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The Big Bang Theory, a US TV show highly responsible for painting an unrealistic picture of what life is like for the nerd community. Photo: unilad.co.uk

What’s so wrong about the popularization of the ‘nerd’ culture

This used to be a safe space for some people. Until suddenly, it wasn’t.

I’ve struggled a lot about whether I should submit this article to my publication. Hell, I’ve even thought about not writing it at all. Because the language I’m going to use here may not be to everyone’s liking. It may come off as ‘angry’ or ‘divisive’ or whichever other label the person reading this might choose to put on it. But I’m going to write it anyway and just leave it here. Because there are some things that I feel need to be said.

I don’t like streamers. I don’t like the nerd culture. I don’t like people walking around in the street wearing their Marvel or DC or Dragon Ball T-Shirts. I find that extremely annoying, not to mention pretentious. Because up until a few years ago and even today, some people suffered for that. And for many of us, those things that people casually wear to look cool mean a whole lot more.

As a person who grew up in a white-male dominated society, up until the dawn of the new millennium, for me there were only two types of guys: the be-good-at-sports, have-a-good-looking-body and get-all-the-girls kind of guy and the be-ignored-by-everyone-no-matter-how-hard-you-try type of guy. For the former, everything seemed to come easy and they didn’t really need to put much effort into having things to do with their life as people — usually of the opposite gender — would approach them and ask them to hang out, so they would fill out their schedule.

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The “bro”, a new type of “nerd” that is somehow popular with all social groups. Photo: pinterest.com

But for the latter, there would be times full of solitude and loneliness. Times of utter misery when they would sit and curse their hideousness for keeping them away from their social cycles. It wasn’t just a matter of being liked by people of the opposite gender either — sometimes they would just want to be invited to things simply to fool themselves into saying that they have somewhere to go.

However, no matter how long they waited or how hard they tried, those invitations would never come. So inevitably, while the jocks hung out with all the girls, these social pariahs needed to find something to fill in their time and get their minds off of all this. Make them feel a little bit better about themselves.

And that’s when they would stumble upon these imaginative worlds, these fascinating societies full of magical creatures and superpowered warriors that could take on anything and still come out on top. These captivating stories allowed them to forget about everything that was going on in the real world and even get excited about things! I mean, who cares about who’s going out with who or who said what about me in class when I’ve got that great new comic book issue or awesome new video game to look forward to in a few hours, right?

So things were better for everyone. The muscle-heads got the girls and the nerds had their own little culture to keep them occupied from reality’s woes.

But, suddenly, the one group started stepping into the other’s “territory”.

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Suddenly everyone’s a nerd! Photo: aggiecentral.com

All of a sudden, the meatheads and the girls became interested in watching Marvel and DC superhero-related films and TV shows or gaming on the PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. From one day to the other, you were considered ‘cool’ if you were into that kind of thing and it wasn’t a reason to get beat up at school if you were into Lord Of The Rings! More and more TV shows like Stranger Things or The Big Bang Theory popularized the nerd culture, making it look hip and cool and even trendy!

Nowadays the cool kids are on their PC’s live streaming their reactions as they play through the latest new mainstream console game, all the while taking flashy pictures for their Instagram account. I mean, we got to look neat, am I right?

Well, no! None of this is right! None of this is ‘okay’ or ‘cool’! No one asked for the nerd culture to become popular! This used to be a safe haven for people that were ostracized by members of their own community and social groups and for them to simply come in and take it all for themselves is completely selfish.

Meanwhile, despite this ‘popularization’ of the nerd culture, the ‘cool kid’ mentality still exists and anyone that is considered slightly odd-looking is still looked down upon like an outcast.

You can’t just come in, take whatever you want in the name of some sort of ‘equality’ and then leave what you don’t like. It’s a package deal. Either we can all play together or keep your hands off my controller.

Being a nerd was not an option for a lot of people. It was a necessity. Photo: thetempest.co

Phew… Like I said at the beginning, this was going to be a controversial piece. I don’t know if people agree with it or not, but that’s just one point of view. Others may think it’s nice we can all get along. And that’s fair. To each their own as they say.

But for all the bullying and psychological torture the gaming and comic book and — enter name of interest — community have gone through, from the point of view of someone who experienced it all and was too embarrassed to publicly admit that he owned a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, it’s a little too difficult to let bygones be bygones and suddenly all play together as if nothing ever happened.

It all happened. The same guys that pushed you down or broke your Game Boy if they ever found out you played Pokemon Red are now the ones making rad videos on YouTube. The same girls that called you out saying you’d be a virgin forever when they heard you spend your weekends playing Final Fantasy are now the ones doing livestreams of FF VII Remake. They may not be the exact same ones, but to our eyes they are.

So either go back to your own lanes and stay there or publicly apologize for everything that you did. Otherwise, to our eyes, you’ll never be anything more than greedy bullies. End of story.

Media graduate, professional journalist and self-proclaimed Final Fantasy fanboy. Interests (and die-hard passions) include gaming and sports (mainly football).

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