BROSIE Goes Viral
I recently received an email from an anonymous fan sharing how she pulled a Hawkeye Initiative themed prank on her CEO to illustrate a problem with some artwork.
My personal compliments to her and her accomplice on a mission well done; they perfectly took the concept of The Hawkeye Initiative one step farther, and effected actual change. I hope this gives you as much of a laugh as it did me (the artwork is currently my desktop), and inspires you to be unafraid to stand up and take action in your own awesome way.
Now, excuse me while I go play my new favorite mech game. :)
I work with an all-female team of data scientists, in the gaming industry. This makes me the professional equivalent of Amelia Earhart riding the Loch Ness Monster.
I love my job. Our company in particular is great. Firstly, our game (HAWKEN) is beautiful and people love it. Secondly, half of our executive branch is female. Half of them are punk rock, and all of them are badassed. Our gender awareness standards, compared to the industry at large, are top shelf. We are talking Amelia Earhart in Atlantis, at a five star resort, getting a mani-pedi from Jensen Ackles. I have it good.
For the last six months of my tenure at Meteor Entertainment, there has been only one thing I did not love about my job. This
Our CEO loves this picture. It is to all appearances his favorite piece of comic art for the game. He had it blown up poster-sized, framed, and displayed on the out-facing wall of his office. There, it looms over the front room like a ship’s figurehead. It is the first thing workers and visitors see when they enter the building and the last thing they see when they leave. This little lady’s undermeats have been the open- and close- parens to my work world for the last six months.
I loathe this picture.
Why do I loathe it? How, you ask, can I stay mad at a sweet young belle who has so obviously taken a break from her important welding to offer me a piping hot cup of coffee and/or a vigorous hand job? (And probably, given her apparent safety consciousness, simultaneously?) If you don’t already know the answer, you might want to check out things like #1ReasonWhy, and the Bechdel Test, and also this, and this, and this and this, and all these other things. (And while we’re talking you should check out this other bullshit right here.)
So at our office holiday party, while our CEO was having everyone in the company sign it, I stand there grinding my teeth into tiny shards. Until, suddenly, it came to me: a vision.
And so it came to be that I approached Sam Kirk, a wickedly funny co-worker who shared my sentiment. Sam, turns out, is a very talented artist who can be bribed-slash-inspired using a medley of feminist indignation, hysterical giggling, and two $90 bottles of añejo tequila.
A month-and-a-half later, our vision was a reality. I give you:
Bro-sie The Riveter.
I want to make it completely clear that everything in this prank that required actual talent was done by Sam. Find this, and more of Sam’s art, at TheRealSamKirk.com.
We blew (ahem) Brosie up poster sized. We framed him. And then, at 7:30 on Monday, April 1st, we snuck into our CEO’s office and switched them.
I stood in the entryway, dizzy with joy. It was glorious. There Brosie stood, proud, nipples testing the air like young gophers in springtime, the post-apocalyptic breeze gently swaying his banana hammock. Brosie said, loud and proud: “Get ready, world! I am here to lubricate your joints and tighten your socket.”
I basically spend the next few hours having a joy-induced neurological episode.
As the morning progressed, Brosie (ahem) revealed himself to our co-workers. The air resounded with startled, suppressed gargles of mingled joy and horror. Some take pictures. Some instantly turn and flee. Several men blush and grin in vindicated solidarity. Several women ask us for prints. At this point I am in total rapture. This is the moment I have been dreaming about for six months.
Yet somehow everyone in the office manages to keep quiet about it. Until, finally, our CEO arrives.
We hear a loud: “What the hell is this?!” And then all goes quiet. Ten minutes pass. We panic.
We are both suddenly and painfully aware that we have, in fact, just punked the CEO of our company. He is by all accounts an awesome dude. He is also a late-50s ex-army guy who happens to determine our employment futures in an at-will state. Meep.
Twenty more minutes pass. And then our CEO comes up to my desk, taps me on the shoulder, and says this:
“That was a brilliant prank. You called me on exactly the bullshit I need to be called on. I put up pictures of half-naked girls around the office all the time and I never think about it. I’m taking you and Sam to lunch. And after that, we’re going to hang both prints, side by side.”
Ruby Underboob and Brosie the Riveter, together at last
Yeah. That happened.
This wonderful experience has taught me two things that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and in gaming. It taught me this:
Lots of men (like Sam) are already sympathetic to the stupid, constant crap women put up with in gaming/STEM, and they are ready and willing to call that crap onto the carpet.
And, most importantly, many of the guys who are behind that stupid, constant crap are totally decent, open-minded human beings who just don’t realize they’re doing it. You know how sometimes you don’t realize how much you and your girlfriend are talking about shoes or menstruation until some dude walks into the room? Well sometimes guys don’t realize how much they’re talking about titties.
We just haven’t been around enough for them to notice.
There is only one solution to that, ladies. Bust out your baby-Gap tee and your protective welding goggles, and let’s turn this damn industry into the environment we want it to be. It’s hard work, and yes, there are a couple genuine assholes along the way. But if Ruby Underboob can brave the occasional droplet of molten metal, so can we.
Speaking from experience, it’s worth it.
About our CEO, Mark Long:
Mark has a long and storied history with, among other things, research, games and comic art. He’s a partner in the RoqlaRue gallery in Seattle, representing “chick art.” Mark considers himself a feminist activist. He is proud to have created a graphic novel trilogy with Nick Sagan (Carl’s son) that features a female hero so strong, Hillary Swank is attached to star as her.
Mark and I are now in an open dialogue about gender in comics and gaming.
Inconvenience? You hear that people capable of getting pregnant? This is all merely an inconvenience:
Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:
- exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
- altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
- nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
- heartburn and indigestion
- weight gain
- dizziness and light-headedness
- bloating, swelling, fluid retention
- abdominal cramps
- yeast infections
- congested, bloody nose
- acne and mild skin disorders
- skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
- mild to severe backache and strain
- increased headaches
- difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
- increased urination and incontinence
- bleeding gums
- breast pain and discharge
- swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
- difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
- inability to take regular medications
- shortness of breath
- higher blood pressure
- hair loss
- tendency to anemia
- curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
- infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease
(pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, and
are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
- extreme pain on delivery
- hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
- continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)
Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:
- stretch marks (worse in younger women)
- loose skin
- permanent weight gain or redistribution
- abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
- pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
- changes to breasts
- varicose veins
- scarring from episiotomy or c-section
- other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
- increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
- loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)
Occasional complications and side effects:
- spousal/partner abuse
- hyperemesis gravidarum
- temporary and permanent injury to back
- severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
- dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
- pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 - 10% of pregnancies)
- eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
- gestational diabetes
- placenta previa
- anemia (which can be life-threatening)
- thrombocytopenic purpura
- severe cramping
- embolism (blood clots)
- medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
- diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
- mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
- serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
- hormonal imbalance
- ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
- broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
- hemorrhage and
- numerous other complications of delivery
- refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
- aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
- severe post-partum depression and psychosis
- research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors
- research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
- research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease
Less common (but serious) complications:
- peripartum cardiomyopathy
- cardiopulmonary arrest
- magnesium toxicity
- severe hypoxemia/acidosis
- massive embolism
- increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
- molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
- malignant arrhythmia
- circulatory collapse
- placental abruption
- obstetric fistula
More permanent side effects:
- future infertility
- permanent disability
In addition, there’s the risk of losing one’s job and, by extension, home; pregnancy/childbirth triggering traumatic experiences due to rape, molestation, or partner/spousal abuse; body or gender dysphoria; missing or dropping out of school; the potential trauma of choosing adoption; suffering from pregnancy related job discrimination; the economic toll of pregnancy and raising a child; and not being able to continue taking important medications or exacerbating pre-existing conditions.
Here’s some statistics:
- 358,000 people die annually from pregnancy related complications.
- 20% of people who die during pregnancy are murder victims.
- The risk of maternal mortality is highest for adolescents under 15 years old.
- Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among adolescents in most developing countries.
- A person’s lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15-year-old will eventually die from a maternal cause – is 1 in 4300 in developed countries, versus 1 in 120 in developing countries.
- A pregnant person has a 35.6% greater risk of being a victim of violence than a non-pregnant person. The estimated prevalence of violence against people during pregnancy ranges from four percent to eight percent.
- 40% of all pregnant people have some complications during pregnancy or childbirth. About 15% have complications that are potentially life-threatening.
Tl;dr So in case that wasn’t clear: pregnancy is always life threatening and never merely an “inconvenience”.
[ETA: I wish beyond all belief this edit wasn’t necessary, but I guess it is. This post isn’t meant to vilify pregnancy or the people who choose it. As I’ve said in a reply and an ask, pregnancy is always a valid reproductive choice for those who choose it. As a prochoicer, I support all reproductive choices including birthing ones like advocating for the choice to have VBACs, home births, and the right to say no to unwanted c-sections. I will fight as hard for those rights as I do for the right to an abortion. I don’t think birth is bad for those that want to do it, but some of us would literally rather die. This isn’t meant as a scare tactic against fellow people who can get pregnant. This is about the flippant manner in which cis men like to dismiss people’s concerns that pregnancy is more than an “inconvenience.” The last time I checked people don’t regularly die from inconveniences. For more see: this reply and this ask, which I also made rebloggable on request.]
Hi, Joe! Your face will endure the inconvenience of my fist being planted in it.
When somebody says, “I don’t think women should be raped for wearing short skirts, but what do they expect when they do go out like that?” what you are actually saying is that if a woman in a short skirt is raped, you will be less likely to hold her rapist culpable. Which makes a woman in a short skirt really appealing to a rapist. That’s something that you did. That’s not something the woman in the short skirt did, or something the rapist did. You made that woman a more comfortable target by making it clear that if she got raped, you would be less upset about it, less willing to see the rapist go to jail, less willing to support the woman. A woman is not increasing her risk of being raped by wearing a short skirt. You are increasing her risk of being raped by saying that women who get raped in short skirts should have expected that. Rapists hear you say that. By only raping the women that bystanders agree should be raped, a rapist reduces his chance of being caught and, if caught, punished. And that is why he will pick those women, over and over again, not because there is something more appealingly rapeable about them — they have what any woman has, as far as rape goes — but because he will be less likely to be held culpable for his actions.(via mollay)
When we ask men to reject sexism and the abuse of women, we are not taking something away from them. In fact, we are giving them something very valuable - a vision of manhood that does not depend on putting down others in order to lift itself up. When a man stands up for social justice, non-violence, and basic human rights - for women as much as for men- he is acting in the best traditions of our civilization. That makes him not only a better man, but a better human being.Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox. (via yawnson)
Seriously, read the whole thing. It’s a fantastic piece (though, sadly, not the first and probably not the last of its kind):
…I have long maintained that to bring in more female readers, superhero comics don’t even need to specifically target women as much as they need to not actively offend them. This is not an insanely hard to thing to do, and yet here we are.
…[This] is the whole problem with this false notion of “sexually liberated” female characters: These aren’t those women. They’re how dudes want to imagine those women would be — what Wire creator David Simon called writing “men with t*ts.” They read like men’s voices coming out of women’s faces. Or worse, they read like the straight girls who make out with each other at clubs […] because they desperately want guys to pay attention to them.
This is not about these women wanting things; it’s about men wanting to see them do things, and that takes something that really should be empowering — the idea that women can own their sexuality — and transforms it into yet another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their “sexual liberation” into just another way for dudes to get off. And that is at least ten times as gross as regular cheesecake, minimum.
Below on the left, I submit to you one of the starkest visual differences between men and women in superhero comics. On the ground, we see how the editors and writers and artists have chosen to dress a male Lantern, and standing above him we see how they have chosen to dress a female Lantern. These characters didn’t appear out of thin air one day; someone designed them to look the way they look, and designed it for a very specific reason. And those design choices shape the way that the universe treats women generally. And on a more personal level, it also plays a big role in how DC Comics tells me they see people like me. Because I know that institutionally, they don’t treat men like that; we’re never going to see a major hero like Hal Jordan in a costume like one on the right as imagined by Deviant Artist Bionarri.
In Red Hood and the Outlaws, this is DC Comics tells me a male hero looks like, and what a female hero looks like:
In Catwoman, this is what DC Comics tells me a male hero looks like, and what a female hero looks like:
…[W]hat I keep coming back to is that superhero comics are nothing if not aspirational. They are full of heroes that inspire us to be better, to think more things are possible, to imagine a world where we can become something amazing. But this is what comics like this tell me about myself, as a lady: They tell me that I can be beautiful and powerful, but only if I wear as few clothes as possible. They tell me that I can have exciting adventures, as long as I have enormous breasts that I constantly contort to display to the people around me. They tell me I can be sexually adventurous and pursue my physical desires, as long as I do it in ways that feel inauthentic and contrived to appeal to men and kind of creep me out.…
And I’m tired. I’m so, so tired of hearing those messages from comics because they aren’t the dreams or the escapist fantasies or the aspirations that I want to have. They don’t make me feel joyful or powerful or excited. They make me feel so goddamn sad that I want to cry, because I have devoted my entire life to comics, and when I read superhero books like these I realize that most of the time, they don’t give a sh*t about me.
I don’t really think that a welcome is enough, to be frank.
Feminism has a long long long history of cissexism and transphobia. Cissupremacy was at one point central to feminism. Second-wave feminists like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, and yes, even Gloria Stienem (though she’s gotten better I believe) actively worked to exclude trans women from woman-only spaces - which meant life or death when you’re talking about rape crisis and domestic violence survivor shelters. Trans women, who face a MUCH higher rate of gendered violence than cis women.
This legacy has created a cis-centric feminism in which trans women are dehumanized and excluded to this very day and in which cis women like me participate. Trans women still face extremely high rates of violence, and like all marginalized women their safety is still not considered a priority the way, say, abortion is.
We should not expect trans women to just join us because we waved and asked nicely, to trust a group that has contributed to violence against them, because we finally acknowledged that they are women. We’ve got to do more than just welcome women in, than deign to finally do something we should have been doing all along (I don’t think this is totally SHIC’s point of view, btw - she may share these views, it just got me thinking).
Cis feminists need to do more than just welcome. We need to repair feminism: to centralize trans women on a consistent basis, to take their violence and degradation as seriously as we do our own.rachel mccarthy james, emphasis pronoun (via regazzadilupo, sluthaditcoming)
German teenager Kim Petras has become
the world’s youngest operated transsexualyoungest child whose personal surgical procedure has been made into a public spectacle by the media after undergoing a surgery at the age of just16. The procedure – carried out in secret andpaid for by the German health service, which doesn’t sound at all secretive to me– was authorised after psychologistscissexist gatekeepers confirmedused their privileged position of power and culturally-upheld superiority to proclaim that she was “without doubt a girl in a boy’s body”a girl, something she knew all along and didn’t need anyone else to tell her. It is the world’s youngest evermost sensationalized full sex change operationvaginoplasty what does “full sex change operation” even mean seriously you guys and Kim had been undergoing hormone therapy since the age of 12. We’re not sure why we need to report all this information. Should we list any other medications she might be on as well? I hear she took Nyquil a couple months ago too.
Kim overcame years of taunts and bullying
to achieve her dream of becoming a girland now must contend with this kind of ignorant bullshit media coverage, isn’t that nice? And has begun a modelling career and launched a CD which is more of a contribution to the world than whoever wrote this original article could ever hope to give.
Kim, who is now studying fashion design,
began calling herself a girl when she was just two years oldknew who the fuck she was since she was born jeez what a surprise you douchebags get over yourselves already.(oddee.com)
yeah this is a GOOD VERSION
I like this version better, but my comment from when I rebageled the original still stands:
This girl is REALLY cute.
(Trigger warning discussion of rape)
Rolling Stone has an eye-opening interview with Grant Morrison posted and the writer has some very interesting things to say about the treatment of women comics.
On Sue Dibney’s rape in Brad Metzler’s Identity Crisis:
The first time I read it I was kind of outraged. I thought this was just… why? What the fuck is this, really? It wasn’t even normal. It was outrageous. It was preposterous because of the Elongated Man with his arms wrapped several times around the corpse of his wife. I thought something is broken here. Something has gone so wrong in this image.
That plotline faced a lot of criticism, in part because people saw it as misogynistic.
It’s hard to tell because most men try to avoid misogyny, really they do, in this world we live in today. It’s hard for me to believe that a shy bespectacled college graduate like Brad Meltzer who’s a novelist and a father is a really setting out to be weirdly misogynistic. But unfortunately when you’re looking at this beloved character who’s obviously been ass-raped on the Justice League satellite, even saying it kind of takes you to that dot dot dot where you don’t know what else to say.
Maybe it’s for the best that DC Comics is starting over now.
But I don’t know. There’s been lots of things, the sexism in DC because it’s mostly men who work in these places. Nobody should be trying to say we’re taking up a specifically anti-woman stance. I think it would be ignorance or stupidity or some God knows what. I was reading some Alan Moore Marvelman for some reason today. I found one in the back there and I couldn’t believe. I pick it up and there are fucking two rapes in it and I suddenly think how many times has somebody been raped in an Alan Moore story? And I couldn’t find a single one where someone wasn’t raped except for Tom Strong, which I believe was a pastiche. We know Alan Moore isn’t a misogynist but fuck, he’s obsessed with rape. I managed to do thirty years in comics without any rape!
I’m be interested to hear if Morrison includes The Killing Joke as one of Moore’s books that include rape. I’ve always been of the mind that there wasn’t but I’d love to hear his thoughts.
But it is quite amazing to hear Morrison talking about the misogyny in Identity Crisis. Maybe this will finally shut up the apologists I’ve come across throughout the net.
He almost said it, but then he didn’t: because DC is mostly men, they don’t and cannot, ever “get it”.
1. Every woman is an expert on her own life and experiences.
2. No woman speaks for all women.
3. No woman speaks for all feminists.
4. Because of the way cultural dominance/privilege works, marginalized people are, by necessity and unavoidability, more knowledgeable about the lives of privileged people than the other way around. Immersion in a culture where male is treated as the Norm (and female a deviation of that Norm), and where masculinity is treated as aspirational (and femininity as undesirable), and where men’s stories are considered the Stories Worth Telling, and where manhood and mankind are so easily used as synonymous with personhood and humankind, and where everything down to the human forms on street signs reinforce the idea of maleness as default humanness, inevitably makes women de facto more conversant in male privilege than men are in female marginalization. That’s the practical reality of any kind of privilege—the dominant group can exist without knowing anything about marginalized group, but the marginalized group cannot safely or effectively exist without knowing something about the privileged group and its norms and values.
5. Which is not to say that men can’t become fluent, with effort. But it is important to remember that it does take effort. Even though men’s and women’s lives can look so similar at first glance, it is shocking how very different they can actually be. (For example.)
6. A woman with intersectional marginalizations cannot wrench herself into parts. Asking a woman to set aside her race, or disability, or sexuality, or body size, or stature, or whatever, in order to discuss a “woman’s issue,” is to fail to understand that one’s womanhood is inextricably linked to the other aspects of one’s identity.
7. It is similarly unfair to ask a woman to leave aside her personal experience and discuss feminist issues in the abstract. You are discussing the stuff of her life. Asking her to “not make it personal” is to ask her to wrench her womanhood from her personhood.
8. You are not objective on women’s issues because you’re not a woman. Your perception is just as subjective as hers is, but for a different reason. Either we stand to be marginalized by privilege or stand to benefit from it. That’s the reality of institutional bias; it compromises us all.
9. Don’t play Devil’s advocate. Seriously. Just don’t.
If it’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a man playing ‘devil’s advocate’ with me over my life experiences or me trying to explain someone else’s life experiences.
What you need to understand is that we deal with your ‘devil’s advocate’ opinion every waking moment of our lives. Our experiences are constantly dismissed and we are constantly talked down to about our lives, so we don’t need you playing ‘devil’s advocate’. The entire fucking world is the devil’s advocate. What we need is someone who will LISTEN.
You don’t have to understand. Just please listen, and accept that what we say is our truth, our experience. We do not want to be dismissed or erased for being who we are.
Re-reblogging this because I did it from my phone earlier and the goddamn formatting fucked up, and that irritates the shit out of me. -_-; Anyway. Every. Damn. Word. Of. This.