Last weekend Oz Comic Con hit Perth and I was lucky enough to be on a panel talking about ‘Kick-ass SFF Heroines’, one of my favourite topics. Along with authors Craig Bezant, Lana Pecherczyk and Shona Husk, we discussed everything from what makes good/bad heroines, to trends with female leads (Star Wars, Ghostbusters, etc), to things like the Bechdel test and recent efforts to increase the number of female creatives in the film industry, to whether our heroines are allowed to fall in love or whether it made them weak, to heroines as mothers, to aging heroines, to the recent merchandising bungle with Black Widow and Rey, etc, etc. It was a really interesting discussion that saw some great involvement with the audience.
I was really interested to hear from one audience member who said that in Japan, their merchandising focus was on female characters over male characters. When asked for my opinion on this, I said I think Hollywood could take some lessons from them!
It was lovely to chat with audience members after the panel too. And in particular I was quite chuffed to have one male audience member thank me for running such a balanced panel. He said he always tried to attend these types of panels and found them to be against men, but that ours was not. And I’m glad to hear that, because that’s certainly never my intention. I am all about equality – seeing men and women as equals – not about seeing one reign over the other. When I pitched this panel, my aim was to bring some focus to female heroines, and help raise their profile to match that of their male counterparts. And that is the strong theme that runs through my Aurora series: That no-one is better than anyone else, that everyone has something to contribute, and that we’re stronger if we work together.