Hey guys! Happy Thursday!
Do you remember back in the day when being a “geek” or a “nerd” was a bad thing? I mean, remember Screech from Saved By The Bell? Toby Isaacs from Degrassi? Umino from Sailor Moon?! Nerds in mainstream media have always been portrayed as unattractive, unpopular, and uncool. But now I’d like to argue that here in the year 2013, geeks and nerds have become the coolest kids on the block.
For the sake of clarity, I will be using the term “nerd” and “geek” interchangeably because there’s a difference between the two. Check out Burr Settle’s article on this topic by clicking here.
Flashback to 10 years ago. In elementary school, I had an obsession with Hello Kitty and anime. (Still do, lol.) This was the year I started attending anime conventions with all my older friends. I was one of the “smart” kids (which is ironic now because my IQ is totally average.) To put it bluntly, my interests were a lot different than most of my friends my age. Don’t get me wrong, I also loved the mainstream music and pop culture at the time (Spice Girls anyone?) but whenever I would start talking about Dragonball Z or Pokemon in very deep detail, people would look at me funny. And then I’d realize only a handful of the other kids were just as enthusiastic as I was. That’s when I realized… people dubbed us as “geeks.”
The point I’m trying to make is that being a geek was seen as weird and different… and not in a good way. I mean, when I would try to talk to the other kids about anime and video games, I always got mixed reactions. The boys in my class would understand whenever I’d talk about Gundams or DBZ, and the girls would kind of have a general idea if I talked about Sailor Moon. But there was never any moment I can full on geek out with anyone over these things. To avoid being an outcast, I always changed the subject to a topic everyone would know about, just so I can fit in and not be different. Has this ever happened to you? I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.
It didn’t help that I started cosplaying the year after. Now MOST kids definitely didn’t understand this shit. They couldn’t even comprehend why I loved these Japanese cartoons so much, and now I’m dressing up as the characters and attending conventions? I was always pretty sad that none of my school friends could relate to what I loved.
Now here we are in present time. The reason why I argue that it’s cool to be uncool is because the mainstream media has made the “nerd” or “geek” likable to people. No longer are the days of awkward, isolated social skills, but now we’re put to the forefront and are admired by many. I mean, Big Bang Theory anyone? One of my sorority sisters told me she loved that show and I was beyond shocked when she told me that it was basically about these group of nerdy friends just being nerdy. I kept thinking, “Wtf… Hollywood actually finds this amusing now? Whatever happened to us being so weird and different?!”
And I think that’s just it. Being a nerd or a geek is about being different. It’s about separating yourself from the “norm” and to people nowadays, that’s cool because we all want to stand out somehow. It’s seen as people having so much depth and knowledge about different things and it makes them cool. It’s crazy to think the day has come where my vast knowledge of the first season of Pokemon is actually valuable to people.
I can distinctly remember a time when the manga section of Barnes and Noble was literally just one shelf. Now if you go to a bookstore, the manga section takes up a whole aisle. The proof is in the pudding, you guys. Just look at how Hollywood has infiltrated Comic Con. I remember when I was younger, there wasn’t any big shot Hollywood actors and directors there, and if there were, it wasn’t really emphasized on different news outlets. Now Comic Con has become one of the most anticipated events in the entertainment industry.
I’m not saying any of this is bad. In fact, I welcome the attention! It’s about time cool stuff like anime, manga, video games, and comic books are getting their chance to shine in the spotlight. Look how well all the comic book movies are doing in the box office.
Therefore, I’d like to end on a positive note. This goes out to all the kids who always felt like no one understood their obsession with their favorite anime, comic book, or video game. We’re the shit. Embrace your geeky and nerdy knowledge. Because people wanna be like us now.