I never thought I would see the day where I was ashamed to be part of the geek community. Let me preface that with some history of what it was like growing up in the 9’s as the odd kid that was into playing Dungeons & Dragons , video games & Magic the Gathering etc. It is pretty simple really, you got bullied, beatup and teased. It was not until I was in my 30’s that I noticed a paradigm shift in society, video games had become more mainstream and TCGs were popular among the masses. It was acceptable to be the Geek now! People look to you for help with computers and internet “Stuff”. What a great state of affairs it was. The diversity in the people that attend the MTG tournaments is staggering. There are athletes, women, kids, adults in professional careers and everything in between. Video games have become fully accepted, it seems like everyone you meet enjoys a part of the geek culture.
This is where I am noticing that things are taking a nasty turn, the Geeks are becoming bullies behind keyboards
Not long ago I was out for dinner with a few of my friends from the MTG community, the topic of geek culture came up as it always does. There is one friend of mine that is very much an elitist. I mean this guy has his hand in every aspect of the culture and has been a true “Geek” from the day he read his first comic and bought his first booster pack. Now, I have to say that there is nothing wrong with elitism. Being at the top of your game and the goto for everyone in your community is a good place to be. But with that position comes responsibility, as an “ambassador” for the community it is up to these elitists to show the world that we are not the bullies and we welcome the new and positive attention our culture garners.
Herein lies the major problem, some of the elitists in the community are crying “culture dilution”. Fear of having their elite status as a Gamer, diluted by “regular” people that don’t appreciate what goes into making the game or the history of gaming. You have got to be kidding me!. I am also a bit of a gear head also, so that would be like me shunning everyone that drives a car but is incapable of changing their oil or doing a tune up.
Being a geek to me is about acceptance, the “weird” people that society made fun of always accepted me and my quirks. Now that most of the world is some way embracing the very things that I was bullied for enjoying, is that not a cause for celebration? Well it seems that the bullies behind their keyboards are up in arms.
The war on “posers”, “fake geeks” and the like..
Recently I read a story about a Cosplayer (Liz Katz), that has completely removed herself from social networking and the internet in general. She was one of those attractive cosplay girls with a video blog and Facebook page etc. Just like all the other so called “fake geeks”, as the elitists seem to want to call them. It is this attitude that makes me ashamed of being a geek today. This poor woman who simply enjoyed the same things as you and carved out her niche on the web being a cosplay model was literally forced into hiding because it came to light that she might have been involved in porn in her past. Shame on ALL of you…
I have been informed by people in the community that Liz’s exit from cosplay and her attitude towards the community was less than empathetic and she was not very pleasant to deal with. Be that as it may, there is still no excuse for the kind of “gatekeeping” behavior that is being exhibited in this community. Whether or not Liz was liked by the community or not, she was part of it. She is not the only one that faces these attacks and shunning by the elitists, it needs to stop!
Lets talk about porn for a moment, the porn industry is the largest industry on the internet, it is virtually mainstream now. For the most part people freely discuss the industry like any other industry. It is no longer some dark secret that is not to be broached for fear of actually admitting it is real. Today women are free to explore their sexuality and are taking back control of their sexual being. This is a monumental step ahead for society in general. Why are we still shaming those involved in the industry?
Lets look at this for a minute, you people are bullying and pushing away women that dress up in your favorite characters costumes, try to be involved in the same hobbies that you enjoy, and ACTUALLY talk to you and pose for “selfies” with you at the conventions! I for one am ashamed to be part of your culture. You think that because you are now a majority that you have the right to dictate who is allowed to enjoy the same interests that you enjoy. To those of you that partook in the online attacks on Liz Katz, porn may have been the only interaction you EVER had with those of the fairer sex. Now you attack and shame one your own because they allegedly have a past in it. Who the hell do you people think you are?
All of you need a harsh reality check and to remember what it felt like to be the outcast, the shunned, lonely and scared. Maybe, just maybe if you remember what that felt like you would not be so quick to assault the people that are adopting your interests. I for one will NEVER forget the way I was treated as a kid and young adult, and to to all of the Liz Katz’s of the world I am so sorry for how you are treated. I for one will welcome anyone into the culture at whatever level of “geekyness” you have, regardless of your past.
One more tidbit to think about before I sign off, the mass acceptance and adoption of the games and culture that we are part of is the reason why we have such amazing games, huge conventions and the like. From a business perspective, it is now a market that is mainstream and there is far more selection available in all aspects of comics, games, movies, TCG’s than we ever had before. You might want to think about that the next time you feel like “your elitist status” is being diluted by the general population.