No more worthless philosophy!
First off, that cover really annoys me. Whoever was in charge of designing it should have a finger vigorously wagged in their direction. The photos of the women involved have absolutely no theme and are (in several instances) pretty unflattering because of lighting or depth of shot, but you could work around that (say it's proving the awesome diversity of women or summat) if you actually bothered to group them in ways that made sense. Put the black and white photos on one line, the closeups of redheads on another, the hyper-colorful (OK, mostly purple) photos on another, or pair them up due to similarity of angle or pose, or SOMETHING...I mean, you could at least TRY, y'know? Am I the only one who watches HGTV or something? There are ways to do it!
*hem* OK then. Moving right along, the non-photographic elements of the cover remind me a lot of something my sister's arty friends would do to ironically call into question the whole notion of women's comics or something. "Sexy Chix" with a little '70s douche-package birdie on it? Not as classic as the tampon in a teacup, but it'll do in a pinch.
But it's not actually ironic, is it? This is the editor's intro, cribbed from one of the reviews:
These particular women are all creative, interesting human beings with some very real, and some very well expressed, female concerns--and that's what's really sexy. Not what goes on between the sheets, but between the ears.
And from an interview:
But the people who see something 'demeaning' in the title have already bought into a boys' club paradigm of the word 'sexy' -- the smut-mag definition, in other words. The 'Chix' of the title, the cartoonists, are all really amazing, creative women, and that's what's really 'sexy' -- at least, to most men I know."
So they really mean it, then. Perfik.
What I take issue with is the importance of "sexiness" at all. One of the contributors to SC is 8; why does an 8-year-old girl need to be "sexy"? Is a woman's value as a writer or an artist predicated on how much people want to fuck her--whether for her body or for her mind? If it is, why does it only apply to women? If it's not, then why bother calling them hot pieces of literary ass in the first place? I don't understand; if it's some sort of marketing ploy, OK, but as a method of taking back the night or something I confess I am mystified.
From what I understand, most people who find this monstrosity (the blog, not the SEXY BEST SEXIES) seem to think I'm a guy unless I hint very strongly that I'm a girl. When I'm linked to, I don't get tagged as a new female blogger or hailed for my estrogen-bathed insights (not that I have many insights in the first place, fond as I am of driveby-comedy-style blogging); I get descriptions of the "Not quite right in the head" variety, which is more than fair. Do any of you genuinely think that the bitchy webcomics make me sexy? Do you like my work less because you don't know what I look like--Hell, that you don't know my name? I suspect if I were to play up my gender, I might get more attention, but that goes against one of the few deep-seated moral precepts that I have: I will earn what I get. I don't want people to give me a pass or pay attention to me because I'm a girl in a man's world. It's dishonest. If people are going to like me, it should be because I've done something worth liking. I know that some avenues are shut to me because of my gender, but I can't control that at this point; all I can do is refuse to take the few gender-based opportunities offered as compensation, and hope that whatever talent I've got is enough to get me where I want to be. If I fail, at least I can feel that I really earned it--better that than railing against a universe that's been set up to crush me. Because if I'm not good at this one thing, that's OK; it sucks, but there are other things I'm good at, and there'll always be someone out there who's better than you. Every day in every way we get better and better. But if that's not the case--if your efforts are futile because the deck is stacked against you, and your only hope for advancement is the mercy of your superiors--then why bother soldiering on?
I don't want to demean or belittle the people who are in Sexy Chix (or women's anthologies in general); I think I understand why people would want to be in this sort of thing, and their reasons are plenty valid if I have them right. Even if I'm wrong, they can do what they want--of all the things going on in the world, "Women participating in sexy all-woman comics anthology" ranks somewhere around "Brita pitcher filter is a month expired" on the Threatdown. Comics have way worse woman troubles than that. But it's not for me.