comic-loving women of the world, unite!

DC, Marvel, Image, BOOM!, Dynamite and more! Discuss everything comics and related to comics. If it's comics and Nightcrawler isn't in it, this is the place!
Post Reply
wizardelfgirl
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:29 am
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by wizardelfgirl » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:43 am

Because apparently those of us who have been reading comics and attending conventions for quite a while are actually men (not to say women have been active in fandom since like, forever. Certainly before Twilight was even written)



FANGIRL INVASION p1 - The Changing Face (and Sex) of Fandom


There was a time when the term "geek" was applied exclusively to men.

That time has passed.

One look around last month's massive Comic-Con International: San Diego made it clear: the fangirls have invaded.

"Every year, there's an even larger, incredibly noticeable legion of female fans, and not just girls into the 'Twilight' stuff, but girls wearing comic books stuff, wearing a lot of manga stuff, wearing anime stuff," said Jeff Katz, the former Fox movie executive who recently started the comics/film production house, American Original. "Women are clearly part of the genre audience. Anyone who's been doing their homework in Hollywood in the last five years has certainly been aware of this."

According to statistics from last year's Comic-Con, about 40 percent of the people attending the show are women, something that didn't escape the recent attention of Jeff Smith, publisher of the popular "Bone" comic book series.

"There's women! I don't mean to sound lecherous. I'm just really pleased!" Smith said with a laugh. "It really was just us guys for a long time."

While any kind of growth in the industry would seem like good news, it hasn't come without its share of backlash. Blogs since this year's convention have taken male/female sides on everything from the potential sexism of the convention's "booth babes" to complaints about the influx of female "Twilight" fans.

But if there's one thing most fans and creators can agree upon, it's that more women are around, and they appear to be staying.

In the first of a series looking at the effect of the "Fangirl Invasion", Newsarama looks as the causes and asks: Why the change? And why now?

Katz, who has written superhero comics and produced films like the recent "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", said he believes it comes down to society being more accepting of fan culture and genre characters in general. As the culture at large is exposed to fandom, it becomes more acceptable to be part of it.

"You have a generation of girls who have grown up with this stuff and view it as a natural part of culture," he said. "You've had three 'Spider-Man' movies and 'X-Men' movies since they've been growing up. You've had 'Harry Potter' books and movies. And this generation has gotten it in a more concentrated level than I had as a kid. I might have had a 'Superman' movie every few years. But it was still a bit of a learning process."

Although Katz thinks comics publishers still haven't figured out how to tap into the potential of this female audience, Hollywood has started to catch on – with Katz naming "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon as someone who greatly influenced the change.

"He's one of the leading forces behind the growth," Katz said, pointing toward the large number of enthusiastic female fans the creator's projects have attracted. "I think his impact's actually been underrated."

Whedon himself told Newsarama he thinks the recent surge in female fans has come about mainly because it took Hollywood this long to figure out that comics and genre movies appeal to a wider audience than just geeky men.

"I think a lot more people are more comfortable with being fans of this genre because the studios and the networks have become more comfortable with them," he said.

"After 'Lost' and 'Heroes', they get it, 'Oh, this is a formula for money! We love money!'" Whedon said. "So people who would never have watched what used to pass for science fiction – which was all, 'turn on the purple lights and let's look like crap and be sort of marginalized' – people who would never watch that stuff even if it was good, and don't love B-movies the way I do, can now find themselves into genre."

Paul Levitz, publisher at DC Comics, attributes much of the growth in the female audience to the fact that, as women have become part of the workplace and therefore the creative marketplace, more writers and artists are female.

"I think if you look at the history pattern – Joss' work aside, which is wonderful but unusual – the success of things capable of attracting women in pop culture had women in a more significant creative role. Gene Roddenberry, although male, was very heavily influenced by Majel Barrett, his wife, during the creation process of 'Star Trek'," Levitz said, pointing out the female fans of that franchise.

"With the whole emergence of Vertigo, which became the first modern comics line to have serious women readers very actively involved, it's not a coincidence that the editorial staff was led by a woman and included many women. Yes, the same story can reach both, but the odds are a little bit better to tell a story that interests a group if it's by a person who's in it."

Louise Krasniewicz, anthropologist and lecturer for the University of Pennsylvania, said her studies of fan culture have led her to believe that women's recent attraction to fandom is just a natural reaction to the human need for the stories of mythology – something they were previously discouraged from fulfilling.

"I study mythology and cultures around the world and back into ancient worlds. And it's exactly the same thing," Krasniewicz explained. "There is no difference between the myths that people in ancient times used to explain the world to themselves and 'Harry Potter' and 'Twilight' and comic book characters. They are our contemporary myths. I think girls have been looking for something like this."

Krasniewicz, a life-long comics reader who has also become a fan of 'Potter' and 'Twilight', attended Comic-Con this year to immerse herself in the fan culture she studies, and even stood in line with thousands of other people to see the panel for 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'.

"They needed something like this," the anthropologist said as she waved her hand across the mass of mostly female fans waiting in the line. "'Harry Potter' partly had that. Comic books have it, but comic books have always had a reputation of being for boys. Twilight' was perfect. It was the perfect way for them to step into what fan culture provides you."

Among the things fan culture provides, Krasniewicz said, is a community, as fans enjoy sharing their enthusiasm with other people. "People like having that connection, and people have done it for years over comic books. Some people used to do it over 'Harry Potter' and still do. People used to do it more over television shows, but we don't watch the same television shows as much as we used to. But 'Twilight' just hit it on the button," she said.

Because of the attraction to community, one of the reasons for the growth in women fans may be the increase in female Internet users, as the web gives women the ability to share their fandom with others. Females now outnumber males on the 'net, with social networking serving as the key attraction. And along with that social activity has come an increase in communication among female fans.

"When we first started, we ran off a standard $100 a year web hosting, which progressed to various types of shared servers, until we finally got so large that we had to get our own dedicated server," said Lori Joffs, co-owner of The Twilight Lexicon website for fans of the movie and book series, which draws mostly women ages 18 to 35. "We currently have over 50,000 unique visitors a day, which still stuns me considering that I threw a little party when we got our 500th visitor."

According to Krasniewicz, that growth in online communities of female fans is something that comic book fans should understand, since they've been doing it for years. "There's definitely this sense of the 'comic book community.' We hear that term all the time as comic readers," she said. "And now women are discovering they can be part of that. They can have that same sense of community through fan culture."

http://www.newsarama.com/film/090827-fa ... l#comments
~Twitch~
Image

We are what we are Scott--wishing won't change a blessed thing. Nor will feeling sorry for yourself. I learned very early on that I must either accept what I am, or go mad. And though I am now occasionally crazy, I am not mad. If you keep tearing your guts apart every time you think the world's shafted you, my friend, you'll destroy not only yourself, but those who love you.

LIV4TheObsession
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 pm
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by LIV4TheObsession » Sat Sep 05, 2009 11:42 am

Cool article! I don't think Twilight is as responsible for the increase of female fans as the article says is it though. (I'm not just saying that because I don't personaly like Twilight.) But they are right about how movies have drawn new fans in more than ever before! Hopefully, companies like Marvel will try to learn how to market to girls now!
DeviantArt: http://liv4theobsession.deviantart.com/

"Your life is not back and white but it is the million shades of grey that make you who you are." ~ Unknown

Angelique
Dread Pirate
Dread Pirate
Posts: 2882
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:27 am
Location: sailing under the Jolly Wagner

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Angelique » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:37 pm

I don't think marketing specifically to girls is going to be all that necessary. A great start would be to make current Marvel properties and projects simply less off-putting to girls. I think the ranks of women in comic fandom has been on the rise in spite of how women are still generally portrayed in comics rather than because of it.

The work of Joss Whedon and Gail Simone is truly exceptional in this regard. It's unfortunately not the norm.
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6 ... &ref=share

www.heroesfallenstudiosinc.webs.com

http://hubpages.com/hub/characterdriven

wizardelfgirl
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:29 am
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by wizardelfgirl » Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:14 pm

A bit random and off-topic here but LIV4TheObsession, your icon just cracks me up. :LOL
~Twitch~
Image

We are what we are Scott--wishing won't change a blessed thing. Nor will feeling sorry for yourself. I learned very early on that I must either accept what I am, or go mad. And though I am now occasionally crazy, I am not mad. If you keep tearing your guts apart every time you think the world's shafted you, my friend, you'll destroy not only yourself, but those who love you.

User avatar
Nandireya
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler
Posts: 1606
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2002 11:46 pm
Title: The Librarian
Location: Australia
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Nandireya » Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:48 pm

Angelique wrote:I don't think marketing specifically to girls is going to be all that necessary. A great start would be to make current Marvel properties and projects simply less off-putting to girls.
You mean like not having unrealistically proportioned female heroes in impossible-to-keep-in-place costumes lying all over the covers in provocative poses? But then I guess the boys wouldn't buy them...

And since when was Twilight a comicbook? It's a sappy, dangerously obsessive 'romance' with pseudo-vampires and pseudo-werewolves. I can't see where it fits in at all...
:read The Librarian ~ Keeper of Elfin Facts :read

:bamf I'm sick of my subconscious...it's like it's got a mind of its own... :bamf

:D A Touch Of Velvet :D

LIV4TheObsession
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 pm
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by LIV4TheObsession » Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:04 pm

wizardelfgirl wrote:A bit random and off-topic here but LIV4TheObsession, your icon just cracks me up. :LOL
Thanks! And I agree that instead of creating all new series, they should just try to make the current ones less-sexist! I mean, doesn't that sound easier than publishing whole new books? Honestly....
DeviantArt: http://liv4theobsession.deviantart.com/

"Your life is not back and white but it is the million shades of grey that make you who you are." ~ Unknown

Garble
Lookout
Lookout
Posts: 865
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 11:15 pm
Title: Weirdsmith
Location: The bottom of your mind
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Garble » Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:34 pm

wizardelfgirl wrote:Because apparently those of us who have been reading comics and attending conventions for quite a while are actually men (not to say women have been active in fandom since like, forever. Certainly before Twilight was even written)
Yes there have always been female comic fans, but they've been "the norm" in about the same way that there have always been men who enjoy wearing women's clothing. (So yes, maybe the women who love comics actually are men. :shifty)
Nandireya wrote: You mean like not having unrealistically proportioned female heroes in impossible-to-keep-in-place costumes lying all over the covers in provocative poses? But then I guess the boys wouldn't buy them...
I agree about costumes (Emma Frost makes an olympic sport out of unreasonable clothing) and overly sexualized poses (Greg Land actually uses porn for photo references). But men in comics aren't exactly realistically proportioned either, and they never have been. Maybe body-image is a bigger issue for female readers than for males but I honestly don't think the distribution of comic-book women with tiny waists and big boobs is any greater than that of comic-book men with giant biceps and six-pack abs. And I doubt mindset is really "Let's put big boobs on the women to sell more comics to boys!". I think it's more like "I (a traditionally straight, male comic book artist) like big boobs and will draw the women that way!" The impossible bodies of characters are as much a part of the escapist fantasy nature of comic-books as characters that can fly and bad-guys that always get their comeuppance.

But if that aspect of comic-book tradition is really off-putting to female readers maybe it's important for the industry to really think about it.

LIV4TheObsession
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 pm
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by LIV4TheObsession » Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:48 pm

Garble wrote:
I agree about costumes (Emma Frost makes an olympic sport out of unreasonable clothing) and overly sexualized poses (Greg Land actually uses porn for photo references). But men in comics aren't exactly realistically proportioned either, and they never have been. Maybe body-image is a bigger issue for female readers than for males but I honestly don't think the distribution of comic-book women with tiny waists and big boobs is any greater than that of comic-book men with giant biceps and six-pack abs. And I doubt mindset is really "Let's put big boobs on the women to sell more comics to boys!". I think it's more like "I (a traditionally straight, male comic book artist) like big boobs and will draw the women that way!" The impossible bodies of characters are as much a part of the escapist fantasy nature of comic-books as characters that can fly and bad-guys that always get their comeuppance.
I agree that male bodies are also misrepresented in comics, but the for that (according to most artists) is so that the costumes are better filled. But sometimes, the artists get carries away especialy with bicepts and the quads. (almost to the point where the characters don't even look human.)

But with female character, the reason they porportion them the way they do is for sex. That's all there is to it. No self respecting woman would fight crime in an outfit like Emma's! Can you picture a police-woman going to work like that?

P.S Are you serious that Greg Land uses porn for photo refference?! That's disgusting!
DeviantArt: http://liv4theobsession.deviantart.com/

"Your life is not back and white but it is the million shades of grey that make you who you are." ~ Unknown

The Drastic Spastic
Swashbuckler
Swashbuckler
Posts: 1846
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2002 3:01 am
Location: ROK

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by The Drastic Spastic » Mon Sep 07, 2009 9:36 am

LIV4TheObsession wrote: But with female character, the reason they porportion them the way they do is for sex. That's all there is to it. No self respecting woman would fight crime in an outfit like Emma's! Can you picture a police-woman going to work like that?
You don't think a chick with gigantic knockers also "fills out" a costume better than a flat one? I hardly find it sexual, maybe some men do but I don't think they're the majority. It's just the way superheroes look. Sometimes the artist goes a little crazy with it, but overall I don't even notice the tits. Even Emma's. It's not like they look real.
Und die Sonne spricht zu mir

LIV4TheObsession
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 pm
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by LIV4TheObsession » Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:15 pm

The Drastic Spastic wrote:You don't think a chick with gigantic knockers also "fills out" a costume better than a flat one? I hardly find it sexual, maybe some men do but I don't think they're the majority. It's just the way superheroes look. Sometimes the artist goes a little crazy with it, but overall I don't even notice the tits. Even Emma's. It's not like they look real.
I see where you're comming from with that, and I do agree that a skinnier lady with long legs and such will look better in those costumes. But there's a line between visualy appealing and flat out sex. I think artists tend to cross that line sometimes with both genders. (More frequently with girls though. I don't think there's any argument in that case.)
DeviantArt: http://liv4theobsession.deviantart.com/

"Your life is not back and white but it is the million shades of grey that make you who you are." ~ Unknown

Angelique
Dread Pirate
Dread Pirate
Posts: 2882
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:27 am
Location: sailing under the Jolly Wagner

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Angelique » Mon Sep 07, 2009 4:41 pm

My objection at least half the time is to the kinds of "costumes" female characters are expected to fill out. At least with the guys, the costumes serve a purpose other than eye candy.
Meddle not with the heartstrings of fans, for we are powerful and hold your pursestrings.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6 ... &ref=share

www.heroesfallenstudiosinc.webs.com

http://hubpages.com/hub/characterdriven

LIV4TheObsession
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:32 pm
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by LIV4TheObsession » Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:43 pm

Angelique wrote:My objection at least half the time is to the kinds of "costumes" female characters are expected to fill out. At least with the guys, the costumes serve a purpose other than eye candy.
Are you kidding?! Fighting crime in a thong and high-heels is a greeeeat idea. :huh
DeviantArt: http://liv4theobsession.deviantart.com/

"Your life is not back and white but it is the million shades of grey that make you who you are." ~ Unknown

User avatar
Nachtkriec
Bilge Rat
Bilge Rat
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:51 pm
Location: x-manshion

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Nachtkriec » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:42 pm

well girls with curves are ok, but just cause you have curves doesnt mean your over-portioned, they just use women for the male readers, but i have noticed they are starting to make female charcters being more stronge-like, so little girls who read comic books can grow-up with a dream to be a superhero, just like boys.
Der Unglaubliche Nachtkriec!
The Incredible Nightcrawler!
http://www.midtowncomics.com/
http://www.fanfiction.net/
(those arent my websites)

neling4
Lookout
Lookout
Posts: 897
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:56 am
Location: With my family

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by neling4 » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:00 pm

I'm glad they finally "noticed" me. It only took them nearly 50 years! :rolleyes

I suspect it's been more a matter of women feeling left out than women not being fan-girls. Left out, because some men think they are the only ones who like comics.

Rather like the fellow who pushed his way in front of me to buy his action figures, not realizing that the little old lady at the counter was waiting to pay for her comic books.

Luckily, he realized in time, thanks to me pushing my way right back in front of him, and he apologized very nicely.
R.I.P. Nightcrawler. 1975 - 2010

Image

User avatar
Elfdame
Navigator
Navigator
Posts: 1230
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 12:26 pm
Location: working full-time or sleeping
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Elfdame » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:36 pm

That's why I'm glad they have kiddie titles like "Marvel Adventures" and (to some extent) "X-men: First Class," because both of those books are better suited to my tastes than pages of people going splat and Emma's boobies sprouting forth.

Not that I mind a particularly lusciously-drawn Kurt. But I'm sexist. :D
"Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton." From Chapter 9 of _Brother Odd_ by Dean Koontz / from Chapter 10: "Life you can evade; death you cannot."

Image

Elwing
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 986
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 4:35 pm
Title: Loquacious Llama
Location: Yurop

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Elwing » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:43 pm

Being an American super-hero type loving female in Europe is especially tough. There is lots of snobbishness, buying something "artsy" is sort of acceptable, but the traditional comic is defenitely not rated as such. There are shops I avoid because of "a woman your age should know better" type reactions from the staff. Seriously.:(
“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a bike and that’s pretty close”

Cyntosis
Lubber
Lubber
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:08 pm
Location: Belgium
Contact:

comic-loving women of the world, unite!

Post by Cyntosis » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:04 pm

Tough luck Elwing. All my comic book shop owners are friendly dudes and dudettes. In fact, one of the owners complains to me how she's disappointed her daughters my age won't read comics.

There's the downside of having to hit 3 different shop to get either a European comic, an American TPB or an American single, but they're all located in the same area so that's no biggie.

Post Reply