Exclusivity in Geek Culture

I’ll admit, there are times I have thought of myself as a fake geek girl. When I wore a Spider-Man suit to a convention last May and some guy started asking my opinion on comics I hadn’t read, I felt bad for misleading him. When I am able to quote movies I haven’t watched because of GIFs I’ve seen on Tumblr, I feel like I’m deceiving the people who actually know that movie.

But then I remember that these things don’t determine my value as a nerd, as a person with interests. Just because I know more about Firefly and Harry Potter and Game of Thrones than I do about the Frank Miller era of Batman comics does not mean I don’t like Batman. Just because I love to play Viva Piñata doesn’t mean I can’t know anything about “serious” games. Just because I want to wear a costume doesn’t mean I have to know every single detail of the backstory related to that costume.

In reality, there is no fake geek anyone. There are tons of things I’m passionate about, but no one person can love and know every intricate detail about everything. The whole idea of fake geeks is used to discredit people who wish to be members of a community, and the people who are already in it rejecting them. Most often, women and girls on the Internet are the ones who experience this kind of modern discrimination. This form of shaming someone for wanting to be involved is so petty and malicious that it has no value, and should in fact be seen as more disgusting than it often is. This form of judging others with made up value systems goes both directions. The people who get angry are the ones who must find a way to make themselves superior to others. And of course they usually pick women, because what else are misogynists supposed to do? They want to create a space that they can keep others out of, likely reminiscent of ways that they were barred from joining other groups.

These actions likely won’t change anytime soon, as they are sadly somewhat ingrained in both geek culture as well at the greater cultural space these people were not welcome to in the first place. All we can do now for now, I suppose, is recognize it and try not to perpetuate it.

0 thoughts on “Exclusivity in Geek Culture

  1. This idea of a “fake geek” and the guilt that, often as women in these interests, we feel if we aren’t 100% experts then we aren’t really nerds, or worse, are faking our interest. It’s funny, because I find myself getting dressed for class every Thursday morning, and struggling with what to wear because I both want to prove I have a place in this class (not as a student but as a gamer and nerd) and I want to disprove that I need to look like I belong. I find hat most times I choose my Batman shirt or some other gear that serves as a signifier to my geekdom. Especially because I’m more quiet in this class (because of my extreme insecurity in coming off as stupid or just some “casual”), I feel like I have to at least prove my worth as a nerd by wearing it on my sleeve.

    1. Definitely speak up in class if you have something to say — you are more than welcome! Talk about what you know and feel free to ask questions about things you are curious about. I really like hearing these other perspectives, and I think a lot of our classmates would say the same!

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