Comic Con, Females in Geek Culture, and Where the New Generation Fits In

CNN has a really great article up that includes attitudes about Twilight fans attending Comic Con and a prevalent boy’s club mentality.

There are big differences between the mature, established, mostly Generation X women, who developed their interests through actual comics and comics-related media (and can be every bit as marinated in the minutiae of continuity as the hardest-core male superhero reader), and the younger cohort, who are largely drawn into the worlds of fantasy and pop culture through manga and young adult fiction: not just “Twilight,” but also “Baby-Sitters Club,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and, of course, “Harry Potter.” But at least girls and teens are coming into the social and participative world of fandom rather than just sitting on their couches playing Xbox.

You would think that male comics fans would have no problem with women getting into both the hobby and the business. Traditionally, guys who are into comics and related subcultures did not suffer an overabundance of female attention during their adolescence. Now that they are grown-ups, they might see the advantages of having women around who share their interests and passions.

Indeed, most of them do. But there remains a hard core for whom arrested adolescence extends beyond the persistence of childhood interests. These are the boys who put the “no girls allowed” signs on the doors of their clubhouse, and those signs are there still.

Perhaps this is why the “Twilight” phenomenon activates such intense passions among the Comic-Con crowd. Back in 2008, when the Con was “invaded” by thousands of young, female “Twilight” fanatics, some guys caused a ruckus by walking the floor with signs and T-shirts reading, “Twilight Is Ruining Comic-Con!”

That attitude has gone underground, but it has not gone away. Sure, a lot of the hostility is wrapped around objections to the series itself and its lightweight treatment of the supernatural (fans take this stuff very seriously). But it’s telling that many of the same folks who pitch a fit over a couple of twinkly, sparkly boy vampires mooning over Bella Swan have no problem with unorthodox treatments of the material that feature mostly naked girl vampires and sexually depraved demons, as can be seen in many modern horror comics.

Check out the rest of this very insightful article on CNN.


  1. radiowidow says

    I like this article. Finally one that takes a more neutral look at Twilight fans and isn’t treating us like we’re all pariahs. My favorite reply on the CNN site so far is from someone named Laura (coincidence?) pointing out that Twilight fans were participating with many other fandoms at Comic Con. (I personally love all kinds of fantasy/ SciFi – I was even one who went and watched ST: TNG on the big screen this week.) We are not as one-dimensional as some would like to think.

  2. Faye massenroe says

    Its funny because I saw an article on tumblr about a woman who was a huge fan of RL Stine and was in her 30’s and was and avid follower on Twitter of the series. Why are men so afraid of women liking sci-fi/fantasy?

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