I go where I feel welcome

I remember three comic shops located in the same city. For the most part, they carried the same merchandise — mainstream comics, toys, and posters with a decent mix of independent titles — but they did have some variations. Particularly, they provided very different experiences for this female consumer.
I went to Shop A — which also offered computer gaming and sold game figurines — with a man and alone. When I went with a man, I was ignored and the shopkeepers kept trying to help the man, until he made it clear to the shopkeepers that he had no interest in the comics and that I was the customer. Only then did they begrudgingly offer me assistance. When I went alone, I could not get assistance, though the shop was not busy. Though I got the merchandise I wanted to the register, I left in disgust, without buying anything, due to how ignored I was. Yes, I was even ignored while at the register, with money in hand.
I went to The Comic Book Shop — which carried primarily the comics, toys, and posters and had information for comic conventions — with a man and alone. When I went with the man, I had no problem receiving assistance. I was not treated as a second-rate customer compared to the man; we were both greeted politely and offered help, and when I expressed interest, I received assistance. I enjoyed great rapport with the shopkeepers and bought more than I had planned, because I liked the atmosphere. When I went alone, I received a similar experience, reinforcing the positive feel at the shop.
I went to Shop C — which mostly offered collectible comics in addition to current titles, plus some toys and posters — only once, with a man and another woman. All three of us received varying levels of attention, from none to hostile glares. I found some interesting titles that I had difficulty locating elsewhere, but felt too unwelcome to bother spending my money there. I left and never returned.
Out of those three stores in that same city, The Comic Book Shop saw the most of my business and my enthusiastic recommendations. As a consumer, I go to where I feel welcome.
Overall, mainstream super-hero comics do not make women feel welcome… as consumers or as creators. One flip through almost any issue will show the few women presented in the comic as objects of lust, fragile ornaments of beauty, or helpless victims to be rescued more than as interesting characters. They can be almost-but-not-quite-as clever as the men and must either submit to the men’s decisions or be portrayed as unattractively strong- and wrong-headed. Their costumes are decidedly more revealing than the men’s costumes (which takes work when everyone is wearing skin-tight spandex, but the women do get a lot less of it). Aside from the costumes and hair, they look alike with the same impossible builds and faces. A quick scan of the creators’ names listed on the various titles will show an overwhelming presence of men.
Just as in my experiences in Shop A, my gender is being treated as second-rate while the other is being attacked with not-entirely desired service. As in Shop C, neither gender is getting an exactly positive feeling.
Comic editors may argue that women are not interested in comics, but some women want to read or create comics. We just have difficulty finding content friendly to us and finding places that make us feel welcome. I go to where I feel welcome, and mainstream super-hero comics do not give me that feeling.