#Gamergate was a big controversy back in August 2014. It brought to light the many problems common to the gaming world. Most prominently, sexism in video game culture. This was a dark time for us because it showed some of the true nastiness of the gamer world we live in. With threats of violence against feminists, game developers, and journalists, #Gamergate exposed what many of us already knew. One year later, some attitudes have changed for the better. Some have just morphed into a brand new beast.
Now, we live in an awesome game-filled society. That’s why we’re all here. Being a geek or nerd is the best. We have the best movies, the best video games, and the best merchandise. I mean, we have a rolling ball *cough* BB8 *cough* that we can control with our phones! However, some behaviors persist in our culture, especially those against women, that have had a negative impact and make me cringe when I see them.
We have an ongoing issue, right now. We have decided that if someone does not know the ins-and-outs of everything that is nerdom, they cannot be allowed in our elitist nerd club. Ironically, it is the same jock mentality that we have hated when we were in high school and bullied by the kids who were the star football players. We liked to roll dice on the weekend or sit in front of a television with a controller in our hand, beating the hardest difficulty of Halo, or Baldur’s Gate. We were excluded and marginalized. Where has this brought us? We have become as unaccepting as those jocks.
This has a very negative impact on our culture because now we are becoming exactly what we hate. Nerd culture should be accepting, right? We should love everyone. Just because someone doesn’t know the middle name of all the original red shirts on Deep Space 9, it doesn’t mean we should exclude them. Well, maybe for the Deep Space 9 thing. Joking.
I would like to point out that this does not mean we can’t educate those trying to enter our nerd world. Or, if someone is wrong, to express our own opinion. Having a friendly argument is half the fun of being a nerd. For example, how Luke Skywalker is actually a more complex character than Han Solo, even though Han is like, way cooler. True. That is okay. Just don’t use this argument to turn someone (who may not have seen Star Wars *gasps*) away from the series.
I have noticed some positive changes while scouring the interwebs (mostly Twitter). People are starting to fight back against this negative culture, the culture of #FakeGeeks. They’re turning the negative into something positive, making it their own. It’s a much better way of fighting back against the #NerdJocks. Seeing fellow nerds respond, speak up, and make fun of #FakeGeek attacks, is amazing. Whenever I tweet something that is very geeky (and I know it is), I like to use the #FakeGeek because the concept of “Fake Geek” just seems insane to me. The Marysue wrote a fantastic blog post with a quote from Neil Gaiman, saying all geeks are real, and everyone starts somewhere, which is a really great!
The people fighting back against hate culture are courageous. They use the power of Twitter to poke fun at those who claim others are #FakeGeeks. Just read some of these Tweets.
So tell me, what can you do to change nerd culture in your area? Maybe if you see someone who is excluding someone from your favorite geek crowd, invite them over to have a friendly discussion. Maybe if you have heard that they are saying incorrect factoids, instead of blowing up on them online, you can inform them in a kind manner. Kindness goes a long way. One year after #Gamergate, we’ve made things better, more inclusive. We can always do more.