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C08P22 – Betrayal

C08P22 – Betrayal published on 41 Comments on C08P22 – Betrayal

Edit from June 21, 2016

I look back at this post, now made over three years in the past, and I see a person who is ignorant.

Many times, I considered deleting the words of my past self, but I feel that would be dishonest. I had, and still have, a lot of racist and sexist attitudes to work through. That has to be owned, not erased.

However, I did not wish to leave my previous perspective unchallenged.

I am always seeking out new articles and books to read, new perspectives to process. If someone does wish to share their experience, please email me. I promise to do my best to listen and to learn.  My vision is that of any human’s: Limited, full of blind spots, and, as I work on improving them, subject to change.

I am not as ignorant as I was, but I now realize how much I still have to learn.

I’ve been thinking a lot about racism, sexism, and bigotry. (Wow, there’s an up-beat opener, right?) Which are all super touchy subjects, but you’ve all been amazing with handling touchy subjects in the past, so here goes.

The reason I’ve been thinking about it is this fine and upstanding elder is clearly a bigot. But when I was working on these pages I started wondering — is she also a racist? Where does the distinction get made, between bigotry and other forms of discrimination, if at all? Does racism or sexism require a larger context of historical and cultural oppression? Or is a bigot simply a member of a racist or sexist group? In which case, is racism/sexism broad (discriminating against any person on the base of their race or gender, regardless of historical context or what race or gender the discriminator is) or does racism/sexism only occur when discrimination is made by a specific type of person to another type of person, as defined by the cultural context in which they live (white person discriminating against non-white person, male discriminating against female). If the latter, then is a person discriminating against somebody else in a reversal of what is considered racist/sexist (non-white person vs. white, female vs. male) not racist or sexist, even if it is bigoted?

I’m not sure what my feelings are on it right now. Even with silly things. For example, I’ve seen a lot of proposals for reversing the oppressive “damsel in distress” role in film. Rendering the male characters into pathetic, incompetent, weak characters that are easily overcome so that their female counter-parts can rescue them. And there’s something about this that bothers me a lot. I can’t help but feel that there’s more than a little spite that goes into this idea. A “see how you like it” that empowers the female character by tearing the male character down. Now, I’m all for things being equal, but I don’t like equality at the expense of someone else. I don’t see how that helps, and I think it propagates resentment and makes people feel justifiably threatened. So I would still say it’s bigoted…but is it sexist? Is sexist content that flips the roles just as sexist? Or is it not sexist because men have not been relegated to that role in media historically, and as a result it is not sexist because it lacks that context?

What’s your take?

41 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

Have you noticed in other places men turning into women and women into men? I do like Korra, but she is very masculine. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think a lot of the time people think women can only be strong if they take on masculine traits, but I think this undermines what it is to be a woman. “Traditional” women bound the family together. That takes a certain strength that I think is being under-valued now-a-days. I think more feminine protagonists are something that needs to be explored.

I agree that there seems a strong impulse to make female characters strong by emphasizing their traditionally masculine traits. I think this is part of why, despite having a male lead, the original ATLA series felt like it had better examples of powerful women. While there are plenty of women that have highly masculine behaviors (Toph) it is equally true that many have more classically feminine traits, such as mothering instincts (Katara) or serenity (Princess Yue). There was more variety in ATLA, so we got to see more types of personalities, and a character that was highly masculine or highly feminine didn’t have innately more or less power for it.

Interestingly, this was the topic I more or less wrote a paper in my Irish Literature class on. It was a compare/contrast of the Tain Bo Cooley and The Bray House (a contemporary Irish novel), specifically the strong female character of Robin in the latter and Queen Maeb in the former, looking at it from a “feminist” perspective. Essentially, they are women who both seem hyper “masculinized” and show typical mannish traits – aggressive, ambitious, commanding, selfish and uncaring about others – because they both find that that’s the only way to succeed in an otherwise man-dominated world. Interestingly enough, both essentially “overplay” their aggression and suffer for it.

[My teacher suggested I submit it for publication (this was as a sophomore, mind you) but I shied away from it, figuring that what I didn’t know about feminist perspectives could fill multiple books and I had no intention of submitting what I was sure was a naive analysis.]

I just watched the Croods, and in it, one of the males was weaker and more flimsy than his female counterpart, but they also made him more creative to counteract it. While I LOVE that movie, I don’t find the distribution of strength and brains even. I have always thought that the male should be dominate, and the woman submissive, but not in a general context. To me, women shouldn’t be weak, women shouldn’t let men walk over them, but women SHOULD run the home, raise the kids, focus on the domesticalities, and in that way, we rule the home and the safe haven, so become just as equal as the male who takes care of the laboring, and being the protector/provider. If a female controls the place a male wants to be, who has the power? As for strength, I, as a female, can easily lift just as much as most men I know. I can outpace most of them easily, and can swing a cast iron skillet like I’m Babe Ruth at the plate if I can’t win a fight fairly, but I don’t think I’m less feminine for it. I’ve been told I act more like a man than a woman at times, but I honestly believe that most of the women (and men) I know are just brainwashed or stupid about what it means to be feminine. I don’t find fake nails, three tons of make up, and really short skirts to be feminine, I think it makes them a floozy. A woman, to me, is the mate, mother, and the haven, the keeper of the home, the kind hand and easy voice, and the last defense between whatever is out There, and whoever is in Here. I see absolutely nothing wrong with a woman being pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, as long as she understands what power she has in that position.

I get called sexist for that :p

Crud, I wrote another book! O.o

I admit, I had a strong emotional reaction to your post and had to take a step back to think about why. And I think it is related to why you’ve been called sexist for your views.

I don’t see anything wrong with your opinions of a woman’s role, as they apply to you, personally. It’s clear you feel very comfortable with your personality, and feel good about yourself and where you fit with your own life.

However, I personally am not a submissive personality. And the idea of being the home-maker, child-raiser, or domestically-focused sounds…appalling, for me. If I tried to force myself into those roles, I would be so miserable and unfulfilled. So when I hear “This is what a woman SHOULD be” I feel like somehow, I am insufficient as a human being. I feel as though I have been judged unfit, a failure, and that something must be wrong with me because I cannot force myself into acting in a role that I would detest. Therefore I am faced with either hating myself, or rejecting what I “should” be. The questions I ask myself are: Am I not a real woman for being the bread-winner? Am I failing at being feminine if, as a woman, I have a dominant personality? And if a man is not a dominant personality, or a provider, is he failing at being a man?

Perhaps child-rearing and nurturing a household are classically feminine traits. And maybe providing/protecting are traditionally masculine roles. But what happens when a man or a woman is not completely “masculine” or “feminine” by those standards?

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. While I do beleive that at large, the female should be the home, I also know I would go crazy without a job, so it becomes a balancing act. I know men who do just as good at the home front, but then their wives are out and about, and it still equals out. I’m also not a submissive person in the traditional sense, which is why I have so much problems dating, cause I don’t want to be with someone weaker than me, and very few dominant individuals want an equally strong mate. Seriously, the myriad combinations of how things could work or should work are really based on the individual and their psychologies. I still think that women at large, for the most part, are better suited to the home, though. Cause it was a man who coined the phrase ‘Hold my beer and watch this!’… O.o

Its funny you mention this- its a conversation my husband and I had the other day. I think it went something along the lines of “You know, Honey, I never thought I would defer to any mans judgement.” “That’s because I don’t walk all over you ” or some such. I, as a very prideful, stubborn, and strong-willed woman am ABLE to back down and allow him to make (most) final decisions because he allows me to be, well, a woman. I don’t wear makeup, and if I do its so minor you can’t even tell its there. I don’t paint my nails or wear slurry clothes or fling myself at men. I raise my son and practice my religion and keep our home safe. It sounds like you do much the same. It’s nice to know that the term “lady” still means something to someone else.

I can’t speak about racism or sexism or biggotry overmuch- it…angers me beyond reason. I don’t care what people say or do to me, but I’m first generation American and thus my grandparents; whom are more dear to me than anyone besides my husband and son; have dealt with quite a bit more than they ever needed to, having fled Italy during the war. It kills something inside me to see people act so callously to someone they don’t even know simply because they are different. And I do believe, it can be reversed and carry the same meaning. It doesn’t stop being wrong because the roles have been switched.

Zee, if you are willing to chat, pretty please email me. I have so many questions I’m about to implode! CassandrAlys@gmail.com

Bigots are bigots, regardless of which direction it is directed. If you’re being a jerk about race, or gender, or anything of the sort, then they’re very much in the wrong. To me it doesn’t matter whether it’s in the reverse of the ‘norm,’ it is still being a bigot. Specifying what kind is why we have names like sexist and racist.

So, as you’re defining the terms, bigotry is the winder umbrella, and sexism/racism is simply defining what type of bigotry? It’s really interesting to me, what a major role just language plays in this conversation. I had viewed bigotry as actually less severe, in terms of hierarchy for these sets of words.

Indeed. That being said, they could both be equally severe depending on how the person uses them. Kind of like the difference between being a little kid and thinking that shut up is a bad word and then growing up and finding other things to fit into the bad word category. Soooo… I guess I’m trying to say, it’s a matter of perspective on which is worse, which could lead to one superseding the other depending on the situation.

Anything that would value one gender of the other is sexist, regardless of which gender is the one held as being inferior. The same applies to race and religion.
Fighting for the rights of your own particular group is a noble cause, but it’s not the ultimate answer. The end goal should always be universal equality for everyone.

How does one get to that universal equality? I wish I had an answer to that. I used to feel very strongly that getting angry about social disparities and discrimination only propagates the problem — and in many aspects, I still think that’s true when that anger is used to harm others — but at the same time, I’m beginning to think it’s a necessary piece of the process. At the very least, the expression of anger helps people connect with each other. They know they’re not alone in their frustrations. Except, when any group gets together and chooses to act on that anger by harming others (and there’s a wide history to groups doing just that) it never ends well. Except to maybe appall other, more moderate groups into other types of action? Ugh! There seems to be no good answer, other than to try as individuals to be honest with our feelings, but to be self-responsible enough to express those emotions in ways that don’t cause harm.

I don’t know whether I’d identify the elders as bigots – I can see where they’re coming from, especially now that we’re getting backstory, and I’m inclined to sympathise with them. Tama and Mizha specifically might not have done anything wrong, but they’ve spent their entire lives benefitting from what their ancestors did (and I’m hoping that this arc will prompt them into realising how privilaged they are and the cost of that privilage, because I’m sure they’d both benefit from that).

As for racism and sexism, they’re not the prejudices of individual people, they’re the prejudices of society. They’re not about one person disliking a certain group, they’re about groups being oppressed and marginalised by the society in which they live. So-called ‘reverse’ racism/sexism is not actual racism/sexism, because it doesn’t have that weight of societal power behind it. In addition, such statements are rarely genuine but are instead understandable expressions of frustration at living in a world where people are not only oppressive, but also unaware that they’re being oppressive and try to identify it as being “just the way things are”.

And if those reversed dominant female/submissive male situations make pelple uncomfortable, then I can only identify that as a good thing. Maybe it will make the oppressive groups a little more understanding of what the people they oppress deal with on a near-daily basis. Ooor maybe they’ll just continue to insist that everything is fine and dandy and that talking about it causes more problems and dammit why can’t we just be happy with the scraps we’re thrown, but hey. I’m allowed to hope.

True – and I wanted to provide that context so that it wasn’t just “blah, we’re the antagonists NOW DIE.” They do have good reasons to distrust, fear, and even hate. And it is equally true that Mizha and Tama are very privileged, and have only just begun to scrape the surface on the benefits they have over other people in their society.

Your comments about society being the defining factor is exactly why I’m not sure how to feel about all this. It’s why I asked the questions in the first place. I frankly do not have an answer, but I do find your points about the social context very salient. This was actually the point I had brought up to a friend. Their counter-argument was as follows:

“Let’s say you work in a company that pays men more than women for the same job. You understandably complain. To make up for it, they not only give you a raise, but they give a pay-cut to every man such that they now make less than you. Is that sexist or not? Because the men all have a history of making more than the women, are they not now victims of discrimination based on their gender?”

And that scenario definitely had me wonder. Granted, it’s an extreme hypothetical, but if I put myself in the shoes of the other party in that situation, being punished for my gender would not cause me to think “Ah, this must be how it felt, now I have compassion.” Instead, I would be angry and resentful. I would feel that I had done nothing wrong, other than being born. Which is exactly what women are often raised to feel (I know I was) but does that make it RIGHT to inflict on someone else?

As for role-reversal…I’m all for it when that is the point of the initiative itself. The Hawkeye initiative, for example, is pretty fantastic. In part because it uses humor to point out how ridiculous female portrayals in media are. And I’ve heard a lot of people that had great discussions and re-evaluations of what they considered “normal” due to that initiative. Which is wonderful, and vital to advancing equality in our society.

I think the reason that I felt the reversal example made me feel unsettled was because the Damsel in Distress was specifically for the latest Avengers film version of Hawkeye and Black Widow. Which bothered me because, although Hawkeye does take the classical Damsel in Distress role in that film, it isn’t because he’s weak or incompetent. Simply that he was overcome. And I feel stripping him of that competence and strength in order to make Black Widow the rescuer in a more “traditional” sense is a huge dis-service to the character dynamics as established. What I like about those two characters in the Avenger’s film is it is a partnership of equals. THAT is what we need more of, going forward. So to destroy that partnership to make a point actually feels, to me, like moving backwards.

…So oddly, if brand new characters were created to do a reverse damsel in distress, I would be TOTALLY COOL WITH IT. Or if the roles were switched for characters in the exact same film (say, Thor’s love-interest shows up and rescues him) I would still be fine with it. So perhaps I did not know my own mind on that thought very well. Maybe it’s not the role-reversal that bothers me, but the destruction of what I see as a positive, healthy partnership in order to do that reversal. Does that make any sense?

I hope this discussion hasn’t made you too uncomfortable. I knew bringing it up would be opening a huge can of worms, but I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about all this. Until just a few months ago, I was in the “don’t stand up for yourself, that just justifies their comments about you being an irrational woman” at my workplace. I am very new to actually thinking about sexism critically, and not as “normal.” Part of why I asked the question here is so I could get a wider variety of opinions. So thank you for voicing your thoughts, particularly since they in counter to my opening comments. I really appreciate the discussion, and hope that I have not offended you too badly.

That is… not really a good counter-argument (and my brain is stuck on “but if the pay gap was so great that they’d have to cut the men’s salary just to get it equal then that is one supremely f***ed-up company” because I have no ability to filter things like that).

A better argument might be if a company which has historically hired primarily men decides to start hiring on a 50:50 gender ratio, in which case people might try to complain that they’re discriminating against men by being less likely to hire them – except not, because they wouldn’t be any less likely to hire men, they’d just be more likely to give women a chance. I’m willing to cede that there might have been situations where lifting women up has involved pushing men down, but I’ll maintain that these will be only a sparse handful of isolated happenings compared to the society-wide practice of pushing women down to make space for men.

And begrudging a group of people something they should have just because it might make your life a little more difficult is a dick move. Going back to the original counter-argument, if the discrepancy in salary really was that great, then YES they should cut the men’s salary because what the f*** were they doing letting it get to a point where that was the only option for equality. If I was in a position where I’d have to lose some of my privilege for the sake of improving things for a historically-discriminated-against group I’d make that sacrifice gladly, because if I didn’t I’d lose my ability to think of myself as a decent human being.

I’ve never actually come across a genuine (ie, non-humorous) example of the sort of role-reversal which would evoke discomfort (or at least discomfort in people other than MRAs, and honestly there can never be enough things to make MRAs feel uncomfortable); everything I’ve seen has either treated the male characters with respect but simply put the focus on the female characters instead – which is how it should be done – or has been hideously misogynistic on some other level.

I am neither uncomfortable nor offended. I’m too much of a sociopath for the former, and have spent too much time dealing with/seeing the fallout from actual sexism/racism for the latter.

In my opinion, anyone can be bigoted towards anyone else and if it’s based on sex it should be called sexist or if it’s based on race it should be called racist and by saying that they can’t occur without any history of racial/gender oppression would potentially lead to some crazy goings on. People are (for the most part) not, or should not be, limited by their gender in doing what they want to do

So you’re saying that limiting the people that can speak against discrimination they are experiencing based on race/gender is, in itself, a manifestation of racism or sexism? It definitely limits the conversation, doesn’t it? Gosh darn it, this subject has my brain in knots! I guess it wouldn’t be worth discussing if it wasn’t difficult to weigh.

took me a couple of seconds to wrap my head around what you were saying but yes in my opinion that would be sexist/racist.

Telling anyone they’re not allowed to speak out about discrimination they face because they’re part of a certain group is discriminatory, as if they don’t know what it feels like at all because they don’t know a certain kind of discrimination, maybe as a guy I don’t know discrimination as often, or as badly as a woman would (and I certainly am not oppressed), it doesn’t mean I haven’t been treated differently or worse in some situations because I’m a guy (I pot-wash as a job and that area is quite discriminatory in that if I were to apply to be a waiter over in the UK, at least where I work, I’d be less likely to get it than an equally qualified woman because she’s more likely to get bigger tips)

In several cases there has been this ‘reverse discrimination’ against men (there’s a study in Gross Psychology I glanced at, into the court system that suggested women were given shorter sentences for similar crimes, or there’s the whole issue on stay-at-home dads, which is a much less socially acceptable thing than a woman having a career) and whether this is a symptom of an overarching sexism against women because men aren’t allowed to be feminine(as feminist theories state) or an altogether different issue about gender roles is a debate I’m not really qualified to properly weigh in on, haha, but generally in a conversation, if I were to bring these up I’d be told to shut up, because I am ‘the oppressor’ in other areas of society.

It all kind of sucks because people view it as an “us vs them” situation when it ought to be about freedom of choice in how to live your life without repercussions for your choices(as long as you’re not hurting anyone else doing them)

I feel like that came off a little butthurt, I’m not saying men have it nearly as bad as women or white people have it nearly as bad as POC (because of the fallout from worse days) I was just trying to get across it can go both ways sometimes

I think you did a really good job of starting your discussion with the reality that you might not know discrimination as often or as badly, and not exaggerating the discrimination that you do face. You didn’t come off as butthurt at all to me, and I think that’s why.

The difficulty talking about it that you’re hitting might possibly be coming from this:
http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407
Socially, (at least where I live), when someone starts a conversation about their suffering its bad to redirect it to your own suffering if your suffering is perceived to be less (which is odd, because if the topic is about interests, you’re supposed to talk about your interests too). Most discussions of bigotry have an implied “it sucks the least for this group of people” if not an explicit party who is suffering more than average. Yet, this leaves you without space to ever talk about your experiences.

I don’t know about living life without repercussions for your choices, but, I agree with a similar sentiment — that we should be able to live our lives without repercussions for the things that we really don’t get any choice in at all.

I haven’t quite had enough coffee to articulately comment on the meat of this conversation (bigotry, racist, ect..)

But I will say I love the simplified mythology-vision that you’re doing here with these last two pages. Love the look/feel of it.

Not all of us have to stick our heads in this hornet’s nest. Maybe it’s better you haven’t had that coffee after all. 🙂

I’m glad you’re enjoy this style. I was so worried people would find it too unrefined, but I wanted it to have a cave-drawing feel, to emphasize the age of this history. It sounds like most people really like the effect.

Maybe it’s because I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, but I wouldn’t call this conversation “sticking one’s head in the hornet’s nest.” Maybe we can consider it more of diagnosing a condition and determining its extent. It will be painful at times, but I for one think such conversations can help.

On the subject of the elder and her bigotry, I believe that her bigotry is racism, in that racism is a subset of bigotry and she is certainly using race as the discriminatory element (first order sorting: is the target a lightbringer?) As far as I can tell, the elder doesn’t know Tama is the Scion, so we can rule out political concerns.

To be sure, the elder is motivated in part by wanting to preserve the survival and freedom of her tribe… but that doesn’t make her actions just. I suspect there may be some part of her that enjoys this opportunity to give the lightbringers “a taste of their own medicine”.

I’m not sure what else to say on the subjects of racism/sexism and their “reverse forms”, beyond the statement that, however justified one may feel in repaying bigotry with bigotry, it is never a right answer. To the best of my knowledge, we’ve never really constructed a truly equal society before, but we have seen what happens when an ethnic group or class that once dominated and oppressed others falls from power. The groups they oppressed usually take the opportunity to wreak revenge, which results in years or decades of bloodshed. Rwanda, Somalia, the former Yugoslav republics, Syria today… they are stark reminders of what happens when we give in to revenge.

Perhaps that’s why some people are resistant to efforts to remove sexist barriers. Perhaps some people, realizing just how much men have oppressed women over the years, fear that women will return that oppression in kind. That role-reversal won’t remain confined to awareness-raising like the Hawkeye Initiative or the “Dude-in-Distress” trend in fiction, but will permeate all aspects of society. So they dig in their heels and do their best to hold on to their privileged position as best as they can. Such fears may be unfounded; perhaps we can get a gender-equal society right without the pendulum swinging all the way to the other side, without giving in to the desire to wreak vengeance. But perhaps we won’t.

I believe we can do better, personally. We’ve made some promising starts as a society, and though we still have a long way to go, we can still build an equal society, and maybe get it right this time.

In general, I think it comes from people telling others what to do that causes issues. I do think that racism/sexism is based on specific bigotry (referring to the sex or race). As a female that is scientifically minded and doesn’t like children or housework, I do know that I feel extremely insulted when I am told that women should be in the home. I know a lot of women that do not fit this category. I also feel insulted with blonde jokes (as I have blonder hair), which in my opinion is a form of bigotry. I get told that my hair is “too brown” for me to worry about it, or that they are blonde so they can go ahead and say that. I think that misses the whole point of why I don’t like blonde jokes. I feel that people should be defined by how they act, what they do and what they like, and not by their looks, sex, etc. To generalize like that is demeaning, and removes the face from the person (makes them almost a thing).
Of course, being a person with a scientific mindset, I like speaking my mind (or what is going on) rather than dancing around a matter. Of course, science has very few absolute truths (most are theories). I tend to like to believe that there is always an exception to every rule, including things like “men are always stronger than women” or “women are always better with children than men”. Not that people can’t think that, but I just wish that they would be careful with who they share it with. Too many times I get told that my not wanting to have a child will change over time (but graduating from university did not change my opinion). This is insulting to me as well, as it defines what I feel/believe as going to change based on someone else’s conception of what I should do/feel in my own life. What ever happened to diplomacy or people being nice to others? I don’t mind someone saying that they themselves (as a woman) like working in a home, but please don’t drag me into that as well. Maybe phrase it more as “I like working at home, making dinner and being with the kids. What do you like to do?” or some such thing. It opens up a dialogue rather than a debate.

I think a lot of what is becoming frustrating for different minorities is the lack of variety in what social groups expect them to be. Asians = MATH! VIOLINS! Women = WEAKLING! OR TERMINATOR! So on and so forth. In the end, most of these portrayals in media are lazy writing. Using tired stereotypes to fill in characterization, instead of making the effort to build a personality. And media in turn shapes how people interact with each other in their day-to-day lives.

I think the thing I have the most trouble understanding is why people have a need to impose their feelings, views, and world-view on another person, or a group of people. Is someone being different truly so threatening?

Your graphic is beautiful. To say something succinctly that people might not want to see, you have mastered the art. You are a fine artist in many ways.

I have more to add on the issues, but that comes later.

In the middle of large scale social change, many many people get hurt. In fact, we might get suspicious of people who come through without a scratch–like, for example, people who did not suffer at all during the Great Depression. Everything fine, huh? No problems at all? When the water was too deep for everybody and the waves were spreading farther and farther?

So with the change that comes with shifting sexual roles–during periods of change, there will be damage direct and collateral, more and less fair but mostly less and generally awfully unfair. The steeper the gradient of change the worse the fallout, and believe me I’m not trying to sound like a Bolshevik justifying mass misery. Balance what you can if you can, but be aware that it is complicated.

I’m not so old, and when I was a student for a while I was blissfully unaware that the *first* woman to be tenured in the English Department of my Ivy U was my advisor. She was too busy joining judicial committees–she left the activism to the next gen of women faculty . . .

The job searches were mayhem. Only at this distance do I begin to understand the anger of the men who never calculated on social change–or calculated that they’d react with uncontrollable anger–while society in general was marginalizing their field and cutting funds–what a nightmare. We all needed dialog and instead ended up in a morass of emotion. Name calling and stereotyping! When the stereotypes were the problem. But change is hard, and slow. And it just may be guided by something bigger than the people who react by squabbling if they keep on doing that, and don’t start a constructive dialog.

About bigotry: my definition of a bigot is someone who will not engage in dialog and will not learn. A syndicated program on our NPR station broadcasts lectures every week by ultra-left leaning individuals, all of whom are very worried about the future of the planet. Many have helpful ideas about ecology, and others have discovered, at great cost, serious information to share about social justice problems. However, I can’t stand to listen to them. They sound arrogant; many ridicule those who don’t agree with them; some of them simplify problems I happen to know are complicated; and in general the tone does not welcome all points of view. It’s mind crushing to listen to people whose ideas I am curious about but whose attitudes make my skin crawl.

Let me say quickly that the speakers I have heard have gone through hell–I couldn’t have gone with them, and if they’re burned out I hope they heal. BUT nobody said life was a picnic, and yes, we are stuck with cleaning up other people’s messes–made during the last century, made this morning, made tomorrow by the person sitting next to us.

I don’t know any other solution for social problems than those based on dialog. Bigotry cuts off dialog. No matter what fine opinions a person may have developed, they are worth nothing if the person is a bigot.

Oooooohhhhh boy. Here’s a conversation.
I can’t seem to whittle down my Wall Of Text, so I’ll let it simmer for a bit and just squeal about the lovely stylization of these pages instead. You’ve definitely conveyed “cave painting” with wonderful accuracy — the forms, the colors, everything. IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL AAAAAH. The only thing missing is some texture, methinks.

I wonder, have you tried playing around with some rock texture? Maybe a layer set to crazy-low opacity would do the trick. Or maybe even a low-opacity texture layer set as a clipping mask, so it affects the figures without making the background too noisy?

So, weighing in on the whole hornet’s-nest thing–specifically, the thing where this topic is one:
One of the things I love, and have always loved, about this comic (besides the actual comic parts) is the way you engage with your readers about topics that are important to you. I don’t comment a lot, but I always read all the comments just for the amazing discussions that get started on here, and I love that you’ve made this into a community. It’s an active thing, not a passive one at all, and anyone who comes here can be part of it. So super kudos to you, and if I were you I wouldn’t worry too much about the squirreliness that occasionally results from having this awesome thing you’ve created.

That being said– is this a controversial topic? Hell yes it is! And that’s amazing! I think your first instinct is right in saying that talking about these things is better than not talking about them, even if there are no easy answers or even any answers at all. And as to whether this is the right forum to do it? Welp… I’m just gonna leave this here. 🙂
http://xkcd.com/137/

I for one am sick of the ‘damsel in distress’ stereotype that is literally 80% of the women in mass media. I am also sick of the 19% female leads that attempt to be overly masculine in order to be more ‘heroic’ (That is, unrealistically emotionless and in the ‘I must become ever-stronger’ mindset). What people don’t realize is that men and women are naturally tooled for different purposes–men are naturally faster and stronger, women naturally meant to be more empathetic and artistically inclined. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT WOMEN CANNOT BE IN MASCULINE ROLES. In fact, there can’t be enough strong women in stories. What I DO disagree with is weakening their fellow characters in an effort to make them stand out, or overpowering them so that they can ‘be on level’ with male leads.
Back to your question. Historically, the women have always been shut away in the home while the men go out to slay the dragon/collect the dragon balls/get the master sword/whatever. This is because the dominant civilizations of that time believed that women weren’t strong enough to be able to do so (an obvious exception being the legendary Greek Amazon–but these women cut men out of society and essentially took on their own roles) and only in the last century has this mindset shown even the slightest inclination to change. Are there still an overwhelming amount of poorly designed, big-busted female healers thrown in to be the main love interest of the male lead? Of course! However, there are those gems who have given women wonderful roles without stripping them of their feminine essence (Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series and Alex Treveny from the Nightschool comics both come to mind) and remembering that women are able to handle weapons and still find woodland animals cute.
…I hope that made sense. Just sharing my thoughts.

Lovely page! I love how the visuals are starkly different from the previous pages and evoke a sense of mythos, like cave paintings. And I love the colors.

What I’ve noticed too is that there’s a lot of fan-hatred for female characters who are that traditional female role. I’ve seen it a lot for female characters in fight manga; fans hate the girls who are healers/supporters because they’re ‘weak’, i.e. not traditional fighters. They want all the girls to be tomboys, to be fighters with the guys. I’ve even seen it said that a ‘true’ woman is a bad-ass, not someone who is a healer, or more traditionally feminine. And I think that’s coming from female fans as well. I find that sad, especially since I don’t feel the same way. It’s like even women don’t like traditionally feminine traits and don’t think that they’re just as important as the traditionally masculine traits, and that’s sad.

I’d put a gigantic rant on the subject here, but honestly, I already did that on my Tumblr, several times over. There’s one post in particular that I can link to and it was about a pae of writing advice, but there was also one about reverse sexism that I did a while ago. And, after a bit of digging, I’ve found both of them.

http://keybladewyvern.tumblr.com/post/48987898545/writing-female-characters-miri-rant – This is the one I posted about female characters in writing.

http://keybladewyvern.tumblr.com/post/45251754663/shitstraightwhiteguyssay-excuse-the-sloppiness – And here’s my reaction to someone saying Reverse Sexism doesn’t exist.

TL;DR version? Reverse sexism is sexism no matter how you describe it. It’s just as harmful as the regular kind, because it’s trying to force people to be things they’re not. A true solution to sexism would be to stop thinking in terms of gender altogether, and accepting people as they are. Cultural standards and norms are okay, it’s just that people should nto be labeled freaks either because they conform or do not conform; the same for racism, ageism, and any other ‘isms’ you can think of.

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