Somehow, women were almost left behind when San Diego Comic Con became a worldwide phenomenon. But I’m here to say that women are geeks, too. We love comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, anime… all of it. This year, women represented loud and proud at the SDCC, making up 40% of attendees.
The world of fantasy, sci-fi and comics has seen some big strides made by female characters lately. With the recent announcement of a Black Widow solo film, the announcement of a Wonder Woman movie and the decision to re-make Thor as a woman, the ladies have become money makers and buzz creators.
One of the panels at SDCC was entitled Women Who Kick Ass, now an annual event. This year the panel was made up of Sarah Paulson of “American Horror Story,” Nicole Beharie of “Sleepy Hollow,” Maisie Williams and Natalie Dormer of “Game of Thrones,” Katey Sagal of “Sons of Anarchy” and Tatiana Maslany of “Orphan Black.” All strong women in strong roles.
Sagal: “Sarah and I were just talking about asses. The size of the ass, body image, what it means to be a woman, to feel self-conscious about the size of one’s ass, or lack of ass. Hollywood is anti-ass… just, the whole sexualization of women. And it’s OK to get older. Ageism has played a factor in casting for far too long in America and there needs to be a realistic view, and send a realistic message. It seems that in Europe, you can get older.”
Dormer: “Where television is fantastic — and is way ahead of film — is it doesn’t feel the need to polarize women so much… Male writers — and I say this with all love and respect — often want to make a woman either the angel or the whore, make her the witch, or put her on the pedestal.
Maslany: Performing as Tony (a transgender character – Ed.) was a “privilege,” a “huge responsibility” and one of her biggest challenges. “As soon as I have fears or doubts, it’s like that’s where you have to go as an actor. Because then all the surprising stuff comes out of there, and you don’t know what you’re capable of.”
Dormer: “I don’t think that it’s healthy for young girls to be looking at these beauty magazines and watching TV and these shows and thinking [that’s the standard]… there’s more European attitude — you look at French film, Spanish film, they’re a little more open to quirks and human nature. That we’re not all symmetrical, not all the same shape… we need more of that.”
Paulson: “I’m so afraid it’s gonna go away at any given moment, that you think you can’t stop. Stop to do what: Have a life? Have a baby? Meet someone? I mean, what?”
Asked what superhero they would like to be, regardless of gender, the panel answered:
Williams: Spider-Man, for the agility and subtlety
Maslany: Raphael the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle for the accent
Beharie: The Hulk, so it’d be on if people pushed the wrong button
Sagal: Caesar from the Planet of the Apes reboot
Paulson: Wolverine (“I look like that in the morning”)
Dormer: Batman, for the psychology
The best thing, perhaps, about this panel is that it was held in the largest hall at the venue… just before the Marvel panel. So hundreds of fanboys, wanting to have a good seat for that, ended up hearing about women in the genre. One person sent out these Tweets, summing up the situation:
Women Who Kick Ass was one of 12 panels devoted to women at SDCC ’14, more than any previous year. The guests included many female writers, actresses and other artists. From the smallest pink Stormtrooper to Wonder Woman to dragon moms, geeky women and girls showed their dedication to the fandom. Move over, guys. The ladies are here to stay.
Here is a video of the entire panel, running just under an hour.