As I was perusing Twitter a few days ago, I ran across a tweet by Ayanami Lisa Cosplay.
It was an account of what she dealt with as a comic shop employee. With her permission, I am posting this. I am glad that most of the shops in my region are not reflective of this, but the problem is there are still a few places that are problematic and it must stop. Below is her experience. Please read it and if you see things happening and are in a position to do something about it, act.
Thank you Lisa, for this:
I’ve told some of you on here I used to work at a comic shop. I was 18 and that was many years ago. On the one hand I met a good friend there, on the other hand it was a nightmarish experience. I only lasted a year. Here’s just some of the things that happened:
- The regional manager used to stop by and inspect the store. Anytime he praised anything I did the other employees would mutter stuff like “I wish I had boobs. Maybe then my hard work would matter.” And laugh at me. I would of course feel humiliated and be filled with self doubt.
- Customers/ employees ranked every girl that worked at any of the comic shops. They would literally come in and look at me and to my face tell me where I ranked. “You’re way hotter than the girl at store 3.” Or the ever popular “You’re nowhere near as attractive as people said.”
- Customers and employees would ask my age then gleefully exclaim “18 yes!!!!” And high five each other. Also a lot of questions about whether or not I was a virgin or if I like sex. No, really pretty much all the time.
- My friend and former boss Tommy always treated me with respect. One time his friend came and said they should package and sell me there. He went off on him. Yeah I know…It’s crazy his friend actually said that out loud. Tommy shook his head angrily and said “That’s not why I hired her. She knows a lot about anime and other stuff the rest of us don’t.”
- Here’s the worst part. Outside of the comic shop I was NEVER treated like this. I haven’t faced this harassment at any other jobs…well GameStop. That’s a story for another time. Its crazy. I never got hit on or stalked the way I was there. I never got all those nasty comments. It’s just so incredibly unfortunate. Eventually I quit when I just couldn’t take it anymore. It really made me feel like an unwelcome outsider…which I already was! After all I was a nerd. Even after I quit, I remember a former coworker approaching me at a con. He was drunk and started accusing me of being stuck up and thinking I’m better than everyone else; just for quitting! I was so over him and all those people by then.
Anyway. This is why nerd girls fight so hard for representation and fairness. Its been a long road. Things are way better now, but fans used to be our bullies. It’s hard to forget. It took me years to come back to comics. Everyone has been so incredibly nice and welcoming. I really do appreciate you guys. I don’t want any of you to think you’re in this category because it was next level backwards BS. However, I am not going to forget it and I think explaining it can help see where me and other girls are coming from.
While these types of stories may be hard for some to read, they exist to show that we still have issues that still need to be fixed. We thank Lisa again for her contribution and I hope that others strive to stop this kind of harassment from happening.