If any of you remember, I joined the blog back in May, and my second post was about “geek gatekeeping.” It got started because a friend of mine was harassed at my local comic book shop for not being geeky enough (or some nonsense like that) and it was gross and I went off. Pushing people away from your interests, geeky or non, either because they frighten you or because you’re frightened about the sanctity of that particular interest, is complete nonsense.
If you’d like an object lesson in how ridiculous it is, the kind folks over at The Mary Sue are glad to help you out:
But, I digress. Something that I didn’t mention back when I wrote that post was that the people doing the harassing weren’t the people who worked at my comic store. They were regular fixtures in the store, but not employees. My friend, a hopeful (and now actual!) comic enthusiast, related to me that although she had been only an aisle away from a store employee, nothing was said or done when the jerks (as I will hereafter refer to them) had mockingly questioned whether she even belonged in a comic book store. I don’t want to engage with the layers of self-delusion necessary to even ask if someone can “belong” in a store that sells books.
My friend and I were both rather miffed. Thinking about it, I was actually more miffed with the store employees than with the jerks, because the store should have every reason to object to that sort of behavior. Letting someone get harassed in your store because you’re too busy arranging trade hardcovers or something fails a basic test of common decency, and it’s also just bad for business. It’s likely to scare off potential customers who want to give you money in exchange for pictures of Spider-Man and dice with strange numbers of sides. I racked my brain for a minute as to why you wouldn’t get involved in a situation like that in your own establishment and I came up with a couple of reasons: