Saturday, March 03, 2007

The impenetrable female mind. Part 2

To continue on from the last post, I wanted to pull up DC Comics ploy to try and draw in more female readers, specifically to Supergirl.

Let's see how that goes.

From Supergirl: Maid of Might:

Eddie Berganza, editor of Supergirl/JLA/Teen Titans/etc, is asking women to read Supergirl in this month’s DC Nation. I’m shocked. I really am. DC as a company cares very little for its female readers. They don’t acknowledge us as a viable market, and they certainly don’t respect our opinions. That’s been made abundantly clear over the years; it’s been corroborated by employees who’ve spoken out about the institutional sexism that permeates the company (Occasional Superheroine is an eye-opener). But now DC is asking women specifically to read Supergirl because, what, sales are so bad that even women are better than nothing?
Truthfully, I would not have paid much attention to Berganza’s column if so many people weren’t talking about it online. I didn’t even know about it until yesterday because I didn’t buy any comics this month. I just…don’t want to. And the first line of the column is not encouraging:
Women. Who needs them?

Well, actually… I do.

Let me explain.

Ouch. This poor attempt at humor marks the tone of the rest of the column, and serves to remind women that Berganza is writing within a male dominated culture where woman-bashing is enjoyed without reservation. He’s making an effort to reach out to us, but he can’t do so without making sure his male readers know he’s still “on their side”. Humor is a tricky thing, but one thing is true: men use it frequently to silence women. Eddie should keep that in mind the next time he’s tempted to make a “clever” play on misogynistic witticisms.


And on Berganza goes.

Read the critique for a better understanding of the concerns, and embedded institutional issue of the industry.

Comics aren't evil, publishers aren't either. But it is up to the market to push these guys to open their eyes. And we may need to be a bit rough. Raises our voices a bit. Be a bit snippy even.

Comics are a wonderful format, they offer leisure, inspiration, plain old enjoyment. So it falls on fans to get the points across, and not let their past time be washed away by time and immobility. Not let a new generation lose out on these fantasy heroes, and fun stories.

So it falls on us to call out sloppy work and troubling ideas imployed by editors, writers, and artists.


Karen Strang said...

It's strange. Every day I read blogs by women who enjoy comics, want to keep reading comics, but are continuously insulted by the publishers, writers and artists of comics. The market must be there, why not cater to it? Certainly a female's money is as good as a male's.

GregC said...

The "female market" doesn't need to be catered to. Simply not driving female readers away every chance possible would probably be enough.

I don't give the publishers the compliment of being smart enough to pull off misogyny on this scale on purpose. They are just immature little boys who are afraid of getting cooties if they let girls in the playhouse. They WANT this insulated little fanboy world to remain THEIRS. Other people want more from these titles - people really want to enjoy a good superhero comic. People of all genders.

And I'm just considering readers here. I can't even imagine what it would be like to work there.