…by how inane and insubstantial the discussion is regarding women and comics. It’s not all guys, some females continually make the discussion more juvenile, or become instant apologists, so as not to make waves. It’s frustrating.
I’ve been hearing the same nonsense since before I turned pro, over a decade. While some things are undoubtedly better, some things aren’t. But even the conversation has the same banal, stale fluff in almost every conversation.
I just read a nice article about female characters in comics at CBR…
And sure enough, the conversation about in the web is exactly the same as it was when similar articles were written over ten years ago.
I keep hearing the same stuff:
"Comics is a male-dominated industry."
"Guys get idealized just as much as women."
"Female leads don’t sell."
"Sex sells, why fight it?"
"A woman edited that book, are you going to call HER sexist?"
"We don’t look at gender, we just pick the best person for the job/convention/whatever."
"Men get stuck in refrigerators, too."
"All comics costumes are ridiculous."
"That character has female fans, so she can’t be sexist."
All of this crap, all of these excuses laid end to end by people who haven’t really thought it through, just so their little territory of fanlove isn’t threatened with CHANGE, please, no, anything but CHANGE.
This stuff has been so debunked and shredded so many times, it’s exhausting to try to explain it every time a new story goes up on the topic.
I have a high tolerance for cheesecake, as many, many angry people have pointed out. I LIKE some cheesecake, if it’s delivered with wit and taste. I like it much, much better if it makes sense in the story. I like it better still if it really ISN’T just females who are sexualized in that manner.
We don’t have to be inane. We don’t have to be reductionist. We don’t have to accept goofy logic from people who think female readers and creators somehow threaten what they like.
At the same time, we don’t have to imply that men are bad and all women are perfect. We don’t have to convert every single reader to a female-friendly viewpoint.
But I do think it’s in our interests to speak up and be heard in some way. To be silent is to be discounted.
The only way to be heard is to make a great noise. For all the crap the San Diego Batgirl (Kyrax) got for speaking up for what she believed, she got HEARD.
The thing that I like about comics right now is that even a casual fan can name a bunch of talented women having either commercial or critical (or both) success in the industry. No one with a brain can call Marjorie M. Liu, Kate Beaton, Amanda Conner, or Nicola Scott a token. I always think that success shuts the most mouths and opens the most minds. It doesn’t have to be having a top ten book, it can be having a critical darling book, or a huge line at comic conventions, or a wonderful column on a website.
Right now there are so many wonderful female things in comics; characters, creators, commentators, editors, convention organizers, store owners and readers. They don’t threaten anything in the industry, they add to it.
If you can understand that girls can love these characters as much as boys, embrace that. If you can’t, you have my sympathy, and would you very much mind getting out of the way so we can make and enjoy comics, also?
A little more to the left.