Not All Menswear

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I saw a parody of the now infamous Wondercon “Coffee shirt” that replaced the bottom line with “I’m terrified of coffee.” It’s frustrating when the internet gets upset over the typical depiction of the “Standard North American Fedora (yes, I know the hat is called a Tribly. The PERSON IN THE HAT is called a Fedora.),” with their half-formed mustaches, their intense and undeserved overconfidence about their hysterically shitty opinions and their  general obliviousness to why everyone is always trying to escape their orbit. This is not a stereotype. This is a fixture of the world in which I have chosen to make my home and ply my trade. Mysogyny is real, it is rampant in comics and geek culture and it’s a fucking cancer on an otherwise lovely and inclusive corner of The Internet/real world.

The comics I grew up on, and honestly most all of the comics that preceded them… well, shit, and MOST all of the comics today, fed and continue to feed this systemic malfunction like dry brush to the fire. You don’t have to read many super hero books to wonder why “men” raised on them have a skewed view of a woman’s value and place in the world. The super men were/are just as laughable, but their portrayal is far less damaging. Despite being impossibly muscled murder machines and one-liner factories, at least they had stuff to do. At least they were more than a pair of super powered quadruple F titties, hovering above 8 pack abs, wrapped around a 12″ waste. Granted, they weren’t MUCH more, but they were more.

I will admit that I haven’t regularly read a super hero book in about 15 years. I’ll pick up the occasional trade or one shot, but the genre as a whole doesn’t do much for me. I guess, I don’t really know the current state of things. I know what I see at conventions, which is exactly what I remember from my childhood. I’ve kept up with the new Buffy comics (seasons 8, 9 and the current season 10), which certainly break the mold in terms of how super powered women are portrayed. Though Buffy (in whatever incarnation) has always done that, so color me not surprised (though still delighted).

COMMENTERS: Ladies: Do you feel welcomed in the world of comics and conventions? What aspects of geekdom have brought you into the fold? What still needs to change? Which books/titles/fandoms are the most inclusive and accurate in their portrayal of women?

Men: When did you realize that super hero comics were sort of misogynist and fucked up? Was it Frank Miller? I bet it was Frank Miller.

The next Patron-ONLY Google Hangout is Wednesday night, May 13th at 9pm central. I will post the link in the Patreon Activity feed when it goes live. We’ll talk and I’ll draw. It’s a good time!

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107 Comments

    • See, the problem with this is that breasts aren't a sexual reproductive organ. The artist, in a way, escalates the issue without really opening up a discussion.
      On the other hand, us men don't have anything similar to breasts to show off, so in a way it's a valid art-based argument.

  1. And this is why I'm always terrified to go to conventions. I love the idea of talking with a cartoonist and that type of thing, but I have plenty of… visions in my head of being an annoying little leach to everyone I've ever talked with.

    As for when I realized they were sexist? Probably the instant I showed any interest in them. I don't really have that much of an interest in that many hero comics. I might like individual characters and search them out, but not too much actual attention being paid. A lot of my view of comics come second hand, and from the handful of things I've looked at myself.

    I decided to google Dust today after she came up in a conversation on Twitter. And… well, I had to sigh at some things.

    • There was a great comic posted on Tumblr a while back about how to interact with your favorite artists at a convention. I can't find it but I will keep looking. Basically the idea is to be respectful of the person and of their time. If you dont want to buy anything, but you do want to tell them how much you like their work, go up to them, wait your turn, tell them how much you enjoy what they do and what it means to you, then (as the line behind you dictates) stick around for a few minutes (assuming the artists' body language, attitude and the words they are saying indicate that this is a good time for such things.).

      It is rarely a good time to stick around for more than 10 minutes unless the show is dead, the artist is obviously not busy or you are genuinely engaged in a 2 sided conversation that the artist seems interested in.

      It's really never a good time to go up to the artist, say hi, then immediately start talking about your project, your comic, etc. Lots of artists will do portfolio reviews, but many only do them at certain times, or at specific panels. Asking for a review of your work is asking the artist, who is already working, to do more (unpaid) work.

      It is NEVER a good time to go up to an artist and talk AT them about something you are interested in that in no way pertains to them or their work. I love it when people come up to me to talk about TV shows and fandoms that they know Im interested in, but I find it very annoying when people are looking for any receptive warm body to monologue at.

      It is also NEVER a good time to go up to an artist hoping to pick a fight or insight some sort of predetermined negative reaction from them for your own amusement. "I know this guy hates X. Im going to go tell him how much I love X." I see this all the time and it's just disrespectful. If you love someone's work, do not make games of provoking them. I will never understand how this became a thing.

      If the artist isn't offering free sketches, it's never a good idea to demand something for free. "I've read your comic for X years, so I DESERVE something free," (again, a thing I've heard at least 100 times spoken to other artists) is a fantastically shitty thing to say.

      Go up, say hi, get something signed, take a picture (always ask first) buy something, have a bit of a chat and move one before you monopolize the artist's time.

      I have readers who I see at show after show, year after year and many of them I look forward to seeing and I talk their ear off when they come to my booth. The difference is, you have to let the artist make that determination of how to spend their time. They are usually paying A LOT to be there, underfed, sleep deprived, and somewhat stressed. Or maybe that's just me.

      • I met George Perez (one of my idols) at MegaCon 2007. I had recently bought a copy of the Absolute Edition of Crisis On Infinite Earths just so he could sign it, as well as all four issues of JLA vs. Avengers. That dude was just so awesome, he not only signed all 4 comics and the slipcover of Crisis, he signed the inner pages of the two books in the case.

        Since it was noon on Friday, there weren't any lines yet, which gave me some time to chat with him about Teen Titans, The Avengers, Justice League, and Firestorm. Can't remember how long we chatted, since time seemed to fly by. It was such an awesome experience, I dropped $20 in the donation jar for ailing comic artists that he had at his table. One of the best moments in my life.

        • Last year at Dragon*Con I wore an Animal Man costume, and I walked past George Perez in one of the hotel lobbies. He called out, "Hey, Animal Man!" and it basically made my year.

          • After an exhausting first day of the show, we spent Friday night having drinks and people watching from the second floor of the Hyatt. George Pérez was walking around the lobby, complimenting people in costumes, and getting photographs pretty much the entire time. He regularly participates in photoshoots with large groups, as well. I don't know that I've ever seen a creator who's more enthusiastic about costumers than he is.

          • I'm not as much of a comics guy, so I can't draw the exact parallel, but as a longtime Trek EU reader (along with most of his other work), riding in a limo with PAD would be thrilling and terrifying.

            • I didnt know who he was until I realized one of my traveling companions was geeking out because he wrote her favotire Young Justice.

        • AT WonderCon 2011, the last one in San Francisco, I met a lot of DC bigwig writers: Judd Winnick, Geoff Johns, Marv Wolfman, and Paul Levitz! I even got the last guy to sign a Green Lantern book for my best friend.

          • Oh lord, I would have lost my gay mind in that group. Johns on JSA and Flash was amazing. I liked Judd's work on GL and TT. Wolfman will forever be known for Crisis and Titans. Levitz's 7 year stint on LOSH is legendary.

          • I will never be able to think of Judd Winnick as anything but "that cartoonist from Real World: San Francisco."

              • Season 2 of The Real world aired when I was 14. That was the last season I watched. It was probably the last time a reality show featured actual reality. Interesting people with interesting lives interacting naturally while cameras are pointed at them. How quickly that format was abandoned.

      • I did something similar at TCAF this past weekend. I had limited money to spend so mostly I went around to the artists tables and told some folks how much I enjoyed their comics and how good I thought their art/story/characters were. I think every creator deserves to be told those things without asking for anything in return and I want them to remember some positive interactions to offset the negative ones I'm sure they hear on the internet.

        So to all those comic artists out there that I read, you're doing a great job! Keep it up! 😀

        • Never underestimate the value of a kind word to a cartoonist. Making a bunch of money at a con certainly feels great, but you rarely remember who bought the most. You ALWAYS remember who said the nicest things.

      • Would it be considered acceptable to offer to bring your favored artist some food, in a non-creepy way? Or is non-creepy not possible at that point?

        • Every artist I know seems to have very differing opinions on this. I pretty much always accept baked goods, booze (homemade or otherwise), or treats of various kinds. I have friends who will graciously accept the treats, but NEVER eat them, and others who simply turn them away.

          BRING ME ALL OF YOUR BAKED GOODS!!!

          Real answer: It is probably best to not assume food gifts will be appreciated. I'd reach out to the artist via twitter or email first and see if they have a policy on this sort of thing. If they dont answer, dont waste your time.

          • Plus checking ahead with the artist will let you avoid any food snafus, like giving homemade elk jerky to a vegan artist, or walnut brownies to an artist with severe nut allergies.

    • The general guideline I've been told is "if you're worried about being That Guy, you're probably not That Guy. At least not very often."

  2. I actually just finished writing an essay about this. I feel like there's a paradox in comics fandom–and all fandoms in general really–of making a point of being a safe place to geek out about whatever, then immediately mock each other for not doiing it the right way. I'm tired of that crap.

    • I've read/seen similar things regarding almost any "inclusive" persecuted niche group you can think of: geeks, gay culture, religious sects, minority groups, etc. Being persecuted doesn't necessarily make you a better person than the one doing the persecuting.

      • I wasn't meaning to imply that last statement. But exactly! Some people you empathize with in some ways but in other ways you can't.

  3. The ridiculously ironically hilarious part is that the signature hats (some do actually wear honest-to-dog fedoras) of these idiots were originally hats worn by, named after, and made popular by eponymous FEMALE characters of early nineteenth-century plays. Both the fedora and the trilby.

  4. I love that you have you David drawing porn in the background. You know, now that that's his bread and butter.
    I don't want to sound like I disagree with it. Good for him. I enjoyed the WPAS pdf I got as a Kickstarter contributor, and I do love to buy the books, but paying just for the porn isn't for me.
    That said, would you ever consider drawing something like that for money? Seeing as most of your characters are based on your friends, it'd have to be a new couple or something, but I'm curious what you think of it.

  5. I was raised as a geek girl so I've been lucky enough to experience nerd-sexism from every different age group! And yet it still always takes me by surprise and I find myself speechless when confronted by it. Then I get over-defensive and end up looking like more of an idiot than the fedoras. (I'm just glad they have a name now.)

    Luckily I find it less now that I live in Seattle (where people find you a bit odd if you're NOT a socially liberal nerd). I just read that this year's Emerald City Comic Con had more female-identifying attendees than male: http://www.themarysue.com/emerald-city-gender-sur

    And because of things like the ever-popular GeekGirlCon, big names making public stands, and various fandoms becoming more vocal about the treatment of female and minority characters I'm happy to say that I feel like geek culture is slowly becoming a better place for women.

  6. Probably around the time I became capable about thinking about anyone except myself, and noticed that, wow, this shit is REALLY hostile to women. Then you start looking around and notice the sheer level of entitlement that festers in the mainstream comic fandom like mold in a basement. You'd think a lifetime of social ocstrazation would have taught these mouthbreathers to respect other people, but all it did seems to have been to make them even MORE bitter and entitled than they would normally have been. Then they try to cover up their misoginy and occasional racism by stating that they want the fandom to be a little insular world where they can just roll themselves in likeminded opinion like a pig in muck.

  7. As an overweight dude with mutton chops and an affection for hats, it pisses me off to no end that these chuckleheads have become a symbol for everything horrible in geek culture.

    • This is certainly unfortunate and unfair, but at this point (were I in your situation) I would probably stop wearing those particular kinds of hats. OF COURSE wear whatever makes you comfortable, but I personally would rather not set people up to think I was a Fedora. Again, not fair at all, but what is?

    • Linkara, an internet celebrity who does comic book critiques on Atop The Fourth Wall, recently was asked if he was going to stop wearing a trenchcoat and fedora because of the poor image that MRA have given them. He stated that he liked wearing those things before it became associated with MRAs, and that he's been outspoken enough about his support of feminism that he doesn't feel that's he's being lumped in with them.

      If you like dressing the way you do, just keep being you. Your words and actions will speak much louder than your clothing. 8^)

    • As a woman, I LOVE stylish hats on people of all genders/sexes. The only assumption I will make based on your clothing is your fandom, and even then, only if you're wearing a signature item. The exception would be if your clothing says something explicitly, like the above booth-barnacle's shirt. I will take that at face value.

    • Maybe go from fedora/trilbys to Greek fisherman-style caps, a la GRRM? I've always loved those hats… tried to talk every boyfriend I've ever had into wearing them 🙂

  8. Thankfully I've never had a bad con or fandom experience.

    I guess I got into fandom when I was about 4 and started playing Star Wars pretend games with the guys at preschool. I was the only girl and always got to be Princess Leia. In high school I started hanging out in a Star Wars chat room and there were plenty of women in there. I don't remember any harassment there at all.

    The first cons I started going to were college cons at small liberal arts colleges. They were very welcoming and often run by my friends.

    Maybe it's because I'm usually working at booth or with my male partner or my child or all of the above, but I've never been harassed or questioned about my creds, thankfully.

  9. I've been pretty lucky for the most part. Online gaming is always a bit of a problem if people find out you're a girl, and there's always a few conjerks that try to "test" your knowledge to see if you actually know who your dressed up as, or are just a "wannabe slut" after their precious geek meat. (they never seem to appreciate it when you do for some reason *eyeroll*). But most of the guys I've met or befriended see girl geeks as more of a unicorn type figure that should be encouraged rather than be threatened by.
    I still am waiting for the day when girl heroes actually get practical costumes though. The stereotype that you can only fight crime in a spandex mini skirt and bra is getting a little tiring…and chilly.

    • I love how you can be a guy and be not great at a game and that's just because you're not great, but if you're a girl no girl should be playing video games ever because girls suck at video games.

  10. Before I went to my first convention 3 years ago (ECCC) I was warned by my very well-meaning friend that I might not have a good time because 'you're a cute girl, and nerds aren't the most accepting group, they might be annoyed at you being there'. He was basically warning me off of going. After my jaw hung open for a few minutes, I remembered that a) he plays a lot of WoW, so his experience with nerd-guys is probably skewed. And b) I don't give a flying fuck, I wanna meet my favorite artists and creators, and I'm gonna have a good time dammit. You know what? I had a blast. It's still my best, favorite con ever. Meeting people like Joel reminded me I'm a fan first, no matter what the outward perception might be. I'm lucky that ECCC is super-welcoming, I've never had to experience the 'fake-geek-girl' scoff. If I ever do…I'll be ready for it.

  11. I went to my first ever convention last month. It was a lot of fun and really great. I never once felt like I shouldn't be there. I didn't have any real cosplay beyond my Magneto hoodie (from Hot Topic) but a lot of people, men and women, complimented it and talked to me, and no one ever scolded me or anything for being more a movie fan over comic fan (and some even suggested comics for me try looking into since I hadn't read them yet.) I don't normally start conversations with strangers but that weekend, I talked to so many people, simply while waiting in line for events or photo ops and 90% of what we talked about wasn't even related to the thing we were waiting for. So that was really cool.

    I went to my first ever comic book store when I was 14 years old and I went with a guy friend. They were really nice and helpful that trip, so I went again another time without him, just me, and they were horrid and totally seemed to just want me to not be there, so I didn't go back for 10 years. I went on Free Comic Book day and I found the X-Men comic I wanted and got a couple of free comic books and when I got to the checkout, they were really nice and liked my hoodie and t-shirt (it was the Magneto Hoodie and Professor X t-shirt) and said if I really liked this other thing, then I'd definitely like the comic I'd picked up. I'm excited to go again when I need another comic.

    I'm really into X-Men (again films more than comic but working on getting more into comics) and the fandom corners I hang out in are primarily women, which can be both good and bad. It's good because they are more accepting of women within the fandom, but bad because they're also more likely to call you misogynistic or sexist or just wrong if you don't like the thing they like in the way they like it and it's really frustrating and kind of off putting. I've been lucky to find friends within fandom who've realized we might all like the same thing but we're not going to like it the same way and that's okay.

  12. Generally, I do feel welcomed in the world of comics and conventions. Thankfully, I haven't had a bad experience yet. Although, I always make bee line to independent artists that have realistic and unique (non-boob-centric) characters at conventions. Maybe it's though some sort of super skeezy-sensing power I manage to avoid the more negative sides of these things? I don't know. It's just sad that some folks can't enjoy the geek culture to the full extent because of its dark side.

    I've always had a love for fantasy and scifi from a very young age through watching ST:TNG with my family or stalking the scifi/fantasy section of the library. Science and natural history museums were always my favorite places to visit as a kid (and still are) and I was lucky to grow up in a town that had those places and a family that supported my interests.

    However, due to the prevalence of sidelined half naked women in mainstream superhero comics, the genre never appealed to me. B.P.R.D (and Hellboy), as far as mainstream comics go, I think does a good job at inclusive and realistic portrayal of women. Mostly I stick to web comics and more independent/one shot stories like Persepolis, Anna's Ghost, Fray, NonNonBa, and Digger.

  13. My only complaint with this comic (and the term fedorable in general) is that it's too nice.

    Fedorable is an insult, obviously. But it's sweet, and lightly mocking, when what needs to be said is something much much more harsh.

  14. Joel, I fell in love with your work when I saw the "Ewok Care Bear Stare destroying the Death Star" in t-shirt form several years back at C2E2 in Chicago.

    I've been working a lot of conventions lately, and as many folks know, despite all the fun to be had at conventions, you will inevitably interact with the Neckbeards pictured above (funnily enough, this group of people can be pigeonholed into a single category – it's almost as though they're Borg-like in nature. You've met one, you've met them all).

    I now have a new word to describe these smelly things.
    From the bottom of my hate-shaped pineapple, I thank you, Joel.

  15. I've had bad experiences but for the most part, they were in the nineties, not within the last 5 years. Some nasty stuff when I was younger though.

    Sadly, the worst experiences I've had recently have been with male, recent-to-the-fandom My Little Pony fans (no I am not going to use the twee term they use for their super special fan-claiming of a fandom I've been in for 30 years). Nothing makes you feel lousy then having people come into your fan-corner, tell you you don't belong and everything you liked in the past was terrible because it was for girls. Because that is the worst possible thing, being for girls.

    The best was when the local group decided they wanted to do a local con, and figured, with almost 20 decades of con-aid experience behind my belt, my best role was… organizing a fashion show and drawing art. I washed my hands of the thing since they made it clear with all the choices for how they were staffing stuff that the important jobs with organizing things and money and so forth were MEN'S WORK. Which I have never seen in any other con in ever (especially given how desperate they are for people to work on con staff). Spoiler: The 20 year old first time to conventions guy who was our 'fundraising manager' absconded with the funds.

    *slow clap*

    • As A guy who enjoys MY Little Pony I really dislike hearing stuff like that. The current show is still intended for little girls, its just that the Woman who created it did a great job of making something that other can enjoy as well.

      The hostility you encountered is the reason why I don't interact with the rest of the fandom that much, too many pompous, elitist jerks acting like the show was intended for them alone and everyone else is just a 'poser' .

      • My reaction to the cartoon: "wow, that's a pretty smartly-done show. Reminds me of the Animaniacs/Tiny Toons well-done stuff I grew up with. Neat."

        Then I looked at the internet, threw up my hands and walked away.

      • Agreed. I got into the 4th gen of the show in 2012, between seasons 2 and 3. Fell in love with it! Hardest I've fanboy'd out over something in years.

        But after attending my first MLP-specific con, and poking around the online sites? Holy hell-monkeys… wow. I don't think I've seen so many misogynists and homophobes in one place in my life! (Well, except for the Republican National Convention, ha-cha-cha! No, I kid… Equestria Daily's comments section is worse). I remember being dog-piled on there one time for correcting a guy's perceptions on feminism, and defending it as a good thing. It's surreal (and not in a "hey, I scored some ecstasy, let's experiment" sorta way) that so many people who hate women, and are hateful in general, are drawn to such a female-empowering, light-hearted show. I don't get it. It's the only time in my life I've had to distance myself from a fandom in order to continue being able to enjoy a show, comic book, whatever… Sad, really.

    • "with almost 20 decades of con-aid experience behind my belt," If you're in the Greater LA area, we would l-o-v-e- to talk with you about a 1-day project we're doing. Proceeds are going to charity.

    • "with almost 20 decades of con-aid experience behind my belt," If you're in the Greater LA area, we would l-o-v-e- to talk with you about a 1-day project we're doing. Proceeds are going to charity.

  16. Except for a few years when I was a Software Engineering major at a private engineering school (where I was told my part in the group project was to "bring the cupcakes"), most of my male nerd associates have just been happy to find a girl that likes the same thing they do.

    I've found the people at the conventions to be fairly accepting, and I wonder if there's a difference between large conventions and the small ones I've attended. There have been a few minor exceptions to that rule, but that mostly had to do with the occasional leer rather than questioning my or my lady-friends nerd-cred.

  17. I was also going to say that my current fandoms may also be especially inclusive: Star Trek, Firefly, Dr Who, all works by Brandon Sanderson. They all kind of preach fairness and acceptance, and I think they attract the kind of people who enjoy that aspect of it.

    One of my favorite things about these series in particular is that they contain smart, three-dimensional characters (both male AND female) that are badasses in more ways than being a good fighter.

  18. I know I don't always fit in as I'm not a gamer and I don't usually read comics. Fortunately, I have been welcomed by various teams of nerds over the years who are willing to help me expand my nerd horizons should I wish to. (Plus I am or used to be one of the resident Star Trek/Star Wars gurus and I like Tolkien so that didn't hurt.) I've seen a lot of horrible geekmen trying to push women out, but I've never experienced it in person, possibly thanks to my nerdfriends and also thanks to my absolute obliviousness to people trying to push me out of a group?
    Anyway, I've never been to a con, but have been thinking about going to one in the next year or two, and the nerd gatekeepers worry me, because often I know (and care) more about the fandom for something than the actual thing. Like, I happen to know that I have a complete Tenth Doctor outfit already in my closet, and I look surprisingly (face- and hair-wise) like a lady-Tennant, but I don't keep up with the show. I'm leaning toward wearing it and just making a button to wear that says "NOPE! ASK ME ABOUT SHERLOCK INSTEAD". Defuse the nerdbomb right from the start…

    • Far as Doctor Who goes, you'd probably be more in danger of spoilers *badumtss* than any nerdbombs. In my experience (from both sides of the equation) the only disappointment rising from having not seen an episode is simply not getting to talk about that thing.

      Also, no particular reason why, but I personally find genderswapped cosplays to be pretty snazzy.

  19. I started reading comics in the early 90s and while guys my age were cool about me liking comics, games, Star Wars, etc venturing outside of my drama club social group was generally… difficult. Many comic and game shops I went to were outright hostile to me and to other girls I knew (one comic shop employee mocked a friend of mine for pronouncing Neil Gaiman's name "wrong" when actually she'd pronounced it correctly. She completely stopped reading comics at that point. Thanks, dude! Good job!). Around the time I stopped reading mainstream comics I was pretty much only reading Vertigo stuff… which was a huge change since I started out as a huge Marvel (specifically X-Factor and Excalibur) fan. The older I got the more mainstream comics attitudes toward women bothered me. I dip my toes into comics now and then out of nostalgia or curiosity and for the most part it doesn't seem anything has changed except women in the industry have recently started talking more, and more loudly, about the myriad ways they've been harassed by men in the industry. I'm a fan of the current crop of Marvel movies, but really would love more female protagonists (and am incredibly wary of how they're going to handle Scarlet Witch, Crazy Evil Bitch Prototype). I don't do a lot of cons because I don't have the money/time/childcare to do that.

  20. Like some others I went through high school and most of college in the 80's and early 90's wearing a real Fedora (an Indiana Jones branded Stetson). I still always wear hats when I go out, generally a flat cap but something nicer for occasions. I own probably 30 Fedoras and Trilbys, and now some jackasses have gone and tarnished them beyond redemption.

    Just two weeks ago my wife and I went on a company trip to Las Vegas which included a late night dance party with a "celebrity DJ" (it was Pauly D. though Deadmau5 and Skrillex were playing at our hotel that weekend, the disappointment in the room was palpable) so we had to bring party clothes. My wife kept pushing a Trilby though I fought it, I tried explaining to her why I wouldn't wear Trilbys or even Fedoras out anymore and she just didn't understand it. Now I'll point her to this comic and it's comments and maybe she'll get it. In the end I got her to accept a Bowler instead, "if they're good enough for Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart they're good enough for me," she could hardly argue with that.

    It was the right choice. Bowlers are my new fedora. And maybe a top hat if I'm feeling particularly dressy. It helps that my fashion sense tends towards the steampunk now anyways.

    • Hate to go 'welcome to my club' but there you go…I used to wear baseball caps with my long beard in the late 90s/00s and stopped because of the references to a football (soccer) coach who was in his 70s (Malcolm Glazer…didn't even look like him). I hate football…then Scroobius Pio came along and I stopped wearing them entirely. I have a 1920s bowler, bowlers are cool…and several Top Hats but like Fedoras it seems a particular type of person tends to wear top hats outside of Victoriana/steampunk type circles, and as I'm not a steampunker wary of sending that message too.

      But like with flat caps, Victorian clothes, tweed, kilts (basic hipster looks like I've been looking like for years!) l I've been fighting against the hipster hordes and wearing them to spite them. Like with the caps people move on and get bored I find.

  21. So one time in school, I was at a youth lecture about drugs or abstinence or something. The guy giving the lecture was asking pop culture questions to the students to make them engage with the material. He asked things like "Is Justin Timberlake a Backstreet Boy or in NSYNC?" and "What is Batman's real name?" and so on. I shouted out the answers with the rest of the crowd. Even though we knew it was lame, we liked shouting and being right, so we played along.

    Then he asked where Superman's powers came from, and I shouted "THE SUN!" Apparently, I was the only one in the room who knew it. The guy looked at me with a patronizing smile and then told me with supreme confidence that Superman's powers radiated from the pieces of his home planet of Kiptron. The little shithead next to me laughed and said "Girls don't know anything about Superman."

    I remained adamant. Superman's powers came from our yellow sun. *Krypton* was his home planet that had orbited a red sun, and pieces of the destroyed planet were actually his biggest weakness. You know, Kryptonite?

    The lecturer blinked a few times and the little shit next to me rolled his eyes as if I was wrong. Then another kid feebly agreed with me.

    "It doesn't matter, he's not real," said the lecturer and continued on.

    I learned so many important lessons that day and not a one of them had to do with drugs or abstinence.

    • Oh Jesus, I would have gone all HAM on his ass. Not just for getting his shit on Superman all wrong, but for doubting my extensive knowledge of Kal-El.

      Then I would draw "I SUCK DICKS" on his forehead in Kryptonian with permanent marker.

  22. I didn't really feel compelled to comment on the main thrust of this comic, misogyny in our nerd/geek culture, instead going on about the hats. After posting the previous comment I wondered about that. Why didn't I feel like commenting on the actions of wastrels who ruined the social value of my favorite hats?

    I think it's because it's never really affected me directly. I'm a guy and I'm more of a computer/video-gamer/table-top-rpg-playing nerd than a comic/movie nerd and I think the misogyny in my circles is less pronounced, though I know it still exists. Most of the people I've known have had the "OMG here's a girl who likes the same things I do, this is awesome" reaction when faced with a female nerd. I've also always had strong women in my life; my mom earned her Doctorate in Cellular Biology about the time I went to college myself, one of my grandmothers was the iron fisted matriarch of her family and the other was a Navy Admiral's wife (the woman behind the throne as it were), and my wife once broke a beer bottle over a cowboys head in a bar when he told her "sit down and shut up little lady, the men are talking". I've also been fortunate, in my 20 years as a computer programmer, that every company I've worked for has had no problem with hiring and keeping female, gay and/or transgender employees. This is probably because I've lived my life in the SF Bay Area and tend to gravitate towards more open and liberal people and the places they work. I've heard their stories though, I know this isn't typical even in our area, but I hope my experiences are a sign that it's becoming less of an issue than it has been.

    • The online environment for female fans of computer games is often…well, rather toxic. The stuff I've encountered playing with a friend of mine makes me want to apologize to her on behalf of my gender, and some of the stuff I've encountered myself (I tend towards female avatars) makes me want to have a long scrub. And that's without bringing deliberate "trash talk" into things.

  23. I've been an science fiction nerd for three ages and a day, but I only attended my very first convention last month, Awesome Con. I felt very comfortable there as a lady-person. I spent most of my time strolling about the artist booths, chatting with artists, purchasing stuff to plaster my blank walls with, and generally people-watching. It felt like a respectable mix of male and female artists, and the crowd was a good mix, too. Lots of the art was revealing/sexual, but usually done in a classy way. I even bought some of it that I wouldn't have expect to…the print just struck me as beautiful.

  24. I absolutely hate the coonatations that Trilbies and Fedorable Bastards have in our society now. My trilby is the first hat that I've ever worn that I didn't absolutely abhor, but thanks to jackasses both online and IRL, I'm seriously considering changing my hat.

    When I went to SGC last year, some jackass actually SLAPPED my hat off my head, as if the simple act of wearing it made me like the guy in the comic. I met Joel at Austin Comic Con one year, and I tried not to stay too long and make myself look like a dickbarrel. I just asked a few questions about the comic, bought a sticker, and left. I still worry I act like a creeper at conventions, but mostly no one has informed me of it, which I take as a sign that I'm doing good.

    I like my trilby, but my rage over Fedorable idiots has led me to seriously consider switching to something different. I'd start wearing a top hat if it meant people didn't associate me with these assholes.

  25. Perhaps those of us with fedoras who enjoy them can all get large button for the side that reads "Not an MRA; this is just the only hat that doesn't look terrible on me"

  26. I don't feel like I've had any particularly bad interactions that were solely based on being part of the nerdy community. Or rather, I haven't had any experiences that are exclusive to the nerd community. If anything, I've encountered more guys who are afraid of me because I'm female (another sad but true stereotype). The worst I've gotten is going into new comic shops and getting the "oh, you must be here to buy the comic version of whatever movie just came out" as though I don't know anything about comics. And even if I didn't, that would be no way to get customers interested in your business! Eesh!

    The portrayal of women within the community does bother me, though. I've seen that shirt, too, and I HATE it. The fact that women are most often accessories and even when they're in a more powerful role, they are still half naked boob-monsters, as though our only real consistent strengths, even in a world of magic and superpowers, are our body and sexuality. And the whole "fake geek girl" thing is a hot-button. I won't even get started or this will turn into a thesis paper.

    The more I think about personal experiences, though, maybe I'm just too sturdy and either don't notice people pushing at me, or don't care enough about those people to give it too much thought.

  27. I just don't get the whole "fake geek girl" thing. Not to say I don't believe it happens, I've seen it. I just don't understand it.

    Let me see if I can put this in perspective: the assumption is that an attractive woman (or any woman, for that matter) is talking to you, showing an interest in the things you care passionately about, quite possibly dressed in a way that you find alluring, and your response is… drive her away with verbal abuse? Speaking as a life-long geek, this does not compute. Unless you are truly convinced she's after your incredibly priceless comic book collection or intends to steal your vital organs when you're not looking, what's the motivation here?

    Now, seize up in panic and have no idea what to do except stand there and mumble as your life-long dream finally comes true (a woman is talking to you, showing an interest in the things you care passionately about)? Sure. Been there.

    • I can't speak with authority on the matter (the women I know are geekier than the men so I've never been able to relate) but I think it comes from social anxiety and the same "you make me feel uncomfortable, it can't be for no good reason, therefore there is a good reason and I will find it" place that racism does.

    • Oh no. It makes more sense than you think.

      File it under "if it's too good to be true, it probably is."

      Or to quoth the Ackbar: "It's a trap!".

  28. As far as costumes go – over at Burly Press they have a wonderful tableau illustrating the rather sexist nature of female superhero costumes. To quote, "This print is a tableau of 8 comic book heroines that have been gender swapped, mostly into big burly bears: Storm (X-Men), Death (Sandman), Jubilee (X-Men), Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Psylocke (X-Men), Power Girl, & Vampirella."

    Go to http://burlypress.com/store.html and scroll to the bottom; it's in a section along with a tableau of gender-swapped science fiction heroines and of cartoon bears in real life. 😉

      • Frankly – that particular example would probably go over well at certain street fairs in San Francisco… but not at any of the conventions where one usually expects to see cosplay.

        I can understand why the artist went there – there really is no male equivalent to the sexualization of women's breasts. Men go shirtless in public all the time and no one thinks twice about it; a woman tries to breastfeed her infant (biologically speaking, the reason she HAS breasts) and some people utterly wig out.

  29. I think the defining moment for me was when Ryan Sohmer wrote and posted that "Gutters" page which was nothing but four panels of "Power Girl has big newbies lol".

    The general treatment of female comics characters in "The Gutters" is abominable, with a few bright spots since that other guy took over; but then, what should we expect from a guy whose first comic was literally just a rocky of himself marking notches for the number of women with whom he'd had sexual relations?

  30. My issue here is… heh, comics. Issue. I made a funny.
    ANYWAY, my problem is the statement that "You don’t have to read many super hero books to wonder why “men” raised on them have a skewed view of a woman’s value and place in the world."
    I've read superhero books since the age of 12. X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four helped me through middle and high school. I and my fiancé can attest that if it weren't for those books, I probably would have turned out to be a misogynist country bumpkin. My parents were rednecks, my brother's a redneck, I could have turned out the same.
    Personal ethics and values were reinforced if not informed outright by comic books, not in spite of them, and I'm proud to say it.

    • That's why they call statements like mine "generalizations." There are always exceptions to the rule. My personal belief is that intelligence and nurture play a huge role in how you react to overly violent, sexual, hateful or otherwise potentially inappropriate media at a young age. I was exceptionally smart as a child, so I was always able to separate how people acted in comics or movies with how people should act in the real world. I think it's fair to say at least a slim majority of young Americans do not have this ability. This is were nurture has a chance to shine, and often doesn't. An engaged parent would check out the comics the child wants to read WITH them and make a determination as to what that particular kid can handle.

      Just like you, I'd say discovering comics (while it didn't "save me" so to speak) opened my eyes to a larger world. In a way it set me down a path that led me right here, making comics (while not super hero comics) for a living. I have a very fond place in my heart for the super hero comics I read as a kid, but as an adult I can see some pretty egregious flaws that I just glossed over as a child.

  31. Well, time for a little avocate diabolo, I suppose.

    It always kind of saddens me that in the cries for empathy for the beleaguered geek girl, there's never much empathy going out to the Fedoras.

    Remember where these people come from. These are people who have been picked on all their lives by a merciless crucible known as Junior High School Clique Life. Sure, for some, it gets better the farther away from ground zero they get, but that's not always the case. There are those who pick up scars from that era they feel throughout their entire lives. Time heals all wounds, but time also ends lives, and there's nothing saying that the two intersect at some point.

    That Fedora that's browbeating the girl in the Batman T-shirt might well be half-remembering a disastrous junior high dance he spent duct taped to a flagpole.

    We don't see many calls for sympathy for a Fedora, whatever name you use to refer to this poor bastard. And some of them are genuinely evil and unpleasant people without old hurts fueling their wrath. But bear in mind, for every Omnicidal Maniac, there's three Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds out there, even if they don't know it right off.

    Just a little call for forbearance from one of the most inclusive communities out there, the one that would have me in it.

    • No matter what trauma you go through, as an adult you are responsible for your actions and how you treat others. I was bullied mercilessly in junior high and in turn I was unkind to those I perceived as "weaker" than myself. I wasn't a bully, but I was a fucking ASSHOLE to any kid less confident or outspoken than I was. I took the pain that was put upon me and put it upon others just so it didn't crush me. No one in my life was looking out for my mental or emotional well being, so without guidance or council (or therapy), I made a terrible decision for how to relieve my pain. That was a child's decision.

      I'm sure adults can come up with plenty of excuses for treating other people like shit because they feel bad themselves, but at some point they have to be held accountable and made an example of.

      I do agree with the idea of "more empathy = good for everyone" but I kind of draw the line at adult misogynists.

      • I'm not saying we should condone their behavior, and you might well be right that making an example of them pushes them in the direction they really need to go. I'm saying that what we break with one hand we need to fix with the other. A lot of our people are hurting, and make no mistake, they're still our people. The more we can do to improve their lives makes us all better off.

      • I can relate. I was bullied a lot in elementary and middle school (a fat nerd with glasses getting bullied? SAY IT ISN'T SO!), and I took out my frustrations on my younger cousin, who was living with us for a few years. I didn't beat him, but I did tease and mock him mercilessly, and played lots of cruel pranks him. It wasn't until I was older that I realized I was continuing a cycle of harm, and I feel so, so ashamed and sorry that I did such things to my innocent younger cousin, who just wanted my friendship and acceptance. I haven't seen him in over 15 years, but if he was here now, I would tell him how I wish I could take back everything I did. What I went through doesn't excuse my actions, and it's one of things I regret the most in my life.

    • Yeah howdy Steve, lets talk about the Fedoration for a moment. Were they rejected by women growing up? Very possible. They were possibly even bulled growing up, and comics, cartoons, anime, and video games might've been one of the few outlets they had. So those outlets became defining, and they never felt like any one in High School or Junior High could possibly understand and love it as much as they do.

      But you know what?

      Junior High School Ends. And you grow up.

      Eventually, you realize that not going to prom doesn't ruin your life. That being rejected by girls doesn't make 50% of the planet inferior or unworthy of your club. That being rejected when you were 13 by a random girl shouldn't be a defining characteristic when you're 23.

      That those "fake nerd girls" who get all this shit for being girls in a boys-only space probably were rejected by boys back in Junior High, AND bullied by girls, AND they couldn't even go home and pretend to be Batman because, y'know, that's for boys.

      You don't get a pass for treating people poorly because you think a space you never owned is being invaded. Empathy is a fucking great skill to have, and the Fedoration doesn't seem to really have any.

  32. I HAVE to comment on this one. It's a rambling one, but there's a point here I swear. I was recently on a friend's film shoot. She's biologically female but agendered. I am a cisgendered queer Jew. Our producer was is an African American cisgendered man and our Director of Photography is a cisgendered woman. Nice and varied, which is good considering we were working on kind of an art-film. We were all carpooling up to the mountains to film, and we had to stop and get dinner. Our only Grip (it's a short film so that's not unheard of) was there with us. He was the only one there who I didn't know, and he was added at the last minute.

    Regardless, he decided to bring up the fact that he overheard me and a friend talking about Hitler. I'm not sure why he was ease dropping, but the conversation was that the least controversial statement one could make is that "Hitler is an asshole". This was between two Jewish friends, but he felt the need to comment, and I quote, "Hitler was right about a lot of things, you know." A repugnant statement to be sure, but he did this at the dinner table in a family restaurant. I was livid, and I called him out on it, telling him that saying something like that to a Queer and a Jew was possibly the most inappropriate and offensive thing he could do. I informed him that it didn't make him worldly, or intelligent, or controversial to say shit like that, but it made him an asshole. He apologized profusely, because I'm a man and I called him out on it. Later on me and the producer had to call him out on making rape jokes around our Director of Photography and Director, who are both biologically female. When they did it, he didn't listen, going so far to say that "it's just a joke" and that they needed to "lighten up", but of course he shut the fuck up a minute two men were telling him so.

    Why am I bringing this up? BECAUSE HE LOOKED JUST LIKE THE BOOTH BARNACLE!! It's uncanny how similar they look! He even did the furthermore thing! And have the same facial hair! It's so weird! If this guy is based on any one you actually met, then I'm so, so sorry you had to deal with a guy like that!

    TL;DR? I think they're cloning guys like the Booth Barnacle in a bunker somewhere, and I'm terrified.

    • I spent my first semester at a college in Tennessee, after living all my life in Miami, FL. Spending my youth among so many black, hispanic, and queer people and then attending college in a very white, very Christian area was a bit of a culture shock.

      There was one guy who sat behind me in English Lit class that would go on these diatribes about Jews, Mexicans, blacks, gays, blah, blah, blah. As a gay, 1/2 Mexican, 1/2 Native American guy, I was pissed off, but I just tuned him out and focused on my work. But one day, he started going on about how the Holocaust was a lie made up by the Jews.

      THAT WAS IT. I FUCKING HAD IT. My grandfather fought in WWII, and saw firsthand what the people in the camps suffered through. I grabbed him by the throat, shoved him against the wall, and read him to filth.That asshole never said a fucking word in class afterward, and he stopped going to class a week or two later.

      I'm not a violent person, but a guy can only take so much racist, homophobic shit day after day before he loses his fucking mind and goes all HAM, you know?

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