Uncanny Sexism

I love comic books. They’re fun and engaging and there was, usually, always a character for someone to love and see themselves in. For me, it was a toss-up between Wonder Woman from DC and Rogue from Marvel. I loved the two of them as they were badasses that didn’t give a damn about what other people said.

When I was little, I would read any of the comics that I could find online. A few of them I got from family members or even my dad, but other times I consumed their likenesses through Saturday morning cartoons.

As I got older and started going out with my friends, I discovered Uncanny, a smallish comic book store that was shoved into a corner of my local mall. I went in and was so excited while I searched through the stacks and stacks of colorful books with glossy pages. I’d wanted a new Iron Man comic; I have a fondness for the asshole genius, but what I didn’t take into account was that there was a Magic: the Gathering game going on in the back of the store.

I noticed they were there. Of course, it was a small store with about twenty guys who smelled like B.O. all shoved into the back. I was used to getting odd looks when I went into the store. It was common for a woman to get them in my comic store, but what I didn’t expect was to be run out.

One guy, I remembered the dark stains on his X-Men t-shirt well, looked up from his cards and sneered at me. I don’t remember what exactly it was he said, something about girls not belonging in a comic book store. At sixteen, I didn’t have the confidence to say anything. I’d hoped that someone would speak up, but his words only drew the attention of the other guys there. They all looked up and glared at me. Their eyes narrowed and their lips curled.

I left the store and haven’t been back since.

After that incident, I stopped reading comic books. I fell out of sync with the comic world and I avoided Uncanny like the plague.

I didn’t understand what I had done to be pushed out like I had been. Then I realized something; the “outcasts” and nerds that went to comics for acceptance were just as bad as the popular crowd that made fun of me. The acceptance was for the men that were nerds, not girls because they were meant to only like clothing and makeup. In their eyes, then she was only there to make fun of them.

Because of this assumption, I stopped reading comic books. I stopped doing something I loved because of the sexism that is in every aspect of society. It becomes part of the way that the individual thinks. It became part of how I think. With these limitations, people can't enjoy anything that isn't meant for their gender, whether it be comics, make-up, clothes, sports or whatever.

One of my friends finally dragged me back into the store right before I came back to Kutztown. As it turned out, one of our mutual friends had been hired as a manager there, and he told me that if we had trouble again to tell him. It made me feel better, but I still haven’t picked up a comic book.