(Content Note: Misogyny, Slut-Shaming, Rape Culture)
So Tony Harris is an artist whom I usually had a lot of time for. He did a lot to make Starman what it was, and I tend to think that his art in general is fantastic. Unfortunately, it turns out that artistic skill and the ability to be a decent human being don’t always go together. Today, he posted this on his Facebook page.
Where to begin? I guess a good place would be by expressing my disappointment at the fact that I apparently live in a universe that only hands out mind-reading abilities to people who like to indulge in the dehumanization of others. It’s amazing how Harris–and the not inconsiderable number of people who think like him–just know what huge swaths of people whom he hasn’t even met think. I mean, what other explanation is there? I doubt he’s actually spoken to the people whom he attacks here. That would require actual work, and the potential for feeling empathy for others.
Fortunately, I don’t need mad mind-reading skillz in order to know that Harris is a self-centered, mysoginistic ass. What else do you call someone who
apparently believes that women are incapable of doing anything for their own personal enjoyment? Impossible, according to the statement: if they’re taking the time to research a character, investing money and effort, it must be because they’re sluts who only want to please The Men–men whom, paradoxically, according to his garbage thesis–they are not at all interested in. Spare me.
More damning still is the part where he outright states that a woman’s worth is limited only to her body.
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.
Gee, it’s almost as if women didn’t have thoughts or ideas or the ability to do things besides getting men off.
Now, maybe I’ve been hanging out with the wrong people or reading the wrong books, but last I checked, there’s no correlation between the way one looks or dresses and one’s ability to enjoy comic books, or Doctor Who, or videogames, or anything at all. None. At all. One can look like Amy Pond and enjoy Zatanna, just as one can look like Fred “The Blob” Dukes and enjoy pursuits that aren’t traditionally considered geeky.
And heck, let’s say they’re people out there who do cosplay as characters they don’t feel any particular affinity for. SO. WHAT?! What about that makes them deserving of dehumanization and slut-shaming? It’s a free country. And unless what one wears literally sports a racist/sexist/etc. phrase, what people wear is not a signifier of their moral integrity.
Making this particularly insidious is the way this thought process is often used to justify sexual harrassment. After all, if women are just there for male attention, then they can’t complain when they get groped, right? Consent is an afterthought, if it is thought of at all. And to drive the home point, he adds:
And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the fucking time of day.
comics something does not obligate one to interact with everyone who shares that interest. If a girl doesn’t want to talk to someone whom she finds unattractive or creepy or simply doesn’t want to talk to, THAT’S HER FUCKING RIGHT. This doesn’t make her a bitch, it makes her someone with her own desires and interests. If you can’t tell the difference, you are fucking misogynist.
And to make this whole thing extra-special, Harris then goes on to show that his contempt and ability to dehumanize people doesn’t merely extend to women.
You are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”. Well not by my estimation, but according to 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, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU.
I don’t know about anybody else, but just love being reduced to a stereotype and having my experiences erased. This feels less like a sign of support and more like a not-so-covert-insult.
You know, I’ll admit to being both a virgin and someone who has severe hang-ups when it comes to sex/romance. That said, I can also say with absolute certainty that I have never in my life been preyed by a girl, and that the opposite has more often been true. Does this mean I am not average? Or merely that the statement is bullshit?
It’s not that I don’t understand why people who have been bullied or attacked might want a safe space to interact with others who have been treated similarly, or why they might find it useful to turn something meant to cause shame into a badge of honor. I get how it can be frustrating when something is condemened in socially akward people, only for it to be celebrated when it manifests among people who were already considered acceptable. However, in the universe of potential responses to that phenomenon, going on to attack women for doing nothing except for declaring “I like something” is just about the most counterproductive thing one can do–far from helping, it just makes the case for equating “real fans” with “assholes”. And who the heck wants that?