(Images from the Winter London Film & Comic Con (WLFCC) - October 2013 video)
So lately, i’ve been feeling like I was drowning in depression. Many changes in my life have made things hard for me. One way to make myself feel better was to read and watch documentaries about the position of women in the media. Today, I got to the final item on my watch list - the documentary called “Miss Representation” (available on Netflix).
Thinking back on everything I read and watched, I kinda realized how much of my internalized negativity as well as my desire to create both came from the same source - the media image of women.
I try to create comics featuring compelling women. Where women are the main characters, the larger numbers of characters and where the enemies are not necessarily female, since often a female hero calls for a female antagonist in the media. I do this because I feel this is important. Because this is something that is still lacking. This is still something that is questioned. I try to put male characters in positions usually occupied by women (the waiting character, the healer, the broken bird). Because men are also burdened by the media image that they need to be dominant and emotionless. Nobody wins at the media game.
Yet, despite how much energy I put into creating empowered women, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking i’m useless, and a large reason of why I feel useless is tied to my image. In French, we have a saying that goes “The cobbler wears the worse shoes”, meaning that often, someone who does something expertly often neglects that same thing in personal aspects of his life. This is kinda how I feel now. I spend half the time trying to think how I can craft fun characters that defy the norm, and the other half thinking about how little value I have as an individual. This is bad for me. This is bad for what I create.
All these documentaries have truly solidified an idea in my head that I already knew. Media is something that can either be a wonderful instrument of change or a reinforcer of the status quo. Even to illustrate my point here, I used a media image, the one of Xena taking over the Iron Throne.
So i’m going to keep creating comics. Because it’s important to change how the media views women, but also to change how I view myself.
This was not typed in the clearest way, I just wanted to get the idea out there. Future posts will follow.