Tony Harris Is A Sexist Ass

Posted: November 15, 2012 in Critical Hit
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In a nutshell: Tony Harris is a comics artist who recently went on an ill-advised rant declaring that the majority of female cosplayers are fake geeks with an exhibitionist, man-taunting agenda that all right-thinking persons should loathe – and more, elected to do so in a week when multiple stories of female cosplayer harassment had already been in prominent circulation. Responding to the fiery backlash provoked by his poorly written, atrociously punctuated and at times borderline incomprehensible post, Harris doubled down, refusing to budge from his original position while vehemently denying that either he or his views were in any way sexist.


Here’s what Harris said in his own defense:

My candor and my delivery of most things can be and usually is quite blunt. Can’t help who I am, but what I’m not, and never have been is a misogynist or sexist or any number of things I was called. I have the utmost respect for all the women in my life from my mother, my sister, motherinlaw, my wife and wonderful 2 daughters…

So I am a Misogynist? Why? Because I frown upon Posers who are sad, needy fakers who use up all my air at Cons? Sorry, while you Cos”Play” Im actually at work. Thats my office. F–k you. I actually dont hate women, I dont fear them either. Nor do I mistrust them. I do not portray or Objectify half naked women in my work. I never have. I have always been VERY vocal about my dislike of that practice, and that my view is and has been that T&A in comics is a Pox. If you wanna come at me with accusations of Misogyny and sexism, youll be wrong. I think there are several Hundred “PRos” I could rattle off that are doing a fine job of perpetuating that crap without ANY help from me. Its not helping to further our industry. Hey haters, Im not sad, lonely, stupid, uneducated, gay, nor do I wear Assess for a Hat. Im not a Sexist, and have been very vocal about the fact that its a GOOD thing to see so many female fans at shows, and I treat them with the same kindness and respect as I do ANY male fan I meet. I guess the one mistake I made in my original post was that I excluded Men.

And here, by way of contrast, is the full text of his original statement:

I cant remember if Ive said this before, but Im gonna say it anyway. I dont give a crap.I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake) but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you. Some of us are aware that you are ever so average on an everyday basis. But you have a couple of things going your way. You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public, and yer either skinny( Well, some or most of you, THINK you are ) or you have Big Boobies. Notice I didnt say GREAT Boobies? You are what I refer to as “CON-HOT”. Well not by my estimation, but according to a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls, and the ONE thing they all have in common? The are being preyed on by YOU. You have this really awful need for attention, for people to tell you your pretty, or Hot, and the thought of guys pleasuring themselves to the memory of you hanging on them with your glossy open lips, promising them the Moon and the Stars of pleasure, just makes your head vibrate. After many years of watching this shit go down every 3 seconds around or in front of my booth or table at ANY given Con in the country, I put this together. Well not just me. We are LEGION. And here it is, THE REASON WHY ALL THAT, sickens us: BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SH-T ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER. And also, if ANY of these guys that you hang on tried to talk to you out of that Con? You wouldnt give them the f–king time of day. Shut up you damned liar, no you would not. Lying, Liar Face. Yer not Comics. Your just the thing that all the Comic Book, AND mainstream press flock to at Cons. And the real reason for the Con, and the damned costumes yer parading around in? That would be Comic Book Artists, and Comic Book Writers who make all that sh-t up.

I’d initially planned to bold all the gender-specific fuckery in that post, but I ended up with only about two unbolded sentences. Instead, here’s a breakdown of Harris’s rant, sans the mysteriously German captialisation of random nouns and (one hopes) a better grasp of syntax:

  • As a straight man, Harris appreciates nice-looking women and even likes some racey stuff, but is sick of female cosplayers.
  • In his opinion, women who “are actually pretty cool and – big shocker – love and read comics” are, “as in all things, the exception to the rule”.
  • Such women, according to Harris, might think themselves pretty, but are actually physically average, boasting little more than a trim waist or maybe some decent boobs. At best, they’re “con-hot”, and the only guys stupid enough to genuinely find them attractive are, in Harris’s estimation, virginal men whose contact with real live women is limited, and who, by inference, have no real expertise or taste in female beauty.
  • Female cosplayers like to prey on the sexual naivety of poor, inexperienced men they secretly think are pathetic; and yet the thought of becoming masturbatory fodder for such awkward virgins literally makes their heads vibrate with pleasure, even though they’d otherwise never give them the time of day.
  • Not only don’t these women really know about comics – they’re deliberately choosing the skimpiest outfits just to attract attention! Outfits that only exist because comic book artists and writers made them up, and for which they should show more gratitude.

And I just… there’s something I’d like to say about all that. Several somethings, actually.

Thing the First: Decrying Sexism Doesn’t Magically Stop You From Being Sexist, Even If You Really Mean It

And especially not when you clearly have no idea of what actually constitutes sexism. Because I mean: unless Harris is seriously contending that everything in his original screed could be equally said of men – which would itself be massively self-contradictory, given his stated belief that women who love and read comics are the exception to the rule, thus implying that any scantily-clad, faux-geek, manipulative male cosplayers would be hard pressed to find a similarly naive, virginal bunch of ladynerds to abuse – then his claim that ” the one mistake I made in my original post was that I excluded Men” makes no sense whatsoever. Because contrary to what his later defense attempts to assert, he was never talking about ignorant cosplayers as a universal problem for which he just so happened to pick a gendered example: his gripe was – quite specifically and explicitly – with how female cosplayers unfairly manipulate men by dint of being… well, women in sexy costumes.

Dear Mr Harris, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this: the fact that you respect the women in your life doesn’t mean you necessarily respect all women equally – the former does not innately imply the latter. Quite clearly, in fact, your respect for women is highly conditional; otherwise, you’re wholly content to bodyshame them (“Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl”), shutshame them (“You are willing to become almost completely Naked in public”), casually objectify them (“con-hot”), morally police their clothing choices (“THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER”) and generally sexualise them (“yer either skinny…or you have Big Boobies”) as a way of demeaning their character, personhood and motives – and that, Mr Harris? That is the textbook definition of sexism. Not – and I want to make this absolutely clear – NOT because you dared to express your heterosexual awareness of what women look like, but because you did so purely to belittle in a context that not only described their crime as being irrevocably gendered, but as one which you claim is committed by the majority of female cosplayers simply because they’re women.  I don’t care what you meant to say, what you thought you said or what you’ve attempted to say subsequently: you have literally, actually said these things and refused to either acknowledge their offensiveness or apologise for it. Respect your female family members all you want; that doesn’t make what you’ve said about female cosplayers any less thoroughly rooted in a deeply stereotypical misogyny.

Which leads me to:

Thing the Second: The Existence Of Female Family Members Does Not Automatically Stop You From Being Sexist 

Invoking the existence of your daughters/female relatives as a way of proving your feminism (or at least, your status as a non-sexist, non-misogynist) is, uh… really, really, really flawed as a tactic. Let me phrase it delicately: this is not a unique fucking quality, and it certainly isn’t specific to non-sexists, as though the presence of misogyny in the bloodstream can somehow magically repress the production of female sperm in men (to say nothing of causing all wives, aunts, sisters, mothers and female cousins to spontaneously combust). Every man has a mother, and every woman a father. That doesn’t automatically prevent any of them from being monstrous, or abusive, or sexist, or a rapist, or the kind of supposedly well-meaning jerk who treats his wife like a princess but makes ugly comments about which of his female coworkers he’d bang provided she lost some weight. OK? Your self-reported benevolence as a husband and father has sweet fuck all to do with your treatment of strangers, even the ones who identify as women. Todd Akin is married with six children, for Pete’s sake, but that didn’t prevent him from claiming that women can’t get pregnant through rape.

And, finally:

Thing the Third: You Don’t Get To Slutshame Women For Wearing Costumes Designed By Men

I’ve already made this point in the comments over at John Scalzi’s blog, but I think it bears repeating. Specifically:

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that a straight white male comics artist – that is, a professional member of a fraternity whose members frequently get froth-mouthed with rage at the VERY SUGGESTION that maybe, just MAYBE, consistently drawing female heroes in skintight, skimpy clothes, viscerally sexualised poses and impossible bodily contortions MIGHT JUST BE a little bit sexist and demeaning – is now saying women who dress as those selfsame characters are slutty? Like, do we not see the contradiction, here? How is it fine to rabidly defend the hypersexualised portrayal of comic book heroines as being no big deal, aesthetically justified, representative of their characters, traditional and all that jazz, but then start body- and slut-shaming actual, real live women who choose to cosplay those outfits? If the costumes themselves had no overt sexual component, or if such a component was present, but ultimately benign – as most comics apologists tend to argue – then the idea that actual women could dress that way specifically to prey on the sexual sensibilities of men who like those characters should be fundamentally ludicrous, regardless of the depth and breadth of their personal comics knowledge.

Seriously, angry comic guys: you cannot have it both ways. You cannot say that female comic heroines aren’t hypersexualised, and then claim that, merely by donning their costumes, real live women are sexualising themselves, and that their primary motive for doing so must therefore be to mess with you. No. THEY’RE DRESSING THE WAY YOU INSIST ON WOMEN DRESSING, AND THEN YOU’RE SHAMING THEM FOR IT.

What’s that, Mr Harris? You say you’ve always been “VERY vocal” about your dislike of women being drawn sexually? You don’t “objectify half-naked women” in your work, and you think that “T&A in comics is a pox”? I agree wholeheartedly! But that doesn’t mean you get to disparage female cosplayers for wearing outfits which, thanks to the sexism of other comics writers and artists, are almost universally revealing, tight-fitting, low-cut, cleavage-enhancing or otherwise sexually loaded. In fact, if such skimpy outfits are the result of objectification, then aren’t those poor, naive men you’re defending similarly objectifying the women who wear them? Unless, of course, you’re excusing their lust on the grounds that any woman who wears a revealing cosplay outfit is necessarily objectifying herself, and therefore deserves it – but as we’ve already established, non-sexualised female characters in mainstream comics – and especially superhero comics – are few and far between. Which means that, by your way of thinking, female cosplayers can either restrict themselves to portaying a vanishingly small number of ‘acceptable’ characters, or not bother at all – because as your original rant makes clear, any woman who opts for a skimpier costume must always be morally suspect.

And that, frankly, is bullshit. The problem with the hypersexualisation of women in comics isn’t that women’s bodies are inherently shameful and ought to be hidden accordingly – it’s that showing heroines in relentlessly sexual attitudes, costumes and postures for the benefit of the (predominantly straight, male) audience regardless of plot relevance and the limits of human anatomy is demeaning to both the characters themselves and women generally. It implies that women must always strive to be attractive; that failing to highlight our physical assets at all times is effectively a misdeed, or at best, a missed opportunity. But if and when we freely choose to exhibit our sexuality – if we, as autonomous individuals, elect to wear bustiers and thigh-high boots in public as part of a cosplay, or just for the hell of it, or because it makes us feel beautiful? Then that is our fucking prerogative, and it doesn’t change our basic humanity or dignity a jot. More importantly still, it doesn’t mean we’re there for your ogling pleasure. By assuming we’re only in it for the thrill of being objectified and drooling at or disparaging us accordingly (which, let me tell you, is much less a thrill than it is a threat), you deny our humanity, our dignity: you insist that our personhood is a one-dimensional, sexual thing, and you forget the myriad complex reasons that necessarily comprise our decision to go out in public or to participate in subculture. You forget that we can take pleasure in dressing up, in pushing our usual boundaries to honour a favourite character, or even – brace for the heresy! – to portray a character we’ve only just discovered, but whom we happen to think looks cool. You forget that our clothes or bodies aren’t inherently shameful, that the problem is with your insistence on defining us by our flesh alone; you forget that objectification is the villain, and not the mechanisms through which we elect to love ourselves.

In short, Mr Harris: you are a sexist ass. And now that the internet’s dropped on your head, you have no one to blame but yourself.

    • Leah Workman says:

      The “bad cosplay poser nasty girl bad bad” school of rants and tirades make the tirader sound like, and pretty much look like a conservative right wing Christian probably seems to them.

      Let’s look at nerd or geek culture; We’ve got a group of fairly wealthy, fairly educated, self-marginalized predominantly white men, some in actual power positions in society as they grow older.

      They define their in-group based on knowledge of and adherance to a set of rules made up by them, regarding their knowledge of and devotion to fictional fantastical characters.

      This is their bond with each other, they have secret meet-ups, and words and values and signs that they feel “normal” people don’t understand.

      They feel persecuted and marginalized and like they’re constantly under attack by main stream culture, and feel this justifies attacks on things they feel threatens their tight-knit in-group..

      When women follow all their rules and manners and work very hard to “fit in” according to these rules these men have created, they are accepted into the group, provisionally, but they need to be humble and not too flagrantly or blantanly sexy, or be sexy just for their man and understand that their acceptance is usually based on the man they’re attached to.

      If they are they are blatantly sexy all around, or don’t follow the rules or know enough of the mystical works in the way accepted by current members of the group they are shunned, shamed, and called sluts or accused of trying to tempt the men of this persecuted, misunderstood but more valuable actually than most group.

      And the male members and humble and accepted “good” humble exception-to-the-rule female members of this sect all think that’s 100% o.k., to ostracize, shame and judge those “bad poser women” for their lack of, or perceived lack of true faith.

      And this is where they lost me and when I stopped wanting to be part of their group.

      They are acting like conservative fundimentalists in “nerds” or “geeks” clothing and I don’t want to be part of any group like that.

      And that is the part of this that people are trying to open their eyes to.

      They either need to become more understanding of the Christian Right, or become more understanding of the various types of people trying to join their adopted in- group.

      You don’t get to be rigidly intolerant and also be intolerant of intolerance, that just makes a person a gaping hypocrite.

  1. hierath says:

    Round of applause!

  2. I would like you high five you. A lot.

  3. Well said. I made several of the same points in my own article about this, after trying to talk to Harris myself.

    My one regret is that it occurred to me after the fact that Harris’ comments completely ignore lesbians who cosplay and I should have said something about that.

    • fozmeadows says:

      I missed that trick, too. That’s the problem when someone spouts off such a horrendous torrent of bullshit – there’s so much wrong with it that it’s easy to miss the full extent of the problem.

  4. BW says:

    And that whole “Thats my office” thing? What a load of old cobblers. It’s not your office, Mr. Harris, it’s a con. The cosplayers paid good money to be there, and they have as much right to be there as you. They’re not there to provide anything for you except appreciation if they like your work and possibly money fif they decide to buy what you’re selling, and they’re not obliged to do either one. You think alienating potential customers is good business practice? Well, then, have at it, but leave that “it’s my office” nonsense home. Your “office” is the place where you create the goods. Where you sell them is someone else’s space, and you’re only a part of what goes on there. Yes, you’re working, but so what? That trumps their right to play? No. If you don’t want to be working where other people are playing, don’t go try to sell your goods at cons. You’re a vendor, they’re the customers. You might resent that the press attention is going to cosplayers and not to the Artists and Writers, but why not call the press out for that instead of women who are there to enjoy themselves, which is the “real reason” people go to cons.

    • Telaryn says:

      His narrow perception of conventions also fails to acknowledge that comic-centered conventions in their purest form are a dying breed – and his attitudes are part of the problem. His industry has largely refused to evolve and accept that geek culture as a whole is a growing, ever-diversifying place of inclusive awesomeness where that sexist, misogynistic attitude is more often than not confined to the back corners of the dealer’s room.

  5. Stupendous SciFi says:

    In his defense those shameful girls rarely, if EVER!, read a comic book. Can you believe the gal those people have? Dressing up to as a character they like or think is cool; why I’ll bet those people also watch football one day a week and call themselves a fan!

    You, Mr. Harris, are simply speaking what every other TRUE comic fan is speaking. I see your rationale and high-five you.

    However I have a request I believe must be pressed upon you. I understand you are incredibly busy policing the people who call themselves comic ‘fans’ (kudos on your hard work), but it has come to my attention that on the sidelines of football games there are groups of women dressed provocatively and they even call themselves fans. Now I know you agree with me in stating that no woman who dresses provocatively at an event can be a true fan and should be shunned and ridiculed.
    So, please, when you are done with your valiant effort of rooting out all non-comic fans from Comic-Cons across the nation; will you turn your attention on the women who are ruining our great game of football?

  6. Sinister says:

    Terrific writeup. Here’s my own “careful reading” of his original post.

  7. Mike says:

    My only note is that I believe his original statement was targeted at cosplaying women, not comic nerd women, and so when he says his only mistake was not including men he meant “cosplaying men.”

    He basically seems to think the default state of a cosplayer, period, is “attention whore” and that real comic fans who are also cosplayers are the exception to “the RULE.”

    Not that this makes any of it better, or indeed particularly coherent, but it might clear up one minor point of confusion.

  8. justwondering says:

    So this is an example of him not objectifying women?

    • Mike says:

      So, first, the image: Yeah. Forgot about that one. Does make his claims slightly awkward, eh?

      Second, the characters portrayed: Ah. That gets both funny and sad, given this context; in the comic she’s an obsessed fan of the main character’s (retired and embarrassing to him) masked hero persona who dresses up like that to get his attention/in honor of him. He finds this ridiculous and troublesome.

      So… yeah. Huh.

  9. Leauxra says:

    Well, it seems to me that all us women can fix the whole thing by refusing to wear anything but a burka to a con. Because we wouldn’t want anyone to think we’re being slutty or “asking” to be harassed.

    Thank you very much for writing this.

    • fozmeadows says:

      Just want to say: I always find it problematic on multiple levels when people casually say “Oh, women should just wear burqas, then!” as a sarcastic/hyperbolic response to slutshaming and body policing. Because, on the one hand, it furthers the anti-Islamic stereotype that wearing burqas is fundamentally backwards, bad and otherwise unfeminist, while on the other, it totally ignores the fact that women who *do* wear burqas aren’t magically immune from sexual assault, harassment or other forms of gender-specific sleazery by virtue of their attire. If simply covering up was enough to make men respect women’s bodily, intellectual and sexual autonomy, then Saudi Arabia would be a practising matriarchy. Women could go naked or shrouded from head to toe: it won’t make a scrap of difference to how we’re treated if men refuse to respect our rights. If male respect for women is conditional on our clothing, then it’s not respect for us: it’s respect for our clothes and what they’re deemed to signify, which manifestly isn’t the same thing. That’s the point.

      • Leauxra says:

        I can see your point here. What I was trying to get at is that no matter WHAT a woman wears, if she is female, someone will call her a slut or a whore. I honestly didn’t think of it as an anti-Islamic statement, but meant to imply that the same men who generally complain on the internet about women being seductresses imply that all men are incapable of being reasonable human beings, so all women should be removed from view. I will pay more attention to how my statements could be viewed.

        Maybe my point would have been better made if I had stated, “Women should not be allowed in comic book conventions, because it distracts from the sexist art we are propagating.”

        And having been physically assaulted in public while wearing a white button down shirt and black slacks because I worked in a kitchen, I know damn well that it doesn’t matter what a woman wears. Being a woman is enough to make certain people uncomfortable.

        • Leauxra says:

          Also, I would like to apologize for my insensitive comment earlier.

        • fozmeadows says:

          Agreed! The whole double standard inherent in claiming women are the ones deliberately objectifying themselves when all the art and costumes are the result of male fantasies is just breathtaking. And I’m sorry to hear you were assaulted; as you say, clothes have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

      • origami isopod says:

        I am perfectly okay with being anti-Islam, just as I am perfectly okay with being anti-Christianity and anti-Judaism. Religions don’t automatically deserve respect. And, yes, requiring women to shroud themselves so as not to “tempt men” *IS* misogynist.

        • fozmeadows says:

          Assuming that all women who wear the burqa do so because of male coercion or lack of feminism is ignorant and racist.

          • origami isopod says:

            Idiotic cultural relativism. Again, there is *nothing* feminist about choosing to conceal one’s entire body from the world. Are men called to do this? No. Why not? Because men’s bodies aren’t considered “temptations.” The dommies, FLDS, and black hats all fuck women over like this, too, but nowhere near that degree, which is why I’m perfectly OK with using the burqa as a metaphor for this aspect of rape culture.

            Yelling “racist” every time someone who isn’t Muslim criticizes a Muslim practice is knee-jerk stupidity that the left really needs to drop. And I speak as someone on the left.

          • origami isopod says:

            Oh, and no, not all women wear the burqa because men make them, and some of them do call themselves feminists. That said, if we can criticize the practice of shaving one’s legs, taking one’s husband’s name, etc. etc. as “not a feminist act,” we can damn well do so w/r/t wearing a burqa.

    • Fiachdubh says:

      So in your mind, the only alternative to being half naked, or making a slutty version of a character, is completely covered from head to foot in a cloth? Well done.Here’s a thought, if you want to dress as Ghostbuster, resist the urge to open your top and add hotpants. Or when picking a character, maybe choose one that wasn’t created as wank fodder by men, for other men.

      • fozmeadows says:

        “Or when picking a character, maybe choose one that wasn’t created as wank fodder by men, for other men.”

        1% of comic creators at DC are women. One fucking percent. You want to tell me which of their characters *wasn’t* created by, influenced by or otherwise designed, costumed or made into wank fodder by men? Be my guest!

        Also: why is it more problematic for women to cosplay sexualised characters than for men to create and sexualise them in the first place – or for men to sexualise female cosplayers, for that matter?

  10. Warbuddha says:

    It’s illogical to play the Feminist Card of “Respect the female gender” while dressing up as a Power Girl, or Starfire with your junk hanging out… (whether it looks good or bad is irrelevant) as intended by the designers of these costumes, then complain about hyper-sexualization of those comic-characters costumes in the same breath.

    Sorry – unless Feminism advocates using ones sexuality to manipulate the emotionally stunted – that’s not misogyny, or even feminism – that’s just good old fashioned hypocrisy.

    That said – Tony did come off as a sexist ass.

    • fozmeadows says:

      So, what: because comics creators have so comprehensively sexualised comic book heroines, feminist women aren’t allowed to dress up as those characters in an effort to respect, love and reclaim them or even – gasp! – to have a good time, because then they’d be objectifying themselves? Your solution is, effectively, to limit women’s participation in fandom because it makes it easier for men to respect them, instead of addressing the actual problem, which is that men should respect women regardless of what they’re wearing. And you’re still confusing ‘women dressing a certain way for their own enjoyment’ with ‘women attempting to manipulate the emotionally stunted’ – the two are not synonymous. Just because Guy A finds Woman B attractive doesn’t mean that her wardrobe choices were a calculated attempt to ensnare him, or even that she’s comfortable with his drooling. If a gay or asexual woman (for instance) wants to dress as Black Canary, and some guy decides to start following her around under the mistaken belief that she’s done so purely to set his loins aflame, that’s his problem, not her fault. Ditto if she’s in a relationship already, or not looking for a relationship. You know what? Basically, your baseline assumption is that women who cosplay in sexy outfits are all single/sexually available and flaunting themselves accordingly, or else only pretending to be so for the sheer pleasure of pissing off lusty straight men; you assume that merely dressing a certain way is itself a manipulative act, instead of a valid personal choice. Just… seriously. You need to think more about this.

      • Fiachdubh says:

        Feminist women don’t dress up as objectified characters created by males to make other males horny. What kind of moronic, back-assward logic is that? To have a good time? You mean you have a good time by sticking your cleavage in a window in a costume designed exclusively to give nerds boners? What moral high ground are you attempting here? You have to ask yourself, what kind of person are you, that that is the place you go when you think “good time”.

        DC has been a sexist organization for decades, and people like you, seem intent on THANKING them for it.

        • fozmeadows says:

          So basically, according to you, feminism is incompatible with women owning their sexuality.


        • Leah Workman says:

          Feminist women dress exactly as they individually want to dress because “Feminism” doesn’t come with a uniform. Also, feminism doesn’t judge women for how they choose to dress be it burka or g-string as long as the choice of dress was made by the individual. However, Feminism is shaking her pretty little head wondering why the dress of the females attendees is an issue while the dress of the male attendees is not an thinks that’s kind of crappy.

    • Bruce McGlory says:

      what is this ridiculous strawfeminist your trying to hump and why would think anyone sane would agree with you?

    • Fred Fnord says:

      Er… I’m trying hard to understand your point here. What you’re saying, if I understand correctly, is that one should not be allowed to complain that women are oversexualized, are taught that their only value is as a sexual object pretty much from birth, unless one is also willing to condemn the people who have received this relentless training and been shaped by it as EVIL MONSTERS WHO TEMPT THE UNWARY MALE. More, you would say that, in order to be allowed to object to said indoctrination, one should be required to violently reject the idea that some women might be able to reject that indoctrination, but then consciously decide that they like dressing up in that fashion, not because they must due to society’s constraints, but because they enjoy it.

      So basically you’re saying, ‘if you reject society’s demands that women be ‘sluts’, then you must in turn demand that women be virgins’.

      Assuming I’ve read you right (and I’m pretty sure I have), I hate to tell you, but this does make you a bad person.

  11. Robert Calfee says:

    So how many comic books do you actually have to read in order to be considered a fan? And do they have to be recent? What if you just watch comic inspired movies, does that count? Who is the official in charge of determining a person’s ‘fan’ qualifications?

    Sorry, Charlie, you don’t get to judge who is a fan and who isn’t. And for my money anyone who dresses up in a superhero costume is a fan–whether you like it or not.

    • Fiachdubh says:

      So basically anyon who dresses in a costume is a fan? So people who get paid are fans? People who pick costumes based on how they look are fans? No. You have no idea what a fan is.

  12. […] say, “You showed you’re a sexist idiot just by the phrase ‘CON-HOT.’” Check it here.  And you didn’t think Nick Mamatas would let an internet kerfuffle pass him by without […]

  13. Brandon Boss says:

    Seriously….amen, well said. Only thing that could have made that better is a *mic drop* at the end, brilliant.

  14. mikes75 says:

    This. Is. Awesome.

  15. […] Scalzi mocks this guy, and Foz Meadows rather thoroughly dismantles him. That was a pleasure to read; Harris’s petty rant, not so […]

  16. embrodski says:

    As always in these sorts of screed, the real complaint that they refuse to say outloud is “THESE WOMEN WON’T SLEEP WITH ME!!! AAARRGGGHH!!! If they won’t sleep with me they should stay away so my delusions of irresistible sexuality aren’t shattered!”

  17. esssbeee says:

    A person in his or her forties complaining about ‘posers’ is super sad, aside from all of the blatant sexism and post-hoc rationalization.

  18. Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: […]…

  19. Steph says:

    That was one awesome read. Much respect!

  20. […] can find two great articles here and here that either address the specific comments, or the wider issues that they spring from, and […]

  21. […] it was better thought out than that (barely), but it brings up a point that we’ve already brought up here once, and […]

  22. […] started this post as a reactionary rant against sexism like this and this, but I feel that I have nothing to really add to the arguments that haven’t already been made […]

  23. Fiachdubh says:

    Yet another pandering, all female cosplayers are innocent saints, and anyone who points out the truth is a mysogynist response blog. Well done, but the guy is fucking right.

  24. Flood says:

    “sad, needy fakers who use up all my air at Cons”
    How did air air become Tony Harris’s air? Is he an organizer of the Cons? NO.

    Companies unrelated to Tony Harris run and operate the Cons.
    I guarantee you, if you asked the organizer of any Con – which would you rather have, Cosplay Girls or Tony Harris? You can only have one at your Con, which will it be – they will unversally say, Cosplay Girls. The girls are paying customers at the Con. They are the ones who bought the tickets. They help sell other tickets. Tony Harris is one of many easily replaced artists. You can find another Tony Harris. You can NOT find another female fan base.

    Tony Harris is there SOLELY for the amusement and pleasure of the ticketing paying customers, whoever they may be. The Cons need to sell tickets, they can find artists much more easily.

    The Cosplay girls ARE the Cons – it is Tony Harris who is there for their enjoyment. You are customers like any other customer, and the people running the business welcome you there.

    Never let some fool like Tony Harris trick you into believing otherwise. You are the Cons!

  25. … [Trackback]…

    […] Find More Informations here: […]…

  26. A Girl says:

    I have a lot to say on this subject but I’m going to keep this short because I feel that I’ll I want to say has been said by others, and more eloquently then I could put it. What instead I’m going to write about is how disappointed I am in Harris.
    I am a girl, and yes I read comic books. I personally have never cosplayed but I have friends who do and they are not sluts or seeking attention, they are simply girls who are just as interested in comic book characters as the men at conventions dressed up. These women are dressed is quit unquote “sluty” costumes because they are dressed up in the outfits that YOU created for women superheroes to wear. And what is wrong with woman (or men for that matter) showing off their bodies? Are women (all shapes and sizes) supposed to be ashamed of out bodies and hide and cover them? What is offensive about our bodies and our “boobies” as he so childishly put it?
    I was so saddened when I read this angry sexist rant by Harris because I love his art. Starman is one of my favorite comic books and I love his art in it. It doesn’t ruin the comic or his art of course, but his comments are always going to be in the back of my mind.
    I’ve been lucky as a girl comic book reader (and gamer). I have never experienced sexism first hand. Aside from the “wow you read comics?” comment on occasion, I’ve always been welcomed with open arms into the community. But now whenever I look at Harris’s art work I feel like I’m an outsider who dares to look upon Harris’s work, and will never be counted as one of his “true” fans.
    One last thing. Some people are not as “geeky” as others. There are different levels that a person is interested in something. There are the casual comic book readers for example, and the ones who read nearly everything, and try to learn every little thing they can. But it seems that to some if a girl calls herself a comic book fan but does not know every detail about every superhero then they are called posers. Guys are “allowed” to be fans no matter their level of interest or knowledge. Why not allow girls the same freedom? Why not let girls be casual fans? What is so bad about that?

    • fozmeadows says:

      “Some people are not as “geeky” as others. There are different levels that a person is interested in something. There are the casual comic book readers for example, and the ones who read nearly everything, and try to learn every little thing they can. But it seems that to some if a girl calls herself a comic book fan but does not know every detail about every superhero then they are called posers. Guys are “allowed” to be fans no matter their level of interest or knowledge. Why not allow girls the same freedom? Why not let girls be casual fans? What is so bad about that?”


      As far as I can tell, the double standard exists for exactly one reason: guys who talk about how hot it would be “if only women liked comics” are invariably the same guys who think that true comic-love is an inherently male thing – thus, they invariably think of female fans as a sexual fantasy, rather than just normal participants in fandom. In their eyes, the very fact that women supposedly don’t like comics is what makes the idea of a woman who does arousing – because it’s exceptional, impossible, and therefore perfectly tailored to their individual ideals of what such an impossible woman would be like, not only in terms of her interests (which, funnily enough, tend to mirror the guy’s exactly) but her physical type and personality. All of which means that, when they DO encounter female fans, their first thought isn’t, “oh, here’s a girl who likes some of the same stuff I do – how cool!”, but “oh, here’s a girl who’s realised that my sexual fantasies revolve around girls who share my interests; therefore, she must be pretending to like some of the same stuff I do in order to attract guys, which means she’s both an attention whore and a fake geek, and as my fantasy-girl isn’t either of those things, but rather a docile, busty, idealised projection of my own social inadequacies, she’s not only failed to live up to my expectations, but has actively missed the point of them by refusing to exist JUST FOR ME – she must be a bitch!”.

      To which I say: AUGH.

  27. […] am tired of being told, either overtly or through oblivious privileged ramblings, that women make for bad writers; that […]

  28. […] been said by more qualified writers.  Check out a few links related to this story.   Tony Harris is a Sexist Ass Nerds: Stop hating women, please Whining isn’t Sexy: Rage about Nerd Rage Comic Artist […]

  29. […] — he has a wife and daughters! Similarly comics artist Tony Harris insists his long rant about fake geek girls a few years back can’t possibly have been sexist or misogynist because he has a wife and […]

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