Sexual Harassment Reactions

Laura Gjovaag has a powerful emotional response to recent stories of sexual harassment. She comes to the conclusion that

Superheroes are constrained by their own success. And it’s a dubious success at that. As long as superheroes dominate the market, the stories will continue to pander to the fanboys… the lowest common denominator of the fanboys. They will continue to be the kind of stories that embarrass the casual reader and drive people away. And they will continue to be the type of stories that reinforce the twisted notions of power and physical control. And sales will continue to fall.

And women will continue to be harrassed.

This ties into something a long-standing comics reader of my acquaintance was saying, that the problem isn’t just sexual harassment, it’s that the people with the power in the American comics industry are mostly bullies. They pick on people of different gender, but they also pick on those of different races and temperaments and tastes. The fans are intolerant (whether fans of a particular superhero company or character or those sometimes characterized as “art comic snobs”), and since only a fan would care about working their way to the top of a comic company with low pay and little respect, the “power” they obtain within a small field goes to their head.

Or that’s the theory, anyway. The Howling Curmudgeons have also made that connection, pointing out

Aside from the fact that sexual harassment and racism are flatout, no exceptions, no debate, unacceptable from a social and business perspective, they’re also unacceptable from the superhero perspective. If there are sexist, racist assholes in place at superhero comic companies, it’s a double betrayal because they’re violating what they’re preaching…. I was raised on comics. Superman and Spider-Man wouldn’t stand for that. Their bosses shouldn’t either.

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