How Not to Be a Geek Bully: Moot Edition

3:00 PM

Image Credit: Chancelle @ http://chancelle.deviantart.com

Recently, I was scrolling along my twitter timeline and came across an article posted by Buzzfeed (find it here). What caught my eye was the title... "How not to be a geek bully." The article itself wasn't much, just a bunch of cutesy comics and gifs about the ridiculousness of nerds bullying other nerds.

A few days prior, I was on Facebook and looking through the posts in an African American anime fan group. Some of the posts were okay. Funny anime related memes, some questions, and some reviews or reactions to the latest manga chapter or anime episode released. What stood out, however, were posts mocking people and their cosplays or comments about people who were "fake nerds," or "jumped on the bandwagon when becoming a nerd became mainstream."
Insert the largest eye roll possible here, please. I was so put off by this that I had to leave the group. When did it become okay for fans to bash one another because someone didn't meet whatever made up standards they held?

I can't count the number of times I've had to prove my "nerdiness" to people because I'm a girl (which is another issue all on its own) or because they didn't think I seemed like the "nerdy" type. Recently in fact, a guy messaged me on OKCupid (again, a post for another time) and right off the bat he asked "so what makes you nerdy?"

Does someone have to have each and every Batman comic to be a Batman fan? Why are people who join a fandom after a movie is released looked down upon? So, I can't be a gamer because my preferred system is a 3DS? What if I recently joined a fandom? None of that should matter. I (or any other person) shouldn't have to justify myself to you. I got bullied when I was a kid for being into "nerdy" stuff just like you did.

It's almost like some people refuse to let others join the nerd club because they didn't have to endure the bullying some people did as children. Never had someone laugh at you because you liked anime? Nope, you don't qualify. Go join another club.

On top of that, last I checked, being a "nerd," liking, anime, being really into comics, whatever, was still looked down upon. Sure, it's not as frowned upon as it once was, but it's still not on the level of being a sports fan or being a rockstar. I don't personally know any people jumping up and down and asking to be called a nerd. I still get called a nerd in a negative way and people look at me funny when I admit I'm obsessed with Star Wars, anime, and Disney. People still make fun of Comic Con attendees, give sideways glances to cosplayers, and make fun of and mock people who play MMORPGs. So, why are we doing it within the community?

It's elitist and discourages new comers and potential fans.

One of the greatest things about going into high school (and especially when I did my Disney College Program my junior year of college) was finally meeting people who also loved all of the geeky, nerdy things I did. And they didn't mock or question me for it. Finally, I could gush about how in love I was with a particular character (like Sesshomaru <3) or how I couldn't stand another (Kikyo...) and why without having to worry about being laughed at or ignored for the rest of forever. We should all be as welcoming! I don't know how well I would have gotten through school otherwise. And even my best friends who aren't into the same fandoms or even anime or comics let me rant when my OTP is crushed because they love me and accept me for who I am, nerdiness and all. If people who aren't "nerds" are able to be accepting, there is absolutely NO reason people who call themselves nerds proudly can't be.

The best way to "not be a geek bully" is to not be a bully period. Don't like a fandom? Don't go near it. Think a particular cosplay isn't the best? Instead of being mean about it, offer constructive criticism. I'm not into a number of fandoms, but if I see great fan art or an amazing cosplay, I still give props and kudos because beyond being about a particular fandom, someone put blood, sweat, and tears into it. Disliking something doesn't mean I blindly dislike it's fans.

If you can't appreciate fellow fans or new potential fans, perhaps you should take a step back and evaluate how much of a fan you really are. Do you accept newbies with open arms and kindly correct their mistakes or do you ridicule them when they misquote something or mistake one character for another? When you were just starting out, where you welcomed or was it a hard journey growing into the nerd you are today? If it's the latter, why would you want to see someone who could be a potential friend go through the same struggle?

I said all of that to say this, it's really not so difficult to not be a geek bully. Just, don't be a bully and treat others as you would want to be treated. Nothing nice to say? Then keep it to yourself. These are things we learned in kindergarden, so it shouldn't be so hard to do as adults.

I know this was a bit wordy, and it might sound like I was rambling, but it's something that has been weighing heavily on my chest and I just had to get it out. Let me know what you all think in the comments.



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