By Hazel Romano | August 7, 2017
Everyone knows that in the past several years, Marvel has been riding a wave of success, to say the least. Despite industry-wide lackluster print sales, the #1 comic company and studio giant has been praised for its effort to prioritize diversity in its new narratives.
So then, why are people riled up over a group of female Marvel staff members? The most recent ridiculous internet “controversy” making the rounds all started when Marvel Comics editor Heather Antos posted a group picture of herself and several female coworkers drinking milkshakes. She attached to it the caption: “It’s the Marvel milkshake crew! #FabulousFlo”, with her hashtag being a tribute to Flo Steinberg, the late Marvel legend.
Alarmingly, angry fans responded out of nowhere, posting scathing comments that called out Antos for pushing a feminist agenda and accusing the staff of being “fake geek girls.” As if we haven’t heard that one before.
The backlash against the innocent photo, however, sparked a viral social media campaign with a new hashtag dubbed #MakeMineMilkshake. Twitter users and women who work in comics & other companies with ties to the industry have shared their own milkshake selfies in defense of women in comics. Amidst it all, DC and Marvel comics themselves even announced a surprise cross-over collaboration.
As comforting as it is that those kinds of internet trolls are in the minority, it’s evidence that sexism towards women, especially in fields that once catered exclusively to males, is still alive and well. Companies might be eager to shift towards a more diverse and balanced workforce, but it’s going to take more than a policy change to reverse long-held, one-dimensional beliefs about women.
While women in the workplace continue to be chastised and devalued, such harassment reveals a pernicious double standard. In such a progressive time, how can an image of a group of female coworkers even be threatening? You would never hear female fans accusing men of being “fake geek guys” or tell them to get back to work.
There’s no way to completely stop people from spewing this kind of hate and abuse. Fortunately, the frenzy around #MakeMineMilkshake has turned it into a positive moment, necessitating the value of similar ongoing efforts against those eager to undermine professional geek girls everywhere.
Hazel Romano is a content writer and recent UC Berkeley grad. When she’s not geeking out over fantasy and sci-fi movies, she likes to travel and spend time with her furbabies, Remus and Noah. You can see more of her work at wiltedink.wordpress.com.