For me, ‘Geek’ and ‘Nerd’ are two words that have probably been thrown my way at one time or another as an insult. For most these words mean someone who is: overly into their academic work at school, played Dungeons and Dragons or whatever Japanese Anime card game beyond primary school age, or just had glasses or braces (or both) growing up.
Somehow though, in the last five to ten years these words have become something a bit different. The word ‘Nerd’ is becoming more widely used by people to show how dedicated they are to hard academic work. If you call yourself a nerd then it shows how proud you are of the work you put in and the success you achieve in your chosen field.
‘Geek’ has also changed. It still refers to those who love superheroes, sci-fi and love knowing a bit about tech specs in their various devices (though not necessarily all of these things) but is also being used by the mainstream as a sort of ironic, individual identity thing. And this isn’t okay with me.
I cite as my example, the ‘GEEK’ shirts that have appeared everywhere, with sports varsity style lettering. I can pretty much guarantee that if you are wearing one of these shirts then you are not a geek at heart, you are just wearing a label. Having that shirt is trying to force people to see you one way when every other part of your being screams something else.
In this modern age of branding on every item of clothing you purchase you do have to look to avoid it. This faux geek branding is just going too far. I hate to try and commandeer the word geek as though there are only certain people who can REALLY be geeks, but wearing a shirt doesn’t mean you get the whole geek life.
For me, ‘geek’ can be summed up in one genius and catchy music video from Felicia Day, directed by Jed Whedon (relative of Buffy creator Joss Whedon), called ‘I’m The One That’s Cool’. Felicia and her ‘The Guild’ cast-mates sing about how being a geek got you picked on and shunned in school but now that superhero movies are everywhere and social media, particularly YouTube, is making niche markets more publicly accessible, everyone wants to be part of the new “cool” groups. A shared history makes you a geek, and jumping on this bandwagon if you are one of the people who picked on a so-called geek isn’t cool.
Please let’s not encourage these horrid ‘Geek’ shirts. Let’s find some nice meme print shirts in independent shops or online. Check out forhumanpeoples.com for some unique designs that don’t make me want to scream “NO!” at you in the street.