Intersectional Feminism at Emerald City Comic Con 2016

Meeting Sam maggsMeeting Sam matts

Sam Maggs, with Jody Houser, Irene Koh, Kristafer Anka, Fionna Adams, Amy Chu, and Chrystin Garland, provided a wonderful panel at the ECCC entitled Intersectional Feminism.

When I go to the Con I totally take a ton of notes, here is a combination of that and my opinion dabbled here and there.

What character did you identify with most growing up?

Storm (X-Men), Suzi (Rugrats), “Seeing yourself helps you see and accept yourself for who you are.”  Macy (Peanuts), Spock (Star Trek) because he looked vaguely Asian, Sailor Mars (Sailor Moon) “I could relate to that” because she cares so much about her friends and had an awkwardness that was aloof and hard to express.

When did you know you were a feminist?

Amy grew up being around boys, playing on their soccer team and she was a really good player. When her school started a soccer team, which had all the players she played with, the principal didn’t want her to be in the team. Why is this wrong? Because she was a good player and she deserved to be on the soccer team; it should not have mattered that she was a girl.

Chrystin didn’t have a clear moment when she knew she was a feminist. She shared that she had grown up being told by her parents that she would have a hard time in life being that she was a black woman. When she learned about feminism she completely agreed, “Yeah, we should be on equal ground.” Why is this an issue? It should not matter that she is a woman, it should not matter that she is black. Starting to get the picture?

Great points were brought up about being in the age of the internet and research is easily accessible if you want to understand what feminism is and further what intersectional feminism is about.

What are you working on and what diversity are you implementing into what you’re working on?

Chrystin is working on Steven’s Universe. She used to do background characters and would make sure there was diversity. Now she is working on the main characters.

Amy writes for Poison Ivy. She is putting in so many diverse background characters and even has created an Asian love interest for Poison Ivy. Oh, and also a Filipino mentor. Diverse representation is going to make everyone feel represented, which is going to help take the pressure off one character, which will make room for all sorts of writers to create diverse characters that will be loved. This was a point brought up by more than this panel at the Con.

Fionna is working on a story of two trans girls in a long-distance relationship. Now, what she brought up was such a great point: she is in that situation herself, so she is able to properly depict that situation and make it more authentic to readers. Authenticity was definitely a recurring characteristic among the panels we visited.

Captain Marvel is now being drawn “fit,” which is entirely different from “thin” thanks to ?….? Not only that, but she is putting diverse body types in the background.  It’s only practical for Captain Marvel to be depicted as “buff.” Think about what she has to do: she busts up asteroids – you have to be strong for that!

What if you want to create diverse character and your white or a man?

Hire consultants! Hire that marginalized individual to help you write your character better. Ask the internet. Talk to one another.

What does your research process look like?

Pay attention to when people are angry or upset about something. Anyone hear about the uproar with the episode of The 100 that kills off the lesbian character?

Remember that tropes are an indication of laziness. When working with a team remember to be on the same page, communicate to avoid laziness.

It’s important that people write their own stories, however a main point that keeps coming up in helping the industry change is “why shouldn’t a black woman be allowed to write Superman?”

A good thing to avoid is treating people like food. In other words, describing someone’s skin as ‘caramel’ is probably not a great idea. Think of something else. Challenge yourself.

Things that made me crack up, with regards to diversity…

“The tv show Transparency is all white. Isn’t it set in LA?!?”

Where can I find some diverse stuff?

Jem and the Holograms


American Born Chinese

The Movement by Gail Simone

Frankie and Alice – Nervous disorder

Real – a manga series that deals with wheelchair basketball

How about for the younger crowd?

Lumberjanes – this is one of my faves!

Wander Ring Son

In conclusion

This was such a fascinating panel filled with so much authenticity. I would especially highly recommend any panel that Sam Maggs hosts.

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