August 13, 2006

Brian and Brannon, Sittin' In A Tree.....

On behalf of male pop culture geeks everywhere, I would like to apologize to you women. Some of us are complete idiots.

First, you had the whole Brian Bendis/Gail Simone fiasco, when Ms. Simone disclosed her experiences at Marvel and Mr. Bendis basically, well, went off on her. (My thanks to When Fangirls Attack for the linkage). But of course, what really bothered me was this TV Guide piece where Brannon Braga discusses how one character would "spiral out of control after he sleeps with an alien stripper."

That's a direct quote, folks. I'm not making that up.

I'm not justifying it, but I think like many of my fellow members of Generation X, (the sociological construct, not the comic or Billy Idol's first band) Bendis and Braga grew up in the shadow of the then-emerging women's movement. It was a change of consciousness - women were beginning to assert their rights, their individuality, their value as human beings regardless of gender.

Like many young men, I had a choice - one was to become super hyper-masculine, to embrace overtly macho traits. In short, deny feminine traits and become a glorified frat boy. Any attempt to address gender imbalances would be dismissed, because showing any vulnerability would be seen as being a "wuss." Anything that celebrated masculine superiority would be embraced. So, for example, the underlying philosophy of dating sites like this, that basically claim women are attracted to "bad boys", and that it was up to us to demean women, break them down, and "put them in their place." And that, for some men, there is no such thing as a healthy relationship between a man and a woman.

The other choice - which I and many other men took - was to embrace our feminine sides, to be flexible and have positive regard for women. It doesn't mean that we become "wusses", or too politically correct - but there's a healthy admission that we can acknowledge women as equals. Sometimes, it's done with humor (like Andy's site), embracing macho pursuits; for others, it's about acknowledging that, in the comics world, there is a huge, almost disproportionate amount of false machismo, and that we can be just as outraged. Case in point - check out this video blog from Comics Foundry. (I forget where I got the link - for acknowledgement, please write in the comments). Yes, Wizard magazine's an easy target, but just watch a man grow gradually, but deeply, disenchanted with bad behavior. Bendis and Braga aren't the only men who behave badly - however, their behavior only encourages further misbehavior.

So yes, I am apologizing on their behalf, but only because they are symptomatic of some really deep issues in the comics world. And that the only way to fight it is for bloggers who do not feel that way to make a stand. Publicly. Proudly.

Enough ranting for today - it's nap time!

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