Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture

Suzanne Scott

Abstract


In 1999, Gail Simone circulated a list of female comic book characters who had been "depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator," sparking a dialogue about gender and comic book culture that continues today. In particular, 2011 and 2012 have been marked by an exponential growth in conversations and criticisms surrounding the state of women in comics, both as producers and consumers. Through a survey of how scholars have gendered comic book readership, an overview of recent incidents that have renewed concern about women in comics, and an analysis of one transformative intervention in the wake of these conversations, this essay broadly discusses the relative invisibility of female comic book fans as a market segment and how fangirls are actively striving to become a visible and vocal force within comic book culture. This essay suggests that we are currently witnessing a transformative moment within comic book industry, comic book fandom, and comic book scholarship, in which gender is one of the primary axes of change.

Keywords


Fandom; Gender; Representation; Subculture; Transformative works

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