"With depressing regularity, female characters were raped, tortured, maimed or killed in order to spur male heroes into action. In 1999, Gail Simone, a pioneering figure for the current generation of female writers, documented this trope on the website Women in Refrigerators. Kelly Sue DeConnick invoked another household object when she told Comics Alliance in 2012: “Never mind the Bechdel test, try this. If you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft. They have to be protagonists, not devices.” For decades, too many female characters failed the Sexy Lamp Test. So why the sudden change?
In a word: money. Women are reading comic books like never before.
In January, statistician Brett Schenker found that women accounted for 48.13% of the 32 million self-identified comics fans on Facebook.
Last year’s big comic conventions reported approximate gender parity, with the number of female attendees growing more than twice as fast as male ones. DC co-publisher Jim Lee recently acknowledged that readers were “looking for a lot more flavours and diversity in our line than we’re currently doing”.
“It’s tough to expect corporations to be in the vanguard,” says Howe. “But even the people looking at the bottom line have the sense that you should have something better to offer women than hourglass figures in Spandex.”
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Marvel’s A-Force. Photograph: Marvel Comics
Howe suggests that some new readers have been drawn into the Marvel universe by the onslaught of blockbuster movies. Wilson notes the growing number of female retailers. But they agree that the biggest factor is the internet. Twitter, Tumblr and websites such as Comics Alliance and The Mary Sue, have enabled a more inclusive form of comic book fandom. All the female-led books sell better in digital format than in print."
"I really hate the word “diversity”. It suggests something…other. As if it is something…special. Or rare.
As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.
I have a different word: NORMALIZING.
I’m normalizing TV."
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""I really hate the word 'diversity,'" Rhimes said. "It is just something other. Something special, like it’s rare. 'It’s diversity!' As if there is something unusual about telling stories about women or people of color or LGBT characters on TV. I have a different word. I call it 'normalizing.' I make TV look like the world looks.""