Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Speaking of Twisting Feminist Arguments

Has anyone actually said that they think this cover is offensive?

I've seen people complain about it, with the complaints mostly centering around the fact that Black Canary is dressed up for the wedding but Green Arrow apparently can't be bothered. And that, combined with her carrying him like a potato sack, it suggests the stupid but pervasive idea that women are desperate for marriage but men are desperate to avoid it. Plus, a few people have also found the suction cup arrow to be "wha?" worthy.

(It is, but it also undermines the overall message about Green Arrow not wanting to get married, as does the expression on his face. Together, they make the cover say more than it appears to at first glance, which is why this cover has also gotten a certain amount of praise as well.)

I've yet to hear anyone call it offensive, though. Or any synonym of offensive.

Now, at least one person has implied that this cover is offensive.

She never actually said "offensive" but she did call it - in combination with a lot of other stuff - "a slap in the face" so although I don't think offensive is the best word, it's not an unfair representation of her words either.

For the record, I mostly agree. Although, again, offensive is not necessarily the word I'd use.

Generally, it seems as thoough the people critiquing the covers and the story line summaries are being much less vehement in their disapproval than the people that are accusing other people of overreacting.

It looks like some people are looking to create a controversy, and it doesn't seem to be the people annoyed by DC turning Black Canary into Bridezilla. To my biased eyes, those people mostly seem to be doing what people with blogs tend to do: bitch about their pet peeves. It's the people tossing around words like "cover controversy!" and "offended!" that seem determined to tar and feather someone.

Mostly, though, it looks as though people are simply once again reacting to stereotypes of feminist arguments rather than the actual arguments. If you read through the comments in the first link, you'll see people describing the complaint more clearly than the original poster did. Which gets something more along the lines of "oh, ok - that makes sense" from the original poster. Which makes me wonder where in the world she got her original assertion.

The fact that this is once again another feminist doing it only makes the cries of "don't complain about stuff that isn't actually sexist!" all the more stupid. One of the biggest reasons why feminism has such a bad name is because of misrepresentations of feminist arguments. Silencing our actual arguments in the name of not being controversial does nothing to fix this. In fact, there's a great deal of evidence that clearly stating our arguments wins more people over than retreat does. Not letting misrepresentations slide is much more likely than anything else to turn "I'm not a feminist, but..."s into feminists and make the extremes of feminism seem less controversial to other feminists.

Of course,most important thing to remember in the midst of all this debate is that a bachelorette party where the guests are wearing significantly less than the guy who pops out of the cake has got to be one of the stupidest ideas ever to be put on the cover of anything.


Ami Angelwings said...

The best way to discredit a philosophy you disagree with (and prolly dun understand XD) is to pick either the weakest argument from the weakest member who might be associating with the group and hold that up to beat up on, or to exagerrate or make up stuff. :\

I'm tired of ppl just saying something like "OH LOOK A FEMINIST SAID THAT MEN ARE PICKLES!" and then have ppl go "OMG THIS IS WHY I HATE FEMINISM!"

or worse when other women comment on such posts saying "this is why I'm not a feminist" or other such stuffs :(

Skullduggery said...

Actually, that first cover does bug me.
Couple of reasons.
First is the stupid suction cup arrow. That wasn't necessary.
Second, the outfit itself. Really not what you're typically going to find someone wearing to her wedding (not saying that a woman isn't free to wear an outfit like that if she really wants ... but typically you see a gown of some sort).
Third (and this bugs me the most) ... the fishnets.
Ok, even if you want to go with that particular outfit ... lose the bloody fishnets.
I'm already sick of them on her regular outfit (and yes, I know that is a legacy outfit).
But you know, early in the BoP run, they replaced the fishnets with full leggings ... and the outfit was OUTSTANDING. It was a full costume plus the jacket. And it was bloody perfect.
Yet, for some reason they returned to the fishnets (you don't have to be a genius to figure out why).
I don't like them. I think Dinah is a better character than that. She doesn't need them anymore.
Oh yeah, and DC, I'm a heterosexual guy and that is my opinion.
Lose the fishnets already.

Tamora Pierce said...

Actually, the main thing that bugs me about the first cover, apart from its being phenomenally silly, is that they ought to make it clear it's a figure, because otherwise, why aren't they sinking into the cake?

IOW, I don't get the bent-out-of-shapeness on this subject, other than this entire subject line for BC/GA art is too silly for words. The real wedding isn't going to be handled like this. These two have been too serious about each other for years for these covers to be anything but fantasy depictions, not the reality of the wedding. If they were depictions of the reality, like Black Canary dragging Green Arrow to the altar, or Black Canary overwhelmed by naughty underwear, I'd get bent out of shape, but they aren't. I don't know why DC thinks we'll be amused by 1940s follies of this kind, when here it is 2007.

Let me say, though, that this is my personal stance. A number of people I respect are cheesed off by this, and I'll let them pick up the debate. I really do worry about Dinah and Ollie sinking into the cake, though--unless they want to lick frosting off of each other, which is always possible.

Lea said...

Well, my main beef with the first cover can be divided into two parts:

1) I hate BC's outfit. Making it white instead of black improves nothing.

2) GA is not wearing wedding gear. Come on. How hard is it to draw him in a tux with a Robin Hood hat?

Also, her hair is stupid, but I admit that's a purely aesthetic observation.

Mickle said...

Oh, the first cover bugs me too, but I think it's clever as well.

Still, people (including all of you :) ) are not, in general going around saying "OMG!!! how evil can they be!?!?!?" which is generally what comes across when you characterize another person's argument as "that's offensive!" without giving any explanation as to why they may think this.

Just as ami points out, summarizing someone's arguments this way is just an easy way of making them look ridiculous instead of bothering to engage them in conversation. If you really think it's a stupid argument, mock it or ignore it (and feel free to encourage other's to do the same), but try not to give other people a misleading summary and then invite them to mock it. That's just being a lazy bully.

And yeah, I know a lot of this depends on you personal perspective and bias, but from where I'm sitting, it's feminism arguments that are most likely to be twisted to mean something they don't - even when it's other women/feminists that doing the twisting.

Ragnell said...

Has anyone actually said that they think this cover is offensive?

Umm... Yes. She doesn't use the word offensive, but she's ranting in all-caps.

Dani Atkinson said...

One or two people HAVE said or implied that they find the covers offensive, but you are right in that there seems to be far, far more people bitching about the people bitching about the covers, than there are actual people bitching about the covers.

...did that sentence make sense?

For the record, I quite like the Conner cover. It's the kind of cheesecake I like, where everyone involved appears to be enjoying themselves, and which contains plenty of humour and personality.

Mickle said...


I actually did read that post, and I think I read that last bit about the cake cover differently than a lot of other people did. Which is part of why I think it's a bit dangerous and misleading to characterize her arguments the way some people have done (assuming the first link in my post was talking about pervyficgirl).

My impression was that it annoyed her. And that there was a lot about it that was sexist, but that by itself it wasn't necessarily as bad as the other stuff. (if it was, she would have begun the post with it)

Plus, a lot of the annoyance seemed to be that it was another example of a good idea ruined - rather than a bad idea to begin with, which is my impression of her view of the other cover and the wedding story line.

I guess mostly, though, "offensive" is one of those overused and loaded terms that I don't think people should use to characterize other's arguments unless it's the most accurate term available - as opposed to simply accurate enough.

Marionette said...

I'm just happy that DC are doing an event that doesn't revolve around someone getting murdered.

Scott said...

That post that Ragnell linked to has the poster calling someone an asshole, talking about how she is filled with rage, calling it sexist. If that does not mean she is saying it is offensive, what does "offensive" mean?

What are you saying the difference between "sexist" and "offensive" is?

And now that people have posted to your blog saying that they found it offensive, is it OK for others to say that people have said they found it offensive?

I think several people are responding not only to the comments of one or two posters who have said or implied that this is offensive but to a general tone that has crept into the debate where it seems that nearly any instance where a woman is shown doing something that is stereotypical or "not kick ass" is called sexist or offensive. The Black Canary is not always kicking ass. Power Girl is not always rolling up her sleeves or shifting her weight to one foot.

Tamora Pierce said...

pervyficgirl says at the very beginning:
>> Behind the cut lies my hatred and displeasure at The Announcement of The Black Canary Wedding Planner. ... And I usually try not to crosspost but I am now, because in this instance? The anger should be shared. <<

I'd say she's damned offended.

And she goes on from there. She is one unhappy camper.

Not trying to dogpile here, but when I first read it there wasn't any doubt in my mind that she was seriously hacked off.

Mickle said...

scott and tamora -

first of all, I was talking about the first cover with regard to who called it offensive. on that she has this to say:

"So... Dinah throwing Ollie over her shoulder would be cute and all, and might even alleviate some of my anger about reducing her status as an asskicker in the DCU - IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE FACT THAT HIS ARROW IS ON HER ASS and said arrow is attached to a smirking Ollie, roping in his catch."

as for why I don't think it's accurrate to say that she thinks that cover is offensive and leave it at that, I'll repeat some of what I wrote here:

"Why are we always asking "is this offensive or not?" as if that was only question that applied? Why are we constantly turning others thoughts into this pigeon hole of "condemn or condone?" when even their own clear answer to that question is contradicted by the nuances within their rant?

"Offensive" suggests a solid, clear line. But that's not what I'm getting from most of the complaints I'm reading. Even the ones condemning DC, Marvel, the world, whatever. Perhaps I simply need to be more thorough in my WFA link-reading, but most of the rants that I read (that are longer than a sentence or two) contain a multitude of ideas that go beyond a simple yes or no answer.


It doesn't have to be Feminism Vs. Zombies*. It can be fun and silly and stupid and sexist - all at the same time."

"Sexist" or even "bad" doesn't suggest that solid clear line as much to me because more people understand that something can be both these things and other good things as well. But that may be just me.

However, "sexist" also isn't used as often as "offensive" by people who are minimizing our arguments and making it seem like we are making outrageous claims and expecting people to act against human nature. "Offensive" is one of those words that I see anti-feminists (or their apologists) use more often than I see it being used by people who are making feminist arguments. So I'm always suspicious when people use it to characterize what other people have said.