We are on the far side of the San Diego ComiCon. This is a con where DC’s creators have had their most direct exposure to their current fanbase’s reactions to the New 52. In particular, they’ve heard loud and clear that the ongoing lack of gender parity both in the comics and behind the scenes creating them is, simply put, no longer acceptable.
Inevitably, this has led to backlash. The surest sign that a message is beginning to be heard is the annoyed and dismissive response by those not affected. I’ve heard the woman cosplaying as Batgirl being described as a bully. There was applause for Dan DiDio’s response (“well, who should we have hired”) to the question. The inevitable (overwhelmingly male) fatigue with the issue has begun to emerge.
Well, speaking as a male myself… get used to that fatigue, because the complaints are only going to get louder and more common.
There are two reasons for this. The first is simple: the complaints have merit. Women comprise just over fifty percent of the population. Inevitably, any popular media that refuses to acknowledge that is going to be accused of sexism, because it is in fact sexist.
Seriously. Having a brand new Justice League and having less than 50% women on it? Is a sexist decision. There is no way to justify it as anything else. Having a Teen Titans so out of whack demographically? Same deal. And no, the existence of the Birds of Prey doesn’t make up for it, any more than the existence of the Negro Baseball Leagues made up for the lack of black players in Major League Baseball pre-Jackie Robinson. Seperate is not and never will be equal.
But second, and significantly more importantly? The complaints will continue because the female readership is where all the growth is.
Seriously. The Manga explosion of the 90’s and early 2000’s created generations of female fans of sequential art. Adventure cartoons have huge female fanbases. (There is a reason the new Avatar is a girl.) And those women like superheroes. Young Justice has a big female fanbase. No shock — how many women were raised on The Powerpuff Girls and Kim Possible? And the whole My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic phenomenon comes from a cartoon being written for girls by creators who actually understand their audience produces not a “good girls’ cartoon” but a good cartoon, period. No wonder guys like it too.
Sooner or later, someone senior to the entire DC Entertainment hierarchy at Time Warner is going to notice all these consumers with all their money and all their complaints, and change will be imposed from above with all the force and subtlety of a meteor. Why? Because executives like money and there’s piles of it to be made, and shareholders don’t like loud, legitimate claims of sexism. The current creative team at DC can take great, legitimate strides towards fixing it before that happens, but they actually have to take them.
And that’s a big reason for the backlash now. Folks who like comics the way they are resent the implication they need to change. They certainly resent the accusation of sexism because they don’t see themselves as sexist and don’t like being told something they love is sexist. It feels like a personal attack. “If you like current superhero comics and current superhero comics are sexist, you must be a sexist yourself!” And they deny it vociferously.
And those denials? End up being sexist whether intentional or not. The woman who wore the costume of her hero stood up at every panel and spoke truth to power. That takes guts. The idea that woman was a bully is ridiculous. Women demanding that comics recogize who they are and treat their depictions and their talents accordingly aren’t bullying anyone. They’re refusing to be bullied. Trashing someone for speaking out against rampent sexism isn’t cutting through to the truth — it’s supporting that sexism and decrying people for not accepting it.
There’s nothing heroic about that, and DC has to get out of the business of championing it. Those who defend it or attack the fight against it have forgotten what being a hero is all about.
Okay. I have to put my input here. Everyone needs to, and please excuse my language because I don’t swear very often, but shut the fuck up. Are we now going to address and argue over the Hogwarts Trio, Harry, Hermione, and Ron and say that is sexist because there are two boys and one girl? How about Lock, Stock, and Barrel from Nightmare Before Christmas? How about the television show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or even the famous cast of ‘Supernatural’, where there are no women as hero’s on the show on a day to day basis. Or, if you want me to play dirty, the new X-Men movie, First Class, where while being a MARVEL movie, has only two (or three depending on how you want to look at it) in the film.
And yet we hear not one complaint on those. Stop pointing fingers. Why must we always find something to complain about? Our society accepts both male and female figures in a heoric position. And sure, there may be more male characters than female, but those lovely ladies are still kick ass. Would we fight over if there are more fruits then vegetables? I don’t think so.
And okay, I do completely agree that that the woman being called a bully had no right to be called so. But to what extent did she think she was going to change everything and get more female superhero’s? I don’t exactly think so.
So go ahead. Call ME sexist for loving all of the above and not demanding more of my female counterparts to be on stage, set, television, or in the comic books. Because the holy hell I am. I support everyone. I love all the villians and heros. Gender does not simply mean that much to me. It’s what they do that effects me.
Superhero’s stand for an idea and for freedom.
Their gender should not matter.
Um. I’m running on zero sleep and this just broke my brain. Anyone wanna take this? Or am I just going to have to come back and respond to this later when I’ve gotten some sleep in. Because seriously? No.
People aren’t getting it.
I am trying to push that the gender of a superhero shouldn’t be determined. It should be their actions and their words. What they stand for. Not what body parts they possess.
I am for both.
I love seeing both a victorious male save his city and a gallant female her own town. I think that the argument, the sexist accusations, is silly!
I had specifically picked trio’s for my argument, but apparently that was a bad choice on my part since the point was not drawn across. You do not see arguments of sexism with picks of three. I see this argument as silly as that. Trio’s are outnumbered, yes, and yet do we argue about them as much as something larger, no? Would the argument be easier won? Probably.
I’m not trying to bash or rant or whatever you may wish to call it.
The point I want to make is that GENDER SHOULD NOT MATTER. It just shouldn’t. We are in such a gender based society. Only men should be doctors. Only women should be teachers.
No. Get out of that and realize that everybody can be anything.
Both women and men.
Gender doesn’t matter, you say? Well!
Then let’s just make Batman, Green Lantern, and Aquaman into females. Flashpoint’s over, the continuity’s rebooted, and now they always have been women.
Since gender doesn’t matter, obviously nobody will complain. Noooooobody at all.
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