Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Comics, Male Privilege, and Heddies that don't fit!

Picture by Inugami Mokekiyo.

Kotaku has an interesting piece up that talks about this in all geek culture associated. From video games to comics they cover the bases pretty well.

I've been trying to wrack my brain about what else I would add to it, but nothing really comes to mind other than the above picture I wanted to use for irony's sake.
I will say it is true that geek guys are harmed by the stereotypes perpetuated, but as the article states it's nowhere near as bad as women get it.

I had an anecdote I wanted to tell about how a girl I dissmissed as out of my league (as in I was below her standards) led to me missing a chance with her, and when talking to her later she berated me for being so dumb as to not try. She thought I wasn't interested when I was. This is something I almost repeated again last year with a different girl, but thankfully that 'connecting random moment' made her speak up when we met a second time unexpectedly. That's not common, so don't ever expect it to be. In using these stories though, it shows a mild bias of my own for my side being superficial because of how hot I rated them immediately without knowing them, and how I automatically assumed geeks aren't allowed girls like that. That's a common example of the mentalities the world drives into geek guys. After experiencing this from the world though, we turn around and treat women much the same as we hated being treated. That's when we turn from victims to bullies and hypocrites.

The simple fact of the matter is, we males tend to think based on looks alone. We weight validity of existence based on aesthetics.  We throw hissy fits when "our superior moves are dissmissed because she's dating someone of a lesser pedigree than us." For the most part though, many women don't see the world like that no matter what we see them as. Many guys continue on complaining about how lonely they are, but when a girl makes a move to alleviate that, we dissmiss them because we want a 'hot' girl by whatever standards we dream up as ideal for recognition. Denying ourselves the chance to get to know someone that could be everything we were looking for. The shallowness and hypocrisy is rampant, and yet many women don't look at the world like that at all.

In every girl I've dated, I've heard the same thing over and over. It was some random moment that created the attraction or broke the attraction. It never had anything to do with superficiality at all. It's always the simple things like holding a door open for an elderly person, or whatever random oddity committed or joke said that caught their attention. Most recently accidentally getting lost in her deep blue eyes but not hitting on her which made her curious about me like a puzzle to solve. Again, not common but just an example of how random it can be.  I hate cameras because of my own self-image issues, but that doesn't mean that women see me the way that I see myself.

That's not to say you should stalk the girl until you get that one random moment. They'll notice that immediately as a turn off akin to 'puppy-syndrome.' As in you follow them around and are at their beck and call like a lost little puppy yearning for their attention. Confidence is key of course. So just be the best you that you can be. Put your best foot forward everyday and you may just be surprised with the results.  Then again, I've learned not to agree with the mind games places claim to use on girls to manipulate them into liking you.  I've learned that even the friendzone can grow into more over time if you are genuine and not just in it for "your turn in line."  Those have been some of the deepest connections I've made and they have stayed lifelong friends even when the relationship didn't work.  So over all else I will always say you should just be you and never pretend to be more than or less than you are.  Be genuine, honest, and earnest as much as you would like in return as you get to know a person.  An immediate overabundance can scare you, so why would you do that to them?  Let it be gradual but never fake.  Let it be real.

Don't fret over what doesn't work, don't try to force it, and don't belittle anyone for spurning you. Just move on. Above all else, don't close yourself off to possibilities based on the same reasonings that you profess to hate.  The times I've opened myself up to these still beautiful women, are some of the times I've outright fallen in love by knowing who they are inside and out.  Though it didn't work out, they are some of my most cherished memories.  I've learned my lessons from being with them and applied those lessons to my life to grow as a person.  This is where many get stuck.  We focus so heavily on wanting to fix our mistakes of the past, we forget to learn from them and move on.  We remain withdrawn inside introversion so deep we forget to live.

I've gone on a minor diatribe before about the nature of self, but I also didn't quite encapsulate that argument as well as I should have. You aren't always what people think you are, just as you aren't always what you think you are. You can just be you. The easiest thing to remember is outright 'how would I feel if someone said or did what I'm saying or doing but aimed at me?'

The nature of self is a hard road to define in a world that is filled with conceitedness, arrogance, as well as hate, and personal attacks from the distaste of hearing the truth spoken or of differing opinions. The world loves to hit a nail that stands above the rest, but without those nails we also wouldn't have the massive strides in civil rights that we have now. It's a fine line of standing up for what's right, and rationalizing our decisions for the sake of our wounded pride. Learn the lessons and move on instead of dwelling on it.  Pick your battles wisely so as to not besmirch your name for times unneeded, and yet also sometimes it's the small battles that must be won before they are accepted and become larger.

It's a complicated issue to dive into and explain between protecting yourself from those that willingly want to cause you pain for fun or for standing up, and those trying to help you to grow. Whether you're male or female it can be hard. I will admit outright within geek culture it seems much harder for women as it's not just the outside world but also what was to be their haven attacking them.

Take a look at X-23's comic in particular. It's a comic that has pushed hard to not treat X-23 as a sex object, using art that depicts her as more like an everyday girl with a dark past she doesn't like reflecting on, but often can't help it as either gender can relate in having just lived life. The artwork itself has had an amazing shift back and forth to demonstrate this with the soft tones of Takeda and the harsher life is dark and light type shadow play that Noto does wonderfully per each story told and the details.

It's genuinely a comic with a multitude of ambitions and creativity within it that strives hard for having it's own unique voice as much as the writer lets Laura define her own voice by memory reflection, words, and actions. Yet at the end of the day, no matter how intelligently it's been handled, the sales reflect male audiences at large don't want something deep, yet there was a steady beat of sales and upswings that showed momentum building to rebound back upwards(though still selling far below where it should be, but enough that it would be profitable, possibly even a higher count of female readers than male). This is a reflection on audiences as a whole, and the mentalities of geek culture as seen in this piece by Kotaku than I'd like to admit, but it's true. It further degrades in any place you look online within geek mentalities. Simply look up the trailer for Haywire(more on this movie soon!) on youtube and you'll be bombarded with macho male bravado and other types of sexism galore alongside fantasy thinking that's never based in reality but solely their pride and manhood. Women belong in the kitchen not as action stars or so they claim. With X-23's comic, you'll see random comments like people counting how many times Gambit touched her inappropriately(like there were any to begin with!), or other more lewd remarks about it and complaints about her not being drawn sexily enough. We geeks clamor for intelligence in our books, but then berate it when such a provocative nature comes up that hits home we don't want to admit. Especially if it questions our own perception of characters we've become accustomed to seeing as an object for our visual pleasure.  This was a small battle we should have won.  Instead now it's leading to a larger battle or outright dissmissal of cleverly done nuanced with subtlety solo female ongoings as marketable.

It's much the same from Marvel's boys club sadly. Axel Alonso himself praises everything X-23 has done, but then turns around and belittles the creative integrity and artistic direction by perpetuating it's just not selling(though really, if he had said anything I'm saying here, how many geeks would overreact to the truth?). It makes me wonder if he sees why it's such a beloved comic among fans. (Maybe he does or doesn't, public relations denies that being voiced... While other editors feel free to belittle fans anyway...)  Other creatives at Marvel (Gage of AA fame in particular) have gone on record taking more tact about it to not be so dissmissive of the potential within, claiming time to reassess the direction the character needs to go in. This sounds plausible considering there's a lot within the ongoing that needs to be examined for where to take the character next, including what's coming in Circle of Four as well as Avengers Academy. There's a lot to tread over and look up and points to examine that have been covered. So much so that sometimes I even feel overwhelmed with having here at all. There's so much still to cover, bits I've barely even scratched the surface of. Philisophical debates that need way more research than I have time for that it can be maddening.

Maybe geeks have grown so accustomed to the way things are, we forget to look deeper and see what we're missing in all walks of life. We forget to see how we're treating those around us while we complain about how our lives have gone or parade around in how superior we feel over others with unwarranted gusto. Maybe it's time we stopped complaining or attacking, and started fixing how we can be the best of who we are without relying on belittlement and personal attacks to make us feel superior.  Maybe it's time we stopped accepting this behaviour from all walks of life whether it be the irate fan, or say an editor at Marvel like Steve Wacker.  These are the types of people you should ignore for good reason as not worth your time since they can't show you respect and only know how to be confrontational.

Maybe we shouldn't become the bullies we claim to loathe and instead should return to the meritocracy roots our fandom was founded on.  A fandom based on the validity of your points, and not based on how confrontational you can be, or the double speak you may hide behind to fool people.  No amount of status or privilege gives you the right to treat another as less than how you would want to be treated.


  1. Once again another great article. I believe the artist is a inugami mokekiyo.

    Well, I gotta say I can relate to this article a lot. I have to thank you for you this again. I just hope I can break barriers like you did.

    Also, that ominous remark in AA is making me uneasy about x-23's future. Also, Axl's remarks :S. I just hope they don't put on her on an non-x-men related team. I know it's selfish :S. But, I love the relationships between mutants compared to ummm the rest of the marvel world.

  2. X-Men tend to reverberate better with the geek idea of outcasts while Avengers and others seem more like a public relations team.

    X-23 will probably go back to the X-Men eventually, but not until after Schism. For now I'm just grateful she's being handled by another writer who cares about character history as Gage has proven with his usage of her and Lightspeed.

  3. I just went through his site checking for this picture to verify, so not sure if it's his or not. On the other hand he does have some fantastic artwork though that I want to spotlight later anyway. xD So thanks for mentioning him.

  4. Well I'm sure it's his. Because it was on his pixiv account. But, he deleted it later on. Also you could tell it was him.

    Some good X-23 stuff.

  5. OOh okay, that explains why I couldn't find it to verify. Okay, I'll add his credit. I'm also going to check all those links out too.

  6. I ended up adding all of them to my favorites on DA.

    I think I'm probably going to end up doing a full plug for all of them at some point now. Many of these are too awesome to not share.

  7. http://www.comicartfans.com/searchresult.asp?PM=1&txtSearch=x-23 Has some good stuff