I really want to draw again, but I feel like I can’t, because…well, one reason is that I don’t want to offend or disgust anybody.
Why do you think blogs like LayOffTheBleach or Escher Girls exist? Because they get offended by art that’s either white-washed(i.e. racist) or has sexy women in it(i.e. sexist, misogynistic, etc.). There are a lot of bad art blogs on Tumblr too. I have self-submitted some of my really old stuff to one blog or two, but I don’t want my most recent stuff on there.
Not to mention, if I draw a specific picture that’s “abnormal”, the Internet will judge me for making “fetish” art and try to dox me or run me off the Internet.
I’m gonna have a hard enough time dealing with same-face syndrome and drawing backgrounds more often. I don’t need people staring at me like I’m some kind of ableist, racist, sexist, or even cissexist for drawing specific things.
I hate to sound like I’m making “yet another excuse”, but I think, ever since I was involved more often with Tumblr, that all the social justice stuff has also scared me away from drawing.
“Just DRAW”, you may say. “JUST DRAW.”
But the thing is: there’s too many things I have to worry about when drawing. Not only stuff like:
- Getting rid of same-face/same-body syndrome(i.e. buying a book to help me identify what race a specific person that I’m drawing from life is)
- Actually starting on making stories/Making Comics
- Getting rid of fear of being judged or laughed at or verbally spit on or getting a critique so brutal it would make me lose my will to live
- Getting enough money to do all of those things
But also, I have to deal with avoid being:
- Ableist(If I draw a character with any type of disability, such as missing limb or blindness, people will think of it as a fetish pic and will be disgusted and then actual people with disabilities might me a figurative punching bag on which to vent their rage)
- Sexist(I currently draw more women than men, so people might think that I only draw that way because I see women as sex objects, which is honestly not the case. Also, again, see Escher Girls.)
- Racist(I mostly draw white characters, with a few characters of other races here and there. The problem is, I mostly draw white characters. If I don’t draw a crapton of non-white characters to balance it out, then I’ll be called a racist)
- Cissexist/Homophobic(I’m not trying to get into gender politics here, because, honestly, I don’t understand gender issues all that much. I try to avoid them because of the whole pronoun issues and not fully understanding transgender issues. But worst of all, I’ve never actually developed the sexuality or gender issues of any of my characters. And I fear being accused of being straight and narrow(minded) because of it.)
TL;DR: I’ve made too many enemies on the Internet(most of the time unintentionally). I don’t want to make any more by drawing stuff that might offend people.
That’s why I’ve been turning to food and cooking, because at least I can cook in the safety of my own house and not have to worry about offending people online.
BRHood: Yeah, okay, this is a lot of wtfery. And also, reminder that we do track the dlotb and damnlayoffthebleach tags.
For starters, no one cares if all you draw is white people. If you’re uninterested in expanding your repertoire to include PoC, that’s on you. If you want to go “all I draw is this and that’s all I can do” and not challenge yourself to get better, you’re doing yourself an injustice. Which if you want to do, it’s on you. Artists will be happy to lose the competition.
Now, if you’re drawing PoC and you’re whitewashing, ie you draw a Korra fanart and she’s light as hell/white skinned, THAT’S a problem. And yes, that is racist. Considering PoC have so little representations of them, we have every right to demand that people not whitewash the few Characters of Color we get. Crying “I’m afraid to draw a PoC because I may be called racist” is a pitiful excuse. If you mess up, just fix it. Learn not to do it the next time. Why is that hard? If you mess up drawing a fist your first time, don’t you practice until you get it right? Why would THIS be different?
Also, DLOTB doesn’t talk much about sexism and whatnot unless it’s people drawing racist, hypersexualized caricatures of characters of color. Which is another valid call out. If the only white people you ever saw in the media were racist stereotypes or caricatures lacking any depth and just there to be “the white one,” you would get annoyed of it. And also, no one cares if you draw mostly women. People are going to care if your women are ALL one-dimensional troupes, oversexualized, and obviously there just for dudes to jack off to. If you take the time to DEVELOP a female character, even her being sexualized could help create a good character people will LIKE. The Femme Fatale is popular for a reason.
However, you won’t be ABLE to do that if you don’t take the time to learn about gender issues. Saying “I don’t know about this stuff, so that’s why I make things sexist/racist/transphobic/homophobic/ableist/etc is again a lazy excuse. LEARN. There are WAY too many bloggers on tumblr alone with resources after resources of things pertaining to sexualities, gender, and race. Not learning is pure laziness. It’s showing that you WANT to live in ignorance. And if you actively choose to live in ignorance, anyone has the right to call you out on it.
And with that, this whole entire post of “I’m afraid to draw because I might fuck something up” is pure BULLSHIT. YOU CANNOT PLEASE ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME. Some people love and relate to JK’s Rowling’s Harry Potter. Some people can point out 100 examples of how racist, sexist, ableist, etc the book series is. Does that stop JK Rowling from writing? No. There is no such thing as a perfect art/story/movie/etc. Even people who love something will have at least one or two issues with it (unless they blindly admire something, which is again ignorant and terrifying because of how little they must think in order to do that).
Your works being problematic isn’t the end of the world. You learn from it. You take it in. You grow from it. If your response to criticism is “but I don’t know about this and I don’t want to learn so stop hating on me,” then yeah, you’re going to get hate. If your response is, “omg, I never thought about it like that. It was jacked up. I’ll keep that in mind in the future,” people will easily forgive your fuck ups. And better yet, YOU CAN ACTUALLY LEARN AND GROW AS AN ARTIST FROM IT. Which is going to do nothing but benefit you while also making you one less shitty person in the world that people who deal with oppressions have to deal with.
And in general, if you can’t handle any type of critiques without wanting to quit, you’re in the wrong business. I write. You think I don’t have a few characters who I think may be read as problematic? You think I’m not aware of some characters people may not take too kindly of? I’m preparing having to deal with a bit of backlash of trying to get more people represented. I’m aware of people accusing me of tokenizing characters and the like. I’m prepared to deal with it. And I will by accepting the critiques, and use the critiques to make my next work 100xs better than my first. But my response isn’t going to be “I’m afraid to write because people may tear my story apart.” If you can’t handle people not liking your work and giving hash critiques, then maybe you should give up art. Because ever artist gets a LOT of it. Even those revered as the best do. So if you can’t handle that, quit. That’s one less competitor artists have to contest with in a very competitive market.