Bonnie Burton, at Starwars.com, provides coverage of the Her Universe panel from San Diego Comic-Con via a fantastic 3 page article with pictures. Check out the beginning excerpt below and then make sure to click here for the full read.
"Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein brought together some of today's leading women who are movers and shakers in the various fields of sci-fi and fantasy on the "Her Universe: Shining the Spotlight on Female Fans" panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.
Eckstein, who Star Wars fans already know as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on The Clone Wars as well as the founder of Her Universe apparel for female fans, moderated the panel which included Jane Espenson (producer/writer, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Warehouse 13), Melinda Snodgrass (author, The Edge series; story editor, Star Trek: The Next Generation), Erika Kennair (Director of Development and Programming, Syfy Channel), Cat Staggs (Star War artist), and Mary Franklin (Senior Events Lead, Lucasfilm Ltd.).
Looking at science fiction through female eyes, the panel discussed what kinds of entertainment female sci-fi fans want to see more of, what strides have been made, what has been missing up till now, what kinds of merchandise female fans want to see, and what female fans can do to encourage more of all of this.
The panel kicked off with Eckstein recounting a brief encounter with a female fan who came up to the Her Universe booth at Comic-Con and said, "Thank you for creating Her Universe for female fans because I am a fan and I am not here just to hold my husband's bag." Eckstein went on to say how by voicing the character of Anakin Skywalker's female Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, she became keenly aware of the female fan base of Star Wars and how they already existed and weren't being catered to so she started Her Universe. The apparel line starts with Star Wars, but they also want to be a community of female fans and not just a merchandise line. "We want to fight this stereotype that girls aren't interested in sci-fi. It's not just a boys' club or a girls' club, it's for everyone," Eckstein said.
Eckstein started off the questions for the panel by asking author and story editor Melinda Snodgrass her opinions on the fact that more women seem to be reading sci-fi titles and was curious about what women look for in their reading experience.
"Sixty percent of all books are purchased by women," Snodgrass said. "So as a novelist I have to think about that and if I want to make my books appealing, how do I appeal to a female audience? And one of those things that's key are the relationships. I'm interested in what draws people together. If you look at Spock and you look at Data, those characters captured women. When I was a little girl, Spock captured me because I kept thinking, 'What if I could make him feel something?' Everyone knew if they could just spend some time with Data you would find that human emotion. And those are the kinds of things that women are interested in -- communication and relationships. And it's not that we don't want action -- I was known as the 'Girl Who Writes Action.' But I think it's critical for appealing to women viewers and readers that we give them characters that they can identify with and bond with."
"I think you also need to have powerful women characters," Snodgrass continues. "Did any of you see the video mash-up of Buffy and Edward? While the tortured character of Twilight is appealing, I loved Buffy's reaction to those kinds of behaviors. So I think about those things when I write."'