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Women in Comics: DC vs Marvel, The Bechdel Test
spider hole
thalestral wrote in feminist_geeks
I'm a comics journalist, and normally my writing focuses on women creators in comics and the portrayal of women characters. But the Bechdel Test is so famous, and so equally derided by a lot of the general readership, that I figured it was worth a go to Bechdel Test ALL THE THINGS.



Or at least the comics I had to hand. I also did a Reverse Bechdel Test alongside the normal test, to help illustrate the divide between the portrayal of men and women in comics.

Obviously the Bechdel Test is just one aspect of looking at the issue as a whole, but I found the results surprisingly encouraging. At least for DC, where the results showed a lot of balance across my titles, and where the women led titles like Batwoman helped pick up the slack. And normally I'm focusing on all the other angles, so it was a nice change.

The full article is here: Women in Comics: DC vs Marvel, The Bechdel Test

Happily, the discussion I've seen about this piece on other forums is mostly guys saying the Reverse Bechdel Test has made them see the imbalance properly. So feel free to share :D
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DC has more female characters who are independent of male characters. It doesn't mean they're better, it's just how Marvel has grown up (I think it has to do with the fact that while they acquired older characters it's several decades younger than DC so DC had a bunch of pre-code characters to pull from)

I don't know if I'd necessarily say that; Marvel's women are generally very independent as characters, but not in terms of like, having their own series, because that's just not how Marvel rolls (most of Marvel's male characters don't have their own series, usually just the big names who've been around for literally over fifty years). Marvel mostly writes team-based comics. I don't really think this is a flaw... especially when you're trying to choose between Marvel's "hey this team has several amazing independent women!" and DC's "hey we're gonna write a comic about a woman and have the first page feature her on her hands and knees scrounging for dollar bill tips at a strip club!"

I didn't mean they're not independent in their lives, like "independent woman living on her own," I meant they're not independent as in they don't have their own titles. And I also said "it doesn't mean they're better."

Edited at 2012-05-31 10:50 pm (UTC)

Marvel actually had a lot of female led books last year but they were all cancelled. Their cut off figures are a lot higher than DC.

I'm not trying to argue over which publisher is better as sadly most people are biased towards one or the other which clouds vision, but that the balance is out of whack but not as much at DC as I expected.

Yeah, I realize that I prefer DC for my own reasons but I don't think DC is a better company. I think all of the good they DID have going got ruined by the new 52. I just never felt attracted to Marvel which doesn't make anyone else's choices any better or worse.

DC do seem to be more open to feedback (ETA - than they used to be), not of their own choosing but due to the constant pressure from women fans. There's a long way to go but it does seem to be improving. Hopefully Marvel will pick up as well.

Indie titles of course leave them both in the dust!

Edited at 2012-05-31 11:13 pm (UTC)

The indies can be awesome and they don't have the same assumption that girls are never going to read them. I find them a little harder to navigate since I never know what to expect. Though Buffy has always been a good choice (and I tend to trust Dark Horse)

It's good to hear that DC is taking feedback (finally) last year made me so freaking mad at them. Does this mean that it's safe for me to go back to buying comics from them? :P

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