Because Geek is Chic

by on 05/05/2013
The 80's geek stereotype as shown in Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

The 80’s geek stereotype as shown in Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

If ever presented with the task of describing a geek, what are your first thoughts? Do you think of the costumed heroes and heroines wandering around countless conventions? Perhaps you think of the brave and valiant Harry Potter fans, queued up in pouring rain waiting for the stroke of midnight to receive their highly anticipated copies of the modern classic. Hell, maybe you even think of the 80’s throwback stereotypes – the nerdy geniuses huddled in the back of a science lab, complete with pocket protectors, high-waisted trousers and glasses so thick you may as well be wearing milk bottles! All of these are arguably representations of geekery, but when did any of the above actually become uncool?

Geekery, by definition, is simply passion. It’s the joy you express when talking about something you love, it’s enthusiasm and vibrancy from a subject that allows you to thrive. Maybe your passion is sitting down reading the latest comic books – maybe you’re just so damn hooked on finding out what act of evil genius the JLA are going to be foiling next, that you build yourself up to it week after week, waiting for that tiny moment of liberation when you can discover the fate of characters you’ve come to know and love. Or maybe you’re a hardcore gaming fan, maybe battling zombies or rogue insurgents is what you need to relax and unwind at the end of the day! It’s already been proven that gaming stimulates and helps to strengthen the mind, so maybe the mental workout is what you need to push your limits, that little bit of frivolous fun that allows you to expand upon your own skills and eliminate some weaknesses.

The Marvel Universe

What’s to say a love of comicbooks isn’t a worthy passion? Marvel certainly appeals to me!

Society as it stands, really does seem to have a problem with differentiating what it considers acceptable and what it doesn’t. It’s so quick to judge, and so quick to thrust labels upon people. How many of you can honestly, hand on heart, say that you haven’t hesitated at work or at school before opening your mouth and divulging your passions through fear of being mocked? Or of being spurned and cast out? The whole point of being so enthusiastic and cheerful about a subject, is so that you don’t have to keep hiding behind a mask. It’s so that you can introduce new people to what you enjoy, to branch out and open up these entire facets of possibility to a wider audience! You want to share your joy, not box it up.

What use is being passionate about something if you're forever left hiding behind a mask?

What use is being passionate about something if you’re forever left hiding behind a mask?

Don’t get me wrong, I think we’ve come a long way since the 80’s stereotype of a class A geek. This isn’t a doom and gloom, oh woe is me, article. It’s about looking at how the world has changed, because I think we as people have evolved from where we started. If anything, I’d have to say geekery of the classical variety itself, had evolved from a niche sort of market into something so mainstream it’s opening doors to an entire generation of new people. Just look at ‘The Avengers’ blockbuster last year. Look at how that one film, heralded the mass creation of fanboys and girls alike, it rekindled old loves for the comic books that had spawned the franchise, while introducing an entire new set of readers and watchers to the fold! Would you judge the gaggle of doe-eyed teens, itching for a glimpse of Tony Stark as geeks?

I think, if anything, instead of being such a damnable thing, geekery is on the rise. People are starting to open their eyes to what it means. They’re starting to open their minds a little more and look at the bigger picture. We all have things that make us happy. We all have our secret go-to vices that help us through some of the darkest times of our lives. These little quirks and these preferences are what make us what we are, they’re what allow us to connect with other people, to share opinions and views whether they’re critical or not.

Having one of these passions, being one of the wide eyed fans ensnared by a witty script, some killer graphics or or a beautifully drawn set of pencils and ink, isn’t about being that shady outcast relegated to the back of the room. It’s about finding your own identity, about holding your head high and proudly stating without a hint of a regret that you love something – and to that end, I’d say it’s about finally making sure that the term ‘geek’ truly transitions from ‘freak’ into ‘chic.’