Monday, August 14, 2006

A Necessary Correction

From Koben Kelley's pellet review of Gail Simone's Secret Six #3 at Newsarama:

"Gail Simone continues to prove herself as the leading female in the industry ..."

That single sentence fragment raised my blood pressure to dangerous levels this morning. (Thanks, Newsarama!)

Is it so difficult for the reviewer to simply state that Gail Simone is one of the best writers presently working in comics? (Or, the best writer presently working ...?)

The reviewer's choice of words angered me. Because the language suggests that gender is a useful lens through which we can analyse or assess writing skills. (We can't.) It also suggests that the reviewer has a problem stating that Gail Simone (a girl) writes better than some of the boys. (She does. The earth hasn't reacted to this fact by destroying itself.)

Finally, I completely and utterly reject the suggestion that women writers are in a different category (or league) from men, and therefore need to be held to different standards of excellence.

Right. Because if someone had said a (fill in the ethnicity) is the best (repreat the ethnicity) writer (or artist, etc), they'd be roundly vilified for being bigoted.

Besides, it's a backhanded compliment even without that problem because it's not as if there are as many women writing comics as men, so being the best of them isn't much of a stretch.
That's a nice analogy, Shelly.

Yeah, I really hate complements that turn out not to be complements at all.
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