To say women have not been reading comics is foolish. I've been reading them since I was little. It may not have been Marvel or DC because my mother thought superheroes were for boys, but I picked up monthly issues of Scooby Doo and Archie's Weird Mysteries. I got older and worked my way up to Batman and Batgirl despite my mother's mixed feelings. The thing that remains true is that marketing and comic shop environments are spaces dominated by men and targeted towards men. I have been to 3 different comic stores in my city and I have not felt comfortable in any of them. I actually had a clerk at one of the stores watch me as I perused the shelves.
I think what is happening now is that female readers are becoming more visible and shop owners are taking notice and people running surveys on the internet are getting diverse responses. I am hoping that the concrete data of female readership can break down barriers and change attitudes for the better. And I'm not just saying ordering items for more general readers, which is a good idea, but also putting in the effort to welcome and respect female readers and their opinions (O'Leary, 2014). This isn't just a task for the comics industry and their advertising departments but also for the owners of comic book stores and their employees. I think we're all still feeling the after effects of that whole Fake Geek Girl rant by Tony Harris made about 2 years ago.
Another interesting thing that I totally agree with, is that girls are finding out what they should read next from social media outlets like twitter and facebook (O'Leary, 2014). I believe it because I follow my neighborhood comic shops and several comic book reviewers on twitter. It's also a way to gather information safely and free of judgement. I want to see what they are purchasing and what their opinions are. I want to educate myself in order to invest my time and money in the right series.
I have hope for the future but that future needs to be open and inclusive to all demographics.
O'Leary, S. (2014). Despite Early Sales Slump, Comics Retailers Remain Upbeat. Retrieved from: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/comics/article/61533-despite-early-sales-slump-comics-retailers-remain-upbeat.html