Many people ask me “What is it like to be a female in the hobby?”
This question has had different answers at different times through my collecting journey. In the beginning of my collecting, 10 year old Kayla didn't really think anything of it, “I’m just a collector.” There never seemed to be a significance, and I didn’t pay attention to me usually being the only girl in the room. Many people experience being a minority in everyday life, so I never viewed this little topic of conversation as one to pay attention to.
Fast forward a couple years, I started to notice different things. I started to get asked, “Where’s your dad”, “Where’s your boyfriend”, and other questions along those lines. These questions are very discouraging to a young female collector. I didn’t understand why I needed to validate my love of sports/collecting. I looked for other female collectors that could share these stories that they too have experienced. For a long time I couldn’t find them. There wasn’t a female presence on social media and I didn’t really see female dealers.
Further down the line, I decided to be the person I wish I saw at 10 years old getting into the hobby. There is now a whole community of present collectors (that happen to be female) leading the way and sharing this awesome community with many. I’m just a small part of the puzzle trying to change the conversation.
As I’ve said, the answer for me to “What is it like to be a female in the hobby?” has changed. This now means to me, being an example of how great this community can be. There are still plenty of challenges. Being marketed as “female collectors” instead of “collectors” and occasionally being questioned about our fandom.
I want the question of “What is it like to be a female in the hobby?” to eventually disappear. “Female” collectors have stories to tell, the same as anyone else. Each person regardless of gender, faces their own challenges within their collecting journey. I want to foster a community where there is no longer a surprise when a female collects, without male influence. That’s what it feels like when we walk into the room, constant shock factor. Now at times it’s flattering to have the support of people “finding it cool” that females collect, and at times has perks, but we are all collectors.
Many times at this past National, I had young girls share “I didn’t know there were others” and other statements along those lines. It’s great to see the narrative slowly changing and being supported by other collectors to help share the hobby we all love.
The best thing you can do for a “female” collector… is take “female” out of it. Treat them like you would any other collector *As long as that is with kindness. Ask them the same questions. Give them the same deals. Share the same camaraderie.
I’ll continue to have “female collector” as part of my bio on instagram until the conversation changes. Until there are enough collectors shown when everyone sees themselves represented, I want to be a guiding light to those who were like me, getting asked the question, “What is it like to be a female in the hobby?”