Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

To Hear Me Roar, Please Remove Fingers from Ears

Good posts from both Echidne and Athenae on the Campaign for America's Future blogging panel being asked the by-now-inevitable question of where all the women bloggers are (to which I now always answer, celebrated during Estrogen Month and on my sidebar and in two sections called "Where the Women Bloggers Are" here on my Bloglines subscriptions), and superlative response from Heidi MacDonald to a recent Times of London article about Sin City that basically observed that many comic book readers and creators indulged in misogynist fantasies. I continue to believe that visibility of women in supposedly male-dominated venues often comes down to our comfort level with how much the people at the upper echelons of those venues willingly choose to ignore us in the day-to-day, only trotting us out as tokens to refute outsiders' beliefs that these venues are indeed practicing institutionalized sexism.

There's no excuse for Take Back America 2005 not to have used women bloggers who were invited to the conference on that panel; that's like Panel Guests 101 to those of us who have arranged things like this. I've never run any comics panels without at least one woman panelist (and the panels haven't been about "women in comics"), and I can tell you from experience it's not that hard to find last-minute substitutions. All you have to do is a little legwork; Susie and Melanie (both A-listers as far as I'm concerned) were sitting right there, they couldn't have been too hard to find. The onus here lies completely with the panel organizers. Just as the onus to prove Kevin Maher's Times article wrong ultimately lies not with male fans parading out token female creators but with the people who have the power to hire and promote female writers and artists to counter the idea of the comic book industry as an almost-all-male bastion. And I think that's what frustrates women political bloggers or women in the comics industry or women in any male-dominated venue the most - that we can be talented and prolific and as visible as we can possibly make ourselves, but as long as we're seen as playing on male turf (and yes, I know it shouldn't be seen that way but that's another essay) we have to constantly target the keepers of that turf to include us, and that tends to sap us of both our energy (which could be better used in other ways, like writing blog posts or telling stories) and our sense of power and autonomy.

Update: Hats off to Lance Mannion and his "wonks versus writers" response to the "women bloggers" issue. As someone who's always been a writer and never had any interest in being a wonk, in having a laser-beam narrow focus to this blog, I applaud him.