When I was in grade school, being called a “geek” was an insult. It wasn’t something popular or smart. It was a term reserved for loners and people who wore glasses and people who read too much. Okay, I may have fit into two of those categories. I’ve worn glasses since freshman year of high school and … define “read too much”. Can there really be too much reading? As for “loner” status, I suppose you’d have to ask my fellow classmates of 2000. Some would say yes, some no. I’d vote no. Either way, “geek” was never a dirty word to me. “Nerd” used to be. It no longer is either.
Whether you’re a geek, a nerd, or a dork, you should advertise that. Put the feelers out there to find your people. They are out there. Maybe they’re hanging out at your local gaming or comic book shop, playing Friday Night Magic (yes, that’s a thing) or something less stereotypically geeky like getting together for a beer at the local pub. Maybe they are doctors, bikers, fellow moms, and the secretary at that office you go to….
Did you know there is a site dedicated to expressing how sexy geeks are? Yes, that’s a thing as well. And yes, it’s true. Geeks can indeed be very sexy. If you don’t believe me, seek out image searches on “fem trooper”, or someone cosplaying some anime character, a person who has gotten creative with a Firefly costume perhaps… So many choices.
Relative to these costumes is also the growing popularity of identifying yourself as a geek. For some of us here at Vivid & Brave it would be identifying yourself as a “geek girl” or a “gamer girl”. There are reasons why I don’t add a gender to my identity as a geek (or a nerd or a dork). It has become a “fake” thing and a negative thing to be “found out” as a “fake” gamer girl or similar things. I realize that’s a lot of quotes. I need a lot of quotes for all that ridiculousness.
Guess what. If you play Call of Duty, you can call yourself a gamer. If you play Sims, you can call yourself a gamer. If you know everything about every video game ever made, you can call yourself a gamer, but you might not want to. If you play board games only, you can call yourself… Are we getting it yet? As I say with so many issues I encounter during my daily life – “Why does this matter??” Does it physically hurt you if someone considers themselves a gamer, a geek, sexy, awesome, whatever? Does it in some way destroy *your* identity? If the answer is “no” then we need to take a good long look at why something triggers us and work to solve that trigger.
Are we perhaps insecure in our own lives, our own identities? Do we get mad at the girl with a bikini on who has a little extra weight on her because *we* wouldn’t have the guts to wear it? Do we get upset with the gamer girl because we can’t identify with that in the same way? No one is walking your path. You are the only guide on your journey. Whatever you want to be, be that to the fullest extent. Free yourself to be open and honest and to not care what others think. Are you a feminist? Or do you hate the term “feminism”? Both are fine if you are secure in your choice and not harming others.
For a lot of history, I would say it’s safe to use the summary that “many” geeks wouldn’t hurt a fly. The community is a fairly safe place. Yet we hear about issues like “gamergate” and the hate that can sometimes befall people of any gender or identity. We are not the first culture to experience this and have to deal with it. We will not be the last. Geeks are strong people. They’ve had their entire lives to practice standing up against bullies. There are bullies on both sides of the issue above, but the key is to become a better person and to rise above. And as Wil Wheaton would say, “Don’t be a dick.”
Are you able to identify with any of the groups I’ve talked about? Then let your geek flag fly… your freak flag fly… whatever flag you want. Wear that badge of honor proudly and I guarantee you will be a happier person for it.