The “issue” of feminism is an old discussion, but my general topical lens is through that of comics, so I speak from that perspective. I won’t linger on this discussion long because, let’s be real, I’m a man, and I won’t pretend to understand sexism and misogyny from the guise or point of view of a woman. I do however, use this platform to speak on things that I have strong feelings about, and I have very strong feelings about the responses Chelsea Cain, writer of the 8 issue long run of Mockingbird, received from the public, in response to Mockingbird #8’s cover, that eventual lead to her quitting twitter.
Feminism, according to oxford is as follows.
The goal of feminism isn’t to take rights away from men, but to provide equal rights for women and to allow women to make their own choices without the influence of what a man thinks is right. So why is it that men, in a patriarchal society, have such a problem with the word “Feminist?” I feel that as a whole we should step back and think about what we are really angry at. When I read Mockingbird and look at that cover, the only sense I get is that she is a strong woman who is unapologetically proud of being a woman and standing up for her right to make decisions that aren’t dominated by male demands. That is all. She didn’t attack anyone. She wasn’t sexist. She wasn’t brutish or ugly about anything in any way. She wrote a strong female character, wrote that character’s strength on her shirt, and got verbally abused for it.
It seems that some men are easily threatened by the idea of not being the center of a given universe, and in comics this rings loud and clear, especially if we are talking about white men. There are hundreds, and hundreds of powerful male characters in the comic verse. Why is it so wrong for a female to come along with a different vibe? Why is it wrong for a woman's book to address woman's issues (with sexism/misogyny), and for that to be depicted proudly on the cover of a comic book? Mockingbird had feminist overtones from the start, but apparently since she printed it on a shirt, it became a reality that some men can’t deal with. Stop.
If being a feminist is advocating for women’s rights, then I am a feminist, because if I am not feminist then I’m sexist. If I don’t advocate for women’s rights, or believe in equality among women then by default I believe in women being oppressed by male domination and influence. There is no way that I would ever imply that women don’t have a part in any space in society, nor would I try to assert my male influence over them in attempt to oppress them in any way. What’s my feminist agenda? For women to have the same opportunity as men in all spaces. Men, we don’t rule it. Our voices, views, and identities aren’t the only ones that matter. The fact that some of us they are, is sick.
Like I said, I won’t spend too much time on this because I can’t possibly express at length the problem with true understanding, because I am not a woman. I’m not subject to the feelings that come along with being a woman. There is only so much that I can feel and empathize with the situation because I simply don’t know. I can’t know. What I do know is that we need a reality check. Women have to worry about what they write, how they dress, how they speak, even what they like because of the response that they might receive from men, and the idea of that alone disgusts me. We need to get it together. And we all need a feminist agenda.