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“I Liked Spider-Man and Was Bullied for It” – Jess’ Story

Remember why you liked comics in the first place?

Our Comics Empower Project continues!

This time, Jess tells her story:

Comic books are obviously a medium everyone has had some experience with – even my own family members know certain things about the characters you read every week, while they just stay pop cultured, so to speak.  But obviously some people are more affected than others.

Really, at first, I had no interest in comic books.

As a girl, I was technically not allowed to like them.

Two, they were really just people in spandex to me without any weaknesses.

Three, all of them seemed to be guys.

I thought all of this until the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies.  Okay, I’ll watch just one more time, I’d tell myself.

Eventually, I liked Spider-Man, and kids in my school caught wind of it and I was bullied for it.  It’s a boys’ topic.  You shouldn’t like comic books.

Honestly, the bullying only made it more intense.  If I wasn’t allowed to like Spider-Man, I’m going to like Spider-Man and Batman and Captain America.  I don’t care if you don’t like it.

It was then my old ways of thinking started to change.  Who cares if I was a girl? That’s called “sexism”.  They quickly proved to me they weren’t just people in spandex, and weren’t without weakness either.  Spider-Man is perhaps one of the best examples of that.  As a result, though, I went on a quest for a female superhero costume for years, secretly.  I didn’t tell my parents because I was a girl. I didn’t want anyone to know.

I never found my costume.

Fast forward about a decade.

A friend of mine recommended I go see the new (at the time) Batman movie The Dark Knight.   I reluctantly agreed – comic books were still a boys club to me.  There were no girls.

I couldn’t find my costume.  I never found my costume.

The only popular girl superhero was Wonder Woman, and I wasn’t much of a Wonder Fan.

Batman got me back into it.  Batman showed me Batgirl and Catwoman and the Joker.  It showed me all of these people who embody the world around us and the issues we face.  It was then I realized comic books are more than works of art – they’re statements on the world and they bring certain conversations to the table.

They are as powerful as any other medium if not more so, but don’t let us forget about our childhood.

They don’t let us forget life can be fun even during terrible events.  They don’t let us forget that even if we have an awful past we can still have a wonderful future.

Of course we can sit down and talk about issues, but why not let the comics bring it to the table for us? At least we’ll have more fun that way!

But the story doesn’t end here.

I realized comics were powerful and more than mindless pop culture.  I realized that it wasn’t just a boys club.  I realized that spandex was just the costume, and not the entire comic itself.

One day a few years ago, it was realized I had an invisible chronic illness.  During the terrible time of diagnosis and the ensuing lifelong treatment, the X-Men proved to be my comfort while nobody else understood (I will be detailing this in a post on my blog,  The X-Men still are my comfort.  They get it.

Comics will influence me for the rest of my life – after all, they get it.

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Category: Comics Empower