in the future if my kids tell me that they are gay i’ll just be like “what” because i don’t plan on having any kids so how the hell did they get there
I can’t stop playing Minecraft and now I won’t be able to stop drawing
DavekatMinestuck/Craftstuck……. Enderkat would be really cute okay JUST JSDFHKJS
oh snap yes i’ll take more of this please yes here take my wallet.
during sex when he least suspects it, scream “EA GAMES” followed by whispering “challenge everything”
Happy 4/20 I guess!! I didn’t celebrate ‘cause I had too much shit to do, like draw… comics… about guys getting high… hey wait
Progress shot of Page 4 of Whisper Grass, the TJ & Amal 18+ side story comic I’m hoping to put out in a few months. No real deadline since this is a just-for-fun project.
20-24 pages of fun PWP in straight up black and white; will be available only in print. This is probably the last art I’ll share from it except for small preview images when it’s ready for sale.
This is the first time since 2008 I’ve tried doing comics the “industry standard” way — india ink and NP blue on actual comic paper. It’s an interesting switch. The work goes about 5 times faster, but I can’t render much detail at all.
Anonymous asked: Do you believe a man can be a feminist even if he doesn’t get outraged, or as outraged, as you do about certain things? The whole “check your privilege” saying seems to suggest the idea that men who don’t get behind a specific complaint are just being blind to the plight of women, and I’m curious on your take. I’d view myself as absolutely a feminist, yet I don’t really agree with the outrage at certain incidents.
Well, I don’t think that outrage—or emotion—is the best metric for feminism, especially because characterizing it that way makes it seem like it’s more about the feelings people have, and not about the very real and systematic inequalities that exist because of gender. People certainly do get angry when they are treated badly, and I think that’s understandable, but I don’t think you need to be hulk out or simulate more emotion than you feel in order to be a good ally; a calm, firm declaration of support can be just as powerful (and sometimes more so, when speaking to other men).
That said, I think your question is about more than just whether or not your anger-o-meter hits exact the same number as some of the women around you; it’s about not understanding why they’re so upset in the first place. My concern, based on your admittedly brief question, is that when you hear a woman say “check your privilege,” what you’re hearing is, “I demand you validate my anger immediately even though you have no idea why this situation warrants it!” I think you’re skipping a couple important steps there, and it’s leading you to a conclusion that is alienating (to both you and the feminists around you, I’m guessing).
First, I think it’s important to realize that feminists are definitely not a monolithic block; They’re a wide-ranging group of women (and men), and they’re going to have different experiences, perspectives and takes on things. (Ask me about Donglegate! Or on second thought, really don’t, but know that my take on it is different from many other feminists!) Even among feminists, not everyone is going to agree about the relative importance of different incidents.
That said, as a guy who cares about these issues, you still have to recognize that when you don’t understand why women are getting upset, it’s very likely because they’ve had very different experiences from you that are informing their responses.
Take a common example: Many men don’t understand why making public comments about women being attractive could be perceived as unpleasant. Over at Gawker, Tom Scocca offered a useful analogy in the wake of President Obama’s recent “good-looking” gaffe that I like to call “cheeseburger privilege”:
Pretend a compliment on your looks is a cheeseburger. Who doesn’t like a delicious cheeseburger? Dudes love cheeseburgers. Now suppose that every time you asked for anything, all day long, you got a cheeseburger. Hey, good morning, sleepyhead, here’s a cup of cheeseburger to wake you up. Lunchtime is a cheeseburger with a cheeseburger. Smoke break: Light up a cheeseburger. Get home and open that envelope from the Department of Motor Vehicles, and instead of your new license, they mailed you a cheeseburger. Looking for the remote? Have a cheeseburger.
Some of these are really inherently unappetizing cheeseburgers, too, by the way, cold school-lunch gristleburgers with unmelted cheese, but that barely even registers, because no one in years has even asked you if you want another fucking cheeseburger. You’re a dude; you get cheeseburgers. Everybody give this dude a cheeseburger! And then the president of the United States comes by, and he praises your professional performance—as you do richly deserve, on your merits—and then he says, “Give it up for the cheeseburger guy!” and he shoves a cheeseburger in your mouth, in front of everybody.
A better (and more practically useful) way to think about privilege is that it is that when a woman says “check your privilege,” she’s saying, “think about the fact that your cheeseburger-eating experience (read: life experience) is so different from mine that you may not have the context to understand why this seemingly benign act of handing me a cheeseburger (read: source of the controversy) just made me flip out.”
If you want to take it to a second and even more useful level, “check your privilege” is a call to action: Rather than just concluding that women are getting upset for inexplicable/silly reasons or just like to get angry because something something, try a more generous approach: Assume that they really do have a good reason that you don’t quite understand, and see it as an opportunity to investigate and discover what that is.
Or if you want to think about it in a slightly more comic-booky way, realize that half of the human population lives inside a slightly different dimension from you, one that is invisibly laid over top of the one that you see. When feminists get upset about something, consider that there are all sorts of forces and powers in play inside that dimension, that are affecting women all the time in ways that just aren’t visible to you.
But the good news is that this sort of extra-dimensional vision is a skill you can develop. If you spend a lot of time listening to women and tuning into their perspectives, your ability to see into that dimension will improve. Acknowledging that there are things you can’t see—and trying to see them—is what’s crucial, even if at the end of the day you still end up deciding that you disagree about a particular issue. Again, not every woman will agree about what’s happening and what it means either.
N.B: Notice that I said “listen to women” rather than “talk to women” because tenor and construction matters here—especially because women encounter a lot of men who treat their “invisible” experiences as imaginary. Saying, “I don’t get why you’re so upset about X, Y, Z” can easily be read as a dismissal or a shut down; you’re not creating room for women to give you information, you’re filling it with your own information (e.g. I think this is silly). Asking a question rather than a statement—something like “Can you help me understand why this is upsetting?”—invites women to talk and makes room for them to answer.
Same pro tip applies to anyone who wants to be an interviewer/journalist, a good friend, or even a good date, for that matter. In a world where a lot of people are just waiting for the other person to shut up so they can start talking again, listening can be a powerful act. And the results can be revelatory.
Ben’s Letters to Cleo T-shirt.
kirkhamilton asked: You were talking about that Salon article where famous women avoided calling themselves Feminists. Do you think that’s a poor reflection on them, or a sign of how thoroughly the word has been subverted/twisted? Is it fair to criticize people for wanting to avoid a word that, to them, has come to mean “crazy, hostile, man-hating?” Is it important to reclaim the word, or is it a lost cause?
It’s fair to criticize them – to point out what they’re saying, and what it actually means – but if we’re going to talk about what this really reflects on, I don’t think the most useful response is blaming the women. Why not take it to the real source and talk about how it reflects poorly on our society?
I believe that the disavowing (and poisoning) of the word “feminist” reflects a couple of very insidious things about our culture: the intense pressure on women to be liked/accepted/”good” on one end, and the unbelievably negative and dismissive reactions that women get (from both women and men) when they try to address the experiences and problems of being female.
My story, briefly: As a young woman, I was raised in an upper-middle class, white Christian household (with a father who was a moderate conservative and a lawyer), and I was taught to believe in the meritocracy. If I worked hard, demanded my worth, had confidence, and made strong arguments that I could support, then I could do anything a man could. In many ways, this was a fantastic way to raise a young woman. I believed, genuinely, that I could do anything, and that belief – and the support and resources of my parents – was a powerful combination (incidentally, one that a lot of people from a lot of other circumstances don’t get. See: privilege).
But it also meant that I was in for some surprises, especially when I stepped into the public sphere as a writer and started talking about gender issues in the extremely male-dominated field of comics. Despite the more subtle sexism I’d experienced (and dismissed) most of my life, I honestly wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I broached the issue. I figured there would be some controversy, sure. But I felt that I had a very reasonable argument – my critiques were, frankly, basic and obvious – and I’d been raised to believed that was enough.
No one had really taught me how different it would be to talk about women’s issues, as a woman. About the unique feelings of anger and power and cruelty it stirs up in other people. About sexism. No one had taught me about sexism, about how very real and ugly and bizarre it can be. Or if they did, I hadn’t been listening.
So the Internet taught me (and boy, did it teach me). The threats, the anger, the backlash were so unbelievably disproportionate by any rational measure that I didn’t know how to understand them. Of course if I’m honest, it wasn’t the first time; there were after all, all those quiet, dark moments of powerlessness that I had learned to ignore, to treat as interstitial in my life. But it is a much harder thing to ignore a large indignity than a thousand small ones, even when the small ones can add up to something very insidious and very large. And this was the first time that all the ugliness, the specifically gendered ugliness whose name I had always been afraid to speak, put its hands around my throat and squeezed.
That’s when everything changed. I started to question things, to examine the code that programs our culture, to try and understand its implications. Suddenly, I could see the Matrix, and all of the microaggressions and gendered slights – all of the fear, all of the things I avoided saying and doing without even really knowing why – suddenly it came into focus.
The problem had become so blatant, so personal, and so real that I could not ignore it, and for the first time, I realized I had a choice: I could disingenuously refuse to acknowledge it (the way I had fail to acknowledge so many other small indignities, or simply looked away) and take the bullseye off my chest, or I could be intellectually honest about what I saw and how it was transforming my knowledge of the world, knowing that it would be a punishing experience every time I talked about it.
This was how I saw feminism, and this is how it felt to me. It wasn’t a liberating experience. I didn’t feel free. I felt scared. Being a feminist was terrifying, because I knew what it meant, and would happen to me when I said I was a feminist. I knew what people would think of me.
But claiming that title, and that word, was important. I was attacked online not because I claimed I was feminist – I didn’t, at the time – but because I did an essentially feminist thing: I talked about the problems with how our society treats women. That’s why people got so angry at me, not the word. The things that I did were tarred and feathered in the exact same way as the word “feminist” for the exact same reason: because they dared to. And if I was being punished for doing what the word feminism actually means, then by my estimation, I had to claim it unless I wanted to be a hypocrite. And I didn’t want to be, anymore.
(It’s worth noting that there are people who reject the label of feminist for some very important and nuanced reasons – people who have dealt with racism and other forms of exclusion from feminist culture, and I don’t discount that. I don’t have a good solution for it in terms of nomenclature, but I think it is absolutely valid. Some have suggested intersectionality as an alternative, and I embrace the concept fully – that we are all coming from differing perspectives of privilege and disadvantage that interact in complex ways — but it’s also not a word that deals specifically with the unique problems with women. And we need one, because it is specific and unique problem, and not to acknowledge that is to erase that experience.)
Personally, I’m not willing to abandon the word “feminist” for the same reason that I wasn’t willing to stop criticizing sexism: because people being dicks to me isn’t a good enough reason. Our culture has trained us to use the word as an insult, and as women it has trained us to be afraid of those insults. But if people want to tell me I’m an ugly, stupid bitch who will die alone because I pointed out how poorly our culture treats women, well – first of all, Lewis’s Law, but secondly: I will not be bullied anymore. I will not be afraid. And the moment I took fear out of the equation, I couldn’t see any reason not to name it what it was.
That said, it is often incredibly painful to stand in the world wearing the label of “feminist.” It makes you a target. Sometimes the backlash is extreme: rape threats, death threats; sometimes it’s the endless needling of trolololols who decide to feminist-bash for kicks; sometimes it’s the micro-aggressions: the constant implications that I am an unreasonable person – or rather, an unreasonable WOMAN, a phrase that carries a different weight – and that I am angry, hate men, hate families.
I used to find these accusations bizarre, until I realized they didn’t have anything to do with me: They had to do with the label that I was wearing. And I knew that continuing to wear it would mark me for abuse, just like simply walking down the street as a woman sometimes marks me for abuse. Just like continuing to have these discussions marks me for abuse. But I keep doing all of those things anyway, because they are all important for the very reason that they are so hard.
So when I look at the women on that list at Salon, yes: I feel shitty. Because it has not been easy to constantly be painted as man-hating, anti-equality and irrational for wearing the “feminist” label. And seeing impressive, powerful women pick up that same brush, well — it makes it just a little bit harder to keep wearing it. Whether they realize it or not, their dismissal and disavowals are cloaked insults that help reinforce the same painful, punishing ideas. When you say, “I’m not a feminist; I [like men/care about equality/am not a crazy militant].” you’re implying mutual exclusivity. You’re saying you’re not a feminist – you’re a NORMAL woman. And you’re saying that I’m not.
But when I look at the women on that list, and at the things they’re saying, I don’t feel angry. I feel sad in the same way I feel sad when I think about how I dealt with these issues, even five or six years ago. About the mistreatment I brushed off, about the experiences and perspectives that I ignored, but mostly about the fear – about the desire to be thought “normal,” to not be stigmatized, to not be abused. To be treated as a professional. To be one of the boys. To be liked. To be loved.
I never would have spoken about it in those terms, at the time. I probably would have scoffed at it. Because I didn’t know the name yet, for my fear. I didn’t want to. And while I knew the word that would ultimately help me understand it and combat it – feminism — I wasn’t willing to pay the price for it yet.
I think about it now and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
But to get back to your question, Kirk, it’s not so much that I have any particular allegiance to the word “feminist,” per se (words are inventions, and defined by their descriptive utility to us) but rather to the idea of a word – any word – that describes dealing with women’s issues in particular. Because it is a very different thing than dealing with men’s issues, or “human” issues, in ways that have a very quantifiable impact.
“Feminist” has become a dangerous word, but it has become dangerous for a specific reason: because when women (and sometimes men) talk about sexism, the immune system of sexist culture responds by tagging them as a threat (“crazy/angry/irrational” and “white knights/pussies”), marginalizing them and making other women (and men) afraid of being tagged the same way. It is a form of policing behavior (and reinforcing culture), and as evidenced by the Salon article, a very effective one.
If we could throw away the word “feminist” because it was too irradiated and gain some advantage by starting fresh with a new word (ladyism! womanism!), then why not? But the problem is, the word isn’t the problem. It’s that cultural immune system that tags and attacks and dismisses and laughs and bullies and intimidates people who broach these topics. Rebranding isn’t going to stop that, because the phenomenon isn’t happening because of bad branding. It’s happening because of sexism.
Any new word for feminism that deals with women’s issues (without watering them down to less threatening and more palatable “human” ones) will get the exact same tarring and feathering for the exact same reason: sexism doesn’t want it to exist. Put simply, it’s a lot more important to fix the institutional problem that turned women’s issues into a dirty word than the word itself. And in a very real way, the word has become a shibboleth for the issues it points out.
Is that really a bad thing, or is it an astonishingly revealing one? Does the scarlet letter of feminism say more about the people who wear it, or the culture that turned it into a slur?
‘4 Chords of the Apocalypse’ by Julian Casablancas is my new jam.
Hi there, Tumblr. My name is Kelty McLoughlin. As some of you may know, I’ve recently had some trouble with my current living arrangements with my parents (which were meant to be temporary anyway so it’s really been a long time coming) and I have been on the search for a roommate/apartment.
A quick overview of stats (though there are stats in the link I figure it’s best to restate and add to them anyway):
I’m a twenty-four year old lesbian. I don’t have a car or drive, but I use the bus, so if you already have an apartment near a bus stop, that’d be REALLY HELPFUL! I don’t smoke or do drugs, but don’t worry, that’s cool if you do. I drink often, but it’s cool if you don’t. I’m not much of a partier but I don’t mind if you like to throw them, so long as you don’t mind when I don’t join in. Not that I dislike being social, and I’m totally willing to geek out with you and be friends who go out and stuff occasionally if you want to!
I love animals, but I don’t currently have any so don’t worry either way if you do or don’t have pets. I’m usually quite tidy and like to be helpful with things such as cleaning or making simple meals or pet-sitting and such, so know I’m always willing to do that sort of thing if you need a hand. I tend to stay up late but I’m not very loud and I can sleep through anything so don’t worry about noise ever waking me up.
My best friends live in Buda and Kyle and my girlfriend lives in Boston, so if need be you can and probably will have the place to yourself a nice chunk of the time. If you ever need me out of your hair for any reason, just let me know and I could easily make plans to stay out for a weekend or longer.
ANYWAY. Let me know if you’re in need of a roommate to split the rent for your apartment or if you are wanting to move out of your current place and we can find an apartment together! I promise I’m nice and easy enough to get along with and will instantly follow any necessary ground rules!
Please let me know if you’re interested via tumblr ask and we can hammer out any details! :D Thank you!