2 years ago1,000+ Views

G. Willow Wilson is a real-life superhero.

You might recognize that name, especially if you've been reading the Ms. Marvel comics featuring Kamala Khan. Last week musician Amanda Palmer took to the internet and wrote about her impending motherhood, and her fear that she might not be able to balance her creative career with her responsibilities as a parent. And G. Willow Wilson responded, revealing that the comic book industry needs to catch up and do better by its parenting employees. Check out her tweets:

"I hid both pregnancies from my employers because I knew it would affect my chances of getting work."

That sounds like some dark ages workplace misogyny. This is especially infuriating because in the U.S. there's barely any maternity leave (usually none for freelancers- which most comic book writers and artists are), and almost no workplace offers paternity leave. Having a child shouldn't mean you're out of a job! Especially since the economy is in rough shape right now, often both parents need to work to be able to support their family. And of course for single parents, it's even more crucial to keep working.
"You pay a mommy tax in creative industries, beyond doubt. But it's not imposed by the kids. It's imposed by the industry itself."
Parenting is hard enough as it is! As people who enjoy seeing artists at their best, who hope that the best in the industry are the ones rising to the top, shouldn't we be angry that women are being penalized for having a family?
View more comments
@RobertMarsh @JPBenedetto @DonovanMoore @tardisdragon7 since we all had such great conversations yesterday, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! It seems like the industry leaders aren't making their workplace environments safe for women, particularly parents. Do you think this could be contributing to the representation and harassment issues we were discussing yesterday?
honestly, I'm not in on this. first, if she hid her pregnancy then her employers don't have the proper time to make the consideration for her that they were required to by law. Also, by law, her pregnancy isn't allowed to even be a consideration in the employment decision. My wife got a very good job even after telling them during an interview that she was pregnant and she wasn't even showing yet. Second, paternity leave is federally mandated to all business over a certain size and if your chosen profession doesn't fall into the guidelines, that's almost the same as starting your own business then complaining that you didn't get paternity leave. My wife was a single mother of 2 when I met her and she (like many strong single mother's) made it work. While I was deployed, she managed a job, the house, 3 kids and was going to school for her nursing degree. The sad truth is, it would be nice for the industry to have something in place for families but unfortunately not all do. We as parents make sacrifices for our children and sometimes that means putting our dreams on hold until our children are older and more self sufficient. I feel for her situation but that is because I can relate. We choose to have kids and we choose our profession. Few can have both. My wife never complained (even as a single mother) I'm not complaining that I have to wait for my dreams... Most have to pick what they want to have first. Heck even my military career went stagnant because I chose family first. Everyone gets hit when they choose family first. Most men usually will put career first at the risk of losing their family (hence the high divorce rate)...sorry... I know I may sound pig headed but this is just my view point
@RobertMarsh I don't think you sound pig headed! I wouldn't have asked if I didn't value your opinion. I think the comics industry works a little differently than most others because almost everyone (artists and writers specifically) aren't salaried employees. They work on commission or contract. They get hired to do one comic, or one run, instead of getting hired to be an in-house artist. So they're not protected by the law in the same way. I think it's pretty amazing that G. Willow Wilson was able to accomplish so much while she was nursing (I can't imagine doing ANYTHING else while caring for a newborn) and while I think it's unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to go to those lengths, I do think it's possible to balance this kind of creative career with parenting. Yet the assumption is that women can't do it. (What was really interesting is that the article written by Amanda Palmer that inspired Wilson's response mentioned that wile people question Amanda's ability to do so, no one has questioned her husband Neil Gaiman, despite the fact that he has several projects ahead of him). There are definitely sacrifices one needs to make as a parent, but the reality is careers aren't really luxuries, they're necessities. Most parents can't be out of work. Her complaint wasn't that parenting while working is difficult- because of course it is! That's the reality. Her complaint was that while plenty of the men working in the industry are parents, there's no bias against them for having kids while working. It's not assumed that they won't make deadlines or won't deliver high quality work. Why did she need to prove herself when they didn't?
@shannonl5, the public not questioning his ability is a wrong (again probably because it has always been expected of men to put careers first & family second and vise versa of women) As for how to make both work, that comes down to the 2 of them deciding and not allowing society to dictate it to them. When it came to the last part of my wife's nursing school we decided it would be best for her to leave her job and focus on school. Now she has a great career and its my turn to not work and focus on school and taking care of the house and kids then go back to work after graduation and we will figure out how to rebalance the home and kids to keep everything running smoothly. Only us families can change the roles society wants to force upon us and in doing so, change the "standard"