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Whoo, we had a week this week in the grand halls of Discourse, that’s all I can say. From the lingering fallout of the Midtown Comics Invincible Iron Man variant cover to discussions of whether casting a white woman as an Asian man is better or worse than the Mystical Asian trope, it’s been wild. But I want to focus, today, on Chelsea Cain and the associated hashtag, #IStandWithChelseaCain.
Chelsea Cain co-wrote the Mockingbird solo series, which just recently concluded. She has experience mainly in prose fiction, with Mockingbird as her first comic.
She also committed to depicting Bobbi Morse as a feminist. In that vein, the final cover of the Mockingbird series features Bobbi on the beach, wearing a shirt that states proudly, ASK ME ABOUT MY FEMINIST AGENDA. It works well for the character and the series, given that commitment.
It also came out, like, three weeks ago.
Just this week, though, a surge of hateful commentary regarding the cover caused Ms. Cain to delete her Twitter. Unfortunately, this happens a lot to women in ‘geek spaces.’ I want to talk about, in the end, the reaction to her quitting Twitter. A surge of fans an industry professionals responded by sharing their stories and support of Ms. Cain with the hashtag #IStandWithChelseaCain.
Additionally, the tag spawned a lot of fanart of other characters wearing the “Ask me about my feminist agenda” shirt, including Wonder Woman and Superman.
— Luh Werneck (@LukasWerneck) October 28, 2016
This, in the end, should be the reaction to stories of women getting harassed off of social media. We need to stand against harassment, and yes, in all its forms.
People deserve better from our community as comics and superhero people. We deserve to be better to our fellow fans and the creators who make things for us. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we can’t engage in criticism, or angry outcry.
But behavior like death and rape threats are never acceptable on either side of any conflict. It turns people ugly, and turns the culture toxic. No one’s ever threatened me that way. However, someone did say to my face online that I’m ‘making up’ my disabilities to ‘justify [an] abortion of a character.’
#IStandWithChelseaCain, with Leslie Jones, with every person harassed off of Twitter for just existing with an opinion that certain elements don’t want to see. I stand against the Gamergaters, Sad Puppies, and anonymous harassment machines of the web.
And even if I hadn’t experienced cruelty, I’d like to think I would still feel this way.
Because we can be better than this.
Because, as superhero and comics fans, we should be.