Wednesday, 5 February 2014

How to alienate feminists and a insult writer you respect (in 140 characters or less)

I posted this on before being posted here. Please visit the original post
Yesterday I was sitting at my desk, like a true cyberpunk, watching Star Trek (the original Series, thanks Netflix) and playing Rust. I run two monitors and usually have a tablet in front of me too, so as you can imagine keeping up to date on my social media is not difficult even when a little distracted by the fantastic Rust. My twitter feed is populated mostly by Linux Hackers/Coders/Youtubers and Comic writers.  its the last one on that list that created a very interesting situation on that fateful afternoon.
The Writer, Gail Simone is some one that, for the most part I have a great deal of respect for. However on a pretty regular basis she ‘goes off on one’ about her political and social beliefs. I follow comic book industry people in hopes of getting tweets about you know, Comics.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou guys don’t  really know me here yet so I’ll take a moment to outline my political stance on everything in less than a paragraph.  Deep breath, here it goes… I don’t believe in discrimination so colour, sex, sexuality, religious and political opinions are all things I don’t care about.  I do however hate stupid people and A-Holes. Also, I firmly take the stance that I will listen to  anything you say if your willing to be passionate about it. So, when I acted like a stupid A-Hole by sending a badly worded tweet to a writer I quite like I not only violated my own personal  political and A-hole guidelines but was a little rude in the processes.  While I think its wonderful that this person fights for her beliefs and pushes her very positive morality into the world its not really what I want on my twitter feed. I had made the decision that I had followed her long enough and was going to hit the ‘unfollow’ button next time I had a moment. I intended to do it quietly and discreetly without ‘being a dick about it’ until her twitter barrage started to get on my nerves.
Gail Simone tweeted something akin to the question “Who’s your favourite feminist writer?” a simple question directed to her fan-base but, something that needlessly ‘got my back up’ because being something of a Neanderthal who has never been challanged on his generic beliefs my attitude was this – Who cares if a writer is a man or a woman, the work is universal and should stand on its own. As I am an aforementioned A-Hole at times responded along with my unfollow click. that’s where it all went wrong for me.

I will re-type my shame here “today i unfollowed @GailSimone because she obsesses over feminism instead of humansim.” it was a throwaway tweet. that you can tell I hadn’t really put any thought into because I didn’t even use correct capitalisation. That should have been the end of the story, yeah, a good story right? wrong because Gail Simone hit retweet.
It was just seconds later that I got around 40 people, probably very nice people, retweeting me and replying to me. I received something of a twitter based smack in the head.  At first I rolled my eyes and thought, here it goes. Then I read the tweets. honestly I had not given any thought to my original comment and it seemed to me that people where getting worked up over nothing. Feminism in comics has some times struck me as forced and some times out of place.

A great example of one of the things that have felt was out of place was in the New 52, Batgirl #19 when Barbara Gordon’s flat mate announced that she is ‘Transgender’ to me this always felt forced, a pointless addition to the character. Why was it there? why did we need to have this line in the issue at all? I remember reading it and just being stunned by its irrelevance.
Yesterday all those people tweeting at me that I was being ignorant were right. I made the effort to reply to every one of them assuring them that I understood that it was ‘probably me’ while I sat at my desk and educated myself about the feminist movement of recent times. I read what wikipedia had to say on the topic and followed some of the links on the bottom of the page, I sat and watched some YouTubers talk about the topic (including the wonderful Laci Green) and the topic has actually started to mean something to me. As a 30 something English Male I have never really been forced to consider the topic before.
You know what conclusions I have come to? – I need to learn more about the topic and until understand it I shouldn’t comment on it, because it means a lot to a great deal of people, for good reason. However I think I do understand why Alysia had to tell Barbara her secret (moment captured above) – I think its because Alysia, wanted to tell her friend, and even if its never mentioned again in the New 52 Alysia is Transgender, and its okay to be transgender without it having to be a plot device. some people are Transgender and that’s okay. I think that’s the point of the scene
I have now been forced to think about something in a new way. Its important to let your opinions evolve and oddly this witter exchange has forced me to do that. so thanks.
In the end the point of the rambling post is simple and direct. To everyone who ready my tweet. I’m sorry I was an A-hole. 

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