Keep The A–holes Where They Belong: Behind Us
Over the last week or so, there has been a lot said in the comics world about abusive, aggressive and downright scary trolling.
Many women in the industry have been under assault from a clearly unbalanced man, some for years now. I won’t go into detail about his tweets and messages, but you can read about the story here.
I have never understood so-called “trolls.” They have existed since long before the internet and we’ve all encountered one. Be it the person who will pick fights about politics or social issues (often arguing points they don’t believe or understand) or someone who sends abusive threats via twitter, I don’t understand the thrill. What makes it even creepier is the pride some of these people take in being, well, assholes.
I’ve been targeted by these types of people on more than one occasion and I can say that the only reaction I ever had was confusion. My attitude has always been to deny these people the thing that they crave the most: the attention. It’s bad for everyone to engage in pissing contests and arguments that go nowhere because, well, they are usually based on nothing. But, I’ve never been in a position where threats could easily become reality.
This translates into the “IRL” world as well, particularly in the world of comics. The idea that it’s a “Boys Club” or not female-friendly in a comic shop is a notion that we’ve worked hard to dispel at The 4th Wall. The key goal of our store is to be as inclusive and open as possible and expose as many people as we can to the thing we love the most: comics.
I don’t know exactly what I hoped to accomplish with this post, aside from stating publicly that The 4th Wall is an open and safe space for everyone. To hear that some female creators have changed con appearance plans to avoid possibly running into certain people from the internet breaks my heart. I know that we are just one store, but I believe in being the change you want to see in the world, so I can only hope that the environment we create at The 4th Wall can do that.
In the coming weeks we are going to be rolling out a few ideas that will hopefully help encourage this idea of inclusiveness. In the meantime though, if you are experiencing any kind of “trolling” in your own life, speak up. You don’t have to take it online, on the street or anywhere else.