Mockingbird writer Chelsea Cain has deleted her Twitter account after facing mounting backlash and accusations of transphobia due to a creative choice present in the latest issue of her comic book series Man-Eaters.

Cain’s self-described “feminist” series Man-Eaters, published by Image Comics with art by Elise McCall, follows the exploits of a twelve-year old girl named Maude as she navigates a world wherein a mutation causes women’s menstrual cycles to change a woman into a ‘were-cat’ creature and the ensuing harsh, fear and paranoia motivated response from the government.

Cain has repeatedly faced waves of criticism and accusations of holding Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist (or TERF) beliefs due to the alleged trans-exclusionary nature of the series’ concept, as some believed associating the monstrous change in women with a biological menstrual cycle excluded persons who were not biologically female but identified as such. In an interview with Kat Overland from Women Write About Comics, Cain specified that the series “is a story about what it’s like to be a cis gendered female coming of age in a culture that consistently reinforces the messaging that periods are shameful, that our bodies are shameful, and that womanhood—and the biology that goes along with it—is something gross and not for polite company” and clarified that she believes that “You don’t have to have a uterus to be a woman. Anyone who thinks that hasn’t been paying attention.”

In the latest issue of Man-Eaters, Cain took a swing at her critics by including two tweets critical of her work as propaganda posters in a “pantherism recovery clinic,” a re-education camp-like facility meant to keep women from transforming into the were-cats:

Chelsea Cain Deletes Twitter Account Following Accusations of Transphobia Regarding Latest Issue of Man-Eaters

The Tweet featured in the first panel reads, “I appreciate any comic on menstruation and the literal violent eating of men-I super duper do-but #ManEaters further cements the toxicity of a gender binary in a heavy handed, sad way.” The second, “I want to like @ImageComics #ManEaters so bad, but it is SO HEAVILY founded in bio essentialism and TERFness that it’s impossible to not feel like it perpetuates the same misogyny/systemic violence that it’s attempting to tackle.” While Cain did not include the respective handles of the users who posted these Tweets, they remain easily found through a quick search of the tweets’ body text.

The reprinting of these tweets quickly sparked yet another wave of backlash towards the series and Cain, as fans quickly criticized Cain for responding to criticism in such a petty manner and rescinded any support they may have once given her:

Cain initially responded to the backlash in a single tweet on June 9, 2019 (As Cain’s twitter account has since been deleted and no archives of her tweets have been provided at this time, these tweets have been sourced from Bleeding Cool):

I didn’t know that. I just wanted to acknowledge the really painful criticisms of the work and that sense I have that no matter how hard we try we are made to feel worthless and small. It was meant to echo a voice. The one that tells me I am a failure. Or as I call it, Twitter.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

This singular tweet proved unsatisfactory for many, and as the cries of outrage grew, Cain took to her Twitter account to issue a more comprehensive statement regarding the controversy:

I’m so incredibly proud of Man-eaters. Of our creative team. Of the three 14-yr-old girls we publish. I’m incredibly grateful to have had the chance to tell this story, on our own terms. It’s been financially ruinous. And emotionally wrecking. And totally worth it.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

I’m devastated that our comic has been attacked for excluding trans women bc our plot involves periods. Having a period does not make a person a woman. I haven’t had a period since I was 35. Most women don’t have periods. We are girls. Then we are menopausal…

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

…But here’s the thing. A large group of humans are shamed for bleeding every month. And that’s not okay. And if Man-eaters makes even a few of those humans laugh or feel empowered or feel a tiny bit less weird about a totally natural process, then we did okay.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

We all know what it’s like to feel like we are gross or wrong or scary. We are all humans. Man-eaters is about what happens when you’re made to feel like a monster, and about what happens when you refuse to accept that narrative. It’s also about periods. Sorry. And good night.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

Let me make this clear: I’m an idiot. I’m super sorry. I’m defensive because it MEANS so much. If you are trans and feel excluded by MAN-EATERS, that’s on me. Not you. You are glorious. And brave. And, gah. Thank you. I am listening. I am trying.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

I can be dumb sometimes. I get so defensive and self-righteous. It creates blind spots. And that’s not okay. And I’m sorry. And seriously, now I am actually going to go to bed. Right. Now.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

In an effort to make amends with the members of the trans community who took issue with her work, Cain inquired to her audience about enlisting a ‘trans sensitivity reader’ for the remaining issues of Man-Eaters:

Would any of you be willing to be a trans sensitivity reader for our last few issues of MAN-EATERS? We can’t pay. But I will send you comics! And I will listen, and do my best. Reply here & I will follow you and then DM.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

However, due to her inexperience with sensitivity readers and their professional processes, Cain indicated that she would be offering comic books as compensation in lieu of monetary compensation, an offer which served to further stoke the flames of outrage and lead to Cain indicating that she would be turning to publisher Image Comics for assistance:

I’m sorry. I’ve never worked with a sensitivity reader. I can’t seem to stop screwing up, can I? I was just trying to say that I was open to feedback. But you’re right. Of course. I can’t ask anyone to work for free.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

I didn’t even know sensitivity readers were a thing in comics. I really have no business being here. I work on ME for free. We thought we were doing something good. I’m so sorry.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

I cannot ask anyone to work for free. I don’t get paid for my work on ME. Our entire budget goes to pay our team. But this is important. I will talk to Image and see if I can get $ for this. I’m just operating on the fly here. I appreciate yr patience as I educate myself.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

Ultimately, the anger, backlash, and the rejection of her haphazard attempts at placating the outrage caused Cain to delete her Twitter account after publishing a final Tweet:

Nothing I say can make it better. I’ve learned that here. Intentions are kind of irrelevant. Actions are everything. So we will try to make the best last 3 comics we can. And I will work really hard to make up for my mistakes. Sorry, again. For all of it.

— Chelsea Cain is in an airport (@ChelseaCain) June 9, 2019

As of writing, Cain’s personal Twitter account remains deleted.

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. An unabashed and life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and avid video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Wally West is the best Flash of all time. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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