Re-Think Things: Geek is Gender Neutral

Molly with Knock you OUT if you keep questioning her geek cred just because she has boobs.

Before you continue further, I must offer a disclaimer: this is a pure, unedited rant. I let my fingers work of their own accord and this is what happened. You have been warned.

Recently I moved into a new neighborhood – a small, trendy little place with cute businesses and pirate themed bars. I was delighted to find that a mere block away from my house was a tiny little comics shop – the sort of place where if you go in more than once the owner remembers you and there are always people hanging around just to be social. It’s about half the size of my apartment and it’s always open way later than the sign says because there are people playing Magic or having lively debates about recent events in comics.

I was really excited that a place like this existed so close to me – it reminded me of the toy shop where I first got comics when I was younger. In that sort of homey, tight knit way. You see, growing up I always lived in towns too small for their own comics shop, but I definitely know what the community is SUPPOSED to feel like after years of attending conventions and bonding with fellow comic book geeks.

The first night I wandered into the shop it was a few minutes before closing, so the only soul inside was the owner. He greeted me warmly, I said I had just moved to the neighborhood, he said they had boxes available, I talked shop with him a little bit and told him I wrote about comic books and other geeky things for a living. He was friendly and warm and I already loved the place.

The second time I entered the shop there were a couple of guys playing Magic by the front window. I had gone in to ask the owner if he would be interested in buying some comics from me – when I walked into the miniscule shop all conversation ceased, but I didn’t think much of it.

The third time I set foot in that shop is the reason I’m writing this article.

I have a younger friend who is a massive geek in a lot of ways but she just never really got into comics. But recently she has been intensely interested in them and I have been “learning” her, so to say. I’ve been lending her trades and when she comes over she curls up on my couch and reads comics for HOURS. One of my favourite activities is going into a comic shop with her and fluffing my comic book cred feathers – pointing out certain story arcs that are awesome, guiding her in the direction of some great indie titles, drooling together over action figures (we are both cosplayers so action figures are essentially costume porn to us).

It was one of those sort of evenings where I felt like dragging her to a comic shop with me so I could send her home with a huge stack of reading material, so naturally I decided to take her to what I was quickly considering my new haunt. We walked the block to the shop, entered, and while there were more people there than I had seen before nothing seemed amiss. We poked around back issues for a little bit, I stressed to her how important it was she read Sandman, I made myself feel better by showing off the character based off of me in T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents (Colleen is based off of me, if anyone is wondering), etc, etc.

We found our way to a stack of posters and started flipping through them. I made a sudden exclamation of delight over a “Women of Marvel” poster, and a comic book geek came over and started pointing out the characters to me. I kindly interrupted him to let him know that, yes, I knew that was Storm. He backed off slightly and I continued the trend of pointing out characters as I rifled through the posters. “Oh, Adam Hughes.” I sighed, stopping on a particularly wonderful print of Zatanna. The aforementioned comic book geek’s eyebrows shot into his receding hairline, and he said in a slightly judgmental but mostly genuinely surprised way: “Wow, you actually know your stuff.”

At first, the comment didn’t really bother me. I went home and gave my friend some comics and continued on my merry way. But it has been within me for the last week, festering like some sort of disease, bringing up a lot of unpleasantness – yes, I’m a girl, and yes, I read comics.

Now, now, before you begin to roll your eyes: I am an equal opportunist feminist. I really abhor the term geek “girl”, because geek is geek, no gender attached. I don’t feel that just because I happen to have geeky interests and also lady bits that I am entitled to anything that men aren’t. Sure, there are times when I have to flex my geek muscle twice as hard as the average guy just because I have boobs, but for the most part I live in a happy little magical land where geek is geek and what it says on your driver’s license under “sex” doesn’t matter at all.

I also spend the majority of my time on the internet, surrounded by strong women who also happen to be geeks, and we are, for the most part, on equal ground with our male counterparts as far as the geek realm goes. Twitter is my happy little bubble where it’s not surprising that I can identify every X-men on sight (even the most obscure), and that me dressing up in a leotard and thigh high boots isn’t weird at all.

But yet when I actually go out into the real world, that happy little bubble is popped. I’m sure the comic book fan at my local shop meant no disrespect by his genuine surprise that I – an attractive young woman – would know a ton about comic books, but the fact that he even had to be surprised just rubs me the wrong way.

I was at a convention last year where I got into a huge, huge argument with an insecure man who cornered me in the hotel lobby after a heavy night of drinking and accused me of only being a geek “girl” because I was insecure and needed male attention, that I was only looking for a “mate” and a boost of self esteem. And this wasn’t just directed at me – he was generalizing all women who were involved in the industry and who were attending the convention.

This intense misogyny really floors me when I run into it, because I like to think we have come a long way since the initial feminist movement. But in a lot of ways, geekiness is still a little stuck in the past. Women are accepted as engineers or computer programmers now – even Barbie promotes smart ladies! – but god forbid a lady know who wrote that particularly awesome story arc of Batman. THAT lady just wants attention. THAT lady just read a wikipedia article and has a loose grasp of their knowledge.

If a man walked into a comic shop, no one would question his knowledge about comics unless he made it abundantly clear that he was a n00b. But two women walk into the comic shop, and we have to prove ourselves against a jury of peers to prove that we are geeky enough to be there.

I know this is an uphill battle and will continue to be so, with the media still touting lady geeks as magical unicorns and the comics industry still obviously geared towards men (and with many, many laughable attempts to appeal towards the “female demographic” – here’s a helpful hint, big two: if we ladies already read comics, we are frankly insulted by all your pink hearts and puppies, dumbed down storylines, and transparent romances in your attempt to “appeal” to us).

So gentlemen (and ladies who judge other geek ladies! Stop the cattiness!), I implore you: don’t jump to conclusions the next time you see a girl browsing your comic haunt’s back issues. It’s highly possible she could school your ass in a trivia-off.

 


Molly McIsaac rants about things frequently (within a 160 character limit), on twitter. Or just follow her for cute pictures of her dog.

Comments

  1. MauledPaul MauledPaul says:

    It’s ironic that this article is posted on a site called ifanBOY.com. That can’t seem very inviting to women.

    Physicians, heal thyselves.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      And yet, lots of women come here every day.

    • Well they were gonna call it: “iGenderNeutral.com’ but that doesn’t have a ring to it…

    • MauledPaul MauledPaul says:

      “Lots”? How much is “lots”? The content doesn’t really seem to have women in mind.

    • There’s actually an article that you can read on this site about this site’s content being for everyone: http://ifanboy.com/articles/re-think-things-geek-is-gender-neutral/

    • JDC JDC says:

      @MauledPaul: The content is comic book stuff. And, in case you didn’t read the above article, women like comics too.

    • MauledPaul MauledPaul says:

      @JDC: The content is mostly superhero comic stuff, covered in articles written mainly by men, for men. Very little manga or indie coverage. I know women like comics, but this generation of superhero comics has lost them, and ifanboy caters to the superhero crowd. It caters to them well, but nonetheless.

      Do we want to address this, or do we just want to pout?

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      Are you just wanting to be offended?

    • PaulAllor PaulAllor says:

      @comicBOOKchris Ha! Well played, sir… well played.

    • diebenny diebenny says:

      Sometimes I ask myself: Do they actually read the articles? Most of the time they don’t… Sadface.

    • Reform Reform says:

      fanboy is like mankind it is gender neutral, it is just the way we talk, another example is guys (like hey guys). Some folks like MauledPaul may say fan girls or womenkind or gals when talking about females wich is fine, like mailmen are now letter carriers but I still call them mailmen even if they are a lady and actors to me are actors men or women (like writers are writers and singers are singers) we could all be fanhumans but then that would leave out any visitors from space who likeS comicbooks or other nerd stuff so to avoid that I just call things what they are called when I hear about them. (it will be hard to stop calling Capt Marvel Capt Marvel if DC wants us to only refer to him as SHAZAM). I do make nicknames up for people I know, so I dont always call things what they are called. A term like fanboy or mankind works so well everyone knows what you mean like a girl who is a tom boy or a man who is a queen sorta different but still you know what I mean.

      AND lots of women like the content of ifanboy I’m sure, there are “lots” of women who come to my lcs. How much is “lots”? more then I ever thought would.

    • JDC JDC says:

      @MauledPaul: As my high school maths teacher would say, show your working.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      I too would like to know what Paul is basing his comments on. Does he have anything to substantiate any of this or is it all based on him not seeing a lot of girls in his LCS? If you’re going to sound so sure of yourself I would hope it is based on something more than gut feeling. I mean my LCS has four employees, one of which is female. So according to MY experience one quarter of all comics readers are women. But of course to base an actual opinion based on that one narrow experience would be…well ridiculous. I mean is there research that suggests that women like indies more than super hero comics? I’m sure Paul is referring to Y: The Last Man because of course all women must love that comic! It’s about a world with no men! How could women not like that!?! Give me a break…

    • AbeFroman AbeFroman says:

      I am one of the women who loves this site and superhero comics. And so do my friends. Q.E.D.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Doing fine here Paul, have been for years. Have made a lot of good friends, men and women. I appreciate the sentiment, but you know the part where you talk about certain comic content appealing to women and other content not? Yeah… you’re kind of the one being sexist there. There’s certainly sexism problems in comics, but the existence of superheros is not one of them.

      Anyone who outlives me is free to put a cape and cowl on my tombstone as tribute.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      PS – I’m not trying to be rude to you, I’m sure being fair to women is something at the forefront of your mind. Just saying pointing a finger, four at you, log in your eye… that whole deal.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      fanboy is fanboy. doesn’t need to be male specifically.

    • But it IS male specific. Just like “fangirl” is female specific.

    • TheSquirrel TheSquirrel says:

      I think its funny that Mauled Paul has an avatar picture of a boy but is speaking for women. As my girlfriend grinds through the last 5 Snyder Batman issues, we are discussing last months (and what may happen in this month’s) suicide squad. She reads more spandex titles than I do. I really don’t think this current generation of spandex comics are lost on girls at all. We were both equally excited about the New 52, and we both read just about every title we pick up every month. ( I read severed she doesn’t, she reads Hawkman, Fables, and Zenescope comics but I don’t, though the zenescope pictures are fun). Maybe you just don’t know the right girls man.

    • ato220 ato220 says:

      Can we take a moment to recognize that @thenextchampion said something funny… and it didn’t piss off the intrrnets?

    • @ato220: You’re implying that what I said was funny. If you laugh, I owe you a dollar.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      So when MauledPaul asked “do we want to address this?” I guess he decided no, he really didn’t.

    • Airawyn says:

      It’s not. I’ve seen ads for iFanboy and I’ve avoided the site, because I don’t want to deal with a bunch of misogynist, homophobic fanboys. That might not be a fair assessment of the site, but I’ve seen enough of that sort of thing that I’m not interested in browsing around a place called iFanboy to find out more.

      “Geek” is a gender neutral term. “Fanboy” is not. This is an excellent article, but the fact that you have to point out that “girls are geeks, too” tells me something about your readership. As do the responses to this comment.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @airawyn: I think the truly pathetic thing about the responses and comments in this thread is that people like you continually and intentionally refuse to recognize that ifanboy is used ironically here. Fanboy is a negative term used to describe a person, not just a boy but a PERSON, who is obsessed with something to the point of being insulting toward those who disagree with them. Clearly that is not the case with this site. Rob, Connor, Josh and all the regular contributors have a love for all things geek. They aren’t actually fanboys and considering some of the other comic sites I’ve spent time on I find this one to be by far the most positive. That fact that you actually would avoid a site simply because it has the word BOY in the address makes you an idiot. I guess the whole ‘never judge a book by its cover’ thing never sunk in for you. That woud be like never checking out Comic Book Resource because “the word resource makes it sound too academic, I’m going to avoid that because I just want to have fun!” Just like ‘geek’ is a gender neutral term, so is ‘fanboy.’ If you actually bothered to spend some time here and attempted to interact with and get to know the community, you might learn something.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      @airawyn: Also what on this site; what article, review, podcast, video, or comment; shows the members here to be homophobic? Can you offer anything, other than your own clearly biased opinions, to support that claim? For someone who is obviously trying to present themselves as open-minded you certainly rely quite heavily on snap judgements and stereotypes. I think the fact that people like you and mauledpaul come on here and make the statements you do and offer NO support to substantiate them is insane. Do you really think that is appropriate? To judge an entire site and its members simply based on the web address and ONE article is small minded.

  2. Dr.Casanova says:

    Wow molly, you make a lot of sense. You see, recently i saw a girl hanging out in the shop for the first time and i was almost about to blurt out how unusual and rare this occurred and then before i did the unthinkable, i stopped. I told myself, dude, she came here because she likes the stuff and is a human being. She isn’t some rare anamoly, she is a person who happens to like this stuff like you do. Be kind, be fair, and remember geeks come in all shapes and forms. No special treatment or bad treatment. All i did was smile, chat, walk away when i was done. Why the hell is this a problem anyway, i wouldn’t want my daughter being treated any differently at the shop then i am now. On behalf of our comicbook kind, i am sorry we treat you any differently. Why are we treating you differently is just silly. You don’t need to prove anything.

  3. JDC JDC says:

    This is a big issue at the moment, and it goes hand-in-hand with how women are portrayed in comics. Part of me worries, however, that things will never change.

  4. SageShini says:

    I agree with this for the exact same reason it bugs me to be called a “blerd”. (Other than it sounding stupid.) Isn’t enough to just be a geek? I think so. Excellent article.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      Exactly..Why further catagorize? We’re all geeks/nerds/dorks in our own ways. Why segregate an already segregated section of the populace?

  5. ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

    In his own weird way, I am sure the guy thought he was paying you a compliment. Unfortunately, there is a reason why “geek” is often synonymous with “socially awkward”.

    Question #1: Did you get the impression from this encounter that the guy was attempting to hit on you? As repulsive as it might sound, the prospect of meeting a member of the opposite sex who shared his interest was probably the reason he sidled up to you in the first place.

    Question #2: In your ideal scenario, when hangin’ at the shop, would you prefer that your geek compatriots treat you like “one of the guys”? Do you think after the “regulars” get to know you that you will cease to be seen as a “geek girl” and instead be seen just as “Molly”.

  6. James696 says:

    I agree with everything you say Molly. I received similar eyebrow-raising treatment at a local comicbook store when I pointed another customer to ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ after he asked the clerk about a specific Spider-Man arc he couldn’t remember the name of, because, according to the clerk, ‘[I] don’t look the type’.

    On the other hand, I have problems with using the term ‘geek’ in any context. At the end of the day I still see ‘geek’ as a pejorative term, which has always been used as a means to classify and thereby alienate anybody, guy or girl, from what is considered the cultural “norm”.

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      I think in some ways, we have reclaimed the words “nerd” and “geek”. I don’t think they have quite the same pejorative sense they once had. On balance, it may still have a negative connotation, but I think that’s changing. Geek culture is now pop culture. This is our little moment in the sun.

      But, beyond winning the culture wars, I know when it comes to raising my son, I am going to teach him embrace the things that he “geeks out” over and not worry about what others think. It all about acceptance and tolerance, for oneself and others.

    • James696 says:

      You’re right to teach your son to embrace what he’s passionate for, I’m just saying that we need to be careful about the way we’re embracing the term ‘geek’. Just because subculture is in now doesn’t mean that the fashion won’t change, people proudly identifying themselves as “geeks” now could potentially be walking right into a life of alienation later.

      And you’re definitely right about acceptance and tolerance, but unfortunately a lot of people aren’t as considerate as you clearly are.

  7. KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

    Geek is geek. I’d love it if my wife was geeky like me, but still, I can geek out with female friends and it doesn’t feel weird or wrong. Though I must admit that most of the girls that come into the LCS I go to are most of the time, there to please their boyfriend or to by him a geeky gift.

    Also, I think it’s more “natural” now to see geek-girls than it was ten years ago. Geek is the new sexy anyways, to quote Big Bang Theory! :D

    • KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

      Also, on a side note. I noticed that in the last two years, the videogame stores I go to seem to have 50% of their employees be females, which is great! Girls are more open to games now a days than it was in my Atari years!

  8. The people I have a problem with are the celebrity (most of them) types who describe themselves as “geek”. Clearly, these people only make such statements to connect with us common folk or they’re promoting a project that caters to the culture. Its phony and very suspect and I call B.S. on that.

    • KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

      So you’re saying that Felicia Day is only an undercover geek to make us like all the stuff she does? :p

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      Hmm… this sounds like you’re saying “celebrity” =/= “geek”. I think this would be incorrect, as there are plenty of famous people who are also geeks. Geek is a state of mind, after all. Now, if you’re talking about celebrity posers, who are merely attempting to move product, then, yeah, that’s pitiful.

    • @ctrosejr: Who else am I talking about? Those that make the claim to move product. I clarify “most of them”.

      @KillTheG1mp: I have no idea who Felicia Day is. Again, all I’m say is that there are celebrities out there who pose as “geek” or whatever to superficially relate to people like us in order to sell something. Tell me they don’t exist? These phonies are very obvious.

    • KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

      @TreeoftheStoneAge: Felicia Day, she’s most likely one of the most known female geek out there! ;) She’s an actress and a huge fangirl of many, many things. She played in Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog alongside Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion, she created and plays in “The Guild” and she’s cute as hell! ;)

      Anyways, I understand your point. Hipsters are everywhere and “geek” is the flavor of the month for the moment so all those kids with TMNT t-shirts and retro/superheroes t-shirts that don’t know squat about them are “posers”. But that’s how life is and celebrities are people too, therefore they are fallible to these “trending tendencies”.

    • neums neums says:

      I think it was said best in an earlier comment reply when I say “show your work.”

      Not all celebs are posers. I have a “cool story, bro” to go with my statement.

      Day after the Super Bowl, I’m in a shop. Not my LCS, but I show up there from time to time looking for something that I may have missed on Wednesday. While there, I run into Travie McCoy (of Gym Class Heroes fame). Turns out he’s a big Hellboy/BPRD fan, and was in the shop looking for back issues to fill his collection. Being the only ones in there, I cautiously stepped his way and asked if he was, in fact, who I thought he was, and he was super cool and chill about it, even letting me get a photo.

      So no, not all geek celebs are posers.

  9. kmob181 kmob181 says:

    Only two of my friends are as into comics as I am. One guy and one girl. It never occurred to me that this was unusual.

  10. j206 j206 says:

    You’re entirely justified in the way you feel, Molly. 100%. And you should be treated just the same as anyone when it comes to your dorky hobbies and pursuits.

    The only thing I’d say is that I don’t think this is anything exclusive to “geek” culture. Maybe a tad bit more obvious due to the demos at play. But there’s a similar dynamic in many other areas of interest. “Wow, you actually know you stuff,” is a line any woman who is really up on sports get from guys ALL THE TIME. Maybe even more so than in comics. Especially in the sports journalism world where many a hot looking gal gets into the business for how they look on camera and appeal to viewers as opposed to their knowledge of the field. The women in the business who do know their stuff have to work their butts off to prove they belong because of preconceived notions. Very similar to how a girl with your high level of comic book and geek knowledge is forced to prove to people that you’re not just a girl who likes dressing up because it gets you attention from guys.

    It’s like Jeremy Lin becoming a basketball sensation for the NY Knicks. It’s ridiculous that in 2012, he’s the first Asian-American to play at a high level in the NBA and capture the nation’s attention. But his presence alone is disproving the age old myth that Asian-Americans can’t be great at basketball. And at the same time encourages young kids that they can do the same. The more of this archaic social stigmas are challenged, the more others are comfortable and emboldened to follow in changing the paradigm.

    Back to the topic at hand. It’s most certainly not fair. It sucks and needs to change. But like a lot of unfair social stigmas, it will continue to exist until a new status quo takes it’s place. Until that happens the more negative stereotypes will be the ones that are noticed. Totally sucks a giant one. I wish we could just have Josh do a “What’s Wrong With You” column and change it with the snap of a finger. But the only way to change the mindset and stereotype is to do what you’re doing. Buck the trend, disprove the rule. The more women who follow your lead and are not afraid to be themselves, the quicker the the old way of thinking goes away.

    • Spoons Spoons says:

      THIS! Totally agree. This is an issue with Western culture as a whole and the problem just happens to be less subtle given the people within our particular sub-culture. As said by j206, you ran up against a stereotype we have and “hilarity” commenced. It sucks but there is a reason feminists have been fighting this fight for so long.

  11. Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

    Look, I get what the article is getting at, but this is getting beyond annoying. If an attractive woman walks into a sporting goods store and starts looking at the football or hockey aisles what would happen?

    If a hot dude walks into a bed bath and beyond and starts looking at expensive cookware, what would happen?

    If an attractive young woman walks into a computer repair shop what would happen.

    I just wish fans of comic books would stop beating themselves and their fellow fanboy’s (for lack of a better term) up, and just accept that some of these “issues” are not issues particular to Comic book fans and stores. Attractive women are treated differently, both in a good way and a bad way, all the time where ever they go. For some reason it’s accepted as a normal thing everywhere accept a comic book store, a place that DOES attract some of the most social awkward and shy people on the planet earth! (Whether you want to believe it or not that’s true)

    The guy was trying to talk to a pretty girl… are we going to all pretend this article would exist if the person in question was attractive? That’s not to insult anyone, I’m just saying that would have turned into a cute story about a guy messing up, being embarrassed, and scoring a date.

    Now go ahead and flog me as a neanderthal misogynist or whatever in vogue term we are using now to show how high minded we all are….

    • Smasher says:

      Interesting point. The receding hairline comment seemed to tip off an attractiveness bias in Molly’s rant. She didn’t have to go there but…

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      Right, I want to stress however that it’s human nature and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it at all. Women get away with that double standard a whole hell of a lot more than men though, and that’s another thing everyone ignores and pretends isn’t real.

    • j206 j206 says:

      I gotta agree with a lot of what Burritoclock says. It might not be a popular opinion. But it is a realistic one. People are most definitely judged and treated based off their looks, for good and bad. “Attractive people” enjoy a lot of societal benefits, whether they realize it or not. It might sound like a mean or unsympathetic thing to say. But maybe having to deal with being gawked at or judged as “just another pretty face” might have to be one of the downsides?

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      I get your point. Attractive women get hit on regardless of the locale. Men are equally prone to making stupid statements at the grocery store as they are at the comic shop. And, some of those guys making the stupid statements are going to be sexist to boot. Okay, that’s one way to look at it.

      The other way to look at it is, “It’s the year 2012! Grow up already!” Today, men cook and are stay-at-home parents. Women like football and know their way around a computer. And, you know what? That’s completely normal. In 2012, there are no rules on how someone should behave, or what interests they should have, based on their sex. This guy was a neanderthal, and he happened to be in a comic book shop, so he’s fair game, since this is the hobby we have all chosen to obsess over. I don’t want to put word’s in Molly’s mouth, so I’ll say it. This is unacceptable behavior in our geek / comic culture. We expect more.

    • Alexa D. says:

      I don’t know any woman who would react with anything but respect for a man looking at cookware. At the very least they wouldn’t condescend to him the way men do to women in comic shops/computer stores/sporting goods stores. That is a weird example.

    • j206 j206 says:

      Just to clarify. I’m not saying that good looking people deserve to be treated a certain way. Only that for every one instance like a comic book shop where you’re made uncomfortable or unaccepted, there’s a million other cases where being someone who looks nice, or say a female in the midst of men, will get you far better treatment than the average schlub.

      For a perfect example, next time you’re at a crowded bar send up a guy to try and get the bartender’s attention. Then send a pretty girl. See which one sits there and has to wait and which one gets immediate service. Like clockwork. As the guy who has to sit there at the bar as cute girl after cute girl walks up and gets served first, I am not a fan of this social fact. But I get it. I most definitely get it. It’s the way it is.

      So the pretty girl gets her drinks quicker, and I don’t get gawked at and treated oddly at comic shops. It’s a bit of a trade off. Just the way things are. I’ll tell you this though, I’d much rather be the pretty girl. A LOT more opportunities to take advantage. I’ll give you the comic shop in exchange any day of the week. lol.

    • SmoManCometh SmoManCometh says:

      Ok, so cookware is a bad example, what he is referring to is the way women look at me when I openly discuss gossip girl or teen mom. They’re shocked at how much I know and follow it and sometimes they embarrass me with their shocked reactions.

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      Nope, not giving in on this one. Might be different where you live but I am not going to pretend that if I’m looking at crock-pots or electric skillets I won’t get curious glances. I WILL admit that it doesn’t make sense considering that most “chef’s” at restaurants are males, but we are not talking about restaurants.

      Also, yes, it could conceivably attract a females attention in a good way, which is my point! Just like a woman walking in a comic shop attracts attention. The difference is, as a man, I would welcome the advance of anything better looking than sentient toxic sludge, because as a man any woman showing interest is an ego boost. An attractive woman get’s a lot more open admirers as societal norms make the man be the initiator, so it’s not as novel for them to be approached and they can be much more discerning and even put off by it.

      Me and a group of guys went into a fabric store, looking to by some fabric for a green screen. It was not like walking into a home depot.

    • j206 j206 says:

      I think the reason the analogy doesn’t hit exactly for some people is that in general women have a higher standard as to the type of men they gawk at or get nervous around. Where as with men, we will check out and get awkward for a much higher % of women.

      Think of it this way. You have your store, whatever it is, that has mostly women working their. You have a professional athlete with an adonis-like physique walk in. He’s big, tall, built, good looking, commanding, rich, famous. I’ve seen this scenario go down. The women there were as giddy as school girls.

      It’s the same thing. Guys are just easier to please. Therefore, it happens a lot more on that end of the spectrum.

    • @Burritoclock: As Earth, Wind & Fire sing, “~ That’s the of the world.~ ” Very true! Attractive people will ALWAYS be notice and treated differently.

    • I meant to type “~ That’s the way of the world~ “

  12. ZookZoltn ZookZoltn says:

    I could not agree more. We as comic book fans are such a small group already we should not alienate someone who wants to be in this group because of their gender or race or anything like that.

  13. quelyn quelyn says:

    For the most part I agree with you. The guy at the con who is telling you that you’re only doing this for esteem is definitely off the mark. However, a few things to consider before criticizing your friendly neighborhood and surprised nerd in a comic book store…

    1) Don’t always assume it’s because you’re a girl:
    People in comic book stores often ruffle their own geek feathers much as you described. They see a newcomer in the store and in their own way attempt to be helpful. It’s not that common for the casual comic fan to know artists by name. Most of my friends into comics cannot identify artists for the most part. So, for one to be impressed once you identify an “Adam Hughes” isn’t so crazy. And it might just have NOTHING to do with the fact that you’re a girl and more to do with the fact that they had never before seen you in the store.

    2) Stereotypes exist for a reason.
    Booth babes. MOST of them are paid performers. One time my husband got paid to dress up as Batman for an event. Yes, he happens to like batman so that’s cool. But they don’t care if he did or did not. Entertainment companies will pay people to dress up in fantasy costumes to sell their products. A LOT of women dressed in “Cosplay” at conventions don’t know squat about what they are dressing up as. So to assume all girls in comic costumes are geeks that know their stuff isn’t always going to be accurate.

    3) A lot of girls are haters.
    A lot of girls/girlfriends etc. are haters to nerdy things. “My girlfriend wants me to stop playing MMO’s”. “I had to stop buying action figures because my Girlfriend says they are a waste of money”. “My girlfriend made me put all my toys in the basement”. I still hear this shit. I hear it all the time. A lot of guys I know are going through this. Some express their jealousy for my house with my husband for our action figures and display cases are out proudly. It’s a bummer, but a large majority of guys are exposed to this.

    4) Being a geek is cool now, there’s a lot of posers
    So, now it’s kind of cool to be a nerd, or something? Girls running around now talking about how much they <3 geeks, and omg they WUBS Doctor Who. But it's all surface level trending that will go away when the next big things come out. They're ruining the assumptions and stereotypes as well.

    All in all, I don't really get upset when someone is surprised or even confused that I happen to know more about comics than they do, or at least as much. It makes a lot of sense, really. If someone is a jerk about it, or tries to make me feel stupid with obscure questions that it doesn't matter if I know, then yeah screw them. Although since I got a Silver Surfer tattoo on my arm, people just kind of assume that yeah I'm a nerd now.

    Just playing devil's advocate. I agree that there should be gender neutrality in all things. But unfortunately, we live in a much more complicated world.

    • j206 j206 says:

      Nice post, quelyn. You make some great points. It’s always good with any situation to consider both sides of the coin. Both men and women most certainly contribute to gender stigmas. It’s very much a case of cause and effect.

    • j206 j206 says:

      And yes on the “it might not just be because you’re a girl” point. Comic book shops can be elitist and exclusive to everyone. All of us have had the experience of going into a shop and having a snobby or smug owner or worker condescend or belittle. It’s kind of some places thing. And it’s not just comic shops either. It can be anyone of a specified field.

      Just the other day I went into a specialized beer store where the guys there knew their beer. I’m a fan and know some stuff, but am not near the level of beer snob those guys are. They made me feel like I was the dumbest idiot in the world. I might as well have asked where the Coors was. Haha. It was something.

    • bansidhewail bansidhewail says:

      To all the dudes out there who “have to quit” doing something you love because some girl demands it…

      Wow, raise your own standards. Why do men put up with that crap? Unless you are so integrated into each other’s lives that you share living expenses, what you do with your money is none of her business. And even at that point, unless you are actively failing at your fair share, what you do with the money beyond your fair share is none of her business! And if it’s not about money but instead about “time you could be spending with her” or “those friends she doesn’t like,” then seriously dude, find a girl with interests and friends of her own so she doesn’t expect a boyfriend to become her entire world and entertain and fulfill her all the time. A girl with enough self-esteem that your outside interests aren’t a constant source of stress that you’ll find someone else and leave her.

      We do exist. We’re out there.

      So that was a rant…sorry.

    • quelyn quelyn says:

      Thanks, j206. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time people assume girls don’t *care* about comics, not that they’re too stupid for comics. There’s a difference in my mind.

      bansidhewail agreed.

    • MisterShaw MisterShaw says:

      @bansidhewail
      Because boobs, that’s why we put up with it.

  14. ryanwhodat ryanwhodat says:

    Oversensitive much?

    • chauvinistic and entitled much?

    • ryanwhodat ryanwhodat says:

      Sorry but the words “Wow you really know your stuff” doesn’t warrant this reaction. Not chauvinistic or entitled at all.

    • mark. mark. says:

      just because someone didn’t intend to offend another person doesn’t invalidate an angry response. ask anybody who is a member of subgroup (gender, sexual orientation, ethnocultural,etc. background). microaggressions like these happen all the time. chalking them up to someone being “oversensitive” (and if you’re the only girl, for instance, in a room of guys it is pretty likely that that identity is, at the very least, somewhat more salient) doesn’t advance the dialogue at all. it’s the responsibility of the person who committed it to acknowledge “oh shit, i put my foot in my mouth. my bad.”

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      Uh huh, in the article it’s noted that this guy’s response was “Wow, you actually know your stuff!” what more should he have done? Ran outside and jumped into traffic? I just do not see how this scenario was supposed to play out. As someone said below in the comments, “Sometimes our reactions to things are delayed, and set off by what seem to be unrelated episodes.” completely true, it’s just that most of us do not go on the internet, write an article condemning an entire group of people, and have it read by 1000′s of people. We complain to a friend and move on, and maybe later we realize we were being unfair and our outrage was misdirected at an innocent mistake.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Dude, if it happened once in her life I bet she wouldn’t bat an eye, but the thing is it’s not a singular event. It happens constantly, and it gets very very tiring. You being dismissive, flippant, and probably a few other words that would get my comment deleted, is really not helping the issue.

    • mark. mark. says:

      burritoclock – the point is to for individuals to at least begin acknowledge the role that they played in eliciting that emotional reaction from someone and not to blame the victim. i’ve pissed people off without meaning to, and it’s part of being a functioning adult in a pluralistic society to take responsibility for that.

      itsbecca – exactly. that’s what i’m saying.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @Burritoclock To drive your point home even further… it’s possible the guy didn’t mean what he said, or how it was taken. And it’s further possible that he didn’t realize what he said COULD be taken the wrong way.

      Maybe the guy sees a lot of women come into the store and have no clue what they’re looking at or what they’re looking for, so he tried to help out. He then realized when she said Adam Hughes’ name, that she doesn’t just know who some characters names are, but she is a tried and true Comics fan, and tried to give her “props” or whatever the kids are saying these days.

      My point is we all have prejudices…but we have to realize that people we are unfamiliar with can prove those knee-jerk reactions wrong. It’s wrong to assume anything about anyone (Appearances can be deceiving) but we can’t really control every thought that pops into our head, or censor every reaction that comes out of our mouth.

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      What is the ideal we are looking for here? Should he have not talked to her at all? Should he have walked up and started discussing the previous storm arc out of the blue?

      Should he have walked up and said “Hello, how much comic knowledge do you have on a scale of 1 to 10, I would like to know so that I do not offend your sensibilities. I am also a robot collecting knowledge for my creator who was once lambasted for saying the wrong thing and is now deathly afraid of women. He forgot to remove that part of the statement when he programmed me and is now embarrassed and shutting me down remotely as this has gone horrible wrong.” BBBRRRrrrrrrr……. (that’s the power down sound)

      How was this guy supposed to start a conversation, I would like to know the right way to save me in the future.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @Burritoclock I know the Powering Down sound when I see it. You don’t have to explain it to me. Now I’m offended. LOL

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      Haha, I know I’m sorry! I thought it would be funny to explain the powering down site on the one site on the internet it does not need explaining, haha.

    • mark. mark. says:

      “hi, what’s up?” tends to work.

      so i’m clear: what you’re saying is, if molly was offended by a comment that – intended or not – she interpreted as sexist, then *she’s* the one with the problem?

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @Burritoclock I talk about this in a reply to siraim below, but just ask a question about what they’re looking at. “Do you like [character]?” “Have you read [book]?” etc. etc. From their response you’ll be able to guage their level of interest in comics and guess what? You’ll have actually started a conversation!

    • JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

      Personally, I find her immediate dismissal of this guy as a man far more offensive than his relatively mild display of sexism by being impressed that she had knowledge of something that is inarguably uncommon for a woman to have deep knowledge about. She saw his receding hairline, and heard a slight (probably non-intentional) prejudicial remark, and that was it for this guy. Sexual prejudice is a lot more common than people like to admit, and women are just as guilty of it as men, even if they apparently don’t like to hear it.

      Furthermore she is not a victim in this case. For God’s sake, people who get raped are victims. People who get shot or stabbed are victims. People who are denied the right to vote because of the color of their skin are victims. A woman who surprises a guy because she has intimate knowledge of comic books is not a victim.

    • Molly McIsaac Molly McIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) says:

      For the record: It was “wow you ACTUALLY know your stuff”, not “Wow you REALLY know your stuff”. One is condescending, one is complimenting.

    • JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

      I see what you’re saying, Molly. And I’m not really trying to argue that what the guy said isn’t a mildly sexist statement. I’m saying that using the nuclear option of posting about your interaction on a website read by thousands of people is petty. And your comment about his receding hairline is at least as offensive and hurtful as his saying “actually” rather than “really”. What, because he’s losing his hair he can’t talk to girls anymore? If he had a head of hair like Sterling Archer, would he be allowed to recover from mistakes like this without being lampooned on the internet? What fault of his is so endemic of his community as to warrant a diatribe like this, that isn’t warranted by the community of awkward guys who are belittled as less than worthy by pretty girls?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @mark. I’m not sure who your comment is directed at, me or Burritoclock, but allow me to retort.

      I’m not saying that Molly shouldn’t be offended, that is her right as a human being, we cannot help but feel the way we feel. But let’s say the comments were indeed condescending, which Molly reiterates in these same commentts that they absolutely were. Molly states that she was not initially offended by the comments, and she was SURE that he meant no disrespect. It was the fact that he had to be surprised that bugged her.

      What I’m trying to say is, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just beacuse this one guy was surprised by her comic book knowledge, doesn’t mean all guys at comic shops are like that. We’re all guilty of our own prejudices. Maybe this guy is a total sexist douche. So, ignore him. You can’t control other people’s opinions.

      Molly poses the question, “If a man walked into a comic shop, no one would question his knowledge about comics…But two women walk into the comic shop, and we have to prove ourselves.” Who says you have to prove anything? This one guy who makes a sexist statement? Who the hell is he to judge you…but furthermore, why do you care what he thinks? Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you, you’ll be much happier in the long run. :)

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Jon, I’m going to go out on a limb here (and I don’t want to put words in Molly’s mouth) and say I think the hairline crack was probably due to her being angry at him, not because she thinks he’s less of a person because he’s not great looking. She put the disclaimer at the beginning that it was a bit of a rant. We could say it might have been better to edit a bit more, but how about we not let that one below the belt slip take away from the point of the entire post?

      Also, please trust me, an attractive male being sexist becomes INSTANTLY not attractive. They do not get any free passes with a woman assuming she has any sort of intelligence or self-respect.

    • JonSamuelson JonSamuelson says:

      itsbecca, maybe they don’t with you, and I commend you for that. But attractive guys get infinitely more leeway than “unattractive” guys with the VAST majority of women. It’s just baloney to argue otherwise. Why, because this is a rant should we justify her belittling this guy because of his hairline more than his being surprised because she knows a lot about comics? All he said was one below the belt slip and he’s being nuked on the internet, while she’s being praised for being brave and standing up for herself. How is that fair? Think all you like that women are the victims in modern Western society, but I bet that “ugly” people are far more discriminated against than women are, and this is a perfect example of it.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Just think of how rough it must be for ugly women!

      I think your point is valid. It was an emotional comment, and not cool. My point is just that there are a lot of good issues addressed in the post, and I would ask you to please look past the petty slip and think about the actual meat of the article. Also, I’ve posted this elsewhere in the thread, but maybe it didn’t hit your eyes. The point is not to crucify this one poor dude. She’s said herself he was probably not badly intentioned. The point is to stop and think about how we think and act towards women and maybe put ourselves, or our friends, in check to make this industry a little more of a friendly environment to and entire gender of individuals. A lot people are getting really defensive and I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s not an attack, it’s a discussion.

      Also, while she’s had some people speak in support of her I didn’t see anyone lauding Molly for bravery, so how about we get our hyperbole in check?

  15. Smasher says:

    Molly, maybe before you go to your local shop again you could organize a meet-up online and amass 3-5+ comic book fan-ladies to come into the store together.

    Get organized. Make a presence. There’s strength in numbers.

  16. AdamOfEarth AdamOfEarth says:

    No, I will not stop staring.

  17. player1 player1 says:

    iFanfolk.com?

    Molly: It’s true.

    We still can’t get over just how excited we are to have you here, seventy years on, and so we say all kinds of silly and inept things because many of us don’t have very strong personal interaction skill sets.

    Even those that do get kind of disoriented in the rarified air of the Holy “This Week’s Books” Shelf. Watch us even try to interact with the other dudes in the place. Awkward, at best.

    Please forgive us. In our state of awe and joy, we lose our ability to communicate.

    8)

    • player1 player1 says:

      re: Drunk dude in hotel lobby at convention.

      Sometimes the ineptitude is so sad that certain individuals lash out at others.

      Please forgive them. There are many jerks and losers, even among comic books fans.

      Many of them would really love to talk to anybody about comics books.

      They just rarely know how to do so.

      It’s a completely stupid idea to think that women who happen to like comics books are Desperately Seeking Superman. But it speaks to the more deeply-seated issues of the kind of person who would hold that idea.

      You’re right. We should be at least neutral. Perhaps even welcoming. It’s sad that we often come off as condescending and misogynist.

      Let’s face it. We’re lonely and insecure.

      And not quite sure how you feel about all the spandex and chain mail.

      :)

  18. icn1983 icn1983 says:

    Reading this article after watching the first episode of “Comic Book Men” and then reading the comments here and also on the various Hank Pym threads is getting me down a bit. Molly is dead-on and there’s no excuse, there’s no defense. Especially for LCS owners and employees. In retail it is 100% inappropriate to hit on customers or make them feel self-conscious because of their gender or how they look. Oh, it’s because they only just started reading comics because they liked “Smallville?” Well, it’s your responsibility to help them find whatever they need and sell it to them, not challenge their geek cred. Finally, I never understood the locker room mentality of male comic book fans, especially since the last time they were in a locker room they were probably getting a swirly.

    • quelyn quelyn says:

      I don’t see anything in here that’s insinuating any of the staff. I believe the person who said this to her was just another patron

    • ryanwhodat ryanwhodat says:

      That’s silly. Quit being so sensitive. I WISH I had any sort of LCS. This is just finding things to be upset about. The fact that this is written because of the guy at the shop and not the guy at the con is ABSURD.

  19. Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

    Yes, the guy at the Con was a complete asshole who deserves scorn.

    The guy at the LCS? Just a guy trying to start a conversation with a pretty girl… embarrassed himself and wasn’t good looking enough to overcome it. CRIME OF THE CENTURY!!

  20. flakbait flakbait says:

    He may have just been surprised that a person knew something, regardless of sex or age. I know I’m often surprised when I’m in a store and meet someone who knows who, I dunno, Jim Starlin is, or reads Unwritten, or whatever. If I were standing next to an attractive female who picked up Phonogram, I’d be surprised that I wasn’t the only one reading it, not that it was a female. After having to correct a store employee once on whether Hawkeye was an original Avenger, I never assume someone knows their stuff.

  21. Peteparker Peteparker says:

    Molly implies that ‘geeks’ are smart. That’s not necessarily true. People from all ranges of intelligence are into ‘geeky’ things like comics and magic. Just because you’re able to name all the X-Men doesn’t make you a rocket scientist.

    Obviously, we don’t have all the details. As much as Molly described her situation, we’re both getting only her side of the story as well as only her description of the story. It’s wrong to make general assumptions and reach conclusions about even these singular situations, let alone all women, all geeks, all comic stores, etc. This piece should be taken as nothing more than Molly expressing how she feels. Empathizing with her feelings is friendly and nice, but drawing conclusions about everything else within the story, or the greater comics-loving world at-large isn’t right.

    Just as Molly felt terrible when someone assumed she didn’t know about comic books, it’s altogether possible that the person involved would feel terrible if they knew the assumptions she made of them (sexist, lonely). The shop I frequent treats all new customers the same, assuming they don’t know about comics until they say they do. It’s not a snap judgement based on the looks of the customer, just the start of a new customer-retailer relationship. You’ve got to start somewhere.

    Broad judgements made of anyone based solely on a singular encounter or conversation are both immoral and self-limiting.

  22. player1 player1 says:

    So, anyway, Molly, what are you reading lately?

    What’d you think about the She-Hulk reboot idea?

    What Marvel characters would you like to see rebooted?

    Since Marvel periodically tries to start ongoing titles starring female characters, are there any specific women you’d like to see star in their own book?

    Any favorite cosplay characters?

  23. mark. mark. says:

    in an olive branch to iFanbase community, i give you something we can all agree on: dogs on trampolines!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/dogs-on-trampolines-video_n_1294284.html

  24. adrianrigter adrianrigter says:

    There are great advantages to having a comic shop owned & operated by women. i tried many stores run by anti-social/socially retarded dicks, and like really does seem to attract like.

    (central city comix in surrey BC, w00t!)

  25. This is a great article and I agree with 100% of what your saying Molly. However:

    I can’t think of a more inappropriate picture to show on the topic of misogyny in the world of comic books. I know you were being funny there but I just thought:

    “Wow if you want guys to stop thinking your sex objects in comics or be misunderstood in general in the world of comics then the idea of showing yourself in a skimpy outfit isn’t going to help.”

    • The point is that it shouldn’t matter.

    • @comicbookchris: I know it shouldn’t matter! But I can’t help and think it’s a bit counter productive to do this whole article on the topic and then decide to show yourself in the most skimpiest outfit you own.

    • You know what one of the best, most empowering things about feminism is? It teaches that a woman has the right to wear whatever they damn well please – no matter if it’s a short skirt or baggy sweatpants.
      Feminism also teaches that it’s a pretty scummy thing to judge someone based on how revealing or not-revealing their outfit is.

    • @Disconnected: I don’t care what women wear or don’t wear! I just think it’s weird to have an article on why men and women should be considered equals in the comic book world….AND show a picture just why there’s probably a schism to begin with.

    • In the sake of fairness, here’s a picture of a dude dressed as Power Man: http://blondemarvel.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/GenderBentJusticeLeague13-thumb-550×406.jpg

    • quelyn quelyn says:

      I have some counter points to this article, as a whole, but this is not one of them. Showing her as a cosplayer is completely relevant to the article. If she was wearing clubbing clothes or something maybe. But she’s dressed as a fantasy character in cosplay. That’s exactly what she’s talking about, being a geek.

      Pretty awesome cosplay too!

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      quelyn said it… She’s a cosplayer, that’s a big part of her geek identity. Can we only listen to her opinion if she’s wearing khakis and a baggy sweater? Does her hobby somehow decrease her intelligence?

    • ed209AF ed209AF says:

      here’s my question if Feminism teaches women to dress “how they damn well please” why is everyone up in arms over the costumes the female characters wear being “too revealing”. i mean when the new 52 launched people went apesh*t Supergirl wasn’t wearing pants.

    • I think the point they’re trying to make is that posting a sexy cosplay picture of yourself to get more clicks on an article asserting that geeks should be gender-blind is pretty self defeating. It’s like saying “Why won’t you treat me like one of the guys?” when you’re shoving your boobs in someone’s face.

  26. harwellpkg harwellpkg says:

    I can honestly say that is one good looking geek! For the medium it’s great to have more women involved on the creative and fan side, it can only benefit the industry.

  27. Gerry Lopez Gerry Lopez says:

    I just read this article in my RSS feed and figured there’d be a million comments worth of heated back and forth already. I honestly only read a couple of comments, so I don’t know how heated it is. Anyway, I will say this. Molly is right and everyone needs to just let geeks be geeks. Or better yet, let’s get rid of that word altogether and stop labeling each other. I think a lot of the misplaced questioning of “geeks” who happen to be girls, though, is that because “geek” is cool now, we do get a lot of people just following a trend and coming to cons and such just to be cool or, in some cases, to see the “freaks.” Clearly that’s not everyone and obviously not just females, but it does happen and I can see how it can create resentment. The media only fuels this. The troubling, and yet not surprising, part is that it is the females getting the backlash. It’s like the old school geeks are using them as scapegoats for why their subculture is suddenly not so sub.

    I read one comment above that suggested “girls only like Anime and indie comics.” That’s wrong on two levels. One, girls like whatever that particular girl likes. It’s an extremely broad (not an antiquated sexist pun) generalization. Not only have I met a ton of girls at cons who love superhero comics, they’ve wound up being some of the most knowledgeable and open minded fans out there. The other reason the comment is wrong is that if you boil it down, there are more Anime fans out there than there are Comic fans, regardless of gender. I have found the girls to be fans of both much more often the guys. But then, this is just my very own limited experience, as a vendor at local cons, where we are usually the only ones selling comics at Anime shows, successfully. I don’t really know what the scene is like on a national level.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      I definitely have to agree on the “no labels” point.

      “My name is Jeff and I read comics,” but that’s just one facet that makes me who I am.

      These days “geek” seems to be applied to a multitude of interests, Comic Geek, Music Geek, Movie Geek, etc. To be a geek is just to love something passionately. Is that such a bad thing? So, maybe I just went against my initial point, that’s also a part of what makes me, me. LOL

  28. convoy83 convoy83 says:

    So fun story, my fiancee whom I’ve been with for the past 5 years, I meet her at an anime club in college. When we started hanging out I didn’t single her out as some super rare geek girl as the club we were in was probably 60-70% women. We started hanging out because we discovered each other both liked anime but we both LOVED comics. We went to comic shops together and had mad boughts of jealousy when one or the other would find a good run or a rare single issue in back issue bins, we traded umm Trades to introduce the other to materials we’d never read. The first time I went back to her place it was as friends, and it was so i could rummage through the long boxes she had to see what gems she’d been hiding from me, and the next day I loaned her a massive stack of books from my long boxes. We did stuff like this for almost 3 months before we began dating, because through our shared geekiness we discovered we had lots in common. And I must say that in 2013 it will be with great pride that she will be my wife and it all started because I treated her as an equal in all things geek.

  29. LucasEwalt says:

    Molly, I understand what you’re talking about, but this part – “If a man walked into a comic shop, no one would question his knowledge about comics unless he made it abundantly clear that he was a n00b” isn’t necessarily true. At least not in my experience. I’ve been going to my LCS for about eight years now, so the owners know me really well, but because of my work schedule, I’m in and out of there at really odd and inconsistent times throughout the week. So, very few of the “regulars” really know me or know that I’ve been in there for something like 400 consecutive weeks. And I don’t really LOOK like a comic book geek. I don’t know how to explain it, whether it’s how I dress or look or my demeanor or what, but I just don’t seem like I fit in.

    As a result, almost every week, if I’m in there standing in front of the new books for the week and there is a “comic geek” in there, he will either A) try to explain to me what I should pick up and why, or B) look at me with a “why is THIS GUY violating my sanctuary” expression on his face. I appreciate the first kind, and know that they’re just trying to be helpful, but it does get a little tiring.

  30. crashfellow crashfellow says:

    Fan Girl, Geek Girl, Gamer GIrl. There are all terms we use as geeks quite often. Why is this? are we being gender biased?

    I would say no.. why do i use these terms? simple. There aren’t many of you. Especially where i live.

    In general, i think a lot of guys see geek females as something to be amazed at. Reading through the comments of this post, we have all had the girls who role there eyes, demand we spend our money on more ‘adult’ things. Like car loans, house mortgages etc. And forget that ‘silly hobby’ we have.

    Guy Geeks for as long as we’ve been around, have had to accept the fact, that we are likely to end up with non geeks, because there are so few of you out there. So i think in a way, separating you, in fact puts you above us. I will admit, each time i meet a girl who gets her geek on, I’m impressed, purely based on the fact your rare.

    One last point, all geeks are competitive. We will constantly attempt to out geek each other, this is just a reality. The guy in the store? it’s possible he looked at you as a girl and thought ‘pfft, she can’t know anything’ but maybe he was genuinely surprised by your knowledge, or maybe he was just trying to start up conversion to pick you up. Don’t always assume he thinks you’re stupid.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Re putting us above you: I appreciate the sweet nature of your post, but the thing about gender equality is that it’s *equality*. We don’t want to be put on a pedestal anymore than we want to be looked at as below you.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      I think all women deserve to be put on some level of pedestal. Geek or non geek.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Haha. Well if I was your girlfriend I might appreciate that. If I was your friend or coworker I definitely wouldn’t. Feminism is a tricky thing, and unfortunately it’s gotten a really bad rap of women disliking men, wanting to be above men or wanting the best of both worlds. So I try pretty hard to reiterate the *equality* part of things.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      Well in fairness i did mean it in that way lol but look, in the end we’re not all as close minded as some. At Magic tournaments, female or male, you still feel my wrath. It’s all very equal :-)

  31. itsbecca itsbecca says:

    Look, I see a lot of defensiveness in the comments here. Please don’t let the fact that you may be able to relate to the awkward guy in the comic book store take away from what Molly is saying here. She wants you to take a stroll in her colorful fabric green boots for a minute and understand the way that this sort of behavior makes us feel.

    It’s not like the guy was a colossal jerk, he probably had no idea what he was doing was annoying and/or offensive. But that’s the point. She’s writing about it to start that conversation, to spread the knowledge that that’s really just not the way to act to a woman. That having every guy we meet assume we’re in a comic book store by mere fluke becomes very frustrating, very quickly. I can’t tell you how often I used to get the “Oh you like comics, are you single?” joke. Or now the “You’re a girl and you like comics? No wonder you’re married!” Yes, yes, I’m a rare gem, can we talk about something substantial now please, because I’m really tired of having to fake laugh at this joke.

    An LCS isn’t a damn bar. I’m not drinking alone in the corner waiting to be picked up. Please don’t presume anything based on my gender, how about you actually talk to me and then you can find out about the real me? That’s all we’re asking for!

    • siraim siraim says:

      Since the “conversation” relayed in the article is sparse at best, how would you propose that conversation go without presuming anything about gender? How would it have looked different if the conversation was about getting to know you?

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      First off, don’t lead by “helping” a girl unless they ask for it. It’s condescending, especially on something that is really basic knowledge. (“Do you need any help finding anything?” coming from a store clerk is obviously okay.) If you want to discuss the thing the girl is looking at, then ask her a question “Oh do you like [character on poster]?” which frees her to say “Yes I love her [insert knowledgeable rambling].” Or maybe she’ll say “Oh, who’s that?” and then, just like that, you have started to understand just a little bit how much interest she has in comics and can go from there.

      Second, choke back any surprise related comments. That comment could have gone as follows:
      Molly: “Oh! Adam Hughes!”
      Guy: “You like Adam Hughes? Have you seen his work in…” or “Do you know [other artist] he did a great rendition of Zatanna.” or “Did you read [book or story arc related to Zatanna]?” or any number of things in that vein. Those are all conversation starters, unlike a surprised declaration about the girl actually liking comics, which is most likely going to end with a short reply and her walking away.

    • I have to say, I wouldn’t pick up anyone at my or any LCS. I chat up the proprietor, but that’s it. I do not bother others unless its to walk past someone and excuse myself for doing so.
      @itsbecca: In this article’s 1 on 1 situation: Couldn’t it be that the cat was solely impressed with a woman’s acumen of comics? Does it have to be a full-on insult? Not everyone express themselves in the same fashion. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding between two people.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @TreeoftheStoneAge I addressed this in my comment. I don’t think he was being a jerk, he wasn’t insulting her, he was just being ignorant. (While it has a negative connotation, ignorance is just to not know something.) He didn’t realize that his surprise was offensive, because it, most likely, based on the fact that she was a woman. So not realizing that what he did was offensive is precisely why this article is important. So people can realize it that this is a real thing, that really happens, really often and we’re just… we’re tired guys. We’re just tired.

      Also, importantly, the point of the article is not to demonize this poor guy. It was a recent example of many, many situations that girls in this industry have to deal with. So let’s not focus on him and think about the bigger issue.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      i think Itsbecca raises an interesting point. i think that a lot of us guys are sympathizing with the awkward guy in the shop perhaps too much. it does kinda sound like he was trying to strike up a conversation with a girl who likes comics and ended up falling flat on his face and feeling stupid himself. movies, books and tv star a lot of characters who are awkward but still try for the girl and we cant help but root for the guy(guys like peter parker in the spiderman movie). he represents the underdog spirit within all of us and as a man, i think it’s hard for us to relate to the concept of being hit on too much or in inappropriate situations because we dream of things like that but it doesnt often enough work out for us like that. hell, a lot of us could be hit on at a funeral and not be offended.
      but that’s not what this is about.
      we should try to understand other people’s perspectives.
      a person feels uncomfortable and i think that is reason enough to respect their minds and requests to be a little more polite if not a lil’ more creative in place of redundant cliches as mentioned above. it’s not like it’s a lot to ask for. just dont assume ANYTHING about ANYBODY(for the sake of equality) and all will be well. i dont think the point of this article is to say you cant hit on somebody in a comic shop. just think before you act. sound advice for all roads in life

    • I’m asking because this scenario is far removed from how I treat / look at others. These things are simply not an issue to me. I’m trying to understand your view of this without coming off as insensitive, but maybe I am. I don’t know…

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @TreeoftheStoneAge No, you’re fine. Did I answer your question?

    • Not long ago, I was on the train coming home from work and I noticed a woman reading a GN, so I asked her what she read: it was Walking Dead collection. We talked about it till my stop, but she kept describing each issue within as “the next volume”, yet I didn’t correct her misinterpretation of the format. Others would have jumped at the chance to “school” her, but who am I to ruin her first experience with comic books. I’m not Mr. Understanding, I just take things as they come. Maybe, my attitude has lead me to ignorance.

    • @itsbecca: Yes you did answer my question. Its takes me awhile to wrap my head around stuff. Not very book smart.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @TreeoftheStoneAge That’s a different sort of example, but it’s relevant along the lines of thinking about how what you you say will effect someone before you speak. I think you definitely made the right decision. Correcting her would’ve just embarrassed her or annoyed her and possibly even stopped the conversation, depending on her mood and personality. And for what? To prove that you “win” in the knowledge of this particular topic? Not as impressive as others might think. Well done.

    • @itsbecca The other point I’m trying to make is that I think my blase’ attitude has blinded me to what women deal with as far as being talked down to or hit on by men in the LCS scene.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @TreeoftheStoneAge I sort of got that from your comment, but I don’t see anything wrong with where you’re at. I appreciate the concern, but there’s only so much you can do about the way other people act. The way you act is the most important thing you can dictate and it sounds like you’re doing well. I think the end goal is for all of this to be something that no one thinks about. If no one is doing anything wrong, then we also don’t need crusaders, because it will be a non-issue.

      Someday!

  32. UncleBob UncleBob says:

    Articles like this I pity the poor bastard that has to moniter the comments.

  33. iroberts007 iroberts007 says:

    Why would you want to be called geek anything. Geek girl or geek guy or nerd girl or nerd guy.. its all negative. I dont find that its that dissimilar to racial slurs. It means uncool right? Well i dont consider myself a geek or a nerd.. and the fact of the matter is that anyone under 200 pounds that calls me a geek off line to my face is liable to get a beating if im having a bad day and they arent an MMA fighter. Before I attempted to kick the shyte out of them i would ask that they prove how much of a geek i am. I guarantee they wouldnt think i was geek after that. Oh and if triumph the insult comic dog called me a geek i would laugh cause thats what comedians do.. but if some nobody / nothing fool wanted to use that word to judge me then the above mentioned might happen. And fuck the police im over how disrespectful everyone is and how you guys are embracing this Nerd language over the last decade. Its like Chris Farly embracing his fatness. It aint healthy in the long run.

  34. CAM CAM says:

    Boy in comic shop musters up the courage to speak to the beautiful girl in his comic shop. Tries to be helpful, is shot down when she flexes her “Geek-Cred Muscles”

    Boy goes to his blog and writes a post about getting shot down, and about how he’s ALWAYS shot down and how this time in particular it stuck with him for a week… and he’s vilified by the community!

    Earth-2 Ifanboy.

    (I don’t even know what my point is)

  35. Molly McIsaac Molly McIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) says:

    I have a few points I’d like to add:

    1) Thank you so much for everyone’s input so far. I really enjoy generating discussion like this.

    2) For critiques on the photos I chose of myself: I was waiting for that. You know that “she was asking for it” defense against girls who wear short skirts and get raped? Check yourself. I’m allowed to wear what I damn well please as long as *I* am comfortable with it. I cosplay for myself and my own satisfaction, not anyone else’s. It’s not my fault that most females in superhero comics are wearing next to nothing. Knockout is badass empowered woman, that’s why I chose to post a picture of me cosplaying her. It seemed relevant and appropriate to the subject matter at hand.

    3) Those of you trying to justify the behavior of the guy in the comics shop: He was not being cruel, or rude. He was genuinely surprised that me, a girl, knew my stuff. Did he approach any of the men milling about to tell them about characters or make comments on their knowledge? No. But this is an example I chose to use to fuel my rant because it happened recently. Over the years I have had DOZENS of experiences like this: I’ve been shown to the Twilight manga before opening my mouth; when selling used comics to a comic heavy book store I was asked if they were my boyfriend’s and if he knew I was selling them; I get asked aggressive questions in comic shops that are used to test my actual knowledge of things (much like a certain comment above – a lot of useless trivia questions that come out of the blue just to make sure I know what I’m actually talking about). I’ve been met with scorn and dismay. I know the difference between social awkwardness and misogyny, and it’s really sad how often I run into the latter.

    I know several women who stopped GOING to comic shops because of the attitude they experienced there, and instead read all of their comics digitally or order online.

    I’m not saying all guys treat girl geeks like this, but I think a lot of you don’t realize you do because we still are the lower percentile. I merely wrote this article to spread awareness of yourself and others.

    • @Molly McIssac: I’ll admit something here: I get hit up by drug dealers to buy “the herb”. Alot! If I listed all the times this happens nobody would believe me. Do I let it bother me? Not in the least. I’m not at all hippie looking, but I do have long hair (no facial hair), so it is about my look. What I’m trying to say is: I let this roll off my back because there isn’t anything I can about it. And I’m all the happier. Is ignoring these people not possible to do? I’m asking an honest question here.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @Molly:
      1) You are very welcome. It’s always great to generate discussion, and it seems the articles you have written recently have done just that. And I hope for the most part that these comments/conversations have been engaging and fun and thought provoking for the most part, and not someone just saying, “That’s stupid! You’re stupid!” or something along those lines.

      2) I think it’s an excellent choice of photo to post for this articlr for all the reasons you mention. It was absolutely relevent, especially taking note of your experience at a Con with the cornering drunken accuser. It’s clear you did it to illicit a reaction by those who would do such a thing. I for one, would not have brought it up as I thought it was obvious what your intention was in posting that photo.

      3) I would like to note that I am not necessarily “justifying” the LCS guy’s behavior. I am just trying to put things in perspective and see what this guys intentions might have been:
      3a) “Did he approach any of the men milling about to tell them about characters or make comments on their knowledge? No.”
      My guess would be that he saw a pretty girl in a comic shop and decided he might take the opportunity to try and talk to her because he’s heterosexual male.

      Is it possible that his intentions were good, and being an awkward male comic fan, who maybe doesn’t see many girls at this comic shop, took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with an attractive woman like yourself and see how it went? Is it possible that although he said, “Wow! You ACTUALLY know your stuff” (condescending), he really meant to say, “Wow! You REALLY know your stuff” (compliment). Maybe you’re right, maybe what he said he really meant. I know that I’ve said things one way, but really meant them another way. You can say it’s semantics, but couldn’t it just be miscommunication? You may be 100% right and he was genuinely shocked that a pretty girl could possibly have any knowledge of who Adam Hughes is. I just can’t help but thinking the best of people, because I’m a nice person and I don’t understand why anyone would intentionally say something hurtful to someone else, especially someone they don’t know. That’s just how I am.

      3b) of the MANY experiences you’ve had at comic shops, have you had good experiences with people there (whether working there or shopping)? If the bad experiences outnumber the good, then maybe you’re just visiting the wrong shops. I know if someone that works at a shop gives me attitude (whether it be a comic shop, clothing store, music store), I would stop going there as well. If they are shopping there, then I don’t stop going there just because I might run into that person. I hope in most cases the shops you visit offer more good experiences than bad ones.

      3c) “I think a lot of you don’t realize you do [treat geek girls this way] because we still are the lower percentile. I merely wrote this article to spread awareness of yourself and others.”
      I’m not sure I understand the correlation between how someone unawaredly condescends to female geeks and the percentage of female geeks. Is it possible that a greater percentage of comic geeks in general are more condescending towards unfamiliar people regardless of sex? Is it because there are less instances for male geeks interacting with female geeks?

      Any way…a very interesting and, obviously, thought provoking article.

      @TreeoftheStoneAge That’s how I feel too. Ignore the ignorant.

    • 2) It’s nothing like the rape defence. Probably best not to equate that with what you’re talking about or how people are responding to it. Your thing is a lot less important; although I agree with a lot of what you say, just not the way you’re expressing it. If there was a picture of Ron dressed as He-Man and shot from arse level, going on about how noone takes him seriously the comments might have been a little stronger than what people are saying here about your picture.

  36. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Josh wrote an article A few months ago about con-goers making fun of cosplayers. When I read this article, I had the same reaction to it that I did to that one:

    “Wow… That’s still a thing?”

    For what it’s worth, I think the answer is the same for both issues: Do your thing, own it, and fuck what anyone else says. You are Geek, and therefor you are Rad, organs be damned!

  37. I also think people saying “well dur hurr it happens in other areas like girls with sports”. This is a comic book article by a comic book fan, about comic book fans, for comic book fans. It’s trying to raise awareness on a casually performed annoying behavior that assumes women don’t need shit from She-Hulk about comics. The fact that its wide-spread in other entertainment mediums is irrelevant, ‘cept for the “geek culture is behind the curve” part.

    One step at a time. Fix up your own house before moving through the neighborhood.

    • j206 j206 says:

      Well dur hurr….. Seeing as it was me who made that point, let me reply to your helpful comment that missed my point.

      You just said it yourself. “..cept for the geek culture is behind the curve part.” That is my point entirely.

      When you have articles such as this, it starts up the whole “What’s wrong with the people who read comic books? Why won’t they ever change!” debate. The entire premise is based on geek culture being behind the curve. That is precisely what has taken place here. The dude who offended Molly could have just as easily worked at a record store, and said the exact same comment in regard to her knowledge of old school hip hop. Or he could have worked at a winery and made the same observation. He could have worked at Home Depot and marveled at her understanding of power tools. It’s life!

      And yes, this is a comic site, so comic topics are discussed. But we don’t have to be such a self-loathsome group, constantly putting our community down and pointing fingers as if it’s anything exceptionally wrong or troublesome. It happens entirely too much. It’s the result of being so engrossed in your own world. It’s very easy to have a myopic and insular view of society. To think that all the problems you come across are unique to your corner of the world. That was my point.

      It’s cool if Molly wants to rant about how she feels. As a writer she’s allowed that. And we can chime in if we want. But as a readership, let’s back off on the self-hating and sanctimony. I swear every other week there is some sort of discussion on this site that ends up focusing on the the negative side of comic book fans. Having to read people either defend themselves or act like sanctimonious above it all pricks gets old as hell. You don’t come across it anywhere else, but comic sites. You don’t constantly come across sports fans, music fans, or cinema fans beating themselves up on the sites where they discuss their hobbies. Why does the comic book world have to cannibalize itself all the time? THAT is why I made the analogy. We are better than that. So DUR HURR! ;)

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @j206 We are a self-loathing, dark side looking bunch, are we not? :)

  38. ChiefAaron ChiefAaron says:

    I completely agree with what you are saying. As a geek guy, I’m just happy that girls like you exist. I’d rather rejoice in that than be shocked and surprised. But more importantly – what is the story behind you having a comic book character based on yourself? I’m intrigued! Feed my curiosity, please.

  39. mguy77 mguy77 says:

    Let the lady show her geek pride proud & equal to everyone.

    Matthew

  40. CAM CAM says:

    @Molly. Thanks for the clarification.

    Having thought about it a little more, and reconsidered my own comment (which was a joke for the record, good or bad, the intent was joke). It seems to me the concern for a lot of readers was that, in this case, it seemed a little harsh on the fellow in the story.

    Even Becca re-iterates the point, but it still didn’t hit home for me until now.

    The concern is the frequency of these situations happening, and you’re right, not cool.

  41. StoreGuy says:

    If this is what passes for a “conversation starter” about Gender fairness than it’s doing a bad job of it. A rant about how someone flippantly saying “You really know your stuff” which can be something said to anyone is poor way to start.

    And not for nothing, but this entire article is hard to swallow from someone who once on this very same site wrote an article that bluntly stated only people with the “right body type” should cosplay.

    • Molly McIsaac Molly McIsaac (@MollyMcIsaac) says:

      I said to cosplay for your body type, not that if you don’t have the “right’ body type you shouldn’t cosplay. Everyone should cosplay if they want to, but I’m not going to cosplay a teenage girl because I’m 5’10″ with an ass that won’t quit. Don’t misquote me.

    • StoreGuy says:

      I fail to see how dissembling proves your point here. It’s your choice to cosplay how you see fit, just as it’s your choice to be as nerdy as you wish and not feel like someone is judging you because of your gender. Telling people to cosplay to a body type is much the same thing, it’s sectioning off people based on some outward appearance. Just because you’re a certain height does not mean you can’t cosplay teenager – that’s totally your choice and no one can tell you to do it or not. That type of rule establishment serves no purpose and defeats the point of cosPLAY.

      So you’ll have to excuse me for taking issue with the inconsistent opinion you offered in that article and the opinion on equality you’re offering here. The fact that you’re maintaining that opinion in your response to me and not offering “Cosplay’s for everyone, end of story” makes me question why “cred questioning” isn’t permissible and “body typing” is.

  42. j206 j206 says:

    Left over from my last post. ;)

    The more I think about this, without having been there to hear the context/tone/etc, and strictly going off the word’s Molly quoted. My guess is the guy thought he was giving her a compliment. Maybe he was awkward about it (shouldn’t be surprised if so), maybe he was totally cool and Molly’s previous experiences caused her to take it the wrong way. We as people are all guilty from time to time of being insecure. And allowing past encounters to color how we perceive how people treat us. We tend to have tunnel vision and selective hearing with such things and a lot of times it’s all we hear. Even with the best intentions. Trust me, all of our insecurities will get the best of us at some point. I say this because I know it happens to me from time to time.

    Another thought. When you have a high level of expertise in an area, most of the people you come across are going to know less than you. It’s a law of averages. And especially if you work at a retail store. When you deal with the public in any line of work, the numbers work themselves out to represent the common population pretty well. And as we all know by the highest grossing movies, tv shows, and music. The common person is a moron. So when you mostly deal with morons and by chance come across someone who bucks the trend, it stands out.

    Or maybe the guy was just a dick. And guess what. Some people are dicks.

    I look forward to a time where we as a community of comic book fans don’t have to have discussions like this. For one, it would mean women like Molly wouldn’t feel unwelcome or talked down to in comic shops. And secondly because it would mean that as a niche community of like-minded individuals we’ve all learned to be secure with who we are, and to not worry about all this nonsense. ;

  43. edward says:

    How do those XXX porn parodies of comics relate to the gender issue amongst the comic community? It’s Proberly reflects well, right?

    • T.G.Rogers T.G.Rogers says:

      Exactly man, girls in comics shouldn’t have to be portrayed in as highly sexual way as there are now.
      I glad I’m not the only one that thinks this.

  44. JSAkid JSAkid says:

    Great article Molly! I stopped reading the comments after comicBOOKchris posted the link for this article suggesting that MauledPaul I believe his name was got defensive and tried to make a point and say ifanboy only caters to the superhero men crowd. What? This site covers everything, I love Indie comix and read reviews on them all the time here, last weeks pick of the week was Peter Panzerfaust. I’ve read articles on issues from every comic related angle I can think of and have always noticed in the light week try these, I usually find some good Indie titles and the best of the year articles included some very non-superhero material. On top of all this Molly is a regular contributor. I’ve seen Manga here too, and it may not be as often as everything else because most hardcore manga fans already have they’re sites they frequent cemented and the community here judging by the pull results says the rest.

  45. boomergirl boomergirl says:

    Molly, thank you so much for writing this article. You’ve put into words perfectly what every geek, who just so happen to have two XX chromosomes, has felt on a daily basis. I was lucky enough to grow up in a environment where being a geek was gender neutral. I watched all the comic book cartoons with my male cousins, an art teacher gave my first comic book in high school (thanks Mr.V), and I was lucky to find a comic book store where everyone was and still is treated with respect. It wasn’t until college where I first felt like either a novelty or being a poser. The first time it happened was at a dorm viewing party for Smallville. It was all male and one told me that the One Tree Hill viewing party was next week. When I told him that I was there to watch Smallville I heard a few comments such as, “that’s cute. She likes super heroes”, and my favorite, “I’ll explain things to you if you get lost”. The episode happened to be the Geoff Johns’ Legion episode. When the Persuader showed up one guy asked, “who’s that dude?” When no one answered I said, “That’s the Persuader. Geoff Johns said he was writing an episode centered around the Legion of Super Heroes so I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to see Lighting Lad too.” I had hoped to spend a evening enjoying something I liked with other people who had the same interest. Instead, I had to prove my nerd cred after feeling belittled.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      I think an important thing to remember here, is in a lot of ways, geek guys are angry. From the perspective of other guys making them feel small, women they like making them feel second best to the ‘alpha males’. I think geek guys will stand and take the opportunity to feel better about themselves, stand up and feel big.

      The same way a non geek guy goes out and get’s drunk, and feels like a big man, we enjoy the idea of feeling superior. The idea that we can feel more intelligent, or feel like the person on top. Who doesn’t like feeling that way?

      And when you speak on a fringe culture where many of us are ridiculed and downtrodden, are you really surprised when they take the chance to be ‘alpha male’. Guys around us do it all the time, i guess it’s our turn.

      and btw – Geeks can be jerks too.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @crashfellow: I disagree with the premise that having been ridiculed or put down in the past gives anyone an excuse (no matter how rational) to behave like a bully.

      I also dislike the label “geek guy” — I feel it’s not as descriptive as people think it is. But I’m not good with labels in general, so maybe that’s just my thing.

      However, I do agree that geeks can be jerks. In fact, I’d argue that the percentage of jerk geeks is probably proportional to the percentage of jerks among society as a whole, which circles us back to the idea that treating strangers differently for any reason (gender, ethnicity, appearance, whatever) is a great way to end up looking foolish.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      I don’t diagree, it doesn’t give people the right, but you cannot be suprised when the oppressed stand up and scream no more.

      This has happened through out history, and even on a less dramatic level, people will eventually want to feel powerful. Nobody wants to feel weak all the time, and the idea that someone can be so comfortable that they don’t care about such things.. well i wish i could be that self assured!

      I’ve been a nerd, geek, geek guy, all my life. Frankly, i call myself these terms. Why? because it’s what i am. I love all things geek. I love MTG, Comics, Sci-fi, Movies, Computers, Web, Design, Books, Figures and Statues, those things are my passion. In a way, they define who i am, and how i live my life. You won’t find me in a Gym, or on a football field, you won’t find me out ‘drinkin’ myself in a stupor, i’m just as comfortable playing magic with friends, or watching movies.

      I don’t think geek guy is a negative connotation anymore then i call myself a ‘web guy’ as it’s my industry.

      I also agree with jerk geeks lol they are everywhere lol i’ve meet quite a few of them, and yeah.. they can be just as stupid and ignorant as anybody. And realistically, if you speak to women like they’re a science experiment, you can expect a lot of ‘alone time’.

  46. TheRealVenom TheRealVenom says:

    Call it what you will but I WISH more girl collected comics. My reasons though aren’t as bad as you think.

    Marvel recently cancelled X-23 and Ghost rider (featuring a female ghost rider) To me that says, either A) Marvel doesn’t know how to market female leads or B) there just aren’t enough female readers who would be interested in a female lead.
    If there were more maybe my favorite series would still be around.

    I really loved x-23 and marjorie liu. :(

    Now being a little more selfish it would be great to see more females in my LCS. All my buddies in the shop are great and all but it is near impossible to share my love and enthusiasim of comics with a girl. I know the moral of this story is my gender shoudnt matter, for the most part it doesn’t. But dear lord there would be far less *forever alones* in the comic book kingdom if more women collected.

  47. DoctorDP DoctorDP says:

    No one is truly without gender bias, male or female. I’m not saying that excuses certain behaviours, but I do think it’s important to remember that we’re all merely human.

    While a geek may be more likely to verbally slip and say what’s on their mind, we are on the whole less misygonistic that most other types of guys.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      I’m no expert on gender politics, and that’s not why I come to this site, but I’m also not so sure “less misogynistic” applies to a group of men associated with “Slave Girl Leia,” you know?

  48. Bluestreak says:

    Ok

  49. T.G.Rogers T.G.Rogers says:

    (wow, that’s a lot of comments)
    Comics are In a tough spot right now considering there aren’t a lot of female lead books. I totally think this should change, but it’s going to be pretty tough. The majority of comics are tailored to us guys, so whenver a female character is introduced most of the time creaters feel they have to make that female character extremely sexy so that guys will be interested.Now There’s nothing wrong with female characters looking nice, but I’m tired of Ms.Marvel(and other female characters) looking like porn stars. This was recently brought to my attention from an article I read about how female characters are over sexualized. And I think that’s 100% true. And I know this isn’t only going on in comics, but if we want stronger female roles, and more interesting story lines with staring female leads, and heck a better viewpoint then what the general public has for comic right now, this has to happen.
    The big question is how?
    To that sadly, I don’t have an answer,

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      The reality is though, Comics is not the only medium which is over sexualised when it comes to Women. TV, Movies, Print, almost any form of media has women being portrayed in that light.

      Why? because men like women. This is a reality. A large percentage of comic readers are men. So who will comic companies appeal to? it’s fine to make a moral stand, and fight for what’s right, but in the comic industry it comes down to sheer numbers.

      The book with the girl looking ditzy trying to remember where here bra is sells 50,000 copies or the book where the intelligent industry leading business woman, who buttons up while solving crimes sells 5,000 copies. Which is going to be kept going? it’s simple maths.

      In the past few months there’s been a lot of talk regarding making characters sex objects (re: DC relaunch) but in the end, they’re appealing to their demographic. Just like every other medium. Of course there’s cross overs in genders, but it’s a small percentage.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @crashfellow “The book with the girl looking ditzy trying to remember where here bra is sells 50,000 copies or the book where the intelligent industry leading business woman, who buttons up while solving crimes sells 5,000 copies.”

      Are these actual titles you are talking about, or imagined books that don’t really exist?

      Just curious what the books are, and if those numbers are accurate. If I’m coming off snarky, well, it’s because I don’t think that is true. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe it.

      A lot of female comic characters are drawn in a sexy way or are “sexually liberated,” and their titles STILL get cancelled.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      @ClasikRok – I apologise, you’re correct, this was not a specific book I’m referring to. This was more-so an example of financial sense from a comic producers standpoint.

    • T.G.Rogers T.G.Rogers says:

      @crashfellow
      Thank you for your input.
      My question to you would be if you can think of anyway to make readers care more about the story of said female character? Rather then the sexuality of her?

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      @T.G.Rogers – i think comics could certainly look to film as a basis for stories? perhaps look at the things that make her feminine, rather then her sexual side.

      Maybe run a major story around females of a particular brand. If you look at a lot of the most recent story lines, the major characters have tended to be the male ones. Cyclops and Wolverine in the x-men universe are a good example of this.

      I think putting females up to the same level as the male characters, and putting them in none dull stories. I mean in my experience, a lot of the female driven stories tend to be quite dull. Not because it’s females, but because they are honestly dull.

      I think getting readers to care, is a difficult one. Because a lot of male driven books are hard sells to people. I think, and this will sound odd, but stop making female character focused books primarily appeal to women. They sadly are a small percentage of the readership. Find ways to make them big action feel books. Bring the attention of the 12 year old who wants explosions, and the attention of the 28 year old who wants to see their favorite female smack the hell out of someone.

  50. ed209AF ed209AF says:

    In this particular instance, it may have also have been that this guy is a regular at the shop. New face could mean new to comics.

    Honestly though, I’m a guy and about 3 weeks ago i met a friend of a friend of mine at a bar who I later found out was “into” comics. He proceeded to try to “teach” me about comics throughout the conversation. I didn’t bother to stop him or even correct his numerous mistakes, but i recognized the all to familiar feeling that he must present himself as the authority on comics.

    I think in general, geeks tend to want to be the expert on anything, sex not withstanding. I mean molly even mentions above, “It’s highly possible she could school your ass in a trivia-off.” we all (geeks of any variety, comics, gaming, sci fi, etc) seem to have that ego embedded into our geek related dialogues that we we know the most. And if you ask me, that is one of THE TOP REASONS it is hard to bring in new blood.

  51. Poopmonster Poopmonster says:

    This is people taking and owning the word geek. Maybe I’m an old sexist, but the reason a guy in a comic store came up to Molly and said something stupid is because he’s the geek, not Molly. Geek wasnt intended to mean “into comics” or nerdy, but a socially awkward person. This is historical and maybe times are changing, maybe even Molly is the new Geek. But what does that make the socially awkward kid today who doesn’t fit in anywhere else now that we’ve taken geek away from him?

  52. BenBugenig BenBugenig says:

    Molly wins.

  53. Walter Walter says:

    I think part of his surprise comes from the fact that you knew your super heroes. Yes a lot of women like comics, but it has been my experience that most of the women I know who read comics tend to stay away from the superhero genre and tend to read more of the horror/mystery genre of comics.

  54. keith7198 keith7198 says:

    iFanboy…iFangirl…who cares. The content on the site shows there is no bigotry towards anyone. I would still visit it if it was iFangirl. Utterly ridiculous to play politics with something like this. But that’s what happens, right?

    As to women in comics, here’s the truth – more men/boys read comics than women/girls and there is NOTHING wrong with that. More women read Harlequin Romance novels than man and I could care less. I would love for more ladies to be involved but I wouldn’t turn things upside down to try and force it. I’m proud that some ladies like comics (my wife is an avid comic reader) but like she says, “Comics aren’t most women’s thing. I happen to like them and that’s all I care about”. Well said dear!

  55. Zeppo Zeppo says:

    I can sympathise. My girlfriend was browsing in a store and was shouted at by the sales assistant ‘the nightmare before Christmas stuff is at the back’, like that is the only thing she’d be into.

    Can I ask the female readers what there liking at the moment? My girlfriend likes fables and her two favourite characters are black cat and catwoman, but neither of those characters are appealing to her at the moment as they’ve become little more than sex-bombs, any suggestions?

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      My wife LOVES Animal Man, and I’ve been trying to get her to read Swamp Thing. She’s into horror :)

    • Zeppo Zeppo says:

      I tried Animal Man, as she and Ellen have similar jobs. She didn’t like the art. I love the art, but dont really want to accuse her of having no taste :)

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      That’s fine. I’m pretty sure Travel Forman is leaving the book soon. Maybe have her try again after the art change. Issue 6 was a fill-in, stand alone. Maybe have her try that one.

      Maybe hand her a trade of Y: the last man. It’s hard to say what she might like not knowing what she’s like or what she’s into. What is her favorite movie, or tv show? Or what kind of those things does she gravitate towards?

    • keith7198 keith7198 says:

      Zeppo, I’m with your wife. The art drove me away from Animal Man after the second issue.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      What! @ClasikRok you need to high five your wife for me. I am super into horror.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @itsbecca Will do! Yeah, her favorite movie of all time is Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original)

    • 8bitErin 8bitErin says:

      Journey into Mystery!

  56. itsbecca itsbecca says:

    The amount of rationalizing in this thread makes me really, really sad. When it comes down to it, that behavior is more harmful than people who are overtly sexist, because we’re in a place in our society where overt sexism can be reviled, but these more passive sort of apologist attitudes are what are truly keeping us from progressing further.

    I’ll just be in my refrigerator if anyone needs me.

    • Zeppo Zeppo says:

      :(

    • Burritoclock Burritoclock says:

      So disagreeing with you is setting back society? This is why no one can talk about anything, ever. This is no different then pulling the “hitler” card in a debate.

      But what do I know, a lot of people here have determined this poor schulb from the comic shop is a chauvinistic misogynist, with “Alpha Dog” syndrome, based entirely on two sentences of dialogue and a receding hairline….

    • No…just acknowledge that they have a problem with this. We get that some people here don’t understand WHY a lady would be offended by this attitude, and probably never will because they and you are not in their position. And that’s fine…you don’t have to understand why, but understand and respect that there IS a legitimate issue.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      You know, i would like to see a rebuttal argument from a man in the same way this article is written.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @Burritoclock

      It’s not about disagreement, I love debate. It’s about losing sight of the point of this article. I have posted a lot in this thread and I believe those posts to be well-thought out and reasonable. One such post was to you, a post which you have not replied to. So please don’t tell me I’m pulling the hitler card. Especially directly before pulling out a string of completely unnecessary exaggerations in regards to a man whose part in the article was merely demonstrative of a larger issue, not a personal attack, an issue that many are missing due to this man’s apparent martyrdom.

      @Crashfellow
      I can’t read the tone of your post (Darn internet!) so I’m not sure how to reply.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      @itsbecca – I would like to see an article which like this article, shows the same way male geeks can feel ostracized in comic shops or in society in general. I don’t think this is an issue only for women.

      I’m constantly having people ‘out nerd me’.

      Even the idea of the nerd guy, who is judged based on being a nerd at all.

      Plus, i would so like to ask the nerd girl (in general) a quick question… why do so many of you keep ended up being with non nerd guys? you’re leaving us with such small options lol

  57. filippod filippod (@filippodee) says:

    Stay geek long enough and you’ll enjoy questions about the comics being for your son ;-)

  58. Walter Walter says:

    @ itsbecca your refrigerator reference is full of win.

  59. Magnus says:

    If did this for every time someone said “You know your shit” assuming it mean that because of some outward appearance, I’d be swimming in Xanga entries. I’m not a sports fan, but I know quite a bit to have a conversation. Should I run home and cry into a pillow because someone assumed I’m a big nerd? Because I’m not “sporty” enough? Because I can rattle off plots and episode names to Star Trek or Stargate episodes and someone says “You know your stuff” should I vow “As god as my witness, I shall never be nerdy again!”

    Not for nothing but what does stating that the fellow who lobbed this comment your way having a receding hairline add to the article? Isn’t this just the same thing as saying “Nerd girls don’t know anything?” It adds nothing to your story other than some vague “one-ups-woman”-ship. What does telling us that you’re the model for some character in a book add to the story of this essay? Nothing. it’s very attention-getty. You claim to be comfortable in your own skin and who you are. But it doesn’t come off that way.

    Does it suck that that one guy accused you of being there to get a man and that alone? Hell yes. And that guy should get chewed out for it. But a comment as vague as “knowing your stuff?” Really? Why not just say something like “Yep, I do. Been doing this my whole life.” And let that be the end of it. Complaining about this guy on the Internet isn’t helpful nor instructive. Confront this guy, ask “Why do you say it?” “Is that surprising?” But… man… this not how this argument should be framed. It’s not helpful. We have people rationalizing away on both sides of the aisle here.

    Now excuse me while I go back to my socially awkward basement and groom my receding hairline while I try to make my guttural stammers into a sentence I can say infront of a woman.

  60. boosebaster boosebaster says:

    Oh give over, the guy is clearly useless around women. It’s not “apologist” to try and see something from another point of view – to try and understand. THAT is how we move forward. Understanding and forgiving.

    Instead of being an “attractive” and intelligent person like Molly, this poor guy is socially awkward and it’s not much of a stretch to work out he probably doesn’t have the greatest life as a result of this weakness and probably doesn’t have loads of friends, let alone a girlfriend. We can’t all be as wonderful and perfect as Molly clearly must be, never ever making silly mistakes in conversation – which is all this was. With everything going on in the fucking world she decided that the very best way to use her passion, anger, time, writing skill and international platform was to hate on a guy who’s already at the bottom of the food chain? Really. There’s a word for that: bullying.

    By the way, I realise that being anti this article already paints me as the douchebag, whereas most of the guys are slavishly trying to be all chivalrous and agree with you to prove that they’re all mature and cool and not sexist – but in reacting that way to this article because Molly is woman, sexist is exactly what they’re being.

    I agree with the sentiment of the article itself, but I will respond to it exactly the same as if a guy had written something losing his shit over an encounter this silly. I just wish the thing that had been said to spark it off was actually someone being an outright dick, rather someone who’s just a bit lame and pitiful.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      And yes repeatedly going on about being attractive and being a model and having boobs and wearing thigh high boots is just fucking weird, and doesn’t help your case.

      I wouldn’t expect Conor to write an article going on about how much the ladies love him and how sexy his bald head is and how he’s got a massive schlong – with a picture of him in a leotard at the top of the page. Why? Because it would be fucking weird.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      *crumples up next week’s article*

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      @Conor I know people type LOL all the time, and don’t actually. But when I read your reply I totally laughed out lound, embarassingly and in front of co-workers.

      I can see the title of the article, “Conor, He’s Sexy and You Know It!”

    • ed209AF ed209AF says:

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say “Fucking weird” but I will say this: I know more about Molly than any of the other writers on this site.

      question to the ifanboys:

      can you guys have a program written to auto-hide all the people trying to flirt with Molly on here? It’s totally sad sack.

    • TA TA says:

      Molly did indicate that her piece was a rant, which comes with its own set of conventions.

      With that said, I agree with boosebaster’s ideas. Why did this particular event trigger her rant? It seems that the encounter at the convention with the drunk misogynist would be enough.

      Also, I think neutrality and equality are two separate things. The idea of gender neutrality is, in my mind, quite troubling as well.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      I foresee getting a lot of flack for the comment that is about to follow. I’ve held my cool for the majority of my posts on this thread, but I’m starting to get irritated. I should take a break and come back before posting. My brain is screaming, “Don’t do it!” as I type. Please note I still maintain that it’s not necessary to break down the one interaction she described, because it is merely demonstrative, it is one of many and this specific man and his situation does not matter as far as the overall article’s point is concerned. Here goes guys:

      Awkwardness is not a sufficient excuse for sexism.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      I’ve said “Wow you know your Superheroes” to men, never to a woman. I think we’re often surprised to meet PEOPLE who know their stuff.

      He may well be a sexist, but this act wasn’t evidence of that. You may be able to think through every connotation of every word you say before it comes out of your mouth, in which case whoopee doo for you it must be fucking awesome – the rest of us human beings react in the wrong way against our better judgement all the fucking time.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @boosebaster: Let’s try to have this discussion without the aggressive profanity.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      @Conor I was waiting for that! There’s never been a problem with profanity on the site but since I’m talking to a woman and was quite cutting (which she has been all the way through) you feel the need to jump in and protect her by insinuating that I’m being “aggressive”? That’s a bit low. You wouldn’t have done it for me if she was swearing. Is that sexist? I can cut it out but is that the rule now? How many swears is acceptable, is there a number? I know it’s your site and your rules and you can ban me or whatever but it’s got to be consistent and fair, no?

      What about responding to the point made? We’re human, we’re flawed, we’re often useless, we regret things each and every day – well us non-higher beings anyway. Molly and @itsbecca are clearly from their comments better, they’re superior – in which case they are lucky. They have no right to judge people’s entire worldview based on dumb moments when they slip up – which is all that happened here from the evidence.

      Yes, social awkwardness doesn’t excuse sexism, but it CAN quite clearly give the impression of it when it when it isn’t there.

      Ever heard anyone nervously stutter an insult unless they stutter all the time? You know when people are at their most awkward? It’s not when they’re talking to someone they believe is inferior in comparison to them, it’s when they’re talking to someone they think is superior. I’m not talking about pedestals, I’m talking about value judgements about pecking order we subconsciously make about every new person we interact with.

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      So you’re saying that this article is disparaging towards that man, but you go ahead and state that by being condescending to the man, the author and other posters? Why?

      …and oh yeah, you’re the only one using profanity. itsbecca hasn’t used it from what I’ve read. Conor and Josh have checked plenty of people getting a little too “excited.” There’s a Term of Service on this site.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      If you’re not going to bother to read or understand my posts, don’t bother to engage with them!

      The sentiment of the article is right. The “attention-getty” dressing of it is weird and unnecessary. The incident that sparked it is a severe overreaction by someone who is dripping with confidence towards someone who struggles with it, but fine, you could say it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. And Becca’s comment “Awkwardness is not a sufficient excuse for sexism” – saying all instances of this kind of awkward behaviour from people signifies a hatred or lack of respect for women is utterly, utterly ridiculous.

      As stated, if Molly and Becca are like the guy from Limitless in that they can process every potential reaction to everything they say before they say it, then brilliant for them, they must lead wonderful, perfect lives. I envy that. Most of the rest of us struggle and say the wrong thing regularly. This article doesn’t help the situation, if anything it makes it worse. Most of the guys that read comics aren’t sexist, believe it or not, so why we need to be spoken down to like this en masse is beyond me.

      I’m struggling to work out how this makes me the bad guy when my whole stance is coming from one of understanding and compassion and forgiveness. Not for all of the male behaviour described, some of which – SOME OF IT – is appalling. This instance wasn’t. It was silly, nothing more.

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      I did read you’re comments, hence my question which you didn’t answer.

      Your opinion is fine, what I’m wondering is how you know that “this poor guy is socially awkward and it’s not much of a stretch to work out he probably doesn’t have the greatest life as a result of this weakness and probably doesn’t have loads of friends, let alone a girlfriend” and is “a bit lame and pitiful.”

      From what I gather, you seem to be saying that there is much ado about nothing, and the article is a “severe overreaction by someone who is dripping with confidence towards someone who struggles with it,” but then you make these giant assumptions about the guy, the author and another poster. Like, “if Molly and Becca are like the guy from Limitless in that they can process every potential reaction to everything they say before they say it, then brilliant for them, they must lead wonderful, perfect lives” and “You may be able to think through every connotation of every word you say before it comes out of your mouth, in which case whoopee doo for you it must be fucking awesome”

      Which read to me like attempts to belittle them much in the way that you claim this article is doing to the man, unless you truly believe they’re perfect and not saying it in a sarcastic manner.

      I don’t think there is harm intended on either side.

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      *your

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      Everything I’ve said comes from a logical place. If the guy was Mr. Smooth and confident – if he was, let’s say, Conor – this whole thing wouldn’t have happened. The fact that it did is evidence of the kind of guy he is which is in many respects like many comic book fans – not all, but most. Me included – when I was younger more so. Guys that don’t know how to talk to girls, by completely logical extension, aren’t massively popular, because they are socially awkward with at least half of our species, and probably much of the other half as well. Logic.

      I’m not coming down on the guy, if anything I’m like that, I used to suffer from crippling shyness and say the wrong thing to people, which. is. something. we. all. occasionally. do. Even the best of us.

      Itsbecca saying awkwardness is not an excuse – she wouldn’t say that if she suffered from it. She would sympathise. She’s saying the guy IS SEXIST. Definitely. No two ways about it. That’s a horrible thing to say based on this interaction. As I said, he might well be. But NOT based on that interaction. Ergo, since she can’t sympathise, logically, she doesn’t suffer from this. So again, whoopee for her. That’s not belittling her, I said I ENVY that and I mean it.

      Reading and understanding are not the same thing!

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      Doesn’t answer my question of why to respond to this article you decided to be mean spirited in much the same way you claim this article is. To me it demeans most of the weight of your claims. You’re saying, why are you making a big deal out of nothing, but turn around and say obviously you’re going to make a big deal about it because you’re perfect aren’t you!

      …and now you’re saying that you truly envy some of their traits in which you describe their “wonderful, perfect lives” and type things like:

      “We’re human, we’re flawed, we’re often useless, we regret things each and every day – well us non-higher beings anyway. Molly and @itsbecca are clearly from their comments better, they’re superior,”

      which doesn’t come off as condescending at all.

      I was reading through this thread and your posts stuck out mainly beacuse you weren’t practicing what you were preaching. Fight fire with fire I suppose? I mean they are higher beings, right?

      …and then you end your comments with this, which you’ve directed towards me twice, “Reading and understanding are not the same thing!”

      I agree.

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      …and seeing how the only details about the man in question is that he was in a comic shop and had a receding hairline, I still don’t see how you came to the conclusion that the man in question is “clearly useless around women,”

      and “Instead of being an “attractive” and intelligent person like Molly, this poor guy is socially awkward and it’s not much of a stretch to work out he probably doesn’t have the greatest life as a result of this weakness and probably doesn’t have loads of friends, let alone a girlfriend.”

      Maybe the guy was just hesitant to speak to her in the first place and just trying to be friendly, like any person might be when approaching a stranger. Or are Mr. Smooths and confidents all like Fonzie? They never run into any trouble?Would this situation only occur with the socially akward? You say you have personal experience, but I still don’t see how you came to such a descriptive conclusion. Seems like a small sample.

      You said you used logic, which kind? Inductive or deductive?

      Many guys that approach girls at comics shops are socially akward
      he was a guy at a comic shop
      therefore, he must be socially akward

      Was that it?

      Seems to me that in trying to make less of this article, you yourself have decided to deploy a stereotype usually associated with comics, which is sort of what the article is trying to dispute in the first place.

      Girls can’t possibly read comics!
      This guy messed up trying to approach a girl, he’s obviously a socially akward comic fan!

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      He said something to Molly that spurred on THIS WHOLE THING and you are asking how I jumped to the conclusion that he doesn’t know how to talk to women!?

      And yet you have NO ISSUE with Becca’s conclusion that the guy is definitely sexist.

      Would this situation happen to everyone? If you had read my posts I have said REPEATEDLY that we ALL make these stupid mistakes, ergo have some forgiveness for the guy in question.

      I give up.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      @boosebaster How about we stop analyzing the semantics of that one phrase, a phrase that people are quoting wrong by the way. The comment was not “Wow, you really know your stuff!” it was “Wow, you *actually* know your stuff.” said in a “slightly judgmental but mostly genuinely surprised way.” But let’s step aside from that for a second. People seem to magically be forgetting the first condescension in the story, pointing out incredibly well known Marvel characters. Storm? Really? You can know that character without reading a single comic, she was played by Halle Berry in a successful movie franchise. This guy felt it was appropriate to coddle the woman in the comic shop, completely unsolicited. It’s uncomfortable at best, but honestly, it’s belittling. It’s one more person telling a woman that this comic shop is not her domain, even if he doesn’t realize that’s what he was doing (but we’ll get to that in a second.)

      Please know, I am *still* not trying to demonize this fellow. He is not a horrible human being, or a disgusting sexist pig. Molly even states as much in her article. He may not be, by nature, sexist, but he still did do something that was sexist.

      Now for an aside. Since you feel fit to judge me without knowing anything about me, I’m going to fill you in a little. First, I am incredibly shy and have a lot of real issues with anxiety. Confrontation, even through the anonymity of the internet, literally makes me shake like a leaf. I hesitate to take off my armor, but I just can’t sit by while I get the “confidence means I think I’m superior accusation”. I’ve worked really, *really* diligently on my issues, so any confidence you glean from my speech has been hard won and is, and probably always will be, half faked from sheer force of will.

      Another side of me: I have three brothers who I am very close to. I was always a tomboy, and have almost exclusively had male friends for the majority of my life. I’ve been able to branch out some as I matured, but males still dominate my friendship base. And you know what? I am fiercely loyal to those guys, and, because you always side with your friend, have found myself pissed off at women a *lot* for hurting people I care about. You think I’m blindly judging this poor awkward comic fan, because clearly I have no idea? I have every idea. That awkward male comic book fan is one of my closest friends (Note: I also have very good friendships with plenty of well adjusted comic book fans, so it would be awesome if we could acknowledge that awkward is not an adjective that is definitively stuck to comic book fan.)

      And can I tell you? If my friend pulled that on a woman I would punch him in the arm. Because I don’t care how shy you are, or how little you talk to people, even women, it’s your responsibility as a decent human being to not just drown in self pity whenever you’re in a social situation. A conversation consists of *two* people, and if you don’t acknowledge that fact you’re letting your awkwardness make you selfish. A decent human being takes into account how the words that come out of their mouth effect the person they’re talking to. That’s it. That’s the brass tacks.

      PS – Thank you for saying my comments have been cutting. Since I haven’t employed any personal attacks or harsh language, that must mean I’ve written in a way that was direct and to the bone, which means I’ve done well. (No sarcasm.) Also, I can assure you Conor would, and has, reprimanded my speech in the past. Don’t go searching for sexism there, because it will be a long, fruitless search. I’d imagine he’s just trying to quell a possible fire before its gets to deleting comments territory.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      Finally, on a different note, regardless of the man in the first story, my big problem for this entire thread has been that defending him has made many of these posts completely avoid talking about the issue this article brings up. It is not about this guy. Making it about him is very dismissive.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      I appreciate the response and there’s little in there I can disagree with except this:

      “A decent human being takes into account how the words that come out of their mouth effect the person they’re talking to.”

      Sorry. No. Decent human beings say stuff they don’t mean, or that are taken the wrong way, or that they hadn’t thought through every angle of, all the time. So you dont? You haven’t ever, EVER said anything you wish you hadn’t said? Then I applaud you, because you are amazing, but you are in a minority. A minority that may well comprise of only one person.

      A decent human being TRIES to do that. We don’t get it right 100% of the time.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      You’re taking it to the extreme, ad absurdum. You’re trying to set up that I either have to say that I’m a perfect human being (clearly ridiculous) or that I have to give up and say the guy did nothing wrong. This is a fallacious argument.

      I stand by my statement. A decent human being takes into account how the words that come out of their mouth effect the person they’re talking to. Do decent human beings have faults? Yes. Do decent human beings get it wrong sometimes, embarrass themselves, say something offensive or inappropriate? Yes of course. And when that happens that would be the moment in which a decent human being apologizes. I have never gotten into an argument after saying something accidentally rude and had the “Oh but I didn’t realize it was rude!” defense work for me. The thing that that defense is missing is “Oh, I didn’t realize it was rude, *and I am sorry for offending you.*”

      Now the man in the story, their conversation didn’t get that far. There was no chance for an apology. Molly let it slide at the time, and he probably went home never realizing that he said anything offensive. However, because of her position as a writer, Molly can now tell the story to this group of people that she is a part of, to say guys, don’t let that be you. Don’t let that be your friend. Realize how a statement like that is viewed by a woman and realize that it makes us uncomfortable, upset, sad or any number of other negative feelings. I, personally, think that is a very valid.

    • boosebaster boosebaster says:

      OK this is the last thing I’m saying on this subject and quite possibly this site no doubt to the joy of many.

      “guys, don’t let that be you”

      See, 90% of males / comic book readers do not need to be told this. Especially on THIS site. The 10%? Fuck em. They aren’t going to change anyway. The few that make the occasional mistake? Forgive and forget. Move on.

      I think it’s the fact that iFanboy started publishing these condescending life lessons constantly that spurred me to quit paying my membership. I come here for comics discussion, not to be told repeatedly how to live my life and be a better person by guys and girls that quite clearly seem to think they ARE better and that we’re gagging for them to tell us how to be too. The articles aren’t “we know comics”, they are “we know life better than you”. Fed up with it.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      I think you’re right that the majority of guys on this site are not the type of guys who are making geek life hard for us women. That’s why there’s a good number of women here! It’s just an issue that effects us and I think it warrants discussion. I was just saddened by the fact that discussion kept get squashed because we were upset about the particular example she used. That’s all it really comes down to, I didn’t mean to make it sound like preaching or like you’re doing something wrong and you need to be fixed. I apologize.

      Most importantly: you leaving would give me zero joy.

    • Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      Doesn’t saying something you haven’t thought about usually mean you’re saying something unfiltered? Something base? You’re betraying your own sense of decorum and just instinctively relating your true feelings. If that’s the case, isn’t blurting out something prejudicial like that “without thinking” even more heinous because it stems from the core of your belief system and understanding? Casual mistakes may be mistakes, but they’re also evidence of deep seeded problems.

      As for the intended audience question, Molly’s not making a broad statement about all male fans or all female fans. Nor is she obligated to reflect the experience of either group. Just her own. If you’re not to blame for this kind of prejudice, I don’t think anyone is asking for you to defend yourself. There’s no need. Just include this anecdote in your worldview and understand that not everyone operates that way. It’s something to watch out for. Mostly, I think it’s a question of subtle acts of prejudice. Maybe you’re not outwardly hostile. Maybe you don’t openly exclude. But maybe you’re allowing false assumptions or even limited experience to inform certain decisions in seemingly small ways. That’s always worth meditating on.

    • balsalm balsalm says:

      “He said something to Molly that spurred on THIS WHOLE THING and you are asking how I jumped to the conclusion that he doesn’t know how to talk to women!?”

      Uhhh, yes because apparently that one little moment is indicitive on an entire man’s life. Thats essentially what you’re saying, right? You practically made up a life story for the guy in two sentences, so again what type of logic was it? Wouldn’t maintaining to the text at hand sustain a stronger structure for your arguements than making some giant leaps in logic? That’s what you did, is it not? You’re the one who brought up logic, remember? That’s what my very first post was about.

      “And yet you have NO ISSUE with Becca’s conclusion that the guy is definitely sexist.”

      I wasn’t addressing her, I was addressing your response to her comments with your brash condescending tone which I questioned because I thought you were making some good points, but were being watered down by your method of stating them.

      “Would this situation happen to everyone? If you had read my posts I have said REPEATEDLY that we ALL make these stupid mistakes, ergo have some forgiveness for the guy in question.”

      Yes, which makes me think that if you’re saying that, why resort to some of the comments you’ve made? You’re the one who made this article about “bullying” and then decide to prove your point by utilizing some bully-ish tactics to various others here. Thus questioning my ability to read and understand and ending your post with:

      “I give up”

      I’m sorry I’m not on your level, I aways thought my reading-comprehension was fine. If Becca and Molly are higher beings like you’ve called them and your a little under that and I’m not even on your level, then what does that make me? Yikes!! Now I’m sad. All I asked was a simple question, you’re the one who decided to say I couldn’t understand what you wrote which is the only reason I formulated my question to begin with. One you have yet to respond to.

      …and don’t leave. This comics is supposed to be about comics and enjoying them, right? Don’t let something like this ruin your experience on the site; you shouldn’t let articles get to you so much. You’ve made some good points, from what my limited reading and understanding allows me, of course.

  61. JdRavnos JdRavnos says:

    I don’t think the problem is with the term “geek girl.” Yes it’s probably not 100% fair that it’s a term while “geek boy” isn’t but fanboy is a term and I know plenty of people who use the term geek as all inclusive to both genders. And I know more than a few women who wear their “geek girl” title proudly.

    The problem really comes from the usage. When it’s done in a reductive fashion, whether it’s to paint all female geeks with a broad brush or to portray them as “not real” geeks then that’s a problem. And insulting.

    I mean, hell, I identify myself as geek, fanboy and nerd but there are ways you can walk up to me and use those words at me and make me want to deck you. The context, intent and way it’s phrased makes a lot of difference. The instances that Molly brings up are valid instances that I can see why it would bother or even upset her, but I’m not sure we need to do away with the term “geek girl” as much as just be aware of the way we use it.

  62. crashfellow crashfellow says:

    Perhaps this is a topic that could see further discussion? perhaps the ifanboy crew could get some girl geeks onto the show (the nerdybird for instance) and have a discussion on this? the level of comments alone show it’s a topic to be seen.

  63. Navi Navi says:

    I was actually reduced to tears the other day by some guy commenting on a facebook thread of all places just to call me out on the fact I enjoy geek things. Apparently, I am attention seeking, an embarrassment to all of women kind, and a fake. In his mind I only enjoy this stuff because I so desperately need male attention and not because It’s my hobby and passion. It’s actually ridiculous that this article has so much truth to it.

    • itsbecca itsbecca says:

      I would like to highlight this post because of it’s relevance to the topic. I would also like to say I’ve been there and I am very sorry you had/have to go through that.

    • player1 player1 says:

      Wow. That sucks.

      Again, I’d like to point out that people who act that way usually have issues of their own.

      I took Brian Bendis’s class on Writing for Comics last year, and was really happy that we had so many women in the class. It was nice to have so many different perspectives on the subject. No-one made any gender-based assumptions about anyone else. I think the class was about 50-50 women and men. Very refreshing.

    • T.G.Rogers T.G.Rogers says:

      @player1
      Woah! You took a writing class from Brian Bendis?!
      What was it like?

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      @Navi – just so you know? assholes exist everywhere. Being a girl, i’m sure you’re well aware of this fact even outside of your nerd-universe lol

      In the end, you don’t need to justify yourself, your likes, or your knowledge.

      Never let anybody try to pull you down for your passion, in the end, anyone who tries? is a small petty person.

    • player1 player1 says:

      @T.G.Rogers: It was great. Very informative. Well worth it.

  64. boosebaster boosebaster says:

    See, THIS GUY, I can understand getting angry about. It’s a whole other ball game to the incident Molly described.

  65. Navi Navi says:

    You’re just focusing on that one part of her article. My ball game is the same as hers! Most guys will always think that her, I, or any other fangirl will always have ulterior motives when we walk into a comic shop, and that just plan ol’ sucks.
    I know I shouldn’t care what other people think and that I should just go about my life, but when some guys are so verbally brute and sexist it’s hard not to care. I really don’t understand why there is so much hate! Shouldn’t you guys be happy and not bitter that there is a culture of living breathing geek girls out there??

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      I feel what you’re saying here, but at the same time? I’ve been shot down many a time by a geek girl with that look.. you know, that look of ‘ohh my god, why are you even talking to me’.

      The reality is there are women as well, who look at guys with just as much distain.

      I wish and prey for geeks girls to expand in their numbers! it’s so nice to hear a female point of view, especially when it comes to nerd things, as they tend to be quite different at times. It makes for a nicer community of us nerdy people in general.

  66. cryofpaine says:

    I really wish that this whole concept of gender-specific personality traits would just go away. It’s ridiculous to think that what you have between your legs dictates your personality, your likes and interests, your hobbies, and pretty much everything about you. There are an estimated 100 billion neurons in the human brain. There are 36 (38?) chemicals which are responsible for transmitting messages in the brain, not to mention various other chemicals which modulate that process. With all that complexity, the idea that anyone could be easily shoved into one of two boxes based on a dangley or not bit of flesh between their legs is absolutely absurd.

    • crashfellow crashfellow says:

      This is very true. But society in general pushes people in certain directions. Even in todays day and age, boys grow up with actions figured going ‘boom boom boom’ and girls have their dollys, and cute disney toys.

      Women are not pushed in the direction of nerd-ishness in my experience.

  67. Alfrebaut says:

    You know what? It is kind of a problem.

    I think the essence of this problem is this: there’s expectations, and then there’s reality. It’s easy to blame our culture of geekdom itself for being this way. I mean, this is the same group that still gets excited when people talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or pre-movie Transformers. By that I mean we don’t change much; don’t evolve. Look at our heroes. Superheroes, if you will. We still have the same ones from like two generations ago. Or more, depending on how you count generations. Our culture has been predominantly a male-driven one. That’s just a fact. And more recently, in what Hardison of Leverage would call the, “age of the geek,” there has been a lot more proliferation of it beyond what we would have, in our younger years, called “geeks.”

    And yet, we cling to these old memories, because that’s who we are. That’s what we obsess over. We’re not so different than the “jocks” that we feared or adored in our days of youth. In our own ways, we are alpha dogs. We are territorial. When the ones we thought were “jocks” started in on “our” territory, we created artificial divisions of credential, calling people “casuals” and “noobs” and other meaningless distinctions. The point was that if they liked something that we didn’t like, played games we didn’t play, chose a console we didn’t choose, they were something to be abhorred.

    This got worse in what I want to call the G4 era. G4 had Morgan Webb, who was a very popular game reviewer who happened to *GASP* be female. And so whomever was watching the success of that show at the higher end of the network decided that they would hire girls to host their shows. This worked well until it didn’t. It soon became abundantly clear that many of these women G4 hired, through no fault of their own, knew nothing about the things they were talking about. It’s not entirely G4′s fault, there was also an internal pushing of this sort in the games industry as we saw in the “booth babes” and such pushed by the games industry as well. This sort of pandering is the sort geeks of both genders have come disillusioned by.

    Okay, let’s get back to the point. Expectations and reality. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck… well, you’re probably going to think it is a duck. No matter what books you read as a kid, no matter how wrong you are going to be sometimes, you’re going to think it’s a duck. The uncommonness of geeks who also happen to be girls, in the past has conditioned us to believe that they don’t exist. Or at the very least that they’re rare. You could say finding one equated to finding a Unicorn. Especially an attractive one. The one thing I can say from my own experience is that I, and a lot of other geeks I know, are afraid of what we want. I know you’re looking at this confused right now, so let me say that again: we’re afraid of what we want. Of course it would be awesome if an attractive geek girl were your friend. Then you could blog on the internet about how you talked to a girl for once! Kidding. Still, that is every guy’s dream, right? The reason why we’re afraid of it is because like pretty much every other experience most geeks have in this delicate matter, we’re afraid of being disappointed. Again.

    Think about it this way: if the article writer had been Alyssa Bereznak, or someone like her, and the geeky dude at the store had come at her with Warren Ellis and Mark Millar, he would not have only been disappointed, but you can bet the article written about it would probably be pretty damn different. And let’s face it, girls, most of the time, that would probably be the case. Better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed yet again.

  68. I don’t think there is anything nerdy about buying and reading comics.

    That’s not how I judge nerdiness.

    • JDC JDC says:

      Man, I thought I was the only one. In my opinion, reading Superman does not make you a nerd. Being able to name six kinds of kryptonite does.

  69. brattyben brattyben says:

    I think it may actually be in part that for a long time, geeks had to hide their geekiness. I know growing up I was kind of insecure about it, until I found peers of like minds. I can’t imagine what it was like for my closeted female geek friends.

    Point is, when geek culture started growing up and running the show and putting this stuff out on multi-media platforms, geek became mainstream. I think a lot of people’s first knee jerk reaction was something like, “there goes the neighborhood”

    I think along with that, these particular people, especially the one who accosted you in the corner, are more projecting their feelings about themselves, since they may be hiding from the real world in this land of four colored imagination. That something as an attractive female enters this world, I think their world view shatters a bit and they retaliate the only way they know how. By questioning the other person’s creds.

    I agree with you that it is sad that women have to fight harder to show they know their stuff. I honestly never have any preconcieved notions about anybody. I’ve lived too long and have known too many people to pigeon hole anybody.

    If any consolation, I’m there with all those impoverished geeks, fighting the good fight!