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I’m a girl. I wear skirts, I have boobs and dainty feet, and I like to spend an hour straightening my hair. That doesn’t preclude my love of nerd crap, though. My bookshelves are filled with Star Wars tomes, comics are piled up on the ottoman and Wind Waker Link sits atop my tv stand. Where I have trouble, however, is shopping for clothing.

I 3 nerds.

I <3 nerds.

You might react to that with, “What? A girl has problems shopping? Isn’t that, like, in your DNA or something?” If I were complaining about looking for a new trench from Macy’s or yet another slinky tank dress from H&M, you’d be right. But nerdwear? It’s a man’s world, baby, and we ladies can only walk through and sigh.

After the jump, read more ranty words and check out three examples of how women get the shaft — and not in the way you’re hoping.

It’s not easy to find an officially licensed nerd shirt that’s cut for both men and women. I’m not talking about those ridiculous “unisex” t-shirts that only men wear and that even a size small would positively hang like drapes on me; I’m talking about shirts that are made separately for men and women – shirts that glide over curves in the right places. It’s apparently too much to ask that a Flash lightning bolt be plastered on both a man’s shirt and a woman’s shirt. If, miracle of miracles, the bolt is available for those of us with vaginas, it’s often blinged out in sequins or, heaven forbid, changed to pink. Remember Title IX, where schools have to provide equal/comparable sports teams to men and women? We need the same thing for nerdwear. Let’s check out some head-to-head comparisons:

mens/unisex Crest of Hyrule shirt

men's/unisex Crest of Hyrule shirt

womens 1Upcake shirt

women's 1Upcake shirt

These shirts are from ThinkGeek, which I generally adore. While shopping for a male friend, I came across the Crest of Hyrule shirt and wanted to snap one up for myself. Alas, the only Nintendo-esque shirt available in a babydoll cut is the 1Upcake shirt. Apparently, we ladies are far too precious to fight for Hyrule’s honor; instead, we must be reminded that 1Up mushrooms are for boys, while adorable 1Upcakes are for girls. This probably is a Nintendo licensing brain fart and not a ThinkGeek kerfluffle, though, since I had the same problem at the Nintendo World Store this spring. Fair is fair, though: ThinkGeek does offer Firefly/Serenity shirts for both men and women. “Inevitable Betrayal” for gents and ladies, FTW.

mens/unisex Spider-Man shirt

men's/unisex Spider-Man shirt

womens Spider-Man shirt

women's Spider-Man shirt

It pains me to say this, but shopping at Marvel is pretty demeaning. Most of the women’s shirts available (“juniors,” they call them) assume that the wearer is 1) in fourth grade, and 2) looooooves boys, especially superheroes. Exhibit A, B and C, among others. The Spidey shirts above were as close as I could get to finding similar items for men and women. I suppose it’s good enough… but it’s not really, dammit! Maybe I want to wear an X Institute logo, too! … That said, many of Marvel’s shirts for both sexes are dumb. “Excelsior,” my ass.

mens/unisex Justice League shirt

men's/unisex Justice League shirt

womens Super Heroines shirt

women's Super Heroines shirt

We can’t leave DC out. Goodness, no — not when their women’s shirts are even worse than Marvel’s, AND their supply is limited. DC must have reeeeally liked the Spice Girls back in the day, because most of their shirts for vagina-havers focus on “girl power” of some sort, naturally featuring Wonder Woman. Well, that or nuzzling with the male superheroes. The women’s shirt above was as close as I could get to a Justice League shirt… if all of the Justice League members grew breasts. And do you really think I could find a Green Lantern logo shirt in my size? Hell to the no.

Can someone please explain why guys generally are the only ones to get cool shirts that fit? Why can’t we ladies wear Captain America’s shield on a shirt that isn’t four sizes too big? Why must we be expected to swim in a “unisex” t-shirt just to display our love of Thundercats? Why do license holders assume that they need to outfit a nerd shirt with glitter and swirly font and boy-worship for us to buy it? This phenomenon isn’t limited to nerdwear, mind you — it happens with sports and band shirts, too. I understand that women are a perceived minority when it comes to gaming, comics and collectables, but we’re a niche market with money, dammit. We’re the ones who buy stuff (remember that supposed “shopping DNA”?). Let us do what our DNA tells us to do: shop for clothes that fit us and show off our personalities.*

* Note, if that word were on a shirt, it would be spelled “purrrrsonalities” and would have a skirted Catwoman doing a Rockette kick over it.

Category: Comics, Videogames, WTF?

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