I’m crying right now. Actually crying. And all because the responses from comics’ professionals and Marvel over the freaking out over Cap #22 are making it crystal clear that we have so far to go in bridging the empathy gap that it is…unbearable.
Nobody seems to get that this is not about Remender specifically, it’s not just about rape culture and representation of women. It’s not just about the HISTORIC issue of white women and black men in sketchy situations and how that’s perceived and used against black men even now. It’s not about *these* characters and this situation at all.
It’s about being heard. Right now, all I’m hearing is my lived experience being invalidated. I’m hearing excuses for why a (white) man in his 30s held a 7yo me on his lap when he had an erection and wouldn’t let me go. I’m hearing, “Boys will be boys,” over the 12 year old who pushed 9 year old me down on my bed and tried to rape me. I’m hearing, “What did you do? Why did you go with them? Why did you leave your drink unattended?” Over the three men who drugged and raped me. I’m hearing survivors voices silenced and dismissed and MOCKED mercilessly in order to defend a creator and a scene that is easily misread in context.
I’m seeing survivors attacked for speaking and being blamed for a technical misreading like we haven’t lived with these kinds of portrayals for DECADES. And like there haven’t been a million, “She looked older/said she was 18,” defenses. Like the fine people of a small town in Texas described an 11 yo victim of a gang rape. I could list about 50 different instances, and that’s not even going into the racial aspect of it. Because the fact is, there is history. That history includes some pretty horrific stuff. That is not my story to tell, though.
I’m seeing people circling the wagons to keep our voices and concerns out.
And I’m crying, because I love comics, because I have trusted Marvel to do better, and because it feels like there’s nowhere to be safe right now. When a hashtag that maybe went over the top but has real concerns behind it (I personally never used the tag because I didn’t feel it was warranted,) gives you an opportunity to talk to people about why they read the scene the way they did, what can be done better, how to be better and more inclusive and not tap into some of our worst fears and memories thoughtlessly, why not take it?
Why not listen, and drop the defensive posture when we’re telling you that you’re hurting us? We want you to be everything that we adore about comics, we want to be part of the process and creation and the magnificent gestalt that comics represent and not feel like by raising the question, we’re going to be attacked.
And you know, I really don’t think Cap would shit all over people who’ve already lived through some horrible things just for asking him to be a little more sensitive and LISTEN.
I didn’t expect to have this kind of response, and I’ve been avoiding talking about it a lot because I didn’t think it would get this ugly.
It just makes me unbearably sad that we can’t even have a discussion of why things are perceived the way they are, without it devolving into blaming victims.