What is a geek. Wow, that is a loaded question right there because you can ask 10,000 people what a geek is and you will end up with 10,000 definitions. I like to think of a geek as someone who likes to engage in activities outside of the stereotypical American past-time of sports. However, I think even sports enthusiasts can be classified as geeks. They spend time learning player stats, wearing team jersey’s or t-shirts, collect memorabilia, often spend time collecting player’s stat cards, work days off and vacation days around going to games and events that are sports related. So, why is it in our culture it’s okay for someone to obsess about sports, but anything outside of that a person is considered strange or weird. How is a sports “fan” any different than a Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, comic book, video game, D&D “fan”. They’re not.
See I grew up at a time when it wasn’t okay for girls to be geeks or nerds, and yes I use the words interchangeably because they are fast becoming virtually the same thing. I liked sci-fi movies, comic books, fiction books, fantasy movies, D&D, and so much more that was and is considered ‘geeky’ or ‘nerdy’. However, I also liked to play baseball and volleyball as a kid. Needless to say I was not the “girly” girl. I ran with the boys and I liked it. And, for that I was teased incessantly and often bullied. I became introverted and shy. When people asked what I liked I usually didn’t say anything lest I get the barrage of teasing. But, if I started to talk sports and how much I liked the Dodgers or the Packers then people would listen and think I was pretty cool. It was frustrating that I couldn’t share all of my interests and it made me trust people less. I didn’t make or keep friends like I had in the past. I became a loner and I often believe this is how most of us geeks became isolated.
Unfortunately the teasing and bullying slowly poisoned my like of sports. I no longer watched the Dodgers play and would walk out of the room when my Mom was watching a Packers or Cowboys game. I used to love watching football, especially with my big brother, but now I cringe when a game comes on. And, I get angry when, even to this day, my likes get looked down upon. And I have never reconciled with my sports side. I don’t know if I can anymore, it’s been too long and too many other likes have replaced my sports side. I sometimes think it’s sad, but then I realize I’ve moved on and I like my geek pursuits.
Today geek conventions are becoming more prolific. With the increasing publicizing of events like San Diego Comic-Con people are becoming more aware of just how widespread the geek culture really is. Conventions are popping up everywhere and they are often serve to help people understand that they are not alone in their pursuits of all things geek. Yet, people who attend these conventions are still made fun of and laughed at. Why? Is it because in the great American landscape that sports is somehow linked to this archaic idea of machismo and if you like anything other than sports you’re not a ‘real’ man? I don’t know but it’s sad that this sentiment still exists.
Of course what these people who disparage geeks don’t understand is that without us TV shows like Game of Thrones, Grimm, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Agents of Shield and Arrow wouldn’t ever have existed. All of these shows were created by geeks and they are very popular. Or, how about recent movies like Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Guardian’s of the Galaxy, or Big Hero 6. All of these created by geeks. And how about all of the technology we’ve come to rely on? Cell phones, computers, more efficient cars, without geeks we’d still be using analog and not digital, the internet would never have happened and this blog would be a fantasy. Yet, the geek, even though it has gotten better, still is looked down on and teased.
When are we, as a society, going to learn that everyone, and I mean everyone has something in their life that makes them geeky. I know women who have an obsession over nail polish. There are whole sites dedicated to nail art and the crazy things manicurists are doing with decorating women’s nails. That could be considered geeky. Or how about the woman who could spend hours in stores like Ulta and Sephora, make-up stores that collect the best lines from all over the US and Europe. Can’t that be considered geeky? I’ve already mentioned sports, but what about those people that are in fantasy football leagues? Can’t that be considered a type of role-playing? Isn’t it, essentially, a condensed version of D&D? I could go on and on about the things that people obsess about, but I won’t. What I will do is end this post by saying lets stop with all of the labels and realize that everyone around us has something that they love, something that they obsess over and that something, in the end, makes you, heaven forbid, a geek.
Self-proclaimed Geek and proud of it.