It’s a common stereotype that girls don’t read comics. While they are rare, there are, in fact, girls who do enjoy comics out there. They are still a minority, and alas, have not been able to put a dent in the idea that comics are a storytelling medium that only boys can enjoy.
While there is nothing inherently ‘male’ about comics, many of the female persuasion feel like it’s not something they can get into.
With the wide variety of comics out there, it’s hard to believe that there isn’t a single book out there that doesn’t grab a person’s attention.
Sadly, it’s not as simple as telling women to go browse around comic stores. It seems there are stores out there that are less than welcoming.
I haven’t witnessed anything firsthand, mind you, but I’ve heard that women who walk into comic book stores are either assumed to be the girlfriend who’s indulging her beau or are immediately assumed to be either manga fans or fans of only certain types of comics like Sandman or Runaways.
Ok, first thing, Sandman is really good. They should be reading Sandman. The idea that someone should be brushed aside for liking a work that is really well done is goofy. On the contrary, you should be talking with them about what you liked about the series.
Second, why don’t clerks ask before jumping to conclusions? From what I hear, they tend to look down their nose at female patrons as they assume that the girl has no real interest, but you would think that basic retail etiquette would tell you that they would do a standard greeting before asking if the customers were looking for anything and saying that they were around if the customer needed help.
Even if you were operating on the assumption that when a couple walks into a comic book store that the guy was the comic reader, you shouldn’t look down your nose at the woman. You can make a vague greeting that doesn’t specifically refer to anyone so that neither party feels singled out. It’s not difficult.
If anything, you should be inviting and work even harder to extend an olive branch. If a clerk were to aid the woman in finding something that would appeal to her as opposed to relegating her to the “Girlfriend’s section” (apparently some comic stores have a waiting table specifically for comic fans’ girlfriends that have magazines like Cosmo for them to read while the guy does his shopping), then maybe she’s be more willing to pick something up.
For all the talk about how comics are a struggling medium that’s hovering on the brink of collapse, you’d think that, as a salesperson, you would jump at the chance to have a new customer to frequent the shop.
Comics, even superhero comics, can (and should) be enjoyed by everyone. If the stereotype is to be broken, both sides need to put aside their preconceptions to find common ground. It may be a bit awkward at first, but once both sides become acclimated with the other, whatever tension there was should dissipate and everyone can geek out over the latest issue of Green Lantern, Walking Dead, or Captain America.