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Comic Con's Programming [Jul. 6th, 2006|01:14 pm]
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divalea pointed out that there are only 3 female guests out of 46 at Comic-Con International this year -- a year when CCI:SD's advertising is touting "the most diverse guests." (BTW, they have zero African-Americans as guests.)

leborcham (Heidi MacDonald) responded:

You might want to take a look at the programming There are zillions of women panelists. And yes, every year SD has more than one female guest. Often more than three.

I think there are a lot of issues regarding women in comics, but this isn't one that really needs a lot of beating into the ground.

So I took a look at these zillions of panelists. Here's what I found for day one, Thursday:

Doing ComicsDoing Other StuffAcademicsTotal
Men11310911233
Women924235
Uncertain109019

This is divided somewhat arbitrarily into "...Doing Comics" and "...Doing Other Stuff" and "...Academics." And there are some names I just can't place, due to either being names like "Chris" and "Mel", or names which are foreign and not recognizibly gendered, or initials.

Crunching some numbers out:

People Doing Comics:Male (85.6%), Female (6.8%), Uncertain (7.5%)
People Doing Other Stuff:Male (76.8%), Female (16.9%), Uncertain (6.3%)
Academics:Male (84.6%), Female (15.4%)
All Panelists:Male (81.2%), Female (12.2%), Uncertain (6.6%)
Male Panelists:Doing Comics (48.5%), Doing Other Stuff (46.8%), Academics (4.7%)
Female Panelists:Doing Comics (25.7%), Doing Other Stuff (68.6%), Academics (5.7%)
Special Guests:Male (93.5%), Female (6.5%)

Sorry, Heidi. I'm just not seeing the "zillions" here.

Update: More stats.

Let's look at each panel on Thursday, then.

Panels with at least one woman panelist:23 (24.7%)
Panels with at least one man panelist:78 (83.9%)
Panels with at least one man and one woman:22 (23.7%)
Panels with only men panelists:56 (60.2%)
Panels with only women panelists:1 (1.1%)
Panels with uncertain gender composition:14 (15.1%)

"Uncertain" includes names which aren't easily identifiable (as above), and also panels in which the panels have not been announced (e.g. corporate panels). These panels will almost certainly fall into either the "mixed panel" or "exclusively male panel" category.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: divalea
2006-07-06 08:28 pm (UTC)

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I wonder what it says that the male panelists are about 50/50 comics pros/other, while the females doing Other Stuff outnumber the Comics by more than double, almost THREE TIMES as much.

And a 35 to 233 ratio is PATHETIC.

I see the zillions here and it measures tons of denial.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-06 08:35 pm (UTC)

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Also, note this panel in particular:

6:00-7:00 Webcomics 101: Getting Started— It’s easy to make a webcomic, but hard to do it well. Bill Barnes (Unshelved) asks fellow web cartoonists Dave Kellett (Sheldon), Jon Rosenberg (Goats), Brian Fies (Mom's Cancer), and Phil Foglio (Girl Genius) why they went online and what artistic, business, and technological choices they made. Room 3

Webcomics -- they're all about guys.
[User Picture]From: divalea
2006-07-06 08:42 pm (UTC)

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*headdesk*

Because Phil Foglio invented print-to-web-to-print. (Nothing against Phil, that just gets me.)

I want to think the ten women they asked to be on that panel had better things to do. That's my fantasy.
[User Picture]From: eljuno
2006-07-06 10:52 pm (UTC)

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The sick, sad thing is that, while I obviously don't have numbers on me, I wouldn't be surprised if that WAS up from previous years...
From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 04:34 am (UTC)

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Is this really surprising? Comics are sort of a nerdy hobby, and, like video games, D&D, and watching bad horror movies to make fun of them, girls just aren't interested in them as much as guys are. That's not to say that NONE are, or that girls shouldn't be, but the fact is that most girls just don't eem to find that stuff interesting. It would be great if there were as many women as men involved in this con, but it's not going to happen without enough women who actually like comics. And the sexism in comics that you've been talking about recently is probably one of the things that turns some of them off.
From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 04:39 am (UTC)

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Upon further reading (i.e. the post you made previous to this one), it's occured to me that maybe this Comic Con is about webcomics, rather than comic books...?
[User Picture]From: lostphrack
2006-07-07 04:44 am (UTC)

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The focus is comics in general. Though it is worth noting that it's been encompassing far more than comics for a while now.
From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 04:47 am (UTC)

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Sorry to post yet again, but I also wanted to point out that their slogan about the "most diverse" guests might refer not to their ethnicity, race or gender, but rather to their backgrounds, experience, specializations, etc. In other words, they may be almost all white males, but still be diverse because they work in numerous different genres, have different styles, are at different levels of success (i.e. some big names in comics, some folks just starting out), have different ideas of what comics should be, are different ages, etc. etc.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 06:40 am (UTC)

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Which, I suppose, would be a completely opposite meaning of what most people ascribe to the term. One which says "Hi, we're all white males, but look how diverse we are!"

Which is puzzling. If that's the definition they're using, they deserve to have it pointed out as bogus and self-serving.
[User Picture]From: stoneself
2006-07-07 06:18 am (UTC)

hmmm...

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fwiw, women and girls were kept out of comics because it was a "boy thing".

and now the institutional effects are still there.

but let's pretend the institutional barriers aren't there.

how will there be more women involved in the world of comics? should that happen?

how do you get "enough women who actually like comics"? would people really want that to happen?

how should sexism in comics be addressed? since most comic fans are male, should it matter?
From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 07:00 am (UTC)

Re: hmmm...

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I'm not sure what you mean when you say women were "kept out of comics". If you mean they were discriminated against in the industry, and that's why there aren't as many female comic artists and writers, I can believe that, but in terms of females actually being *fans* of comics in the first place, it's not like anyone can stop them from buying and enjoying them. I think your other questions are sort of linked... if sexism is making females look at comics with distaste, then of course more comic fans are going to be male. I'd say it should be addressed... partly because it might get more females interested, which I think people DO want to happen, and partly because it would make comics more interesting, since female characters would have to have to be developed to be engaging in methods other than showing off their bodies.

I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, either- females can be sexy and showy and be smart, independent and interesting at the same time, like Catwoman (which my sister loves, by the way). They don't have to abolish revealing outfits or shapely women- they just have to acknowledge that women who aren't stacked and/or half-naked even exist, for starters, and portray women a little more realistically, as people rather than eye candy. I know suspension of disbelief is a funny subject to bring up when talking about comics, but the multitude of scantily-clad, vapid comic women aren't just insulting because they reflect a sexist view of the world, they're insulting because they expect the reader to accept and believe that view without criticism.
[User Picture]From: stoneself
2006-07-07 08:37 am (UTC)

Re: hmmm...

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it's not like anyone can stop them from buying and enjoying them.

why stop when discourage works well enough?
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 06:41 am (UTC)

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But there are plenty of women who could have been invited who weren't. That's the point.

There are more than 3 women doing comics.

There are more than 0 women doing webcomics.

From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 07:23 am (UTC)

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And that, I have no arguement against. You're absolutely right about that, in my opinion.
[User Picture]From: arcana_j
2006-07-07 08:28 pm (UTC)

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"...girls just aren't interested in them as much as guys are."

Yes! You have found US out! We are Borg! We are a hive mind! We collectively shun all but that which is pink and related to shopping, giggling or dieting!

"...but it's not going to happen without enough women who actually like comics."

I ask you, politely, to correct your myopia before you speak again. It's a great big world out there and you are only seeing one tiny, skewed fraction of it.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 08:40 pm (UTC)

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I ask you, politely, to correct your myopia before you speak again.

He sorta does, later in the comments. He's clueless but well meaning. :)
From: coldfyre
2006-07-07 09:08 pm (UTC)

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Ahem. "That's not to say that NONE are, or that girls shouldn't be, but the fact is that most girls just don't seem to find that stuff interesting."

All I was saying was that more males seemed interested in comics than females, and, although later posts have provided many reasons for this, and shown that there are more females interested than I realized, the original statement is still true. I never once implied that all girls are the same, or a hive mind, and in fact, I made sure to note that this was just a general trend, and not indicative of every girl out there. In my very first post, no less, which apparently was too much trouble for you to completely read before you decided to verbally kick me in the balls. My second statement you quoted turned out to be mistaken, and I'm sorry for that, but if you'd bothered to read further down, you'd see that I've learned from it.
[User Picture]From: lostphrack
2006-07-07 04:37 am (UTC)

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Up until a few months ago there wasn't a single women scheduled to appear, right? So that's a 350% increase or something? That's huge! That's diverse! Oo! Ahh!

Now let's see how many of the panelists, male or female, aren't white.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 06:42 am (UTC)

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It depends if they're doing Blacks In Comics this year or not.

Some years they just haven't done it.
[User Picture]From: lostphrack
2006-07-07 07:36 am (UTC)

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Oo, they are..
:00-3:00 The Black Panel— This is a different kind of “Blacks in Comics” panel. Panelists will discuss black product in the marketplace and how to increase the output so more of the mainstream will see it. They include Reggie Hudlin, film director of House Party, The Ladies Man, and Boomerang, as well as writer of Marvel’s wildly successful Black Panther; Denys Cowan, executive producer of the WB’s Static Shock! and artist on the upcoming DC comics miniseries Batman in Afghanistan; Jeremy Love, writer of Dark Horse’s Fierce and Shadowrock; Michael Stradford, VP at Sony Pictures (Spider-Man DVD); Mike Richardson, CEO of Dark Horse Entertainment; newcomer Jason Medley, writer on the new Guardian line of comics; and moderator Michael Davis, co-creator of the WB’s Static Shock! and the upcoming series The Underground‚ from Dark House Publishing. Room 6A
They're also doing a gays in comics too.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 05:51 pm (UTC)

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I don't get it, it sounds like the last few Blacks In Comics panels.
[User Picture]From: napoleonofcrime
2006-07-07 10:01 am (UTC)

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Compared to other industry events, perhaps ComicCon does set the standard for diversity. It's not outside the realm of possiblity that the bar has ben set very, very low.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-07 05:53 pm (UTC)

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Other cons such as APE are better, I'm told. I mean, take a look at APE's 2006 special guests; quite honestly, it looks more diverse to me.
[User Picture]From: crocolyle
2006-07-10 11:59 pm (UTC)

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Based on the response Jackie Estrada (IIRC) of Comic Con International gave Lea Hernandez, tho, I think they look at the three conventions they run (San Diego, Wondercon and APE) as a whole, so if APE is more diverse then it's just how things divided between the three.

I'm not saying that you're looking at it the wrong way, I just think there's a terminology gap there that needs to be taken into consideration if the conversation is going to move forward.
[User Picture]From: kynn
2006-07-11 12:24 am (UTC)

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They may think of it that way, but if so, that's a kinda crazy way to think of it.

Given that huge numbers of people attend SDCC who never attend any of the others, I don't think you can say "well, okay, so the biggest comic con in the world may not have many women, but look, our little minor small press thing has a few!"

Diversity is only for the alternative press or something?