A CCW Op-Ed by Cami Berardi

Posted: February 9, 2010 in CCW OpEd, Geek Culture, Opinion
Tags: ,

Tired Of The Same Ol’ Sausage? The New Pink Taco Is In Town!

By Cami Berardi

Let me start by stating that this is NOT advertising for a new promotion from Taco Bell or an adult website. Nope, instead it is one lone “fan-girl” calling out all local comic shop owners across the land.

As some of you may or may not have heard Strange Adventures comic shop located in Halifax Nova Scotia in Eastern Canada has decided to make a ground breaking move in the comic book community by holding its very first Ladies Night. “Why? What is that?” you may wonder while scratching your head. The answer my friend is very simple and it is best summed up in the following quote given by Strange Adventures themselves:

“Have you ever felt a little intimidated or awkward going into a comic shop? Are you interested in comics, but not sure where to start? Or are you a super fan-girl who wants to nerd out about comics without boys getting in the way?”

When I first read about this event I was floored, impressed, and a little envious because I absolutely would have loved to have been apart of it. I thought to myself; hmm, this is just what the doctor ordered. For so long there have been many places that have been dubbed a true “sausage-fest” and comic book shops rank high on that list in my humble opinion. The introduction of having a female centric event held even once a month in local comic book shops around the U.S. and Canada would leave a tremendously positive footprint in the comic book community.

Here is fact number one: the portrayal of women characters in the comic book medium has often been lack fucking luster to say the least. Fact number two: there is certainly not nearly enough women who are working in the comic book industry at any level to be able to exact true change from within. Fact number three: there are heaps of women out there that love comic books or are just curious about comics, and really desire to be apart of this scene but are so afraid of all you big bad comic book guys that they shy away.

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s pretty simple. When comic book shops choose to host such an event, women feel free to really get their mitts dirty and explore the wonderful world of visual literature that awaits them just beyond those front doors. I am a die hard Fan-girl who hails from Toronto, Ontario and I have been to many comic book shops in the city and surrounding areas. There are two common threads amongst all of them. The first being an over saturation of Marvel product on their shelves AND secondly, no women to be found anywhere…not even behind the counters! There has been only one shop in Toronto that I have frequented (Silver Snail) where I have actually witnessed female employees. Coincidently this is the same shop where I have noted the most amount of female clientele.

By having a “ladies night” shops are inviting in an army of comic book connoisseurs to spend their money. When the female population begins to spend money it benefits the whole community in two ways as I can see it. There is a rise in profits for all concerned. Also the comic book publishers will be able to track the type of subject matter that actually appeals to women as opposed to a bunch of men cooped up in some stuffy boardroom somewhere scratchin’ their balls trying to figure out what women want, and failing miserably at it I might add. This may come as a surprise to some of you men out there, but not every woman wants to only read Harry Potter or fucking Twilight!

Just like when it comes to everything else in life, we enjoy having a variety. Just like you boys, we too would enjoy getting a group of like minded friends together on a Wednesday night to head out to the local comic shop to fuss and fawn over the latest releases to hit the shelves. It would be refreshing to see a girl behind the counter who we could approach for her take on a particular series or a current event happening in the industry. Maybe, just maybe, it will take the monetary language of the all mighty dollar to persuade comic publishers to employ more female editors, writers, artists, etc. And once this happens we may just be lucky enough to see a change in how women are written and drawn in comics.

There is really nothing to be afraid of here fellas. This is not segregation or a plot to over throw the male kingdom of comics. It is instead a brave new world. A utopia if you will. A comic book community where men and women of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, religious and political views, and sexual orientation can meld together and just get along while enjoying a solid read.

I truly and sincerely hope that this idea ignites like wild fire. I honestly believe it can resuscitate a currently dying industry. Changes must be made if we are to see a revival of sorts within the comic book community. This type of event should be welcomed with open arms not greeted by closed minds. After all boys, I ask you: what is the sausage without the bun?

  1. Deemar says:

    Anything that keeps the medium going I’m all for.

    Hell they should do the same for black folk, I’d love something that speaks to me. Just no Reggie Hudlin

  2. generaldark says:

    like i say, fanbois will be the death of this industry. good for that shop to try something new. we need some fresh people buying comics.

    • Variant Girl says:

      I agreee, and that’s why I was so impressed to fianlly see a shop do something positive like this. Now all we need is for the rest of the world to catch on LOL.

  3. nioki says:

    Here in Manila, the comic book shops’ employees are all women. Comic stores here are treated like any ordinary shop — there’s a shop girl behind the cashier who really doesn’t know anything about the books she selling.

    During new comic book day (round here it’s thursday, sometimes saturday, depends on how corrupt our country’s customs officials feel that week i guess), the shop people just give you a print out of all the titles that arrived (of course it’s mostly Marvel), and you just tell them which ones you’re pulling. I only know one shop here where there’s a male employee, and that guy’s the owner of the shop.

    This doesn’t mean I have anything against what Cami wrote. It’s totally awesome to see fan-girls coming out (happens here annually, when Neil Gaiman visits the Philippines — he has a solid female following here also). It’s just that here, it’s a little depressing coz, although the shops are run by women, they’re really just employees and they don’t really care that much.

    • Variant Girl says:

      While it’s nice to see women employed, it sux to know that are actually not passionate about comics. What I am suggesting is having die hard Fan-girls who actually know about the industry and have opinions and insights to share, be employed in shops. Hell, I say they should open more shops LOL. I’m glad you enjoyed the article, and it’s not shocking to hear that Marvel has such a strong presence every where in the world. They are like some kind of new world order…scary…yikes! thx for commentig and taking time to read my post.

  4. glad you liked our idea! it was a huge success and we’ll be having another in the spring. I encourage all comic shops to try it

    • Variant Girl says:

      Hi Calum Johnston,

      I commend you and your staff on taking such steps in inviting the female population to become an active part of the comic book community. I was very impressed by your idea and efforts. As a fan-girl I applaud you and say thx 🙂 Please keep up the fight for equality !

      • we’ve heard from a shop in Detroit who are hoping to put on their own ladies night and I’ll be talking it up in March at the ComicsPro (comic retailers association) annual meeting in Memphis to encourage more of them to give it a try. Girls are half the population and they like to read AND they buy stuff….seems like a segment of the population we should be trying to entice into our shops!

  5. Pobra says:

    Great write up Cami. Way to represent the fangirl population! I used to LOVE going to the Silver Snail when I was younger. Now I find they focus too much on the toys and statues, the comics almost seem secondary. Anyway I digress, have you ever been to the Comic Warehouse in Brampton? Whenever I take my fiance in there with me, they look at us like we just walked off a fucking space ship or something. They ask “can I help you?” as if we accidentally walked in to the wrong store. My fiance hates it in there, she says she feels intimidated and unwelcome. Jesus, I hope none of the warehouse guys read this blog, I don’t mean to bash them, it’s actually a pretty good shop (as long as you leave your GF in the car, that is). So, I definitely agree that more shops need to do something to make the ladies feel more at home, ladies night is a great idea. Kudos to that shop in Halifax for paving the way.

    • Variant Girl says:

      Hey Proba,

      Hey fellow Canadian, liked my article eh? LOL. Anyway, You are quite right. A lot of comic shops go out of there way to make the female shopper feel unwelcome. The thing is I don’t know if they even understand that they are acting this way. I feel bad for your girlfriend and I hope that you encourage her to give comics another chance.

      Your right, if there was a ladies night or more females around the shop, women would feel more comfortable. I give kudos to Strange Adventures for taking steps to be more positive and inclusive within the comic book community. Thx for reading the post and commenting. Thx for the recomendations in regards to shops as well 🙂

      • Pobra says:

        I’m sure that they DON’T realize what they’re doing and don’t intend on making ANY customer feel unwelcome, it’s just unfortunate that it happens as a result of having little to no female clientele. Here’s hoping that all changes.
        The shop I mentioned actually isn’t my regular haunt, I just brought it up as it pertains to what you’re saying. Thankfully my GF has gotten to know most of the guys at my LCS and feels very comfortable around them, she even picks up my books for me sometimes! But she couldn’t be any more disinterested in comics if she tried 😛

  6. Morlock50 says:

    Very interesting article Cami. Thanks in addition for providing a fresh perspective on fandom. I think a ladies night at my lcs would be great for their business (the place is dead during the week). I might just mention it to the owner next time I’m there.

    • Variant Girl says:

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment 🙂 Please if you can do mention it to your LCS. When more people suggest it and request it, the more shops will take it seriously and hopfully incoporate it into a regualar thing. A night like that would be especially great for like a Monday or Thursday, some night when you need to bring people in. So glad to see all you AWESOME FANBOYS the real MEN out there, especially the ones who are fans of the CCW. It’s you who care about the industry, care about comics, and care about women 🙂 Makes my heart say..AWEEEE 🙂

  7. Very good article Variant Girl!

    I’m glad to see that some stores are actually working on getting more women into comic books, which is awesome. Only ONCE in my life have I seen a woman as an employee at a comic book store and it didn’t seem like she had a lot of passion for comic books.

    It really makes me mad when fanboys don’t give a rat’s ass about women and just zero them out of existance. As a teenage comic book fan myself I’m usually really shy and I worry that when I tell a girl that I collect and read comic books, they might avoid me or something like that. Hopefully things like what Strange Adventures is doing spreads a lot and quickly.

    I would love to see more women into reading comic books. I would be one thrilled fan 🙂

    • Variant Girl says:

      Hey ComicBookDude,

      first off thx for reading my posting. Secondly, I am so encouraged to see so many “fanboys” come out to support this idea. I would have to say you lot are the new breed of Fanboy and you should be proud. How cool would it be to have a girlfriend or a girl thats your friend, and be able to go to the LCS together just to hang out? I think it’s fucking amazing! Don’t ever be afraid to share your interests with us chickees, we are interested but some of us don’t know where to start. If you have close girl friend or your currently in a relationship take her to the store with you next time and get her to give a title a try.

      I would LOVE to be able to work in a comic book shop and the chicks that do seem not to care, unfortunate really, but it figures right? Anyway, thx for being supportive and also for leaving a comment. I appreciate all the feedback everytime:)

  8. Deemar says:

    I guess Canada aint so bad

  9. kurumais says:

    great idea kudos to the folks that came up with it hope it catches on

  10. Rob F says:

    Only thing I would suggest is calling it Girl Power or something more pro-women. Ladies night reminds me of girls getting hit on by desperate dudes…

    • Morlock50 says:

      It reminds me of that awful song by Kool & the Gang. It’s stuck in my brain like an unwanted soundtrack as I’m typing this.

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