To the Dude Who Cut Me Off in the Comics Shop
I guess you didn’t see me here, just three feet away from the shelf, browsing comics with titles C-H. Sup?
I know. You didn’t realize I was browsing. Why would I be? You saw me come in with my boyfriend or maybe you didn’t. But regardless, I am an anathema here. Or at least to you. A woman doesn’t belong a comics and games shop.
Here’s some fun trivia for you. I was born into nerddom, a little baby princess ready to inherit. I was playing Magic: the Gathering before I ever considered playing Pokemon, and I knew by age ten that I loved Punk Rock!Storm way more any other version of her. I grew up in a comics shop and can slide boards into bags so fast, I’m a goddamned comics ninja.
But sure, stand in front of me so I can’t see the shelves anymore.
I get so sick of people like you.
There are so many people who don’t think I get to exist, or who cry “fake” when I talk nerdy. It will never matter how many times I’ve seen BSG or that I spent my childhood running around gaming conventions. To these, let’s face it, men, I’m an invader, taking up space and taking enjoyment from things to which I have no right.
Fuck. That. Noise.
Let’s not bother talking about the fact that just standing in front of someone or talking to the man next to them like they’re somehow not there is just plain fucking rude. Let’s just get to the root of this problem.
You don’t think women belong here. And you’re wrong. To paraphrase the great Kameron Hurley, women have always geeked. Hell, you wouldn’t have science fiction as a genre without the late, great Mary Shelley.
(This is my cat. She is named after Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter, Mary W. Shelley)
The part that’s always got to me is that you should be so damn excited I’m here. That I’m a real person. After all, relatively attractive young woman who’s into the same things you are?! That’s supposed to be what you cry on the internet about, isn’t it? That no one will love you because you like to recite L5R deep lore a little too much?
Huge eyeroll. Here’s the truth.
You don’t actually want to be around geeky women. You identify yourself with a class of “rejects” because (1) you have based your identity and self-narrative and the idea that you are a persecuted, sad lonely person, (2) you like to feel like a self-important gatekeeper in a world that doesn’t actually use you as a gatekeeper, and (3) you think women are incompetent and tasteless walking vaginas who just flat out can’t keep up with the smart man-brain powers that let you play five hour tabletop games based off of scary stories written by a dead racist.
The fact that so much of this male geek rage is based in a sense of self-righteousness and persecution is ungodly frustrating. After all, the easiest thing to be in America is a straight middle class white dude (+1 modifier for educated). And also, you’re just being fucking petty. You had a crush or an unrequited whatever and they shot you down, made you feel like you didn’t belong. So you’re taking the first chance to do that to someone else, because to you, cruelty is how you regain your wounded pride.
The worst part, though, is all the shit you ruin. Just by being a jerk. Like, ya know, video games and Comic-Con and the Hugos.
Fun fact: no one spends hundreds of hours and tons of cash to dress up as a seriously perfect replication of a character just to get on your weasley dick. But instead of recognizing that, let’s ostracise all the hot ladies.
Let’s deep dive, though.
Why having women (and diversity) in a comics shop is only ever a good thing
Culture. It’s kind of awesome. And the more people who contribute, the cooler your culture gets.
Comics and nerddom are known for being insular spaces, but what they really ought to be known for is being *STORYTELLING* spaces. The best comics and movies and games all center around storytelling and world creation. When you add women and other diverse people into your spaces you get a much wider world of stories.
You get to finally hear about the Miles Morales and Moon Girls of the world. And those stories are fucking amazing.
I love Stan Lee as much as the next nerd, but let’s be honest there are only so many man stories a person can take before it gets old.
There’s also significant evidence that shows workplaces and social areas only benefit from different perspectives and a diverse culture. You think more creatively and work harder. Diversity literally makes you a better person.
Why not every nerdy space is your sacred hidey hole from reality
You don’t own Marvel or DC or Star Wars. Even if you did, the nature of stories and creation means that YOU DON’T CONTROL who consumes a work. Once you put something out into the world, the world will spread that as it wills. You don’t get to choose who likes something and who doesn’t.
If you really want to cloister yourself off into a space where no one else can enjoy something, you should stick to your basement or a password-protected limited access blog or something.
Until then, people get to enjoy whatever it is they want. That’s part of freedom (or whatever).
And just because someone does or doesn’t like something doesn’t give you the right to try to destroy it. Chances are good you can’t. The world is resilient and people, generally speaking, don’t like bullies. *coughVoxDaycough*
It’s cool though. I can’t stop you from being a tool.
Plus, my comics collection is bigger than yours.