Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Estrogen Month - Day 21

My newest column is now up at ComicMix. This one's about my involvement over the years with Friends of Lulu, and since comments aren't up on the ComicMix site yet you're more than welcome to comment on my columns here. While Lulu's not exactly "sucking me back in" again, Robin and I are going to be working at the New York chapter's table this weekend at I-CON, so if you're around "Lawn Guylan" and want to take in a nice relaxing sf/fantasy-oriented con, come on by the Lulu table and say hi. We'll also be doing a few panels here and there, and any local fans of the DC comic Manhunter who want their copies signed can get that done by both the inker (Robin) and the writer, as Mark Andreyko is one of the con's guests. One of the best lead-female kick-ass character comics not being done by women (except on the editorial side, hi Joan and Rachel!).

Before I forget, some good reading for feminist pop-culture folk:

• Richie at Crimitism has an interesting post on how a webcomic called The Wotch handles gender-bending (disappointingly, in his opinion). Via Melinda Casino at BlogHer.

• Ken Jennings talks about using gender neutral language in his book Brainiac.

• An encouraging note in Ross Campbell's open invite to Draw Power Girl is how many fan artists have decided to lose the "boobhole" in their costume designs for her.

• I know it's not pop-cultural, but in keeping with Estrogen Month I did want to note this post by Sokari at BlogHer about African women's blogs. I know a few of them from the EM posts I made two years ago, but it's nice to see some newer ones too.

• Lastly, one of the best bloggers around on Native American culture, MB Williams of Wampum, appears to be closing up shop. I'll miss her exceedingly. Wampum has hosted the annual Koufax Awards for liberal blogs for the past few years, but it's certainly too early to speculate where those will wind up.

Today's Estrogen Month: Pop Culture Edition spotlight is on Willow from Seeking Avalon. A lot of her posts are very keen feminist comics analyses, one of the more recent of which is in response to Darren about the cognitive dissonance between the writing and the art in comics which feature strong-voiced women drawn as if they're on display. Granted, in the visual aspect of comics everyone is technically objectified, it's the nature of the beast, but the job of the artist is to tell the story so that you forget the characters are static objects and buy into the illusion that they're autonomous beings that move and act. And too many female characters in comics don't "move and act," they just pose. Much of that is a testament to the artists' lack of skill and craft, and it pisses me off that these guys get so much professional work with that low a crafting level. But a lot of it is also laziness and too much reliance on outdated comic book "shorthand" which perpetuates the incorrect notion that comics exist primarily as outlets for the male gaze (rather than primarily to tell a story using words and art).

The guidelines for nominating and voting for feminist pop-culture bloggers during Estrogen Month are outlined here. I'm also hosting the 12th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans on March 31. The deadline for submissions is March 29, and guidelines are outlined here (please send links via email or use this submission form). I've gotten 7 entries so far, and hope to get more at I-CON this weekend. Keep 'em coming, folks; thanks!