Hana Shafi The Real Nerd Debate

Nobody would peg a nerd as a chauvinist. Mention the word chauvinism to anyone and they’ll either picture some old-fashioned Wall Street banker, or the classic high school jock who seems to have overdosed on testosterone. But even in the world of comic books and cosplaying, chauvinism exists. How do I know? Well I’m part of that world and I’ve experienced it first hand.

The depiction of female superheroes comes as no surprise; though I indulge in comic books, I still cringe every time I see a female character with a waist the size of my pinky, tits the size of my head times two, and ass cheeks that practically defy the laws of the universe. But that’s the obvious example of nerd-related chauvinism. Sometimes it boils down to even the simplest things. Allow to me provide a brief anecdote. The Silver Snail’s new location includes a Black Canary Espresso Bar that I frequent a couple times a week. Every now and then, they’ll have some kind of game night. A friend and I decided to scoot a few seats over to make room for some folks who were setting up a couple tables to play, I believe, Dungeons and Dragons. As I was moving over, one of the guys came over to me and said “yeah, it’s going to get really nerdy in here,” in a tone I perceived to be less than favourable. I looked at him and smiled, telling him that I didn’t mind.

Except, what I really meant to say was: well no shit it’s going to get nerdy in here, I expected that when I chose to get my coffee at a fucking comic book store. It wasn’t what he said that irked me, but the tone in which he said it that seemed to imply that I might want to leave. It’s not the first time I’ve gotten reactions like that; people see me and don’t perceive that I’d be into what you might call “nerd culture.” It seems that some self-identified male nerds perceive that any females who might deem themselves a nerd as well, have to look the part, according to stereotypical standards. Look up “gamer girls” on the internet and you’ll be bombarded with posts slut-shaming and berating certain gamer girls for not being “real gamer girls” because apparently you can’t possibly wear makeup and tight clothes and still be a gamer.

Pushing standards of what a real gamer or real nerd is just as absurd as any other stereotype, and it isn’t going to get you far; that shit will be called out and perpetrators will feel embarrassed about their ignorance. If you love something a lot, whether that be comic books, video games, cosplaying, or any other assortment of “nerdy” activities, share it with people, don’t hoard it off as some elite, exclusive thing that girls who don’t fit the “type” shouldn’t have in on. Besides, making things exclusive and elite is more a hipster thing anyways. 

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