So, if you read my first SDCC post, you’ll know I spent a lot of time talking about representation in the nerdy fields. I attended panels, spoke on another, and presented research on the subject. San Diego Comic Con, overall, was pretty positive for women this year, despite some shitty occurrences. Here’s my quick roundup of what I saw going around.
To start out, let’s get the bad out of the way.
- The Mary Sue wrote about a male con staffer interrupting, taking over, and talking over women at a Women in Film Production panel, plugging his own program and acting as if the women in the room (including panelists) knew nothing about basic film production–nevermind the fact that they had ran this panel many times before and were all established in the field.
- The Generations of Women in Comics panel, like most panels, ended with a Q&A. A young man got up at the end of this and asked the panel (including comic greats Trina Robbins and Mary Fleener) how to write female characters who seemed “real” because he was writing a story with 4 women and just “can’t make them complex.” The reply, of course, was a terse “treat them like they’re people.”
- The Killing Joke movie released and was a disaster in every way, including its Comic Con panel. Read about it here. Essentially: How can we make The Killing Joke, an awful story debasing one of the most amazing female superheroes into the poster child for Women in Refrigerators? Well, by making her a pining jilted lover of the Bat, of course! Becoming a hero to make a difference? No, she did it to get Batman’s attention! Yeah, that’ll work! At the panel, people called the writing staff out on it, which devolved into the staff doubling down on their shitty decisions and Brian Azarello calling a critic a “p*ssy.” Progressive.
But, overall, I still walked away from the con more inspired than disenchanted, more hopeful than discouraged.
I saw generations of female comic creators from close to the beginning of comics to present day (as well as future comic creators) talking about their struggles, sharing tips with each other, and creating an amazing safety net for each other. I also saw this with film producers, animators, cosplayers, fandom members, STEM students, and many other groups.
I saw the Wonder Woman trailer and cried inspired, happy, hopeful, nervous-for-the-future-please-don’t-mess-this-up tears.
I saw confirmation of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel and while I think she’s a good (if not very very young) choice, I also see this as hopeful evidence that Marvel is seriously actually this time for once going to make a female-hero-centric film (even if it won’t come out until 2019).
We have a long fucking way to go. I’ll be the first to say that. The Wonder Woman trailer was way too white. Ghostbusters did a pretty crappy job typecasting the one WoC as a shitty stereotype. We’re still grossly underrepresented, undersupported, and underpaid in fields that we just equally occupy. We still have to deal with rape culture, slut shaming, gatekeeping, and bullshit stereotypes.
But I like to think slowly….slowly…..we are kicking and clawing our way through.