Friday, November 18, 2011

Let's Talk About Fashion!

Alexa Tomaszewski: So explain a bit to me how someone like you, with your reputation as such, ends up doing fashion. ‘Cause you know fashion, Dave. Don’t think I didn’t  notice those McQueen booties and Chanel bags. You told me about Stan Drake and Alex Raymond. You could have reproduced their panels to tickle your fancy. Why’d you go high fashion? ‘Cause it is high fashion.

Dave Sim:  Fashion magazines, to me, are women at their best and -- maybe more importantly -- at their most open since I take it as a given that 99.9% of the audience is women, so this is women talking to women.  Women talking to women have a far lower "b.s." threshold than women talking to men.  So, for me, it was always a good way to check on what the fairer sex was thinking about and talking about and how that's evolving.  When I broke up with Susan in 1998, that left a big gap in my life. The fashion coverage in the newspaper is far more cautious because the fashion writers know that men read the newspaper as well.  You don't want a "too revealing" paragraph that someone might accidentally read.  Fashion magazines are HARDCORE!

Okay, now I'll ask you one:  it's not unusual to have to put all discretionary spending on hold while you're going to school to prepare for a career.  How disorienting is that, since you've just come out on the other side having gone from No Spending to Some Spending? What are the things you miss the most when you can't afford to spend money on them?

Alexa Tomaszewski: That’s a tough one. Without giving too much away, suffice it to say I can never have too many bags. Hand bags, slouchy bags, clutches and everything in between. You mentioned your love for Michael Kors. Hello! That’s what I’m talking about. I can’t wait for the day I can afford Louis Vuitton. And, I mean, when I turn 30, there’s no way I’m not gifting myself with a pair of Louboutins. My feet can’t handle them.  I’m praying the man knows how to make a woman’s foot feel good while wearing them for however many hundreds or thousands of dollars. I can’t afford expensive make-up. I miss that.  Dior, YSL and Anna Sui make stuff to-die-for. We talked perfume bottles, so you know my affinity for pretty things.

You must have noticed that I have an affinity for high fashion. I think it’s classy. It’s a good reflection on women whereas many of the women on television I think are a sad, sad reflection on feminism - gone crazy.       

Dave Sim:  We got into the "how skanky are women today" discussion just a bit at the end of the interview for CEREBUS TV.  That's one of those things that you really notice when you're verging on retirement age as I am.  I referred to the video "Do It Like A Dude" as an example of a direction I don't think girls really want to go, although it clearly has great appeal for a lot of them.  What used to be called a tomboy, a phase girls went into and came out of, is now seen as "not wimping out like a girl".  You can get yourself into a lot of trouble thinking like that.  Guys tend to encourage it because it means more access to cheap and easy sex.  Back in my womanizer days I really relied on that quality.  Girls tend to see having absolute control over their romantic lives as absolute freedom, but they do tend to make bad choices, far worse choices than back in the day when their fathers had to approve of their boyfriends, so the freedom really tends to amount to the freedom to mess themselves up.  To put it bluntly, if the girls are making the call, as a guy you'll get laid a lot more often.  Most of the time they just need to be ovulating and sex sounds like a great idea. Fathers are far, far more difficult to fool.  Impossible to fool, in fact.  If all you want to do is get his daughter's pants a few times he'll smell it on you like panther sweat no matter how much you try to sound like a future son-in-law. He's the only one who really has your best interests at heart while really having no stake in your life apart from your best interests. He wants you to be deliriously happy, but he wants you to be deliriously happy Long Term, not deliriously happy for the next year or two.  Who else can you really say that about?

Okay, now I'll ask you one: In that same discussion you brought up Ariel Levy's book and her thesis  about how women are basically modelling themselves to one degree or another on the Lady Gagas and the Katy Perrys who are really modelling themselves on strippers and hookers and that strippers and hookers are, 9 times out of 10, severely traumatized and abused women who are making their decisions as a result of trauma and abuse.  I'd say there's a persuasive case to be made there.  But, what can be done about it, do you think?  How do you persuade young girls that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry aren't good role models?

Alexa Tomaszewski: Well, as a grown woman fed from the tit of Britney Spears videos I can honestly say I think GaGa and Mizz Perry are a fantastic and delightful change of pace from Christina grinding in those godawful chaps. It was bad before, and GaGa is as entertaining as a live-show.

I’ll admit it, I saw Britney Spears live, with my mom (never-retirement age, you’re a jokster), and wow, just wow – word’s can not describe. Well they can, the next day The Toronto Star called Spears as enthusiastic as a dead eye’d stripper. Brutal, and it was.

You persuade young girls to become excited by other things, anything but the television. That’s where most of the poison is. You need to make women enthusiastic about themselves, we need to focus on cutting bullying out of the school system.  It’s an over-populated planet, we best be nice to each other – man or woman. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ok, Now I'll Ask You One

Dave Sim:  Okay, I'll start off our "Okay, Now I'll Ask You One" discussion.  I haven't really read any of the new mainstream Marvel and DC comic books since I started Glamourpuss, but it seems to me there's a strong undercurrent of misogyny in them just from what I've been hearing: rape of the heroine as a plot device, super-heroines manipulating super-heroes with their sexuality, all things that were completely unheard of back in my day.  Are things really bad or are there some bright spots when it comes to "women characters in comics"?

Alexa Tomaszewski: There are bright spots. During out interview you talked about Buffy-loving, t-shirt clad women reading comic books and you’re not that far off in a sense. Joss Whedon is a humanist. Are we surprised women like his work? I’m hoping he can pull off a decent super-heroine in the upcoming Avengers movie because yeah there are a lot of skimpy outfits and boobs in mainstream comics. Marvel and DC wouldn’t dare have one of their heroines raped, are you kidding?  Of course you are. 

So, you are known on the web as a misogynist. We’ve talked a lot about Glamourpuss, comic books, and fashion. Not a lot about women in general.  Are you a misogynist?

Dave Sim: I'm not a feminist, but I don't think that makes me a misogynist.  I just don't think things are working very well when you have a divorce rate up above 60% and I think feminism has to shoulder its fair share of the blame.  We need career women AND stay-at-home wives and mothers and I think you have to decide very young which you want to be and work at becoming that.  If you postpone your career until your forties you're starting too late. If you postpone marriage and having kids until your forties you're also starting too late. Both require single-minded devotion to do properly, I think. Both make lousy hobbies. 
Okay, now I'll ask you one:  how difficult is the Internet making it to actually build a career?  Since everything's free on the Internet people tend not to pay people to do things on the Internet.  Again, way back in my day, that problem didn't exist. I may only have gotten $10 or $15 for a drawing that was published in a fanzine but I got paid.  I wouldn't do free work.  But now isn't it a situation where you have to start doing free work and hope someday someone will pay you?

Alexa Tomaszewski: As a writer it’s not easy. I wonder how my career would have turned out in broadcast – but that’s a society based on looks and surface veneer. That’s not how I want to compete. I think writing is the most meaningful way to explore the undercurrents of things like revolutionary events, culture and also as a human in existence with other humans experiencing a complex and diverse world. This is not a pursuit that pays the big bucks. Education is valued, but you need to work very hard to make a dollar in a society that would rather watch Teen Mom or Dancing with the Stars than read an article I worked six months on. Which by the way you’re missing out on Dave, Teen Mom, haven’t you heard? ADD is totally in. 

Going back to your earlier thought, shopping high fashion does require single-minded devotion.You can't have four babies and be running to Holt's to pick out that perfect designer piece for Friday night's dinner can you? Choosing couture is like choosing wall paint, you have to live with it. Many women would argue the following fact, but I think you have to sacrifice beautiful things for diapers.