Fanboy Rampage: Jennifer de Guzman Vs Dirk Manning

Fanboy Rampage: Jennifer de Guzman Vs Dirk ManningDirk Manning is a writer for Newsarama and he has also written for Bleeding Cool as well as having work published by Image Comics. And yesterday he shared the above meme on his Facebook page. Can you guess what happened next? He added the following in comments.

However, it is a pet-peeve of mine when I see a fashion model (for example) slip on a pair of glasses, hold-up a comic book over her ta-tas and then try to say "Look at me! I'm a gorgeous geek." As a loud and proud geek, this offends me… that's all. Someone can be a fashion model… or even a nude model. That's fine. But people should embrace what they really are without lowering themselves to false-advertizement, you know?

Jennifer De Guzman, PR & Marketing Director at Image Comics responded with her own meme

Fanboy Rampage: Jennifer de Guzman Vs Dirk ManningEndorsing calling a woman whore is grounds for unfriending. Goodbye.

Dirk replied;

I addressed this in an earlier comment in this very thread, but, again, for the record, I'm not endorsing the blanket (or otherwise) label of "whore" on women. Quite simply, that ain't me nor what I stand for on ANY level — as ANYONE who knows me on ANY level could attest to. Rather, I thought the picture represented a funny (and sad) "truism" concerning how some women chose to so blatantly and shamelessly objectify themselves by pandering to what they see as the lowest common denominator of the social hierarchy ("nerds") in desperate bids for attention. My "sharing" of this picture wasn't meant as an attack on women — but rather a commentary on the behavior of a very select group of people (men and women alike) who use online venues as methods of perpetuating very negative stereotypes of both women and "nerds" alike. I'm sorry if it — or I — came off the wrong way for the sole reason that I am NOT, under ANY circumstances, the type of guy your comment alludes to me being, and hopefully this explanation — whether you agree with it or not — at least makes my stance and attitude on this position more clear

Jennifer replied;

I say to all your justifications: FUCK THAT. You don't get to call any woman who is not, in fact, trading sexual favors for money, a whore without being out of line. Women in the geek/nerd/whatever community have been fighting against this kind of "goalkeeping" for years. Be aware of what's going on in your own community. You and other "I'm not that kind of guy" people in this community perpetuate sexism without even being aware that you are.

Dirk is not my friend. He is a member of my professional community who just displayed rank unprofessionalism and obliviousness to institutionalized sexism that I don't have to waste my time in "discussion" about.

Dirk replied;

From what you are posting I am coming to the conclusion that you think/feel that I am some sort of closet sexist — an opinion seemingly determined based on one random "Share" (among hundreds of photos/memes I've shared). Again, I'm very sensitive and attuned to what you're saying and am not trying to at all dismiss the very real issue that you're upset with. Attacking women with sexually-charged language is a very serious issue, as is bullying/harassment of ANY kind.

That being said, I will say that I think you're being VERY unfair painting me in such a disgusting light, let alone calling the sharing of the above-pic "rank unprofessionalism and obliviousness to institutionalized sexism." I saw the post, I thought it was funny, and I thought it shed some light on a VERY real issue — an issue I explained my position on in detail given your angry (yet valid, given the subject matter) reaction to it.

I appreciate your passion for this subject matter and I'm perfectly content agreeing to disagree on what you perceive to be MY attitude towards this subject matter… but please do not, as you mentioned to Crazeyal Dah Debil presume to psychoanalyze me or characterize me for something I'm not. We don't have to be cyber-friends, and you don't even have to like me at all, really == which would be a shame since we both work for one of the coolest places on Earth. Regardless, ll I'm asking is that you take the time to consider the fact that I'm NOT that type of person you are accusing me of being, and that just perhaps the emotionally-charged nature of this subject matter is leading to some unfair snap-judgements and/or false-characterizations.

That being said, I do appreciate you taking the time to return to the thread, and I most sincerely hope that you can honestly consider what I've had to say both in this comment and the ones in this thread that precede it.

Despite our own misunderstanding here, I find your "call to arms" about this situation truly, truly admirable.

(P.S.– You have my e-mail, and we can gladly discuss this privately if you wish, too.)

While the thread continued with many particpants, the back and forth moved to Twitter.

Jennifer de Guzman Jennifer de Guzman:

 Newsarama writer, thinks it's OK to call women whores if he doesn't approve of their clothes and self-indentifying as nerds.

My people: Deciding whether or not a woman is allowed to call herself a nerd is just more paternalistic patrolling of women's behavior.

It is telling women "If you attempt to be part of this community, you'll be scrutinized and doubted, because your gender makes you suspect."

And I have been on this industry and fought against this behavior too long to care about explanations, rationalizations, or justifications.

Nor will I tolerate the attempts of those who blithely spread this shit to call themselves "cooler heads" while they paint me as irrational.

Am I angry? Yes. Is my anger rational? Yes. A woman is not hysterical just because she has an emotion and uses her intellect to explain it.

im such a whore lol Wish I had my glasses on in that one. Alas, the stars did not align.

Fanboy Rampage: Jennifer de Guzman Vs Dirk Manning

Comic writer and editor Mariah Huehner,read the exchange and wrote a blog piece as a reaction including the paragraph.

Further, the comments aimed at Jennifer De Guzman, a highly respected, intelligent, and dedicated former Editor-in-chief and now PR and Marketing Director at Image, are pretty condescending. Just because she disagrees with you does not mean she is "overly sensitive", that she has no right to be angry, or no right to voice her objections. Being angry does not mean she cannot also be rational and articulate in her criticism. Suggesting otherwise, or allowing others to make that claim, is highly irresponsible. If you have the right to post this and have it as a pet peeve (which you do) then someone else addressing a concern about why it's problematic is equally valid. We have the right to say what we want. Other people have the right to comment on it. Being able to post whatever we want to doesn't absolve us from criticism about it.

She tweeted;

Decided on a blog post response. :} " Take a look @ the 2nd comment. Then tell us about being "sensitive"

And that second post?

Damn bitch, get over yourself you pretentious twat!

The conversation may have left Facebook but it continued on Twitter:

Jennifer: You reposted meme that calls certain women whores. And your justification for it are your words, not the meme's. If you can't recognize why both are problematic, we really have nothing to say to each other. The point isn't my feelings. It's that it perpetuated an exclusionary, sexist attitude that women in our community deplore.

Dirk: I understand and RESPECT that you didn't like it. That's fine. The name-calling/character attacks were my point of contention. Specifically, you don't know me or what I do AT ALL, and chose to say some pretty vile things about me over a single post.

Jennifer: And if you don't like me calling this point of view sexist, that's just too bad.

Dirk: I agree with your sentiment about this issue on some points and disagree on others, but I never once attacked you personally. All I ask is that you consider that perhaps you were a bit unfair. We may never be friends, but I'd like to stay civil. :)

Dirk: Ummm… no. I took offense to your comment about my "rank unprofessionalism and obliviousness to institutionalized sexism."

That's been my sole point of contention. If you knew what I do (day job) you'd understand why I took offense to that comment.

Jennifer: You posted something that calls some women whores and then defended it. From that, I determined you endorses your own POV.

Dirk: I understand that, and I explained why I felt you were misinterpreting it – and, by proxy, me – in the heat of the situation.

I respect your view on that too. It's a bit more extreme than mine, but I respect your feelings on it and passion for it.

Jennifer:You're being judged by your OWN actions and opinions, not my repetitions of them.

I see your actions as harmful to our community & industry and, yes, demonstrating obliviousness to the sexism inherent in it.

Then use your perspective from your day job to cast some light on why what you did is offensive to so many women and men.

Dirk:I did… and that's what motivated the post. I had the right to post it, you had the right to be disgusted by it. However publicaly lambasting my character? I just don't think that was very cool. That's all. We really do agree on the core issues…

Our approach to how we choose to deal with them is obviously very, very different, though… and that's fine. What isn't…Is fighting name-calling w/ name-calling. That's all I'm saying here. I respect & appreciate your stance and passion, tho. :)

Jennifer:There's a difference between saying "You're a whore" and "That's sexist." That's all.

Dirk:Hey — we agree! ;) Seriously, though, despite us both be offended about different stuff, we both do agree on this issue.

Jennifer:Thank you. Still, I don't understand why you think it's anyone's place to condemn certain women who call themselves nerds.

Dirk:S'all good. Truly. I swear to you, though, I NEVER, EVER condemned ANYONE for calling him/herself a nerd. What I condemned was falsely representing oneself in a negative/stereotypical light. I'm a PROUD nerd. People shouldn't sully that choice. :)

Jennifer:But why choose to even engage with that? And with a meme such as that?

Dirk:Honestly? I thought it shed some light on the issue of personal integrity and negative stereotypes for both women and nerds.

Dirk:Expect it to result in such harsh discourse. I gladly broach "hot button" issues, even if it offends. But I don't seek drama.

Jennifer:Good lord, really? That's so far from what it accomplished. Yikes.

Dirk:Most of the people who know me "got it" and what I was getting at. Some didn't, obviously… and that's OK. I just didn't…

Special Guest Star Jess Nevins With respect, it's not your place to say whether or not

Dirk: And calling someone out for using harmful/objectifying stereotypes in a way that harms both groups in question.

Jennifer: I am fairly sure that in the past, I've posted a picture of myself in glasses and captioned it "NERRRRD" or something like that. So based on that picture, without context someone could say I'm just a whore who found some glasses? If you don't want strong reactions, you might want to avoid posting memes that call women "slutty" or "whores."

Dirk: And that's totally fine! However, you *OBVIOUSLY* weren't the target there, either. I have lots of "nerd girl" friends…

Jennifer: See, you think you get to define and approve me as a legitimate nerd. Why?  I have a niece who used to be a spokesmodel at Comic-Con. Was she whoring herself out? Who cares if pretty girls want attention? Why do you get to decide what their "TRUE self-expression" is? She was a very pretty, sexy girl promoting a nerd-targeted product. W/o knowing her, would you decide she was whoring?

Dirk: Of course not! She was doing a job. She's no more a whore than I am a whore for signing books at a convention. Either way… I don't even "judge" people for being sex-workers. I don't like it when people try to act as something they aren't, though…

Jennifer:You don't care except when you decide they're not really nerds. Then they're "whoring" for attention. I think you're awfully pre-occupied with judging the way people think of themselves, and women in particular. And yet you condemn those who are "'whoring oneself out for attention or money."

Dirk: To me, integrity is VERY important, and it disheartens me to see people "use" harmful stereotypes for personal gain… Which is why I *HATE* "Big Bang Theory," which I see as "blackface for nerds." Which is another whole subject entirely. ;) lol

Jennifer:A tip: Don't use examples of racial injustice in the context of nerds. There's just no comparison. I really can't see why it's worth posting a meme calling women whores. Or why it's any of your concern in the first place.

Dirk: Disagree on it, I suppose. Thank you for the civil discourse. I really do value your opinion & commend your passion. A LOT…

Jennifer:What this comes down to, for me, is men patrolling women's behavior. It's not OK to do that.

Dirk: That's VERY fair. I wasn't OK w/ the personal attacks from someone who doesn't know me. It got heated, but we good? :)

Jennifer: Yes, we are. However, I really do think that your way of expressing your POV does no favors to either women or nerds.

Dirk: I respect you feelings on that, and can only add this: Our different approaches and opinions are what makes us all special. :)






The pair seem to have made up and naturally many others aside from Jess Nevins had joined in with their take on the situation. But…. and I hesitate to ask… what's yours?

Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme McMillan dedicated to the funniest, most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist for the likes of Newsarama and Spinoff but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to revive his great creation. Feel free to contribute your own spots of online excess…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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