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Committed: “Is Sexism a REAL Problem for Women?”

I’m just back from San Diego and I would like nothing more than to write you some fun things about Comic-Con International, but they’ll have to wait because when I was asked (by an intelligent and well-educated friend) if sexism is a “real” problem, I had no choice but to drop everything and write about the very real abuse women in the world contend with, simply because “they’re women”. A world with these kind of prejudices impacts the quality of life for us ALL, male and female and it is in ALL of our interests to be aware of it and combat it. This is a lot of information, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately there is still a long way to go before sexism is a thing of the past.

Please note: This doesn’t include links about women being specifically harassed in the comic book profession or at conventions because I am sure you already see plenty of those links in our industry and (unfortunately) it’s quite standard stuff. The depressingly common daily manipulations and abuses seem to happen in too many areas of everyday interactions (i.e. in all other industries, like video games, tech, and politics). Instead these are some links about the dangers women contend with in the larger world, because sexism isn’t a problem isolated to a single industry or a single country, but a problem everywhere.

First of all, this is the article that really cements the gender equality problems in our current society. It’s about a travel guide for “pick up artists” (a school of thought which encourages men to dehumanize their own sexuality, basing it more on an attitude of conquest and abuse than actual primal desire) called “Don’t Bang Denmark”. Basically it lays out the facts that as long as women aren’t as safe or as financially secure as men, we will be prey to abusive men:

And in case anyone still doubts that there is a financial gap between men and women, there’s this:

Also on a home news front, this is pretty funny/ridiculous/sad. It’s about this tumblr which is filled with women who clearly do not even slightly understand what feminism is, so they hate it! (Which is sad because feminism is why they have the freedom to say these things out loud without recrimination.)

Generally, just being a woman and taking care of our bodies is a very frightening and dangerous endeavor and it really shouldn’t be. Many groups seek to politicize hormonal treatments like birth control, creating an atmosphere of guilt around something which, for many women, is a necessity. Here is one example of a very bad situation:

Internationally, there are violent abuses of women’s rights going on. Maybe you missed this when it happened, but last month a group called Boko Haram abducted hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria to protest of their education. These girls are still lost to their families and it is generally accepted by many that they may never return to them. Now Boko Haram are threatening to sell these young girls:

The UN reported this last week, about millions of women being threatened with genital mutilation. Isis are denying it, but the fact that the UN deemed this plausible shows that there is a legitimate fear of this threat and genital mutilation does still occur:

And further, this is an article really opened my eyes to how damaging genital mutilation is to women’s whole lives, not just their physicality:

There is some interesting analysis of a recent Unicef report on female genital mutilation here:

Here’s something that you probably thought was in our distant past – witch hunts. There is some dispute as to how many thousands of women are dying, but it is happening, Indian women are being tortured to death:

There’s an interesting article here about how Facebook wasn’t interested in removing violently misogynistic content until advertisers pulled their content (money talks more than concerns about human decency apparently):

A while ago I was lucky enough to work on a campaign to fund education for girls in developing countries. In the process I learned a lot about how difficult it is for girls to get an education and the hazards they face if they don’t. Conversely, if they DO, then they actually tend to funnel their increased income back into their villages and stay healthier, so it’s a win/win really. Here’s the infographic I did for the client. Ultimately it had too many comparison figures which were deemed somewhat divisive, so a much simpler one was used for promotional purposes. But the facts in it are solid and the information is useful, (the site itself isn’t up any longer, which is a shame because there was a also lot of info there):

That’s everything I can think of right now, hopefully it gives you a picture of the horrors that are out there all over the world. Being cognizant of the problems and raising awareness is a simple thing, but it is important because then we can focus on inspiring and inciting discussion and change, through our art, our work, and our lives. This relatively short list of articles is, as I said, just the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

If you have links or information which you would like to share and you feel could be informative and add to this discussion, please do so in the comments below.


“Is Sexism a REAL Problem for Women?”


(Just my opinion, feel free to disagree.)

To elucidate, the NFL obviously thinks that smoking pot is a much worse offense than beating up a woman…


But I am sure that if some of the NFL’s sponsors started pulling advertisements then they would be singing a different song, though. As with the piece regarding Facebook that Sonia cited, money talks and you-know-what walks.

So…I’ve actually talked to women. Yes, sexism is a problem.

Yes, of course it is:

1 in 3 women in the military have been raped and it has been covered up:

1 in 4 college students are raped and 35% of men admitted they might rape if they thought they could get away with it:

1 in 100,000,000 is too much, but that’s not the statistic that article even states.

1 in 3 women in the military have been sexually assaulted, which is quite different from rape. It could be unwanted touching in a sexual nature or other things all the way up to rape, but not always rape.

And the first article says that rate is twice the rate of the civilian population, which is less than 1 in 4 the other quotes as being outright raped on campus, just from 14 years old to college. So someone’s stats are wrong.

Or more likely, they cherry pick very different definitions to do their polls.

Women have tons of problems, all over the world, including rape. Throwing out skewed stats does not enforce the argument, but actually lessens it.

I don’t want to cast aspersions on your “intelligent and well-educated friend,” but what kind of a ding-dong would ask if sexism is real?

Jeff Nettleton

July 31, 2014 at 12:11 am

Colleen Doran has spoken about some of the harassment she faced, within the industry and at conventions, even as a minor!

Apologies for not making the use of my articles clear they were put quickly to illustrate the point.
I would consider “touching, or causing another person to touch, either directly or through the clothing, the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, or degrade any person” by “use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent” to be rape, but legally it is defined as sexual assault. Sorry if that was confusing.

The issue with these is that you are surveying people on a sensitive subject so you will not always get the same responses.

What do you call being coerced into being photographed in a negligee/ topless, aged 12? Is that sexual assault? Because I wasn’t assaulted as such, I was taken of advantage of. I didn’t know how to say no. I felt grubby and ashamed afterwards and told no one. What do you call that? …

That “Don’t Bang Denmark” article is great…very informative on both Denmark as well as PUA-ness.

Even when I was more desperate for female attention in my younger days, I always saw the PUA approach as hollow for the simple fact that it only works on the kinds of women I don’t find particularly interesting or compelling anyway. I guess I was doomed to have meaningful conversation! :P

But yeah, great article! This is a really good starting point to get people up to speed on what’s happening.

Sexism is definitely a problem for women so there doesn’t seem to be anything to debate there other than to consider terminology.

Such as “what is and what is not Sexism?”
Feeling a sexual attraction to a member of the opposite sex is natural and fine, actions based on that attraction which do not properly allow for the feelings of others (especially, but not only the person attracted to) are a problem.

Are there guys who feel so villainised for liking alluring images of women (and nothing more) that they have developed a psychological disorder (guilt complex? persecution complex?) that leads them to get irrational and aggressive at every possibly suggestion of sexism?
(It would explain some comments I’ve seen)

Is misogyny being used as a fancy word for sexism or do people understand the distinction?

Is Zenescope (for example) sexist? Misogynistic? both? neither? is it harmful to women?

all in all, a large and complex issue (or set of issues) to ponder

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