Entertainment

We are facing an era of dangerous, violent comic censorship

The back image of Gender Queer and member Proud Boy.

Photos via Maia Kobabe and Anthony Crider (CC BY). Remix by Ana Valens.

This story features explicit erotic imagery from a graphic novel.

Before Marvel was acquired by Disney and DC began creating blockbusters for HBO Max, both comic book publishers dealt with an even more sinister villain than Magneto, Joker, or Lex Luthor: Censorship. Throughout the mid-20th century, worried parents, child psychologists, and politicians alike rallied against the evolving media. Censors argue that comic books are too erotic and too violent, and need to be purged from the hands of young people.

Gradually, panic about the morals of comic books began to occur. During the 1940s, comic books were burned in mass. The U.S. Senate has raised questions about the comics’ relationship to “underage delinquents,” and in response, the Comics Administration has popped into the industry to examine content that appears offensive. from publishers. The CCA ended up cracking down on comic books that showed “disrespect for established authority” as well as “obscene, obscene, obscene” and “vulgar” in any form.

From those days, mainstream comics have been brought into the dark ages, with stories that “have stubborn superheroes” and “domestic romances,” Comic book Legal Defense Fund Note. Adult comics were forced into the underworld, and it wasn’t until the ’80s that mainstream comic book publishers began to tackle adult themes again.

To most casual comic book readers, the mid-20th century moral confusion over comics seems like a relic of the past. Comics and graphic novel sections can be found in independent bookstores and businesses, many of which offer works that deal with complex political and philosophical issues, such as V for vendetta or Neon Genesis Evangelion. But now we are facing an age of increasing censorship of comic book authors and artists, especially targeting black and brown voices, gay artists and transgender creator. And this time, artists don’t face threats about their freedom of speech from senators or psychologists. Now, it’s from their neighbours.

A weird hot spot

A controversial scene from Maia Kobabe's Gender Calculator
Photos via Maia Kobabe

Queer’s Gender, an autobiographical graphic novel adaptation by non-binary artist and manga writer Maia Kobabe, has faced a growing censorship campaign during school board meetings across the United States. Ky. The controversy revolved around Queer’s Gender Kobabe’s description of sexual adulthood: A book showing their relationship to masturbation, Greek inspired artwork based on one of Kobabe’s early sexual fantasies and some sexual partners they experienced when they tried oral sex with a strap for the first time.

One mother admitted she hadn’t read the book, when she learned the memoir was available at the Texas school district library and felt “sick and disgusted” at Kobabe’s bizarre depiction of sex. She then turned to Twitter and claimed that her local school system had been infected with “lots of left-wing teachers, librarians and counselors” who were heralding social change. “are chasing our children”, Texas Tribune report. ONE Parents in New Jersey similarly condemned Queer’s Gender for “inappropriate use of sexually explicit material”, while a parent in Washington requested criminal prosecution against local school officials for providing a book containing “pornographic content including pedophilia.”

School board meetings are increasingly becoming polarizing battlegrounds for left/right political divisions across the United States, with The New York Times’ audio file “The Daily” recently unpacked COVID policy disagreements in Bucks County, Pennsylvania focused on parents claiming the presence of demons infiltrated the school. Social media groups and conversations provide an opportunity to mobilize parents who are generally politically minded, paving the way for right-wing radicalization over time. Queer’s Gender is the latest victim of this phenomenon through a growing misinformation campaign surrounding the book’s sexual material.

To be clear, Queer’s Gender The sex scenes are incredibly tame, even by the standards of teen comics. Each of them focuses more on Kobabe’s relationship with sex and sexuality as an extravaganza, a theme that runs throughout the book. See for yourself in the gallery below.

For homophobic and homophobic adults targeting freak comic creators, this is nothing new. Upcoming graphic novel by Alison Bechdel Fun house Calls for censorship are similarly faced from the school curriculum to describe lesbian sex and masturbation. CBLDF expressed support for Fun house at that time and also guard Queer’s Gender put into school districts, warning that “delete books such as Queer’s Gender based on the requests of a small number that violates the First Amendment rights of students, parents, and others in the community. ”

But respect for the First Amendment can be contrasted with the anxiety of the surrounding parents Queer’s Gender, especially after criticism against the manga took a more extreme direction in a Chicago suburb. On November 15, parents were present at a Downers Grove school board meeting to appeal Queer’s Gender removed and “about 10 Proud Boys” showed up to assist the parents, NS Chicago Sun-Times report. Proud Boys mocked teenagers who supported the inclusion of the book in their school district’s libraries, calling them “pedophiles” in the middle of a meeting, students told Daytime.

The Proud Boys are a hate group designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, known for spewing “white nationalist memes” and organizing protests that resulted in “street riots” streets, where members openly scuffled with protesters.” as reported by SPLC. It is alarming that members of a hostile group will be allowed to interrupt a school board meeting about an odd coming-of-age book, especially because, according to Daytime, some of the Proud Boys who attended had violent pasts. The leader of the Northern Illinois chapter of the Proud Boys joined the January 6 uprising in the capital and was arrested and charged at a rally against President Biden (the charge was later dropped). Another person was arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest after allegedly “aggressively” driving a vehicle towards protesters and brandishing a knife at a participant.

An 18-year-old student who spoke at a school board meeting claimed that a man called him a pedophile during the meeting, then drove up to him in the parking lot afterwards and continued continue to harass him. That man, 31, was Proud Boy’s partner previously arrested at the BLM protest. He does not appear to have immediate contact with the school district.

A scene depicting gender anxiety in Gender Queer
Photos via Maia Kobabe

The fact that the Proud Boys showed up at a random school board meeting to intimidate teenagers is a disturbing sign of comic censorship. Adults harassing teenage students who want Queer’s Gender in their school library – it’s also a sign that the school board is as worried about comics as Queer’s Gender Growing up. School board meetings will continue to be battlegrounds for censoring creators, and if the Proud Boys are any indication, right-wing parents are happy to side with a violent hate group. just to make sure that marginalized comic artists are barred from their schools.

What chilling effect will this have on students? Teens who support the right to read and enjoy the artwork they like are now being asked by those who are not afraid to use violence to sit down and be quiet to get what they want. And for those weird teenagers looking for material like Queer’s Gender to better understand their own life experiences, what message will these kids learn from the Proud Boys who show up at school district meetings – that you’re better off hiding your weirdness , lest you be called a pedophile by a violent man in the parking lot at night?

“Politics has never been so divisive in a school environment before,” one student told Daytime. “But it fell apart after the board meeting.”

Comic censorship is entering a dangerous new era, one marked by disinformation campaigns and violent repression against gay readers young and old. Don’t underestimate this moment that represents the future of comics. Censorship here, and it’s escalating in any way possible. The only solution is to resist these calls for schools ban and protect students and creators who speak out defending their right to free speech – lest this moment end with another mass comic book burning.



https://wegotthiscovered.com/comicbooks/were-facing-a-dangerous-violent-new-age-of-comic-censorship/ We are facing an era of dangerous, violent comic censorship

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