I’ve touched on this subject a couple of times before in these little ranty blog-posts, but I’d like to touch on it again as a number of my friends, who are feminists, have become more vocal about their opinions on feminism within comics.

I’m going to start out by, again, pointing out that I don’t identify as a feminist; I like the goals and offer my support, but I don’t feel I comprehend the full spectrum of arguments well enough to affirmatively say ‘yes, I am one of these’. I’d describe my own, personal stance as being more like ‘people are people, let’s all get on with each other and not be assholes’. It doesn’t quite address the inequalities experienced by many, but I think it’s a good starting point for life in general.

Comics are a very, very odd area when it comes to feminism. On the one hand, the modern independent and web press is very accommodating to those who previously would have been disenfranchised, those who might have once felt isolated, those who are standing up and speaking out against the mainstream. On the other hand, it is still dominated by industry giants, ones that garner the most public attention and attract the largest audiences.

The problem that I see cited most frequently is that there are a) few main female characters in the mainstream industry and b) they are still dependent on male characters to provide story movement or to help solve their problems. Drawing from my own experience, the best way to counter this is to actually disregard gender distinction and write CHARACTERS. I will concede that, in my case, I have a tendency to default to female characters; I believe this is because I am dissatisfied with the traditional definitions of ‘manliness’ our society hands us, and so I find more emotional flexibility in female characters. But, by having a large number of females in the cast, there is less focus on them being a ‘FEMALE character’, and more opportunity for them to be seen as a ‘female CHARACTER’.

I’m not saying that the solution to feminists’ concerns is to flood all comics with female characters. If anything, I could see that generating resentment among the dominant male reader population. What I’d like to see is, for a start, more women engaged in storytelling, to provide a greater voice in the creation of comics. I’d also like to see more male creators explore the complexity of their female characters. If there’s one thing that I can say that I HAVE seen in both mainstream and indie works, it’s the ‘sameiness’ or ‘tokenisation’ of female characters. They’re characters, they’re waiting to tell stories, do something interesting with them for fecks sake!

Anyway, thus concludes my half-asleep ranting. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on feminism in comics in general, or even stuff that I’m doing that’s good or bad!

Toodlepip for now!