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In The Bleak Mid-Links-ter

2011 December 16
11 Responses leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011

    I was hoping for some analysis and discussion of the Jenny Turner article, since it read to me like a good opportunity wasted. I felt it left out a lot of historical context and incident (maybe of necessity, but still…), and was put off by the opening’s dubious contrast of Poor Feral Young Women Unable to Attain Consciousness with Nice Young Fun-Fem Gels Skipping Around in Oblivious Self-Satisfaction. Pointing out the largely middle-class nature of Western feminism can’t be done enough, but she seems to neglect or be ignorant of any contemporary work that has been done in critiquing this – and then ends up with Nina Power, who surely provides at least some kind of corrective to the idea that modern feminism takes no account of class?

    • Miranda permalink*
      December 16, 2011

      Absolutely. I stuck it on the links because I felt it raised all this and more at least for discussion, but I thoroughly agree with you. It does raise some points about the feminist activist ‘scene’, but I’m also baffled by the snarking on Power and other feminist figures who do advocate an intersectional approach. It’s a bit of a sprawling thing, too – at times I struggled to get a sense of the overarching argument/structure. Which was in the main why I felt the need to write “not finished it yet” on the copy text – not all of it’s sinking in! Possibly that’s not actually me, though… I am poorly today however, so another attempt may improve my critical faculties.

      (I’m also personally wary of a) the rather dismissive approach to blogging as a useful discursive activity – charming! and b) “AND THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH MODERN FEMINISM” as a paragraph starter. Turner ranges across many facets and eras and people… and I’m not sure she’s a fan of, er, any of them? Will read again and try to engage more usefully.)

      • December 16, 2011

        I’m making a stab at re-reading myself, but it’s oddly hard to engage with, not helped by, yes, how sprawling it is. And the opening just frustrated and antagonised me. I mean, there’s a lot to be said, beyond feminism, about the frequent distance between well-meaning but class-constrained UKUncut-style activism, and spontaneous discontented breakouts like the August riots, but apart from smugly pointing out the distance (using extreme examples) in this specific instance, Turner does so little with it – well, she fingers it as THE PROBLEM WITH MODERN FEMINISM, but then where does that argument go?

        It’s quite a facile analysis in many places – I do wonder what was the impetus and motivation behind it.

        • Miranda permalink*
          December 16, 2011

          There’s something in there too about intersectionality as “the end of feminism” in terms of a broadening social justice movement meaning a gender-based approach doesn’t work and is diluted by being so far expanded. It’s a bit chicken and egg, though, that – she spends some time attacking earlier ‘waves’ for their lack of inclusion, then implies the current movement is weighed down and diluted by multiple issues of focus.

          I can’t quite square the tone, either- in places it’s having a sarky dig at this blog or that book, but it’s hard to tell quite where it’s all going.

          • December 16, 2011

            I do wish the LRB had a comments function – not to bash the article itself, but simply to critique it and/or expand on its concerns…

  2. December 16, 2011

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one who had a problem with that LRB article! Some of it was “nail, meet head”; much of the rest was WTF THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. Very confusing and frustrating.

    • Miranda permalink*
      December 16, 2011

      Not at all – I found it pretty baffling! It’s at least got me ruminating on a few things, though…

  3. Russell permalink
    December 16, 2011

    It’s from the Facebook page, but I don’t think “Marvel gets cornered” is really the correct way to describe that particular article. Maybe I’m being hyper-sensitive about comics this week but I’m starting to feel a little like your coverage of comics-related topics is a little unfair. I’ve read the article in question, and both Alonso and Schaeffer acknowledge the problems with not having any female lead characters whilst pointing out the many positive depictions of women in their ensemble books. I felt like that was a really great, positive article of the kind that we all expect from Comics Alliance, in which the Marvel editors in question responded thoughtfully and constructively. In fact, there’s an even better article from a few months back where they interview the creators and it’s obvious that many (Kieron Gillen sticks out in memory as a prime example) have given a lot of thought on how to write comics that still have the mainstream superhero appeal without being unfair to women. But “Marvel gets cornered” doesn’t describe that article at all, IMO. :(

    • Miranda permalink*
      December 16, 2011

      I can’t really comment on whether our comics coverage is fair or unfair, I don’t think. Leaving out AwesomeWatch and Found Fem, we’ve not run any dedicated comics content since September (we’ve done a fair bit on LARP, for example, instead). And that content was a pitch sent to the team asking them to identify their personal comics-based highs and lows. It’s all tagged “a few of our favourite things” or “all about team badrep” – all personal views, a lot of which was retrospective or nostalgic rather than what I would term current coverage.

      Our aim is not to effect news-like coverage, I’m afraid – CA have that pretty down. We are twelve bloggers with some thoughts. We are not impartial. To date, AwesomeWatch aside, none of us have actually blogged any recent Big Two happenings.

      I’m sorry you feel we’re not measuring up, but, er, the thing is, your benchmark isn’t our benchmark. There’s not a lot I as the ed can really do about that – unless someone’s actively contributing to some sort of oppressive dynamic in their post, they’re pretty much entitled to blog their views just as you are.

      Re: Facebook, I am not the ed on the FB page, it’s curated by another team member. I can see where you’re coming from, but the wording of the copy is Hannah’s call. You can always comment on the page if you want to take it up with her.

      In fact, there’s an even better article from a few months back where they interview the creators and it’s obvious that many (Kieron Gillen sticks out in memory as a prime example) have given a lot of thought on how to write comics that still have the mainstream superhero appeal without being unfair to women.

      Might that be the one linked a few linkposts back, over here, in, er, our comics coverage (such as it is)?

      • Russell permalink
        December 16, 2011

        I think that the problem might well lie with the way I’m perceiving things. I’ve read a lot of coverage of comics on here, but very little of what I regard as “mainstream” apart from the article I commented on the other day and the comment on FB today. From that, I’ve gathered a sense that the thinking seems to be that mainstream superhero comics offer nothing for women and are actively seeking to denigrate them. I just don’t think that’s the case, and I’m out to challenge that idea.

        I’m certainly not seeking to hold you up to some lofty standard of my own over it. I’ve enjoyed and continue to enjoy pretty much anything that goes up on here, and there’s very rarely anything that I particularly disagree with. That includes your coverage of comics. But I look around and either blogs like this one are focused on indie comics (or things that otherwise lie outside of my interests – I’ll admit I’m biased), or there’s an exceptionally negative level of coverage of mainstream/superhero stuff that seems to start from an idea “this must be denigrating” and work from there. I think that’s neither fair nor correct.

        I love BadRep and you know I’ve supported you from day one, and I’ve kinda been waiting and wondering when you’ll get to this stuff. You haven’t really, and all I’ve seen are the remarks over the past few days. I don’t know how receptive you’d now be to it, but thinking about this has given me an idea for an article, and if you want I’ll send you an e-mail.

        I didn’t want this to get personal or turn into a whole thing, I’m just grumbling about the way I see things, and I’m sorry if I’ve upset or offended anyone.

        • Sarah Cook permalink
          December 19, 2011

          Hey Russell,

          I think that my post here pretty much summarises the reasons I personally don’t cover mainstream comics:

          In brief: If there was more stuff out there I liked, or didn’t make me want to rip my own eyes out, I’d write about it.

          Remember that one of our USPs here at Bad Rep is to focus on positive, interesting pop culture items that we think are relevant to a feminist (and new-to-feminism or feminist friendly…) audience.

          Which means a number of things.

          First – we are a collection of individual voices, so we generally cover “things we like”. That can make us rather random, at times, but I think that it also makes us unique and interesting in our own little way. We’re also all volunteers who do this in our spare time. It takes a huge amount of time and effort to run Bad Rep, especially for our Amazing Editor, Miranda. It really is a labour of love. So we write what we want.

          Second – no bitchfests. This probably covers the reason why we haven’t been all over the reboot comicgeddon like a rash.

          Third – Link, don’t repeat. If other sites, especially other feminist sites have written about it, we tend not to. We may link to people who have covered it in our Linksposts, but ultimately we don’t create our own little corner of the internet by masses of duplication.

          Fourth – We aren’t a news site, we don’t have any official mandate to cover any particular thing at all. So if we don’t cover things, we don’t cover them. There’s no conspiracy.

          I’m going to write a FAQ at some point which will cover these points, because I think it’s important that we don’t disappoint or confuse folk who might come here looking for A, B or C and find G, U and Epsilon. So these conversatons are useful.

          I think that these kinds of areas can become very personal, after all we hold our own geekery dear. Certainly I am especially passionate and protective over the Elements Of Nerd that I am keen on (which includes comics). I have no trouble fighting my corner and I’m never offended or upset by reasonable comments. After all, I’m really into these things too, so as long as there is room for decent debate, rebuttal without descending into a bitchfest it’s all good.

          And on a final note – I do disagree with some of you opinions and perceptions on representation of women in mainstream comics and the responsibilities, or otherwise, of those who buy and write about them. I think more detail is needed on the subject as I suspect that you speak from a position that is representative of some comics buyers (just as I speak from the position of others). Currently it all feels a bit “he said, she said” so getting to the heart of the matter might make for good reading.

          With that in mind, I’d be happy to write a Q&A or discussion document or similar with you on the subject, if you’re up for it.

          Ping me…

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