Robbins was excited about underground comics, but she found it hard to get attention, let alone support from many male cartoonists. “They didn’t want any girls in their boys club,” she said. “The wives and girlfriends would even do things like color in the art, and they would sell their stuff for them at conventions. There was nobody selling my stuff for me and I resented the hell out of it.” She also found the misogyny in the underground comic scene increasingly disturbing. Some men, like R. Crumb, drew comics about rape and murder and thought her failure to find them funny meant she had no sense of humor.
Martha Kennedy, curator of popular and applied graphic arts at the Library of Congress, centered the exhibit around two themes: She wanted to explore “how imagery of women and gender relations has changed over time” and “how broadening of subject matter happens over time and in different art forms.” Ultimately, the goal, Kennedy says, is to “foster a sense of shared history among female artists, inspire younger generations entering these specialties and spur further research in the library’s collections.”
Roshnee Desai’s visual art challenges those social norms. Her works — short films, cartoons and even the upholstery in a Mumbai taxicab — all seek to get people thinking and talking about women’s rights and social issues. Desai’s subject is the life of a modern woman in Mumbai, the heart of India’s corporate sector, headquarters to the country’s biggest finance firms and home to the Hindi film industry. The city’s liberal lifestyle encourages young women to be independent, partake in nightlife, and travel freely. Yet they still deal with men’s ogling, unsolicited gestures and catcalling.
Set in Afghanistan circa 2001, director Nora Twomey’s adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ best-selling novel is a somber, violence-wracked saga of discrimination and hardship, one that’s rooted in—and refuses to shy away from—Islamic misogyny. Far from light and frivolous, it’s a lament for the continuing persecution of women in a land beset by endless conflict, as well as a tribute to those valiant females, young and old alike, who refuse to reside quietly in the shadows. It’s also the best animated film of the year.
Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, and Jubilee were equal partners on the X-Men. They were just as important to the fight as Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, and Gambit. Moreover, they got along as friends and allies. Their friendship gave a pint-sized version of me my first look at what a bawdy Brit group called the Spice Girls would soon coin “Girl Power.” That is, X-Men: The Animated Series proved that women could be strong, they could be smart, they could be beautiful, they could be different, and they could still all be friends.
"In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many of the women who work in animation have begun discussing more openly issues that we have dealt with quietly throughout our careers," the letter begins. "As we came together to share our stories of sexism, sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault, we were struck by the pervasiveness of the problem. "We resolve to do everything we can to prevent anyone else from being victimized. We are united in our mission to wipe out sexual harassment in the animation industry, and we will no longer be silent," the letter concludes.