Why Don’t Chicks Do Comics?: A Study Of Those Who Have, Those Who Are, How They Do It, Why They Do It And Why They Don’t.

Fionnuala Doran

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    This paper examines the history of women’s contribution to the comics industry, and looks at the reasons why they are presently and historically underrepresented as creators. Through an examination of the major publishers I demonstrate how few women are currently being published, set against the make-up of the contemporary creative industry. By studying the available data on women as comic readers and buyers, I establish that this underrepresentation is not reflected in consumption, nor in participation at entry points to the industry. I outline the difficulties of establishing demographic data among comic readers, and identify the slowness of the comic industry to adopt market research as a factor in their complacency towards women. Data is presented on the proportion of women at entry points to the industry, and participation in industry events, establishing that women are not as underrepresented at these points as they are within the ranks of established, published creators. Women’s participation in the comics industry is set in the wider context of women’s participation in the workforce. Specifically, studies growing out of Cotter, Hernsen, Reeve et al’s seminal “The End of the Gender Revolution”, which examines the reasons why women’s employment equality has stalled over the past 30 years. The exclusion of women from comics mid-career onwards is placed in the context of the larger creative industries, and I identify common factors across that weigh against women’s participation. The paper also provides a brief introduction to gender theory in relation to comic production. I look at Freudian, Structuralist and other sociological interpretations of gender, and advance their common precept that Western definitions of gender are a social construct rather than a biological absolute. I speak to women creating comics and leading women-specific advocacy, before summing up by suggesting strategies for greater inclusion that have been proven within other industries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2015
    EventTRANSITIONS 6 – New Directions in Comics Studies - Birkbeck College, London, United Kingdom
    Duration: 31 Oct 201531 Oct 2015


    ConferenceTRANSITIONS 6 – New Directions in Comics Studies
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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