DEAR MEN IN COMICS:
THE COST FOR WOMEN IN COMICS OF DOING BUSINESS IS TOO HIGH.
You need to help lower the price of women doing business in comics and in comics fandom to only the hard work. Not the hard work plus ducking threats online and off of violence, dodging groping, inappropriate…
noheroposts-deactivated20140315 asked: I recently found that I really like writing. I have ideas in my head just bumping around, but when it comes to putting them down, I freeze and suddenly find myself discouraged. Any advice on how to get over this?
What you are describing is very common, almost everyone has that at first. But until you start actually writing stuff, it’s like having a hot rod engine with no actual car.
I don’t judge people by how much they write, but they have to write something.
For most writers, writing isn’t a dawdle, it’s a very serious goddamn business and it has its rewards and its costs. You need to be aware of that, and one of the costs is overcoming inertia and fear.
You can be a bestselling author and you still have those things to deal with and conquer. In this, the famous and celebrated writer is no different than someone who writes fanfic strictly for their own pleasure. They both have to beat those two factors.
So what you do is minimize them. And the way to do that is habit, just as any artists does. A musician practices scales, an artist sketches apples, they do a small thing over and over, and they gain confidence and skill all the time.
The grand concerto and the oil painting masterpiece come at the end, after thousands of scales and sketches.
You want to be a writer, so do what they do. Play scales. Draw sketches.
Write short things. For yourself. Write a character sketch. Write a plot outline. Write a story in a paragraph. Write a review. Short things you can finish. It is the finishing that is key.
Each time, you get better. Each time, you learn how to play the scale and sketch the fruit and then each time, you have those in your tool bag and knowing there’s tools in your tool bag gives you confidence, I guarantee it. Odds are, some of your short things will grow in scale as you write them.
Play the scales.
Do the sketches.
The concerto will follow, honest.
Every single time someone comes forward about a celebrity or an athlete raping them, even in 2013, motherfuckers have to cry “she’s just trying to ruin a man’s life to avoid being called a slut.” NOBODY FUCKING DOES THAT. It takes a fucking sociopath to go through the pain and humiliation of accusing someone, especially someone powerful, of rape, if it didn’t happen. Rape happens at such an alarming rate that you are basically calling most women sociopaths. Remember how fucking stupid you sound.
"She woke up with a hangover and regretted it so she cried rape." Guess what. That was rape. Get over it. Your heroes are rapists. Fuck you.
I’m not gonna cite statistics, percentages, etc. I could. It’s easy. You can find them. You should know better anyway. Almost nobody falsely accuses. Almost everyone says nothing when it DID happen. Go out and look around you. You’ll see people who have been raped. You might see people who have been raped by your local news anchors, or someone on a football team, or an entire football team. They are TERRIFIED to tell anyone at all, even in complete confidence. In fact, they probably don’t even believe in complete confidence anymore.
These people, after all they’ve been through, endure death threats, are written off by friends and family, lose job and school prospects, and are instantly labeled sluts, whether the juries rule in their favor or not. Why would ANYONE go through something that ruins their entire lives for really not that much money?
Sooooo fuck you. Fuck you fuck you fuck you.
I don’t mean to tell anyone how to act or what to do, but I would like to remind you of this:
No, your privilege isn’t your fault. However, it is your responsibility.
I know that doesn’t seem fair, but I can’t figure out why some of y’all think it’s hard to live in a community, where people aren’t massive dicks to one another.
Obviously “don’t be a dick,” as a suggestion, applies to everyone, regardless of privilege. The thing is, sometimes those with less privilege have very compelling reasons to be angry and to, therefore, act kind of shitty. I mean, it’s not an excuse, but you’d have to be a colossal moron not to understand their frustrations.
Uh…anyway, that’s all I got. I dunno. Maybe I’m wrong about things. Maybe you all earned your place in society somehow. Fuck it. I guess I’d love to see motherfuckers stop kicking one another while they’re down, and like…helping them up instead. That’s what society is for, I thought.
Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where everyone is cool with everyone, and we can all be happy without someone trying to pass laws to limit that happiness. Maybe someday health and education will be recognized as something everyone deserves. The best way to start towards that kind of world is pretty simple:
Stop being a selfish dick.
Give back to people. Help each other. Stop crying when someone gets something they need without trading a pound of fucking flesh for it. Remember that a world where we all cooperate would probably be awesome, and that the current world, where a few people steal everything and then yell about it, is a bag of rotting shit.
Nobody is saying you gotta give everything you ever earned to the nearest homeless lady. Just…I dunno. At LEAST stop blaming them for asking for help, as if you never needed help.
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that."
— Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via clambistro)
I like it when a band that used to be punk slips “the kids are alright” into a song. It’s like a passing smile and nod when you pass an old acquaintance on the street. You know you really can’t stop and chat, but it was good to see their face. I can totally understand why some people would hate it for about the same reason.
I’m going to be 30 in a year. I’m typing this wearing a disgusting, ratty, studded leather jacket, on a really new fancy laptop with a touch screen. I’m in my very messy, less-than-a-decade old car, stealing wi-fi from one of the under-the-table jobs I have. I’m listening to The Partisans, streaming through 4G on an expensive smartphone. There seem to be contradictions everywhere in this picture.
When I was growing up, my best friend left a roleplaying session (we were playing Shadowrun, I think) to get drunk with older kids. He came back the kind of drunk you don’t see often as an adult. He spent the night on a mattress in my sister’s bedroom, crying and spilling his guts. After going on about his mohawk for like 45 minutes, told me something:
"Punk is a friend who loves me."
He said it wasn’t a music, or a way you dress, or even the things you think politically. He puked not long after that.
Punk has always been my friend. Punk never told me I couldn’t do something. It always told me, “no, you pretty much HAVE TO do that, because you want to.” Meanwhile everyone else, including other punk kids, were telling me I couldn’t do things.
"You can’t sing about this."
"You can’t wear that."
"You’ll never make a living doing this."
"Everyone’s going to think you’re queer if you do that."
It’s like I’ve always had an imaginary friend, speaking to me through records and dirty looks and old leather, telling me not to listen to everyone else. When things started to change in “the scene,” I felt like I was choosing between punk, and the people around me who all thought they knew what punk was.
It sounds stupid to sit here and claim I know more than anyone about what punk is. I probably don’t.
It might seem stupid that I continue to cling to these things; the aesthetic, the attitude, the noise. It probably seems like I’m being held back. I think the opposite.
I don’t have very many friends left. I have a lot of old acquaintances, friends of friends, and familiar faces who I pass on the street. I don’t have a scene. I’m more alone than I’ve ever been in my adult life.
When I was really young, I was alone a lot. I was called a freak before I ever started dressing “weird.” I never really minded being alone, but punk showed me that people had a lot to offer me, and that I had a lot to offer other people. Now it’s like the kid I was is meeting the dude I am for the first time, and I’m seeing my potential. I finally get to see what I have to offer myself.
Nobody’s really telling me I can’t do things anymore. Nobody’s telling me how to do things anymore. I just kind of figure things out, and if I’m doing something incorrectly, I guess, who cares?
It’s fuckin’ weird, man. I’m not sure who I’ll be when I become 30 years old. But, I mean, you know…