A Geeky Theory

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I am afraid to use the word “geek” because it is almost trendy now. Growing up being called a geek or a nerd was an insult, now it is a badge of honor. In fact, I think you can buy badges to proclaim your geekiness and stick them on your clothes.

I think the new found geek acceptance is partially due to technology. As technology became more and more a part of our everyday life teasing people for liking science fiction, computers, or gadgets became stupid. There was a good chance if you had a friend good with technology you were going to need their advice.

Technology led to social networking. It has never been easier to connect with people who share interests and hobbies. I have friends all over the world who I talk to regularly. There is a good chance your parents and grand parents are on Facebook. Social networking has gone completely mainstream.

There are a lot of other factors. The wide spread acceptance of video games certainly helped. I mean seriously, I have given advice on how to beat levels of video games to athletes, actors, musicians, insurance agents. There are whole groups of people out there mixing now that wouldn’t have talked to each other when I was in high school.

Combine this with the fact some very talented self-professed geeks have brought their wit and wisdom to the masses and a geek explosion was inevitable. I think you can draw a straight line to the TV series X-Files and the main stream acceptance of what used to be considered for geeks only. The X-Files was huge. My wife, who probably flirted around the edges of all things genre related, became a full member with the X-Files.

She loved that show. We never missed it (until later, when it sucked). It was the first thing I can ever remember both of us kind of geeking out on. The show was smart, sexy, and intelligent. It took the ridiculous and made it interesting. Well acted and funnier than anyone ever gave it credit for, it opened the door to the show which would lead to widespread geek acceptance.

This is going to get me in a little trouble but remember it is only my theory. If you don’t like it go write your own. If X-Files opened the door for geeks around the world. Buffy The Vampire Slayer blew the doors off the hinges and rocked the house completely to its foundation.

This show had a huge rabid fan base. It seeped into every corner of mainstream America (and later the world). It got both critical acceptance and geek love. More importantly, I think it led to the birth of the geek girl. Don’t get me wrong, women have embraced all those things which geeks hold dear to their heart for years. Buffy just seemed to give them the outlet to express it loud and proud.

And here is where I am really going to get into trouble. I think that as the population of geek girls grew so did the acceptance of the geek culture. The stigma that had always kind of hung around it began to evaporate. I am not trying to imply or suggest this had anything to do with looks (a raging controversy which you can go read about here).

I think it has just become harder to single out one type of person. If everyone likes some part of what used to be the sole domain of a few, it becomes harder to tease. I am not naive though. I do think it has helped that some people who are very good looking both male and female embraced the growing geek crowd.

Ultimately, I think what we are witnessing is just the melting pot of media, technology, and pop culture. I would like to think that someday the rest of the world could embrace what has become apparent to me. This new geek movement doesn’t care about your race, nationality, or gender. What it cares about is what level did you play Left 4 Dead on. Maybe if the rest of the world joined in we wouldn’t have to fight and hate so much.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

4 Responses to “A Geeky Theory”

  1. >I absolutely agree that as the population of geek girls grows so goes the acceptance of geek culture. It seems to me a fairly easy leap to make. For the first time geeks could actually get a date! In my days of junior and high school pulling out a comic book or even mentioning Monty Python would mean many, many, lonely saturday nights and then Bam! Buffy the Vampire Slayer becomes a TV show and all of the sudden my girlfriend (who would become my wife) and her friends are asking about the tattered Anne Rice novels on my shelf and whether or not they can borrow my X-Men comics to see if the Hugh Jackman portrayal is accurate enough. Although I never watched a single episode I'm pretty happy that Buffy got made.

  2. >I loved xfiles. I always used to watch it (except for a couple yrs when I had no tv, and then at the end). Few yrs ago roomie and I netflixed the entire series and watched it from beginning to end! (well, over a period of time lol). I love buffy. I never watched it originally then started watching it online, till the college season, when I couldn’t find the episodes online. I need to go back and try again to finish it. I did see angel and I loved it by the end (netflix again). I still think there is a definite geek subculture that is not really mainstream yet, but absolutely a lot of geek elements are taken for granted. Im a geek but not a total geek. I wouldn’t go to a star trek convention and I am horrible at video games (though I sometimes try). And ive noticed, from seeing all the video game reviews/shows/etc that my roomie/best friend watches, that that stuff is still very sexist and also homophobic. But I do agree that geekiness is way more accepted and even embraced nowadays, and I never ever thought id like all the computer stuff I do now, when I was young. I didn’t think I was smart enough or cared about/liked tech/computer stuff enough to even think I might be geeky. Yet here I am. Flooding your blog with comments lol.

  3. >While I agree that new technology has the potential to somehow create a more open-access, egalitarian society, the fact remains that, as these virtual worlds are created, societies are built that often mirror their real-life counterparts, including the discrimination department.I'm specifically studying how gender plays out in the console gaming world (albeit focusing on music games), but it's apparent that stereotypes abound for both the avatars and the people that play them. Sure, we've come a long way since Samus took off her helmet to reveal her sex, but it's still there.<3 That being said, I'm happy to see geeks getting the love they deserve, and its interesting to see former "cool" kids apply the label in a desperate attempt at donning the badge themselves.

  4. >I was one of the geeks in school (elementary on up) who was always proud of the fact that I was different than the "mainstream" kids and I wasn't afraid to let them know it. I distinctly remember in elementary school telling someone I was weird and didn't want to be normal. -Jen/prismkitty

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