Skip to main content

Girls' Club? What Girls' Club?

I once wrote a (very short-lived) column for an alternative paper. My first piece was about high-heeled shoes - mostly because I was supposed to be writing about pop culture from a female perspective. The column was good - still one of my favorite pieces of writing, actually - and the second one was all right - about how my neighborhood was like the one in the X-Files where the monster comes out to eat you if your mailbox is wrong (there's no monster - just the "Neighborhood Commitee" -eep!). But I just couldn't keep the momentum needed to keep writing girly pop culture musings biweekly.

I could not be the token female.

I once wrote a (very short-lived) column for an alternative paper. My first piece was about high-heeled shoes - mostly because I was supposed to be writing about pop culture from a female perspective. The column was good - still one of my favorite pieces of writing, actually - and the second one was all right - about how my neighborhood was like the one in the X-Files where the monster comes out to eat you if your mailbox is wrong (there's no monster - just the "Neighborhood Commitee" -eep!). But I just couldn't keep the momentum needed to keep writing girly pop culture musings biweekly.

I could not be the token female.

I have a hard time dealing with the concept of a group "token," though I have often ended up the token female. You may notice I'm the only female editor here at Comixpedia - but I'm not here to be the female. That's the difference this time. I was not taken on to be the girl to lend credibility.

At least, I hope I wasn't.

All kidding aside, there are tokens in any group that feels it needs to keep up appearances, and I have a problem with that. It's like the scholarship that's only for a certain ethnic group/sex/religion/ put-your-grouping-here. Because it's there, the school may take someone on that might otherwise not make it into the program because they have to use that scholarship. It's a quota. It doesn't help anyone to get ahead. When you're the token female/black/gay/whatever, you don't get respect for what you do. You're there to fulfill a purpose, and because you're token, it is not your own.

So there's a new site for girl comics out there. There was initially some debate on the Comics Journal boards about whether this was a good idea or not. It focused on whether creating a site for girl comics created a place that could be looked at as being token - a place for the girls to play since Adventure Strips was so obviously for boys (though there is a strip about a girl character, there are no female creators).

You can see the preview-mission statement for Girlamatic here to judge for yourself, but it looks like Girlamatic wants to rally against the precept of the token female. Donna Barr's quote makes it clear that being a site for girls won't solve the problem of the boys' club mentality. Being good is the only thing that can set Girlamatic apart. If it isn't, it stands to end up as one of those things that tries to be good for girls and just makes them look bad - like a quota for girls in comics. Trying to fix the "problem" of being a female in comics acknowledges there is a problem with being a girl in the first place. That's the worst thing you can do. Equality doesn't mean getting special treatment - it means getting the same treatment. If Girlamatic makes it obvious in the end that girls are getting delicate or more than equal treatment, it only serves to highlight the fact that there's a problem with being a girl in comics, which doesn't bring about the solution.

The market for comics is still based more on the male than the female. There are more men than women creating comics online and in print, but that's the nature of the game. Men who are creators now were once boys reading comics that catered to them. More and more women are getting into comics, making the offerings for girls wider. Lea Hernandez had one of the few creator-owned comic series (Rumble Girls [Image Comics]) published by an American publisher, an accomplishment all on its own, without mentioning that it was done by a female, and she's behind Girlamatic and Rumble Girls. Phoebe Gloeckner and Leela Corman, among many others, are getting their books published. Online, Maritza Campos, Dylan Marconis, Faith Erin Hicks, Vera Brosgol, Jen Wang and Shaenon Garrity all hold their own.

The problem isn't rallying against a boys club online. The Internet's too young for such an established set of boundaries. The problem is still the age-old problem of society's old boys club, and breaking that takes time. And maybe a female American president.

I'm not saying we don't need Girlamatic. It makes my life easier to have all kinds of choice for comics about girls by girls for girls, all in one place. I'd still rather see women makes comics that appeal to the masses without the stigma of "Hey, she's a girl creator," but for now Girlamatic is a good start.

Re: Girls' Club? What Girls' Club? by Leah Fitzgerald

It's amazing how many comments I've gotten from people about my primary female character because she is "realistic." Well, gee, how hard is it to write a character that is an amalgam of several female friends and myself? Apparently it's harder than it seems to write such a "realistic" character if people feel obliged to comment on it.

Do I consider my comic a "girls' comic"? Huh? Does it matter?

Girl's Comics

I'm a guy, and I'm kind of worried about this trend. I like Girls comics for some reason. I'm not sure why, but most of the strips I read are written by girls. A lot of them have a reasonably good story and some awesome art. Most of my favorite action strips are by girls even.(I kind of thought girls write more webcomics than guys because of this.) My real problem is that I don't want to browse around a "girls only" webcomic site for a good comic to read. Even if the girls only applies only to the creators. It's like browsing around the girl's aisle in a toy store. Guys don't do it. I just looked at the front page of the site, and it looks downright hostile. I don't mind reading a comic on such a site once I'm settled in, most comics have their own look and feel anyway, but what about community participation? What about browsing around other comics on the site? If the general site and community is almost all female, I'm not going to enjoy it, and probably just read the comics and not really get into the community like I sometimes do elsewhere. The overall problem: They might shut out a lot of their audience. Guys won't go there unless some comic has a really strong appeal to them, and then, they'll stay silent. I'm open to other opinions and views on this by the way, this isn't a flame against them.