I’m currently in an online argument/discussion about this. A young woman wrote about how she’s a geek yet doesn’t like most science fiction. Based on the replies, the consensus is that she’s wrong for calling herself a geek. Because in the commenter’s minds, “geek culture” hinges on love for Star Trek, Dr. Who, video games, fantasy, cosplay, etc. You can’t be a geek unless you’re into “geek culture”.
Now, maybe it’s because I’m older than they are that I’m so . Most of these people sound like they’re still in high school and college, and thus don’t remember the days when there was absolutely no cache to being a nerd/geek. Since when did nerd/geek become an exclusive club with strict membership rules?
Or maybe it’s because I have never been a fan of taking labels so seriously. I’ve never felt very attached to my various identities, despite being quite capable of speaking from these different vantage points when its called for. I’ve always felt like labels are merely placeholders for real understanding. So naturally I have a hard time understand when people treat labels as if they are real things. Especially something as manufactured as “nerd/geek”.
Or maybe it’s because I consider myself a huge nerd too, yet I find most sci-fiction (particularly of the fantasy genre) uninteresting. I like stories set in outer space and in the future, so I can definitely curl up in front of a Star Trek NG marathon for a couple of hours. But when did werewolves and vampires become “science”? Why should someone who is attracted to science be especially enamored by superheros and the Lord of the Rings? Who has time for cosplay when they are so many good fucking books to read and documentaries to watch! I have no problem saying someone is nerdy/geeky if they have an intense passion for these kinds of things, but I don’t get why these people should be the gatekeepers of who is and isn’t a geek. When kids used to harrass me for being a nerd, it wasn’t because I liked Star Trek. It was because I spent more time worrying about my latest science project than I did about clothes and boys.
Whatever the cause of the disconnect, I’m not getting why these people–most/all of whom are women–seem so apoplectic about this “poseur” claiming an identity that isn’t hers. To hear them talk, nerd/geek should be the next protected classes. I just don’t get where the possessiveness is coming from. And it seems to me that there’s something uniquely “female” about this. I can’t imagine guys getting so worked up about who is and isn’t a geek.
Does anyone have any insight? Has anyone else encountered this mindset, or am I seeing something that doesn’t exist?