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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Scott Kurtz will get his dad on you

Scott Kurtz does this webcomic called PVP, which I've mentioned before. Recently he did a comic in which his characters dwell on the joy of objectifying women. Apparently he was surprised that some people were offended by it, and responded with a comic in which he depicts his own father saying to his audience words to the effect of "I think it's funny so screw you if you can't take a joke."

Now consider this is not even Kurtz's actual father defending him by dismissing any criticism, it's Scott drawing a picture of him and entirely literally (in the actual usage of the word) putting the words in his mouth. For all I know, he may have said this, but we are not told this. All we have is cartoon Kurtz senior defending cartoon Kurtz over a comic made by actual Kurtz.

Which is pretty sad and pathetic.

It's also a typical reaction of Kurtz to any criticism: don't consider if it is valid, just put down anyone who voices it and call them names. Because how could anyone not see the good natured fun in looking at boobs.

Point 1: Yes, it's something that men do. Men do lots of stuff that even they wouldn't consider appropriate to do in public. That doesn't make it right, funny, or appropriate to put it in a comic in such a way that shows you are endorsing this behaviour if you aren't prepared to take the flack for supporting such a sexist attitude.

Point 2: Getting your father to support you on this is not helping. It's just showing that you aren't the only one in the family with a sexist attitude. At least if you drew pictures of your mother or your wife standing up and supporting you it would look as though you actually cared enough about whether the comic was offensive to women to actually ask one.

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46 Comments:

Blogger Revena said...

This makes me feel pretty good about having decided to stop reading PVP some months back.

6:04 am  
Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Yeah, that last strip was, well both Not Funny and also Whiny. Which is typical of any strip where Kurtz decides he has to go on the offense against his critics.

I read his strip online AND buy the floppy reprints. Because 99 times out of a 100 I'll at the VERY least find it amusing. He's deservedly earned his place as one of the top webcomics out there. But when it comes to criticism he's thin-skinned like an overripe peach...

I've followed some of his bigger feuds, on Websnark, on places associated with Joey Manley and other webcomics related spots. By all accounts hes a nice guy, generous, etc etc. But he has a tendancy to go off like a half-cocked jackass often enough that I hesitate to call myself a fan of his work (though I am)...

8:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure you're on the right track on this one. It seems to me that he's mocking those that objectify women and how easily they're conned into buying something (i.e. a movie ticket) with a (false) promise of nudity. To be sure it happens, but the comic doesn't really seem to be supporting those boobs (pun intended).

The second comic is probably just an attempt to mock the criticizem by supplying a response that doesn't take it seriously at all which is far better than most people respond to criticizem they feel is undeserved.

10:48 am  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Plus, the joke was funnier when Family Guy did it.

6:24 pm  
Blogger Rob S. said...

Well, it was funnier when Family Guy did it because it was Peter's side boob! In other words, it was funnier when there was a joke, and not just someone pointing out, "Hey! Side boob!"

The side boob doesn't bother me. But man, is that comic dull as dishwater.

11:17 pm  
Blogger Scott said...

So, because I pointed out that men like boobs, I was supporting objectifying women?

I call Bullshit.

All I said was that guys like seeing boobs. We do. That's why women keep wearing shirts that show off their cleavage (and we thank you for it).

On top of everything, the specifics of the strip point out that "showing less" is better than just blatant frontal nudity.

2:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, because I pointed out that men like boobs, I was supporting objectifying women?

I call Bullshit.


Mr. Kurtz (if this real is you):

Don't give this girl's ramblings a second thought. She's a two-faced hypocrite, who was supposedly quitting the blogging game.

I, of course, knew better. The self-rightous jackasses like her can never give up their soap boxes (no matter how small they might be), because then, whoever would look at them and their pathetic selfs?

Oh, and Mari, I knew you couldn't stay away. I called it. Score one for me! ;-P

5:56 am  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

Mari:

It's not just you. As you say, Kurtz as a record of doing this kind of thing. As I noted in one of my own columns, he once did an entire series of comics devoted toward mocking furries, mostly making jokes about them having sex with animals. When people wrote in to explain to Scott that such people are a minority among furries who just enjoy dressing up, he basically said "Whatever... just stay away from my dog."

I can also personally vouch for him being very thin-skinned when it comes to dealing with his critics.

Anonymous:

Mari hardly needs me to play shining knight on her behalf. And I hardly think I need to point this fact out to anyone...

... but it's hard to take someone seriously when they don't have the guts to give a name, if not a link to their own work

Besides, last I checked her "retirement" post was called "Goodbye, maybe". That, to me, sounds like a less than defiinite statement of quitting.

I for one am glad to have her back. I think most of the blogging community agrees with me on that point, though I'm sure Judd Winick is wetting himself somewhere. ;)

9:21 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

"Scott", I don't believe for one second you are the actual Scott Kurtz. But thanks for displaying the old male privileage there (go look it up). "Women show off the boobies for us to look at so it's okay!" Oh please. *rolls eyes*

Starman Matt, I appreciate the support, and that's a lovely Winick image. Our anonymous troll crossed over into stalker territory so long ago that now his comments just get me sympathy.

12:29 pm  
Blogger Nimbus said...

"Women show off the boobies for us to look at so it's okay!" Oh please. *rolls eyes*

Hmm. Of course, here I would add - why do some women show off their boobs then? But perhaps I'm not allowed to ask the question?

Anyway, having looked at the strip (pun not intended but there anyway) in question I have to agree with the first anonymous comment.

To me, it appears to be an attempt at irony and to mock those objectifying women. The first line "We... salute one of the greatest artistic devices of cinema... the side boob shot" is obviously a joke. The side boob shot is not the greatest artistic device in cinema. It's not even a vaguely good one. It's therefore making fun at those that get excited about a 'side boob shot' (to the extent of, say, only watching a film because of that or pausing a DVD and zooming in on that shot).

The humour is a little weak but I found it vaguely amusing.

IMO, it isn't sexist. The films that show side boob shots in order to "keep the rating board of their back" are where the sexism lies.

Mind you, if the "Scott" above is the real writer of this strip, then obviously I got the wrong impression from my viewing. However, "Scott" is sort of right when he says "guys like seeing boobs" although perhaps he should've put the word 'some' or 'many' in front of that statement

1:18 pm  
Blogger Rob S. said...

Guys like seeing many boobs? Sounds about right.

The strip doesn't seem particularly sexist to me -- just simple.

3:35 pm  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

nimbus:

I admire your hopefulness. But since Scott Kurtz is reportedly good friends with Frank "Boobies!" Cho and Cho has done numerous pin-up covers for Kurtz to say nothing of Kurtz' own long record of objectifying his female characters in a non-ironic context...

As the eskimo said to the air-conditoner salesman, I'm not buying it!

3:38 pm  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

Rob S:

I don't think it's particularly sexist either. At the very least, it's far from the worst thing Kurtz has ever done.

I think Mari's main issue was HOW Kurtz responded to the criticism more than the comic itself. It seems to be indicitive of a general attitude toward most female complaints regarding comics that has become a part of our zeitgeist these past few weeks.

3:45 pm  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

One more comment...

Family Guy did it first. And it wasn't the least bit sexist. And it was actually funny.

3:47 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

Matt's right, it was more the way he reacted to criticism that prompted me to post, rather than the original strip.

Nimbus, of course some women show off their boobs for the benefit of some men some of the time. That does not mean that any given woman is doing it for your benefit at any given time, even if she has done so in the past.

And while I concede it is possible that there may have been some irony intended, it is not clear enough in the comic to not be read straight. In the same way that the Francis character uses "gay" as an insult, he is never criticised for doing so (not even by the token lesbian), and the result is that there is implicit authoritorial approval of the behaviour.

And yes, I know he had a sequence where Francis has a "gay crisis" but it was so clumsy that the character went from "gay is bad" to "I exhibited a trait which I, in my ignorance, associate with gays, therefore I must be gay" to "I like boobies so I'm not gay" without ever dipping below the utterly superficial.

4:12 pm  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

So Kurtz try to winick Francis?

winick (WIN-ick) * verb - the act of attempting to attract media attention by revealing the homosexuality of a character. See also: pulling a Winick.

4:40 pm  
Blogger Nimbus said...

Well, I can't really comment on PvP or any of Scott Kurtz's other works because I don't follow 'em. I was just looking at the particular strip linked in the blog entry.

That does not mean that any given woman is doing it for your benefit at any given time, even if she has done so in the past.

Agreed.

It, of course, doesn't stop me from being attracted to that women (even if she is not doing it for my benefit). Sometimes people seem to think that men being attracted to women's bodies (or women finding a man's body attractive, or any other combination) equals objectification (is that the right word?) of all women / men. One can be physically attracted to a person but that does not automatically mean one thinks that person is merely an object.

Oh and I was wrong. The linked strip is sexist - but against men. It's fostering the steroetype that men just like women for their naked bodies.

Amusingly (well, I like to think so anyway), my word verification is "bugur". Hmmm...

4:43 pm  
Blogger Rob S. said...

Careful, nimbus -- that word verif will get you fired from your radio show

4:47 pm  
Blogger universalperson said...

Thanks for coming back Marionette.

DOn't let the shadow demons drive you away again.

6:12 pm  
Blogger Electric Jesus said...

What a ridiculous criticism.

For reference, the post from Scott was in fact from Scott himself.

Of all the things on the internet to go after, this is a fairly pathetic example. In no way is Scott's comic sexist or offensive. If you choose to look for things to offend you, that is your business.

But what exactly did Scott do that was so offensive? He made a simple joke in his comic, which is a HUMOUR COMIC.

At no point in the orignal post is there any argument for why Scott's comic is "sexist. I see nothing in his strip about "the joy of objectifying women".

By simply saying that, without making any supporting argument as to why you think that, you lose all credibility on the issue.

Scott is simply trying to create funny, compelling characters. If his sense of humour is not to your liking, there a a million other webcomics you can read.

1:14 am  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

Electric Jesus:

For future reference, it might behoove you to read the entire comments thread before posting. Then you might have noticed that someone else tried taking Mari to task over how inoffensive the comic was only to have it explained that the complaint is not about the sexism but about the pathetic attempts to undercut other people's complaints about sexism.

I'd also like to know how you're sure that Scott IS in fact the Kurtz of Kurtzness +20.

1:58 am  
Blogger Electric Jesus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:12 am  
Blogger Electric Jesus said...

I don't know what that has to do with what I said.

First of all, I question the validity of those original complaints. The point of the original post here is predicated upon the assumption that Scott did something sexist, and people complained.

Either way, and leaving that aside, what exactly is the objection to Scott portraying his father in his comic?

Anyone who actually reads the strip knows that Scott's dad is often portrayed in the strip, and his dialogue is usually based on things he actually says.

If you assume that this is the case, what webcomic law has be broken by repeating those words in his strip.

And I know that it was Scott because he has said it was.

2:14 am  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

I question the validity of those original complaints.

And that is the issue - not the complaints themselves. The issue is that Scott didn't question the validity of the complaints at all. He blew them off, as usual, with a joke delivered through the literary mouthpiece that is his father.

If you assume that this is the case, what webcomic law has be broken by repeating those words in his strip.

Oh, there's no law against it. It is just exceedingly pathetic, even if Scott's father IS saying those things IRL and Scott is being an honest reporter... because it basically means that Scott is the artistic equivalent of the whiny kid in your 5th Grade class who cries about how everyone should be nice to him and how nobody understands him and that his daddy
thinks he is funny and cool when nobody laughs at his sad little comedy act at the school talent show.

And I know that it was Scott because he has said it was.

Ah, but we don't know for sure you know him, do we?

This isn't an accusation but I'm sure you know that there are some people... sad, pathetic people... who will often claim to speak with a famous person on a regular basis when they are trying to make points on a message board and quite often these people lie.

4:09 am  
Blogger Electric Jesus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:26 am  
Blogger Electric Jesus said...

This is getting redundant, I'm getting pretty bored with it, but I will give it one more shot.

How is it pathetic for Scott to employ a gag that he has been employing for years, and that his readers have come to expect?

I have always found Scott's responses to his detractors humorous and self-deprecating. But he is far more likely to accept criticism from those who have actual criticism. Calling someone sad and pathetic is not criticism, it's just insulting.

Matt, it's obvious from these and past writings that you either have some grudge against Scott, or just have some sort of personal problem with him and his work. So I know I'm not going to convince you.

And you are right. It doesn't matter if you beleive what I said, since I am not trying to speak for Scott. If he feels the need to give this any more of his attention, he will.

Personally, I am just going to let this drop.

4:30 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

"And you are right. It doesn't matter if you beleive what I said, since I am not trying to speak for Scott. If he feels the need to give this any more of his attention, he will."

I think he's moved on to jokes about grabbing boobs now. Of course it's "okay" because the two characters are in a relationship, though it's an obvious setup for the guy to grope the wrong woman by mistake.

I was just starting to read PVP more regularly. It's been okay for a few months (apart from the cringeworthy "gay" sequence), but it now seems to be digging itself a niche between 1970's farce and Beavis & Butthead, so I'll be making like a rat and jumping ship now.

"Personally, I am just going to let this drop."

Just as well. What blog needs two annoying stalkers?

4:46 am  
Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said...

Just as well. What blog needs two annoying stalkers?

You only have two? I'll be happy to let you have some of mine. What will you give me for a stalker who is unable to spell the phrase "commie faggot"?

Ah, I have missed you Mari. :)

6:29 am  
Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Actually all she needs to get trolls who can't spell "faggot" is to mock FFVIII. Man Square has some idiot fan-boys...

As for Kurtz I look forward to his angry rebuttal strip. And by look forward I mean, wonder if it will be the final NOT FUNNY bitter crank strip that pushes me to the point where I stop giving him money...

Seriously Mr. Kurtz learn to accept or ignore criticism and move on. PLEASE...

And Mari, I hope that the next thing that brings you back to blogging is to point out something you enjoy, 'cause I miss your blog...

11:15 am  
Blogger Scott said...

Mari,

First of all, this is really Scott Kurtz. I found your blog post via Journalista and got interested in the comments because, frankly, Matt Morrison is posting in here. He really makes me chuckle. So, let me address a couple issues directly and see if maybe I can't help you understand where I'm coming from.

On the subject of sexism (which, is the point of this article since you keep bringing up that PvP is sexist), you're off base. I could appreciate an honest and well thought out criticism of my work, but that's not what you're offering. Like so many other critics, you start off by distancing yourself from my work. I think this is a defense mechanism, maybe. I preemptive way of letting people know you DON'T like PvP, even though you clearly do, otherwise you wouldn't be reading it every day to have been offended by it. So you already set yourself up to be discredited because you begin by claiming an inadequate knowledge of my whole body of work.

Do I do strips that objectify women into sexual objects? Yes. I do. My male characters and their love of boobs is well documented and a long-time running gag of the strip. Does the entirety of my work objectify women? No. Is the entire body of my work sexist? No. You're picking one strip out of over 3000 strips that define my characters and their thoughts on each other and each of the sexes.

Your second issue is with my apparent dismissal of my critics by offering up a representation of my father to defend me. My father did defend me and those are his words. I did not put them in his mouth. The strip was based off an actual email he sent me.

On top of it all, the strip itself shows my father, at the end of the strip, joining my critics and insisting that I watch my language and show more decorum. It was self-effacing and honest.

Mari, like most of my critics, you're not very well read, you don't seem to have a valid point and you have absolutely no decent examples to back up your theories as to my motivations. You seem angry and looking for a fight. You're projecting on me. You're accusatory (assuming my current strip is nothing more of a lead in to make it appropriate for my character to ACTUALLY be sexist) and insulting.

I would suggest the following:

1) Do your homework.
2) Have a point.
3) Use examples to illustrate your point and support your opinions.

I hope that this helps. Good luck in all your blogging adventures.

6:54 pm  
Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Mari, like most of my critics, you're not very well read

And the Kurtz, make an attack on the critic defense returns.

Thanks Scott, I can use the 4 bucks a month I've been using to buy your comic to buy something else. I'm done...

12:19 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

Scott, for the sake of argument I'll take your word for now that you the real Scott Kurtz and not some troll, even though you offer no proof that you're just not another troll.

Do I do strips that objectify women into sexual objects? Yes. I do. My male characters and their love of boobs is well documented and a long-time running gag of the strip.

So you admit that you objectify women in your comic through your male characters. That rather makes my point on its own, doesn't it? Sure, not all of your comics are like this, not even a lot of them are, but how many need to be sexist before it's okay for me to point it out? How many boob jokes do you have to make before I'm entitled to be offended?

How many fat jokes can you take before you're offended? Or should it be up to the person telling the jokes to decide whether you are entitled to?

I was going to respond to the rest of what you said, point by point, but I honestly don't see the need, now. If what you believe is that it's okay for some arbitary proportion of your comics to be sexist, then the only other thing I have to say is you do your homework: go look up Male Entitlement before you do your next boob joke.

3:51 am  
Blogger Scott said...

Marionette,

How could I do a strip where Brent and Cole salute the use of partial nudity in film, and not admit that the strip sometimes objectifies women?

If your point is that PvP is sexist, then no, I don't think I've made your point.

I've been married for 11 years and I consider my wife to be more than an equal. In almost every way she's a superior person to me. She's smarter, she's got a much stronger faith than I do, and overall, she's got it emotionally together much better than I do. I never have and never will consider her subservient to me.

That being said, she's got great tits, and I love banging her. I find her to be incredibly sexy. I love pinching her ass when she walks by.

Does that make me sexist? If my characters express the same feelings towards each other are THEY sexist?

Fat jokes are hilarious. You can find a lot of them in my strip. I'm not going to be offended by fat jokes because fat people are funny by nature.

There's a difference between hearing a good fat joke and someone trying to hurt me by making a personal attack and pointing out what a fat slob I am.

I don't find any portion of my comic to be sexist. When I write, I want my comic to hold up a mirror to the way people really think and act. And through my storylines I can show the consequences for those thoughts and actions.

Like I said, If you can point me to a sexist strip, that supports your notion that I'm some sexist pig and consider women to be nothing than sexual objects, I'll stand corrected and you'll have supported your point.

One of my characters, Miranda, has been a part of small storyarcs that add up to one big character arc. Her story is about being born very pretty, and using sex as a weapon and defense mechanism. And I've been showing the negative consequences of that.

Seriously, I just don't thin you're well read enough in PvP. It's not a sexist strip.

I will say this. If my intent is NOT to be sexist, and I'm still offending a lot of people, then maybe I'm not getting my point across well enough.

So far, the vast majority of my readers are getting the point.

What do you think?

5:15 am  
Blogger Scott said...

Marionette,

You should come on to my podcast as a guest and discuss this with us. I think it would make a great show and maybe we could each make our points better than is possible in text.

email me at kurtz@pvponline.com and we can discuss it more.

5:23 am  
Blogger Marionette said...

Scott, you clearly are thinking about this more than I gave you credit for, and more than you appear to be sometimes when you go for the snark instead of addressing the issue, so I'll state my case, rather than picking at every detail.

My original criticism was not so much the sexism of the strip, but your reaction to it (hence the title of my article). One male backing up another on the subject of whether something might offend women wreaks of male privileage. You mention your wife, but have you ever asked her opinion on the subject of whether something you are doing might make your female readers uncomfortable?

I did not say the comic was sexist, I said the comic contained some sexist episodes. Which you agreed on. These are often pretty mild, but at no point do you ever suggest that there is anything wrong with this viewpoint. Sure, everyone has inappropriate thoughts, but they also know they are inappropriate, and stuff gets discussed in the locker room that you'd never repeat in mixed company. If you'd only ever have some acknowledgement of that difference then it wouldn't be so bad.

And just because you don't find any portion of your comic sexist does not mean that no one else will. I mean clearly that's not the case. I didn't see the original criticism to this one, so I don't know what was said, but you felt the need to respond to it.

And yes, I know you have a lot of happy readers. I've read some of their comments on your forum.

And I am always up for a reasoned debate on a subject, but I don't have the necessary equipment to take part in a podcast type of thing.

6:18 am  
Blogger Jamie said...

Mari, I understand your point about female readers possibly being offended by male appreciation of our bodies. But please don't act like you speak for ALL of Scott's female readers. Some may be offended, some not. I was not. An artist cannot please all of the people, all of the time, nor should they feel they have to. Do you deny that there are real men who act in the way the characters in the comic are portrayed? If the characters in the comic are meant to parody and occasionally reflect REALITY, why should the artist/writer change them so that they are completely politically correct, inoffensive and no longer resemble their real life counterparts, because some of the readers don't like those kinds of people?

And what the heck is wrong with appreciation of a woman's body anyway? You'd be flattered if they pointed out how lovely a girl's eyes were or hair, but they're not supposed to look at any other part of us?! Are we women not allowed to look at some guys lovely biceps and muscled chest, because someone might think we're objectifying them? Please try to refrain from imposing your horror of the human body on the rest of us. (And I notice not one person has said ANYTHING about any of the characters getting mauled by wildlife or hacked to bits by admantium claws. Violence is ok, but apparently physical attraction is not)

And as for the criticism thing - oh please. He can't ignore your criticism, but it's okay for you to ignore or insult anyone who criticises YOUR criticism? All your fans jumping on the bandwagon to support you against Kurtz are just as guilty as you accuse him of being.

He dismissed your criticism. Your life will go on. His life will go on. MY life will go on. An amazing number of us still find his jokes funny and will continue to read his comic. Why do you insist we switch to YOUR way of thinking about this whole situation, and yet you won't even truly consider OURS?

1:27 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

Jamie, where have I ever said that I am the Voice of All Women? I must have missed that bit.

Do you deny that there are real men who act in the way the characters in the comic are portrayed?

Yeah, I think I covered that in the post immediately before yours where I say "Sure, everyone has inappropriate thoughts, but they also know they are inappropriate, and stuff gets discussed in the locker room that you'd never repeat in mixed company."

If the characters in the comic are meant to parody and occasionally reflect REALITY, why should the artist/writer change them so that they are completely politically correct, inoffensive and no longer resemble their real life counterparts, because some of the readers don't like those kinds of people?

Because when they repeatedly behave badly with no consequence the writer is implying that he considers this behaviour acceptable. Francis calls things he doesn't like "gay" and never so much as gets told to grow up and stop being an offensive little twat, let alone get the slap he rightly deserves. Result: Scott gives tacit approval to this behaviour.

I think if you are going to parody bad behaviour then you need to include some kind of hint that it is bad behaviour. Of course if you don't have a problem with being objectified, then you're in the wrong corner of the internet.

Please try to refrain from imposing your horror of the human body on the rest of us.

So now I'm some body hating fetishist because I don't like being reduced to a sex toy? I take it you haven't seen my review of Bomb Queen where I complain that there aren't enough nipples on display.

And the reason nobody has mentioned the cartoon violence in the comic is because this discussion is not about violence in PVP. We already covered that in a seperate article several months ago.

He can't ignore your criticism, but it's okay for you to ignore or insult anyone who criticises YOUR criticism? All your fans jumping on the bandwagon to support you against Kurtz are just as guilty as you accuse him of being.

I don't even understand what you are saying here.

For the record, he did not dismiss my criticism. Quite the opposite. He engaged it, and even invites me to come debate it with him on his podcast.

Why do you insist we switch to YOUR way of thinking about this whole situation, and yet you won't even truly consider OURS?

I don't insist you do anything. Even Scott agrees some of his comics objectify women and are sexist. As far as I can gather from your rather vague diatribe, you believe that's okay. I have considered your way of thinking and I reject it, but if you are happy with people judging you purely as a plastic doll, that's your choice. Far be it from me to insist anyone treat you like a person.

4:59 pm  
Blogger Jamie said...

"Jamie, where have I ever said that I am the Voice of All Women? I must have missed that bit."

It's right here:
"At least if you drew pictures of your mother or your wife standing up and supporting you it would look as though you actually cared enough about whether the comic was offensive to women to actually ask one."

You're assuming he didn't ask any woman's opinion, because you're assuming any woman would be offended. So what if he HAD drawn the image of his wife instead of his dad? What if it had been GWEN instead of Brent admiring the promise of nipples with Cole? Does adding a female voice automatically subtract objectification?

"Sure, everyone has inappropriate thoughts, but they also know they are inappropriate, and stuff gets discussed in the locker room that you'd never repeat in mixed company.

What's inappropriate is often a matter of opinion. I didn't find it inappropriate, but you did.


"I think if you are going to parody bad behaviour then you need to include some kind of hint that it is bad behaviour."


A matter of personal opinion, and a form of censorship.


"Of course if you don't have a problem with being objectified, then you're in the wrong corner of the internet."


I never said I didn't have a problem with being objectified. I merely pointed out that I didn't think it qualified as objectification.


"I don't insist you do anything. Even Scott agrees some of his comics objectify women and are sexist. As far as I can gather from your rather vague diatribe, you believe that's okay."


What I believe in is freedom of speech. You want the man to censor what he writes before he publishes it to fit in with your moral structure. You don't have the right to demand that of him.


"I take it you haven't seen my review of Bomb Queen where I complain that there aren't enough nipples on display."

Ok, so why is THAT acceptable? Because it came from YOU? That sounds quite a bit more like objectification to me.


"I have considered your way of thinking and I reject it, but if you are happy with people judging you purely as a plastic doll, that's your choice. Far be it from me to insist anyone treat you like a person."

Boy, you like putting words in my mouth, and yet get upset when you think I'm reducing you to a "body hating fetishist". Why does jokingly admiring a "side boob shot" automatically equate "Women are plastic dolls and their brains mean nothing to us"? Where's the jump here? Did The characters say it to Jade or any of the other girls in the strip? If your complaint was that it was in mixed company, well for them, all guys were featured in the strip and the joke was going out to the male readers. Just like the video game jokes go out to the video game playing readers.

Look how nasty you got with me. You assumed a lot of incorrect things about me, were dismissive, insulting and antagonistic - and yet these are the very things you were complaining about in regards to Scott. You are a hypocrite.

10:42 pm  
Blogger Marionette said...

You're assuming he didn't ask any woman's opinion, because you're assuming any woman would be offended. So what if he HAD drawn the image of his wife instead of his dad? What if it had been GWEN instead of Brent admiring the promise of nipples with Cole? Does adding a female voice automatically subtract objectification?

Rubbish. I'm assuming he didn't ask any woman's opinion because he has at no point said that he asked a woman's opinion. If it had been his wife supporting him instead of his dad it would make a whole world of difference. I don't presume to assume that she would agree with me, I'm saying that not asking her is the mistake.

What if it had been Gwen? It would have shown some balance; some equality of lechery. It would have made a difference.

What's inappropriate is often a matter of opinion. I didn't find it inappropriate, but you did.

Which is the big problem here. You have no problem with sexist behaviour and attitudes. I do, therefore I blog about it. I'm not the only one. Check out my When Fangirls Attack link if you think I'm an isolated voice.

I never said I didn't have a problem with being objectified. I merely pointed out that I didn't think it qualified as objectification.

And I do. It's personal opinion. You can't complain I'm insisting you hold my opinion and then demand I hold yours.

What I believe in is freedom of speech. You want the man to censor what he writes before he publishes it to fit in with your moral structure. You don't have the right to demand that of him.

Is that one on the Comics Feminist Bingo card? I think it may be.

Yes, here it is. I quote:

No, censorship would be if the critic was heading a government body and inspecting each title before it came out, with the ability to prevent the publication of anything that violated the guidelines of that body.

Unless that is what the critic is doing, or proposing others do, what they are engaging in is critique, not censorship.

Personally, I’m not interested in censoring things. I want people to stop depicting women so poorly in comic books, but I want them to stop because they realise it’s fucking dumb, not because there’s someone with a rubber stamp hovering suspiciously above each page. If criticism contributes to people realising that depicting women so poorly is fucking dumb – and I have an inbox says it does – then that is awesome.


Further details at http://girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/index.php?entry=entry070518-204342

Why is Bomb Queen different from this? If you can't see it then it's going to take more time than I have right now to explain. Might just be simpler if you read some more of Karen Healey's Girls Read Comics column.

Why does jokingly admiring a "side boob shot" automatically equate "Women are plastic dolls and their brains mean nothing to us"? Where's the jump here?

The jump is that you see nothing wrong with the sexism in this comic, and appear unaware of or unconcerned with any feminist issues in comics or the rest of the world. I don't see how any woman can go through life without being constantly bugged about male attitudes, but that's just me.

12:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... such rubbish over a non-issue. Reading through the tripe was an utter waste of my time -- so much so that I've conceded to wasting another couple minutes out of my day to respond to the idiocy. Amazing the foolishness you wander into while surfing the 'net. Have fun tilting at windmills...

11:35 pm  
Anonymous Monroe said...

It was a comic about how men like breasts.

That isn't sexist. If you think men liking to look at breats is sexist, I suggest you pull you head out of your ass and perhaps take a basic biology course. Christ.

11:07 am  
Anonymous Ovenready said...

I think a fundamental problem that Scott or anyone else defending PvP faces is the fact that Scott is male. It doesn't matter that:

a) Scott recognises some of his characters objectify women but he himself is not a sexist

b) He considers his wife superior to him

c) PvP is a comic in which a range of characters - homosexual, heterosexual, male, female and even a-sexual - have a voice.

None of that matters to Marionette because she knows she is right and that everyone else is wrong. That seems pretty obvious to me.

However, I will say this. I have been reading PvP for seven years. I have read all of the archives. I consider myself to be a free-thinking, open-minded person. I am an anti-racist and an anti-sexist. Those things are abhorrent to me.

Looking at PvP, I can see nothing that leads me to conclude that Scott Kurtz hates women or feels women to be inferior, subservient or weak in any way (that is the definition of sexism, right?). Despite this, Marionette will permanently have the high-ground because at the end of the day Scott is a male author. He writes with his male brain from a male perspective about male interests. People will always be able to play the sexism card against him, regardless of how justifiable it is to do so.

Let's gain a little perspective here. We're talking about a comic strip. This is the realm of ironically-presented opinions, jokes, contradictions, silliness, parody and pantomime. Should anyone be taking PvP quite this seriously? While we're at it let's discuss the unfair portrayal of foxes in Disney's Pinocchio or perhaps the portrayal of carpenters in 'The Miller's Tale'?

"Remember, Grasshopper, the only thing more beautiful than a nipple is the promise of a nipple."

How can anyone take that seriously? Come on! Grasshopper? Please.

3:48 pm  
Blogger Starline said...

Mari, I read your blog fairly often, and I usually agree with you... but I personally don't feel that Scott was being sexist in that strip or in his response.

7:31 pm  
Blogger Court Jester said...

I don't know either of these people, but I do agree that there was no call for any of this, mostly from Mr. Kurtz. Because everyone is subject to their own view, we have critics. So, it should have been him being quiet and letting people have their say, rather than ending as the fool of the day. For as it is seen, no professional author would ever have been so petty over something so trivial.

An overview of the stupidity:
It was the author of the comic's poor attitude toward his fans opinions that the author of this blog had any issue with. Neither the author of the comic, nor the extremist fans have done anything but damage the reputation of the comic and it's author with the commentary. Scott Kurtz comments have been of a persuasive nature, though subtly written. His fans have been more extreme. Marionette and her friends simply stated time and again that none of what people were accusing her of was what she had implied or otherwise stated.

It's very difficult to hold one's ground, but Mari does it beautifully, and inoffensively. Bravo! Kurtz and his Kurtzies, poorly played out. I now have no regard for this man nor his fans. They are all biased, and far more ill read than the poor author of this article. To have stated otherwise is simply foolish on their parts, because it is obvious they can not be unbiased.

And unlike every one else, I can say all of this with a complete, unbiased point of view. There's no way that I can be, I have had no other influence than this whole discussion and the points stated by all the members. My opinion is not of the comic, but of the discussion itself, and the senselessness of it all. I have thoroughly read it and have perfect clarity of every single person's point of view on the discussion.

**Let it stand with this**
No one is at fault. Every fan must have a point where they are not satisfied with what they are given. Either with the author of a comic strip and his actions toward his fans views, or through the material that they present readers with. Whatever the case or circumstance, we all have a right to object or agree. But seeking out people whom we feel threaten us, or those we hold in high regard, is bordering on obsessive and disturbing behavior. That is not an appropriate action, and should have no place here, nor on any other blog. I think that much everyone can agree upon.

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Ovenready said...

Wow, every fan of Scott Kurtz is less well-read than Mari just for liking PvP? In that case, could Mari please help me with my essay on Beowulf? I was going to ask my tutor but now I've found someone automatically more literate than myself just because I like a certain thing.

Thanks Court Jester for your Solomon-like wisdom and judgement.

2:23 pm  
Anonymous Zeke Roberts said...

It's very difficult to hold one's ground, but Mari does it beautifully, and inoffensively. Bravo! Kurtz and his Kurtzies, poorly played out. I now have no regard for this man nor his fans. They are all biased, and far more ill read than the poor author of this article. To have stated otherwise is simply foolish on their parts, because it is obvious they can not be unbiased.

...Do I really need to say anything? Come on. "They are -all-"?

9:50 am  

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