Comic Explains Why It's Important to Speak Up About Sexism

A preview of Kate Leth's comic

This past week, cartoonist Tess Fowler has shone a spotlight on a troubling aspect of sexism in her professional comics community: sexual harassment.  Fowler tweeted about being harassed at a comics convention, at first not naming the guy who did the harassing. But after receiving notes from three other women saying they’d had an unsettling experience with the same guy, Fowler revealed the alleged harasser to be Brian Wood, who writes Marvel’s best-selling all-women X-Men series.

"NO ONE should have so much clout that they can do this countless times and get away with it. Least of all in comics. FUCK YOU, WOOD,” Fowler tweeted, summing up the thoughts of women everywhere. .

This revelation and Wood’s response prompted a big discussion in comics communities about what sexual harassment looks like. Sexism in the comics industry, like any industry, has a lot of faces. A gender imbalance in the industry and atmosphere of “casual sexism” affects what comics characters look like, what kind of stories get told, who works in comic shops, and how women are treated when they speak up with criticism.

It can feel hopeless, facing both the subtle, everyday impacts of sexism and the in-your-face issues it sounds like Fowler and others have had to deal with.

Talented artist Kate Leth has responded to the controversy in a great, proactive way: writing a comic about how to speak up about sexism when you see it. Here’s Kate Leth’s “Say Something” comic, a part of her Kate or Die series which runs biweekly on Comics Alliance

A comic details how it's scary to speak up about sexism, but is important in order to change our culture

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is Bitch Media's online editor. She's interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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6 Comments Have Been Posted

What did he do?

Normally, I would be among the people calling for Wood to formally apologise, but the way this article is written (and the one about Wood's response) are too vague. They make it sound like Wood merely came on to Fowler at a convention, which does not constitute harassment unless "no" is not taken willingly as an answer. Since when has it been a crime to ask someone out or attempt to make a connection? If this article wants to be taken seriously it needs to be explained that Wood did not meekly walk away after being shot down. I don't know where I stand on the issue because the article has not explained the situation fully and in an unbiased way.

Read the comic.

She says that this comic is for the audience who have heard the full story, read the Tweets, etc. She is giving her opinion on what happened, not informing you. If you want to know what happened, a good place to read about it is Dr Nerdlove's article on the incident:

Read the article.

I wasn't actually criticising the comic, rather the article. Its introduction to the story is incredibly bare, and while I now know the details of the situation better (thanks for the link!) the article SEEMS to be lampooning a man for having sexual desires, which is entirely unfair. It's better to be clear about what the guy was doing than to make it seem like having a penis denies you the right to a libido.

Click the links - that's what they are there for.

The articles have been written and are at the links provided in this one. This article's purpose (in which it has succeeded) is to introduce the comic about the situation. This is not about a dudebro getting shot down in a simple request. It was and is about full on harassment.

Sorry, but coming on to

Sorry, but coming on to someone when it isn't wanted IS HARASSMENT. PERIOD. You're fucking oblivious..

Just how are you supposed to

Just how are you supposed to know it isn't wanted then? If you get rejected and keep going, then yes, that's harassment. But if we all had to ask before making initial overtures the human race would've died out long ago.

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