Since the way male comic pros treat women at cons is the topic that’s going around (thanks in large part to the brave postings of my pal and collaborator, Tess Fowler), and since I’m seeing a few very odd reactions to it, I feel like I need to balance some of those odd reactions. No one is asking you to stop being human. No one is asking you to never think of sex. No one is saying that if you ever misread a signal, you’re horrible. Few if any are even saying that if a woman shows up and expresses the desire for the sheer unlimited awesomeness of having intimate physical relations with A Real Comics Creator, you cannot find some legitimate mutual benefit in that (but no; I’ve been going to cons for decades, and if you think that is happening to you, at least take a second to figure out if there’s some way you may be misinterpreting it.)
But if you’re trying to bring up sexual possibilities quickly in an environment that is not set up for that, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you’re trying to subtly suggest that there might be benefit to an assignation beyond mutual pleasure and perhaps some genuine possibility of something longer term, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you think that sexual access is something you’ve earned via your awesomeness, yeah, you’re being a shmuck.
If you’re reading sexual signals into things repeatedly at a con, you’re being an idjit. You may be confusing women at a con being in personal presentation business mode (smiling, attentive, and nicely dressed) with a different set of social signals. Notice that you’re not actually getting anywhere, and learn.
Folks: Don’t be surprised when folks you consider talented, or even folks you consider feminist, also show some shmuck tendencies. Being a good artist or knowing how to turn a phrase does not turn off heterosexual drives. Thinking that women can do things just as well as men and should be free to succeed does not turn off the desire to be doing nekkid things with them.
The women who are at a con are not there for your pleasure. Even the women who have spent thousands of dollars trying to emulate an Adam Hughes cover shot are there for their pleasure, not yours, and if your pleasure is gained by detracting from their comfort… or even if you’re willing to detract from their comfort for a long-shot at pleasure… then please find somewhere else to go. Cons get so much better when the women creators get treated as part of the creator class, and for that matter when the women who feel like squeezing their lithe or ample selves into Catwoman or Black Cat outfits aren’t made to feel like they’ve put a target on ourselves.
Almost all of us will have moments in our lives when our drives make us a little stupid, a little awkward, push a little too close to the line. I’ve made mistakes (no, I’m not listing them); please try to recognize them in yourself, and pull back.
And if you see the opportunity to discourage such behavior in other guys, whether it’s taking a moment to give a guy a clue or being ready to physically block something that is getting out of hand, please do.
I had heard brief mention of a Remington Steele reboot being planned, which brought to mind my key thoughts on doing such a reboot a few years back. For those unfamiliar with the series, it was about a female P.I. who was having trouble establishing herself due to the “female” part of that phrase, so she gave her agency a fake male figurehead, the titular Remington Steele… only to find that a slick, handsome conman shows up, claiming to be Mr. Steele, and insinuates himself into her business.
My main thoughts on reworking this for a more recent time:
- the key problem with reworking RS is the central “she was getting nowhere because she was a woman” doesn’t play nearly so strongly in modern times (not that everything is hunky dory on that regard, but the conversation has changed.) So either this is a period piece, or she has something else holding her back; if we make her not one of the beautiful people, perhaps disfigured by not disabled, that might work. “Handsome con man” still solves the problem.
- the key and amazing thing that you didn’t have to change? Casting Pierce Brosnan. Older, confident conman actually would work better in the role than young impetuous one. Yes, it means that the romance aspect is May/December, but even concern about that can be overcome with the she-is-not-beautiful aspect, as it becomes less “desperate older man seeking hot young thing” and more “finally, a man mature enough to see past her surface.”
But it’s a moot point, because it turns out they’re not restarting the series; they’re doing a sequel, the next generation.