Posts tagged community

Geek Fashion Chic – Monetizing on Geek Culture

The past couple of days, I’ve been in a really sore spot. The whole controversy surrounding the Geek and Gamer Girls video has really left me quite upset and on the verge of many epic rants. It has caused me to feel as if I have to apologize for the fact that I an a nerd trapped in a cute petite figure, that my face is not bad to look at, that I’m proud of the way I look and don’t mind showing it off. I find it so very odd and disheartening that it is the women who I receive judgment from and not the men. I’ve even lost female Twitter followers for voicing my valid opinion on this whole matter.

The judgment comes from the same women who claim to be speaking up for all women, want to have a sense of belonging, do not want to be judged for how they look and yet here I am, being judged and given passive-aggressive messages that I cannot be proud of how I look. I’ve never had to fight for my place with fellow nerd men. They’ve always just accepted me without any explanations or my having to defend my nerdom. I cannot say the same for women. Once upon a time, I had to fight to show that I’m uber intelligent and that I’m not just a pretty face. Now, the opposite is happening. I’ve never had a man question my nerdhood but I’m constantly having to try and validate it to women, being told how I can and cannot behave and being told what it should mean to me to be a female nerd.

Then I am left to shake my head because I just don’t understand the venom I receive from people who claim to want inclusiveness. I don’t understand why we are fighting each other within the nerd/geek community for acceptance. I think it is safe to assume that we do accept each other. The issue is how the outside world perceives us. And how do you expect the outside world to accept who we are when we can’t even accept each other on an as is basis within our own community? I hate to say this, but the fighting I see withing the nerd community reminds me a lot of the fighting I see among different religious groups over what it means and what you have to do in order to call yourself a (insert religious label here).

And to make me even angrier about outsiders are those who think they can cash in on the nerd/geek culture. I was having a conversation last night with a fellow Nerd in Babeland because I was really upset. I had to defend myself and the way I look to fellow nerds on Twitter. And they could see that I needed someone to talk to, someone who would actually listen to how I feel and am made to feel (even if irrationally) over this whole topic. While we were talking, I was doing my nightly search for who has linked to Geeky Pleasures or where it has been mentioned when I came across the following article:

Are you a real geek? Are you proud of being a geek? You can be cute (or sexy), yet embrace your geeky style. Geek fashion refers to the embracing of stereotypically unpopular “geek” characteristics such as glasses. They dress almost identical to hipsters but verge more towards being into comic books, pop culture, technology, etc. rather than hipsters who are more into poetry, brooding, and generally being pretentious. The definition: Well, basically, you take key pieces of a typically geeky wardrobe and wear them with purpose and aplomb, to make a point. Not because you’re clueless and out of the fashion loop, not because you can’t afford Ralph Lauren — because you want to. Think thick black glasses, pinstriped suits with skinny ties, sweater vests, and pocket protectors — a hipster vibe with a nerdy edge. T-shirts with slogans like “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1” (the IP address of your home machine) make the cut. It’s about reclaiming the geek identity as something not only meaningful, but also stylish. This look is so wrong that it looks right. And it’s the whole purpose of the trend, really. Geek chic celebrities include people like Tina Fey and Andy Samberg. It is highly debatable whether this trend actually means that “real geeks” are more popular than they were previously, or if it merely represents a superficial addition of “nerdy” elements to current fashion trends. Many elements that arguably define “geekiness”, such as varying degrees of social awkwardness, mathematical ability, strong interest in science and/or science fiction and fantasy, and varying degrees of disinterest in one’s personal appearance, remain unfashionable. Similar trends have often occurred in the past; for example, French Orientalism and exoticism of the 19th century incorporated visual elements from Asian and African cultures, but did not necessarily imply that people from these cultures were themselves viewed as fashionable. Much of the geek chic image borrows from various alternative youth subcultures such as emo, preppy, goth, hippie, and bohemian amongst others. You can mix geek chick with many other styles. Don’t limit yourself!
This is what we should be fighting! The outside world telling us, not only what it means to dress in a geeky or nerdy way, but also trying to cash in on it! And to make it even worse, are the following lines:

Think thick black glasses, pinstriped suits with skinny ties, sweater vests, and pocket protectors — a hipster vibe with a nerdy edge. T-shirts with slogans like “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1” (the IP address of your home machine) make the cut. It’s about reclaiming the geek identity as something not only meaningful, but also stylish. This look is so wrong that it looks right.

And if you think that is bad:

Many elements that arguably define “geekiness”, such as varying degrees of social awkwardness, mathematical ability, strong interest in science and/or science fiction and fantasy, and varying degrees of disinterest in one’s personal appearance, remain unfashionable.

I’m all for fighting for acceptance from the outside world. But not if it is at the loss of our identity or having people attempt to cash in on it. And as overall, I have no issue with people wanting to dress like “us”, I have huge issue with being told that being intelligent and liking the things that cause me to squee and become stupid with giddy is not “fashionable”. If the “cool” kids want to play with us, fabulous. Don’t mock us in the process. Because it leaves me to want to take our toys (you know all those great advancement in technology that you “cool” people take for granted on a daily basis, which we nerds built) and go home!

Let’s stop fighting with each other. Let’s stop dictating to each other how we should behave in order to call ourselves geeks and nerds. Let’s actually unite and accept each other. Let’s combat the real issues here such as the outside world, that despite saying we are becoming more accepted as a subculture/group of people, still preys upon us, using us as the next cash cow to exploit.

ARRRRRRRRG

This thread is dedicated to my latest obsession, ARGs. I discovered my first, and only, ARG at Comic Con this year and it is based around the TV show, Dexter. For anyone who has ever played an ARG they probably understand why it would be impossible for me to describe this entire puzzle at this point (it’s been going on for almost 2 months and we have done A LOT). However, the most amazing, Angel, has done a wonderful job of recapping the ARG since the beginning. Check her shit out here: Angel Recaps F8.

For those who have never played an ARG before, ARG stands for Alternate Reality Game. Since I am new to this whole world, I suggest checking out Unfiction or ARGn for a full explanation. However, if you want a brief explanation right NOW I suppose I could provide that thanks to unfiction.com’s history page:

“Alternate Reality Gaming (also known as beasting, unfiction, or immersive fiction) is an interactive fusion of creative writing, puzzle-solving, and team-building, with a dose of role playing thrown in. It utilizes several forms of media in order to pass clues to the players, who solve puzzles in order to win pieces of the story being played out.

Clues can be passed through web pages, email, voicemail, snail mail, television advertisements, movie posters, campus billboards, newspaper classifieds… really, in any way that information can be passed.

Many times, the puzzles that must be solved cannot be solved alone. This genre of game almost requires participation in a group or community that works together to win past the more difficult hurdles.

Beasting is unique in that it wouldn’t be possible without the community-building and networking power of the Internet. Besides the obvious fact that there would be no web pages or email in which to hide clues, it would be nearly impossible for the diverse audience to coordinate the sheer amount of data, speculation, and solutions among players.”

While I have loved following the clues (even though I haven’t solved any riddles/games myself), I think my favorite part of this world are the people you meet and the community you form. The link below is to a Flickr page dedicated to the cartoons/artwork done by a couple of players in this game. In addition, Angel has become something of a guru with regards to the game thanks to her website (she was even accused of being the killer at one point) and I had a whole thread started about my avatar (shiny) being dead because I was gone for a week. It might be considered a time-suck but I absolutely love spending hours talking to these people online and getting a better idea of the wide variety of people out there that are “nerds.” Plus, there are TONS of sexy nerd babes in this game, and we tend to be the dirtier/more inappropriate jokesters in the game (hence the sex-dating jokes).

Please check out my friends’ art and consider checking out an ARG. I think it’s definitely going to be one of many new ways that entertainment companies advertise in the future.

Fun with Dexter ARG

PS – The wonderful term/joke “sex date,” came from one of the multiple spam threads that showed up on Angel’s recap page. It offered sex-dating to us early on in the game and we have not stopped talking about it since.

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