Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Late to the party but still worth talking about

I'm probably the last person posting this but there's some serious thoughts on a big problem within ComicCon here. Well worth a read. I seriously hope it spawns an online petition to add something to the ComicCon bylaws to respond to sexual harassment.

The actions described upset me on a variety of levels. I'm furious for the women who were harassed and I'm also incensed by the way these "men" seemed to think that their behavior is somehow acceptable. Is it naive of me to say that I'd hoped - nay, prayed - that we were beyond this? That men at a comic book convention were cool enough and God, grown-up enough to not act like disgusting, entitled cavemen? Any woman who enjoys comics and participates in the comic book industry shouldn't have to deal with a swarm of jackasses living up to the "Immature, Misogynstic Mouthbreather" cliche. A part of me wants to go off on a multitude of angry tangents but I'll rein myself in as much as I can.

The worst part is that I make a genuine effort to think the best of comic book fans (which is, admittedly, not always an easy thing to do sometimes). I try to focus exclusively on the positive parts of this industry that make me happy and show all the good we're capable of achieving. I want to believe that the assholes described in this post are the exception and not the rule. I want to believe that, as a whole, comic book fans of any gender are fun, pleasant and generally awesome people. Call me naive, but I like to think that comics - especially the superhero comics SDCC tends to focus on - are mostly about inspiring people to have a sense of wonder, to implore people to hope and, most of all, to treat those who are different from you a little nicer. If these male comic book fans can't understand the most basic precept of treating another human being with the exact same dignity they'd expect from a total stranger after reading tale after tale where people fight for justice and equality, I have to wonder - what questions should we be asking? Has the superhero comic book industry failed to instill a sense of real, potent equality between the sexes in it's fans? Or does the only real failure fall at the feet of these "men" who just aren't paying attention to the basic laws of human decency?

I'm sorry if this is rant-y and possibly over the top but I tend to take this sort of thing personally. Every asshat who behaves like this at a comic book convention tars the reputation of every other genuinely decent guy at the Con. If I'm going to be attending SDCC next year, I don't think it's asking too much for a standard of behavior, ethics and respect in my fellow attendees. Jesus Christ, this depresses me.