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Kevin Smith Implores His Fanbase To Stop The Misogyny After Harassment Of Blogger


In case you missed it over the weekend, something really great happened. Writer/director Kevin Smith asked his fans to “lose the f*$#ing misogyny.” Unfortunately, something bad had to happen first. 

Just the other day, we brought you the story of a current shake-up of Netflix titles happening in the next few days. We saw the story on Death and Taxes Mag, which as it turns out, became the center of a kerfuffle on Saturday. While in my piece, I chose to make fun of my own bad taste in movies, Death and Taxes writer Maggie Serota went with: “’Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back’” is included in the purge, but absolutely no one will miss that one.”

It’s the kind of throw away joke writers use on the internet on a regular basis. I can’t speak to her intent but as a person who’s written something similar in the past, I can say it probably speaks to her personal opinion on Smith’s film and wasn’t meant as a sweeping review of him personally. So how did this escalate to the point of Smith urging his fans to stop being misogynists?

Smith read a few fans’ tweets about Mashable taking a dig at his work. Turns out they were talking about Serota’s piece on Death and Taxes instead. This led Smith to leave, what seemed to me, a lighthearted, in jest, “Thanks for the free plug, Mags!” comment on her article. He then tweeted out the correct link to the article, tagged Serota, and wrote “Why the jab?”

[Warning: strong language ahead]

Even though he was asking a simple question, even though Serota didn’t write anything violent or harassing toward Smith, a segment of his fanbase decided to attack the writer verbally throwing words like “cunt” her way, and comments like, “put a dick in your mouth.”

A simple, “I disagree with your assessment,” would have sufficed, wouldn’t you say?

But this is the internet. And on the internet many feel free to work out their anger issues on complete strangers. We’ve seen how quickly a simple matter of disagreeing with someone (particularly on the internet, but not always so) can turn into police action-level harassment. And yes, this type of behavior is almost always aimed at women.

I didn’t know Serota, but seeing this play out on my Twitter feed brought back memories. In early 2012 I wrote two opinion pieces on Smith’s forthcoming AMC series, Comic Book Men. One posted before the first episode titled, “Why No Women in Comic Book Men?” and another after I watched the first episode titled, “Comic Book Men Revisited.” My opinions and reviews weren’t personal, they weren’t malicious, but that’s what I received in kind from Smith’s fans and a member of the Comic Book Men cast. All because I didn’t like the show. It was a steady stream of using the “block” button on social media and my editor banning individuals for a few weeks for throwing the same type of misogynist comments at me Serota was getting this weekend.

So in response to this current controversy, I wrote a series of tweets:

It’s so gross seeing someone or something’s fans harassing or turning violent when someone doesn’t like a thing. Writer @maggieserota is currently getting harassed bc she didn’t like one of @ThatKevinSmith‘s creations. I’ve been there myself. Not cool. She didn’t say anything personal about the man yet some of his fans decided to attack *her* personally. It’s, you know, OK to not like a thing. Seeing that kind of over-reactive behavior more and more from fans of all kinds. It’s truly disturbing. Fandom is supposed to be positive.

In this case, a few were of the mind Smith intended for this to happen, he wanted Serota to be attacked in this way. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt. The creator often retweets in such a way that users are spotlighted, plus, I’ve called out people on my own account before. When a follower of mine suggested Smith didn’t want her to be harassed I replied, “You’re probably right. He should tell them to stop instead of apologizing for them.” (he had apologized for several fans after Serota informed him of what was going on.)

And then he did.

In a piece titled, “IF YOU LIKE MY STUFF, THEN YOU LIKE WOMEN,” Smith wrote:

And if you like women, NEVER call them “cunts”. Or get vulgar with them at all. And if you like me or my stuff at all, then NEVER express yourself to ANYONE – woman or man – in misogynistic terms. This is important to me. Even before I was married and had a daughter, this was important to me. The Jay character aside, I’ve always tried to imbue the characters in my flicks with nothing but respect for women. If my movies have made you feel it’s okay to reduce another human being by labeling them a “bitch” or a “cunt”, then I was an even worse filmmaker than I thought.

He continued, “Granted, it wasn’t ALL misogynistic Tweets the author of that article received from my Followers; but if even ONE makes with the woman-hate, then I’ve failed to communicate that I stand for loving women, never hating or debasing them. NEVER. FOR ANY REASON. But ESPECIALLY not for something like a disagreement about a movie. Jesus…”

Sadly, this kind of behavior is status quo on the internet, but Smith’s response is exactly the kind of thing that should be happening more often. While sites like ours, or other folks in the geek community, can express how bad behavior like this is until they are blue in the face, having someone in a position of power (real or perceived) saying it, and saying it loud, has an even greater impact.

It’s the kind of thing we’re hoping to see more of in the new year. We’ve already seen a shift in the comic book world as it pertains to harassment – a serious call to stop the madness. Imagine a scenario where an editor receives a page from an artist or writer in which a female character is being objectified and the editor says, “No. Redo it.” instead of letting it slide by. That’s one of the places making a stand can make a change. Smith’s blog post is another.

Let’s hope everyone was listening.

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  • http://readingwatchinglookingandstuff.blogspot.com/ Janna

    Glad to see more geek guys against misogyny.

  • Haleigh Yonish

    I’m so torn on Kevin Smith. I’m glad he said this, but he always has an unfortunate amount of internalized misogyny that perpetuates in his podcast, interviews, etc. I’m glad he’s trying, though. Just don’t watch Comic Book Men!

    (I wrote a blog post about this for anyone who is curious about what I’m referencing)

    http://haleighcat.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-modest-proposal.html

  • Lindsay Beaton

    As a huge fan of Kevin Smith for years (ever since I got my hands on “Clerks”), I was happy to have confirmed that I’ve been on-point in enjoying his work with his (not even subtle, seriously) positive views on women. It’s always been pretty obvious to me that he is a feminist, as he has always been incredibly straightforward in real life regarding how he feels about his wife, his daughter, and women at large. In addition, the women in his movies have always, always held their own against the men, and usually play the upper hand pretty solidly, IMO.

    Still, portraying is one thing, writing it out in plainspeak for the yahoos of the world is another, and I’m glad he made his position abundantly clear. Now I can keep watching his movies and existing in the Kevin Smith fandom, such as it is, guilt-free.

  • Erica Friedman

    Recently I wrote a piece on how poor are at hearing and comprehending “no” from women. I used an example in which I told a guy no and he kept on about whatever it was then blocked me – and how common a behavior it was. The first guy to comment told me my post was a logical fallacy because one anecdote (that is not proven, he hasted to add) does not equal all scenarios. I pointed out that anecdote is how we communicate and how does one “prove” that an experience was truly experienced when it happens in private? (This will, I’m sure, resonate with most women who have ever been harassed.) A second guy told me that he explains how to say no to female friends all the time. I asked him if he spends as much time explaining to male friends how to “hear” no. He said no he doesn’t because women learn better and there are too many men. I noted that he’s basically ‘splaining to women, and doing nothing about the problem, so he called me “an intransigent idiot.” He thinks of himself as, of course, a nice guy and an ally to us easily trainable, idiotic women.

    Men must be responsible for the training of other men.

  • Ashe

    “Men must be responsible for the training of other men.”

    ^ This.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    Wow, I’m impressed that he went and called out his fanbase like that. Between that and calling out the executives about Young Justice I’m actually starting to like him as a person again.

  • Anonymous

    Great blog post, btw!

  • Haleigh Yonish

    Thank you! :) I just hit 6,000 views, currently glowing like a Nirnroot. Blogging is the best and everyone should do it.

  • KF

    Always nice to see a celebrity/filmmaker use the bully pulpit for good. Thanks for writing this up.

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    Wait, so there are Kevin Smith fans who actually liked Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back?

    Because I’m a Kevin Smith fan, and I know a lot of Kevin Smith fans, but I don’t know anyone who liked that movie.

  • Anonymous

    Too many men? He means, just about half of the entire human population?

  • Charlie

    Queue the guys sitting there going ‘Oh but we weren’t BEING misogynistic you see this is why she was bad!’ Shut up. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/8618-The-Wacky-Harassment-Blame-Parade

  • Ashe

    Severely overestimating one’s population size and impact on the world: a side effect of privilege.

  • WolfenM

    Heh, I loved that movie, and so did the guys I saw it with! That night is actually a rather fond memory of a good time with friends for me! :) Now, Clerks 2, I didn’t enjoy all that much ….

  • Anonymous

    I think, in a way, that was Smith’s goal here: training his fans by calling them out for unpleasant behavior.

    For the record, I would miss Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a warm memory from my stupid teenage days, but not enough that I’d be a dick to someone who doesn’t like the film. I’d just go watch it by myself.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve kind of thought the same of him, after seeing him speak at my college (i.e, tell stories) I got a vibe from him. It’s just not something I would have put into words until after this debacle, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees that in him.

    If you get a chance, do go see him speak. He tells really hilarious stories.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I love masculine studies- a branch of gender studies (its like feminism’s male equivalent) . Ever hear of Michael Kimmel- if you haven’t you need to.

  • Ocho

    My wife once met Kevin Smith at a friend’s party. At the time, she had no idea who he was, but everyone seemed really pumped for her to meet him. He was like “Hi, I’m Kevin Smith.” She was like “Hi, I’m Kara.” Then she said he then kinda acted confused. “No,” he said, “I’m Kevin Smith”. To which she replied, “And I’m still Kara”. Then some small talk, but nothing big as everyone was clamoring for his attention. After it was explained to her who he was, she thought he had acted a tad egotistical.

    So, really, like anyone else, he has his flaws. It’s admirable, though, that he at least recognizes and is working on his own demons.

  • Joe Momma

    Why do people always gotta go for the low-hanging insult fruit like gender, race, and sexuality? There’s plenty of other vulgarities and insults to sling about when your geeky passions come under fire. No need to be a bigot about it, all humans are generally terrible, race and gender don’t even factor into it.

  • Anonymous

    I love Kevin Smith, personally, as he seems like a cool human being, and I love much of his work. I sometimes find myself defending his work, and seeing his reaction to this makes me understand exactly why: even when it is not the best, he has a good heart. Some of his stuff is crude, but I happen to like that. Much of his commentary is very intelligent and insightful, and I like that a lot.

    For what it’s worth: Thanks, Kevin.

  • Lilian Bobadilla

    The reason IMO they do that is in order to insult and defend your geeky passion with vulgarity not related to Race, Gender, Sex, you have to have a modicum of intelligence to come up with a sufficiently intelligent and cutting remark. Also they would have to actually read what they are insulting people about and well that requires reading comprehension skills and actually work, and really is the Internet, very few people do that. Sadly.

    I actually like to get in to a battle a wits with someone, you know the kind where you know you should be insulted but you are not really sure if you were insulted, because what they said reads like a complement. A British insult.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    *jumps up interrupting conversation* “ELDER SCROLLS!!”

    (sits back down awkwardly, Steve Rogers style)

    “…I….I understood that reference…”

  • Mark Brown

    I liked it.

  • ♥☠ シイラ ☠♥

    I still quite like it. It’s ridiculous in just the right way & I laughed at it a lot. I have the DVD & still no buyer’s remorse.

  • Anonymous

    I have the radical notion that all human beings are generally awesome. Also, being a bigot goes hand in hand with being an insecure a**hole.

  • Americo Alvarenga

    I’m sorry, I won’t accept that he means it, until he addresses this. http://eternalproductions.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/an-open-letter-to-kevin-smith.html

  • Laura Truxillo

    “He said no he doesn’t because women learn better and there are too many men.”

    Good thing women are only 50%+ of the population then! Thank goodness fedora-clad gentlemen like this are around to tell us how to say “no.”

  • Laura Truxillo

    Y’know, I think that “And I’m still ___” is a fantastic response even if you know exactly who someone is, fame-wise.

  • Layn

    Do you think it might be better these days with people sticking up for each other? I’m really afraid that once i’m in the industry due to my personality i’ll be speaking up every time i’m not okay with something, but i’ll be standing alone and suffer for it…

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Kevin Smith? Anti-Misogyny? Where was this attitude a few years ago when he sicked his twitter followers on me for politely unfollowing him for being crude and misogynist about Breast Cancer?

    http://kynn.livejournal.com/2009/10/04/

  • Bevin Warren

    well I would argue that her responce would have been incredibly egotistical…A very large amount of the population know and respect his work, even after it was explained to her who he was she basicly rejected his social standing… i,e she essentially put herself above him on a social heirarchy… now I don’t know what she has done to accomplish this priveledge but I doubt she has achieved more in our Culture then Kevin Smith had.

  • Ria Narai

    HER response was egotistical? Just because he’s famous that doesn’t mean he’s better than her or that he should be put on a pedestal and everyone around him should bow down to him – especially people who have no idea who he is.

    If I didn’t know who a celebrity was and they introduced themselves and then re-introduced themselves as ‘No, I’m such-and-such’ I’d have acted the same way, like good for you buddy, I’m supposed to care why? Expecting people to know who you are just because you’re famous is pretty much the definition of egotistical.

    And wow, just wow, she ‘rejected his social standing’ by not knowing he was famous? I didn’t realise we were in such a rigid class based society that we needed to grovel at the feet of celebrities who’ve ‘accomplished more than us’ (by whose standards exactly?), give me a break.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Read that story again. She didn’t know who he was until after their meeting. And even if she did, why should she have acted any differently? Most celebrities don’t want to have a big deal made out of their presence at casual social gatherings.

  • Eve

    It’s kind of like the prequels for me. I pretend nothing else existed in that movie except for the scene with Mark Hamill, just like Yoda going kung fu crazy is the only part of the prequels that I will acknowledge.

  • Eve

    Good grief.

  • Jake Mertz

    My fedora resents your comment assuming that said “gentleman” wore one.

  • Layn

    Thank you for your reply! That’s very interesting. I’m not sure how to find any issue of the Harvard Business Review though.

    I tried a computer science degree before, but due to a huge depression and really broad nature of its bachelor i had to give up (the introduction class to the masters degree i aced and enjoyed so much!).
    Now i’ve done a game development degree, which in many ways has been disappointing, but has also taught me a lot of things that you usually only seem to learn after years in the industry! I still need to finish it up with an internship, but couldn’t yet due to personal reasons.
    I did study Computer Science thinking if it didn’t work out in games i could do something else, But it was quite telling that the one project where we were supposed to make Sokoban was the only one i enjoyed. Oh and the one time i ended up designing a version of snake that has a third axis. Oh god making games is so fun.

    I didn’t understand, is it good to have played a lot of games? I… uh… i think my game experience might not be quite healthy :P. It has however given me a very very good sense of what works and what doesn’t… but has put my thinking firmly inside the box, which i regret.

    Oh i hope it’s okay to ask more questions!
    During my studies i’ve made a point to get to know each aspect of development and have developed my skills in each one really well (well, obviously to varying degrees still), but that means that my portfolio pretty much reflects that, meaning that i don’t have as much to show off from 3d art and animation as i would like to. Do you think it’s okay to highlight my diverse skillset or should i rather make a maddash to fill my portfolio with stuff and pretend i’m mostly just a 3d artist? I’ve noticed that due to the personal reasons i’ve mentioned i haven’t been quite able to work quite as much on my portfolio as i wanted to either…

  • Caroline Kingwell

    I’d just Google for a torrent of the magazine, but I can’t really get more specific here.

    Computer Science degrees can easily go bad if someone plays a lot of video games or takes on a lot of “projects”. I basically have to ban myself from “projects” and MMOs when I am in pursuit of *any* challenging or tedious classes. This tedx may help with the reasons as to why if you think about it in the context of gaming sometimes manifesting as obsessive escapism working against “vitality”: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share.html

    To get in as a designer it’s about understanding how games work and who you know. It’s great to have a degree too because it obviously helps a lot. Degrees did not used to matter as much. I’m not sure how the gaming experience could have put your thinking inside the box, because you’re still a “player” of games, by the sounds of it. What you saying that makes me think of is designers feeling threatened by avid gamers once they’re not that way anymore. Designers who feel threatened start to assign sides, like “player” versus “designer” etc, but I wouldn’t worry about it outside of the context of someone feeling threatened — it is an asset. The trick is to find a person to hire you who appreciates that asset — the degree will help. I would reassess the “inside the box” thing, because it may not be the negative that you think it is (I could just be misunderstanding).

    Being a programmer will get you more money and job stability than being a designer, but it is extremely different than being a designer (being a manager in either is different, to boot). I think of it in terms of manufacturing. A designer is on the assembly line, while the design leads are the true people who get to design the game, and the programmers are like the engineers who make the game and usually have some novel puzzle to think about. Not a perfect comparison, but my point is that designers do a lot more repetitive work than most people realize. A programmer who knows the games extremely well is a great asset, and if you look at the LinkedIn for many MMO executives, a fair number have come from programming backgrounds. Artists make art and are usually specialized in character or environment art, usually being great at photoshop (textures) is a big plus — but I honestly do not really know. Best to ask an artist. Not many people go into sound development and I don’t know much about it either. Working fast is the biggest asset that I noticed in game development :) It gets you noticed for promotion.

    “Development,” as you probably know, is the overarching term for design, art, programming and sound, as well as all the management for each of those areas. If you want to go into programming, for example, you shouldn’t bother making a 3D art portfolio, unless it’s a 3D engine that you coded. What you need is listed right here: http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/careers/posting.html?id=13000GB If you don’t get a reply it’s not because your application isn’t good enough, it’s just that they get so many applications, they usually only pull the ones that are recommended from someone internally. The people who would look a applications regularly are in HR, but it’s the leads who decide who is going to be on their team, so that’s why a recommendation is such a big deal — to get seen by the leads. Of course, finish your degree before applying, but they do have internships listed on their careers page, too (which you prob already know). Sometimes people start out at smaller companies than my example, Blizzard, because then you can get the experience and work your way into getting to know people, while applying repeatedly.

    For art specifically: If you want to go into art then you’ll definitely need a portfolio, but you’d need to talk to an artist to find out more about that. Knowing the game (or games in general) well isn’t as big of a deal in art, but it’s certainly not a negative, and if you want to move up high in the ranks of a good company, then you should know the game as well as be a good artist. The (by far) main thing for art is to be talented as an artist… and of course to communicate that with your portfolio.

    Sounds like you just need to figure out which area you truly want and go for it, this helps for soul searching: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

    Just Google the personality type at the end and it’s helpful for knowing yourself. By the sounds of it you’re an INTP or maybe an INTJ who plays a lot of video games :) Either way, none of it is a bad thing, all good!! It sounds like you’re setting yourself up really well, but just need to decide on an area of expertise and invest in that without distractions.

    So to answer your question more directly, it is good to mention your diverse skillset, but always apply for the specific job you’re applying for, so it wouldn’t necessarily call for highlighting skills outside of the application, just a mention in a cover letter. It’s all in writing a good cover letter, at that point. The important thing is that you give examples of times that you have displayed skills in the area you’re applying for, and any required examples, portfolios, etc. Sample code, sample games that you’ve worked on are key, but don’t include so much fluff (stuff that doesn’t directly apply) that it hides the ball or distracts people from the points that you want to get across in your application. Sometimes, especially without a recommendation, people will tldr applications. You may try getting a recently published book on writing cover letters, and that should help.

  • Layn

    Thank you again! :D
    Oh god that test. I had already tried it once, but i’m never sure what to answer. So often it’s “sometimes this, sometimes that” “Made myself be more like this, but used to be the other” “I don’t know” “please define x” “i don’t have any basis of experience” or even “maybe, but i won’t admit that!” :P
    My result was ESFJ, with E and S both at 1% F and J at about 40%. The profile does sound like me!

    The Ted Talk isn’t buffering right… i’ll watch it later, but it seems to be interesting.

    I feel like my thinking is inside the box, because when designing or brainstorming i stick by my experiences of what worked and not without trying more outlandish things. It’s definitely not bad, but i have a hard time making new concepts. I find the ideas that develop when i brainstorm with someone with a lot less game experience really interesting.
    But it does kinda worry me that i might be taken as just an obsessed gamer.

    Ah i wish artists new more about the technical aspects. Being oblivious about the technical has so often led to friction and more work.
    Thankfully working fast is what my degree was best at teaching! with 6 main projects in 3 years with possibly a few side projects you do learn how to manage your time and get things done for the deadline.

    I have ended up deciding against programming but have found some liking in designing and programming GUI! Since i could program i always ended up having some programming role in projects despite saying that i have to concentrate on 3d art…
    I’m afraid that i might not be as good at it as i think and should have instead applied for a different position.
    Ah but true, i love all aspects of it and like to switch roles every so often.

    Ah that book might be really helpful. I really struggle with cover letters.

  • Anonymous

    I wrote about the previous event with Smith’s fans (and members of his close circle, it should be made clear) on my blog. I compared their vitriol to the positively pleasant diatribes I got from Rosie O’Donnell’s fans when Rosie retweeted one of my digs at her.

    http://itrd.blogspot.com/2012/02/we-cant-all-be-center-of-universe.html

    It seems clear that the people who are fans of whatever thing one gets comments about will dictate the kind of comments you get. Kevin’s fans are mostly young men, and Rosie’s…very aren’t. Odds are you’ll get wittier tweets of commentary from, say, Neil Gaiman’s fans than those of Justin Beiber.
    I think it’s awesome that Kevin stepped up and read his fans the riot act. I think it’s tragic that he had to.

  • Caroline Kingwell

    Sounds like you’re figuring it all out. The important part is to know who you are so that you can own it and not let other people convince you that there’s something wrong with you. That way, you can play to your own strengths without questioning yourself. Sometimes people have a hard time understanding that others can think differently from themselves, and have that be ok. It’s easy to think that you need to be more like someone else, or that there’s something wrong with you, especially as a young female — self doubt.

    I had guessed you are an INTP because you seem to have that unfocused inventor thing going on, which I am familiar with in some friends. I’m not sure what all being an ESFJ entails, but it’s definitely not the same thing, because it sounds like you have a good ability for completing what you set out to do. The road blocks you have encountered seem like extenuating circumstances or figuring out what exactly to apply yourself to. I know for you that the S and the J are a big deal to each other, whereas myself as an INTJ the NT are a big deal to each other. It’s all generalizations, but it’s nice to help you feel comfortable in yourself. You may look at LinkedIn profiles and think about making a path for yourself towards management in some area, because that is an entirely other ballgame that I didn’t really mention. Our posts are getting too long for me to go into the details of management, lol. Suffice it to say, some form of both education and “avid gamer”ness is a big deal for management. Some people get into management without these things, but they aren’t necessarily on great games or they don’t necessarily have good job security or ability to move up (peter principle).

    Being on the border of the Myer-Briggs can have its advantages, but I can see that making the way you see the world be challenging to pin down. I’m high in all of my percents, so while I can’t relate, I have known people who are low on their percents to be both creative and hard workers, so it’s really up to you. Although, I think that I have met someone with the same personality as you, and while she is great at PR and several other roles (doing a good job, attention to detail, in general), she can be somewhat limited on abstract analysis. But that’s just her and again, it’s a generalization and everyone is capable of each type of thought (I don’t want to put anyone in a corner, here!) and each has a strong suit that others are missing (as much as I hate to admit that… as an INTJ, lol). It’s really finding out what you _enjoy_ doing, or how you prefer to see the world, rather than anything that is written in stone. I guess that just complicates things more :) Either way, it’s up to you to find your strengths and play to them (your driving forces), and have the confidence to not let other people make those decisions for you. I’m sure you’ll figure it out, and you’d make a great part of a game development team, once you do.

    These forums be pretty fun and sometimes informative: http://personalitycafe.com/esfj-forum-caregivers/

  • Laura Truxillo

    Hon, as a lover of vintage clothing and someone currently more than a little obsessed with all things gangster-era right now, let me say that I think the fedora was once a fine bit of headwear, and hopefully will be again.

    Right now, though, it isn’t. It’s acquired, through no fault of its own, a meaning. I wanted to deny this for a long time, but experience shows that it is very difficult for any man to pull off wearing a fedora right now without looking like some kind of bad-brony MRA mansplaining douchenozzle. It sets off warning bells for most women, it really does. It doesn’t make you a douche, in the same way that wearing a flat-brimmed baseball cap perched Just So on your head doesn’t make you a douche, but the sad truth is that many of the outspoken I’m-Not-Sexist-But…-type fellows tend to wear just such a hat. There’s a pretty good likelihood that the original poster is one of them. He may wear it with a flannel shirt open over a video game t-shirt, but he wears one.

    The fedora will have its day again. But first, it must fade for a time, and return when the time is right.

  • LifeLessons

    I now LOVE Kevin Smith even more. Huzzah sir!

  • Anonymous

    Off topic on post but on-topic re: fedoras.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Denny O’Neil one night, introduced by a mutual friend. Now that’s a man who knows how to wear a fedora.

  • Layn

    Thank you so much for the conversation! You showed me how good it is to have a mentor. It sounded like a good idea to have one, but i was kind of confused what i’d even ask, but this has been so informative. I’m probably going to look into #1reasonmentors if it’s still around.

  • Jake Mertz

    I refuse to let what such “gentlemen” wear define what I wear. I wear a fedora, and if a woman, or anyone else, makes assumptions about me because I wear one, that’s their problem, not mine.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Sure. But it is still your problem. Women have a pretty good reason for being wary of guys in fedoras these days because they’re a symbol of a certain subculture with a lot of casually outspoken misogynists in it. It’s a symbol of something. You don’t have to be a part of that subculture, but you’ll get the same reaction as if you were. I mean, hey, if you’re fine with that, aces.

    It’s not really their problem. They’ll just see you and stay away.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Clean shaven and with a nicely fitted suit? Because that’s pretty much the best way to wear one.

    (Matthew Bomer pulls it off nicely. As do a lot of guys in the swing dance community.)

  • http://unbornunicorn.wordpress.com/ Amanda Gun

    Everything you said is so true and I am so sick of the fact that as women, we are CONSTANTLY told/taught/expected to be on our guard and protect ourselves and in every single way make some kind of change so the poor men don’t ever have to make a shred of effort to better themselves.

    What also annoys me is that so few men seem to have an issue with being thought of as stupid, mindless beasts and lost causes. If someone says about you that you “can’t control yourself, can’t be expected to do better, can’t learn this one tiny thing,” why wouldn’t that piss you off?

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    As a fedora (and trilby) wearing gentleman… actually, I got nuthin’. I just wish those misogynistic asshats would wear asshats instead of fedoras, because I was wearing them before they were cool, or before there were hipsters, and I don’t want to be associated with asshats, or hipsters. ;P

    /does that make me a proto-hipster? ;)

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Is it really that bad? Not questioning it, but rather, I simply don’t know anyone else like that (i.e. misogynistic MRA types… or people who wear fedoras). Not saying they don’t exist, just that I don’t hang out with such people so I don’t know either way (as I’m the only person I know who wears one). I’m just confused about when misogyny became tied to fedoras, because I didn’t know it was a ‘thing’, so to speak.

    Either way, that makes me :(

    More so about the misogyny than about whether the fedora has taken on a bad meaning.

    Thankfully, the one hipster I know/knew not only did not wear a fedora or trilby, but was also fiercely anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-homophobia, etc. and a very cool guy, for someone who was at least ten years younger than me. I don’t even know if he would identify with the term ‘hipster’, but he, ahem, _ironically_ fit the stereotype (eg. facial piercing, fitted lumberjack shirt, etc.)

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Well, I think it’s dangerous to over-generalize, but definitely with most human beings there’s a danger in devolving to one’s baser, animalistic natures if there were no societal constraints to prevent them. It’s a very ‘Lord of the Flies’-type phenomenon that often occurs during wartime when normal societal rules no longer apply.

    But rather than saying that because this is so, that this is the way it should be, it’s more a case of ‘there is a danger of this in any situation, so we have to do more to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future’. How we are going to go about doing that as a society is a different question entirely.

    Certainly I think it’s patently unfair and unjust that women can’t walk alone out at night without the fear of the very real threat of being attacked, so I don’t believe that the onus should have to be on women to have to protect themselves when it’s the obligation of society (and men) to try and make the world a safer place for women, regardless of what time of day or night it is or where they are, or whether they are alone at night.

    That being said, I think it’s dangerous to assume that just because the world _should_ be a certain way, that that is the way it actually is, and without victim-blaming but simply in terms of exercising caution, it does behoove all vulnerable people to take extra precautions and to be wary, for one’s own self-protection, in the “better safe than sorry” sense, rather than a “if you don’t do this and you get raped, it’s your fault” sense.

    And of course, it doesn’t excuse men from remaining willfully ignorant about these matters and resist all attempts at education, or behaving in inappropriate ways towards women and then attempting to excuse it as “boys will be boys” or “that’s the bestial nature of man”. If anything, the “bestial nature of man” is exactly why we need society to change so that boys and men are educated to understand that women and girls are people too, and that this sort of behaviour is not right, and that the more men there are in society who understand this, and fight against it, the less likely such scenarios will occur like in Tahrir Square with Lara Logan, or the Delhi rapes, or Steubenville because there will be so many boys and men around who will stop these things before they happen.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    As a cis-male gamer, I am so sorry you had to put up with that and it drove you away from something you loved, because that should not have happened, and I think it’s definitely also a loss to the industry because we need more female voices in the industry which is steeped in male privilege even when it is not blatantly sexist and misogynistic. In particular, without unique voices representing underrepresented groups in the industry, there will never be anything really new, really interesting, really fun, because it will be the same-old regurgitated games every year, which is definitely a loss for everyone concerned.

    The blatant misogyny and sexism of not just the industry, but just video gamers in general, makes me really mad. But for my part, I’m sorry that guys like me didn’t stand up for you and against that sexism and misogyny you experienced: I can’t claim to have always been a great bastion of anti-misogyny, or even that I am now, but especially after seeing how Anita Sarkeesian was treated so despicably for daring to raise issues of sexism in video games, it really opened my eyes and I try to do my part to at least tell people off on Xbox Live for engaging in that sort of sexist, misogynystic banter and taunts, prior to muting and reporting them.

    Of course, it’s Xbox Live, it’s full of rampant racism, homophobia, etc. as well, but if people don’t say anything, nothing is going to change because such people will think it’s socially acceptable, when it should not be.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Well, if you mean ‘achieved more in our Culture’ in the sense of “perpetuated male privilege and sexist stereotypes about women in his movies”… then yes, you’re right. ;P And I say that as a fan of the Jay & Silent Bob movies, but just because I’m a stoner geek doesn’t mean that I can’t see considerable issues with Kevin Smith’s movies and scripts which are problematic from a feminist standpoint.

    I was thinking the same thing when I was watching other comedies by other directors and writers, and in general the older I get (and the more I read online about sexism and misogyny – and actually witness said sexism and misogyny being blatantly displayed online) the more unfunny most comedy seems to me now. I felt the same way watching the ‘A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas’ on Netflix the other day: parts of it were very funny, and very well-done, but always at the back of my mind was how so much of the movie still catered to male sexual fantasies of power and privilege over women, not to mention the really gross and disturbing attempted rape by Neil Patrick Harris (the character, not the actor, although the actor plays the character, if that’s not totally meta) of a female co-worker.

    To me, I realize that it’s satirical, but I also know there are soo many guys who would not ‘get’ that it’s satire, in the same way so many people didn’t get Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song and dance number at the Oscars as satire, and in that sense, it just reinforces sexist and misogynistic values in our society despite ostensibly having been done as social commentary to criticize said views.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Awesome, I’m glad that Kevin Smith is taking to heart “With great power, comes great responsibility” and stepping up to speak out against misogyny. I mean, even if I could probably do a critical feminist analysis of his movies that would show male privilege issues in his films, it makes me glad that he stands against misogyny publicly and is willing to denounce anyone, including his own fans, who engage in such.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I took the Spawn and some friends to the mall last weekend, and of course Spencer’s is a must stop for teenagers.

    They had an entire section devoted to fedoras. I wanted to cry.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The women in his movie are people, not props.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’ve seen every one of his Q&A specials. He does that format so well.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I wanted to like Comic Book Men so much. Pawn Stars but with comics? I’m there.

    But Brian Johnson is such a freaking tool, who thinks being a racist misogynistic asshole makes him “edgy”. I wanted to hug that old man at the flea market who rode his ass out for messing up Ming Chen’s table. I hated how everyone mistreats Chen even if it’s supposed to show him getting the better of all of them at the end of the episode.

    Making Chumlee of Pawn Stars the butt of the jokes works, because he’s a privileged guy who’s only got the job because he’s BFFs with the owner’s son. It doesn’t work with a guy from a marginalized minority, it just makes everyone look like bullies.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Honestly, like I said, it’s something I thought was silly for awhile, until I started noticing that, yup, almost any guy on OKC who had a fedora on had a pretty icky profile that he clearly thought was classy (to be fair, like, 90% of OKC profiles are…just awful), and various other tiny incidents that added up.

    This article explains it much better, and provides links: http://feminspire.com/the-fedora-isnt-the-problem-the-men-wearing-them-are/

    “I’m not in the business of being the style police. I am, however, in the business of telling men that unless their fedora is accompanied by a three-piece suit, they’re likely to be judged as a brony-MRA-redditor and therefore not score. That’s just a fact.”

  • Haleigh Yonish

    Brian is so cringe-worthy! When he was talking about Batgirl needing a wheelchair after The Killing Joke and saying (paraphrase) women without the use of their bottom half are useless… Not to mention the CONSTANT stream of gay jokes all of the employees make. It’s like a weird, dumb high school group of friends instead of adults in their 30s-40s.

    And you’re totally right about the bullying. It makes me uncomfortable because he seems to be the only one with innovation working there, and everyone’s constantly harping on him. Also, it’s not like it’s an isolated occurrence… It’s literally every episode.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Doesn’t sound like a show I would want to watch. It sounds like even though it’s meant to show up the bullies, it just ends up normalizing bullying behaviour instead of simply saying ‘no, that’s not alright’.

  • Anonymous

    Aw, crap. *sigh*

    I thought I looked dashing.

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    I never made it through a whole episode, but I did watch the compilation video of some of their more misogynistic moments. Maybe the show as a whole wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over them talking about Oracle being useless because if you dated her you’d have to take care of her (which is five levels of both incorrect wrong and what the hell wrong).

  • http://www.justplainsomething.com JustPlainSomething

    And to be clear, Smith wasn’t the one who said that but he did say that it would be cool because he would want her to have him take care of her, which has it’s own level of what the hell.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Wait, bronies are also a part of this? I did not know that.

    Not that I am one, but rather that I feel kind of bad because I used to make fun of brony-culture because I thought it was something being ‘liked’ in an ironically hipster fashion, but then I found out the sons of one of my female friends were bronies for no other reason than they liked My Little Pony because it had a positive message and they were raised not to have a fixed idea of gender roles, so now I try to defend Bronies on the internet, even if it’s not really my thing.

    /does have an MLP “Wiggles” baby unicorn
    //an ex-GF sent it to me so it has sentimental value ;)
    ///does have a Reddit account, but doesn’t use it

  • Laura Truxillo

    I thought “brony” was a pretty cool thing when it first happened. I mean, how cool is it that guys like something aimed at girls because they can acknowledge it’s value. It’s a groovy show, and I liked the term.

    I mean, sure, it got a little awkward the way you had to make sure safesearch was on if kids were gonna look for MLP art, and the way some of them were very loud about wanting to be catered to, both in the show and with the merch despite not being the target demographic (like this dude: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTleunYqX0s&feature=youtu.be) although Hasbro’s been pretty cool about making extra things for the adult fans, but overall, hey, more fans, that’s cool.

    Then stuff like this happened: http://bronysock.livejournal.com/589.html

    And, well…there’s a reason even MLP fans tend to look side-eyed at anyone still self-identifying as a brony. Like the fedora, it’s another case of a not-inconsequential group of loud-spoken, horrible people ruining something (in this case the term brony, though for some the whole show) by making it difficult to disassociate with them.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone
  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Ah, I hadn’t heard about this. I imagine that this is a major problem with all kinds of communities where pedophiles attempt to infiltrate subcultures which are predominantly populated by children, young teens, etc., in an effort to groom them.

    I know that my sister used to be part of a Lolita cosplay group and they had to switch to closed membership and make their posts private, because these old creeper dudes who clearly weren’t into that scene at all except looking for ‘lolitas’ in the Nabokov sense, started following their site activity. :(

    I’m kind of weirded out by how so many young 12-13 year olds are on Xbox Live (particularly on games like Call of Duty) because it’s not a scene that I think is really appropriate for that age group, with a lot of really bad behaviour being displayed by people who are supposed to be adults, using a lot of really terrible language (i.e. racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.). I wonder where their parent(s) are, and then I hear their parents yelling at them over the mic and realize, these parents know what their kids are doing, and just don’t care.

    I have at least one Xbox Live acquaintance who sounds really young, and I wouldn’t have accepted his friend request had I known how old he was. I think kids should play with other kids online, really, because there is a real danger of sexual predators online and there’s a lot of personal information that gets passed on even quite innocently while in chat that could be used against them, especially if the kids aren’t being properly educated on internet safety by their parents or guardians. Unfortunately, I can’t think of how places like Xbox Live would enforce such rules without the assistance of the parents of those children.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    I think _Chasing Amy_ had its issues, but overall, I think its heart was in the right place. I mean, I haven’t watched in over a decade, but I remember liking it at the time.

    But for once, I’d love to see more movies dedicated to geek culture from a female (or any underrepresented) perspective, because there are only so many geek movies I can watch from a stereotypical white cis-male hetero perspective before it gets really old: where are all the feminist geek stories and movies? I have a few female geek friends and I wonder when they get to tell their stories, about dealing with sexism and misogyny within geek culture, their loves and hates, etc.

    Same with stoner culture: I know a few female stoners who could tell some good stories, but all I ever see are bro-stories: what few women there are are girlfriends or incidental characters, not main characters with fully-fleshed out personalities, and I think that is disappointing because it does perpetuate this myth of women being somehow different from men, when the reality is we’re all human and much more alike than we are inculcated to believe. I mean, obviously, there are _some_ differences in terms of biology for example, but most of those differences explored in film are clearly not only stereotypical, but only written from the perspective of men.

    I think if Kevin Smith is really serious about fighting sexism and misogyny, perhaps he can lend his clout in the industry to start supporting more indie films by female writers, female directors, etc. making movies about what it’s like in geek culture, or stoner culture, or what-have-you, from a feminist perspective, in an entertaining way. Because I don’t believe one has to be female to enjoy those kinds of stories, because ultimately, they should still contain universal themes about the human condition, _and_ it has the added benefit of giving more women in the industry more exposure as well as showing moviegoers that a movie written and directed by women, about female sisterhood, feminism, and geek culture _can_ be entertaining, hilarious, fun, and popular.

  • Jake Mertz

    If the implication was that every man who wears a fedora was a “mansplaining” jerk, and I wear a fedora, and I’m not one of those, don’t you think it would be odd if I didn’t resent that? I mean, I’m also a blonde, which means I must also be a bimbo. I’m tall, which means I must just love playing basketball. I’m tall, blonde, and white, I must be a racist. Gotta love stereotypes, huh?

  • Jake Mertz

    The thing is, I define who I am, and what I wear. I’m not about to let others perceptions of what I’m wearing influence that. If they will make assumptions about me, based on just what I’m wearing, then that is still their problem. However, I am not about to let their assumptions define me. And, if they’re going to make assumptions about me, without even taking the time to talk to me, to get to know me, then, you know what, I am fine with that. I don’t have time to waste on people who don’t take the time to actually get to know me.

  • Laura Truxillo

    “If the implication was that every man who wears a fedora was a
    “mansplaining” jerk, and I wear a fedora, and I’m not one of those,
    don’t you think it would be odd if I didn’t resent that?”

    My initial comment was less that everyone who wears a fedora is a mansplaining jerk, and more that mansplaining jerks tend to be wearing fedoras. There is a distinction.

    Ducks are birds with webbed feet. Not every bird with webbed feet is a duck,

    Likewise, I’m still not saying that everyone who wears a fedora is a sexist or a creepy Nice Guy trying to be classy. Just that those kind of guys tend to be the ones who wear a fedora to class themselves up a bit (usually without putting in any actual effort that being classy would involve), and thus, it’s become a symbol of those sorts of people.

    What you wear certainly doesn’t define you as a person, but if you wear clothing commonly associated with a certain subculture, it’s not much of a leap for someone who doesn’t know you to assume you’re part of that subculture.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I kind of want a magic wand that could make that a reality…

    Fashion’s always a cycle. The fedora will lose the loser-edge eventually.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I’m not in the game scene much, but yeah, that does sound kind of uncomfortable, realizing that someone you’re playing a mature, violence-and-cursing-filled game with is a kid.

    Also, sorry your sister and her friends had to deal with that.

  • Laura Truxillo

    What. Oh geeze, why do people put so much effort into being hateful? That’s freaking awful.

  • Jake Mertz

    And that’s just the problem. People never take the time to get to know each other, they make snap judgements based on what they see, making assumptions based on what they think they know about people who wear such things. If it’s all right for someone to assume that I’m a misogynistic jerk based on just my fedora, then would it be all right if I assumed a woman wearing a beret was French?

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Hah, I just realized my above comment could be misconstrued: “I was wearing them before they were cool” refers to fedoras, not asshats. ;)

    /although I may or may not have worn an asshat in my day as well ;)

  • Anonymous

    And the worst part is 90% of those idiots would rip a new one to anybody calling their mother by any of the words they used against someone who merely expressed an opinion that isn’t theirs. Hypocrites.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    *sigh* Sometimes it’s self-identifying ‘liberal’ asshats who are the most sexist/misogynistic/racist/homophobic/etc. gasbags, because they so cannot see their own privileges and how mired their worldview is in it that their cognitive dissonance prevents them from even admitting it to themselves.

    They seem to think “I don’t identify as ‘sexist’ (I _love_ women!) so therefore I cannot be sexist; ergo, I am not sexist”, when really, for me as a cisgender heterosexual male, I feel it’s my duty and obligation to fight the sexism and misogyny (amongst other human failings) first and foremost within myself, and to call guys out on it when I see them engaging in it. My first recourse should not be to excuse it just because I think most guys are incapable of learning: we need to be raising young boys to be men who inherently understand this, and it starts with educating oneself, and sharing that self-knowledge, the understanding that we’re all fallible and capable of being exactly the sexist and misogynist we don’t want to be. But we’ll never be free of those biases and prejudices if we claim we don’t even have them to begin with, since intentionality isn’t everything: it’s easy for people to be ‘accidentally sexist’ and not even be aware of it.

    A relatively young business newscaster in Canada named Amanda Lang, who has her own show on CBC called ‘The Lang & O’Leary Exchange’, which is an American-style business news show where Lang, the feminist progressive liberal who is environmentally concerned despite coming from a fairly well-to-do background, argues constantly with her friend and co-host Kevin O’Leary, a “self-made” successful business person, the son of an immigrant single mother, and he is often very reactionary, although clearly not to U.S.-style conservatism. Anyway, not to digress, but Amanda Lang herself once caught herself being sexist, on air, towards a female meteorologist, who she made the faux pas of referring to this co-worker as ‘the weather bunny’ (I think it was) or maybe ‘the weather girl’, which sound like cute terms of endearment, you realize that when so many meteorologists are female, and many are chosen as much for their looks as a lot of other on-air hosts, and think about how much these meteorologists struggle to be taken seriously in the news media industry, which is deeply patriarchal (although getting less so in Canada, since now only one major Canadian newsanchor is male: the anchor positions are finally going to some seasoned female news reporters.

    Amanda Lang immediately caught herself, and apologized on air to the meteorologist and looked really embarrassed by the faux pas, which I think speaks well of her: she made an unintentionally sexist remark, caught herself, owned up to it and apologized to the person she hurt with her remarks. Whereas I see unprofessional behaviour from news personalities all the time on some other stations I’d rather not name, but behaviour that would get you canned in any other job, never mind that it just went live over the nation’s airwaves. :P And some of that behaviour is blatantly sexist against female meteorologists who are treated as these ‘clueless bimbo’ types. And these are the same people who are spouting Tea Party rhetoric on-air as if it’s fact, so one has to take their behaviour with more than a heaping of salt for all that they seem to be able to tell fact from fiction. ;P

    Anyway, definitely something men need to consider if they want to be allies to women, as feminists.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    I look at it like Ed Hardy shirts: I’ve seen some nice ones rocked by geeks like Cliff Bleszinski and thought about getting one, but it turns out a whole bunch of d-bags also like wearing those. Do I really want to even risk being associated with people like that, even by mistake?

    Either way, I’m glad to know about this, so the next time I rock my fedora or trilby, I’ll think about how people might perceive me.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    Heh, but I’m used to people wondering about me, because I used to be a member of SHARP – SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice. You don’t know how many explanations I had to make about how the roots of skinhead culture was anti-racist, not racist, and that it was a mixture of white working class youth hanging out with their newfound West Indian and Jamaican friends who smoked a lot of ganja and listened to ska.

    It’s tough being an Asian skinhead, let me tell you. ;P Running into neo-Nazi skinheads was like, at least ten times worse as an Asian SHARP member.

  • http://www.myspace.com/krantzstone Krantzstone

    I’d love to see the female versions of Harold & Kumar, really: I’d be interested to hear about their exploits and humour. Just one and a half hours of women hanging out, having fun, being good friends, without once making conversation that is about some male character: is that too much to ask? I mean, if the women want to talk about men the way women really talk about men, it’s one thing, but come on, not every woman talks or even thinks like the stereotypical characters portrayed on screen about women.

    I ‘get’ where Katherine Heigl was coming from when she said the movie she made, ‘Knocked Up’, had a sexist depiction of women, and she’s correct: It’s insulting how the women are portrayed as shrewish, scolding, demanding, unreasonable, emotional, etc. while the guys get away with acting childish and not taking responsibility for their own actions, and being man-children. So I respect that she stood up to say that, and maybe she wasn’t quite aware of it when filming, but I guess having watched it, she realized it wasn’t good. It’s too bad the way Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow decided to defend the movie instead of taking those constructive criticisms to heart and try and make movies that are less from the white cisgender male heterosexual that they all seem to be. I mean, come on, this is Judd Apatow, who made ‘Freaks and Geeks’ which had a realistic representation of a smart young woman Lindsay Weir (Linda Cardellini) growing up in the ’80s, complete with an awesome soundtrack. Where is _that_ Judd Apatow, and not this one who puts his own wife in movies where she has to portray a shrill, ridiculous caricature of a woman? Totally one-sided, and bad writing.