when we talk about women in refrigerators it’s not always something super literal
i don’t imagine in writers room across the globe they’re all sitting there like “well we’re out of ideas let’s fridge another one” (but maybe they do i have no idea)
but what’s happening consciously or unconsciously writers are deciding that women are more valuable dead then alive. this goes way back. this is poe saying there’s nothing more poetic than the death of a beautiful woman. this is a dozen pre raphaelite paintings of ophelia drowning because they found her suffering erotic. this is the first reaction to laura palmer’s body being found being, “she was so beautiful.”
fuck this. fuck this.
i’m sick of writers getting passes. fuck this. our strong women are taken from us. we don’t get survivors. we don’t get triumph. women get chopped into artistic little pieces for the male heroes to choke own because we’re more valuable this way. because this way you don’t have to worry about our hopes and fears and opinions because we’re dead and dead women tell no tales. they can’t speak out against injustice because men took their tongues. and they think it’s beautiful. death, the ultimate passivity, the ultimate waiting room, is the most beautiful thing of all. there’s nothing more poetic than the death of a beautiful woman.
women matter. they matter when they are living. not listening to women while they’re still breathing is a failure and should not be regarded as anything else. it is a failure with very serious effects
SAYO YAMAMOTO (山本 沙代 Yamamoto Sayo; born April 13, 1977/ age 36) is a Japanese anime director. She is known for directing the critically acclaimed anime series Michiko to Hatchin and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine. After graduating from the College of Art and Design in Tokyo, she began work at Studio Madhouse at age 25.
During her time at the College of Art and Design, Yamamoto focused her attention on animation, as she felt less interested in the other things she was being taught. Her student project was an animation about samurai using actor, and frequent Akira Kurosawa collaborator, Toshiro Mifune as an inspiration. While in the process of looking for a job after graduation, she showed this work to director Satoshi Kon (R.I.P).
Enthusiastic about her potential, Kon intended to hire her to work on his second feature Millennium Actress, but studio politics eventually caused her to leave the project.
She had her debut at Studio Madhouse working on the X television series headed by Madhouse director Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Soon after, she would have her first collaboration with directors Takeshi Koike and Katsuhito Ishii on the original video animation Trava: Fist Planet. It was during her time at Madhouse that she began her work on anime opening and ending animations, which she would go on to direct for many other projects.
Yamamoto has stated that it was during her work on Samurai Champloo where she felt she was first able to truly express herself. Samurai Champloo also marks the first time she worked with frequent collaborators, director Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) and writer Dai Satō (Cowboy bebop, eureka Seven, Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex).
During her time working on Samurai Champloo at Studio Manglobe, she was offered the chance to direct a project with full creative control. At the time, she was busy with work on Champloo, so she thought about what kind of project she wanted to direct for about a year. During that time, she took a trip to Brazil where she found the inspiration for her first series Michiko to Hatchin. The series, about an ex-convict and a young girl in search of the girl’s father, was released in 2008.
At the press conference where Yamamoto unveiled the series, she said she wanted women especially to watch the series.
"Our time slot was late at night, so office ladies would be returning home, and worn out from the day, they could have a beer and watch it."
After a few years of working on storyboards and art for other projects, including movies Redline and Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, she was approached by a producer to create a new Lupin III series, with full creative control. It was Yamamoto’s own idea to have the series take place before the start of the 1971 Lupin series, directed by Masaaki Ōsumi, and to have character Fujiko Mine in the starring role.
Her most recent works was director of episode 2 of the wildly popular Space Dandy : “The Search For The Phantom Space Ramen, Baby”
I feel sad when I remember all the younger fans on tumblr who never got to experience Smile magazine. :( It taught you how to crimp your hair with silver pipe cleaners and had an exclusive HAWT ANIME PIX column!
(Scans from Miss Dream.)
Anonymous asked: I recently went through your blog, trying to find all of your articles. And I kept coming across evidence of how intimidating the comic book industry is for women (either being a fan or a creator). It's really depressing because I always thought comics were more open and accepting than other industries. Is this true of all avenues of the comic book industry or is, like say, the indie scene or the webcomic scene friendlier?
In my experience (keep in mind I’m just speaking for myself here)…it’s complicated. In a lot of ways I do find the indie and webcomic scenes more open and accepting. Stuff like Love and Rockets and Strangers in Paradise are pillars of the former—no way stories about the Mexican-American punk scene and lovelorn lesbians, respectively, would have flourished in the mainstream the way they did (though it should be noted that neither creator is female). And the webcomic scene is seeing more and more women creators all the time. SO many of my favorite webcomics of the last two or three years are created in whole or in part by women (Blindsprings, Cucumber Quest, Ava’s Demon, Awkward Zombie etc)—and that isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Neither scene is perfect, for sure—I found a lot of indie comics very intimidating for a long time, actually, because so many of them earned their edgy cred through some pretty typical misogyny (I’m looking at you, Chester Brown). There are largely the same issues and obstacles present as there are everywhere else. But I do find the indie and webcomics worlds (which are blending more and more all the time) more accepting than mainstream comics, for the most part.
But you know? All is not lost for the mainstream either. That’s a big part of why I write about these issues so much—I truly believe comics can change. I think it’s an inevitability, at this point. There are so many good people working in comics, anon, even if they’re frequently overshadowed by the assholes. Just dipping my toe into the industry has introduced me to so many incredible, open-minded people, and they’re getting louder about these issues all the time. Comics is really, really hard to get into as a woman, whether you’re looking to be a fan or a creator. Sexism has, in one way or another, been a part of my experience in comics since I was in elementary school. But it is so far from hopeless, anon. There are still so many awesome creators to discover, so many stories to read and so many friends to make! Don’t let dumb opinions from dumb people stop you.
My mistrust is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man—the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonization of the feminine in everyday conversation, the accusations of overreaction, the eyerolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets in my presence or to please use non-gendered language (“humankind”).
There are the jokes about women, about wives, about mothers, about raising daughters, about female bosses. They are told in my presence by men who are meant to care about me, just to get a rise out of me, as though I am meant to find funny a reminder of my second-class status. I am meant to ignore that this is a bullying tactic, that the men telling these jokes derive their amusement specifically from knowing they upset me, piss me off, hurt me. They tell them and I can laugh, and they can thus feel superior, or I can not laugh, and they can thus feel superior. Heads they win, tails I lose. I am used as a prop in an ongoing game of patriarchal posturing, and then I am meant to believe it is true when some of the men who enjoy this sport, in which I am their pawn, tell me, “I love you.” I love you, my daughter. I love you, my niece. I love you, my friend. I am meant to trust these words.
There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.”
There is no comic I recommend more often or more emphatically than Brubaker, Rucka and Lark’s Gotham Central. It is easily one of the best superhero comics of the last twenty years—probably one of the best superhero comics ever. It is thrillingly written, gorgeously drawn, and emotionally resonant—and on top of this? Its treatment of gender, race, and sexuality isn’t just nuanced, but central to the storyline.
The first thing you need to know is that it isn’t really a superhero story. Gotham Central is about the Gotham City Police Department in general, the Major Crimes Unit in particular—caped characters pop up here and there, but the series is mostly about mopping up after them. It’s an ensemble story, and every single character is memorable, but the true protagonist and beating heart of the story is Renee Montoya. Half a Life, the comic’s second arc, deals with her outing as a lesbian to the GCPD—and if her story had stopped there, it would have been fantastic. Half a Life deals with professional discrimination, family tension, and the reality of being a lesbian woman of color—in a memorable scene, Renee confronts Maggie Sawyer, her white lesbian boss, for assuming their experiences are identical. But her story doesn’t stop there. Renee’s arc goes on to deal with killing in the line of duty, confronting police corruption, the loss of friends on the force, and her own predilection for violence. It’s an incredible lesson in how to lead a female character down a dark path the right way—it’s never exploitative, it’s never gross, it’s never because of her gender or sexuality. It’s never cheap. Renee’s is the kind of hard-bitten, morally thorny sojourn reserved almost entirely for male characters.
But even apart from Renee, Gotham Central is tremendous. Soft Targets, the focus of the second volume, is one of my favorite Joker arcs ever, and I have serious Joker fatigue. Nature, a single issue story, gives Poison Ivy a personality beyond Sexy Plant Lady. Gotham Central even made me briefly care about the shitshow that was Infinite Crisis. I don’t even really like police procedurals! It’s just that goddamn good.
(So you want to get into comics?)
Hey, any of y’all read Kimi ni Todoke? I just finished all the ASOIAF books and am in the mood for a lighter shoujo story after all that heaviness. Would you recommend it?
My Faith in Frankie is a 2004 Vertigo series about a mary sue. Well, I don’t think the creators would put it that way—but Frankie Moxon is beautiful, charming, lucky, and the object of all three supporting character’s ardor. There’s Jeriven, God of the Heat’s Fires, Frankie’s own personal deity since birth. There’s Kay, her bff, who pines from afar. And there’s Dean, Frankie’s resurrected (literally) ex.
My Faith in Frankie is pure fun, in large part because it never apologizes for its heroine or tone. Frankie is winsome—and that’s okay. Celebrated, even! She’s never embarrassed or degraded, nor are Kay and Jeriven’s emotions exposed as silly. It’s a sunny story, and it doesn’t want to be anything but—even when it brings demons and hellscapes into the mix. Check it out if you’re interested in religious humor, alternative romances (it’s a happy ending for all three characters at once, if you catch my drift), light-hearted female-centric stories, or just fun little rompy comics in general.
(So you want to get into comics?)
Painting details ღ Pink period dresses
Let’s talk about how some men talk to women in comics
Last week I wrote this piece for Comic Book Resources about the new Teen Titans #1 cover. The point of the piece was hey, there’s a broad demographic DC *could* be hitting with this book but the cover is certainly not made for that potential demographic. Instead, it’s more of the same-old, same-old.
An artist who works for DC named Brett Booth was very upset by this critique for reasons I can’t quite define. He didn’t draw the cover. But he was infuriated by what I’d written. A fan of his drew me into the conversation about the article by calling me a “self-professed journalist chick” which… yeah. Anyway, you can read some of the conversation via tweets here.
Here are some other tweets he posted about me without my twitter handle:
I see, the only way I can refute your argument is to not use logic, biology, google and also I can’t have a penis. Sounds fair.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy)April 13, 2014
@FlashCWFans Yeah, extremists in any groups seem to ruin it for everyone:/ my wife was not pleased with her accusations.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy)April 13, 2014
@FlashCWFans It’s the immediate personal attacks. She was wrong. So instead of either admitting it OR simply ignoring it she attacked.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy)April 13, 2014
— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy)April 13, 2014
You can read my Twitter feed here. I’ve deleted nothing. At no point did I launch personal attacks. I’m not wrong about that cover. I’d love to see what kind of biology equals the breasts Wonder Girl is sporting as a 17-18 year old (pretty sure that “biology” includes silicone when they look like that). I honestly don’t understand why Brett Booth has taken everything I’ve said so personally. But I do not appreciate that he then thought it was okay to, what, imply I’d never been to a comic store? On top of everything else.
But I do think it’s indicative of what it’s like to be a woman online. You see, Booth was SO not the worst of what I got. I got delightful comments like these:
@gimpnelly So how many decades ago did you work at DC? Were you a coffee girl?— Sean (@SeanRtchfld)April 13, 2014— RyanJoseph (@RyanAJoseph)April 11, 2014
Both of course implying that I’m not a real professional in this industry. Which is still by far not the worst of what I got. I was called a whiny bitch, a feminazi, a feminist bitch, a bitter cunt, and then the rape threats started rolling in.
You see, I’m also doing a survey about sexual harassment in comics. (If you’d like to take this survey, you can find it here.) And so as soon as the angry fanboys started looking me up after the CBR article, they discovered this survey and started answering my questions and using the open box at the end to write in all sorts of awfulness. I’ve gotten all manner of bullshit within the survey now, but at least the ones with the rape threats or other asshole comments tell me which responses to disregard. If you really want to “get me” and prove that sexual harassment doesn’t exist in comics, I don’t know, maybe it’s better for you to answer honestly about how you haven’t been sexually harassed. Because certainly sending me rape threats proves my point, not yours.
Some of them decided to just tweet at me, like the handful who decided to tell me I was creating the impression that there was sexual harassment in comics when there just wasn’t. When the survey was posted on a blog, one of the comments included “If you have a entrenched ideology then it’s nigh impossible to be objective, and according to Ms. Asselin’s Twitter tag, she’s a self described feminist.”
Let’s talk about that for a second. Feminist is not a bad word. People who think feminism is a negative often run in two very different directions - either they misunderstand what it is or are outright misogynists. Feminism is defined by Dictionary.com as “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” If it’s an “entrenched ideology” to wish to be treated as an equal human along side men, then so be it. I must be a horrible person for assuming that I had the right to be treated as a person instead of only a brood mare suitable for objectification and cooking.
I’d also like to talk about the fact that so many people misunderstand the point of the survey. I’m not trying to find out *if* there is sexual harassment in comics. I figured that out a long, long time ago as I was repeatedly groped on convention floors and sexually harassed by freelancers and coworkers. It was reinforced by the fact that I literally know less than a handful of women who have NOT been sexually harassed in comics, and nearly a hundred who have. Sexual harassment is a problem in comics. That point is not up for debate. The point of the survey is to better understand the experiences people are having. If you haven’t been harassed - awesome! I want to know about that. If you have - I’m really sorry, but I also want to know about that.
There are too many people, including professionals, who think it’s okay to condescend, harass, berate, etc. women in comics simply because they’ve espoused a belief that revolves around women being treated more as equals. I want women and girls to be seen as an equally promising demographic for comics as males; I want major companies with an easy opportunity to reach out to women to not feature art that is disgusting and objectifying; I want women to be hired as much as men to create comics; I want to not know so many people who have been violated in an industry I still love despite it all.
At first I wasn’t going to talk about the rape threats because honestly, most of the women I know with a solid online presence get them regularly. This is just a thing we are forced to deal with. And I didn’t want to make it seem like it was a bigger deal than what’s happened to them for years. But I realized once I posted about the rape threats in passing that men I know and respect were stunned to find out this was happening. Let’s be real: if these men who are actually decent human beings don’t know how often this stuff happens, what hope is there for the men who are harassing me online?
And that’s the thing I feel like a lot of these internet assholes miss. I’m not saying men are the worst thing ever or even that men in comics are the worst thing ever. I’m so lucky to have a lot of amazing people in my life, male, female, and non-binary, who constantly support me. There are men in comics who understand how not to be a condescending asshole. But right now, the problem is that too many other men think that they are in a crowd of like-minded men who are super sick of this feminazi bullshit. The truth is that you are on the losing side. Women in comics aren’t going away. Even if you continue to talk to us like this. Your threats and insults do nothing more than make me want to stick around and shout even louder. So thank you for that.
Janelle Asselin is basically a professor of dropping truth bombs at this point.