Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Comics Fairplay: Uniqueness and Conviction Demanded

Let me start with a conclusion rather then a warm up.

It is much harder to have convictions then it is to follow the leader and be a sheep.

I have found this out several times here on my blog. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and the wonderful people that post here regularly put me in line. Other times I feel the glow of approval or even the silence of no dissenting opinions. That is the norm here. I am privileged that the people that come here and interact with me are classy, polite people with strong opinions of their own. We are able to find common ground or agree to disagree.
Then there are days like today.

Over the weekend I posted several entries about the artistic portrayal of women and men in super hero comics. I immediately had opposing replies about one post that dealt with my apparent numbness of emotion with regards to breasts while asking men how they felt about how males are drawn as comic art. Then I got linked by the lovely ladies at When Fangirls Attack (it's all love!) and suddenly people I have never seen before are here and have a strong view that doesn’t mirror mine. Differing opinions don’t bother me. What bothers me is that I would bet that the posters only looked at this one entry instead of the series of four that I had done and made a general opinion about me. That DOES bother me.

I know that by having a public blog I risk being unfavorably replied to. I expect that, and know that it is a fact of life. I don’t have a problem with having a strong opinion. My feeling has always been that I would have a forum of my own where I could be fair minded and express my views without editorial censorship. That appealed strongly to me when I started my blog in July 2004.

Here’s the rub. I refuse to follow the popular crowd, so to speak. I will not jump on a bandwagon to get my blog more hits. I also will not express an opinion I don’t believe in. That is where feminism, for example has been a hard topic for me. Let me explain.

I am a firm believer in equality of the sexes. In my mind it is the individual person’s convictions and principles that make their character- gender doesn’t exist to me. In fact, I have always really hated when I hear the obligatory “she must be on the rag” line. Hormones be damned, we all have the body parts we end up with for a reason. As a firm believer in equal pay for equal skills and as a woman who has had success in a male dominated industry, I understand the injustices that can happen as well as anyone. In my personal life as well as my professional life I have been subject to horrible treatment that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It makes me that more sure that equal rights is the correct way, and as I see each generation of man born, I pray for more understanding between the sexes.

That being said, here is the rub. I don’t always agree with other women just because we are the same sex. I will not jump on a bandwagon and heckle a creator because my fellow lady bloggers don’t like him or her. In turn, I will always jump to a blogger’s side if I think they are being unjustly criticized. In all fairness, I have done several posts trying to make change happen, and pointing out that more women should be welcome in the business. I have also tried to make a business model for the comic book companies. I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a woman blogger. I don’t want my sex or race to matter. I just want to have my say.

That being said, I have a great deal of respect for all you bloggers out there. Sharing your personal expressions is a valued thing in my eyes. The people linked here are important to me, and I love to go read their newest posts.

My message is this: If you come to my blog and you have never been here before, don’t form an opinion until you look around. If you don’t like what you see, that is alright. If you never come back again because you think my stuff “sucks”, more power to you. I would rather have no traffic here then have even a single person make a judgment on me based on a couple of posts. Don’t just get a taste- have a full meal.


Unknown said...

As a person who was brought to you by When Fangirls Attack, I, too, have a strong opinion of you, Heidi. I think of you as a blogger with an interesting opinion, regardless of sex or race, who impresses me every time I open one of your blog entries. It's one of the reasons why I asked for you to participate in my "Wishes from the Blogosphere" entry and I hope that you didn't think I asked you because you were just a fangirl out there. I value your being part of the blogosphere and this faithful reader will always come back.

Keep up the great work and, for anybody who's new to Heidi's blog, stay around for more. This is one awesome blogger!


Carl said...

Fanboys and girls being unfair?!!! Oh my God, sounds like science fiction to me! Close-minded and making fun of what other people like or sport of what they don't like, NO WAY! Just 'cause lately one of my friends at my shop countered with "Well, DC sucks 'cause Superman's a FAG!!!" as a debating point. I have to tell you the truth. I am mostly in union with most of my fellow fans/friends. But, I find a lot them, being picked on or beat down by other for what they loved, comics, Star Wars, Star Trek and such, like an abused child now grown up, instead of breaking the chain, returns the abuse. And with the help of the internet, now the former victim now turned bully can attack, make sport or hold people that they don't and might never know up to ridicule. I can understand places like "Fandom Wank" since a lot of folks make strange claims (like trying to photoshop a picture out of Lord of the Rings and claim they painted it) but a lot of innocent people like Heidi get it too. And I despise bullies of any form. I was picked on for my love of comics, science fiction, hell, even just reading 'cause in a hick town, that's just f'ing weird, right? And I will critic, be cynical, satirical and say what's on my mind and defend what I love.... but attack for the "joy" of being an anonomyous bully joining the mindless herd? No thanks. Read the posts, join in a conversation or debate and prove that you're not a troll that follows a bogus bovine crowd to the latest 'sport trolling'. I've never met Heidi or James but I consider them good honest fans that are true blue comic fans, not a bit of phoniness. The net and fandom would be a helluva lot better place if there were more people like them. There's my two cents, like it, love it or lump it 'cause I am a grown-ass man and hurtful words and baiting are best left on the playground where they belong. Thanks...

Marionette said...

Sorry Heidi, but the way the interweb works (the blog bit of it, anyhow)is that someone makes a post, someone else sees to it and links to it, people follow the link and read the post and then respond to it. They may look around to see what else the person has to say, but unless the article specifically indicates that it is part of a series, they will take it on its own merits, rather than in the wider context of every damn thing you've ever written.


And yay for you having opinions. People with different opinions make for way more interesting discussions than those that just agree with whatever you say. You might like to hop over to girl-wonder.org sometime. There are lots of people with different opinions there. I practice disagreeing with them all the time.

James Meeley said...

Sorry Heidi, but the way the interweb works (the blog bit of it, anyhow)is that someone makes a post, someone else sees to it and links to it, people follow the link and read the post and then respond to it.

No, no, no... that is not true.

The "interweb" only works that way, if that's how you you CHOOSE for it to work. But it doesn't HAVE to work that way. It's not something set in stone or beyond your control.

See, unlike real life, where there are so many things beyond our control, the "interweb" is completely within our control. Don't like what a person says on their blog? Don't go there. Don't want to interact with a person onlone? Block them from emailing or IMing you.

This isn't like real life, where you have to do things or deal with people and ideas you don't want to. Here, it's all up to you how things go.

All you need to use a little self-control and common desency, and you can pretty much avoid any problems. Don't make excuses for people making the wrong choice. No one forced them into anything. They had another choice. They didn't have to play the role of the bully or troll. They didn't need to start a pointless fight over a differing of opinion.

The "interweb" is what we choose to make of it, even moreso than our real lives. If people are disrespectful jerks, then that's the choice they are making. No one is forcing them into a damn thing. And none of this is beyond their control. Don't try to excuse them for choosing the wrong path.

RedheadFangirl said...

I have great respect for blogger women like you and Shelly, whose love of comics comes through without degrading someone else's opinion.
While I consider myself a feminist (even the former head of the Women's coaliton), what I don't believe in is blindly supporting every women (or man or animal) when I disagree with their opinion.

Just like Carl, I hate bullying of any kind. There is a difference between having your blog readers have a polite discourse and linking from a much bigger 'stage' out of context.
Marc spot on with the "opinion leaders". Question the ranters and haters, even the popular ones! We can be passionate, share our experience, and the fan world of comics.

John Holland said...

I blog because I enjoy it. I'm not on here to make enemies or get in pointless arguments about...well, really about anything. Now that doesn't mean I can't have a difference of opinion with someone and have a reasonable discussion. That's what I admire about you, Heidi. Your blog is a fun place to visit, it's one of my first stops when I start checking out other blogs, and you can have a difference of opinion with someone and never attack them or make them feel small, it's all part of being adults and getting along and respecting each other's thoughts and hopes. I figure that I would never say something on someone's blog that I wouldn't say to their face. That's the problem with a lot of these people that just attack, I can quarantee that they would never say half the stuff they spourt off on a blog to someone to their face. Just because we don't see each other when we "talk" on here doesn't mean we should be rude to each other.

James, you're right. This blogging is what we make of it. If we don't like what someone says than we don't need to visit their blog. Their are blogs I have come across that I didn't enjoy or agree with the person and I decided that I wouldn't visit them again. Why go looking for aggrevation? The problem is that some people thrive on that.

I'm sorry that this has happened to you, Heidi. Even though we have never met I consider you a friend. That to me is one of the greatest benefits to this blogging thing, making new friends. And just because I have never met some of these friends, it doesn't mean I think any less of them as friends. Friendship means a lot to me, so I get riled up when I see a friend upset or being attacked.

As much as I love this hobby of ours, I have to admit there are a lot of "fanboys" out there that have never grown up and probably never will. And I agree with James, there is no excuse for the way some of these people act.


Lisa said...

Heidi - your blog is great, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if people disagree with you sometimes. In fact, when people disagree it's a sign that you made a good, strong point.

Those that just slam you and run away are childish and can't argue a good point - you've read some of those Newsarama posts, you know the type. Just disregard those and focus on the intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions.

Heidi Meeley said...

Loren- I just love you! You are such a kind person, and I have come to be an addict to your site. I was thrilled when you asked me to participate in your "wishes" round up. I appreciated it so much!

I am glad you found your way here via When Fangirls Attack. I think that it is a useful tool and I know it has helped me find sites I really enjoy.

Thank you for the kind words, Loren. You are the sweetest.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, this is why I am such a big fan of yours. You are bone honest and you aren't afraid to say what needs to be said. I appreciate the fact that you are anti-bully, as am I. I grew up on a farm and was picked on mercilessly for every thing from smelling like sh*t to being a hick. To top it off I was in FFA and read comics. Good Lord, it is a miracle I got out of school alive! Heh.

At any rate, I have always felt that if a person has something to say they should be able to back it up with their name. I purposely don't let anonymous comments on here because I don't respect the inevitable cheap shots that come with it. I think that if a person believes strongly in something, it is okay to disagree. What is not okay is picking on the person or just being in a bad mood so snark is spread around.

Carl, you are a true friend in every sense of the word. Even though we haven't met in person, Jim and I value your character and your bluntness. You are a great guy.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, I think you too are an originator. I have really been enjoying your site. It is nice to see how creative you are and to enjoy the diversity contained therein.

Swimming against the current is harder, but usually comes with a greater reward. Here it is peace of mind and a strength of conviction.

Heidi Meeley said...

Marionette- I fully understand that by being on a public site on the internet I open myself up to all types of criticism. That is alright though. I value diversity appreciate the fact that there are diverse opinions out there. I know that I may not always agree with someone but I will always give them the benefit of the doubt, so that is all I was asking for in return. I might as well be asking for the moon, but what the hell, I gotta try.

Thanks for the heads up about Girl Wonder. I actually signed up over there and tried to start a few discussions only to get ignored. I guess I need to be a bit harder hitting? Or join in on a discussion in progress?

I will give it a shot. Take care, and thanks for the comment.

Heidi Meeley said...

Jim, thank you for being such a nice husband and defending my honor. I'll sort you out later, to quote Mr. Jackman!

Heidi Meeley said...

Redlib- I have to give it back to you- both you and Shelly are daily stops, sometimes twice daily, on my tour of the blogosphere. I feel that you are both working towards the same goal I am in that you are encouraging thoughtful discussion without pushing the envelope to bullying or snarking. You ladies amaze me with your originality.

Bullying doesn't set well with me; it never has. I think that being picked on as an adolescent definitely did it, and I really want to get past it. Adult discussions on a level playing field is what I am searching for.

Take care, and thank you for the kind words.

Heidi Meeley said...

John, I think we both post for the sheer enjoyment of it. It definitely isn't for the money as Mark pointed out very jokingly on another thread!!

If I ever feel like this is work, I would probably close up shop. As long as it is a labor of love, I will be here with my right field opinions.

John, I consider you a friend as well. It would be wonderful to meet someday and hang out, but I appreciate that we have the opportunity in this electronic age to meet and get to know incredible people like you.

Unfortunately the fanboy mentality will always permeate this industry. As much as I have shook my head, I can't figure out a way to get around it. I still want to try, but until everyone plays nice, it is all up for grabs.

Thank you John- you are a sweetheart.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, thank you for the common sense. I was getting really frustrated and it is nice to hear such positive feedback and know that I have nice people like you here to keep me grounded and have insightful discussions with.

You are right in the point that discourse means I am hitting a chord of some sort. It is better to be heard then ignored.

I bow to your wisdom as always! You are the best!

Carl said...

Hmmmm, I was worried 'cause I thought I might have went over the top in rightieous anger. Wow, thank you Heidi, I will have to show your reply to my bride, I think at times she thinks I am the super-villian in our long union. Hmmmm, on 2nd thought, she might be right, ho ho! Thanks for the blushes and awwww shucks moments I just had here...

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I really respect the strength of your conviction. It is a wonderful quality. You call it like you see it and I like that..

Take care!

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