Marvel Comics Makes Greater Strides Towards Gender Inclusion

Published on March 9th, 2016 in: Comics, Feminism, Gaming, Random Rant |

By Laury Scarbro

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On March 3, Marvel Games launched its “Women of Power” event. This includes 25 new comic covers for some of Marvel’s more popular characters, as well as merchandise celebrating those characters, and will extend into various gaming platforms.

I really see no downside to their plan here. I suspect this is, at least in part, in recognition of the ever-growing female audience in the previously male-dominated worlds of gaming, comics, and all things geek related. It could be said that females, girls and women alike, are more openly taking an interest in these sorts of things than ever before, but the truth of the matter is, we’ve always been here. We might not have been so outward about it, but we’ve been here.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been discussing my interest in a game only to hear the comment,”Oh really? You play that game?” and always with the hint of, “But you’re a girl… girls don’t do that.” A few times, it wasn’t even a hint.

I can recall doing a series of drawings of Spider-Man some years back, which my kids then took to school, proudly displayed on the covers of their binders. When they came home, I was bowled over by the things I heard. Suddenly, I was “the cool mom,” because none of their friends’ mothers were into things like that. I even got a couple of requests for drawings from their friends.

So, the point becomes this: Why has there even been such a stigma towards females having an interest in “boy things”? I would have to say that it’s because of outdated thinking. Girls like pink, boys like blue. People feel the need to categorize everything so their world makes sense. Get with the times! Nothing makes sense anymore. Like what you want to like, and damn the naysayers.

Back to the point, it doesn’t make one bit of difference to me if the character is male or female, as long as the characters make sense to the storylines. I like seeing these characters celebrated, and especially seeing them included in games. It’s not always about Cap and Iron Man; so many things happen in the comics and on-screen world (movies, animated series) that could not happen without the assistance of the less-popular characters. Why are these characters not as well-known? They haven’t gotten the same exposure. Adding them to already popular games will increase people’s interest in these characters, and inevitably boost their popularity as people start looking into their origin stories and learn more about them.

I’ll wager that if a survey were conducted asking the question “Who is your favorite superhero?” the majority of the responses would favor a male superhero. It’s about time something like this “Women Of Power” event happens, so that some day in the near future, the answers might go a little differently.

In a world where Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are popular and seen as role models by younger girls, it would be nice to see some love for Scarlet Witch, Psylocke, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde, or maybe even Tigra. Perhaps Marvel might look into pushing for not just cover art and merchandise, but expand into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I don’t just mean Black Widow and Captain Marvel either, as the Women of Marvel are a rich, untapped resource that is begging to finally be noticed.

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