I may as well reprint this observation of mine from a ROBOT 6 topic:
I also don't get the use of sports analogies. Sports-oriented entertainments have the advantage of being culturally approved by the Popular Audience, so there's no hump for them to get over. Superhero comic books have been used as whipping-boys for dopiness outside the industry for decades-- remember Gomer Pyle and his "Shazam?" And of course within the industry they're still frowned upon by Bloody Comic Book Elitists.
Movies might have made a bettrer comparison. For many decades anything like a superhero movie was usually a low-budget affair aimed at kids, and often skewing toward boy kids, with a few exceptions. STAR WARS changed that by distilling the essence of the "space-opera superhero" into a visually pleasing form that adults and juveniles could share. Thanks to that paradigm shift, male and female audiences alike regularly take pleasure in the current advances in superhero tech-- SPIDER-MAN, THE AVENGERS-- but again, superhero movies piggyback upon the high regard that Joe (or Josephine) Popular Audience has for anything for the cinema as a source of entertainment. Comics are getting better press now than ever before, but I still see no signs that the medium has moved into a similar sphere of high regard.
As I understand it, Heidi's point was that comics publishers aren't willing to chance losing the male readers to take a chance on an influx of female readers. Sue is correct to say that there have been changes, but they have been slow and incremental, and I don't think that's the kind of radical change for which many of the "suffragettes" are stumping.