s happened more than once, so why not with feminist creative teams? According to the most feminist fangirl theory, this comic using the things learned from WFA and the like will sell better because it won’t use cheap, overused tropes for creating motivation in characters, it will appeal to a broader audience, and it will respect the readers. So why wouldn’t that work as a tactic? Conquer the medium from the inside by creating the kind of products that you know will work better than what is being produced! Instead of calling the creative teams as the big two names, promote the writers and artists that are doing what you want.

Vail said...

Ooooooh the old "if you don't like it build/make it yourself" argument. Bingo!!!

Most of this post mentions yelling, not name calling. Maybe he had that as a starting point, but he wandered off to focus on yelling. If the poster wants to focus on name calling, he needs to communicate that better. Yelling is not the same as name calling. I've noticed that this poster will start with a rational argument (for example name calling is bad) then wander off to wag his finger at other behavior (ending up in loonyville with domestic violence). When called on those parts of his post, he whips out the "omg how can you say name calling is ok" card. I also noticed you fell into the same trap Scott.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Vail, his argument was about name calling. If you talk about yelling, you are using the straw man argument. What is the point of bringing up yelling if his post is about name calling except to win via straw man?

I've read the bingo page, but you are misusing it. What the bingo thing says and what I'm saying are two different things. I'm not saying if you don't like, create your own thing and read that instead. I'm saying, use your own creations as a means to change the thing you are complaining about. I'm not saying that creating your own comic is the end; it is the means to the end. If you want to change Marvel and DC, telling them they are doing it wrong is not as effective as doing it right, having them hire you, and doing it right at Marvel and DC. In other words, you are using another straw man argument. If I was saying, if you don't like, just create your own thing you do like, you've be perfect correct in telling me about the bingo argument. But I'm not. I'm not saying to abandon Marvel and DC for your own stuff. I'm telling you can use your success elsewhere to change Marvel and DC.

Anon, A Mouse said...

Vail, Scott:

Yelling AND name-calling BOTH, I think, are part and parcel of the same attitude, that if "being nice doesn't work" then somehow being nasty will work better.

Consider a demonstration outside a clinic that performs abortions. You may have protesters against abortion, and you may have counter-protesters in favor of abortion.

I have yet to see any account anywhere where someone was on one side or the other and, by virtue of either yelling or name-calling on the other side, changed their position. (I have read some treacly accounts of changing position from one to the other, but the catalyst is usually some inner realization, or at least something not having to do with protests of this sort.)

I don't always say "yelling and name-calling" specifically each time I want to mention the concept because it is verbally cumbersome.

I would concede that yelling can, in some cases, be used in a reasonably non-aggressive way, in physical real-world demonstrations. But it often is used to intimidate, as many who try to enter an abortion clinic past protesters can attest.

I don't think the protests change anyone's mind, on either side. At most, they are tools of intimidation, to prevent the other side from carrying out their respective goals. I'm sure some of it is, in fact, designed specifically to anger and bait the other side, to provoke them into something more than verbal protest, so that they can point later and say, "see, the other side is crazy and violent".

Additionally, Vail: Considering how much of feminist discourse regarding comics is itself "finger-wagging", telling creators and fanboys how they're insulting the entire female gender with the comics they produce and read, making accusations of misogyny and more, that is a chastisement I'm not likely to take seriously in the slightest.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

I see what you mean, Anon, but "yelling" in the blogosphere means what? Writing in all caps? I take your post to mean those kind of disrespectful comments that appear where guys are called unevolved, misogynistic, idiots, etc., where rancor is the fuel. That's the kind of "yelling" that we see about comics. I've not seen anyone actually yell about comics. No lines of vocal protestors or megaphones at conventions, or people disrupting panel discussions. If that's the kind of thing you are talking about, I suspect that you are correct that those wouldn't tend to work either.

Vail said...

"I'm not saying that creating your own comic is the end; it is the means to the end."

God this is stupid on so many levels. Lets break this down. 1) I draw for shit. Me making a comic is not going to happen. And like me, most people can't draw stick figures well, let alone a comic that can go up against a slickly designed color job. 2) Putting out a comic takes money. I don't have that kind of money right now, we're still paying off student loans and adoption fees. 3) It takes loads of time. Time I don't have. Should I stop helping my daughter catch up to her age group? Should I skimp on her therapy for sensory issues or RAD? Oh wait there is that stuff I do for charity to help those kids still stuck in that orphanage... Or maybe I could stop writing the letters to my elected officials urging them to support womens issues like say health insurance and birth control. Then there is always those niggling time consuming things like having time with my hubby or eating... Which would you like me to drop to make time to create, promote and pay to make a comic?

Or hey, this is a radical idea... maybe I can add my voice to change the current situation? That maybe by voicing (loudly) that I and others make up half the population and some of us read comics too? That we're an untapped resource? Hmmm choices choices.

Anon, A Mouse said...


"Interesting. Apparently word choice is important, for when I chose to use the term "shove," it struck a nerve."

You're giving your word choices too much credit. You could have said "shock", "kick", "punch", or any other word and I would likely have used it in reference to your own comments.

What strikes the nerve is the attitude, the justification of using increasingly rude methods to achieve one's aim.

""Nice" hasn't gotten anything changed so far. Maybe "nasty" won't either, but at least someone's listening."

One assumes that if, for example, Wizard was passing out questionnaires, that they WERE listening, they just decided not to do anything about it. Maybe the response was too feeble to justify taking pro-feminist action. And maybe that applies to other situations where "nice didn't work"; the response was weak or they ultimately didn't care enough to change.

But why do you think "nasty" has any better chance? It's obvious people do think it'll work, but I don't think anyone has actually demonstrated a plausible reason why they think such a method can have success. It seems to be more a method born of frustration, out of not getting results fast enough otherwise, and a lack of knowing what else to do: "well, being nice didn't work, and I have no other viable alternative methods, so nasty it is!"

Anon, A Mouse said...


You're right, "yelling" on the internet is more a figurative concept than literal. But I do think looking at literal yelling in the real world can indicate some parallels in the blogosphere.


I put in the "as an adult" qualifier because I was specifically trying to remove parental yelling, which I think is a special circumstance. There's an added layer of responsibility and influence there that sets it apart from two doofuses having an insult-match on teh Intarwub.

And there's part of the point: Would you accept the same kind of yelling and angry words from a stranger that you do from family or friends?

"And seriously, I'd find it hard to believe that anon here has NEVER been affected positively by someone yelling or angry speaking their mind."

If I have, I can't recall.

Even when it's for causes I'm sympathetic towards, once the vitriol reaches a certain level, it turns me off, and I'm not nearly as sympathetic as I might be otherwise. For instance, the comics reviews of John Solomon, mentioned elsewhere in my blog. Even if I agree with his ultimate assessment of a particular comic ("this comic sucks") the way in which he presents his reviews actually leaves me with far more sympathy for the creators of said comics than I would have had if I had just come across the comics on my own.

The more insults are leveled against, say, Greg Horn or Michael Turner, the more I find myself unsympathetic to those who criticize them.

I can remember no event in my life where I personally was angrily criticized or insulted and then later changed my mind and thought that the person criticizing me was right.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Vail, if I said that creating a comic was the only way to affect comics, you’d be correct in your criticism, but of course, I didn’t say that. I said that you could do things like promote comics to other women. Or promote comics that are like the comics you like. And I didn’t say that criticizing comics was a bad thing. I said that name calling was not helping.

The bingo space says, “If you don’t like it, shut up and write your own.” No one here is telling anyone to “shut up.” But when we try to suggest that some things might work better than others, we are accused to telling people to shut up. I never told you not to add your voice to the criticism. You’re accusing me of that was the third time you’ve used the straw man argument that you claim to be against. I never said that doing an indy comic was the only method of changing comics. All I’ve said is that calling people names doesn’t help. If you want to argue with me about that and claim that calling people potential rapists, misogynists, or idiots helps, then by all means do so. If you are going to accuse me of telling anyone to shut up, you will be using the straw man argument that you claim to be opposed to.

Are you saying that creating a comic won’t help? If so, we can argue that, and I will argue that it could. But if you accuse me of saying the bingo space phrase “If you don’t like it, shut up and write your own”, you will be using the straw man because no one is saying that you should shut up. No one!

Here is an example of something that doesn't help: implying that I'm stupid.

James Meeley said...

"Nice" hasn't gotten anything changed so far. Maybe "nasty" won't either, but at least someone's listening.

Yeah, they are listening. Then they either yell back or continue to ignore you.

If the goal is to create a change, then you need to use tactics that will do that. It's already been proven "nasty" doesn't get the job done. So, unless you really don't want a change and simply find catharsis in being an asshole yourself, towards those you've deemed assholes, then it would seem to suggest that a new tact should be used.

James Meeley said...

Yelling is not the same as name calling.

No, but one tends to lead to the other.

You start out with yelling and when it doesn't have the desired effect, and the frustration in you starts to build, the hostility in you boils and then, before anyone can bat an eye, the name-calling starts.

And that's provided that the yelling that started things off hasn't degenrated into name-calling by the end of the very same post, which has been seen to happen more than once.

No, yelling isn't the same as name-calling. But one usually leads right into the other. What other outcome can be expected, when the main tool you use is hostility?

James Meeley said...

Which would you like me to drop to make time to create, promote and pay to make a comic?

You know, "make the comics" is about MORE, than just writing and drawing it. Granted, those would be the most important parts, but that's not all that's involved in making a comic.

You are involved in other activities involving women's rights, correct? I mean, your (pardon the pun) laundry list of things you are doing would seem to suggest you are quite involved on many levels in that.

Tell me, do any of your friends involved in those activites have writing ability? Artistic ability? Maybe you could talk to them about it. Let them know they could put that talent to use to help the feminist cause in this way.

Once you get some folks with you who have the technical talent, you can go from there. You could edit the works they make. You could work PR for the group, to help get the works out there in the public mindset. You could be a rep for these people, by talking to publishers about publishing this line of female-marketed works. You see, there is a LOT of things that go into "making the comics", besides writing and drawing. Are you saying you haven't the ability to do any of that? I'd find that hard to believe.

As to your factor of "I don't have time", well, on that, you might just have a very fair point. If one believes what you wrote, it would seem you do have a very full life. Time might just be a problem for you.

And yet, you found the time here to chastize Scott and Anon, not to mention others whom you've done this similarly to at other places online. Tell me, if you cut out doing that, how much extra time would you have? Perhaps enough to help in "making the comics" in some of the other ways I shown? And if not, then wouldn't that small bit of time be better spent in one of the many other things you do in your very full lived life? I mean, I'm sure your husband wouldn't mind if you spent a little more time with him. Or your child wouldn't mind mom helping them a little more than she does now.

You see, venting hostility online is a true waste of time. Firstly, because you have no way to know the target of the rage will even see it. Secondly, even if they (and others) do see it, I think Anon, Scott and myself have shown that it sure isn't likely to persuade anyone over to your viewpoint (who wasn't already there, that is).

maybe I can add my voice to change the current situation? That maybe by voicing (loudly) that I and others make up half the population and some of us read comics too? That we're an untapped resource?

But what exactly are you adding your voice to? A movement which is persuasive at getting their goals accomplished, or a group of frustrated and hostile people, who rely on insults and verbal intimidation to try to force people to think how they want them to think?

See, the answer makes a lot of difference, in that one would be worthwhile to lend one's voice to, while the other is not. And if it turns out your voice is with the latter choice, then all you are doing is wasting time, which is a very valuable commodity (especially for you) and could be better used in some of the many other things you engage in, which are also much more worthy of your efforts. Or, as in the case of "making the comics," time that could be used in a way that will have a much better chance of effecting the kinds of changes you claim to want in comics.

See, what I think some people tend to forget, is that all of us understand the frustration you feel on this. Oh, not the exact details of it, but the general feeling, because we've all been in situations where we felt frustarted by having few or no options to quickly change the situation we found distatseful.

Of course, we've also learned that venting hostility at others never did anything to change that for us in those situations (at least, not in any positive way). Which is why this issue continues to come up, when you and others do the very same.

Heck, I'm not saint. Far from it, in fact. I've failed to uphold this standard myself in the past. Even over the course of this very issue, no less. But rather then simply give up and let myself become a total asshole, who lets his hostility speak for him all the time, every time I've fallen, I pick myself up and try again. I go back to the standard I know I failed to uphold. Why? Because I know it's the right way. I may stumble and fall along the path, but I know it's the correct path to take.

Change that is brought about by force and intimidation, rarely lasts and always makes more problems than it solves. Change brought through persuasion and patience, however, while taking a lot of time, always ends up being more worthwhile for all and has a truly lasting impact. So, now you have to ask yourself, what kind of change are you looking for? Once you answer that, the rest should become very obvious to you.

Anonymous said...

"Well, unless you're willing to elaborate, I'm going to call that an assumption of yours, and not direct experience.

But even if we accept that premise, then it's worth noting that the goal of a military organization is often quite different than that of a social movement."

You wanted to connect motivations behind telling people you're angry and domestic abuse so I assumed it was open season on comparisons, but sure... feel free to exclude anything that means you might have to reconsider your view.

In the military if you screw up you are told you are accountable and that your screw up has made everyone you're accountable to angry. It is your fault and you should have done better and it is made clear to you the same way anyone else who's angry makes it clear to you.

Rinse and repeat enough then many people make a decision that they don't want people angry at them so they shape up... or they ship out. This is where the military gets it's reputation for straightening people out. Because if they straighten up then they can get respect and commendation. That gives them two reasons to improve instead of one.

It'd be nice if we could get everything we wanted by being nice but the reality is that some people don't respond to niceness. You think Unions have pickets and protests because they're too lazy to find a representative who can be polite?

People are as likely to not do something because of fear of a negative stimulus as they are to do something for desire to get a positive reward.

It's why you have a pain reflex, why the civil justice system lets you sue people for wronging you, why creative people angst over upcoming reviews, why open minded people keep their mouths shut in closed minded company and vice versa.

Why do some people not get deterred by these? They don't care about it or they think they're above it. Just like Bendis thinks he and Marvel comics are above negative criticism.

(Before you try to say he's an example of how being rude doesn't help you: He's getting the same backlash for being an ass rudely as Adam Hughes got for being an ass politely while defending his MJ statue.)

Situations and people are unique as is the response to a response. Theories like "you should always be polite" or "you should always show people you're angry".

So people respond well to anger, some people respond well to politeness and some people don't particularly care either way.

You want to claim that saying it's okay to get angry is like advocating domestic abuse? Well then your solution is just advocating that whoever speaks first doesn't have to be responsible for what they say but everyone else has to be responsible for how they react.

That doesn't seem fair.


Anon, A Mouse said...

"People are as likely to not do something because of fear of a negative stimulus as they are to do something for desire to get a positive reward."

You have quoted two paragraphs of my reply to you, and then completely ignored the rest of my reply in order to tell me essentially what I already told you.

What you describe is coercion, not persuasion. "Do what I want, or things will be unpleasant for you."

Yes, OF COURSE people will respond to a negative stimulus, and do what others want in an attempt to avoid unpleasantness.

BUT, and here's the part you seem to be missing, getting others to do what you want through aversion of discomfort is far less likely to change their MINDS, which means, even if you use anger and insults to FORCE comics creators and publishers to produce feminist-friendly material, that does not mean that those people will THINK in a feminist-friendly way.

If you do that, all you have succeeded in doing is covering up what you don't like so that you can't see it as well. The mindset that produces things you dislike still exists, beneath the surface. You may have cowed it into obedience, but it's likely to spread elsewhere, somewhere you aren't looking, and now it may resent you for the way you've acted.

I don't think that's real, lasting change. But if a quick fix is all you want, if that's what matters to you, use whatever tactics you want.

And really, use whatever tactics you want, anyway. This is my advice to everyone else, and everyone else is free to consider it or not; it's not like I can make anyone take my advice, obviously.

"It'd be nice if we could get everything we wanted by being nice but the reality is that some people don't respond to niceness. You think Unions have pickets and protests because they're too lazy to find a representative who can be polite?"

Do the Unions, having once successfully gotten some concession through a strike, then never have to strike again? Hardly. The companies they strike against will still try repeatedly to reduce the benefits they offer workers, time and time again. The companies do not believe in the inherent rightness of the workers' stance, they care about their own profits, and the strikes do not change that.

Let's consider another example of yours. About Bendis: Do you think he would have as rudely and doggedly defended his writing decisions if others hadn't first been obnoxious in their critique of those decisions? Is either the initial objection to his writing or the backlash against his defense of it likely to actually change his mind in any way, or is it at best going to get him to "sit down and shut up and play nice"?

Has Hughes' mind been changed? Or even that of the company producing the statues?

And look at some of the comments on this post: Considering how some people take the suggestion to "be nice" as a call to "shut up", can you imagine the reaction if I myself was actually using harsh language and vitriol to honestly try to silence comics feminists?

And why, then, if being forcibly silenced is so offensive to the comics feminists, do you think it's a desirable way to attempt to get the other side to do what you want?

Anon, A Mouse said...

As an afterthought, I think it should also be pointed out that in the case of something like the military or a strike, the negative stimulus has a far greater impact than that of a bunch of people griping on the internet. It would seem to me that at worst feminist criticism is a sort of public shaming, which only works if the targets involved have enough of a sense of shame to be affected (or cannot rationalize away that shame).

It's been mentioned elsewhere that the financial impact of offending feminists is difficult to estimate; some point to Supergirl's declining sales during the Joe Kelly run, but there's no clear indication that it was feminist-unfriendly material or just lackluster storytelling in general that caused that. And since sales for Heroes for Hire were boosted by World War Hulk, it's also hard to gauge that effect as well.

So economic sanctions are iffy and shaming is problematic, and that leaves angry feminists with not a whole heck of a lot to be coercive WITH, if that's the path you/they want to follow...

V_Vendeta said...

"I'm tired of being nice." Followed by a brief statement about the ways in which "being nice" hasn't got her(?) anywhere.”
I don’t know if you are speaking about me bur if you are, then you are making a lot of false assumptions.
First: “if you choose to accept that path, isn't something done for short-term gain.”
If 18 years its short term, then yes, you are right. But you know, maybe I’m foolish but I would like to see some improvement while I’m still alive. I’ve being reading comics since I was 5 years old (weren’t mine but I read them anyway), I’ve being buying my own comics for 18 years. I know, I know, social changes take time but it’s still disheartening when things go backwards instead. And it’s not about the sex, European comics have a lot more sex than superhero comics. It’s about the lack of interesting female characters.
Second: You seem to think that being tired equals to being more aggressive. That’s not true, at least not for me. That just mean that I stopped going to cons, where there’s always someone that harass you and I barely go to comics shops anymore.
“ But "being nice" would go far in countering charges of "crazy feminazism" by all but the most rabid, inflexible opposition.”
So what? Most people don’t consider me as a feminazi but that doesn’t mean that they changed their mind or even listen to me, that just mean that they want to date me. And that doesn’t improve the comics I read. When was the last time you write a complaint letter just because a female friend of yours gets offended? Most people won’t do it, even if you support them when they complained about the killing of one of their favorite characters or help them organizing a con. Or write a RPG adventure for them when they couldn’t or DMing in their place or… Sorry but for us don’t work that way even if for you do.
I guess that from your point of view having male friends would mean that you would have support in changing comics, but you should consider that your experience it’s different from mine. You said that you can ignore harassment, but ignore someone graving your ass don’t make him take his hand off, on the contrary, he would think that you like it. And that’s in some way what happened with comics. When I were a hardcore fan usually men use me as an example of a girl who didn’t mind sexualized female superheroes, even if I said that I didn’t like it. I already had erotic comics for that and there don’t draw men as Ken dolls. And when I confronted them, they asked why I didn’t complain (even if I did). Well, some women are complaining now. And since the first comely complaints were ignored, some (not all) are getting more bold. Others like me have given up.
People try to explain to you that our experience it’s different to yours. That people not always listened when you ask nicely, not even the people that is supposed to be your friend. But to put an example you could relate better, is a if I said that I don’t get why male comic fans complaint so much about not getting a date with someone who liked comics when I never have problems with that. How could you not get a date when I just have to walk in to a comics shop to get one? And of course the answer is very simple, your circumstances aren’t mine.

But one thing it’s true, we should write our own stories (and I think that’s valid for every one). That’s what I do now. Internet it’s great for that. Sadly I lack the resources and the talent for doing that well. And sometimes you just want to read a comic. That’s when the “feminazis” reviews come in handy for people like me, they save me from disappointment and point me to comics I could like. So when you said that they’ll achieve nothing, well, that’s just your opinion. In my opinion they helped people like me to find comics that I’ll never would have known other way. And that’s something even if for you didn’t count.
I would suggest that before denying others experience try to remember that things don’t always work the same for different people. After all, the fight for black rights it’s not the same as women’s. It’s not even the same here than there.

Anon, A Mouse said...

"I don’t know if you are speaking about me bur if you are, then you are making a lot of false assumptions."

When I wrote the original post, I didn't remember who said it or where exactly I saw it, otherwise I probably would have linked to it. Reading WFA as I do, it's easy to scan through many entries, thinking about many things at once as I read, and sometimes I lose track of exactly who said what when. It's possible your comment did indeed cross my eyes, but it certainly wouldn't have been the first such kind of comment I've seen along those lines. Similar statements have come up on a regular basis, in my experience, so I was not making any direct comment on you (or whoever it was) in particular, but on a more general pattern or attitude that struck me at the time.

Anonymous said...

No I am not missing anything, I simply not delusional to believe that a positive reward is any more likely to make a permanent change on people than a negative reward.

Unions still hold strikes, employees who want raises still have to request one every time they want one and after decades of research showing there's no benefit to discriminating against people based off trivial aspects of appearance we still have racism, sexism and many other isms in the workplace.

People change because they want to change, no because anyone else wants them to. All the rest of the world can do is give them motivation to want to change, both positive and negative.

You nitpick at the specifics but you can't find any case where one has a perfect record and the other a perfect failure.

Regarding Bendis, yes, he has an actual reputation for being a juvenile jerk who skips straight to profanity and personal insults when someone says something he doesn't like. Likewise, I've heard Adam Hughes tends to stay polite and friendly even if people are screaming abuse at him. It's their choice and they don't let the other people decide it for them.

What would I propose instead? People pick and choose their approach based on how appropriate it is and just consider what they're saying before saying it.

If a someone does create something that is horrendously insulting and offensive I think that the best thing the wronged group can do is scream, shout and let the world know how pissed off they are and most importantly why they are upset. Strangers are far more likely to rally behind someone if they think that person is genuinely suffering from abuse than if it's just someone who seems to have nothing better to do than complain.

That's the whole basis behind animal rights movements. We don't know the animals, but most people don't like the idea of supporting people who are needlessly cruel to them and some people will actively join against those who are cruel on principle.

If it's just a matter of they're feeling a little neglected or they don't understand why they're left out, then it's better for them to politely state all the benefits they could bring if they were included (including making the company look better or giving it brag rights).

Most of all, people need to drop the idea that there's a "secret" that works all the time and will work to change x person into a better human being. You can try and sometimes it'll have an effect, other times people just want to do it their way.


Anon, A Mouse said...

anonymous (Kim):

"Most of all, people need to drop the idea that there's a "secret" that works all the time and will work to change x person into a better human being. You can try and sometimes it'll have an effect, other times people just want to do it their way."

You know, that "secret" business is something YOU'RE reading into all this. I've never said "being nice" would be infallible, I've just maintained that it was more likely to actually persuade people (instead of just getting people to do what you want in the short term).

Your union example bears my hypothesis out, seeing as how the companies don't have a lasting change of attitude as a result of angry protests or strikes. I'm also put in mind of Soviet bloc countries who had long-running ethnic conflicts that were suppressed by force, but came right back once that coercion was lifted.

Your link doesn't work, by the way. But the point isn't whether Bendis or Hughes are polite themselves or not, it's whether people being assholes at them actually convinces either one that they're mistaken, or wrong. Plenty of digs, angry namecalling and bile-venting later, and I can't see any indication of persuasion.

So if it's a matter of "choosing your approach", I'd suggest that most of the blogosphere at large does a piss-poor job of making those choices.