Don’t Exclude, Embrace!

I just read an excellent article on author John Scalzi’s blog after being linked to it via a Facebook friend. To preface: one of the things I love about being a geek is my ability to just love what I love without justifying it, and instead, as Scalzi points out, sharing it with others. The sharing is the best part of fandom, and it’s what makes a community out of many otherwise disparate people. The thing I like least is the idea of some hierarchy, which is what Scalzi condemns in his blog post. The idea that someone isn’t worthy for X reason, or having some sort of checklist or application process to be a geek goes against the entire lifestyle. To meet standards for being a geek means you’re creating an elitist community, and the whole great thing about being a geek is that it doesn’t have to be elitist. Sure, there are some groups like that, but so what? Let them do their thing. Let another group do their thing. Share the joy of sharing and not feeling the need to justify.

Here’s the link to Scalzi’s post:

Who Gets To Be a Geek? Anyone Who Wants to Be.

And a link to the post to which he’s responding, condescendingly titled Booth Babes Need Not Apply.

Being a geek is about not needing to fit in. In a society that encourages cookie-cutter sameness, having geeky outlets that allow us to display and embrace our differences is refreshing. We should embrace rather than exclude, because that can make all the difference for some people.  Without this attitude of acceptance and sharing and the love of sharing I know I, for one, wouldn’t have met some of the people who are most important in my life–including my best friend and my fiance (oh yeah, Bard and I got engaged!), or the awesome MLHawke.

And that’s just me.  So many other people have found niches and friends and even family through being a geek; to exclude on the basis of “not geek enough” just doesn’t work.

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4 comments on “Don’t Exclude, Embrace!

  1. “We should embrace rather than exclude, because that can make all the difference for some people.”

    There is so much truth to this. I’ve talked about this with so many of my coworkers, about how the mainstreaming of geekiness that came about alongside the rise of the internet is possibly one of the best things that ever could have happened for many of our students. The widespread recognition that it’s okay to love what you love without apology, and the ability to share it loudly… it really does make all the difference. I thank God that I hit middle school-high school-college on the rising wave of that transition, because had that community-making celebratory geekery not been there to boost me and make me feel included, I honestly haven’t the foggiest clue what my life would look like now, but I am almost certain I wouldn’t be anywhere near as happy.

  2. I definitely agree that part of being a geek is the individuality of people’s interests: Band geeks, gaming geeks, knitting geeks… etc. And most of those groups, as a whole, tend to be very accepting.

    However.

    I also can see the point of the post by Joe Peacock, which basically says “if you’re not a gamer, don’t pretend to be one just because you’re hot and want to flaunt it.” In my opinion, save it for Halloween. There definitely ARE highly attractive men and women that cosplay AND are geeks, the two are not mutually exclusive. But part of being a geek is being true to your roots, and if you’re just posing as a geek…. then what’s the point, really?

    Before I launch off on a complete blog post of my own here, I’ll close with this: I think both posts make valid arguments, though Mr. Peacock’s article is a bit condescending and not quite a well written, in my opinion. I agree more with Mr. Scalzi in that geekdom, as a whole, tends to be a more inclusive place than Mr. Peacock would like.

    Also:
    It was Professor Peacock, in the PAX Expo Hall, with the Otis Headband!

  3. I saw this on Forbes yesterday, and I thought it was a well-thought-out response to the condescending booth babe article. (I’m also super stoked because I tagged Felicia Day on the twitter post, and she totally replied back to me about it.)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnyegriffiths/2012/07/26/fake-geek-girls-gamer-edition/

    But I agree with your thoughts. It’s unbelievable that there are some who want the geek world to be an exclusive, “members only” club. If you really think about these people, though, they’re being *slightly* elitist about their sub-culture. If a writer, illustrator, or designer creates something, everyone should be able to enjoy it without being ridiculed as a n00b or poser by the “hard-core” geeks. And shutting people out of your subculture is also discriminatory; just because someone doesn’t fit your profile of an ideal geek doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy what the geek culture has to offer.

  4. Pingback: Need a new direction ’round here… « The Dead Console Society

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