(Warning: This post contains some content raged “PG,” and maybe even “PG-13,” including mentioning b**bs and a couple of uses of the F word. Also, in case any readers don’t know this word, “cosplay” means, basically, going to a convention dressed up as a character, usually a character from genre fiction. “Cosplayers” are those who “cosplay.”)
1) You’re embarrassing us, Tony.
Just for the record, as a professional comic book creator, a lifelong comics fan, and someone who attends comic book conventions, I am happy to be sharing a subculture with cosplayers. Cosplayers don’t have to prove they are “true nerds.” They don’t need admission to the club, because they’re already in it.
I’m also not embarrassed to be sharing my subculture with what Tony Harris calls “a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls…” I don’t agree they’re the norm, but yeah, there are some guys like that at cons. They’ve got problems to overcome, but who doesn’t? Many of them are really nice, albeit socially clumsy.1
But do you know who I AM embarrassed to share my subculture with? Tony Harris. Because he wrote this.
Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you. Some of us are aware that you are ever so average on an everyday basis. But you have a couple of things going your way. You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”.
It is humiliating for me to read that and realize that I’m sharing a profession and a nerd culture with the author.
2) Which comic book culture do you want to be part of?
There’s the comic book culture in which women (and especially female cosplayers) are objects of suspicion.2 “What the hell are you doing here? Are you a real nerd or just pretending? Here, let me quiz you on Star Trek.” There’s the comic book culture in which a major artist posts in his public Facebook area that he finds most female cosplayers to be “quasi-Pretty-NOT-hot” and to have less than “great” “boobies,” and makes it clear that as a “rule” he considers most female cosplayers to be intruders in his space.
Or there’s the comic book culture in which we react to someone of either sex dressing up by saying “wow! You look really neat!” A culture that welcomes new people and assumes they belong there.
Or we can hang up a sign that says “We love our toys, and maybe you will too! Come in and share them!” A culture in which cosplayers keep on attending cons and making them more colorful and interesting for everyone. A culture in which everyone who loves nerd culture – even if they don’t love it in the exact way Tony Harris believes is the One Correct Way – can feel welcome.
Why would any thinking person want to live in the former culture, when the latter culture is an option?
3) A bit of fisking.
In a follow up comment, Tony Harris wrote:
So I am a Misogynist? Why?
Oh, has this not been made clear? Well, then, let me explain.
I’m not going to say you’re a misogynist, because I don’t know you, and I’m sure there are sides to you other than the ugly side you showed us yesterday. But I will say that your rant was very misogynistic.
Your rant was misogynistic because of the over-the-top display of bitter fury towards women you disapprove of; because of the sneering at women’s bodies and breasts that you deem insufficiently “GREAT” for your refined tastes; and because it was yet another attempt by a male nerd to play gatekeeper and declare which women are and aren’t True Nerds.
Because I frown upon Posers who are sad, needy fakers who use up all my air at Cons?
They’re not “sad, needy fakes.” They’re people having a good time while at a comic book convention, and for some reason that makes you furious.
And the air? Not yours. Everyone gets a share. (Jesus Christ, Tony, get a fucking grip.)
Sorry, while you Cos”Play” Im actually at work. Thats my office. Fuck you.
Hey, Tony, that’s my office too. So, speaking as an officemate, can I beg you to knock it the fuck off? Those people you’re sneering at are customers. Without them, neither of us will make a living.
Sure, most of the cosplayers aren’t there to buy my comics (or yours). But most of everyone at a con isn’t there to buy my comic (or yours). There are approximately a billion zillion comics available to buy at a con, and most fans aren’t going to buy more than a handful. We set up “office” for the chance to sift through thousands of fans to find the tiny percent who are looking for our stuff.4
By the way, cosplay is one of the very few things at comic book cons that little kids can enjoy. That’s my future customer base, officemate, so please don’t dis something that’s actually making comic book conventions fun for them.
I actually dont hate women, I dont fear them either. Nor do I mistrust them. I do not portray or Objectify half naked women in my work. I never have. I have always been VERY vocal about my dislike of that practice, and that my view is and has been that T&A in comics is a Pox.
I don’t think I agree that T&A is a pox, but I think the way that T&A predominates in comics is a pox.5 So we’re not far apart on that.
More importantly, it’s great that you’re working to avoid misogyny in your comics. Really, it is. (I work at the same thing in my comics). I also think it’s great that you love and respect your mom, your wife, and your daughters, as I saw you mention in another Facebook comment. However, you seem to think that these things are inoculations – that because you’ve created some non-misogynistic comics, and you love the women in your life, that means that you’re immune from ever saying anything misogynistic, and anyone criticizing your words for sexism must be wrong.
That’s not how it works, dude.
If you write a post saying that five times five is ten, then that’s wrong. And if a dozen people point out to you that “5×5=10″ is wrong, it makes no sense to defend it by saying “but look at all these other times when I’ve done the math correctly!” Yes, it’s great that you did the math correctly all those other times. But that doesn’t magically mean that you didn’t mess up this time.
It would be better if you worked on understanding why everyone’s saying you screwed up, and learning not to screw up that way again, rather than just going on and on about how it’s completely unfair of us to say that “5×5=10″ is wrong, don’t we even remember that time you said four times six is twenty-four?
Just saw this comic drawn by sailorswayze on tumblr, and couldn’t resist including it here:
UPDATE 2: John Scalzi has an explanation for this bizarre phenomenon.
- I don’t deny, by the way, that there are some guys at cons who are really shy and socially clumsy, and who are also mean, misogynistic, and rude. But the problem there isn’t the shyness or clumsiness, it’s the other stuff. [↩]
- Cartoonist Colleen Doran tweeted, “Those kitty cat ears may be the end of comic book culture as we know it. Please keep wearing them. Thank you.” [↩]
- As comics writer Gail Simone tweeted, “Remember, kids, it’s very important that we do everything possible to make sure new people don’t try to become part our medium/hobby.” [↩]
- But what about cosplayers who just don’t buy comics at all? Well, so what? Some action figure collectors go to cons for the action figures, and don’t have much interest in comics. Oddly, no one questions their interest in comics, or their right to share the air. Because they’re mostly men. [↩]
- By the way, why are there so many T&A posters featuring zombies at comic cons? I know a lot of artists like drawing both boobs, and rotting corpses, and apparently they figure that drawing both at once will be twice the fun. But, speaking as a con-goer, it’s just gross. [↩]