Today is International Women’s Day
Today March 8, is the 101st International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”. Once again Google is celebrating the page with a custom doodle:
Frankly, I can’t think of a more recent year where I have felt concern about women in my country. The last month seem a blur of “slut” and “transvaginal” and equating the use birth control with promiscuity (as if there is anything wrong with promiscuity, AMIRITE DUDES?). It’s not only the issues, it’s the discourse. And it’s not only the men, it’s women too. I was disgusted by some of the comments of popular television actress regarding the Georgetown student who spoke to Congress about birth control.
And in the microorganism of the world which is superhero comics, the past year has been a mix of good and hmm. And it is easy to roll one’s eyes and say, “With all the real things going on the world with women, why prattle on about comics?” It’s a fair question. I ask myself that all the time. But the reason is because microorganisms like comics can also provide snap shots of what is going on on a larger basis in the country and world.
And while the treatment of female characters can be concerning in comics (the default of “dead” comes to mind) it’s not so much content in the comics that makes me concerned but the commentary when women speak out about it. I’ve mentioned the abuse I take when I talk about comics (and read this article to know this is not an isolated issue. And I’ve experienced most of that stuff including the suggestion I be raped). Here’s a mild taste:
But it isn’t just me and this site. It’s everywhere. In the forums, on other blogs, sites like 4Chan and on Twitter. The discourse in the world of superhero comics when women are discussed or women discuss it can be facepalming, headdesking, eye rolling, fist to wall punching … well you decide what it is:
Read the comments on the post Kelly Thompson did about the way women are portrayed in comics. While there is a lot of support, there is lot of, ugh. I wish I could show you what didn’t go through.
And take a look at the comments on this terrific article that Corrina Lawson wrote about the troubling treatment of Lois Lane for Wired. Can you believe that some guy actually called a women a CUNT (hiding it under See You Next Tuesday) ? And this wasn’t someone using a moniker like “Bitchesbebitches099”, this guy used his real name and linked to his Facebook. Go take a look at the comments on the post that Laura Hudson did on Comics Alliance last year.
I could post much more. I am sure many of you can talk about your treatment. I’ve seen the treatment that some female creators get.
So while superhero comics is just a small part of the world, this tone, this abuse, this cavalier way of lumping misogynistic language into discussion is a symptom of a bigger issue. One to consider on a day like today.
So today if you identify as a woman take a moment to celebrate the day. And if you have a woman in your life that you love, respect or admire think about them or say something thing to them to let them know it.
And look at pretty pictures of Wonder Woman, who I am once again choosing to represent the world of comic book women and, in this case, this year’s theme:
Farewell to Sheldon Moldoff, creator of DC women
Golden and Silver Age artist Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff passed away last Wednesday at the age of 91. Moldoff was the last living creator to work on Action Comics #1. Moldoff also drew the cover of the Flash #1 featuring Jay Garrick. I could go on and on about his contributions but there are a few I’ll focus on for the purposes of this blog. First, Moldoff was co-creator of one of the most prominent of the Batman rogues and one of the few female rogues, Poison Ivy:
He also co-created the first female members of the Batfamily, Batwoman I and Bat-Girl:
He also helped create Bat-Mite, Mr. Freeze, Clayface and Ace the Bathound. In addition to drawing under his own name he is also was one of the “ghost artists” for Batman credited creator Bob Kane.
My condolences to his family.
Weekly news roundup
Here are a few of the stories we’ve been paying attention to:
- Our Lizz Winstead event is a critic’s pick in Time Out New York: http://newyork.timeout.com/music-nightlife/comedy/1951473/planned-parenthood-i-am-here-for-you
- And the Village Voice ran a Q&A with Lizz Winstead: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/09/lizz_winstead.php
- Feministing did a ticket giveaway: http://feministing.com/2011/09/16/ppnyc-ticket-giveaway-spend-the-night-with-lizz-winstead/
- And Feministe did a promotional discount: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2011/09/15/feministe-and-planned-parenthood-are-hooking-you-up/
- As did The Awl: http://www.theawl.com/2011/09/special-tickets-for-you-to-this-awesome-planned-parenthood-benefit
- And Sandra Bernhard listed the event on her website: http://www.sandrabernhard.com/2011/09/planned_parenthood.html
- If you haven’t heard, the anti-choice Bob Turner defeated pro-choice David Weprin in the race for Congressional District #9 (to replace Anthony Weiner: http://brooklyn.ny1.com/content/top_stories/147128/gop-upsetturner-defeats-weprin-for-weiner-s-congressional-seat
- National outlets are calling it a message to Obama: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/weiner-race-has-jewish-voters-sending-a-message—to-obama-administration/2011/09/13/gIQAlaAvPK_story.html
- While the NY Daily News is blaming Weprin: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2011/09/14/2011-09-14_only_in_ny__the_guy_in_the_twit_pix_isnt_the_car_wreck.html?r=news/politics
- NBC Writes about the abortion rates by zip code: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/blogs/go-healthy-ny/abortion-abortion-rates-Chelsea-health-pregnancy-birth-control-129795898.html
- WNYC has a story about our state likely missing our health care exchange deadlines: http://empire.wnyc.org/2011/09/new-york-likely-to-miss-another-federal-health-exchange-deadline/
- There’s some controversy surrounding the Staten Island head of priests for life: http://www.silive.com/eastshore/index.ssf/2011/09/staten_island_pro-life_advocat.html
- The CDC is fighting HIV with an innovative new tool – comic books: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/63262.html
- IUDs may reduce the risk of cervical cancer: http://yourlife.usatoday.com/health/medical/womenshealth/story/2011-09-12/Study-IUDs-may-also-prevent-cervical-cancer/50373772/1
- The New Yorker looks at Michele Bachman’s claims on HPV: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2011/09/hpv-perry-and-bachmann.html
- As does CNN: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/us/politics/republican-candidates-battle-over-hpv-vaccine.html?_r=1&hp
- TIME fact-checks Michele Bachmann’s claim that the HPV vaccine is harmful: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/13/vaccination-causes-mental-retardation-fact-checking-michele-bachmanns-claim/
- Though Rick Perry also had strong financial ties to the drug maker: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/perry-has-deep-financial-ties-to-maker-of-hpv-vaccine/2011/09/13/gIQAVKKqPK_story.html?tid=sm_twitter_washingtonpost
- Though ABC asserts that his stance is because of one woman who died of cervical cancer: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/heather-burcham-helped-convince-rick-perry-mandate-hpv/story?id=14527117
- And CNN asserts that the vaccine is safe: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/14/opinion/bocchini-hpv-vaccine/
- And the NY Times Editorial Board weighs in: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/opinion/sunday/governor-perrys-vaccine-tribulations.html?_r=1&ref=opinion
- And USA Today calls Bachmann’s claims irresponsible: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2011-09-18/Bachmann-HPV-Perry-vaccine/50457830/1
- A CNN poll shows that Americans are still pro-choice: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/09/16/poll-shows-americans-still-believe-choice
- Though not as much pro-Obama: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/17/us/politics/obamas-support-is-slipping-poll-finds-but-his-jobs-plan-is-well-received.html?_r=1&ref=politics
- And Congressional approval is at an all-time low: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/approval-of-congress-matches-record-low/
- Virginia just approved serious abortion restrictions: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/us/virginia-panel-tightens-abortion-clinic-rules.html
- DC Students will be tested on sex and drug education: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/dc-students-to-be-tested-_n_964331.html
Sign this if you haven't already.
As of May 25th, 2011, 16 women worked for DC’s creative staff. This coming September, that number will be cut back to 2 women.
I’ve spoken to countless women who have been put off by male comic book shop workers who belittle or patronize them or by fellow comic book fans who brush them off or undermine their love of comics. Experiences like this really discourage women from reading and buying comics, costing companies like DC Comics thousands, if not millions of dollars in profit. Unfortunately, DC reinforces this “boys only club” attitude by ignoring the outcry from its fanbase — “more women in comics.” When women see other women creating comics, they feel empowered. It encourages women to read, to buy, and to maybe one day contribute to the comic book industry.
At San Diego Comic Con, Dan DiDio, co-publisher at DC Comics, was asked by a fan, “Why did you go from 12% to 1% for women on creative teams?” He responded in an agitated, belligerent tone: “Who should we be hiring? Tell me right now.” You can listen to the clip here. His tone is astounding.
We, the undersigned, are willing to offer Dan Didio and the rest of DC’s publishers and editors a list of female creators* they could approach. DC, this isn’t acceptable, this isn’t okay, and we won’t stand for it anymore.
Please sign this petition to make sure they hear the message loud and clear.