Last night, a well known comic book creator posted an image of a woman in a sexy batman costume with a comment about how they would like to “input” themselves into her. I took offense, and shot back a snide response to the image’s comment. The tweet was immediately deleted. I was shocked and delighted. The fact that a creator as popular as this one would listen to a single fan on something like this is something I would have never expected. This is a creator I have always had some measure of respect for, and this instance only deepened that admiration.
Less than a minute later this was tweeted:
Anyone that doesn’t see what is wrong with this question needs to Google “rape culture.”
I responded to this, too, with an initial, “I strongly suggest you don’t go there.” Before I could continue a discussion of why that approach was offensive, the creator brought up having sex with their spouse, then went on a tirade about “uptight” fans and how they’ve always given us the ‘real deal.’ Then they attempted to bait me, with the support of other fans. A recurring theme was likening twitter to “church.”
If “church” is the only place one can avoid objectifying a woman as a sex object then, yes, pretend Twitter is “church.”
It would have been different had there been any other information with the image pointing towards an interaction of a sexual nature. Instead, the image was on its own (I assumed it was stolen from some corner of the internet, and it was definitely uncited) with this gross joke about “inputting” oneself into the woman pictured. If the image alone had been posted, I would have just ignored it. However, the implications of the comment made me decide to speak out.
Now, this is a minor infraction as far as the world of comics fandom goes. I know that. I’m also a little thrilled that my speaking out about a rape culture-induced comment was threatening enough that a major creator subtweeted me several times. Honestly, had it not been for the implication that the creator could come up with no reaction other than “I want to put part of myself in that,” I would have left the incident feeling better about liking the creator and later have forgotten all about it. If it had not been for the ensuing support for the creator’s tantrum and a couple white knights attempting to defend them by claiming my “use of feminism” was “the least appropriate,” I would not have written anything further about it.
I’ve been going round and round in circles, wondering if I am perhaps making a mountain of a mole hill. However, it is the entitlement to female bodies implied in comments like these that breeds the culture that makes walking down the street a noisy and sometimes dangerous affair (Google “street harassment). It is this privilege that make conventions so uncomfortable for women, especially if they cosplay (which I stopped doing years ago). I was taught to treat any task I do in my life, no matter how small, like it is the most important thing. So I’m building some mountains.
I will not allow being ganged up on and a person’s fame silence me. Not this time. I’ve let too many comments like these, online and in person, slide by. I don’t want to keep thinking my silence is helping to poison an industry I used to love.