On -isms: The Guest List

By | Thursday, April 02, 2015 Leave a Comment
C2E2 is at the end of this month, and will be the first comic convention I'll be attending in 2015. So, naturally, I started checking out their guest lists to see who would be attending. One their web site, one handy thing they do is provide head shots of all their guests alongside their names and what their known for. I took three screen captures so you could see the comic, entertainment and literary guest lists side by side...
C2E2 Entertainment Guests C2E2 Literary Guests
Here're the breakdowns by my count...

Comic Guests
108 total
15 women
8 non-white*

Entertainment Guests
69 total
13 women
11 non-white*

Literary Guests
25 total
10 women
1 non-white*

* This is going just by my cursory glance at their names and photos. Frankly, I've never been very good at identifying people by their race/nationality without being expressly told, so I may be off base a bit on these numbers. For our purposes here, though, rough numbers are good enough.

What does that tell us? Well, clearly, there's a much higher percentage of women in the Literary category (40%) than either the Comics (1.4%) or Entertainment (1.9%) categories, and there's even numerically more non-white Entertainment guests than Comic guests despite there being significantly more of the Comic guests overall. I don't know that this is necessarily a case of C2E2 trying to exclude certain creators based on gender or ethnicity; they've tended towards a very positive attitude towards diversity and a quick scan of this year's panels shows, once again, several that focus on women and/or minorities plus multiple panels on bullying and body image, which I don't recall seeing before.

I believe the numbers are more reflective of having a large enough pool to drawn upon in the first place. We've all heard how the industry writ large has issues welcoming women and minorities; I suspect the numbers we're seeing here are simply reflective of the different industries as a whole.

Now, the Artists Alley is another group of folks entirely and, based on my past experience with this show, has a greater percentage of both women and minorities. Closer to, but still shy of, numbers representing the broader population. That likely helps to account for the number of panels related to issues surrounding women and minorities.

C2E2 is a single show and obviously does not adequately represent ALL of comics. But it's also a large enough show that I think it can be used as something of a barometer for how the industry is doing overall when it comes to diversity. And what's disappointing, from my vantage point, is that for as much crap as the Entertainment industry gets for not being diverse enough, they seem to be doing a better job than Comics.
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