A woman is being supported for leaving a bad review of a small, mom-and-pop store specializing in Japanese animation and comics, after a clerk harassed her and said that women weren’t able to understand the popular series Naruto.
Redditor u/throwitinthecorner10 shared her story to the popular r/AmITheA**hole subreddit, earning 8,400 upvotes and 1,000 comments in seven hours for her post, “AITA for leaving a bad review on a small store.”
She says that it was her anniversary with her boyfriend, and the couple have a tradition of going into a store, separating and buying gifts for the other, which they then exchange immediately afterward. This year, the store they picked was a small anime store; the original poster (OP) says she’s a “huge anime nerd,” and that the shop also had video games, which appealed to her boyfriend.
While she was looking for a gift, one of the store clerks came up to her and pointed at one of her tattoos, this one depicting Kakashi from naruto, and asked if she got it to please her boyfriend. She said no, and showed off some of her other Naruto tattoos, telling him she always loved the series. At this point, however, the clerk started quizzing her about Narutotrying to prove that she wasn’t actually a fan.
“I told him I wouldn’t have spent $1000 on tattoos of an anime I didn’t know about, and I didn’t appreciate him trying to catch me in a ‘Gotcha’ moment,” u/throwitinthecorner10 wrote. “He told me he didn’t believe a girl could ever fully understand the real story of Naruto and the depth behind it (lol)”
She told him she didn’t need any help and he can go back to the register. In return, he called the OP a “rude wannabe b**ch,” and walked into the back room. She purchased her gifts, and left.
Afterward, she wrote a review of the store, saying “if you’re feminine presenting enter with caution, one of the employees will call you ab**ch when you don’t want to prove your ‘nerd cred’ to him.”
She says that the owner of the shop asked her to take down the review because people had complained about the employee in question and the store’s revenue has fallen.
“I told him I wouldn’t and maybe he shouldn’t hire misogynists if he doesn’t want bad reviews,” she wrote. “My friends tell me I’m about reacting.”
One of the most irritating things women and other feminine-presenting people face in geek circles is the “fake geek girl” myth. Some geeks take it upon themselves to gatekeep their hobby, doubting women can be “real fans,” rather than just pretending in an attempt to attract men.
In 2018, a tweet went viral describing a mother and daughter’s experience at a convention for fans of Doctor Who, another geek culture staple. The daughter, 11, was cosplaying and got to meet her favorite actor, Peter Capaldi. But afterward, an adult man started quizzing the daughter about her knowledge, forcing her mother to step in and get the man to stop harassing her child, according to Kate Gardner, writing for The Mary Sue.
Gardner shares her own experiences of being accused of faking her fandom in the piece. In one instance, when she mentioned she was going to see one of the avengers movies, the people she was talking to assumed she was going not as a fan, but because she was attracted to one of the lead actors.
“I didn’t have words to express myself then, but I sure do now: it was unfair and, quite frankly, crossed a line,” Gardner wrote.
Academic Suzanne Scott wrote a 2019 book, Fake Geek Girls: Fandom, Gender and the Convergence Culture Industry, about the phenomenon. In her book Scott describes “how longstanding gender biases within geek culture have set the stage for an entrenched understanding of digital culture as an inherently masculine space in which women are always already ‘interlopers.'”
However, women have always been a major part of fandom and geek spaces. Fan and writer Bjo Trimble is credited with reversing NBC’s decision in 1968 to cancel Star Trek by spearheading a letter-writing campaign to the network, according to feminist magazine bitch. in the ’70s, Wimmen’s Comix was a major force in the underground comix movement, and the magazine—and collective—was originally formed as a response to sexism in the movement. And, of course, Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein in 1818 and The Last Man in 1826, is credited with writing the first science-fiction novel by modern luminaries like Brian Aldiss.
Reddit was not impressed with the unnamed anime shop clerk, and backed u/throwitinthecorner10.
“[Not the A**hole]. As if Naruto is some grand epic that’s hard to understand. A 12 year old could understand it,” u/FunOptimal7980 wrote in the top-rated comment with 10,200 upvotes.
“Owner admits employee is a problem and instead of getting rid of him harasses customers to remove their reviews. Owner should be shamed also,” u/ambiguousearrings wrote.
“Fellow feminine gamer/anime nerd. I hate these a**holes with a firey passion. Thanks for leaving the warning so us other nerds don’t have to deal with his dumb butt,” u/Caramellatteistasty wrote.
“It always frustrates me on how guys treat me if I tell them I like what they would consider ‘male’ anime. I never have a problem when I wear a Sailor Moon or CardCaptor Sakura shirt, but heaven help me if I wear my DragonBall Z, Sword Art Online, or even my Seven Deadly Sins stuff. [Neon] Genesis Evangelion or understand it. Anime is for everyone!” u/RCKitKat84 wrote.
“[Not the A**hole]. You’re not overreacting. If the store owner wants to get his revenue back, he can fire the misogynist,” u/sammasc123 wrote. “You are under no responsibility to put up with men treating you poorly just because you’re female-presenting. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
“I’d edit my original review to include how the owner spoke to me and dismissed all concerns about his employee,” u/ssnowangelz suggested.
news week reached out to u/throwitinthecorner10 for comment.