Dave Sim makes an unannounced appearance at the Sequential Tarts board and starts chatting it up with Gail Simone, Pia Guerra and a few other regulars:

Well, my views on feminism are, I think, foundationally the same: that is, I think that women are by nature and inclination wives and mothers for the most part. I don’t think and have never thought that women should all be forced to be wives and mothers exclusively but I think our society has gone to the other extreme and starts with the assumption that all women should go out and work and if they want to be wives and mothers as a secondary interest they’re free to do so. I think as a result that a lot of very good wives and good mothers are being subjected to working world pressures that are probably more than a little cruel given their natures and inclinations. This is an extreme minority viewpoint but it is the viewpoint I hold. My impression is that homemaking skills, as an example, are being permanently lost because they are viewed as being sexist or patriarchal or demeaning to women. Girls pick up on that and parrot the party line but I wonder how many of them are looking at movies from more traditional time periods and secretly longing for the “old way of doing things”. In today’s political context I don’t think we’ll hear from anyone who is thinking that way. She’d be denounced as a dupe unable to recognize her own victimization.

I do think that society is moving more and more in that direction and I think one of the net effects of that is going to be worldwide feminism moving in that direction that will basically attemptto steamroll Islam as constituted.


Wow. Okay, well, here again, I have to say, maybe you needed to talk to a bigger sampling of women, that time you spoke for the ‘first time’ to women you didn’t want to sleep with, Dave.

I mean no offense, but the idea that domestic skills are disappearing…is that purely anecdotal, from personal experience?

I work mostly at night, I have a considerable workload writing comics, film, and other projects. I get up at 6:00 am each day to get my son (whom I adore, along with my darling husband) to school, I generally make breakfast, do most of the cleaning (they do help out considerably), and I do almost all the cooking. I’m damn good at it, in fact.

Working at the salon, I saw women poring over the recipes in the women’s magazines and often borrowing them, and talking about cooking and keeping house, and we’re not talking some small sampling, we’re talking dozens of women coming through the door every day. My sister does all the cooking in her house, and she has an advanced degree and runs a museum.

I don’t get it. Where exactly did this theory come from, if you don’t mind, Dave? What was the basis for such a conclusion?

[Link via Dirk]


  1. I’ll give Dave credit for putting himself out there to do press for this new book, knowing that he’ll (deservedly or not) be attacked for his views.

  2. Attacked or questioned, his answers all seem to be the same “I don’t want to get into that. I’m here to promote my book.”

    It’s the same answers Paris Hilton tried to give David Letterman when all he wanted to ask her about was her time in jail.

    I don’t understand why people are so willing to support Sim. It’s right there in his own words what he thinks of women.

  3. Gail Simone is a saint for staying so calm and level-headed.

    I read an advance copy of Glamourpuss. It’s very pretty but more an exercise in craft that’s been published than a comic. It’s very difficult not to read it without looking for subtext. There’s a comment about a “secret female language” that would be funny if it were coming from someone else, but I found myself going, “Waaaaait. What does he mean by that?!”

    Oh, and he seems to think women’s shoes come in size three (or four, can’t quite remember, and Dan took the copy back). There was a funny line about “pain stars” being a great accessory on the dance floor.

  4. Alan,

    One should draw a line between those who support Sim’s philosophy and those who support Sim’s art, IMO.

    As I pointed out on some messboard, there are a hell of a lot of canonical literary figures who believed shit that no current readers take seriously.

    I have names if you want ’em, but I would hope everyone here could name one or two themselves.

  5. I think he is doing the writer artist promotional circuit, and seems to have figured out how to get his work publicized. And people are spelling his name correctly.

  6. Gail Simone rocks. There’s a whole comic shop in Washington DC (Big Monkey) that worships her. Along with the rest of the comic-reading planet.

  7. I love gail…super mom, super writer and a lovable fun person. Never met dave, but i wanted to send a hug out to gail and this seemed like a good place.

  8. Oh, wait, I do still have Glamourpuss. It’s size two! The model is supposed be squeezing her size four feet into size two shoes! Proof Sim knows nothing about women. ;)

    I wish that the conversation could have remained between Simone and Sim. The comments from the gallery impeded a good discussion. Though, the more I think about it, the more I don’t care about what Sim thinks women’s “natural” role is. A woman’s natural role is whatever she willingly chooses to do. And Dave Sim is no one to me. (Though I did get mentioned in his blog as an unknown “female editor” in a story that got all skewed from second-hand transmission and Dave-Sim-filter.)

  9. Gene Phillips,

    Sorry, but I cannot separate the two. His philosophy is, IMO, bigotry. I cannot support bigotry, therefore I cannot support his work. It doesn’t matter how many people think his work is art or how many think it is crap, I can’t support him. There are so many things in life that I will never get a chance to experience as it is, so why should I waste my time reading something from someone whose ideas I can’t accept.

  10. It seems to me that a person would have to have a broad knowledge al many or most women in our culture in order to make a generalization about them. A personal knowledge based on some sort of acquaintance, or based on the customer base of one specific salon, isn’t going to be much of a basis when you get down to it.

  11. I guess Mr. Sim has never heard of Dr. Laura & her millions of followers, who hold essentially the same viewpoint on women’s roles as he does.

  12. Sorry to chime in this manner, adding nothing of value or even possibly annoying some who would prefer a greater level of sophistication in this discussion but i had to say it..

    such an @$$ hole..

    oh, and andrew, sorry, i think the generalization about women and its basis should not be the point here.. think about all those women and little girls discouraged from developing their potentials by this “natural inclination” BS. i mean, even knowing one proves a point about the mysoginistic nature of this discourse..

    (hey, i’ve added a point of value afterall.. :p )

  13. My wife’s “natural inclination” is to be inclined in her easy chair, with her beer and snacks at her side, watching television. But she does a great deal more than that, because she loves me and our children.

    My own natural inclination is to spend time spouting off on blogs and message boards when I should be working.

    That’s all I have to say about natural inclinations. I’m sure everyone has their own.

  14. “A woman’s natural role is whatever she willingly chooses to do”

    This makes no sense. If it’s a natural role, where does choice come in?

  15. It’s a turn of phrase counting on the irony of the clashing ideas, not a legal brief filed in nerd court. Sheesh.

  16. I didn’t go there to attack Dave. I thought, apparently wildly incorrectly, that he would have a great towering wall of logic defending his position, since that’s been the stance he’s taken for thirteen years now. I’m as baffled as anyone to see there’s really nothing there at all. That took me utterly by surprise.

    I simply went there to ask questions I’d had for a long time. When Dave was interviewed by a female for the Onion, he came out swinging and throwing accusations about her intentions before she’d hardly opened her mouth. I thought it was because he’d been attacked for his beliefs.

    Now I think it’s just plain insecurity, and the knowledge that his conclusions are unsupported and his ‘documented percentages’ just so much hooey.

    I’m as surprised as anyone. Of all the things I expected, this wasn’t any of them.


  17. Gail,
    I edited the interview you mention above. It really was what you see on the page and it still gets mentioned with a mixture of fear, awe, and uncomfortable chuckles whenever Tasha (the interviewer) and I talk about it. Here’s the opening exchange:

    The Onion: Why an aardvark?
    Dave Sim: You know, it’s really quite unbelievable to me that you have 4,000 words in which to cover the longest sustained narrative in human history, and your first question is “Why an aardvark?” What would your first question to Franz Kafka have been? “Why a cockroach?”
    O: If Kafka had spent 30 years of his life writing one 6,000-page book about a man who turned into a cockroach, then maybe.

    Where do you go from there?

  18. “A woman’s natural role is whatever she willingly chooses to do”

    “This makes no sense. If it’s a natural role, where does choice come in?”

    Tom Spurgeon Says: “It’s a turn of phrase counting on the irony of the clashing ideas, not a legal brief filed in nerd court. Sheesh.”

    Not a legal brief … nor an attack … but a wonderful opportunity to over-react, Tom.

  19. Alan said:

    “Sorry, but I cannot separate the two.” (philosophy and art)

    OK, but your original post said you couldn’t “understand” anyone supporting Sim.

    Do you really mean that you understand the separation in theory, but just can’t condone it?

  20. Gail wrote: “I’m as surprised as anyone. Of all the things I expected, this wasn’t any of them.”

    My anecdote (not to be confused with data!): I encountered Dave’s really loose definition of research when I got a letter from him regarding Dignifying Science, my book about women scientists. He questioned Birute Galdikas’s primate research based on some weird criteria, one of which was that she gave the orangutans names. He then moved on to describing how he’d arrived at the conclusion that this meant there was no science there — it was akin to “I went to a bar talked to a few women I wasn’t attracted to.”

    Animal (human or otherwise) behavior studies are tough to do, but when scientists say “the plural of anecdote is not data” they mean it. And if you have only one anecdote… Anyway, the word ‘research’ means a hell of a lot more than what Dave thought (and apparently still thinks) it does, and I took one shot at explaining that because I couldn’t help myself. I apparently didn’t convince him.

  21. I think sometimes I read the comments on The Beat just to see what the Spurge is going to say.

    I haven’t read the Sim/Simone exchange yet (going to now), but that excerpt is a corker. I always love it when he says things to back up his “arguments” like “I doubt we’ll hear that viewpoint from anybody ever.” The man just has to watch “Wife Swap,” where there are TONS of wives who think they’re place is “in the home” just like Dave would like them to be. Most of the time when I read Dave’s rants I just think he really needs to get out of the house more … or at least watch more TV.

  22. That certainly fits the pattern, Jim. It seems more and more that the whole I WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED! I AM AN UNASSAILABLE BASTION OF ALL REASON is just loud, loud empty threats to keep people from actually asking any questions of real meaning.

    Someone really ought to fax him the definition of the following words;

    and REALITY, just as a capper.

    He doesn’t seem to really grasp the meaning of any of them, but instead blusters loudly and claims everyone is ’emotion-based’ and out to get him.


  23. By the way, love your work, Jim!

    Wish I’d thought to ask for a quote when I was writing the All-New Atom, for those controversial captions in that book!


  24. “Gail Simone rocks. There’s a whole comic shop in Washington DC (Big Monkey) that worships her. Along with the rest of the comic-reading planet.”

    What, really?




  25. Gail: You just made my day, twice in one post. Thank you!

    (I would have loved to contribute a quote, even though I would have been out of my league given the other folks who did so!)


  26. Women naturally want to cook and do housework? *blinks* Since when? What is natural, anyhow? What, in all the cultures in this world, is plain old natural for men and women to do? It’s been proven, time and time again and just from casual observation, that anyone can do anything provided they are given the right training and information.

    Also, I’m male, and I help out around the house doing housework and whatnot. I can cook, clean, do my own laundry, as can dad. So where does that leave us in the grand scheme of things? Are we women in disguise or just people that can do things?

    It’s always confused me, this idea that there are things that people, because of their gender, or race, that they do. At the most, I would say that there has been a tradition of how things were done, but not anymore than that.

    Also, Gail? LOVE your work! I am really enjoying your run on Wonder Woman and it’s helped to make me a permanent reader.