Super heroes, comic books, video games, science fiction … In previous years, simply whispering these words could get your underwear pulled over your head or thrown into a dumpster. No one wanted to be known as a geek or nerd as these labels were used as weapons by bullies. Being smart meant getting beat up after class. Wearing clothing that referenced a super hero would get you slammed into a locker. Anything to do with something “nerdy” meant you were banished to sit by yourself at lunch. Today, as a college student, I find students parading in Wolverine sweatshirts and Pikachu backpacks on campus. They hold their heads high and have no fear showing off their geek pride.
I have always been a geek. I’m not ashamed to wear my super hero shirts in public, and I admit I can argue about Pokémon starters. In fourth grade, I smuggled “Dungeons and Dragons” books to school and started my own role playing group. In elementary school, it was okay to play pretend and own toys. It was in middle school and high school that the term geek began to have a negative image. It was suddenly uncool to bring your Nintendo DS to school and battle Pokémon with friends. Some grew out of the pretend stage, and others did not. I am someone who has never grown out of playing pretend.
At the close of my high school career, I began to see a change in what was considered cool. In the 90s geeks were portrayed like Steve Urkel from “Family Matters.” With suspenders and thick glasses, these geeks were as annoying as heck. Now, we have TV shows centered around geeks. “The Big Bang Theory” has been nominated for best TV comedy and lead actor Jim Parsons even won an Emmy for best comedic actor. The concept that being intelligent or passionate about quirky and obscure hobbies is now socially acceptable.
The CNN page Geek Out covers fandoms, which is a site dedicated to fans. With the rise of geeks and TV shows such as “Doctor Who,” fandoms have become a sensation. Fans have started labeling themselves with titles from their favorite TV shows like “Whovians” and even “Glee” has its gleeks. “Harry Potter” has one of the biggest fandoms as a bestselling book series, blockbuster movies and product lines with its Potter heads fans.
You can tell being a geek is becoming trendy because it is easier to find people who are in your fandom by joining popular websites such as Tumblr. Here, you can find other fandom members, follow them and get the inside scoop on what is happening in your fandom.
Being a geek is also popular because of influential people such as Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs. These ultra-geeks are now known worldwide as billionaires. A New Yorker article warns to watch out because geeks are becoming CEOs of lucrative corporations. The concept of being a geek is now thought of as an important life decision.
The rise of geeks was inevitable. No one can resist the urge to play a thrilling video game. Everyone has that one TV show they are hooked on or book that captures something that they love. Being a geek is no longer viewed as negative. Now, it is acceptable to let your inner geek shine. Buy the “Star Wars” shirt and wear it with pride. Embrace your inner geek because with blockbuster movies like the “Avengers” and new Pokémon games emerging, the socially acceptable geek is here to stay.