Over the weekend, New York Comic Con saw the usual crowd of geeks, nerds, cosplayers, and other pop culture enthusiasts. But it also saw a huge shift in the discussion about representation in comics and other media.
On top of their awesome Cosplay Is Not Consent anti-harassment campaign, this year, NYCC offered 12 panels specifically geared towards women—as characters and as consumers. Given that there were about four events that focused on women at last year's con, this is a pretty huge jump. Topics ranged from women of color in comics to women in queer comics to the future of female fandom.
On Saturday, our friends at The Mary Sue sponsored a panel entitled "Strong Female Character: The Women Shining in Geek Media" that looked at the lack of women as leads and how the few women leads are treated. Via Flavorwire:
There's a lazy definition of the strong female character," Lindsay Ellis, creator of YouTube's Nostalgia Chick channel, notes. "Which is: 'female character that do guy things. And she punch and she fight.'"
"Whenever issues of representation are brought up, people don't understand that women as supporting characters is a problem… why isn't there Scandal, but with aliens or something?"
(But what if B-613 was actually a secret extraterrestrial research wing of the US government and Scandal has actually been an alien show this whole time? Anyway.) And at Vulture's panel, titled "Carol Corps and Beyond: The Future of Female Fandom," the panel members Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel), Gail Simone (Um, everything I love her), and Sana Amanat (Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel) largely discussed intersectionality. When Sana Amanat was asked about her experience as a woman of color in comics, Amanat responded:
Amanat: For me, I tape-measured myself against young girls who were white and looked nothing like me. Because that was sort of the ideal. The ideal was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman. And my niece has blonde hair and blue eyes, so nothing against that at all. But it was hard, because you never really measured up against that. And your version of beauty wasn't what you looked like, and the media didn't show that to you, either. So it took a really long time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin and to feel empowered in who I was. A very, very long time….So it takes time, but I think you have to look at your core and find it. Dig, dig, dig deep and find it. And be okay with it. And that's really not just a person of color's struggle; it's really everybody's struggle.
Great job, NYCC.
Image via NYCC's Instagtam.