Peter Parker looking confused, trying to figure things out in Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: Far From Home

Yes, There’s a Reason Some of Us Still Have to Defend Our Love of Superhero Movies

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There are still extremely male-dominated opinions when it comes to the world of nerdom and, as the world has shifted and gotten better for fans of all gender identities, it does floor me that we still have this argument that comics nerds are not a minority. On the contrary, I think there are a great deal of us, but the difference is that women nerds are often seen as rare butterflies (we’re not), which perpetuates the idea that women cannot like comics or superhero movies.

So, let’s first look at what a nerd is. For years, they were seen as the glasses-wearing, basement-dwelling men living with their mothers. It took shows like The Big Bang Theory to make male nerds feel represented, which I already have to laugh at, because … when were you ever questioned about your love of something? You just got teased in high school like the rest of us and then wore a fedora and said, “Nice guys finish last.” ANYWAY, that’s how many still view nerds.

Women who are into comics and superhero movies? We’re very rarely seen as anything other than what could be a dream woman for these nerds. We’re not fully formed people who also love Spider-Man because, to the mainstream culture of nerdom, we don’t exist. Now though, there is a shift happening that I thoroughly enjoy.

With Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel showing that female heroes can reach the same massively popular scale at the movies, female comic fans are being seen by the wider world as part of the cultural zeitgeist of nerds more than ever before. For the first time in my 27 years of being a nerd, I can tweet about Tony Stark without 40 angry men in my DMs telling me that I’m a fake fan of comics. I can openly talk about my favorite version of Bruce Wayne (I have to go with those graying temples) and not feel like I’m going to be questioned into oblivion.

Still, we’re seen as a small portion of the comic/nerdy community (which isn’t true), but with that, we can take to social media to share our love of all things deemed nerdy. However, an unfortunate consequence of the popularity of these things growing is the idea that superhero movie fans don’t need to defend their love of these things because they are now the mainstream.

Sure, the male community doesn’t need to defend it, but the female and non-binary community are still struggling to be seen as equals in the world of nerds. We’re still fighting for a place at the nerdy table that is not just so male fans can objectify us, and so, I’m going to defend my love of superhero movies and their merit in the world for as long as I need to.

There will come a day when a young girl can say she likes Star Wars or Steve Rogers and the first response from a man won’t be “Oh really, well what’s the machete order?” or some other asinine question they’d never ask a fellow man, but that day is not here yet. We’re getting better, but we still have a ways to go.

I can’t wait until I can go to a Marvel movie and never worry that some guy is going to ask where my boyfriend is.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.