SF Tony Avatar

 Life Skills for Fanboys:  Geek Feminists and DC’s T-Shirts

 written by Tony DiGerolamo, Copyright 2014

To further my goal of helping fellow fanboys, I have included an index of links of previous columns with their topics.  Don’t take it personal, I’m just trying to help.  Previous columns are indexed at the end.

The Shirts Hit the Fan

The latest in geek feminist outrage are these DC Comics T-shirts.

Are they a bit tone-deaf towards women?  Yeah.  Sexist?  Sure.  Are they worth getting your panties in a bunch over?

Absolutely not.

Ladies, you’re smart enough to know that DC, which is owned by Warner Brothers, is a big corporate entity.  It’s designed to do one thing.  Make money.

It’s not a role model.  It’s your friend.  It is an abstract equation that only continues to exist so long as the end result is more and more positive every year.  One can argue that each character at DC is a little corporation all it’s own, existing only to churn out more product and more cash.  The bottom line?

They wouldn’t make this stuff if no one bought it.

The Merchandise

There’s lots of tone deaf, sexist merchandise that comes out of various comic companies.  This shirt doesn’t even have a face on it and accentuates only Wonder Woman’s body.  One could argue, that’s kind of sexist.  Here’s one showing Batman’s six-pack, which you could argue the same thing.  (The world’s greatest detective, but they only focus on his body.  Sexist!)  Here’s a Power Girl hoodie.  Here’s one that I don’t think is licensed, but seems to be popular with Iron Man:  My Boyfriend’s Abs Are Made of Steel.  Here’s another Marvel one, again, not sure if it’s licensed, with Spiderman.

So licensed or no, people seem to want these shirts.  Now clearly, some of these might offend you.  It’s your right to be offended and speak out all you want, geek feminists.  But again, when it comes to DC, you’re speaking to an equation.

Pick a Better Fight

I know, you want girl comics that don’t embarrass, girl characters that don’t look like strippers and you want girls to walk into comic book stores and buy these wonderful products.  People have tried and if they made money, they’d still be there.

The truth is, they don’t.  Walk in to a comic books store.  The reason Starfire looks like an alien stripper is because the comic store is full of guys and the female form is appealing to them.  When Mark Millar said, “Ladies, Comics Aren’t For You,” what I think he meant to say was most women don’t read comics.  That’s just a fact.  It’s just numbers.  Yes, women are a fast growing segment of readership, but it’s still 75% male and a lot of the female audience they’re counting are reading Manga.  (Prior to that, it was something close to 90%.)

That’s not to say it couldn’t be better or you shouldn’t want it to be better.  I’m sure there are some men out there who watch TV soap operas and wish the soap operas addressed more manly issues like monster trucks, professional wrestling, beer and hunting zombies.  I’m sure I could get together with my male friends to pressure soap operas to be more inclusive, so more men would watch them, but most of my male friends would just say, “What’s the fucking point of this?  Let’s just watch something else.”

Battles of the Sexes

There are more important fights going on in comics with regard to female issues.  Number one is safety.  Over the past few months, we’ve seen a woman threatened online for her views and cosplayers speaking out.  To me, these issues way much more heavily that whatever stupid t-shirt is being marketed.  And DC won’t even sell them anymore if they don’t sell.  So just don’t buy them!

And the big battle is trying to get female comic book characters into the forefront.  Stop wasting your time smashing down the sexist characters.  (That’s like playing whack-a-mole.  They just keep popping back up.)  Geek feminists, get to your drawing boards and create!  There is a phenomenon somewhere out there to be discovered and once it is, there will be no stopping it.  The DC and Marvel Comics of the world will salivate to get their greedy fingers on it because corporate equations just want more money.

And if you really want to change these corporate entities, take over the corporations.  Take over the editorial boards and creative teams.  It’s doable.

But don’t be surprised if some tone deaf, sexist piece of merchandise slips through the cracks and people buy it.  People buy dumb shit every day.

Previous Columns
Obesity at Cons
The Art of Conversation
The Line Between Fans and Pros
Geek Elitism
Convention Panels
Convention Volunteers
Food Gifts
Women and Cons
Get Your Room Party Together
Stop Bringing Your Kids to Cons
The Face of Geek Needs Work
Fixing the Face of Geek
Franchise Worship
Presenting Your Project
The New Image?
Stop Trying to Make Geek Cool
 Rethinking the Comic Book Con
Zombie Stories Should Still Be About People
Geek Stereotypes and the Big Bang Theory
Con Locations
Traveling to Cons on the Cheap
Con Economics
Comics, Sexism and Trolling
Searching for the Words
How to Fix Comics?  Stop Reading Them
Shopping at the Con
The Hollywood Double Edged Sword
Beware the Geek Scams
Success Kills
In Response to Chuck Dixon, Paul Rivoche and Janelle Asselin
Fanboy Reporters
Dealing with Critics and Haters in the Internet Age
Who Are the Creepers?
The Cosplayer Treaty of 2014: A Proposal
Female Thor

Comics’ Non-News