I’ve been thinking a lot about the Brian Wood allegations of late. I’m not there, I’ve never been there. I’ve dated one woman that I met working in comics. I’ve certainly have been attracted to many women that I consider friends and colleagues. I would hope that I never came off as untoward but I also never actively made advances towards any of the women i’ve worked with. I don’t know Brian, we’ve met, but we’re not friends and don’t travel in the same circles, So I can’t defend him, but I also won’t condemn him either.
I’m also not discounting what Tess Fowler, or some of the others have made public. However, theres a part of me that knows that outside of my work life, I had a very active dating life when I was single,and I may not have always approached it the right way. As individuals, or perception of events differ from others (The classic your version, my version and the truth somewhere in the middle comes to mind.) . the problem I have is we have reached a point in our technology, where the ability to demonize strangers, harass them, torture them has become to easy.
Is there sexism in comics? Hell yes. There’s also an undercurrent of racism too. Is it good to have the conversation and try to change things, yes. However as Heidi MacDonald pointed out in her excellent article :” None of what I’ve just written about is comics behavior. It’s HUMAN behavior. There are jerks and assholes in every industry. In all the vast body of writing about the increasing tensions of men and women — many attractive, most sexually active—interacting in the comics sphere there is bad stuff that is singular to our corner of the world, but most of it is everywhere. And as women enter the field in ever greater capacities—as readers, as creators, as fans—these problems have become more common.”
I don’t have a catch all answer to how to change things. We live in industry that is filled with people who don’t have great interpersonal skills. The concepts of personal space and inappropriate behavior tend to blur for some. Add to the mix talented, attractive, intelligent women who share the same interests that they do and some guys (And some gals too, let’s be honest) Don’t know what to do with themselves. (I once had a woman continuous try to paw on me at a show, grabbing my ass and aiming occasionally for the crotch.) cosplayers, who for the most part try to replicate the sexier costume designs from comics, etc. constantly have to deal with pawing hands.
There’s a part of me that wants to say “It was nearly a decade ago, people change”, but again, I wasn’t there, i’m not a woman and I can’t speak from that perspective, but as a father, I would hope that Catherine would show the same bravery as Tess Fowler and others have.
I don’t think trying to ruin Brian Woods career is the answer either.