Geek chic

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Popular culture is a constantly shifting mire. Trying to wade through and understand the fluid nature of pop culture isn’t exactly easy. There is one thing that has become clear to me in my understanding of pop culture though: Geek culture is on the rise.

Geek culture is something that remained on the outskirts of popular culture for a long time. Growing up being a geek meant you were on the outside. You have a passion for something off the beaten path. Whether it be books, Dungeons and Dragons or comics, connecting with people who didn’t share that driving passion for your chosen hobby wasn’t easy.

Now it seems, thanks to the Internet, that geeks are finally seeing their moment in the sun. Though it still burns a bit, and we’re not used to the brightness at all.

Just look to the movie theaters for a sign of this takeover. “The Avengers” is the third-highest grossing film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. Looking down the list we can see many nerdy or geeky properties. This is just one sign demonstrating how we have let comic book culture into mainstream popular culture.

If we look at the diverse Internet cultural markets, we see valued content generators on YouTube aimed at geek culture. “Geek and Sundry” and “The Nerdist” are successful channels that cater their content to the geek audience. “The Nerdist” has expended from a blog to a full-fledged media empire, spanning TV, podcasts and original video content.

With popular culture finally embracing geek culture, there has been some backlash from various groups that believe that geek culture is somehow sacred, and all the people treading on their hobby are somehow wrong. They see their culture as co-opted by those that don’t really care about it. They lash out at those they consider “fake geeks.”

One of the most obvious cases of this is rage against “fake geek girls.” These people who consider themselves defenders of their culture have decided to hate anyone who makes any small misstep that could show that they might not know everything about the culture. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing; the women are referred to as whores who only want attention from the other geeks at conventions and on the Internet.

This is where the issue lies. Because geek culture has been an outside popular culture for so long, it’s easy to feel that your life has been watered down thanks to its introduction into the public space. Now that other people who used to torment you like the same things you do, that somehow invalidates your hobby.

This simply isn’t true.

Just because others happen to now enjoy what you do doesn’t mean your hobby is less meaningful, or that you now have the right to lord yourself over the conversation: creating some master race of “true geeks” made up of people that really care, geeks that suffered for their passions.

Geek culture has become woven into popular culture, but hasn’t really merged due to the backlash from those who seek to defend it. They sit on their iron thrones and look down at those considered inferior.

When I was younger I was saddened by those that wouldn’t share my hobbies. Now it makes me happy that Marvel is in the public eye. I love that I can go see superhero movies with my friends and we all have a good time. They may not read comics, or know the back story of every character, but that’s ok.

I at least get to share some of what I love with others, and that should be all that matters.

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