I’m not going into too much detail over this, but:
Once upon a time, in January I think, a local comic publisher with so-so if popular enough content (if you understand the comic scene here, you’ll know where my opinion comes from) asked a rather narrow question:
Why aren’t there many women who want to be comic artists?
This question, even if not intended to harm, sounds absolutely ridiculous.
Wait until you see the comments!
The entire thing overall still makes my blood boil, so I’m not going to post examples (though I’ve a lot of evidence; if there’s enough curiousity I’m willing to upload and translate), but most of the comments, answered by mostly men, and EVEN WOMEN, are degrading, completely sexist, and very condescending towards any female’s individual tastes and ability to draw.
Women only read shoujo
Women cannot draw as well as men
Women only draw ‘handsome and cute men’ a.k.a only capable of Shades of Grey kind of material
Women are not as creative as men
Women are too materialistic
Women like beauty, men like depth.
Women make boring stories because they are more ‘realistic’ and ‘not as imaginative’
Women have more ‘obligations’ and ‘duties’ so they cannot pursue their ambition (???? WHAT EVEN)
Women are only validated as comic artists if they draw in a ‘male style’ (The person was referring to Becky Cloonan; in which I apologise on behalf)
Even some of the ladies commenting contributed to some of those statements (the second to last one particularly). Oh my God, I was dumb to think that the whole of Malaysia’s art industry is just like its very tight and close-knit indie clique. Or that we are at least progressive in this industry.
The comment on top though, is pure gold.
Translated it says:
I have a feeling…
In Malaysia, not many women read comics. The majority of them prefer reading novels. Maybe only 10% of women like comics.
Out of the 10%, not all of them like to draw comics. The majority of them prefer reading. Maybe only 10% of women comic readers draw comics.
And from that 10%, not all of them are talented enough to want to continue drawing comics confidently. Maybe 10% out of those who like to draw, only have the talent to draw.
And from that 10%, not all of them will have their parents’ blessing to draw comics. They are against it because the industry isn’t stable. Maybe only 10% of those talented ones get the green light to work seriously in the industry.
In conclusion, not many women work in the industry.
So basically, 0.01% of the female population in Malaysia are comic creators. I don’t know where he gets his statistics from, but after reading some of his comments from earlier, and knowing that he’s a PROFESSIONAL in the mainstream industry, this was the last straw for me. Giving these kind of comments and ignoring fellow local female artists (Sarah Joan Mokhtar, Labish (the one from Tumblr), etc) and then not willing to accept different opinions and accept the fact that in art there should be political/societal discourse, is like…….
So anyway during that time I was slowly working on the thumbnails for Chapter 1, and seeing this thread made me so angry that I vowed to START THIS WEBCOMIC as soon as possible, MAKE THE BEST WORK I CAN, and make these people reconsider their opinion and open their worlds a little bit beyond the Malaysian peninsula.
I also promised him that I would thank him for firing me up once TWiDI is set up, so here I am, I got to this point, man. I’ve some experience now.
I hope you find my thanks more significant and worthy of your professional tastes