You Won’t Like Her When She’s Angry

Ever walk into a Radio Shack and know exactly what you’re looking for? You find the item and then the sales clerk (usually male, since I honestly believe they have a no-female hire clause somewhere in their company) insists on asking you 1,000 questions about what you’re going to use the adapter for, implying the whole time that you have no idea what you’re buying and/or what the true technical problem is you’re looking to resolve. It hasn’t happened to you? Oh, that’s because you must not be female! You don’t have breasts or ovaries, you have a penis and that stick means you know what the hell you’re talking about when it comes to anything they sell in Radio Shack.

This has happened to me a thousand times. Especially when I was in college, and would go in to pick up audio or video cables. I actually walked out one time after telling the clerk that I actually knew what I was purchasing and that I would find it somewhere else due to his condescending attitude towards me. This is not a way to run a business and I refuse to shop there.

I’m not here to rant about equal rights for woman to purchase the wrong RCA adapter if I see fit not to ask for help. But I was thinking about comics today; with Mad Dog being in NYC at DC Comics headquarters for a retailer summit, its hard not to. Thing is I have been reading comics for 18 plus years and I still feel I am spoken down to and treated like a “girl” when I go into some comic shops. As a kid my Dad bought me a comic from time to time, but it wasn’t until college that I really started reading more,  learning the artist/writers who brought the characters to life and collecting them.

When I say treated like a “girl” there are two things I mean. The first is that you are some type of “holy grail”, I mean there was a time when you wouldn’t see a woman in a comic book store unless she was someone’s mother. I’m not being mean when I say that, it’s the truth. Comic geeks know this as well as anyone, and comic fans are made fun of for it all the time (remember the reaction when Hayden Panettiere‘s Cheerleader character on Heroes got when she entered the comic book shop?).  The reason there is a stereotypical comic geek for Hollywood is in reality it’s true, these things happen in small shops all over the United States. For some geeks the hopes or possibility of meeting a girl that likes “geeky” things is a dream come true. Mad Dog will offer himself up as exhibit A, if you need proof. I think he almost died when I IM’d him (we met online) if he was a “DC boy” or a “Marvel boy”? He never expected to meet a girl that not only knew the difference, but actually read comics and even heard of Image and Dark Horse.

Okay, so you have the Holy Grail Girl, the myth that you have heard about that comes into a comic store. Said girl is usually gawked at and treated with extra enthusiasm or spied upon from behind the top of a comic. Of course the girl must have some attributes that would make our geek clerk or other patrons ogle this unsuspecting girl, because I honestly don’t think they automatically envision just any girl in a Wonder Woman or Black Cat costume. The next thing you have to deal with is, the Radio Shack experience.

I am not saying every comic clerk or shop is like this, just that I have experienced this myself. You’re walking around and browsing, when the clerk decides it’s time to “help” you because most likely you don’t know what you’re looking for. You couldn’t possibly, you don’t have a stick to guide you. If the shop carries Manga, you’re most likely to end up with something like Fruits Basket or something very bubblegum-pop as a recommendation. However if you make it clear that you’re looking for a comic, it depends on the clerk what you’ll get. Personally if I worked for a shop, I would ask a few questions before blessing you with my vast comic wisdom like I would have done when I worked at Barnes & Noble and was assisting with a book recommendations. Right now it is very possible you’ll be handed a comic version of Pride and Prejudice or Janet Evanovich’s Troublemaker graphic novel without even a second glance at your “I Love Zombies” t-shirt. Yes, there is a Zombie edition of Pride and Prejudice, but that doesn’t make it a right fit for you or even right at all for that matter. You wouldn’t try to sell someone a car without asking them what they were looking for, right? (That might be a bad example some car salesmen I believe started out at Radio Shack. “Is your Dad, Husband or Boyfriend with you?”)

Personally, I’m all about the art – if the art isn’t “pretty” it will kill me to even read a great story. Mad Dog and I go rounds about this, since he is all about the story and can overlook poor art – I just can’t. Maybe it’s because I have a background in art (no I’ve never drawn comics – inked yes, and I know that makes me a “tracer“). My interests are all over the place in regards to if I like Superhero, horror or whatever, but I will state for the record I’m a DC-girl (this includes Image and Dark Horse).

If you want to help me find a new book, ask me what I like – maybe what I’ve read for my last book, don’t assume because I have breasts and menstruate that I have to have sappy romance in my comics. I don’t need you to point me in the direction of the issues of Superman that has Lois Lane acting like Bridget Jones. I’m good with my Vampires ripping peoples throats out the all American way(American Vampire), the dead walking (The Walking Dead), my fables having tragic dark endings (Fables)and my Superheroes struggling with the reality that the loss of their parents honestly screwed them up (well, he is the Goddamned  Batman!). I’m not your mother, so I’m okay with the fact that Supergirl‘s costume just got shorter and that maybe Donna Troy is hitting Nightwing up for a booty call on the bat-communicator. What I’m not okay with is the fact that you assume what I’ve only watched the Watchmen movie (because my boyfriend made me) and not read it, that I don’t know Earth-40 is the where the WWII heroes fight on and I don’t have my own Vote Lex 2000 button. Because I can walk a mile in Wonder Woman’s boots it might just mean I was formed from a lump of magic clay too. Don’t presume that the reason my son was named Lex after Lex Luthor (yes, he was) means it was because of Mad Dog. If that were the case it would have been Hal.

More females (I won’t just say “girls” or woman) are reading comics, they have been for years. They can debate the same foolish things Wizard did their polls on, like who would win a fight Batman or Wolverine (that is if they wanted to bother debating it). There are tons of comic blogs written by girls for girls, because it still seems to be a shock to some of you geek-men out there that we actually do read and like comics. Oh and for those girlie girls out there there are comics about love and romance between each chance to save the world. Superheroes even get married and plan weddings – look at Black Canary and Ollie (aka Green Arrow).

We will forgive you for this. We might even continue to dress in those cute skimpy cos-play outfits (personally I haven’t done that since before Loki was born), wear the tight baby doll superhero t-shirts that don’t fit so well (yes, I have my evil Mary Marvel shirt) and find reasons to post pictures of us wearing all this online for you to see. I just ask you one little thing. Don’t recommend Swamp Thing to me.


~ by Cute Fan Girl on June 27, 2011.

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