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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Holy Frijoles, it's another response to an essay on The Beat!


"The thing that surprised me the most was that the answers, as I saw them anyway, were not insane, drastic measures that companies would need to take. These are all within the grasp of comics publishers and retailers."

Ms. Asselin's assertion would have been more convincing had she been more explicit about her non-insane, non-drastic measures. From reading the interview, the only measures I noted were:

"make sure the content was woman-friendly" (with a concomitant increase in advertising)

and on a related note:

"More product made for women, definitely. Product that’s made for men that’s less misogynistic. Product that is aimed at both genders."

The problem with these initiatives (if they are more than one) is that before you can court one audience you'd better be sure you don't lose the one you've got.

I don't think extreme violence in adventure-comics is, even when directly against fictional female characters, intrinsically misogynistic (though to be sure, Ms. Asselin doesn't define her use of the word in specific terms). I didn't care for the original story that spawned WOMEN IN REFRIGERATORS but the author wasn't wrong to use violence to motivate an adventure-character into action.

Whatever you want to say about the DM audience that supports the Big Two, it's clearly an audience that's reasonably comfortable with extreme violence against both male and female characters. The big question is, if DC and Marvel started directing resources toward this hypothetical "both genders" market-- and DC at least has made some stabs in that arena-- will the old audience follow, or seek out other media?

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