Personal · Research · SDCC

San Diego Comic Con!


It’s almost upon us!

San Diego Comic Con 2016!

I’ve been trying to draft up posts to leave while I’m gone but I’ll be honest: this week I’ve been too excited, stressed, busy, and nervous to really make coherent blog posts!

If you’re going to be around SDCC I would love to meet you! I’ll probably be wandering the exhibit hall/artist alley most of the time.

If you’d like, you can come see me on one of the two scheduled events I’m on!

Thursday, July 21, 5:30-6:30 PM, Room 24ABC

The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: To Bechdel, Or Not to Bechdel

You might be seeing more popular media starring women, but are there more that are actually about women? With so many stories failing the Bechdel Test (a test that measures whether a story has two women in it who talk about something other than a man), it leaves many wondering if pop culture is making any progress at all. Here to discuss the Bechdel test as well as diversity in media (and the lack thereof), are Action Flick Chick, Katrina Hill (100 Greatest Graphic Novels), Janina Scarlet(Superhero Therapy, Star Wars Psychology), Jennifer Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazons, GeekGirlCon), Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5, Quest Retreats), Jessica Tseang (Little Geek Girls, Girl on Geek), Tony B. Kim (Hero Within, Crazy4ComicCon), Ashley Bles(Henderson State University), and moderator Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia, Most Craved).

Saturday, July 23, 2:00-3:00 PM, Room 26AB

Comics Arts Conference #12: The Poster Session

The CAC’s poster session gives attendees the opportunity to interact directly with presenters……..
Ashley Bles (Henderson State University) presents an empirical test for analyzing the representation and role of women in superhero comics.

I’ll have business cards to hand out, and totally be a dork around you. Please come say hi!

2 thoughts on “San Diego Comic Con!

  1. I saw the panel you were in at SDCC16 on the Bechtel test. I had to hold myself back from commenting then about what I thought of the Bechtel test (which I am very familiar with because I introduce it to my film/anthropology students and then point out how useless it is). But I decided not to get into a heated discussion about it at SDCC although I was very bothered that you and one of the other panelists (can’t remember who, but it was another academic) actually wanted to make the test “stricter.” All this came back to me last night when I was inexplicably watching an awful 2005 Disney movie called Ice Princess. The Bechtel Test gives it a positive mark and include this analysis of it:
    “Although shallow on the surface, this movie specifically addresses what it means to be a feminist. A teenaged girl must hide her passion for figure skating from her militantly feminist mother, who believes the sport, and especially the outfits, are demeaning to women.”
    First, that is not close to being an accurate description or analysis of the film. The Bechtel test promotes that kind of film analysis. Second, there is a much better way to look at women in films (I have been teaching women in film for 35 years so I have seen all the theories applied to the topic). Are you interested in engaging in a discussion about this?


    1. I would love to discuss further, and I’m glad you got to go to our panel. I think you may have taken my words slightly differently than I intended them, though: I acknowledge that plenty of misogynistic films pass the Bechdel test, and that many femme-positive ones don’t, as I believe I mentioned (or if not, will be mentioned in my research to be published later this year). The Bechdel test and all others spawned by it (the Mako Mori, Narrative Bechdel, even the Sexy Lamp test) are all intended not to be the be-all end-all of analysis but rather tools to encourage thought. In the case of the Bechdel test, that is “two women talking is not the only measure of feminism but whoa, I never realized how few movies have it!”

      My research pertaining to the Bechdel test involves creating my own test for comics to generate discussion, not to say “pass” or “fail” on of something is or isn’t feminist based on specific terms because obviously such concepts are hard to pin down and there are a myriad of factors. (Even a test with 50 criteria would still be an inaccurate “perfect test”.)

      So, it sounds like we are more or less in agreement and miscommunication occurred along the way, but if you would like to talk more I would love to. You can reply here or email me at I would love to hear your suggestions and some of the theories you think are most interesting/valid/bunk/wacky.



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