Last week, I wrote about how I can turn brunch into me championing female comics creators to new comic readers. Ok, there was a bit more to it than that but just go ahead and read it if you really want the details. After that went out, our Ye Olde Editor Mike decided to play Devils’ Advocate and ask me why we need women creators in comics.
I admit, I was stumped about how to approach it this time. I feel like so many writers, including myself, have tackled this subject. And frankly, I don’t understand who would argue against women in comics at this point. (I doubt Bill Willingham from Fables will read this.) But then I remembered that no matter what I need to explain, I can always use Star Trek. More on that soon.
Right now, according to Pew Research Center, 56% of men think sexism doesn’t exist anymore. You might be one of them. After all, it is 2016. But where (for the most part) we’ve lost the ass grabbing and the “just keep looking pretty” side of sexism, the more subtle signs of sexism still exist. Women are still paid less than men, and are often seen as less capable or knowledgeable. Right now, we are seeing the subtle signs of sexism played out on the national stage but many people fail to see it.
When women enter the planning process, so does a completely new point of view. We are more likely to be better multi-taskers, empathetic, and respond much differently to the world’s pressures because of gender. That change in perception and reactions adds a new story element.
In entertainment, we have seen women’s stories change and develop as time has passed. In a lot of cases, entertainment has led the way for social changes. (Now is where I bring Star Trek back in). Star Trek showed Nichelle Nichols as an officer on a starship. Not a maid, not a cook but someone who can take control. Uhura inspired a generation that they too could be more than what society at the time decided was okay. Plus, without her we would have no Whoopi Goldberg, and that would be a real shame.
Now we have the current Ms. Marvel, created because Marvel editor Sana Amanat randomly was sharing childhood stories one day. Another editor thought she could use her past to create a new hero and Kamala Kahn was born. In today’s world of scary hate, Kamala shows that Muslim culture includes everyday people who deserve their voice.
Women bring new stories to comics, and with those stories, new truths and changes that will echo into society. The truth is that human crave knowledge, intrigue, entertainment, and change. As anything in our lives become stale, we look for something new. When civilizations fail to grow, change, or spark new ideas, then they collapse. New ideas can come from anywhere or anyone.
We’ve only had the voices of a select group for so long that we’ve forgotten how many other stories that are out there. Ignoring this entire gender means the stagnation of comics. Actually, scratch that. Ignoring any minority group means the stagnation of comics. Only through continuing evolution and change can the comics industry continue to thrive.