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Feminist Fanboy – What Is That?


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dc-women-Peter-Nguyen-cropp

Just search images under “superheroines” and see how many of them are overtly sexual. It took me quite some time to find these.

I am a feminist. I am a male. I am a comic book reader. Yes, I can be all three of those things at once and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one. Some of you might just not realize that you are. My guess is that some of you think feminists are man-hating bra burners or something. But really, and quite simply, anyone who thinks that women should be treated equally to men is a feminist. So some you might be feminists and you just don’t know it. I didn’t until someone enlightened me.

But hey, if this column only gets women readers I’m ok with that and I hope that I represent feminist readers of all genders proudly.

Ever since I started reading comics, I’ve always been drawn to strongly written female characters. For me, there is nothing sexier and more engaging than a woman who is intelligent, self-confident, and has a strong moral center. Ask my wife.

Unfortunately, especially in the early 90s when I started reading, there weren’t many characters written this way. Female comic characters were largely scantily clad eye-candy prominently featured on the covers of comics usually in a sexually suggestive posture. There were (and probably still are) even swimsuit issues on the shelves of my local comic store that featured nothing but these images.

Thankfully, times have changed – to an extent. It appears that there are more and more well-written female characters finding their way into comics and that is exciting! While I agree that there is a long way to go and we can always use more female characters as well as female writers and artists in the industry, we are starting to see an epic movement in the comic industry.

This is probably due to the growing number of female readers (or perhaps it’s more accurate to state the growing awareness of female readership). According to market research via Facebook, of the 24 million people who self-identify as comic fans, 46.7% are women (comicsbeat.com 2014). Go to any comic convention and you will see that female representation first hand. Marvel in particular has taken notice and it shows in their recent launch of solo series like She-Hulk, Black Widow, Elektra, Ms. Marvel, and Captain Marvel.

Superheroines

Marvel knows what they’re doing.

So this column is going to be about what I hope is a growing trend in comics – strong female characters.

But what is a strong female character? That can get complicated. Each character that I cover in this column may be strong in a different way from the others. Some might be portrayed more strongly at some times than at others. I’m sure to have different perspectives than others out there. I’d love to hear from my readers as to whom you think I should look into.

My first superheroine will be the sensationally savage She-Hulk (read it here).

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I've been a comic nerd since Spider-man and his Amazing Friends and the Super Friends. So someone please explain to me, when did Aquaman become so cool? Also, why isn't She-Hulk in more media?