Wow, everything I’ve been doing is wrong.
When I started reading comics and writing comic fanfics as a kid, I guess I just didn’t know that I was in over my head. Wandering through comic shops has always been one of my favorite pasttimes, but I suppose I owe the owners of those shops an apology for trespassing. What was I thinking?
I mean, it’s comic creators Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Gerry Conway (The Punisher), right? If they say comics aren’t for women, as they recently did, who am I to argue?
Oh, yeah. I’m a human being AND a lifelong comic fan with a brain AS WELL AS a vagina, and I call bullshit.
Pure, unadulterated, lazy thinking, the-status-quo-suits-us-just-fine-and-why-are-you-trying-to-make-us-think? bullshit.
Since all of this debate is understandably pressing on my ladybrain, I find it easier to bullet point this pile of self-indulgence. So let’s take a look at why, exactly, comics just aren’t for women, and their portrayal in comics just doesn’t matter.
1. Comics don’t aim for diversity because it would weaken the storytelling.
Using flawless logic, Conway argues that “readers are not interested in those characters,” and that anyway “comics reflect society.”
Why this is bullshit: Readers ARE interested in these characters. This is a basic pillar of fiction. Create interesting, multi-faceted characters, and people will enjoy them. It’s a circular argument to say that you’re not going to create interesting female characters, and then whine that you don’t do it because no one is interested in them. If you haven’t been creating many of them, and the ones you have been creating are flat, or women in refrigerators, or narrative devices to further male characters’ plotlines, then no, I imagine most people don’t find them that interesting. That, however, is a reflection on your lazy writing.
Also, anecdata is not data, and that one girl you are using in your example to prove your point is not reflective of every woman. McFarlane argued, “I’ve got two daughters, and if I wanted to do something that I thought was emboldened to a female, I probably wouldn’t choose superhero comic books to get that message across,” mainly because it’s too “testosterone driven.” Conway piled on: his daughter is “not interested in the guy stories.” She is interested in writer Faith Erin Hicks, who is female and wrote “The Adventures of Superhero Girl,” but that doesn’t count somehow, because it’s about a girl, not a boy, and comics are for boys. Even though “The Adventures of Superhero Girl” is a comic.
Sorry, guys: your daughters are not the only girls in the entire world. I’m sure they’re lovely, but they are not the sole representations of females and their responses to comics.