I’ve said it before: geek and nerd culture is extremely popular these days. Just a few short decades ago, geeky hobbies, such as collecting comic books, watching cartoons, watching science fiction shows, playing video games et al, made you a social outcast. Nowadays, we have a lot of famous celebrities like Mila Kunis and sport stars such as Usain Bolt proclaim their love for video games. I’m assuming there are a ton of celebrities who also love collecting comics and the like.
And I’m pretty sure that they’ve also proclaimed how much they love these geeky hobbies. You know why? Because the world now accepts geek and nerd culture. Instead of shunning it, they welcome it into their lives. No more hiding in the closet and keeping your nerdy obsession from prying eyes. It’s now a badge of honor.
So, now that it’s mainstream, why are geeks and nerds up in arms whenever someone who doesn’t look like your typical/stereotypical nerd or geek actually say they’re one of us?
I guess some of it stems from the fact we used to be bullied for liking these things. Just a decade ago, our hobbies were niche pastimes and only the really dedicated would actually go out of their way to pursue them. None of the “cool” kids would touch these activities! In fact, I think young kids still experience the feeling of being picked on and bullied because you love nerdy things. Wil Wheaton actually had to reply to a little girl’s question about how he dealt with being called a nerd during this year’s Denver Comic-Con… wait. There’s a Comic-Con in Denver?
Anyway, here’s the clip:
For the most part, what he said is true. It’s hard to ignore them because, in all honesty, it does hurt to be called different and shunned by your peers, especially when you’re young. They call you names and totally trash your self-worth. What’s worse, they do it during your formative years just when you’re developing your own individuality and, at the same time, we’re trying to find friends with the same interests. We never truly fit in with our more attractive and athletic age group. So, the nerds and geek would band together in little tribes in a (futile) attempt to fend off the bullies.
Even during this golden age of geekdom, we’re still a target of mainstream media and we still do make fun of geeks and nerds in popular media. Shows like the Big Bang Theory seem to hit too close to home for some individuals. We still watch late night talk shows make fun of cosplayers and our intense love of anything geeky since, well, it’s ridiculous and totally deserving to be made fun of, right? Right?
Okay, that was really funny!
Do geeks and nerds laugh at these jokes even if the jokes are on them? Most definitely, because they do know it’s funny. They understand the humor of the nerd/geek stereotype. But a small part of it is also because we’ve gotten so used to being made fun of when we were young. It’s almost automatic for us to at least snicker at this kind of humor.
Because of the treatment we received early on during our formative years, I believe we do foster a resentment towards the more popular crowd and we naturally are suspicious of them claiming that they loved video games, comics, cartoons and superheroes. For geeks and nerds, we do have some right to doubt what they’re saying, especially since we were bullied by them for liking those same things.
Yet, at the same time, I’m embarrassed as to how we treat people who try to enter our little kingdom of nerdity and geekdom. With girls, we ask them extremely difficult and obscure questions about the geeky things they’re interested in and claim them to be fakers when they can’t answer them. With newbies, whether it be video games, comics and the like, we shun them and don’t lift a finger to assist them in any way. When someone good looking comes along and says they like the things we like, we outright call them posers and just want to get in with us since it’s become popular.
We’ve become the bullies.
We’ve become too protective of our little hobby. We’re afraid of letting anyone in who doesn’t fit the nerdy and geeky description. And I don’t think it’s right.
We shouldn’t hate on them. We should start learning to let people in. If they really like the same things we do, then they should be offered safe haven into our little world. Our little world offered us the sanctuary to be who we want to be; it’s our turn to facilitate the same to anyone who requests for it.
Besides, it’s not like we can’t kick them out.
What’s your take on why we have a hard time welcoming in new blood? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!