OH HEY EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE
ARE YOU KIDDING
Let me tell you a story, ya’ll.
I like comic books. I don’t read “regular” comic books because they’re just not particularly my thing. But I’ve been into the Sandman graphic novels since the mid 90’s and from there spun out to include series like Johnny The Homicidal Maniac (swoon, Jhonen Vasquez), Gloom Cookie, Nail Bunny, Love & Rockets, etc. Currently I read Lumber Janes and Sex Criminals. I’ve also picked up some of the Ms. Marvel issues but haven’t had a chance to read them.
I say “I’ve also picked up” but what I mean is “I’ve asked my husband to put them in his pull box and make him pick them up” because I am exceptionally uncomfortable in comic shops now.
Back in the day when I was part of role playing campaigns for Vampire, The Masquerade and Changling I would regularly frequent our local comic shop in Anchorage, Alaska. Nearly EVERY time I was in the shop, even after I had female friends who worked there, I was treated like either a) a criminal or b) some kind of super spy sent to bring down the Male Comic Nerd.
I have been “tested” by real geek boys, I’ve had my likes called into question, I’ve been told that I can’t really say I read comic books because I don’t read the “real” comics. I’ve been told I’m too feminine to be in a comic shop and on one really unfortunate occasion I had a male customer slap my ass and tell me that I wasn’t welcome in the shop unless I was in a slave Leia costume. To the store’s credit, the owner happened to be there when it happened and he straight shut that shit down.
We only had one comic shop in Anchorage when I was growing up. I stopped going.
Every few years I try a new shop. The first one I went into in Vegas, 10 years ago now, I was told by the male counter jockey that the “girl comics” where in the back as I was walking in the door. I don’t know what a girl comic is but I was there looking for new series to get into and I ended up just turning around and leaving.
The last time I was in a comic shop was about a year ago right after I moved back to Vegas. Thankfully I was there for an event because one of my nearest and dearest friends writes and publishes indie comics. So I was in an exceptionally welcoming environment and at no point was I disregarded as “fake” anything.
That said, in real life interactions, I’ve been CONSTANTLY tested and heckled by Real Geek Boys to make sure I’m legit. I don’t play along. I just stop talking to them. The minute someone asks me to recite the list of nerdy things I’m into and then immediately asks me for obscure trivia about them I just shut down.
It has not pushed me out of liking the things I like, but it has made me real not stoked on participating in the same spaces that are mostly male dominated because this behavior is so gross. And also depending on whether I’ll be alone or not, doesn’t feel particularly safe.
So, in conclusion, Andy Clement: go fuck yourself. This shit is real. Women are telling you about their experiences. Shut the fuck up and listen.