I’m not really sure how to begin to answer this (and that’s not helped by the fact that it’s asked anonymously).
To say that the comics industry in the US is sexist isn’t news. To say that harassment of women, both professionals and fans, occurs is sadly not news, either.
My honest opinion? The only thing that I really think is getting better is that more people are talking about it, and more people are pushing the matter into the light. Awareness is the first step, but not, by far, the only one required. The fact is, the ratio of men to women working in the industry itself is still grotesquely low. There are corners where efforts are being made to improve this. It’s not, in my opinion, enough.
Sexism is part of our culture, both outside of comics and within it; it’s exacerbated exponentially in comics because women have been excluded and/or marginalized for so very long. And I suppose that is the answer to your question as to whether or not it’s “really as bad as some of the stories” you’ve read. No, it’s not that bad. It’s worse. It’s endemic. For every story you’re hearing, there are ten that you’re not. For every instance of poor behavior you’ve heard of from and editor or a creator, there’s another twenty stories about convention trips to strip clubs for “meetings” and the like.
Whether it’s better or worse today than ten years ago, I genuinely cannot say. My sneaking suspicion is not that it’s better, but that the men who are capitalizing on the situation are doing a better job of hiding their behavior.
Thank you 🙂 I have seen the same questions posed in the scientific field. And the political field. And the business arena.
It is not the careers but our ingrained societal attitudes. I still hear parents, my generation, tell their children a toy is not appropriate because it is for the opposite sex/gender (I can’t generally tell if they differentiate).
Continuing to be open and understanding and being willing to change ideals we have had since childhood is going to go a long way to getting that generation though. I know I have had to evaluate my own assumptions over the last two decades- I am of the last generation to grow up unconnected to the world so while some of them can be forgiven; keeping hold of them would not be.