Saturday, January 28, 2006

Women: The Deadlier of the Species Part One

Food for thought of the day: Is it true that women are the deadlier of the species? Are women more obsessive? How does this apply to fanboys versus fangirls?

Let me take a moment to explain.

In the aftermath of the blog explosion of women, including myself, expressing their opinion about sexism in comics, there has been an after thought pointing to women themselves having issues to work through. Michael from “Tales to Mildly Astonish” has an interesting and controversial blog entry where he states his peace.

I found the link over at When Fangirls Attack (, the coolest new blog sight on the internet. Presented by Kalinara and Ragnell, the blog stays neutral, but makes sure to keep current on issues that reflect the topic of said site. It has been a revelation to say the least, and I am hoping to jump on the bandwagon sooner then later.

But I regress.

Men and women have always approached life in general differently, so it is no surprise that there are areas where there will always be disagreement. Author John Gray put in perspective in his best- selling book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus”. He condensed it by putting us on different planets on thought and showing where to meet in the middle to attain a level of relationship success otherwise thought to be unattainable. The guy gets it, and it made him wealthy and successful. Now we just need to take what he knows and apply common sense to the fanboy versus fangirl scenario.

Let me start by painting a picture. Fifteen years ago, long before I met my husband, I would go solo to my local comic book shop. I had just started collecting again after not being able to afford it during college and getting started in my career. My mission was to find the Wonder Woman and Justice League issues I had missed during that period and I was pretty relentless. The town has three comic shops owned by the same gentleman, so I knew I had to pick through each inventory.

The employees at the shop were for the most part great about helping me attain my list of books. I have built relationships with the owner and employees that last to this day and feel very comfortable in any of the stores there. The problem I had was with my fellow collectors.

One day I was looking through the Justice League back issues while a couple of guys were checking out the “D” and “E” section. Being lonely and desperate for conversation, I asked them what they were looking for. I got a one word answer “Detective Comics”. Okay. I asked them if they were regular collectors. Again I got a one word answer “yes”. In one last ditch attempt at human contact, I asked them if they knew any other good places to look for the books I was searching for. “No”, I was told. Well, at this point I gave up on these two fellas and went back to looking.

The sad fact is that this wasn’t an isolated incident. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to make polite conversation only to be rebuffed. I tried this several more times with other collectors, including a woman who told me she was just putting up with her boyfriend’s habit, but wished he would spend the money on something practical- like a speed boat. Heh.

Until I met my husband and he moved to my town nine years ago, I was completely unable to bond with the comic book collecting community. The minute I showed up with him, I was roundly accepted and my inquiries were answered with full sentences. To top it off, these guys told me that they didn’t remember ever seeing me around, because if they would have seen a “pretty girl” like me they would have remembered. Argghhh!

Today, I know the local collectors pretty well. I still haunt the same shop, and have the weekly routine down like clockwork. My husband is well respected as a “comic demi-god” of sorts for his knowledge and contacts. I am very proud of him, and my heart swells when he is acknowledged. I just wonder why I never got the same chance from the locals that he did. Theories, anyone?


Elayne said...

Um, lack of social skills on the part of these guys?

Heidi Meeley said...

Elayne, I agree that the lack of social skills was definitely there. It still disapoints me to this day because I feel that it helped perpetuate the fanoby mythos in my mind.

I see at least 20 of the between 30 and 60 year old crowd that ignored me so pointedly, and have to shake my head at times now. My greatest unease was the fact that now they comment that they would have remembered a "pretty girl" like me. Gag!

I agree with the lack of social skills for sure.

Carl said...

Hmmmmmm, welp, I had the total opposite problem, well, until college. I had no ego, no self-esteem and would look behind me to see whom the lady was talking to, me?! I would talk to them but be so shy and did a lot of "oh God, I'm such a geek!" after the lady left. Of course now, I'm a horrible flirt. I once met a dealer that was dressed sort of "Goth Victoria" and very style-ish, so after I introduced myself, I kissed her hand (I am very Southern). One of the other dealers (a very bald heavy guy with thick glasses) behind her said, "Jeez, Dianna, you never let me kiss your hand" in this dripping jealous voice. And she said without evening looking at him, "That's 'cause you can't pull off the charm darling..."
But, back to the subject, I have never understood the view of a lot of fanboys. I call it: "The Boys Comic Club Invasion" attitude. You've invaded their terrority, where they can talk about girls and women they can never have (real or imaginary) and sometimes in pretty crude ways. But, myself, I've always enjoyed a mixed crowd. Women, most of the time, have a civilizing effect on men and usually, the crowd is better for it. The only archtype I cannot abide is the "bored girlfriend/wife" mentioned above. My shop had a co-owner with one of those and I believe if the dialogue I had with her was written down the 2 years I knew her, it would be maybe a page. Maybe. Anyway, just my overflowing 2.0 cents, later...

Spencer Carnage said...

Don't worry, fanboys can't hold a conversation with me, either. I've given up hope on most comic book readers ever being considered functioning members of society

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl- Jim and I have got to meet you someday! It is destiny. I think you are the coolest!

Spencer- I feel your pain. Some Wednesdays I shake my head, and others, I sense a great deal of hope. It depends on the day. I will never give up trying, but there are those days. I so would like to work past this stigma!

Carl said...

Thanks! My nephew James has a plan for us to someday attend San Diego Con, probably the closest I will get to you guys. And if you guys ever get a chance, you must attend either FX or Megacon. Though FX is mostly collectibles with a comics minority. Welp, up past my bed time, hope all is well!

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, someday we will definitely get to the same place! Jim and I want to save up and attend San Diego very badly, but we have a dollar figure we must attain, so it may be awhile. Otherwise, the Mega Con is always a possibility. Jim would love to go to that one as well!