a comic done by christianne benedict, posted on the womanthology art forum. brilliant!
YES. Jesus, thank you.
I cannot tell you how many times I have had to point out what the audience at conventions actually LOOKS like to people in the industry. They can do signings in a booth full of every kind of person all day long, every color, every size, every orientation and more, and STILL go online and talk about how only white straight males read comics.
IT IS PROFOUNDLY UNTRUE AND INSULTINGLY IGNORANT.
"The Women Men Don’t See" — James Tiptree, Jr. (AKA Rebecca Sheldon — thanks, buggeryisthegenus)
And really — the *everyone* men don’t see, when you get right down to it. They don’t see us, they’re convinced we don’t spend money — not on the merch they want to make, anyway — and, if we make so much noise that they have to acknowledge us anyway?
Well, we’re not “real” fans.
*rolls eyes so hard they get stuck*
There’s also some interesting data I posted about here; among younger con attendees for comics and games conventions, attendance is split 50-50 between men and women. Unfortunately they didn’t have data on race or orientation, but it’s still pretty telling: your audience is not who you keep saying it is, comics industry.
I work for a tabletop roleplaying game company. We make continual efforts to be inclusive in terms of gender, race, orientation, etc. — half our iconic characters (the ones in our marketing, comic books, audio dramas, used for the art in our rulebooks, etc.) are female, and two of them are openly in a same-sex relationship, one is a transwoman, etc. We have been the top-selling tabletop RPG for a while now (yes, that includes D&D). (See, for example, the ICV2 sales reports.)
What’s probably the boomingest type of scifi right now? Dystopian YA fiction (e.g. these series). YA sales grew by 43.7% just in January of 2014 (compare adult fiction and nonfiction at 2.8%). This is a genre dominated by female writers and (young) female readers.
What was the top-grossing movie of 2013? The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, based a book written by a woman, about a young woman. #2 was Iron Man 3, which starred a dude, but also had several prominent female characters, two of which spent a considerable amount of screen time talking to each other about something other than a man (which screenwriting classes claim will immediately make all the men in the audience flee the theater). Oh, and at #3? Frozen, a movie about two sisters. Highest-grossing animated film of all time. Written by a woman. Directed by a woman. About women. (Oh, and Frozen's Broadway sister, Wicked, is the third-highest grossing musical.)
And yet we keep hearing things like this:
“Guardians of the Galaxy is also the first Marvel movie to be written by a woman, screenwriter Nicole Perlman. In a recent interview with TIME magazine, Perlman described the trouble she had persuading studios to trust a woman to write sci-fi…”
It is manifestly obvious that women buy games, buy comics, and see scifi/fantasy movies. It is manifestly obvious that women can write and direct and star in top-selling scifi and fantasy and comics-based movies. It is manifestly obvious that women can write best-selling scifi novels, and that women can drive the sales that make them best-sellers. It is manifestly obvious that putting non-chainmail-bikini-ed women on the cover of your game doesn’t hurt sales, and may actually help them. (That’s actually true outside of games, too: sex doesn’t necessarily sell, and may actually reduce brand recall.)
So you have to ask yourself, why the hell are comics companies and game companies and movie studios so afraid of women?
Because the idea that it’s for business reasons is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.
IMO, keeping the conversation focused on “Why Don’t Women…[buy comics/watch sci fi/write fantasy/play games/etc].?” serves mostly to reinforce women’s marginalization within these geek circles. I mean, it’s not women participating in these groups asking “Why Don’t Women…?” because we’re living proof that Women Do, right?
So the question “Why Don’t Women…?” reminds us that, no matter what the actual reality of the situation, the general consensus is that women are outsiders; that we should always expect to have to prove ourselves and our legitimacy to industry gatekeepers. By forcing everyone to keep coming back to this asinine question, it keeps women on the defensive, rather than letting us move onto something, anything, more interesting — like, say, our thoughts and opinions on the subject matter in question.
And you know, to the industry insiders, it doesn’t matter that the actual evidence contradicts their “Women Don’t [Fill In the Blank]” assertion. Readership figures, dollars spent, sales accumulated — on the ground facts — totes irrelevant. If it did matter, then they’d have to start making different choices, I think, and inertia is a powerful beast for a large media producer.
Yet by asking “Why Don’t Women…?”, by lamenting the fact that Women Don’t [x], TPTB can make a big show of seeming like they’re interested in solving the problem — even though female readership/viewership/playership/etc. numbers prove the problem doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way they’re framing it — without actually requiring TPTB to make any changes to their business strategy. They get all the brownie points of caring about diversity, without having to actually put any money where their mouth is.
Ruth. 23. Comics-lover, Bookseller, Bookworm, Writer, Linguist, and proud member of the Carol Corps.
Citizen of the Old Kingdom, Abaratian, Marvel fan, Whovian, Potterhead, inhabitant of Middle Earth. You'll find recovery stuff here occasionally. And books. lots and lots of books. Also, I already mentioned it, but dang, I love the Carol Corps. Friendliest, most welcoming fandom imaginable. My ask box is always open and I'm always looking for book and comic recommendations.