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Saturday, October 11, 2014 

NPR can't understand why few women work at the Big Two

NPR wrote about women in comicdom, and how they're lacking at the Big Two as contributors:
...even as the female audience grows, female creators for DC and Marvel, colloquially known as "the Big Two," are still in the minority.

Tim Hanley writes the online column Gendercrunching, in which he tracks the numbers of women in comics.

This past August, he says, women made up less than 10 percent of the creative teams for all books published by DC or Marvel.

"This is the bare minimum here," Hanley says. "It's artists and writers and colorers and letterers and editors, everyone involved in the process, and it's probably like 60 out of 600."

Hanley says that in the three years since he's been "gendercrunching," he hasn't seen much change.
It should be a lot more obvious why there haven't been that many, at least not at a time when you have Dan DiDio and Joe Quesada in charge: some women have surely been turned off at the prospect of being forced to write their own entries for the company wide crossovers they constantly put out, and having to deal with potential effects this'll have on the books they're writing. And, there's that little problem with editorial mandates: suppose you have a woman out there who likes the Spider-marriage, ditto the knot once tied between Superman and Lois Lane, to name but some examples? Suppose they want to make improvements in characterization for any female cast member whose depiction could be flawed? If the editors have no intention of letting repairs be done for any of the mistakes they've forced upon their universes for many years now, then it should be no wonder you can't expect many to audition for a job when there's no creative freedom available. Just like, as I'd mentioned before, you can't expect many African-Americans to land jobs with the Big Two if the editors have no intention of giving them creative freedom to reverse all the fiascos they forced on Spider-Man's world.
Jeanine Schaefer, Marvel's senior manager for talent acquisition, says they are "aware that we don't have as many women working for us as we have men."
But are they aware why? Is she aware? I think she is, but we can't expect her to admit why, because she'd rather keep her job than speak truth to power.
The issue of diversity is one that Marvel executives are seriously considering, but the change is going to take some time, she adds. "Mentoring women when they come in the door, making sure we're placing them where they can flourish."
I'm afraid we can't take what she says at face value. Besides, if they really want to hire more women, it's almost a foregone conclusion they'd only want to hire those willing to go along with their mandates, right down to the crossovers, and indeed, those few they do currently employ most certainly are. The staffers at today's Marvel are not people you'd want to have as mentors.

They also addressed Janelle Asselin's experience several months ago, and say:
Marvel's Jeanine Schaefer believes this behavior is partly driven by extreme fear on the part of some comics fans.

"There's this perception that, 'Well, if we let women in, then everything is going to change. They're going to take away everything that I like about comics,'" Schaefer says.

And Schaefer hopes that bringing more women and diverse voices into the creative process will prove to those fans that their favorite stories will only be enhanced by the different perspectives.

Asselin says the level of vitriol some fans aim at women working in or commenting on the comics industry is "not an OK way to treat people," no matter the reason, but she thinks it can and will get better. These fans just need to accept that women aren't going to leave the comics world.
It's certainly peculiar why these specific cybertrolls would stoop to such barbarism, because plenty of women in past years did prove they had nothing against T&A or fancy adventure in superhero comics. Yet it makes little difference whether the writers in question are liberal, like Gail Simone, they still don't care. The unnamed vulgarians are just why so many men have abandoned superhero comics too, and the cybertrolls - along with some of the worst, most complacent writers and artists, make things worse by making comicdom look like it's overrun with prejudiced fanfiction scribes. I have no doubt these vulgarians are the very same ones who didn't give a damn about Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's marriage, nor do they have any interest in bettering the character drama component in superhero comics. The people who really took away everything we like about mainstream comics are the editors foremost, followed by complicit hack writers with no interest in talented storytelling. Pity NPR doesn't care to mention that.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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