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.