Two conventions forget what year it is with questionable promotions

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Over the weekend there was a kerfuffle or two! Are you shocked?

These involved comic cons which had promotions that seemed to forget that about 40% of the con going audience is now female.

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The first kerfuffle involved Capital City Con, which will be held in Austin, TX in July. To promote the show, they printed a bunch of postcards, and among them was the above. This was first noted by Texas retailer Richard Neal of Zeus Comics on twitter,


As I noted in my tweet, I’m sure a picture of giant breasts is a suitable promotion for some things—a plus sized bra store perhaps—but a comic con isn’t one of them. Women are going to be squicked out by this ind of promotion and it certainly doesn’t promote a family friendly image.
And then DC Women Kicking Ass got involved. You’d think when confronted with the obvious problems I mentioned above, they’d say, oops sorry we were just maing a joke and it was wrong, but…NO. Apparently, in a NOW REMOVED post on their FB page, this was their first response:
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I wasn’t going to go into full battle rage over this but…”if you’ve ever been to a comic con?” WTF? These jokers think that a comic con is a place to ogle women and buy comics by Jim Balent? What year is this?

Luckily, a saner head prevailed and the following statement was issued by the Capital City Comic Con organizers, but only after several professionals said they were planning to withdraw from attending the show:

In response to our prior ad campaign, the proper steps are being taken in regards to this situation. Capital City Comic Con did not mean to offend or harm anyone, in any way. Our advertising department has been contacted and changes to our marketing material and plan are being made.

We respect everyone’s opinion. We are glad this issue was brought to our attention. We want everyone to feel safe at our convention and not feel offended. As a comic book convention, it is primordial that we do not send the wrong message to fans.

We were contacted by a few female fans who wish to support the distribution of our initial flyers, to which we respectfully declined. As for our future plans, we will no longer use the image of superheroes (or any character) in such fashion. We wish to apologize to anyone we may have offended with our initial promotional campaign.

We would like to invite all of you to comment on our new campaign once released. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

From the staff and management

YA THINK? This story did require the use of our much-loved Citizen Steele image, above, and also this tweet:

 

BUT THAT WASNT THE ONLY CON KERFUFFLE!

Jill Pantozzi at The Mary Sue expressed alarm last week , about the Toronto Comic Con, which is run by the same people who put on the mega huge Fan Expo, when they sent out a promotional piece as seen below:

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Now this may not seem like as clear a slam dunk of idiocy as the boob shot postcard, but several people noted that the “cuddle a cosplayer” contributed to the idea that it’s okay to touch cosplayers without their consent, or they are there to be grabbed, neither of which is true. However, the show organizers once again put their foot right in it with a leaden response as reported by Pantozzi:

They stated that their attendees and their team were adults, and it was all a bit of fun that people wouldn’t take seriously. A direct quote from the email  ’We thought about clarifying that cuddles must come with consent, but we thought if we’re always putting the rules in front of the fun – well that hurts the spirit of Fan Expo as much as the people that try to abuse our rules.” They also stated that they hadn’t gotten around to putting their harassment policy up yet, but had made it a priority.

Eventually the show—which was just held this weekend—did put up their harassment policy and I guess everyone had a good time

I think both these incidents show that some convention organizers are not hep to the fact that along with the growth of con culture, as more and more people attend these shows, and more and more attend to see the cosplay and the audience becomes more and more diverse, cons have become a big, hot petri dish of social interaction, with all the potential for disaster that entails. There have been rapes at conventions; there have been stalkers; there have been all kinds of harassment, and this is not an imaginary thing or crying wolf but real incidents.

Convention organizers need to get it into their heads that no one is trying to “stop the fun” by pointing out inappropriate promotions; what people who call them out on it are trying to do is MAKE SURE that everyone has a fun time, and it isn’t ruined by an ugly incident. That should be the goal of everyone in a position of authority at all times.

Comments

  1. Was the Jim Balent jab needed? He has an audience and he’s not part of this.

  2. Rikk Odinson says:

    Of the 40% of Con Goers that are women, how many of them are Lesbians, I wonder?. Seems they probably like boobs too. Hell, most straight women I know like boobs.

    There’s nothing wrong with boobs. Or sexy comic book art.

  3. Hey, if Jim Balent is going to produce picto-porn for pre-literate knuckle dragging virgins…he’s going to be the go-to guy for punchlines on this subject. (And please don’t try to educate me that Tarot has a “story”, I’ve actually seen some issues, and cannot be swayed from the obvious.)

  4. Ty Templeton, ladies and gents. I guess it’s cool to deride people when you think they might not be in your audience.

  5. Mikael says:

    Yes please, let’s organize all conventions so they don’t offend anyone anywhere at anytime. But sure – keep going with those “con goers smell” jokes. No harm there.

    I can’t wait til cons start banning the likes of the writers at Mary Sue and elsewhere. Let them pay money from now on if they want to try and cause the con to lose money.

  6. @Rikk, I don’t believe anyone said there was anything wrong with “boobs.”

    @Mikael, the cons are losing themselves money by offending attendees and making bizarre decisions that drive people off. We’re actually trying to help them MAKE money but not alienating attendees from the get-go.

  7. There’s nothing wrong with liking boobs, so long as you remember that they are part of a woman who is, in fact, a human being with thoughts and feelings. The way you write about them, Rikk, seems to indicate that they are independent entities and the woman whom they belong to is an afterthought or completely irrelevant. So does that flier. That’s the problem.

  8. @Jill Prove it. Demonstrably prove that a flyer has lost a con money.

  9. @Ted, I would point you to individuals who posted on the con facebook or on twitter saying they would never attend the con now. Lost business.

  10. @Rikk nothing wrong with boobs but just how they’re being drawn and portrayed; more sexualized.

    @Mikael: Cons are trouble with sexual harrassment and for pushing away females. Why should we add to this?

  11. @Ted here’s one comment specifically if you don’t want to take the time to look yourself:

    I run tables at comic cons as a professional independent comic artist. This response is nerd gatekeeping in the worst way, I heard about your show recently at a Dallas con and was considering grabbing a dealers or artist alley table there. Thank you for making that expenditure unnecessary.

  12. @jill People claiming online that they won’t attend isn’t evidence. People make online proclamations all the time that they don’t follow.

  13. shadowmaat says:

    I think I’d find the boobs pic less tacky if it had been a full body image, but cropping it down to JUST the boobs makes it seem- to me- as if that’s the only part of the character that matters. However, even writing off the pic itself as a difference of opinion there’s what got said in response to complaints. That was absolutely unacceptable. No question. And the fact that it got said by someone in an official position who is authorized to interact with the public is disappointing, to say the least. I know it would make ME question if that sexist attitude was prevalent throughout the con itself.

    Given that most of the complaints being voiced about cons have to do with attendees- particularly women- wanting to feel safe and to be treated as equals, I really have to wonder about the kind of people who would object to that.

  14. Perhaps it’s time for a convention to promote themselves with “this convention will have the biggest dicks attending”.
    The Beat used to be excludable from the “never read the bottom half of the Internet” rule, but with some of your commenters here, I wonder.
    What next? “PROVE it that people have been raped or abused at conventions! If I don’t see the pics, it don’t exist!” Because people can claim a lot on the Internet… Sjeesh!

  15. Bringing up Jim Balent’s art style seems entirely relevant to the conversation. Saying he shouldn’t be mentioned in the conversation because he “has an audience” doesn’t make any sense, though.

    Also, comics is the only artistic industry I know of that thinks, “Stop ruining our fun!” is an acceptable response to, “Let’s try to be more inclusive.”

  16. @Ted, The reason most businesses try to attract as wide an audience as possible (and offend as few people as possible) is because you never can know for certain why you lost a customer. For the most part, offended customers don’t exclaim it — they just disappear. In this case, the con organizers are lucky to have some more vocal critics helping to point out one reason their attendance may have dropped.

  17. Yeah, this kind of promotion (in both cases) is not needed. As I’ve noted before this is something we as an industry need to clean up and advocate for a change in public and professional perception.

    However, in regard to the Jim Balent comments. I have to agree that he doesn’t need to the whipping boy of negativity. Speaking as a creator I’d love to have the sales numbers he pulls down on Tarot. He has an audience and they buy and read comics. All kinds of comics — not just Tarot. Also, Balent is drawing his own book. He’s no longer on Catwoman or over-sexing other traditional characters. He basically took his own act on the road to engage his specific audience. He is putting his money where his mouth is and I have to respect him for that — even if I don’t read his comic. I’ve done my share of T&A comics, as well. My readers are across the board. Men and women. And they tend to read a wide range of books.

    I understand the short cut of using Balent as an example. It is valid to a point, and he owns up to it, but I also wanted to post some balancing thoughts from my perspective. It goes both ways.

  18. Erik Scott says:

    I didn’t think it was possible for people to defend something like this seriously but apparently I’m proven wrong again.

  19. I think it would have been hilarious to have the Superman boner flier along side the Powergirl boob flier…especially in the context of Texas! I’d just throw in a Hawkeye ass for good measure…

    Too bad no one will be allowed to dress up like Powergirl at the convention now, though. We need to keep the even pure and pretend the media being celebrated there isn’t full of sexualized imagery. It’s the fliers that are the problem!

    I’ve said this before but I really wish people would just accept the fetishist aspect of superhero comics so people can move on with their lives. Then maybe we can have more diverse choices in comic cons…one set for the folks who don’t want so much sexy in their comics, and one for the folks who are into the superhero burlesque!

  20. Ted, can you prove anyone will GO TO THIS CON as a result of this flyer?
    Crawl back to your bridge.

  21. ALSO I am NOT making JIm Balent a whipping boy or even saying he is negative! Heis art is very breast-positive, and it is fine if you want to throw a show about breast-positive comics, Jim Balent would be front and center. And heck, I’m sure some women would attend the breast positive con. However, AT THIS TIME and IN THIS MILIEU this campaign is not welcoming to the larger and more diverse demographic that comics events now appeal to.

    The “have you never been to a comic con?” comment show me the guys running this con think its 1995 and Lady Death and Witchblade are the bad girls of the moment. Nothing against either character, they just flourished in a different time.

  22. Regular Size Myke — no one said people wouldn’ be able to dress up like Power Girl. Stop throwing in your own insecure straw men arguments.

  23. Chris Hero says:

    I don’t understand the Ty Templeton hate. D lister? WTF?? And how the Hell did his wife get dragged into this?

    Speaking of, how did Jim Balent get drawn into this?

    As far as both of the terrible ads…I always like to believe people make honest mistakes and it’s how they fix those mistakes that matters. But the way both those mistakes were handled is deplorable. Either one cold be an honest mistake or a joke that went the wrong way or whatever. But both apologies are monstrous. What’s so hard with saying, “We’re sorry. We tried to be funny and didn’t think it through?”

  24. Heidi, oh yeah don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I understand why Balent was used. It was a valid analogy. I was just commenting my thoughts, and addressing the earlier comments about his *audience*.

    Using it as a catch-all for what comics are today? You’re right it is bad form of advertisement. It only works on a small segment of the audience.

  25. “Primordial?”

  26. @Heidi The bridge comment isn’t necessary. Asking people to defend their assertions isn’t trolling. It’s asking people to defend their assertions. No one asked me if I though that the flyer was appropriate. I don’t. I also however don’t think that there is long-running proof that such ads actually damage con attendance.

    As for Remco going off the deep end above, no one asked for proof of crimes against women at cons. I believe those have happened. That’s also pretty far afield from what my actual point was, which was to ask about the flyers. If you or Heidi is trying to draw a straight line from big-breasted flyers to rapes at cons, that’s another assertion that would indeed require some proof.

    The point is that it’s hard to prove that cons are losing money and attendance because of flyers. At this point in the game, I wouldn’t put it past a show to put out a pre-meditated borderline offensive flyer just so they could get free press from the online outrage and then more free press when they “apologize” and put out another flyer that everyone can sing kum-bah-ya about.

    We’re being asked to be in a state of constant outrage and offense, and sometimes it’s just that someone did something dumb because they thought it was funny. The flyer was stupid. Their response was incredibly stupid. But asking if it actually makes a difference is valid.

  27. Just this weekend, at Toronto ComiCon, while talking to a family, the father told me he and his wife were having a hard time taking their kids around a convention because there were a lot of images they didn’t want them to see… that postcard for the Austin Con would have convinced them, and other parents, that the con wasn’t family friendly. It ain’t just women we’re talking about.

  28. No, Heidi, it’s not a strawman. If we are to be policing comic cons to keep the sexy/objectification out then we need to be even-handed here. If we are to protest Powergirl’s tits on fliers then we should be protesting them inside the actual event.

    If this flier were to promote something like Stumptown (RIP) then I’d be much more inclined to poo-poo. However, it’s to promote a genre rife with T&A-based characters (or caricatures) which is then celebrated by ladies dressing in kind. It’s truth in advertising. Maybe you should put more effort into focusing on the product’s short-comings; that product being popular superhero comics.

    For the record I’m not opposed to sexy cosplay or cheesecake or sexy whatever. People can have whatever fetish they want. You just need to be honest with yourself that superheroes are fetish-driven and ditch this puritanical approach. You’re trying to trade one type of oppression for another.

    I do think, however, that this sexiness should be much more evened out. Guys should be made to feel more comfortable with the idea of dressing like a sexy male version of characters. I think that would be mostly for gay fellas, but there are bound to be some straight cats who’d like to indulge as well. Like I said, that Superman boner flier is hilarious and would have added to the event as well as giving you less to be mad about!

    But yeah, I feel like you’re on the right track. You’re just heading in the wrong direction.

  29. >>>If we are to protest Powergirl’s tits on fliers then we should be protesting them inside the actual event.

    Okay now that is called jumping to conclusions. Call me back after you’ve taken a rhetoric class.

  30. Michi says:

    I’m a pansexual female who has been attending comic and anime conventions for 15+ years. I have been cosplaying for even longer than that. I did not find the “boobs” card offensive in any way. It was funny, actually (though, it should have been balanced with that other image posted above of the superhero guy’s crotch shot with the same caption, because that would have been even funnier). The Jim Balent comment, though, was very much not, as I am a fan of his work and he has nothing to do with this.
    As for the “cuddle a cosplayer” bit, I took it as “if you’re dating/married to a cosplayed, cuddle them because it’s cold and this is Canada”.
    I’m just going to say, there’s a hell of a lot more things to be concerned about.

  31. With all the mainstream attention that comics and superheroes have been able to collect in recent years, comes the responsibility of being an ambassador.
    We have an obligation to comics to not chase away the general public, and to defy stereotypes.
    Blockbuster movies, television, video games and they all gravitate towards comics and if creators, retailers, and/or event organizers behave EXACTLY like basement-dwelling, sex starved knuckle draggers?
    Than that will end up being the perception.
    This type of behavior endangers the entire industry and creative nature of comics. It is irresponsible, adolescent, and we should expect better.
    That flyer is a slap in the face. Period.

  32. That’s right, folks, the Beat Herself is here to talk TO you, not WITH you!

  33. Hi, I’m an actual woman comics fan. I attend over 10 conventions per year. I cosplay. I think the boobs card is inappropriate in the context of a comic convention.

    I’m glad Capital City Comic Con has now acknowledged this and is taking steps to remove it and similarly-toned messaging from its brand.

  34. Christian says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that “men who are sexually aroused by cartoons” is a viable demographic to spend money marketing to.

    Seriously. Think about that. Someone sat down with a marketing director and decided this was an avenue worth pursuing and spent hard earned money accordingly.

    If you aren’t at least mildly troubled by this I really don’t know what else to say to you.

  35. It is “primordial?”

    As someone who loves comics, this attitude is so infuriating. This is the community that is supposed to be promoting and supporting comics, but instead they’re just bringing us all down. To a primordial level, even. And the backpedalling after the “can’t take a joke” comment. Pretty classy.

    Also, what’s up with all this messing with Ty Templeton? And his wife? That’s beyond the bounds of civility here. Phil, when you’ve been working professionally in the comics field for 20 plus years or so, you can call Ty any kind of lister you want, but until then, I think he’s got more of a horse in this race than you do.

  36. jonboy says:

    I see plenty of boobs at comic conventions. Unfortunately 50% of the boobs I see are man-boobs (or ‘moobs’), 45% are of the intellectual-deficient variety, and 5% are the girls in Power Girl cosplay.

    In all seriousness though, this post-card mailer is eye-rollingly grandpa dinner joke bad.

  37. Thank You Dave, that’s very kind of you .
    : )
    Holly

  38. Steve Chaput says:

    Personally, I happen to like Ty and can’t understand why anyone would attack his wife for comments he has made, even if you disagree with them.

    The flyers for both these cons and others, along with what they seem to promote, are one of the reasons my wife laughs whenever anyone asks her if she attends cons with me. I’d also feel uncomfortable bringing my step-daughter to a convention that seemed to promote this ‘cuddle a cos-player’ joke.

    I’ve been attending conventions since the mid-’70s and am amazed how the number of female attendees had increased. Really not the time to start taking a few steps back when conventions and the comics industry is being taken seriously by a greater part of the general public.

  39. Steve, I can’t understand why anyone would attack anyone. :shrug: But I’m sure they have their reasons. He must’ve felt very passionate.
    H

  40. Still you’re right…Dave- thank you for the positive and you were very naughty about the snarkiness.
    hugs
    Holly

  41. Holly, I didn’t mean the above as an attack against you or Jim—and absolutely didn’t phrase it as such. Just pointing out that it is ONLY ONE aspect of comics, and that focusing on cheesecake draws one audience but is likely to alienate another.

  42. Thank You Heidi, That’s is very kind of you to clarify, we did understand where you were coming from.
    See you at SDCCC?!
    Cheers
    Holly!

  43. I’m not offended by the promo images or the ‘cuddle’ comment and I’d suspect the 40% of the women attending cons are already aware of the juvenile slant still largely inherent in the culture.

    That being said, I would hope I wouldn’t make the same PR choices, as you never want to exclusive, particularly when a diminishing portion of your audience gets the reference. Further, if part of your thinking is explaining a piece so it might not be offensive might reduce the fun of it, there’s a good chance you should choose a different approach.

    Lastly, if Ty and Keiren are D and E listers, the alphabet isn’t long enough to include the likes of me.

  44. Richard Bagge says:

    @Richard Pace, Dr. Seuss wrote a book called On Beyond Zebra that could be a help there.

    The postcard leads me to wonder what else is bigger at the Austin Comic-Con besides Power Girl’s boobs. Autograph lines? Admission fees? Douchebaggery of the organizers? The mind boggles.

  45. Once again I am sorry I looked at something on the internet about something I still love in spite of itself, comics.

  46. Will Sokolowski says:

    Stupid PC bullshit, cry me a river. Everyone is offended by something these days. Why in the world we go out of our way to please everyone is beyond me. Don’t like it? Don’t go to the con. Seems pretty simple, right?

  47. I’m more offended at the shit slung at Ty and Keiren than anything else here I read. They are good people and in no way deserve that.

    Both PR campaigns were not very well thought out and that’s a bit surprising considering all the talk about unwanted touching/groping/harassment that women have been reported being on the receiving end of at conventions for a while now. Hopefully they have learned from this.

  48. And wow. Somebody should organize ‘Cat Piss Man Con’ and make sure every piece of advertising has Power Girl’s boobs on it. Maybe they’ll all blow their money going to that convention and stop making life miserable for everybody else at all the other ones.

  49. Gilleban says:

    The problem, as so many other problems these days seem to go, is a matter of equilibrium. Everyone likes to have a good time, for whatever they consider a “good time,” and it’s very easy to cross certain lines while doing so (in some cases, such as manhandling cosplayers, criminally so). The other side of the coin is being respectful of others and trying not to offend…this makes sense because others DO deserve respect and intentionally disrespecting them is just bad business. Where “equilibrium” comes in is having a good time while being respectful of others…and likewise remembering that while expecting others to be respectful to let them have a good time…as long as it doesn’t cross that certain line. I can see where the “boobs” postcard would tweak a few noses, but people recognize that as Powergirl, and, well, the comic is popular for a reason. Postcard? Bad call. Good time slightly nudged a line. It didn’t become a “dick move” until the second postcard, when it literally involved dick…one might be “Whoops, sorry!” but they compounded it with trying to make it “equal” by substituting boobs with man-parts, and unfortunately, as we all learned in school, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    On a secondary note, though, I have to agree with those that have stepped up for Jim Balent and call Heidi out on what I’m hoping was merely an unintentional gaffe. I’m not going to defend his art style or choice of subjects…those need no defense from me…but in trying to write a pithy comeback to Capital City Comic Con’s smartass comment, she drops this:

    “WTF? These jokers think that a comic con is a place to ogle women and buy comics by Jim Balent? What year is this?”

    Like I said, I’m sure it was an unintentional gaffe, but a gaffe nonetheless. I’m sure she didn’t mean to place fandom of a respected…and respectful…artist’s work in the same context as sexual harassment. However, Like I said above, it’s about equilibrium…we’re trying to find a common ground we can all enjoy, not splattering the room with insults like banana creme in a Hollywood pie-fight.

  50. This isn’t about being PC. It’s about not being embarrassingly tacky. Grandpa joke (as someone so accurately mentioned) velvet painting, wax lips, tacky. You want more people to like comics? Then this can’t be how we promote comics. If you can’t handle the idea that this makes women who wish to attend the show feel as though they’re going to a place with all the atmosphere of Hooters, then just go with tacky. Tasteless. It makes the show look like it peddles junk.

  51. I’m sure Jim Balent is a perfectly respectable person who does not harass anyone of any gender, but I’ m going to go out on a limb here and say I don’t respect the content of his work. I think it’s absolutely fair to put his work in the context of this discussion because it’s representative of a way of portraying women in comics that is currently popular and distractingly weird. Drawing like this does little to elevate the role of women in comics beyond objects of I’m not entirely sure. Desire? I couldn’t begin to say. It might be sexy to someone, I just don’t want to meet that someone.

    I wish we could all recognize this for what it is. It’s a kind of tacky fetishism that I’d rather not be so closely associated with a medium I love. And I don’t care whose feelings I’m hurting by saying that.

  52. Mikael says:

    So here’s a thought – instead of writing a shame-post article about the next con that poops the bed, how about spending all that energy to email them, then wait for a reply and possibly even a retraction of whatever-it-is-that’s-bothering-you-this time before you even begin to write an article that does nothing more than drum up the pitchfork/torches mob. You know – benefit of the doubt, get all sides – actual “journalism” instead of muckraking. Nah – that would be too easy. Can’t get your five minutes of fame doing that.

  53. Mikael says:

    I also have to wonder if the same people crying over the postcard would have the same fervor if a parent disparaged some sacred cosplayer over the choice of skimpy clothes they often wear? Postcard bad, half naked cosplayer walking the con for empowerment, good. Sheesh.

  54. Heidi posted her twitter dialogue with the individual in question, their retraction, and the material that caused the offense. Their initial response was dismissive. It wasn’t until they received pressure from the community that they changed their tune. There’s no need to repeat that dialogue in an e-mail exchange. It’s all right there on the table.

    This is all fair game for editorial comment. This isn’t a tar and feathering. Nobody is boycotting the show. But the promotion was mishandled, the promoter thought it was no big deal, until he decided that it was–after guests threatened to drop out. Those guests are now back on the list. But it still happened, and still deserves to be called out.

  55. I dunno, Heidi, I think Regular Size Myke may have a point. Anyone who goes to the con dressed as an extreme close-up of disembodied giant boobs should probably be shown the door. Hopefully they’ll have included eyeholes.

    Someone dressed as Power Girl, on the other hand, would be as welcome as, say, a promo postcard with Power Girl as one of the characters on it.

    >> Don’t like it? Don’t go to the con. Seems pretty simple, right?>>

    It’s quite simple. And one would presume that’s exactly the effect the cons don’t want.

    kdb

  56. Dan Ahn says:

    It’s pretty ridiculous to feign concern over “family friendliness” and then literally in the next sentence cite “DC Women KICKING ASS”.

    I’m not defending the promoters of these conventions at all. I think the promos above are quite dubious. But in the first case, I know a TON of women who like the whole “Power Girl has BIG BOOBIES!” meme, so much so that the idea is a part of their personalities. I would say that, of course, some women would be offended by that “Bigger” advertisement, but the majority of women wouldn’t be. They’d just roll their eyes at the dubiousness of it all. Sort of like I did. And as for the second promo: Yeah, “cuddle a cosplayer” is just an icky statement. Still, I’m not sure that a majority of female cosplayers would be offended by it. Because everyone who’s SANE knows that the statement doesn’t mean it’s okay to randomly feel women up.

    The difference is that normal people can basically just scoff and voice derision without trying to make social niceties inoperatively contentious. But people who are under the assumption that they must constantly portray their gender as an eternal victim would evidently rather raise a sh*tstorm at every opportunity, rather than just say “Ugh, look at this stupid ads. Some people of both sexes might think they’re sort of funny, but… ugh”. Which is what any sane person would say.

    Instead it’s almost like you’re hoping for some awful “bad touch” incident to happen at one of these cons, just so you can say “SEE!”

    Do I think that it’s completely outrageous for anyone to be offended by these ads? No. But certain parties are pretty much offended by ANYTHING, so when THOSE parties complain about things like this, it doesn’t matter.

    Everytime you guys complain about sexism it’s like Rush Limbaugh complaining about Obama. Is there actually something wrong going on, some true faux pas or something imperfect that could stand to have the beacon of media lighted upon it? Who knows, because the media source in question is super-oversensitive and complains about this stuff no matter what.

    Somewhere in an alternate timeline The Beat is complaining that someone (no doubt a white male conservative-type) organizing a con has cautioned cosplayers to tone it down so as to create a more “family friendly” atmosphere. Gosh, I wonder what the alt-universe versions of The Beat and “DC Women KICKING ASS” would have to say about that.

  57. The problem I see with a number of these comments is the sense of needing to shrug it off, whether it be due to the nature of the industry or the fact that people should understand when something is in bad taste versus malicious.

    There have been points in history when other individuals have been told that they should suck it up and it’s just how life works. They complained enough, and changed the way the world works. I won’t point to specific incidents lest I then be accused of comparing apples to oranges, but the only way change can be enacted is by pointing out when something is ok. It is NOT a valid argument that some people aren’t offended by it. If someone is offended by it, then it’s ok for that person (and others) to point out they find it offensive.

    These are flyers going out to people, which means the bar should be higher for appropriateness. I can totally get behind not allowing my children to watch certain shows or go to certain events if I don’t approve of the content, but when flyers are being sent out that choice is removed for me. It is then someone else pushing their proclivities onto me, and those close to me, which I don’t appreciate.

    Last thing. It is not ok to say that the flyers are equal to women dressing up as power girl. Guess what? People can and should be allowed to dress as they like without fearing that they lose rights. If a woman wants to dress as power girl, that is her choice, but she does not implicitly agree to be touched, hugged, or even verbally assaulted. If she dresses as power girl it does not automatically mean that she likes breasts, and wishes to have her breasts commented on or stared at. Much like a guy dressing as superman would have the right to not have his crotch commented upon, it’s the same thing.

    Ugh. That argument is almost on the level of “look how she was dressed, she was asking for it”. We should all be beyond that by now.

  58. @Janet you might have a point if there weren’t already a number of documented instances of people verbally and physically harassing cosplayers (and some non cosplayers) without their consent.

    It depends upon the love you’re assuming is being talked about regarding loving the one you’re with. If it’s physical, yes, I absolutely HOPE they got permission. Otherwise that would be illegal……..

  59. Interesting that this discussion is still going on. Clearly nothing here is black & white. There are several shades of gray in various corners of opinion and perception and definition. Nothing can ever be truly settled. Problems that we cannot even fathom may rise up and we’ll have to deal with them, too.

    The bottom line is that we, as a comics community, are talking and thinking about these matters — which gives me hope for the future of the growing *convention industry*.

  60. @dan I’ve read your comment twice, and well now I have a headache, but I’m not sure WHAT you’re trying to say. BTW I like Power Girl, I like her a lot. The postcard in question loses the fun of Power Girl which requires having a head attached to the giant tits. Also it’s a bit hard to take lecturing about sexism from a dude name dan, so stop.

    @mikael – I emailed the owner of the con to see if he was aware of the flyers (and BTW they were first brought to peoples attention by Zeus Comics) and he admitted he had and they were approved. And nothing else. So if he wanted to apologize or to blame someone else – he didn’t. In the future try and read up on something before you start making weird accusations, and using terms like “tar and feathering” ‘k? Also I think you should understand a very important part of cosplay – it usually involves dressing as a character – the whole character – not just the boobs. And no, no one is going to go after a actual true fax woman for cosplaying Power Girl because IT IS NOT THE SAME THING A PROMO FOR A CON WITH ONLY POWER GIRLS’ BOOBS AND A JOKE.
    @janet I have not idea of what point you’re making. Also minus points for calling Jill a moron and for not understanding Stephen Sills’ song.

  61. The Beat Herself says:

    Mikael: “So here’s a thought – instead of writing a shame-post article about the next con that poops the bed, how about spending all that energy to email them, then wait for a reply and possibly even a retraction of whatever-it-is-that’s-bothering-you-this time before you even begin to write an article that does nothing more than drum up the pitchfork/torches mob.”

    You mean just like Jill and Sue’s commenter did? These were all unforced errors on the part of Capital City Con and Fan Expo Canada. They were contacted and these were their comments.

    As I alluded above, originally I wasn’t that fussed about the “cuddle a cosplayer” thing since it was clear where the joke was coming from . But the defensive and clumsy RESPONSES from the con alarmed me.

    You know, NYCC this year had the ghastly BIG CAN promo that everyone was immediately making fun of and when people complained, they pulled the ads before the programming. And when I asked show runner Lance Fensterman about it, he IMMEDIATELY SAID “It was a mistake; it shouldn’t have happened.” That is how adults handle these things.

    There is more to the Fan Expo story — tune in tomorrow!

  62. Hey now, no need to drag Stephen Stills into this — he has an audience!

  63. Dan, Heidi is a professional industry blogger with years of proper journalistic credentials, a longstanding member of the comics creative class, and one of the most experienced, continuously published female writers-about-comics that we have. You’re welcome to respectfully disagree with the points made in these gender issues analysis pieces, but it’s over the line to diminish her hard work and thoughtful writing from years of observation as oversensitive knee jerk rants. It says a lot more about you than it does her, and it says even more about her that you’re still commenting here when I would have banned you long ago. It’s your brand of idiocy that keeps derailing any hope of using this space for meaningful discussion.

  64. Rich Harvey says:

    Power Girl’s boobs are a close-up of the cover to his first issue. The image is drawn by Amanda Conner. What a cruel joke of fate.

  65. OKay name calling and insults are not the way to discuss this.

Trackbacks

  1. […] and apologize. The Beat's Heidi MacDonald pulled a Rich Johnston and chimed in with a link to her own article on the subject, and even Tom Spurgeon offered to write an article if the con paid for his travel and […]

  2. […] I’m lucky to have around me, that some parts of the community still live in the stone age. The Beat just posted an article documenting the idiotic behavior of two conventions. Well worth a look, if only as a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done before […]