Fandom’s deadliest duo are back: Ragnell (Lisa Fortuner) and Kalinara (Melissa Krause) are two writers who founded the link blog When Fangirls Attack and set off a whole generation of conversation and outrage. A few years ago they passed WFA to others due to real life stuff — Ragnell is in the Armed Forces, and Kalinara was in school — but it’s kind of foundered just recently.
since they left — two posts explaining why there are no posts since October. [NOTE< since this was written the site has had a MASSIVE update.] So R&K are back with a NEW link blog Dispatches From The Fridge, which, while not taking over WFA, is
We gave away the old blog, but we got bored so we’re taking up again part-time. We’ve no intention of replacing When Fangirls Attack. We consider ourselves a weekend supplement, perfect for slow Sunday afternoons.
The blog is back JUST IN TIME to capture reaction to former DC President and Publisher Paul Levitzsaying in a TCJ interview::
I’m not sure that young women are as interested in reading about superheroes. The fundamental dynamic of the superhero story has historically been more appealing to boys than to girls. There are any number of very successful superhero comics over the years that have had a better gender balance than others, but the genre as a whole has been a more male genre.
Levitz was actually asked quite a bit abut gender and comics throughout the interview. None of his answers were much more satisfying to the women who read and like superhero comics, sadly unaware of how freakish they are. Other statements get picked apart at DC Women Kicking Ass
Levitz goes on to talk about the attempts to get girls into superhero comics:
I don’t think the love for the character necessarily means that they love the comic expression of them. Or maybe they do and with the right writer at the right moment, that can happen and have a larger audience. Certainly any version of that has been tried by the company at some point or another in time. You’ve got the whole period around 1972 when Dorothy Woolfolk comes back into the company and she’s editing both the romance comics and the girl superheroes. She’s given Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and Supergirl on the theory that we can sell more of those to girls with a woman driving the bus. It’s not clear that it particularly worked, and the company abandoned the experiment fairly quickly.
You. You over there. Yeah, you the one who didn’t buy Wonder Woman, Lois Lane and Supergirl in 1971-72. Thanks for screwing it up for all of us. What? During the ascent of the women’s liberation movement, you didn’t want to buy comics where Wonder Woman had no powers? Or was tied to a bomb on the cover? Just take a look at the covers of those comics from those years and see what I mean.
Having hung around the comics industry for as long as I have, I can testify that such attitudes and far worse are often expressed aloud…one can only imagine what is being thought. Bottom line, you can get girls to wear Supergirl CLOTHES, but you can’t do a Supergirl book for girls. Why? I’m sure there will be lots of links to answers to that question in future weekend editions of Dispatches from the Fridge.
That said, when looking at matters of this sort, it usually comes down to cooties. Boys don’t want girl cooties on their boy nerd things and exert all kinds of pressure to stop the cooties. The now infamous story of a seven year old girl who was bullied for liking Star Wars illustrates many points. Of course seven year old kids are mean, just learning about things, and tend to parrot what they hear. She could have gotten bullied about a lot os things.
They most telling part of the story — to me anyway — is the part where Katie wants to swap her Star Wars water bottle for a PINK water bottle so she won’t get picked on. Yes, socialization begins VERY early! Way earlier than seven.
I’m reminded of a brunch a few months ago with a friend (who’s a comics artist) and her young daughter — not sure of her exact age but probably four or five. They were talking about Halloween, and which Star Wars characters they could go as. The child wanted to be Han Solo. That left mom to be…Boba Fett.
Ya hear that? The kid wanted to be the cool, brave adventurous one. NOT the one that has to be a slave even though she is equally cool, brave and adventurous. I hope as soon as she gets to school this girl doesn’t get this teased out of her and instead decide to dress as Kim Kardashian. That would be sad.
Anyway, following the links on the new blog will lead you to all sorts of outrage and research and studies and so on.
UPDATE: WHoa, When Fangirls Attack is back with 17 posts.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.