Trolling & Fake Geek Girl Problems

By 10:34 AM , , , , ,

I was nominated by dePepi for the Free Spirit Award (thanks!). The prompt is to talk about trolling and fake geek girl problems. So here's my two cents on this thing.

I will just start by saying that 1) I know this is a HUGE problem in the community, and 2) I don't think there is such a thing as a real "fake geek girl" or a "fake geek guy."

People can be geeks in so many different ways, at various levels, and it does not invalidate the word. I am aware that many individuals get super upset about it, but the idea that any one group can have full ownership of what is essentially a word that can be defined in many different ways by so many different people is ridiculous. This word has different meanings to different people.

For example, there are some that may be bothered by people who like comic books and superheroes calling themselves geeks. For some people, a geek is someone who knows a lot about subjects such as math or science, not comic books and superheroes! Someone who builds robots might be quite offended that there are people into collecting rare action figures who identify as "geeks." That might not be their definition of it. See where I'm going with this? My point is, it isn't a title that any one group should have exclusive rights to, because... how does it change YOUR life? How does it devalue the title of geek? Why does this make people upset?

You can give yourself the label of "geek" and feel like it describes your identity perfectly. Someone else calling himself/herself a geek as well does not and should not invalidate YOUR identity.

So why do some people engage in trolling others over a word?

My theory is, it's more than JUST a word. It's a CULTURE that people have created and put their passions into. Finding or creating our identities, for many people, is a lifelong process. It's a developmental task, that sometimes does not actually end with adolescence. We, as living, breathing humans, are constantly changing, and our identities along with us. The idea that someone else can claim to have a similar identity to you, when maybe they do not look like you or engage in similar activities, especially when you might have struggled to find that identity, or struggled to hold on to it in a world where geeks were not accepted by society or were bullied or harassed... well, some people can be threatened by that.

But I think that, for these people, and for the community as a whole, we need to think BIGGER. Yes, it is your identity, and your identity is important. But it's also the identity of a lot of other people who have learned to define "geek" in either similar or different ways. Sharing that word should not invalidate others and their identities, and at the same time, it does NOT devalue yours. Other people can be geeks in different ways, and look totally different or celebrate it in totally different ways, and it doesn't strip away your identity.

Recently, I saw a post on my Tumblr, where somebody was SO ANGRY about a cosplay she had seen. It was of a character of one of her favorite shows, portrayed by a professional cosplayer who I will not name. The comments on the thread were mainly degrading. Things along the lines of, "She probably doesn't even watch [that show]," or "Does she even know what she's cosplaying?" and other comments that reduced this living, breathing human being to nothing more than an object. All for having created something and sharing it with the community.

Maybe it's my age, or some sort of apathy developed over years and years of internet usage, but, does it really matter? This professional cosplayer was not actually claiming to have better knowledge of that show than others. She was not claiming to be a huge fan of the show. She is a professional, so maybe she watches it, maybe she doesn't, but ultimately, HER claim to geekdom is to CREATE cosplay and PORTRAY it for others to see. And what if she does not watch the show? It doesn't take away the fact that she created something FOR the community. She's a geek in her own way, and nobody can take that away from her. She CHOSE to CREATE, and continuously chooses to do so despite the amount of disgusting comments she gets.

A final and super important note; it is NOT just guys who do this. Girls engage in this behavior as well. Whatever your gender identity is, think of the implications of sharing this label that defines this identity that you've developed over a lifetime. I think you'll find that you can come up with many, many more positive implications than negative ones.

BE PROUD OF YOUR GEEK!

______________________________________

The Free Spirit Award was created by UNOTAKU and Marvelously Mismatched.
Rules:
  • Write about the topic your nominator gave you
  • Place the Free Spirit Award button somewhere in your post
  • Nominate bloggers (no requirements or limitations, so you can nominate just one or 10, or millions)
  • Give your nominees a new topic to post about
  • Have loads of fun!!!
Topic: Write about a literary character that you identify with, and the impact and significance that character has had in your life.

[I am sharing this link with those I nominate, and I have chosen to keep the nominees off this post to avoid pressuring anybody to respond.] 





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2 comments

  1. From my experience, reactions like the one you mention above have a lot to do with insecurity. If we subconsciously feel like someone else's participation in something that we have allowed to define our personality will change other's perceptions of that thing, we lash out. Also, I think a lot of gatekeeping behaviour is reinforced by media and advertising. If we only ever see one type of person (male, unattractive, etc.) we will be more likely to believe that that culture is only meant for those people.

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    1. Absolutely! Insecurity, feeling threatened, and facing the reality that it's not such an "exclusive" little "club." I agree with you about gatekeeping. Unfortunately they reinforce old stereotypes of "nerds" and "geeks," because the more popular mainstream media, in general, might hold those beliefs. Fortunately though, I think we as a culture can change that :)

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