It all started with this teaser for tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory:
“The girls go . . . WHERE NO WOMAN HAS GONE BEFORE.”
This prompted the writing a post two days ago by Rich Johnston on his comics website Bleeding Cool, entitled “Are You A Woman, Have You Actually Been Inside A Comic Shop?” This in turn prompted another post by the name of “Disproving The Big Bang Theory” in which Johnston received feedback from numerous individuals on what they thought of this premise.
A few response tweets:
And one of the longer email responses, this one from Susanna Baird:
I started reading comic books about a year ago. I’m a middle-aged mom and the first few times I walked to the “New Comics” back wall at Harrison’s in Salem, MA, I felt like I was walking the halls of my junior high school with a new haircut. But after a few weeks, I realized that feeling was entirely my own.
Everyone wanted to talk comics, and no one cared that I was the only middle-aged housewife in the store. Now it’s like all the enthusiastic geekery of junior high minus the mean girls. I love it. Love comics, love Harrison’s – the staff, the clientele – and I love being in a room full of metal shelves lined with three-dollar art.
I love Harrison’s.
Finally, one last post just today revealed that even an editorial staffer at one of the Big Two [Marvel/DC] had things to say about, which I won’t quote here since I don’t want this to just be links to Bleeding Cool articles. You can read that here, though.
Is all of this attention warranted? Should The Big Bang Theory really be criticized for depicting comic book stores as havens for uncomfortably staring virgins?
The fact of the matter is this: it’s the perpetuation of a stereotype that simply isn’t true. More than that, it’s based on the sexist assumption that some forms of media [in this case, comics] are closed off to women. I know for a fact that there are members of the finer sex who appreciate a good comic book, and saying that no woman has ever stepped foot in a comic book store straight-up denies this.
As someone who loves comic books, and wishes more people did, it’s a huge
encouragement to me that so many women are speaking out on this topic. They’re asserting that they appreciate good art and storylines too, and I am immensely pleased that this is happening.
It’s unfortunate, as well, since The Big Bang Theory has actually been really great this season. They’ve started giving the female cast members equal screentime, and it’s refreshing and creates a lot of immensely funny situations. It’s a shame that tonight’s episode turns to relying on such tired material, but it is definitely worth giving kudos to those who are doing their best to prove its premise false.