Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When The Good Gets Discounted: A Denver Comic Con Insight to the Oversight

Boy oh boy. I've been home from Denver Comic Con for little less than 48 hours and I've been bombarded with messages and posts regarding some huge travesty regarding the programming at Denver Comic Con. Alright then, so instead of sleeping in and trying to catch up on my much needed rest, I've decided to go ahead and post a few thoughts on what the Internet is dubbing as a huge controversy. Going forward I apologize for any runons, grammatical errors, words that are not capitalized etc etc etc. I'll fix them later on. 

This past weekend Denver hosted its fourth annual comic con and it was my first time to visit. I was invited out by the crew of the "8-Bit Bar and Grill" to be apart of their "Women in the Geek Industry" panel. While doing research on the convention, and making my check list as to what I should bring to be signed, i noticed their HIGHLY DIVERSE panel schedule. I quickly became overly excited to be involved with such an amazing line up. 
This excitement carried throughout the weekend, but sadly my sentiments were not shared with a handful of people in attendance. Some felt that there wasn't enough diversity while others tweeted their concerns during a panel on the "She Makes a Comics" panel (which we'll get to shortly). Now I know not every convention can be perfect, and I also know outrage can easily get blown out of porportion. Especially when "facts" and articles are written by people who weren't in attendance and base their "report" on a handful of tweets. 

Comics Alliance posted an article regarding the panel in question... quickly I'd like to point out the panel was not titled "Women in Comics" nor was it called a "History of Women in Comics". The panel titled  "She Makes Comics", was presented by the Denver Film Society, and described as a look at the fascinating history of the women's rise and roll in comics. So far so good. 
Now from what I've gathered by the tweets from the women who were there is that they are upset that only men were on this particular panel. Now I certainly understand the frustration and any confusion one would have about the lack of female perspective on this one panel especially with Trina Robbins being in attendance at the con. "You mean there's no women on this panel about women making comics??!!!" Why?? I personally don't know because I haven't spoken with the men who put on this panel. BUT What I've gathered from the responses given to other websites regarding the matter of the absence of women from this panel is that this was a last minute panel addition brought to DCC. Another reason is that this panel was also being presented at a time when the women creators and artists were already busy with their own panels, signing or whatever else. Whatever the reason, there were women missing from one panel and so as the Internet does, it took a few outraged tweets turned it into a "report" which turned into a "controversy" which then turned into "Denver Comic Con doesn't offer diversity" or "Shame on you Denver Comic Con" or "Denver Comic Con doesnt want women in the world". I get that people are upset and disappointed and they have that right. 
What isn't right or fair is to discredit and discount the NUMEROUS other panels that did feature all-women and that were extremely diversified, by saying there was none or it's unwanted.
There's this dividing, sad trend going on in the pop-culture world (and really I guess in general) when it comes to feelings of outrage. One person's outrage becomes a website's top story of the day. Rather than including the good with the bad there are sites and articles that focus only on the negative aspect once again fanning the flames of on ongoing fire where the discord is already sensitive. I'm not saying these con-goers don't have a right to be upset and that these websites don't have the right to post about it. They absolutely do. My concern is that they're not "reporting" the full story. So that's all I'm trying to do at 7am on a Wednesday morning.  My suggestion to these websites in dire need of clicks and readers is that before your battle cry of "there's no diversity" or "DCC doesnt want women" is to do a little research aside from tweets and retweets. Also it would give more credibility to your "news report" if you were actually in attendance before making a claim that DCC does not want women in their panels. Yes, by now I'm sure the programming directors realize the mistake they've made. In fact here's a screen shot from Chris Angel a female programming director and volunteer regarding the issue:

Once more for those of you who think Denver Comic Con, the only convention with a diversity mission statement, should back up said statement, I've listed a few reasons below as to why i think they have. Again, please don't discount or discredit other panels by saying diversity wasn't offered at Denver Comic Con, thousands would beg to differ.  - Taffeta Darling 

Denver comic con offered 400 panels during the Memorial Day weekend including these that featured a heavy handed female presence, all female presence and more:

"Women in Geek Industry" 
"Women in Comics Now" 
"Beyond Bechdel: Queer Femmes & Women in Comics"
 "Native Women in Comics" 
"What Do Teen Girls Want to Read?" 
"Minority and Women Authors of the Past"
 "Clamp: An Overview of the All-Female Team"
 "Level Up:Queer Dystopia & Bi SciFi Compelling Homos"
 "Science: Is it Just A Man's Game"
 "Drawing With Monica Benik" 
 "Drawing With Meghan Hetrick" 
Tales from the Slush Pile"
 "Writing LGBT Characters" 
"Strong Women In Film and Fiction" 
"Diversity in Dr. Who" 
 "Objectification in Cosplay" 
"Crossplay and Gender-Bending:The Art of Crossgender Cosplay"
 "Understanding Manga" 
"She Can Do It: Awesome Women in Comics" 
 "Push Fun Forward: The Importance of All Ages Comics"
 "Marketing For Beginners" 
"Making Magical Realism Real" 
"What Can You Say to a Young Adult?" 
 "Harassment Happens"
 "The Rise of Native Superheroes" 
"Death of the Spirit: Native Americans, Negative Stereotypes, and How We Effect Change"
 "Trans and Genderqueer Representation  in Comics"
 "Is There Discrimination in Pop-Culture?"
 "Overcoming Objectification in Science Fiction and Comics"  
"Women of Nerdom"
"The Geek Parent"
"Can Fandoms Fix Tech's Gender-Gap?"
 "Venus Now: Pop- Culture and the Female Body"
 "Girls and Geekdom Position Papers & Roundtable of Finding the Feminist Voice in Comic Culture"  
"Coming out of the Costume: Comics and Sexual Identity" 
 "Celebrating Diversity in Comics with Red Tempest Media"