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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

girls at Comic Con! yuck!

I’m not going to San Diego Comic Con this week. I wish I was. One of these years, I will get there.

And I wouldn’t be alone, of course: it’s been a long time since fandom and geekness has been a primarily male domain (if it ever was). But you’d hardly know that from the way some mainstream press — and some fan press that should know better — go on and on about girls and geekery.

Annalee Newitz at io9 has rounded up some of the pants-wetting misogyny the Web has been barfing up in anticipation of this year’s Comic Con… like the complaint from /Film’s Peter Sciretta, who is worried that Twilight fanatics will ruin everything for the “normal people” who just want to masturbate to James Cameron’s Avatar CGI. (The name of his post is “Will Twilight Ruin This Year’s Comic-Con?” Because, you know, stuff like vampires and werewolves do not belong at Comic Con, nor do the desperate fans who worship them. Comic Con has always been a dignified and sophisticated event attended by reserved and cultured aristocrats. It’s practically like a gentlemen’s club, with leather armchairs and cigar-smoking and 50-year-old scotch after dinner.)
Newitz also points out the “terrifyingly awful article” in the Los Angeles Times recently that was all about fooling stupid chicks into attending Comic Con by — as Newitz accurately describes the tone of the Times piece — “dangling hunky actors in front of them. Because of course, women don’t like movies. Or comics. Or TV. Or videogames. They just like cute boys.” And, oh man, there really is some choice girl-scorn on display. Some of my favorites:

‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’
Women will be rushing the stage, offering to do star Jake Gyllenhaal’s laundry on those washboard abs that he acquired for the film

See, that’s how girls would react, because we just LOVE doing laundry! It’s how we show a man we find him sexually attractive, usually.

Thank God the Times didn’t try to sex up Buzz Lightyear and, er, Woody.

‘Time Traveler’s Wife’
Picture the wonderful sappiness of “The Notebook,” replace Ryan Gosling with equally appealing Eric Bana, and inject a different hapless conflict to keep him from Rachel McAdams. In this case, Bana’s character’s got a gene that causes him to leap through time without the wife. Oh yes, bring on the bittersweet tears.

And don’t worry your pretty little heads, ladies, about physics and molecules and stuff: there’s none of that nerdy boy science stuff in this time-travel story!

Alex O’Loughlin for ‘Whiteout’
What more do you need than the hunkiest Aussie to ever play the undead … alive and in the flesh? And as long as he uses his real accent, he can talk all about this murder mystery set in Antarctica. Male lead Gabriel Macht isn’t too shabby either.

Serious film fans will surely delve into comparisons with that other deep-cold horror flick The Thing— OMG CUTE BOYZ!

‘The Wolfman’
Vampire-lovers have it all wrong. Werewolves can keep you warm, sympathize with your monthly curse, sniff out where you lost your keys and not thirst for your sweet, sweet blood.

Monthly curse? What the fuck: is this the Times from 1863?

It just occurred to me: I hope Comic Con is gonna spray the room for cooties after that New Moon panel that has Peter Sciretta’s panties in a twist, because some of the girls in there might have been menstruating all over the seats.

‘The Big Bang Theory’
Look around you: Everywhere in the entertainment world, the geek is getting the girl.

Because the geek never is the girl, naturally.

‘V’
The ladies who recall the ’80s miniseries this is based on will be hoping for a repeat of that forbidden reptilian allure, the ultimate in star-crossed lovers.

Oh yeah, that’s totally what I remember from the 1980s V: sighing over the interspecies romance. Kee-rist, even back then, when I was, like, 12, I wondered how the fuck any girl, no matter how inexperienced, could not notice that the guy she was having sex with was all green and scaly down there.

‘Caprica,’ sci-fi for girls and guys
“Battlestar Galactica” taught us that there are girls galore watching sci-fi.

Okay, I’m storming the Times and taking hostages. Who’s with me?

Channing Tatum in ‘G.I. Joe’
People may pooh-pooh dance flicks, but not when Channing Tatum, former underwear model, is in them. And some girls may steer clear of high-testosterone action films, but the same applies. There’s also Sienna Miller, Marlon Wayans, Dennis Quaid and some others, but it’s Tatum as Duke that may be the girl-draw.

What? Ugh! *barf* No mention of Christopher Eccleston at all? The Times pretends it understands teh gurlz, and misses the one guy who will make this movie tolerable?

‘Dollhouse’/’Chuck’/Girls who kick butt!
Girls that can kill you with a quick chop to the throat should always be applauded.

Oh, don’t tempt me, dude. Do. Not. Tempt. Me.



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  • lanchid

    ‘The Wolfman’
    Vampire-lovers have it all wrong. Werewolves can keep you warm, sympathize with your monthly curse, sniff out where you lost your keys and not thirst for your sweet, sweet blood.

    Yes. This is why I like stories about werewolves: they can sympathize with my monthlies. Since, you know, my life revolves around my time of the month.

    And since I am a girl, my keys are never where I left them; I am such a blande…er, I mean, blonde.

    :: commence heavy, heavy eye roll ::

  • Paul

    Well, if you want a feminist take on werewolves, check out Carrie Vaughn’s “Kitty and the Midnight Hour.” It’s the first book in a series about a woman werewolf, who has a midnight radio talk show about the undead life. Vaughn and I have had our share of arguments about how to write over the years, but I enjoy her results.

  • GnuHopper

    As a guy, I’d be willing to do Maggie Gyllenhaal’s laundry. *Sigh* Must find time to see “Away We Go”.

    GH

  • mortadella

    Better yet, Paul, how about those really cool Ginger Snaps movies? The protagonists (usually werewolves) are all young women, and a reoccurring theme in the films (or at least two of them)is how sisterhood is vauled over romance.

    And all of those comments from the Times posted above…all I can say is that shit pisses me off.

    Whenever I’ve moved somewhere new, I locate the nearest comic book store and eventually find myself breaking-in the staff, so to speak. I usually have to visit the store three or four times before the clerks stop asking me, “So, who are you buying this for?”
    Mind you, I’m not saying they ALWAYS do that to me, because they don’t. But man, when they do presume I must be buying a comic or graphic novel for a boyfriend, it’s sooooo disappointing.

  • Dave_in_EH

    Nah… don’t stress too badly — the LA Times can’t be too far behind the Boston Globe and the NY Times on the path to the tar pits and extinction. Let not your heart be troubled by their dying screams and hoots.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mortadella, obviously I can only speculate without being there to see the tone of voice and other nonverbal cues, but isn’t it possible at least in some cases that the question “who are you buying this for?” is meant to include the possibility that you are buying it for yourself?

  • mortadella

    Well, no Victor.

    When a clerk assumes I’m buying a comic for myself, they say something like, “Wow, I think you’re really going to enjoy this. I read it, and it’s awesome.”

    But when the clerk dudes ask me “the question” and I reply, “It’s for me,” their follow-up reaction includes raised eyebrows or a mildly surprised look…accompanied by a, “Oh. Really?”

    But, you know, like I said before, not ALL comic book store employees react like that.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    This is rapidly becoming a tangent, but Angela Carter’s short story collection The Bloody Chamber is – as far as I can tell – the first explicit fictional exploration of the connections between lycanthropy and menstruation. It’s brilliant, too, as is Neil Jordan’s film adaptation The Company of Wolves. But I’m fairly secure in my belief that the knob-end who wrote that /Film article hasn’t read much Angela Carter.

  • Fuggle

    Two unrelated questions, one post.

    —-

    First:

    I read the whole /film post, and I’m not seeing where it belongs with the rest of this blog post. At what point re: Twilight / Twilight-vs.-Avatar does gender and “girls = yuck!” or “girls don’t [do geekish things]!” enter the /film link? It seems a bit out of place with the rest of this post.

    Sure, it’s an amusing-in-its-facepalm-inspiring-ness, but it doesn’t seem genderly motivated or particularly sexist.

    —-

    Second:

    What? Ugh! *barf* No mention of Christopher Eccleston at all? The Times pretends it understands teh gurlz, and misses the one guy who will make this movie tolerable?

    In a way, isn’t this the same thing that has people, including you, against Jennifer’s Body? Isn’t it objectifying Christopher Eccleston? Going to see a movie just because you find the actor and what they’re doing appealing? It might not be in majority a sexual objectification, but still, swap the nouns around and it’d sound a lot like someone going to see Jennifer’s Body even if it’s excreble. “Well, it has Megan Fox, and I like watching her”

    Honest question: is the only difference that with Jennifer’s Body that it’s entirely a prurient interest in Megan Fox that engenders that notion of “well she makes it enjoyable”?

  • Ryan

    Since Twilight is the height of insipid misogynistic crap. (And even worse, is terribly written) shouldn’t we be applauding everybody who warns against it’s legion of zombie fans?

  • LaSargenta

    …at this point, for the math nerds here, I’d like to providge this completely tangential link: http://xkcd.com/594/

    After I laughed at it — I’m a sucker for punns — I was so pleased that I actually now had more than 3 women to share it with at my company…unlike when I hired on 10 years ago. We’ve increased the number of female engineers. Woo-hoo.

    /off-topic sillyness

  • LaSargenta

    Oh, Fuggle, I meant to respond to your comment about objectification.

    Yes, that is objectification, something that humans seem to LOVE to do. But, what it reads to me that MaryAnn is writing about is stereotyping — a totally different thing. You can have both going on at the same time, but they are not the same thing.

  • bats :[

    Aren’t there a significant number of guys who’d rush the stage in anticipation of doing Jake Gyllenhaal’s laundry, too?

    Do the reptilian aliens in V have a double penis (a hemipene), like snakes? Maybe that’s why the girls like ’em.

  • I’m a long-time regular reader of both this site and /Film, and I think the post you’re referring to does not mean what you think it means.

    The “Will Twilight Fans Ruin Comic Con?” post discusses what happened last year at Comic Con and how a repeat of that behavior will make it hard for people who want to see the earlier panels to see them. This is because Twilighters will line up overnight to get a good spot at the panel, filling the room for earlier panels of less or no interest to them.

    At no point does he insult those fans; he simply points out their fervor. He definitely does not go after women. (The insults are in the comments.)

    As for the LA Times? Hoo boy.

  • Hmm… I always thought the alien used a fake human-shaped phallus filled with genetically-engineered material allowing alien-human cross-breeding, since it was unlikely to work “naturally” between species from different worlds.

    Of course, I was reading the old Star Trek books then when Spock was still a uniquely engineered cross-breed, before every other character was half-something. B)

    /geek

  • Shadowen

    Silly MaryAnn!

    Nothing will make GI Joe, as a whole, bearable.

    Eccleston as Destro and Ray Park as Snake-Eyes might make their scenes bearable, though.

  • Well, if you want a feminist take on werewolves, check out Carrie Vaughn’s “Kitty and the Midnight Hour.” It’s the first book in a series about a woman werewolf, who has a midnight radio talk show about the undead life. Vaughn and I have had our share of arguments about how to write over the years, but I enjoy her results.

    What? No props for writer Kelley Armstrong and her Women of the Otherworld series? Since the first two books–Bitten and Stolen feature a female werewolf whose creation predated Kitty and the Midnight Hour, I find it strange that you didn’t mention it, Paul.

    (Yeah, I know. You can’t mention everything.)

    As for the whole werewolf=menstrual cycle, I believe that back in the ’80s, writer Alan Moore did his share of popularizing that angle as well when he was still writing for DC–and working under female editor Karen Berger. (Who apparently had MaryAnn’s dream job…Or one of them anyway…)

    Whenever I’ve moved somewhere new, I locate the nearest comic book store and eventually find myself breaking-in the staff, so to speak. I usually have to visit the store three or four times before the clerks stop asking me, “So, who are you buying this for?”

    Wow! They don’t have female clerks in the comic book stores where you live?

    It seems almost impossible to find one here in Dallas that doesn’t have them…Not that I tried all that hard to look for one, but still…

  • ‘The Big Bang Theory’
    Look around you: Everywhere in the entertainment world, the geek is getting the girl.

    And yet the whole premise of that show is that the geek doesn’t necessarily get the girl–he just makes a fool out of himself trying to do so.

    And anyway, isn’t the most likely breakout star in that show the one actor playing a male character who isn’t into chasing girls?

    Yeah, I know. I’m thinking about this topic a lot more than it deserves…

  • Saladinho

    The /Film article isn’t about excluding women, or even Twilight fans. It’s a concern about the Twilight fans taking up Hall H during the Avatar presentation, just so these rabid fans can have their Pattison fix.

    He even offers a suggestion of how to arrange things so that there won’t be a problem. He never suggested that one group was better or more normal than the other.

  • mortadella

    Nope Tonio, I haven’t crossed paths with a female comic book store clerk yet. Is that weird? I dunno…but that’s just what I have experience so far.

  • mortadella

    Nope Tonio, I haven’t crossed paths with a female comic book store clerk yet. Is that weird? I dunno…but that’s just what I have experience so far.

  • mortadella

    Whoops, double post. Sorry.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Dammit, I seem to have attributed a sentiment from the LA Times article to the /Film writer.

    I do think all this anti-Twilight fan stuff is covertly misogynistic, though – and I absolutely hate Twilight. But that article isn’t about how awful the books or films are, it’s about how the fans haven’t earned the privilege of going to a convention because they’re only there to drool over Rob Pattinson.

    To which you think; so? Should previous years’ Comic Cons have adopted a strict door policy, questioning everyone who comes in on their motivations and turning away those who only turned up because they fancied Katee Sackhoff or Eliza Dushku? This is nothing to do with preserving the seriousness of an event and everything to do with straight men suddenly realising what it’s like to be treated as a one-dimensional sex object and freaking out.

  • Nope Tonio, I haven’t crossed paths with a female comic book store clerk yet. Is that weird? I dunno…but that’s just what I have experience so far.

    Back in the ’80s, I would have had a similar experience. But nowadays, it seems like you’re just as likely to see a female clerk in these stores as a male one.

    Of course, it would just be that the chain I visit more often–Lone Star Comics–is more liberal in its hiring policies–but who knows?

    I still remember being surprised when I found out one of my Latina friends liked Firefly, Serenity and Eureka–and as a Latino half-and-half who is always kvetching about ethnic stereotypes, I really should have known better.

  • MaryAnn

    In a way, isn’t this the same thing that has people, including you, against Jennifer’s Body? Isn’t it objectifying Christopher Eccleston?

    Why do I feel like I’m repeating myself constantly? No, it’s not the same thing. Finding someone attractive is not automatically objectifying. Objectifying is objectifying.

    There’s also the whole other factor that concerns the male gaze, male power, and so on. Even if some woman online joked that she wanted to club Eccleston over the head and drag him back to her cave in order to rape him, it would not have the same affect — at all — as when a man said that very thing about Fox.

    I’m not saying that women NEVER objectify men. I’m saying that in general, there’s a wildly different tenor between female fandom of male actors, and male fandom of female actors.

  • MaryAnn

    The “Will Twilight Fans Ruin Comic Con?” post discusses what happened last year at Comic Con and how a repeat of that behavior will make it hard for people who want to see the earlier panels to see them. This is because Twilighters will line up overnight to get a good spot at the panel, filling the room for earlier panels of less or no interest to them.

    But this happens every year at Comic Con. It happened at the Comic Con in NYC I attended last year. It’s how the con works. But Sciretta seems to feel that those who are fanatical enough about *Twilight* to stake out seats early are not as important as those who are so fanatical about *Avatar* that THEY would be willing to stake out seats early.

    Sciretta is complaining that the *Twilight* fans are ruining things for the *Avatar* fans who would do the exact same thing the *Twilight* fans will do: that is, take up seats at panels they really don’t want to see in order to be in place for those panels they DO want to see. Why are the *Avatar* fans any better, any more “normal” (his word) than the *Twilight* fans? Why should fans of other films/TV shows/whatever be locked out of panels by *Avatar* fans?

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