Martha Thomases: Criticizing Criticism

Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

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3 Responses

  1. mike weber says:

    Jeff Edsell said:

    “Gee, I wonder why there are no men on that panel. Obviously, they’ve got the full-time job/parenting/writing/hobby balance worked out. It would be really swell if they’d enlighten us ignorant women about how they do it.”

    Actually, because of my particular sensitivities, I interpreted this the other way: “Of course men don’t need the advice of this panel, because they don’t do any parenting anyway.”

    Do you mean you interpreted Martha’s comment that way, or the basic existence/subject of the panel?

    Because it certainly sounds to me as if that was part of the thinking behind it.

    Also, of course, because “everybody knows” men are more likely to be full-time writers…

    • Jeff Edsell says:

      I was interpreting the panel that way: “Why bother teaching men how to balance parenting with work when everyone knows women are the ones who do the parenting?”

      As I said, I’m a little oversensitive on the subject — I’m still surprised at how many people (of both genders) still refer to it as “babysitting” when I take care of my own kids, and refer to men who participate in parenting as “Mr. Mom”. Admittedly, it’s improved in recent years, but as the panel topic proves, old stereotypes die hard.

  2. Mindy Newell says:

    Great column, Martha!!!!!

    As far as the full-time job/parenting/writing/hobby balance thing, it’s not a question of whether or not men don’t do any parenting. I think a lot of men are extremely involved in their kids’ lives these days…

    I think what Martha is pointing out is the assumption by the con runners, or those who set up this particular panel, that it’s only women who are dealing with this conundrum. Or maybe they just wanted to do a “Women in Comics” panel and thought this would be an interesting twist on the subject.

    Either way, it does seem somewhat sexist–against both sexes for a change!

    The answer is, btw–and I feel that I am qualified to answer this conundrum because I was a single parent, and now I’m watching my daughter juggle work, school, and parenthood–, to quote Nike:

    Just do it!

    And seek plenty of help from family, friends, and, if necessary, babysitters!

    And then look back when the kids are all grown up and wonder just how the hell you did!