Last week, I managed to take a trip to the local Barnes and Noble. It wasn’t the comic book store I wanted to go to, but I couldn’t justify the 30 minute drive.
In the moment I want to relate, I was facing the spare three shelves of erratically-arranged comics, trying to find something on the huge list in my hand.
In addition to me, there were two teenage girls. They were obviously BFFs, and were giving one another book recommendations from the New Teen Fantasy section shelved immediately behind me. Teen girl #1wore big purple headphones that matched her purple T-shirt. Teen girl #2 wore glasses, and had an armload of books already selected.
The girls, chattering, turned around to face the comics section. The first book on the top left shelf is a thick anthology labeled “Black Comix!”
Teen #1: ‘Black comix’. Geez. Even comic books are racist.
Me, gazing down at my shopping list of comics by women – none of which are on these shelves: They are sexist, too.
Teen #2: Yeah! They are!
Teen #1: What about black girls with no boobs? Where’s my comic book?
I proceed to tell them about the Bechdel test. The crucial bit being that the two female characters talk about something besides boys.
Teen #1, her face falling: I don’t think we ever….
Teen #2: No, come on, we have–
Teen #1: That’s right, yesterday I told you how much I wanted spaghetti.
Teen #2: And bacon. We always talk about bacon.