Aziz Ansari’s recent explanation of feminism hit upon both what feminism is — “If you look up feminist in the dictionary, it’s just someone who believes men and women have equal rights” — and what it isn’t — “Some woman’s gonna start yelling at you.” With this in mind, then, consider artist Razzytastic's comic about feminism that recently popped up on Imgur: It couldn’t have been better timed to further the discussion, because it addresses how sexism hurts everyone — not just women — and how feminism helps solve the problem.
The comic in question is actually a series of two comics, uploaded together so they can be taken as a whole. Razzytastic (“feel free to call me Razzy!”, the artist’s Tumblr says) says the first half was originally created as a raw response to Elliot Rodger and the UCSB shooting back in May. Originally from California and currently living in Japan, the shooting hit Razzy hard; this comic was the result. Covering the female perspective, this first half examines double standards in things like dating and catcalling:
And attitudes towards sex and appearances:
Eventually arriving at the conclusion, “Because men, women, and all people should be treated with respect.”
But Razzy didn’t leave it at that; a few weeks later, a second comic appeared, this time tackling how everyday sexism hurts men, as well — and why feminism helps everyone. The topics covered largely all fall under the umbrella of “femininity as an attack on masculinity”:
With the conclusion this time being this:
These two comics are by no means all-encompassing; it’s pretty much impossible to boil such a complex, many-sided issue down into one easy-to-digest form. But there’s a lot that’s important going on here — not only within the comics themselves, but in how both their creator and the world are dealing with them. The second comic, for example, seems to have been a reaction to comments asking, “Well, yes, but what about the double standards against men?” Wrote Razzy on the Tumblr post featuring the second comic:
“I’m not perfect. I’ve got a lot to learn, too. I made (and keep making) mistakes like any other flawed human being, but it’s thanks to my friends and people who are willing to talk about these issues that help me be more aware of my actions. I’m willing to learn and be positive! And I hope everybody else can be open as well.”
That openness to keep learning about an issue you don’t fully understand? That’s how paradigm shifts occur. That’s how real change happens.
And then there’s this: Even though the comics are a few months old at this point, they’ve been making the rounds on Reddit over the past few days — and why people are posting about them is as important as the comics themselves. Take, for example, one of the threads in which it’s appeared: It’s titled, “I’ve changed my view one [sic] feminism and how it effects [sic] us thanks to this.” Here’s what its original poster said about it:
And here’s the current top-rated comment in the thread:
And in an earlier thread also featuring the comic, we have this:
There’s a lot about Reddit that I like, but as Anita Sarkeesian pointed out in her recent XOXO talk, it’s not always the most feminist-friendly of places. Seeing the kind of discussion generated by Razzy’s comics, though? It’s encouraging. It shows that people are willing to approach feminism with a position of openness, which means that, however slowly, the change we so desperately need will happen.
I think it’s also worth noting that the comics themselves serve as an introduction to intersectionality. Feminism is not the same for everyone; the issues change depending on who you are. Kicking off the discussion about how feminism affects men as well as women is a good place to start; now we need to talk, as Tiffanie Drayton recently wrote on The Frisky, about how racism, classism, and all those other “-isms” affect feminism. We’ve got a long way to go, and sometimes I despair about whether or not we’ll get there… but I think we will, eventually, as long as we keep the conversation going.
Check out the full comic below, and see more of Razzy’s work on Tumblr.
Images: Courtesy of Razzytastic/Tumblr