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Mara Wood is a school psychology doctoral student at the University of Central Arkansas. Her research focus is on the educational application of comics as well as their use in therapeutic settings with children and adolescents. She is a regular contributor for Talking Comics, a co-host on The Missfits podcast, and writes about psychology, comics, books, and Dungeons & Dragons on her personal blog. You can find her on twitter as @MegaMaraMon

Maria Werdine Norris is a final year PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research is on British Counter-terrorism strategy and legislation, with a focus on nationalism, security and human rights. You can find her on Twitter rambling about comics, human rights and magical girls as @MariaWNorris

 

The past few weeks have been tough for the comics community. The Batgirl cover controversy, combined with Erik Larsen’s complaints about the vocal minority ruining comics created a perfect storm which invited in hatred and misogyny and left many of us reeling.

But we’ve had enough of the hatred, the prejudice, and the micro-aggressions that threaten to divide our community, so we are taking a stance.

 

We believe that comics are for everyone.

We believe that representation and diversity matter.

We believe that publishers have an obligation to recognize and appreciate the female consumers.

We believe that female comic book characters should be handled with the same respect as their male counterpoints.

We believe that good stories deserve to be highlighted and introduced to more readers.

We believe that all readers have a voice and should be considered and listened to.

We believe that consuming media critically does not make us fans whiney and entitled, but rather it makes us committed to the future of the industry and of our community.

 

In light of all this, we’ve decided to revive the Gender Issues column and rename it The Vocal Minority. Through this new column, we want to showcase what makes us love comics and geek media. We will update it regularly on Thursdays, with thoughtful essays exploring media from critical perspectives. Topics will range from heteronormativity in anime to racial representation in comics and interviews with people in the industry.

This is not a column about gender, because the vocal minority transcends gender. This is a column for all of those that care about the future of comics and those who want our community to be a safe and inclusive space. As such, this column will also be featuring guest posts from a variety of commentators who will add to Talking Comics commitment to representation and diversity in comics.

Our commitment to inclusivity and representation also extends to you. So if you have suggestions about what you’d like to see in this column or even if you’d like to contribute, we want to hear from you.

After all, we are the Vocal Minority. And so are you.

 

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