Robot 6

What do women want? Part 1

This.

Not this.

Erica Friedman, who publishes and blogs about yuri manga (romances featuring two women), got so fed up recently with Marvel and DC acting puzzled about what women want that she designed her own survey. 424 women completed her questionnaire, and the results make interesting reading, especially the answers to the questions about what types of characters women like to see.

Overall, two-thirds of the women surveyed bought their own comics as children, rather than reading someone else’s, and the majority read superhero comics. They prefer strong, independent characters who fight for justice, they like women who have a dark side and can fight for themselves, and they would like to see more diversity.

The survey makes interesting companion reading to Hope Larson’s survey of the comics habits of teen and tween girls. In both cases, superheroes are the most popular genre, followed by manga (I know, manga isn’t a genre, but I didn’t write the questions). In both cases the characters were most important, although Hope teased out that the story is key as well. Both groups like a dark side to their comics.

Interestingly, the women who responded to Erica’s survey split 43/57 over whether their favorite characters were male or female, which is closer than I would have guessed, and their least favorite traits were “princely,” “chaste,” “weak,” and “damsel in distress.” The take-home here is that women already read superhero comics, and what they want isn’t really that complicated—more of the same, but better, with more strong characters, especially women who aren’t hypersexualized and helpless.

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Comments

8 Comments

So, no tentacled aliens? Got it.

So give them all Moore’s Swamp Thing and Gaiman’s Sandman and call it a day!

It’s really too bad Wonder Woman is in a bit of a jam right now. I wanna see the New Frontier version of her (in mentality more than looks) tearing it up and breaking hearts.

wait, you mean women don’t want giant fake tits on every character? someone better call Marvel and let them know…

Yeah, I know manga isn’t a genre, but it’s sort of the “other white meat” of comic books. Manga as a whole already has a pretty good track record reaching women, so I lumped it together as a thing. Lazy, yes, but this was a kind off the cuff thing and I’m not being graded or paid, so lazy it is.

Cheers,

Erica

I eagerly await a new comic book featuring a gay female superhero of color, with an average body type and dark side to her personality, fighting for justice. That book could be written by the team of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, pencilled by Jack Kirby, and sell for $1.99 with a $5 bill attached and still not sell over 2000 copies.

@Joseph: I disagree

I think the issue is more that there is really no reason to create a character for Marvel and DC (given the number of possibilities that exist for creator owned work which not involve turning your character over to a corporation) and the fact that the majority of the wednesday comics crowd are only interested in established characters.

Its not that most readers only want to read stories about white males, its that Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, Spider-man, Iron Man, Hulk, Reed of the Fantastic Four, etc. happen to be white males and thats who they want to read about.

So yeah, it just seems odd to me to say that the majority of the comic book reading audience are sexist, racist and homophobic. Some writers might be a little though (see second cover in article)

I’m kind of fascinated by the assumption that this poll was in some way a complaint. I see it more as an affirmation of hey, guys, we like the same things you like, mostly, but with less fridging, maybe slightly less in the hyper-extreme ideal body types.

I am not so sure the “hyper-extreme ideal body types.” is as off-putting as thought.
The cover of many cosmos could be mistaken as Maxim. In MMO’s women tend to play the more “sexy” races/classes. Sexy tends to be associated with power by men and women.

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