Monday, May 14, 2007

Oh, Snap...

Dirk Deppey's response to "Fangirl" outrage over the Sideshow Mary Jane statue just made my jaw hit the keyboard. I'm serious, my chin just about knocked out "V," "B," & "<":

"A scroll through the last few days of When Fangirls Attack links reveals less a collection of feminist criticism than a sloppy combination of knee-jerk outrage and reactionary herdthink with which the Attacking Fangirl contingent has gotten embarrassingly comfortable in recent months — sort of a distributed John Byrne Forum for she-nerds every bit as engorged on their own inflated sense of entitlement and inability to see past gender assumptions as the goofiest he-nerd on the Internet."


"So why the big freakout over a harmless statuette? I’d say it had to do with the earlier point raised: the fangirl’s inflated sense of entitlement, and the unwillingness of the rest of the world to feed it. It’s no different than the complaints that fanboys lodge over the perceived injustices of the funnybook world, of course, though they usually don’t waste time trying to wrap their enormous self-involvement in pseudo-ethical trappings. Fangirls, however, seem to need that extra step."


"Like it or not, superhero comics are made by and for men. That doesn’t mean that’s all they can ever be, but that’s the way it is now, and until female fans gain enough economic clout to dictate terms, they’re going to remain safely ignorable. Want to change that? Make the fucking comics and build the audience you need to affect change."

But you should really read the entire lengthy commentary to put this all in perspective and get the full drift of what he's saying.

As for what *I* think of all this...

Read my previous post.
But to clarify:
There is a need for comics feminism. I think bloggers have the right to make fun of something that seems ridiculous or offensive. But the problem with the MJ controversy is that it ends up looking so excessive that it starts to erode the credibility of the cause. Remember right after editors were suddently switched on "Supergirl" and I posted that I thought fan pressure did it, but not to get too cocky? Well, this is what I meant. And it's not that people shouldn't stop expressing themselves. I'm just saying that to people outside a certain branch of the comic blogging community, the MJ-outrage thing looks obsessive and maybe even a little...peevish? I dunno. There is no easy answer to it. Hell, I blogged about the statue too. And I blogged about the Power Girl cover to death. But I'm just saying...


  1. I'm serious, my chin just about knocked out "V," "B," & "<"

    Wow. You chin must have hit the 'Shift' key too ;-)

  2. I have little use for Deppey, he's struck me as highly misogynist in the past (as have other Fanta guys) and I see no indication his opinions have changed.

  3. Deppey did have that "Fangirl Link of the Day" thing, so I don't know if the MJ thing set him off or what.

  4. Meh. I read him because he has lots of links to (sometimes) interesting things. From him, I found your blog and the ISB (for face-kicking action). Otherwise, he's always been immanently ignorable.

    Plus, I don't care that Gary Groth signs his paychecks. Publicly, and regularly taking his side over Ellison's shows a lack of taste. They're both tools, but one has contributed massively to modern literature. Hint: it ain't GG.

    More on topic, Deppey seems to think that because cheese/beefcake doesn't bother him that no one else can reasonably be bothered by it. Only his experiences are to be valued. <ad_hominem>I'd not be surprised to find out he's a member of the Log Cabin Republicans.</ad_hominem>

  5. RA, are you trying to insult Deppey by calling him gay, or by calling him a Republican?

  6. Deppey is gay, with which I have no problem. I'm insulting him by calling him a Republican.

  7. Why does it matter that "to people outside a certain branch of the comic blogging community" it seems such-and-such? I have a hard time figuring out what you're getting at. Could you maybe elaborate?

  8. Anonymous9:47 PM

    Okay, I need to get this off my chest.

    Occasional Superheroine, I do believe you are wrong-very wrong- on the "overly excessive argument"

    I am reminded me of a line from Martin Luthor King's Letter from A Birmingham jail, where he comments about how he was told to "wait".

    Now, here we aren't being told to wait, you're basically telling us not to "wait" exactly, but censor outselves. Which is pretty much one of the things sexism does; for example Stephanie Brown being forgotten as the female Robin.

    We should be outraged at this. We SHOULDN'T have to worry about what others think. We should be allowed our freedom of speech. And I think it hurts the cause of the eradication of sexism to be told to stop talking.

    THat's basically what the patriarchy tells women all the time.

  9. Daniel,
    things like the excessiveness of blogger reaction to the MJ statue -- or the "Justice League" #10 cover -- makes some people just roll their eyes and think that this is the sum total of what feminism in comics is all about. Much ado over badly-drawn breasts, or an homage to cheesy 1950s girlie pinups. And I guess it doesn't really matter what other people think. Except when maybe those other people make up a sizeable slice of the comic-buying public, which, ultimately, greatly influences what the comic companies put out. It might be more productive to have a dialogue with them than to say, "who gives a damn what you think?" You know who gives a damn what those "philistines" think? DC and Marvel gives a damn. They give a damn because these are the people who are going to pay a lot of their bills. I just...I just see a "boy (or girl) who cried wolf" scenario here. That statue is cheesy, but it's not the biggest outrage that the comic industry has ever performed against the female gender. You want to post 1,000 messages about something? There are women in Afghanistan setting themselves on fire to commit suicide because they are tired of being oppressed. THAT'S real oppression, what those women are going through. I know we have it so hard here in America, what with Sideshow Collectibles making sexy statues of Mary Jane Watson. All the female suffering in this world and there are 1,000 posts about MJ doing laundry. You think if Sideshow pulls the statue the status of women in the world will so greatly change? And heck, I'm about as guilty of it as everyone else -- I'm no sterling example. But it just made me think -- all this self-righteous energy wasted on snark. We all gotta step out of our Fark/Boing-Boing universe for a second or two and see if we can't all get together and create THREE PAGES of links on When Fangirls Attack on REAL ISSUES concerning the oppression of women, of which there are many. I'm mean, geez-Louise: THREE PAGES of links concerning a fictional character who has made the cardinal sin of washing her husband's clothes and showin' skin. Heck, comic books are real important to me too but at the end of the day it's just frickin' comic books.

  10. Universal Person,

    You just invoked Martin Luther King's name in regards to the MJ Comiquette?!

    That's *exactly* what I'm talking about.

    Oh. My. God.

  11. Deppey's personal politics are very conservative, by the way. I don't believe (I may be wrong?) he would identify as "Republican", log cabin or not, because of their stance on gay issues, but for the most part he leans far to the right. See his interview with Bill Willingham (another Goldwater type) for an example of his views.

  12. If I remember correctly, Deppey self-identifies as a libertarian (not too unusual as an Arizonan), though I agree that he seems to fall generally to the right on a lot of issues. He definitely possesses the zealot's self-assuredness in his positions, though.

  13. Wait, wait a minute. We're not talking about a "certain branch of the comic blogging community," though - if you look at the When Fangirls Attack links and the hundreds of comments scattered through them, many of them aren't the usual blogosphere suspects or people affiliated with them: they're a loosely collected association of nerds and non-nerds, most of whom seem to have learned about the statue through it one comic bloggers' comments which were publicized - not in a comics-related livejournal but in an lj comm for funny quotes! Ragnell even complains about how few of the links she's had to add to her WFA posts have led to any new comics-related blog-reading.

    Also, this morning the story hit Feministe, which is one of THE biggest feminist blogs around.

    Sorry, but I don't think your argument holds up. The very reason this situation is exploding is because of all the comics newbies coming in and being outraged - and, probably, not coming anywhere near comics again anytime soon - not because of us jaded folks who've seen so much worse.

  14. Also, the "This suffering is less than that suffering, ergo, we should ignore it and turn all our energies to more productive ends" argument is an old, old fallacy (which I've already refuted once today, actually). By that token, all of us posting here are horrible, horrible people, because we're spending money on hobbies like comics and the internet instead of donating all our excesses to worthwhile charities and volunteering at the nearest battered women's shelter during our every waking hour.

    The small parts matter too - if nothing else, because people deserve to relax without having their fun time interrupted by that kind of MJ monstrosity. Seriously, ew.

  15. I hate to interrupt, but I feel obliged to point out that unless you can relate these "REAL ISSUES concerning the oppression of women" back to comic books, you're not going to be able to fill three WFA posts with them.

    While real-world oppression is a very serious matter that should be addressed, it is not the subject area covered by When Fangirls Attack.

    That however definitely shouldn't stop you from blogging about these matters as you feel appropriate, of course. :-)

  16. Hey, it's nice to have a cause to rally around, even if it's a little on the shallow side. If it makes you feel good, you just keep doing it. Keep looking at these issues as black-and-white cases of "evil patriarchy" vs. "defenders of right." The most popular opinions are knee-jerk & one-sided, because they're the easiest to comprehend and provide a ready outlet to pour out all one's righteous indignation. Thinking in shades of gray, trying to comprehend the other side's point of view -- it's not as satisfying. But that is what I'm trying to do in this blog, even if sometimes I fail.

    And that, to a point, is what I think Deppey was trying to do, a man who made it a point to include a "When Fangirls Attack" link on his blog every day. I just think even he had enough.

  17. The point being that it's about time us men start to try and "comprehend the other side's point of view". It's the duty of the priviledged, even in relation to a small thing. Otherwise, I think all I'd say has been said by others, though maybe more agressively.

  18. Seriously, I am with you.

    I think this has blown way out of proportion, and people are starting to get annoyed.

    Look, T&A sells, and if you attack every single little thing, you are going to be seen as a bunch of feminazis, and using names like MLK and sighting oppression is just going to make the women come off as lunatics.

    You need to pick your battles.

    I for one thought it was cheesy, but I didn't think it was the worst thing I have ever seen.

    The McFarlane Dorothy is FAR worse.

    Besides Mary Jane is a model, hot hot hot, and she has that kind of "hey Peter I'm washing your spider suit with my boobies hanging out" kind of look, that makes their relationship.

    I COULD TOTALLY see MJ doing that to "spice things up". I just see a wife being playful with her husband

    As far as the people who BUY said statue, sure they are nerdy little pervs who need to get laid, but there's a lot worse stuff out there.

    I am going to continue to stand by that people need to seriously choose their battles, cause when everything becomes a cause for alarm or protest, you will be discounted with the crazies.

    Look at Fred Phelps and his church. Those are the kind of extremists that people come off as. Extremists to the left and right are pretty much the same thing.

    No one likes to be forced into a corner, you have to gradually lead them to light and make it look like it was their idea.

    And woman have a right to bitch about misogyny all they want, but how many fucking gay characters do we see in mainstream comics today?

    And if they are gay, are they sexualized at all? Not really unless its a MAX or Vertigo title.

    Its the Will & Grace rule, its only ok to be gay if you are neutered.

    You have a lot better empowered females who are not treated like that in comics than you do empowered gay males.

    And when the gays come out all in force, you can just see the women rolling their eyes like, "oh here are the fags coming around again, what is it this time?"

    And you know what, that's exactly what people think when the women come rolling out to oppose the man.