11 Things You Should Never Say to a Female Fan of Superhero Movies

Women who like comics have been getting a bad rap for years. This is nothing new. If anything, the rash of superhero movies doing well at the box office has only made this worse as women are now getting made fun of for "pretending" to be into comics and "pretending" to be into comics because they're into superhero movies. It's hard for female fans of traditionally masculine activities like comic book reading to be legitimized as fans. I can't imagine why. In today's world, people are more aware of gender stereotypes and how they just don't apply in a lot of cases than they ever were in the past, so women are free to be more open about their love for superhero movies. However, that doesn't mean they'll be welcomed into the fandom with open arms.

Sadly, a lot of the phrases below are genuine things you might have to expect to hear if you're a woman who admits to being a fan of superhero movies. Some of it is rude, some of it is ignorant, and some of it is just plain wrong, but as a general note you should try to avoid saying any or all of the following to most female fans. Reactions, as always, vary on an individual basis, but maybe you should try avoid saying any of these phrases to anyone at all. Just to be safe.

"Did you even read the comics?"

We have two options here. Either I did read the comics and you're assuming that I didn't because I'm a girl or I didn't read the comics and you're assuming that makes me less of a fan of this movie than you. Do you read the book every time you go out and see a book-to-film adaptation? No? You don't? Then shut up.

"You're only here because [insert actor who is probably Chris Evans here] is hot."

First of all, Chris Evans (or any of the other hot male leads) is not the reason I am shelling out $12.50. Don't get me wrong. I love Chris Evans. But Chris Evans needs to have a solid plot going on around him for me to shell out that much money just to see those arm muscles, OK? Otherwise, I would have just waited for it to come out on HBO.

"This is more of a guy's movie."

You're so right. Let's just ignore all the statistics about exactly how much of the movie viewing audience is made up of women and have me tear my ticket in half and go see something that's all pink and romantic. Because superhero movies are totally for boys. My bad.

"Don't expect to see too much romance in this one."

I hate when people assume that I've come to the movies just to see two people fall in love with each other. If that's what I was here for, trust me, I'd be watching an actual romance movie and not a superhero movie hoping for romance. Besides, that's a stupid claim to begin with because every single one of these movies has a subplot about the hero and their love interest. Every. Single. One.

"They're just pandering to you guys in these movies."

Which part is pandering to me exactly? The part where most of these movies fail the Bechdel Test? The part where I'm lucky if most of these movies have more than one female lead character? The part where nearly all of these movies play up how hot these women are before they play up the skills they're bringing to the table? Yeah, no.

"You're not a True Fan if you didn't read the comics."

Do True Fans get special VIP passes to life or something? Does being a True Fan allow me to step through the movie screen and end up in Tony Stark's high-tech house? Or does being a True Fan mean I just get to be a giant snob to other people who like something that I like? Because, if so, then no thanks.

"A Black Widow movie is a stupid idea."

Get out of my face. You don't need to watch it, but don't vilify people for wanting it or demean the idea.

"You really expected them to change one of the greatest comic book storylines just to keep Gwen Stacy alive?"

This is a polarizing subject already, but the fact of the matter is that Gwen Stacy didn't have to die in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Or, if she did, then we need to remain aware of the unfortunate implications behind her original death to begin with. Not everyone agrees that changing such an iconic storyline would have been a good idea, but everyone should at least admit that killing off the hero's girlfriend to give him All the Angst is getting old.

"The movies have Pepper/Peggy/Natasha/Jane/Sif/etc. Why do they have to be the main character to make you happy?"

Before I answer you, please go and look at any report about how many films are starring men vs. how many films are starring women at the box office today or in the past. I'll wait. Seriously, I'll wait. When you return, unless you can give me a good reason everyone is rushing to adapt the most random comic book heroes before they flesh out the background of established women like Black Widow, Sif, or Gamora, then you can shut up.

"Female superhero movies are always terrible."

I think it's about time we all stop blaming Catwoman for the downfall of female superhero movies. Catwoman came out 10 years ago, women have unfairly had to prove to the world that movies starring them can do well at the box office, and now there are no other excuses left for why there aren't any female superheroes leading their own films. How do you know female superhero movies are always terrible? There's barely been one in the last 10 years.

"Why did you come see the movie if you were just going to complain about it?"

First of all, my enjoyment of any movie is not going to stop me from complaining about it. There's a difference between liking something and blindly worshipping something. I loved The Avengers, but the fact that Black Widow is the only female Avenger bothers me. I love Iron Man, but the fact that Pepper doesn't get to do much besides be Tony's girlfriend bothers me. You can like something and discuss ways it can be improved, especially on a feminist level. It's not a crime.

Image: Marvel (9); Sony Pictures (1); The Dark Knight Rises (2)