I’ve heard (more than a few times) that it’s easier for a woman to get syndicated than a man because syndicates are actively looking for women cartoonists because there are so few of us.  By the way, this never seems to be said by WOMEN cartoonists.  Everytime I’ve heard this it has struck me as sour grapes from men who (for whatever reason) have not managed to get syndicated themselves.  I’m not saying this statement is absolutely not true, maybe there is a bias there with the syndicates where if a man and a woman send in the same calibre comic strips, the woman might have the edge.  I don’t know,  so you’d have to ask a syndicate executive to know for sure.  But it doesn’t strike me as either a fair or a particularly nice comment and I admit it’s always bothered me.

What that statement does is marginalize women’s work.  It says that we are not as good as men and the only way we’d ever make it is if there was a gender bias.  It trivializes our struggles because obviously, it’s SO easy to get syndicated as a woman that if you don’t then you must suck.  ROYALLY.  If this statement were true, then why are there still so few woman cartoonists when you compare their numbers to men?  I mean, we aren’t exactly taking over this boys club!

For the record, I do not think I got syndicated BECAUSE I was a woman.  I also don’t think I got syndicated because I was the best cartoonist out there either.  I think I got my shot because I sent in a well-written, funny packet to the syndicates, and it happened to get read initially by someone who was well-rested from vacation, in a good mood and looking for something that they found in my strip.  Whether that was the politics, the edge, the realistic family life or what, I don’t know.  But I know a lot of it was sheer luck and for that I am grateful.  I think my drawing skill probably gave them pause, but I worked my butt off in my development period and it angers me when people think that it all just fell easily into place because I am female. 

I actually got an email once where this person told me that he was thinking of sending in his toon under a female name so he’d have a better shot at syndication because syndication was impossible for “white men” these days.  (Tell that to all the men who are new to syndication in the last couple years!)   I didn’t reply.  What I SHOULD have said is, “What a marvelous idea!  Why don’t you also use an ethnic female name too like Maria Gonzales or Lakeesha Jackson?  That way you’ll have double the chances!”  Ugh. 

I wish more women were syndicated.  I tend to read and love strips by women because we do tend to write differently than men do.  Our humor and perspective is different and I enjoy it.  Our strips tend to be wordier.  To be more chatty.   To take longer to get to the point.  To have more involved storylines rather than just gag a day.  We talk about things like periods and menopause and childbirth, and that’s okay.  …No, it’s more than okay.  It’s great!