Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet and Elizabeth Henstridge essentially inadvertently stole the show at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend when they took part in the Women of Marvel panel. While their presence was definitely felt though it did not distract from the topic of discussion which was most definitely empowerment for women. Girl power, if you will.

 Women from multiple disciplines in the creative process at Marvel made up the remainder of the panel and they discussed what it’s like working as a woman in comics today and what it means for the future of the industry. Panelists include content development director Sana Amanat, producer Judy Stephens, social media manager Adri Cowan, Marvel Live host Lorraine Cink, writer G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel), Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. costume designer Ann Foley,

Covering topics that ranged from Ms. Marvel to the A-Force, from Twitter to tumblr, it was a passionate discussion that from what we could tell was largely dominated by the television notables from AGENTS OF SHIELD. Touching on societal expectations of women, Chloe (Skye/Daisy) talked about being a young girl and telling her parents that she wanted to be blonde so that she could be an actress. In her young mind, that was an important barrier to entry. It showcases how these preconceived notions of beauty and femininity are ingrained from a very early age.

 Even in women with power–like the characters on SHIELD–it can be easy to sex up the characters, even in situations where it’s simply not needed. This is something that Ann touched on as something that’s important to balance. Sentiements were echoed by Elizabeth (Gemma) who essentially pointed out that clothes should empower you to be who you are, not define who you are YET that also NOT mean that wearing sexy clothes and high heels are to be shunned.

Wearing “traditionally sexy” clothing is not necessarily a bad thing if it’s your choice but they should not be used as a measure for success in achieving “feminine beauty.” It’s an uphill climb for sure as the double standards for women run rampant across our society.

During the Q&A a large majority of the questions were pointed to the cast from the show and Elizabeth Henstridge shared a hilarious albeit tangential story to the topic of conversation. She had mentioned that just the night before she was at a Comic-Con party talking to Tom Holland–the new Spider-Man–and was trying her hardest to be the mature long-timer in the Marvel family. It was holding up well for her until Chloe Bennet jumped in on the conversation continuing an earlier conversation with Elizabeth about finding churros. Elizabeth’s struggles of coming across the cool confident alum were further dashed when she parted on the journey for the churros and ended up falling into the swimming pool! Where are THOSE pictures?

One fantastic aspect of San Diego Comic-Con is all the various view points into the fandom that can be explored and this panel was no different. It’s great when a panel can be both insightful and intelligent and also very entertaining and that was handled remarkably well with the Women of Marvel!