When one starts a conversation concerning women in comics, they are bound to be met with various reactions: "Yes, please!" "What now?" and "What women?" are just a few. The growing number of articles on the subject indicate the times may in fact be changing. Oh please comic book gods, say it is true! Could more and more comic book readers be seeing the giant female elephant in the room? It comes in a few shapes and sizes, but the main ones currently gaining visibility include the depictions of women in comics, the lack of female creators, and the lack of female readers. My blog does not focus on the various topics of women in comics (there are already plenty of wonderful ones out there like DC Women Kicking Ass, Girls Read Comics, The Mary Sue, and Comic Book Grrrl just to name a few) but as a female fan, my perspective is influenced by my experience. Being a woman informs my opinions as much as having worked in local comic shops, too. Even my time living abroad in Australia makes my reading experience different as I appreciate how lucky I am to have access to so many great local comic shops. But the issue of women in comics is too wide and varied to cover in one post, so we'll take it on one topic at a time and hopefully add to the growing number of fans taking notice and voicing their opinions.
Overcoming denial is the first step to recovery, and the comic book industry has a long history with learning things the hard way. The readership continues to shrink, and yet the subject of women in comics is met with outright hostility or derailed by tired arguments that defend continuing "business as usual". What other industry actively turns down opportunities to gain a larger audience and make more money in order to appear loyal to one fan base? Vocal members of the target audience don't keep mum when these discussions happen, either. When it comes to women, any concerns raised are met with responses so cliched, one can assume to hear at least a handful of the same arguments during a discussion:
“Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.” - Unknown
Fans expressing the sentiments above certainly reveal the growing pains in our industry. Here's hoping their reactions indicate that those of us that inspire such fervor are on to something. May the bridges we burn light the way.