Last week Felicia Day - who I love - posted a quick video talking about the next season of her Youtube channel, Geek & Sundry. In it, however, she posed some interesting questions and observations on the label "geek." Here, take a look:
(Video link here for those who need it.)
I've seen some push back on this, of course, with people accusing Felicia of adding qualifiers to "geek" and therefore risking more of the fake geek girl controversy that has been beaten to death this past year. Overall, though, I think the response to her stance has been pretty positive.
Personally, I see both sides of it: by defining "geek" - or any label, really - you automatically add exclusions, which risks a "geek police" mentality. But on the other hand, if "geek" means anyone who owns an Xbox or watches Game of Thrones, then you risk diluting the term to the extent that our sense of community is lost.
Why does that matter? Because the geek identity is something that draws us together, and (ideally) lets us know we're among friends. You may be into Anime and I may be into Steampunk, but we share this common thread of experience: of loving something even when it's unpopular, of being ridiculed or excluded for it, and of not letting other people's judgement dim our passions, but rather fuel them. THAT, to me, is what being a geek is all about.
You can already see that definition changing, though, as things like Avengers and Star Trek and, yes, even mash-up t-shirts go more and more mainstream. That's not a complaint, by the way - I LOVE seeing more people get excited about everything from comics to steampunk, and if I'm being marketed to more now by savvy businesses, then that's a win for everyone. I'm more than happy to support sites and stores like ThinkGeek and etsy sellers that cater to my interests, so hey, bring on the geek gear!
Still, the question remains: how do we remain an open, inclusive community while still retaining a strong sense of identity? Or should that even be a concern?
Do we rename "geek", or reclaim it? Do we start using words like "nerd" or "fangirl" instead, or maybe just qualify what kind of geeks we are, ala a Dizgeek, comic book geek, etc.? And keep in mind I'm not talking about labeling ourselves for the sake of labels; I'm talking about a means for finding each other - online or off - so that we can share our passions and grow together as a big, geeky family.
It's easier for me, I know, since I put all my interests right out here in the open on Epbot. When I get to meet you readers IRL, you already *know* who I am and what I'm into. Like I tell everyone: if you think we'd be friends in real life, then odds are you're right. Letting all my awkwardness and crazy passions hang out online makes it SO much easier to find kindred spirits and new friends - but what about everyone who *doesn't* write a geek-centric blog? Even I have a hard time connecting with geeks offline, so frankly, I don't know how the rest of you do it!
I can't claim to have all the answers, but I do know I'm never going to stop sharing the things I love here on Epbot, with the hope that inspires the rest of you to get unashamedly excited about the things *you* love. We're geeks, and I like to think we know who we are and what that means. Whether we find a new label or reinvent this one, I believe as long as we remember the ultimate goal: of sharing our passions and banding together to encourage others to do the same - we're going to be just fine.
So what do you think, guys: Rename, or reclaim? Also, how do you connect with your fellow geeks, both online and off? Let me know in the comments!