I just found this random post that was supposed to be published… IN AUGUST (!!!???!) So, if you feel like a hop in ye olde time machine, come with me, all the way back to August 2014…
First of all, I gotta say, I had the best time at Boston Comic-Con. The. Best.
It was a totally positive and friendly space. Everyone was there to have a good time, and everyone who was there was super-cool and respectful of everyone else.
It was especially special for me, because Lost Angels finally – finally – made its print debut. And people went a bit nuts, in the best possible way. I couldn’t have imagined a warmer welcome.
So, I’ve been reading up on the post-weekend recaps (a LOT of people go to Boston Comic-Con and, if you go to cons, you should go too) and I stumbled across one from a blogger who… well, I’m going to leave his details out of it. I’m not challenging his views, personally, I’m more loosely paraphrasing some of what he said as a jumping off point to discuss the larger con world.
This particular guy drew my particular attention because he said there was nothing to buy at Boston Comic-Con. That prompted me to do the cartoon eye rub- what the what? At BCC, you could buy ALL THE THINGS. It was as good of a selection of merch as I’ve seen at just about any con (and I’ve been to a few…). Maybe there weren’t show exclusives or something? Maybe something was missing that I usually don’t notice…? But that WTF moment got me to delve a little further into this particular BCC post.
Then, the term “babe” was used. And again. And again. That little alarm in the back of my head that goes off sometimes started to sound a little. This was leading up to the plainly stated (keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing here) that guys go to conventions to meet and talk to “babes” that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in talking to guys like him.
OK. Wait. What?
I may be oblivious, but I’m pretty sure I’m not naive… Or maybe I am. Is that a thing? Do guys really go to conventions to “meet babes”? Not really, right? This is like the weird opposite day argument about fake fangirls, isn’t it? You mean to tell me there are fake fanboys too? Or, because the comic industry is so often steeped in some sexist and objectifying attitudes and leanings that every fanboy is there for “babes” on some level and that’s totally acceptable, so it’s impossible to be a fake fanboy? Does this sound like a sad, circular argument to anyone else?
Some dear soul at BCC who struck up a conversation with me about women in comics got a blunt answer (If you’re reading this, dear heart, my vitriol wasn’t aimed at you. You were a doll.) There is so much talk about how to get more women into the industry. And I’m tired of it. The answer is pretty simple- go for it. Are the odds stacked against you? Oh boy, are they ever.
I’ve had a really long career in the shadows. I chose that. I wanted that, knowing full well what it cost me. It’s really strange to me now that people ask for pictures and autographs (no, really), that I spend a dozen weekends a year talking to strangers and that I’m even flirting with the fringes of cosplay for the first time ever (Fan Expo, boy, are you in for a treat…? Shock?). But, I’m warning you, the first person- male, female, manatee- that calls me a babe at a con is gonna get a square sock on the jaw. I’m there because I earned my place.
Sexist stuff like reducing a whole gender of amazing people to “babes” makes Steve Rogers cry, guys. Don’t be a Bonaparte Crumplehorn. Just don’t.