Denver ComicCon Held A ‘Women In Comics’ Panel With No Women

I will be the first person to admit that I’m not an expert in geek culture (my geeky side is political) but I do know that sexism in both the gaming and comic industry has been a big problem.

In case you haven’t heard of Gamergate, or if you’re like me and you find the whole thing confusing as hell, Gawker has a pretty good tutorial. Here it is, but in short, it’s about harassment and threats to female game developers.

The comic book industry is a bit different from the gaming industry, but they have also been heavily criticized for their sexism, which includes underrepresentation of women and for the women who do appear in comics (or at ComicCon conventions), dress is typically skimpy.

Most major cities have an annual convention of comic book fans, which is called ComicCon. Comic Cons across the country are becoming more and more popular for both adults and children. Denver is no exception.

They held their ComicCon convention over Memorial Day weekend and with presumably good intentions, they held a Women in Comics panel.

The panel was there to discuss comics in an historical perspective and talk about how some women have been able to make it in the traditionally boy’s club. The panel wasn’t an attempt to address sexism in the industry.

Trina Robbins, a woman described as “the eminent historian of women as creates and characters” was a guest at the convention but she was notably absent from the panel. In fact, there wasn’t a single woman on the panel at all, which was weird because last year, there were about 10-12 women panelists.

One attendee, Christy, tweeted about it:

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ComicCon’s reasoning was:

In regards to the Women in Comics panel, I think it’s important to point out that it was a panel that took an historical view of women characters in comic books rather than the current role of women creators in the industry or diversity in comics — of which DCC has many with appropriately diverse panels. The Women in Comics panel was a submitted panel that featured respected academics on the subject.

A reading of the panel description indicates that the panel was not about current women creators or anything to do with industry bias. “With the female interest in comics increasing lately, this panel discusses many of the popular female characters from the beginning of the superhero mid 1930s comics. Also a focus on some of the women that were able to break in the mostly all male club of creating comics during that time. Includes an introduction to many of the female illustrators/creators attending the convention. Kevin Robinette — Instructor Academy Art University of San Francisco, History of American Comics, Craig Glassen — Art Instructor, Denver area schools, Jason H. Tucker — The Way Interactive graphic novel app.”
Source: Comics Alliance

There’s nothing new in leaving women out of discussions about women. In 2012, Congress had a panel about birth control and it contained no women.

The reasoning behind that was fairly similar. It wasn’t about women, the spokespeople said, the panel was about religious freedom.

The problem with that, of course, is that it’s not up to men to decide what are or aren’t women’s issues. No one is suggesting that only women should have been present on the panel, but at least half would have been great. Instead, women have no representation.

Featured image via Social News Daily.

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