This past week, cartoonist Tess Fowler has shone a spotlight on a troubling aspect of sexism in her professional comics community: sexual harassment. Fowler tweeted about being harassed at a comics convention, at first not naming the guy who did the harassing. But after receiving notes from three other women saying they’d had an unsettling experience with the same guy, Fowler revealed the alleged harasser to be Brian Wood, who writes Marvel’s best-selling all-women X-Men series.
The first panel of the third row is by far my favorite, contrasting the dominant culture's reaction to two forms of sexual attraction. From private conversations I've had with gay men in the past I know that some of them believe that this is evidence that same sex attraction is easier for women than men, but both reactions are harmful and disgusting. In the second, the sight or idea of two men being affectionate (or even sitting "unnaturally close to each other, effeminately rubbing elbows and exchanging doe-eyes") makes the viewer repulsed, angry, uncomfortable, or violent and leads to immediate policing by word or action. But in the first a personal act of affection is being extruded through another person's fetish and commodified for that person's pleasure and consumption. Having a narrative forced onto your love life isn't fun or easy for anyone. Additionally, the same man declaring two women kissing is hot can become violent very quickly if his advances are met with anything less than enthusiasm.