I eat meat.
It'd be nice if we lived in a world where no lifeform has to consume some other living organism in order to survive, and we could all exist off of sunlight and photosynthesis or something, but we can't, so there you are. If it's not immoral for a lion to eat a gazelle, it's not immoral for me to eat a cow.
I also don't object to animal testing, in many cases. If testing drugs and treatments on animals makes it easier to find drugs for humans without risking human lives (as much), then as far as I'm concerned the animals can take that hit.
Now, I'm not in favor of doing these things wantonly or indiscriminately. I don't think animal testing should involve excessive pain or torture, particularly if the testing is for comparatively frivolous things, like cosmetics. And though I support the right to domesticate and/or hunt animals for food and materials, I don't support blasting an animal just for the thrill of killing something.
You might, therefore, think I could be persuaded to become active in support of animal rights, but in general I avoid affiliations with organizations like PETA or... well, any of them. Though I agree with some things they say, there's a lot of what they say that I think goes far beyond good sense into a quasi-religious dogma. More than once I've seen some soundbite of an activist saying something like how they'd prefer that their disease-stricken relations do without lifesaving drugs if it meant having even one rat confined and experimented upon.
Priorities: If you can't place your own family (assuming you do love them) over the life of a lab animal, how can I take your call for compassion for animals seriously?
This is a variation on what I wrote many columns back, about why I do not consider myself a feminist. While there are some feminist viewpoints I do agree with and even sympathize with to some extent, there's a lot that I feel abandons sensible priorities in favor of dogma and, in many cases, extremism. This applies to feminism in general, as well as the subset of feminism known colloquially as the "feminist fangirls".
Why would I bring it up again?
Over here, there was some musing over the purpose of WFA, leading to a restatement of WEA's intended purpose (and what its purpose isn't). And though I specifically wasn't mentioned (oh, I feel so neglected), I suppose some may see me in the same light, as someone out to "bait" the comics feminists. (Now that I think about it, in past comments on my posts, I was accused of "wagging my finger"... Ami Angelwings did say seeing my pseudonym near a potentially inflammatory title would automatically indicate it being a ploy for attention, and I guess that could be a kind of backwards compliment: at least nobody thought I was actually being that much of a jerk, did they...? But I digress.)
If anything I write can be considered an attempt to insult or bait comics feminists, it's not done out of some need to simply make feminists upset. There's far easier and less polite ways to go about doing that. You can consider what I write an honest attempt to communicate, for whatever that's worth to you. Whatever I say may very well upset you for some reason, well, that's life.
My motives for writing have nothing to do with any of you, really. My motives are purely selfish, and at the moment, I believe they can pretty much be sorted into two general categories:
1) I don't want feminism to take anything away from me, comics-wise.
2) I want comics (meaning the industry in general) to improve, and I believe comics-oriented feminism as it seems to exist now is at best ineffective and at worst antithetical to that aim.
(cue collective "huh? but whaaaaa??")
Number One is straightforward enough. Despite claims that "we aren't out to take the sexy away", I believe some feminists intend to do just that. Now, if you're about to tell me "but no, I like the sexy!", consider that what you think is sexy is different than what someone else thinks is sexy, and remember that "there is no vagina hivemind", so that even if you specifically have no intent to remove anything yourself, your fellow comics feminist may have a somewhat more restrictive goal in mind. Strawfeminist? Perhaps. It'd be nice if nobody wanted to take anything away from anybody, but when someone complains that something isn't morally right to print in a comic book, often the implication is that "somebody should DO something about that".
And it's more than just "the sexy", it's anything objected to in that way. I have yet to be convinced that something (perceived as) bad or objectionable in comics (or any media) has any serious impact on society at large; to me the theoretical risks do not justify imposing one's own standards on comics. Every arbiter of "good taste", however you define that, walks a thin line between personal opinion and agenda for the rest of us.
Note that I'm not against personal opinion or critique, either. If you hate something you hate it. This isn't a call to be quiet and shut up, this is a suggestion that if someone else enjoys reading about (for recent example) Tigra getting the crap kicked out of her, maybe that person has as much right to read it as you do to not read it, regardless of how upset or icky it makes you feel.
Number Two is a bit more involved to explain.
I believe that if what the feminist fangirls really want is superhero comics they can reliably enjoy without being made to feel upset or icky, that goal is possible and reachable.
I also believe that if what feminist fangirls really want is for "the boys" to clean up their act so that "the girls" won't ever be offended by some misogynist thing in some comic that passes in front of their eyes, well, tough luck. That's long term stuff, maybe not in your lifetime.
To reach the former goal, what I think needs to happen is that there needs to be more comics, made by more people, and a more diverse group of people at that. Mainstream comics are indeed a "boy's club", of sorts, despite notable exceptions. So long as that persists, and without a "comics code" with any teeth to enforce particular moral limitations, you're going to get comics generally slanted a particular way. There's only so many Gail Simones working right now.
More female creators, more creators of color, more comics overall, and I think the goal will work itself out. If there were enough creators and enough comics, the enlightened feminists could have their comics, the sicko fanboys could have their comics, and we could at the very least leave each other alone most of the time. (True, there's other factors like effective promotion and wider distribution in a currently small and sometimes shaky market...) And I want to see that happen, because a more diverse range of comics (even a more diverse range of superhero comics) suggests more buyers, suggests a healthier industry, suggests even more and better comics. I know, easier said than done. But I submit to you: that is the problem that needs the most attention, not whether a statue of Mary-Jane demeans the entire female gender worldwide because of her contact with laundry in a basket.
I am aware that to many feminists, these media depictions are seen as causes of stereotyping and a source of much real-life unhappiness. I do not believe they are nearly as toxic as much of the rhetoric would have us believe. And I think the more time and energy spent on trying to "fix" the boy's club, and make it perform to the liking of feminists, the less time and energy gets spent on what I feel could really make a difference in comics, not just for feminists, but everyone, and more importantly, ME.
I mean, don't mistake this for "sympathy trolling". If I imply that my advice can somehow make your existence more pleasant, it's only serving my own self-interest in the end.