Neil, you've written a trans woman character in Sandman but the way the story develops makes it seem like you think trans women arent actual women. And well, considering what you said about your friend, im sure thats not the case. So... could you clarify things? (i hope this doesnt sound accusatory, thats not how i mean it)
Why would you think that? I think the final page is absolutely clear on Wanda’s gender. And I hope the story is too.
Mostly, I found a lot of the stuff I was seeing in the late 80s from some feminist quarters really offensive, seeing them dismiss trans women as not real women, and decided that I wanted to put those attitudes into the story, which, from the title on, was about identity and how we create our own. So yes, there are god-like things in Sandman who do not see Wanda as a woman, just as Wanda’s family back in Kansas are not able not see her as a woman, but then, the narrative in Sandman is pretty clear that god-like things are just as likely to be screwed up, wrongheaded and mistaken as anyone else in the story. Wanda’s attitudes and responses to the Gods in the story are mine, although said much more pithily than I would have.
If I were writing it today, rather than in 1989, when there weren’t any Trans characters in comics, it would be a different story, I have no doubt. But that was the story I wrote in 1989. I got a fair amount of hate mail for putting a trans character in a mainstream comic, and I’m still proud of it, and of Wanda.
Hello! I wanted to ask if you thought writers without college educations could make it (get published, make money from book sales, etc.). I had a really bad time with high school due to depression and family situations and such and between that and financial issues, long story short I'm not going to be able to get into college. But I can write, and I just want to know if I'm being naive thinking I'll be able to do well at it.
If you can write things that make people turn the page you’ll be fine. Nobody will ask to see your qualifications.
By the same token, no amount of qualifications will make someone turn the page if she’s bored.
someone who never actually went to university because he really just wanted to write and is now an actual professor at a real college.
Disney’s making a superhero movie with a Japanese lead and a multi-racial cast set in a fictionalised multi-racial world half the human characters are women in non-sexualised costumes with completely different personalities and appearances AND they race-bent one…
(I am slapping a huge freaking trigger warning onthis. Violence, of a gendered nature, is discussed in depth. The pathology of such violence is discussed in depth. I think this piece is necessary, but when I personally found writing it to be triggery, I need to warn people.)
For some reason, the southern California shooting appears to be the event that has made America stand up and say that it’s time to have a conversation about hating women, and the violence that it motivates.
7 people died, and finally we talk about this. I’m writing this a week later, as the “controversy” is dying down—despite nothing having been fixed—because the core issue is, and always was, more important than we’ve ever made it. Meanwhile, today’s viral fad is about soylent and “food privilege.”
Because apparently, now that a few days have passed, misogyny is no longer a problem?
Apparently it wasn’t problem enough to bother paying attention when almost 350,000 women were raped in 2012.
Apparently we didn’t want to pay attention all the days that came before the shooting, when every day, three women in the US were killed by an intimate partner.
These things, which have been public information for quite some time, should have shocked us into action far sooner than the rampage of a worthless young man who chose to use murder to inflate his own importance.
Why do we value the actions of one man over those of a society? Why is he seen as the diseased one, and not the men who created him?
The answer is as much in our biochemistry as in our gender roles.
If you look at the history of activism in the U.S., a clear pattern emerges of Black Americans, especially Black women, blazing a path, and then being plagiarized, spoken over, and rejected from movements they created. This rather disgusting trend has perpetuated itself in the information age, via social media.
I know for a fact that many academic blogs run by people of color are regularly plagiarized by white academics for their own benefit. It is a racist double standard that white academics are expected to make a living off anti-racist activism, and yet Black activists are expected to do these things for free, despite the double burden of experiencing racism while trying to teach or write about it.
The disgrace isn’t that social media is at the very cutting edge of academia today, it’s that the same people are benefiting at the expense of others, i.e. white supremacy in action. A white, male anti-racist educator commands a higher fee to speak than a Black, female anti-racist educator, and that is unacceptable.
I say all of this because, unwittingly, your question is extremely loaded. Bloggers of color are very familiar with the experience of creating activist theory and providing priceless content, then having it stolen and sold back to us by the white supremacy you mention. And yet, we keep going because the alternative is to be silenced completely.
The basic and most essential crux of this problem is that whiteness itself is framed by our culture as “objective”, no matter the topic. As if the less something effects you, the more of an authority you are on it? And yet, this only works one way: A white male is an “authority” on racism, but a Black woman’s writing on white patriarchy can be dismissed, ignored, or stolen without credit?
A “free learning product that addresses standards without bowing to white supremacy” would require that the above issues be addressed and corrected before that could be possible. You can’t achieve equality by adding three pounds to each side of a weighted scale. To address standards, we must change what we think of as “objective”, because objectivity doesn’t exist.
If you think that I am objective, dispassionate, calm, polite, or neutral, you are wrong.
And if you think any of the sources I use to either support what I say OR that I use to demonstrate bias in education are objective, dispassionate, calm, polite, or neutral, you are wrong.
I’m doing my best to analyze what we consider “facts” by stuffing them back in the mouth they came out of, and taking a good look at the source. The recent development of an avalanche of accessible info redirects the responsibility onto the learner to think critically about what they choose to accept as facts. In many ways, we need to consider how what we give our voices in support of says about us, which narratives we accept and which we reject, and how that functions within society.
good post is good
I’ve also been really frustrated when I try to incorporate social justice-related concepts I’ve picked up through educating myself online into a paper and am then stymied because so many profs will only allow peer-reviewed sources on a paper. I don’t want to plagiarize and I don’t want to appear to be pulling things out of my ass. I’ve seen plenty of blog posts that basically gather links to a ton of sociological studies or whatever and synthesize/interpret them just as any other peer-reviewed paper might but for whatever reason (lack of access, institutional bias, straight up rightful disinterest in being a part of the white supremacist circlejerk that is academia, or even the fact that a lot of journals will subsequently not allow you to publish your work for free once it’s inside their EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE publication) this work only exists on a blog out on the internet. To rehash this work in my paper (by citing the peer-reviewed studies they used but “drawing my own conclusions” more like “agreeing with what someone else already concluded”) is exactly the kind of appropriation I don’t want to partake in.
& for me this is intrinsically connected to the ways that certain sources are (wrongfully) considered objective - white, supposedly anti-racist intellectuals are neutral on the topic of racism while poc are not, men are neutral on issues of sexism while women likely have a bias, etc. It’s not an accident that the institution that validates academic work is hostile to all of these groups, who are then squeezed to the margins, seek to publish their work online on their own instead, and are then further discredited for lack of peer review they could never access in the first place. Academia, you are garbage.
I want to thank you for putting into plain language exactly how this happens.
the shockingly low number of students who actually finish the classes, which is fewer than 10%. Not all of those people received a passing grade, either, meaning that for every 100 pupils who enrolled in a free course, something like five actually learned the topic. If this was an education revolution, it was a disturbingly uneven one.
so if mostly affluent white men are taking these classes and, even then, most aren’t finishing them….
what the fuck is the point?
as medievalpoc points out, the problem isn’t lack of access or some other technological issue
it is a cultural problem
Thank you for clarifying the issue; also, I didn’t know the stats for MOOCs were so low.
Honestly, it just makes me more determined to keep putting this info out there for whoever wants it. As far as I know, there really isn’t anyone else out there presenting this info in this kind of context. Or format. But luckily, it seems like it’s catching on.
Since people often ask “Alright, well this is fantasy! Why can’t we have boob shapes in plate armor?!” I decided to make a post about it. My frustration has nothing to do with historical inaccuracy and I’m all for imagination and freedom— but I’d like to (very quickly) illustrate this for you:
I purposely over-emphasized the shape of the two spheres in the armor so you can really think about this.
Look at the shape of the blue cups and the green line, think about the form of that on some beautiful ornate plate armor. A female warrior is charging into battle. In the midst of this, she trips! Or is pushed over, or takes a blow to the chest! So long as the force is on the front of her torso it really doesn’t matter for the conclusion:
She feels a sharp pain in her chest and hears the cracking of bone! Oh no, what’s gone wrong? Well she doesn’t have time to think about that, because she is now dead.
Her sternum just fractured, take another look at that green line, that’s where all of the pressure from any front impact is going to go because of the shape of the two blue cups made for her breasts. The rest of the armor slides around your body, but because of the two cups for breasts that are often made in fantasy female armors, the pressure point is directly on the sternum. The breasts are not going to stop the force of you falling onto them, and because of that the metal is going to push in and bash you in the sternum.
What does a fractured sternum do? Why it goes right into your heart and lungs of course.
(that was the sound of all of my followers inhaling a sharp breath between closed teeth at once)
Here are three great solutions to the problem:
GREAT EXAMPLE OF FANTASY TORSO ARMOR THAT IS FEMININE BUT FUNCTIONAL:
It is usually possible to bind the breasts when fighting if they really are far too large to fit into regular looking armor (there’s padding anyway), but most women can actually fit into a similarly sized male counterpart’s armor quite easily. Even if that’s the case, the armor can be made to have a curve to it without putting all of the pressure in one area, which was actually a style of armor for quite some time as shown here:
And don’t even get me started on the dreaded “Cleavage Window”
The “Cleavage Window” defeats the purpose of having any armor on your torso because it means you’re just going to be leaving open the vital organs the rest of the armor is trying to protect.
If people are going to protect themselves and not have much torso protection, invest in some blocking lessons, because the best defense is to not get hit at all. There are also advantages to not having plate armor, and plate armor was often really expensive anyway.
I was under the impression that unrestrained rage was considered the only emotion acceptable for a manly man to express, making Kratos more like the Platonic ideal than some weird outlier.
Almost unilaterally action dudes are just unaffected and above it all. They’ll usually get a crowning moment of unrestrained rage in the finale, but that’s like the first time Goku goes super Saiyan or something, it’s the finishing move, the “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” sting. Otherwise they’re generally sunglasses-wearing unaffected emotional robots.
Kratos, on the other hand, is like… completely incapacitated by emotions 100% of the time, he is firing on all cylinders for the duration of just about any given God of War game, which will usually end with him raging himself out and making a futile attempt at suicide. His model generally varies between “maximum angry”
and “Whoops we had nowhere else to go and now we have to crank it up to 11”
He’s just this perpetual tornado of I AM SO ANGRY AND SAD PLEASE JUST LET IT BE OVER.
The bird lust has seeped into other facets of culture, fashion primarily. Bird tats, shirts, golden necklaces on mall teens; over priced frumpy Anthropolgie dresses with hummingbird patterns splayed across the skirt and bodice. The bird, the common bird, not the scavenger vulture or populist pigeon, but the sparrow of all creatures, the frail, dumb, petite beaked thing has been adopted as a hipster talisman, a way to signify delicacy and airiness.
It’s gone from collar bone tattoos and into the mainstream. Jonathan Franzen wrote in the NYT that he is a secret bird watcher, which he described as very uncool, which is not true! It is very cool, right now, probably cooler than collecting vinyls and collecting customized moleskin notebooks.
Here’s what I despise about the mass bird adoption, it glamorizes frailty. It’s Victorian in its idealization of the dainty and ruffled. Further, especially for women, you are the frailer sex, you are not allowed to operate weapons in combat and if a teenage boy wanted to over power you he probably could. You are also at nature’s mercy, far more so than men. Every month you do battle with this fact as your tits and womb engorge, and you have to pop hormone pills to stave off what nature’s brutal plan is for you and as symbol you choose— a bird?
Birds aren’t even mammals. They are cold, indifferent creatures. They are hatched, not born. They are like tiny raptors, eerily reptilian and unfeeling. Look into the eyes of a bird and see if there is anything you remotely recognize in yourself.
You wanna pick a spirit animal? Pick one that bleeds, that has hair, FUR! fur like your crotch and your arm pits, and all over your boyfriend’s chest (god willing), pick one that fucks with hip thrusts, and nurses its young from its swollen tits, but still has the ability to tear other creatures to shreds. One that poses some credible threat on the food chain.
You are existing in the twilight of an empire. The long standing edifices of authority are disintegrating and in the din of this collapse you choose to identify with a lipless worm eater? Grow up, be a mammal.
If a bird, why not a raven, a falcon, or phoenix. There’s a lot of positive symbolism in those. Having bones as susceptible to breaking as a twig is acceptable given genetic predisposition, but is not something to which one aspires.
EDIT: I should clarify that I mean Osteogenesis imperfecta, which is quite treatable. A childhood friend has it and is doing just fine last we spoke.
BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT? I REALLY DON’T CARE IF YOU UNFOLLOW ME FOR THIS. IF YOU GET HURT BY WHAT I AM SAYING, THEN YES. YOU ARE PROBABLY ONE OF THE PEOPLE I AM TALKING ABOUT.
WE, AS A SOCIETY, WILL NEVER ACHIEVE EQUALITY IF YOU DON’T ACTUALLY FUCKING SHOW EQUALITY.
TUMBLR IS SO FOR ROOTING FOR THE UNDERDOG. WHICH IS FUCKING GREAT. THEY NEED PEOPLE TO ROOT FOR THEM.
BUT. YOU. DO. NOT. NEED. TO. PUT. DOWN. THE. MAJORITY.
WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH TROUBLE GRASPING THIS CONCEPT? YOU PUTTING THE LGBT PEOPLE ABOVE AND PUTTING STRAIGHTS DOWN IS NOT. FUCKING. EQUALITY. IT’S JUST AS BIGOTED AS THE PEOPLE WHO PUT DOWN THE LGBT.
YOU DON’T WIN AN AWARD FOR BRINGING THE MAJORITY DOWN. WHY NOT, I DON’T KNOW, INSTEAD OF BRINGING PEOPLE DOWN YOU BRING OTHER PEOPLE UP TO THE SAME BLOODY LEVEL.
YES, SOME CHRISTIANS ARE BAD PEOPLE. BUT GOING OUT OF YOUR WAY TO INSULT THE RELIGION AND IT’S FOLLOWERS AS A WHOLE IS FUCKING BULL SHIT.
SOME MUSLIMS ARE BAD PEOPLE. BUT YOU SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT ISLAM PEOPLE SHRIEK ABOUT RACISM. YET, THE SAME PEOPLE WILL INSULT CHRISTIANITY AS A WHOLE IN THE SAME FUCKING BREATH.
YOU SHOULDN’T BE INSULTING ANYONE’S RELIGION FUCKING PERIOD. IF THEY A SINGLE PERSON SAYS SOMETHING TO OFFEND YOU, THEN GIVE THAT ONE FUCKING PERSON YOUR OPINION. DON’T BRING DOWN EVERY FUCKING PERSON IN THE WHOLE FUCKING RELIGION DOWN WITH THEM, JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE AN ASS HOLE.
YOU DON’T GET TO HATE MEN AS A WHOLE AND CALL YOURSELF A FEMINIST. CALLING ALL MEN CHAUVINIST PIGS AND THINKING THAT MAKES YOU AN ACTIVIST ISN’T TRUE. IT MAKES YOU JUST AS FUCKING SEXIST AND GIVES ACTUAL FEMINISTS WHO WANT REAL FUCKING EQUALITY LOOK BAD.
MEN CAN BE RAPED. MEN CAN BE ABUSE. JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE MEN DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T FACE HARDSHIPS JUST AS MUCH AS WOMEN DO.
TUMBLR. YOU NEED TO GROW UP AS A COMMUNITY AND START FIGHTING FOR ACTUAL EQUALITY INSTEAD OF FIGHTING FOR THE UNDERDOGS TO BECOME THE STRONGER OF THE TWO.
BECAUSE AS LONG AS WE DO THAT WE WILL NEVER FUCKING HAVE ANY PROGRESS AS HUMANKIND. WE’LL JUST GET STUCK IN AN ENDLESS CYCLE OF OPPRESSION AND HATE OF ONE ANOTHER.
THAT FUCKING POST WITH ALL THE SEXUALITIES AND THEIR FLAGS? THAT IS BULL SHIT. WHY IS HETEROSEXUALITY BEING PUT DOWN AND LABELLED AS BORING? HETEROSEXUALS CAN’T HAVE FUN? THEIR LOVE ISN’T AS EXCITING? FUCK YOU, WHOEVER DREW THAT. FUCK. YOU. YOU’RE A BIGOT. YOU GET NOTHING FOR BEING JUST AS BAD AS THOSE WHO DIS-VALIDATE EVERY OTHER SEXUALITY. YES, I SAID DIS-VALIDATE AND I AM NOT SORRY.