I encourage you to read Noelle Stevenson's autobiographical comic strip about what it's like to be a woman in a comic book store. And then I'd like to direct you to Heidi MacDonald's post about Stevenson's strip at The Beat, which also links to some first-person accounts of what it's like to be a woman visiting a comic book store. Here's someone visiting Kevin Smith's comic store, Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash, in New Jersey:
NOT friendly to women. The guys behind the counter openly ogle and discuss female customers, often loudly enough to be overheard. ...Openly mocked an out Lesbian and Gay man while I was in store. Then they started to mock my weight and hair. Until they realized I could hear them.
I just don't understand how a business can exclude fifty percent of the population and expect to succeed—but then many comics shops, with their dim lighting, their apparent fear of windows, and their awful interior design, are off-putting to people who aren't already acclimated to the environment. You can read more comics-buying accounts written by women, both positive and negative, at Hater Free Wednesdays.
When I go to my comic book store, Phoenix Comics, on Wednesdays to pick up my new comics, I often see a nice mix of men and women in the store, browsing around. I love watching all sorts of people being nerdy in a pleasant environment. The two Seattle-area stores on the Hater Free Wednesdays master list are Golden Age Collectibles and Comics Dungeon, but I've also seen women treated like actual human customers at most of Seattle's comics shops—Arcane Comics, Zanadu Comics, and so on. If you're a woman with a good or bad Seattle-area comics-buying experience, I'd urge you to send your accounts to Hater Free Wednesdays. This problem isn't going to be solved if women keep quiet about it.