Essay on villains (and video games) »« Having children and selfishness

Nerds, (fake) geeks, sluts and other “words”

“Geek”, “nerd”, “fake geek”.

I just can’t understand these terms. I see them a lot, usually used harshly and usually at women.

I’ve not been able to find out what people (read: usually very angry dudes) mean when they use these terms. I’m not seeking a definition as they see it, only; I’m also looking for a reasonable and justified basis for which to use “slut” and “fake geek (girl)”. To me, these terms are either describing imaginary creatures or they’re useless.

That same apparent logic that targets “fake” geeks could be used by those who like athletics, sport, photography: What makes comics and video games all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam?

But then I don’t even understand the use of the terms “geek” and “nerd”, let alone the awful descriptions “geeky” and “nerdy”. What do they mean?

When superheroes are the biggest things at the box office, when GTA V is making $800 Million after 24 hours, can we finally recognise that these cloisters of religious protection have long been abandoned (hint: you’ll not find a lot of religious believers on this network for example)? These monkish attitudes and religious observations about your favourite fictional figures was something we should’ve given up, I thought?

I hope we do so, since claiming “geek” this and “nerd” that seems prone to tribalism rather than inclusion. I’d rather just love something and be glad that someone either does to or wants to. If they hate it, that’s also fine. Why would I want a world filled with people who all think or agree with me on everything – especially matters of creativity? Creativity thrives on freedom and freedom comes alive from civil clashes waged in the war of disagreement.

Can we please send these terms – all of them – to the gallows?

UPDATE: Apologies for unnecessarily hostile, swearing and uncharitable comments below. I’m not sure why ire is necessary.

Comments

  1. wtfwhateverd00d says

    You see “geek” and “nerd” aimed at women?

    PeeZus Christ dude you are so fucking out to lunch you’re not even in this galaxy.

  2. AnnoyingPedant says

    “Fake nerd/geek” is used quite exclusively in reference to women (though that might be changing with people needing to stake their “I liked it before it was popular” claims).

  3. wtfwhateverd00d says

    ” I don’t even understand the use of the terms “geek” and “nerd”, let alone the awful descriptions “geeky” and “nerdy”. What do they mean?”

    If you don’t understand them, how can you possibly understand the ‘fake’ ones?

    You label the people that call others ‘fake’ nerds or ‘fake’ geeks as “angry dudes”.

    How can you label them ‘angry’ if you have not a clue as to what they are angry about?

    How can you go into your research on this having already decided how you will approach these things?

    Do you understand what cultural appropriation is? Cultural Imperialism? Erasure?

    Is that what you are defending? Cultural Appropriation is? Cultural Imperialism? Erasure?

    Thank you for your fucking mansplaining why ‘angry dudes’ shouldn’t be angry. I think you should take your mansplanations and your defenses of cultural appropriation and shove them up your ass.

    When you want to learn, try approaching the topic with a bit of respect for everyone concerned. Asshole.

  4. sumdum says

    Context matters. What Moosa is saying is that what once was considered the dominion of ‘geeks and nerds’ has now become mainstream. So therefor the words have become meaningless and outdated.
    As for the ‘fake’ geek or nerd, that’s an accusation often thrown at girls, as if they are faking being interested in typical ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ hobbies. Like they have to proof they really are ‘one of us’.
    Do you really not understand, or are you just trolling, like on physioproffe’s blog?

  5. wtfwhateverd00d says

    I don’t troll on physioproffe’s blog, on the contrary, it is legitimately argued that physioproffe is trolling the Internet.

    Read what Moosa writes:

    “That same apparent logic that targets “fake” geeks could be used by those who like athletics, sport, photography: What makes comics and video games all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam?”

    This is identical to Moosa’s angry white guys saying, “Me and my pals all call each other nigga. But people get upset! Why can’t we use the n word? What makes the n word all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam””

    This is identical to Miley Cyrus twerking and having black women call her out for misappropriate of black culture.

    So why is it that poseurs are called out as fake gamers, fake geeks, fake nerds?

    And what is the recognized difference between geek and nerd?

    If you can’t answer these questions, do so more fucking research.

  6. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Seriously read this:

    ““That same apparent logic that targets “fake” geeks could be used by those who like athletics, sport, photography: What makes comics and video games all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam?””

    And then consider the jr. high school and high school experiences of “nerds” and “geeks”. Not your fucking romanticized version populated by attractive actors and models.

    If you don’t get it, watch some classic movies like Revenge of the Nerds.

    “What makes comics and video games all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam?”””

    An entrance exam? Fuck you. These words were fucking prisons people were tossed into.

  7. BinJabreel says

    You’re an idiot. Miley Cyrus isn’t accused of appropriating black culture because she shakes her ass, it’s because she uses black people as props in her performances and said she wants to have a “blacker” sound.

    Don’t Gish Gallop. I understood exactly what this post was about: miserable misogynists who call women sluts for not sleeping with them, and accuse women who enjoy comics and video games of being “fake nerds” for invading their clubhouse.

  8. BinJabreel says

    Maybe it’s because I went to a small school in Silicon Valley where the nerds and geeks were just as likely to be partying and drinking with the “cool kids” as anyone else. (Also, many of our nerds and geeks were, in fact, also the cool kids.)

    Also, do you really think that awkward women who liked non-mainstream things didn’t get ostracized?

  9. wtfwhateverd00d says

    BinJabreel

    Certainly Cyrus’s use of black women as props was part of it, but also too, the actual twerking itselt was called out.

    My use of more than one url triggers the spam filter, but

    google miley cyrus misappropriation of black culture

    and read.

    This http://fur.ly/9s8l should provide 4 urls of prominent critics all of whom cite Cyrus’s dance moves, the twerking, alongside the use of black backup dancers as cultural misappropriation.

  10. wtfwhateverd00d says

    BinJabreel your experience in a small SV school is not representative of what most nerdy, geeky kids face.

    The portlandia clip, revenge of the nerds, there are a million different ways to actually learn what nerdy kids face in school.

    The hip SJW loves to call on microaggressions, but nerdy, geeky kids face macroaggressions every fucking day and are rightfully appalled when someone poses as a nerd or geek once it became cool in some areas.

  11. maudell says

    wtfd00d is amazing. I have a soft spot for his use of the word ‘mansplaining’.

    First, Mr. D00d, you don’t sound like a nerd to me. Here is a questionnaire for you to answer in details before you are considered capable to engage in this conversation. Hold on, you’re a d00d! What was I thinking?! D00ds are always real geeks with amazing credentials and they remember the name of Sirus’ tailor from Dark Cloud 2 by heart. Hopefully, you’re not a fake d00d who’s in fact a fake geek girl trying to soak in the awesomeness of being a d00dely geek.

    Let me womansplain something to you. I’ve been a nerd/geek since I was a kid. Yes, I was bullied, beaten up, spat on and even put on fire in school, because being a geek wasn’t exactly cool in the 90s. But you see, I’m also a woman, now in my 20s, still loving video games. And your poor d00ds who were bullied, they treat me and other geek women with just as much spite and hatred as they were treated.

    But hold on, let me just pause and feel bad for those nerd bullying nerds. It must be hard to be part of a group that has always excluded people sharing their passion, and now see this protected world become ‘cool in some areas’. It’s only fair to become completely irrational, aggressive and exclusionary towards other geeks.

  12. says

    “Geek”, “nerd”, “fake geek”.

    I just can’t understand these terms. I see them a lot, usually used harshly and usually at women.

    Really? Have you googled the term “Nerd”? Until recently, it was aimed exclusively at young males. I don’t remember once during my childhood (70’s/80’s) hearing “nerd” or “geek” aimed at a female.

    Have you seen “Revenge of the Nerds”? “Can’t Buy Me Love”? How about “The Big Bang Theory”. Males are often depicted as nerds and geeks, whereas the directing of such descriptions towards females is used very sparingly and only in extreme cases.

    In fact, I would suggest that the term “fake geek”, directed mostly females, exists specifically because of the cultural hesitation to label women as nerds or geeks in the first place.

    I’ve not been able to find out what people (read: usually very angry dudes) mean when they use these terms. I’m not seeking a definition as they see it, only; I’m also looking for a reasonable and justified basis for which to use “slut” and “fake geek (girl)”. To me, these terms are either describing imaginary creatures or they’re useless.

    “Slut” is an example of a word that, though it may be pejorative, still has utility. The good news is that most women who would reasonably be considered “sluts” tend to embrace the characterization. I’ve know quite a few of those.

    That same apparent logic that targets “fake” geeks could be used by those who like athletics, sport, photography: What makes comics and video games all of a sudden domains where we’re required an entry exam?

    But then I don’t even understand the use of the terms “geek” and “nerd”, let alone the awful descriptions “geeky” and “nerdy”. What do they mean?

    They mean “esoteric”, but specifically where that esoteria involves a narrow enthusiasm (or obsession) with a field of endeavor that is not associated with what typically provide males and females with their respective social market value (SMV).

    For males, SMV is tied to their survivability. Therefore obsession with sports, skirt-chasing, athletics, business, weight-lifting, fitness, military and violent things in general are accepted. Enthusiasm with things that are not related to survivability (chess, Star Trek, poetry, etc.) are considered geeky and nerdy.

    For females, SMV is tied to reproductive value. Therefore obsession with vanity, social status, appearance, popularity, fitness, and desirability are forgiven. Anything else is considered geeky and nerdy.

    The fact that women tend to do a much better job of ensuring the maintenance of their social value accounts for the fact that there are so many more male “nerds” than female. Males tend to much more reckless with their SMV… and often aren’t aware that such a thing would even exist. Very few females lack that intuition.

    I hope we do so, since claiming “geek” this and “nerd” that seems prone to tribalism rather than inclusion. I’d rather just love something and be glad that someone either does to or wants to. If they hate it, that’s also fine. Why would I want a world filled with people who all think or agree with me on everything – especially matters of creativity? Creativity thrives on freedom and freedom comes alive from civil clashes waged in the war of disagreement.

    I think you’re reading too much into it. These terms, in the broadest sense, are used by those who carefully cultivate and protect their social market value to identify and denigrate those who do not. Recently the terms have been appropriated by those who seek to equalize the playing field and assert that nerds and geeks are every bit as valuable as jocks and prom queens.

    And it’s true – everyone is equally valuable, intrinsically. But as far as social value… there is no equality. That’s why shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and movies like “Can’t Buy Me Love”, while entertaining, are pure fantasy.

    Can we please send these terms – all of them – to the gallows?

    Nah. They have utility. They aren’t going away. But I am curious to understand the growing tendency of bloggers on this network to try to push particular words out of the cultural lexicon. What’s up with that?

  13. says

    UPDATE: Apologies for unnecessarily hostile, swearing and uncharitable comments below. I’m not sure why ire is necessary.

    This is FTB, brother. The professional commentariat here has no concept of charitability, despite the many times people such as yourself have explained why it ought to be practiced.

    A number of the other bloggers on this network have no concept of it either. I appreciate that guys like you, Fogg, and a few others serve as positive examples.

  14. Tauriq Moosa says

    I’m not sure why this coming up – maybe because I listed a pejorative term aimed exclusively at women within the list – but nowhere have I claimed that nerd or geek is aimed solely at women.

    Thanks for rest of comment, though and compliment below. Greatly appreciated as always, kacyray.

  15. Jackie Papercuts says

    Kacyray, you leave no room for charity. You’re absolutely horrible.

    Yes, I was a much picked on nerd back in the day and a woman. *gasp* We’re real and we’ve been here the entire time.

  16. Jackie Papercuts says

    Oh and Kacyray,
    You gender essentialist, evo psych crap is just that. It is the sort of sexist bunk I’ve come to expect from you.

  17. says

    Jackie @17/18

    Kacyray, you leave no room for charity. You’re absolutely horrible.

    Nice to make your acquaintance too, Jackie.

    Yes, I was a much picked on nerd back in the day and a woman. *gasp* We’re real and we’ve been here the entire time.

    I wasn’t aware that I had denied your existence.

    This is the sort of silliness that happens when you reflexively take up a contentious position against someone simply because they have a point of view that diverges from your own. Do you not find it odd that you are in the ridiculous position of scolding me for *not* labeling girls I grew up with as nerds? Does that not strike you as strange that you would complain about such a thing?

    Try talking to me adult-to-adult. You’ll be surprised what happens if you actually engage. I don’t bite. I don’t bear you any ill will. Remember… your inability to interact with others charitably reflects on you, not others.

    Oh and Kacyray, You gender essentialist, evo psych crap is just that. It is the sort of sexist bunk I’ve come to expect from you.

    I don’t know what gender essentialism or evo psyche crap is. Please explain your esoteria, m’lady-nerd!

  18. CerberusCheerleader says

    @kacray

    In fact, I would suggest that the term “fake geek”, directed mostly females, exists specifically because of the cultural hesitation to label women as nerds or geeks in the first place.

    I don’t quite know what “hesitation to label” means. It’s true that there haven’t been as many female geeks. And that might make it easier for people to make this accusation but why do they do it? At least for some of them it’s obvious because they are quite honest about it: they see it as a sort of guys only club. They don’t want girls in there. And then there are of course the anti-feminists who use everything they can to shit on feminism. They have used this attack against woman who criticize computer games.

    They mean “esoteric”, but specifically where that esoteria involves a narrow enthusiasm (or obsession) with a field of endeavor that is not associated with what typically provide males and females with their respective social market value (SMV).

    For males, SMV is tied to their survivability. Therefore obsession with sports, skirt-chasing, athletics, business, weight-lifting, fitness, military and violent things in general are accepted. Enthusiasm with things that are not related to survivability (chess, Star Trek, poetry, etc.) are considered geeky and nerdy.

    For females, SMV is tied to reproductive value. Therefore obsession with vanity, social status, appearance, popularity, fitness, and desirability are forgiven. Anything else is considered geeky and nerdy.

    Uhm what? Last time I checked the terms “geek” and “nerd” are used for quite specific things. Basically, people who are more into technology than social interactions (e.g. the computer freak) and more into fantasy than reality (the trekkie). We wouldn’t call just anybody who doesn’t abide by some archaic gender role a “geek/nerd”.

    The fact that women tend to do a much better job of ensuring the maintenance of their social value accounts for the fact that there are so many more male “nerds” than female. Males tend to much more reckless with their SMV… and often aren’t aware that such a thing would even exist. Very few females lack that intuition.

    By “ensuring the maintenance of their social value” you mean that woman tend to be more willing to follow traditional gender roles, correct? And I have to wonder if that is really so. Where do I find this in our societies, exactly? I mean I could point to the fact that we had a feminist revolution (which is basically woman rebelling against having to abide by traditional gender roles) but not a masculinist one. So who is following gender roles here? And what about other reasons to account for the fact that most geeks have been male? Like, the difference in interests. It has historically been guys more than girls who have been interested in technology (for whatever reasons). Like any cultural phenomenon this certainly isn’t mono causal.

  19. says

    CC @20

    I don’t quite know what “hesitation to label” means.

    It means the bar is set much higher for a girl to qualify as a nerd than it is for a guy. In my case, I never thought of any girl as a nerd while I was growing up. Not even the nerdy ones.

    And then there are of course the anti-feminists who use everything they can to shit on feminism. They have used this attack against woman who criticize computer games.

    Here I would be careful… the term “feminism” means different things to different people. As for myself, I have friends that call themselves feminists whose beliefs I agree with almost completely. And they are insulted by any insinuation that they are anything like the Myers, Zvan, Christina, Carrier brand of feminists found here at FTB.

    Still… attacking feminism (an ideology) has nothing to do with attacking women (human beings).

    Uhm what? Last time I checked the terms “geek” and “nerd” are used for quite specific things. Basically, people who are more into technology than social interactions (e.g. the computer freak) and more into fantasy than reality (the trekkie)

    As I’ve explained, any young person sufficiently interested in ANYTHING that is not in some way tied to the qualities and values that typically result in increased social value for their respective sex will result in the “nerd” label.

    For boys, interest in Dungeons and Dragons, chess, rubik’s cube, comic books, video games, classical music, opera, culinary arts, poetry… an enthusiasm or excessive interest in any of those things would earn them that label.

    For girls, video games, comic books, cartoons, math, science, etc… those sorts of things.

    We wouldn’t call just anybody who doesn’t abide by some archaic gender role a “geek/nerd”.

    And no one is suggesting we should. It’s not about gender roles.

    By “ensuring the maintenance of their social value” you mean that woman tend to be more willing to follow traditional gender roles, correct?

    Not even close. It seems to me you are unfamiliar with the emerging understanding of social dynamics. I’m using my words very deliberately, and I have not been speaking of gender roles at any point. You seem to be the proverbial “hammer” to which the rest of the world appears to be a nail.

    It has historically been guys more than girls who have been interested in technology (for whatever reasons).

    I’ve already explained the reason. “The fact that women tend to do a much better job of ensuring the maintenance of their social value accounts for the fact that there are so many more male “nerds” than female. Males tend to much more reckless with their SMV… and often aren’t aware that such a thing would even exist. Very few females lack that intuition.”

  20. says

    Tauriq,

    You said:

    “Geek”, “nerd”, “fake geek”.

    I just can’t understand these terms. I see them a lot, usually used harshly and usually at women.

    I possibly misunderstood. Thanks for the compelling post. :)

  21. Tamsyn says

    This entitlement that so many seem to feel towards the titles ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ is really what this ‘fake geek girl’ thing is about. I’ve been labled as a geek since childhood (80s), by others, and also by myself. That should be enough. There should never be any self determined gatekeepers policing what it is to be a nerd and ridiculing women who show an interest.

  22. Tamsyn says

    Lol, well put. This testing is what I mean (below). The geek-gatekeepers (geekeepers ? =)) will ‘test’ women (and keep testing us, it gets old fast believe us).

    * Into point and click adventure games
    not ‘real’ computer games

    * Like a few comics (love Brian K Vaughan for anyone who’s curious)
    doesn’t count unless you know (insert obscure mutantX here)’s backstory Shit, I don’t remember most of that stuff for stories I am into (I’m in it for the narrative baby).

    * Haven’t read Lord of the Rings?
    not a real nerd (Like I said, I’m in it for the narrative, JRR Tolkien is important, yes, but I’m not into self flagellating torture)

    The bar for women entering these fiefdoms is set pretty high, and while most geeks accept people on their say so, these geekeepers are offensive and onstracising. It’s from them that ‘fake geek girls’ comes, because women are not ‘really one of us.’

    It’s awful being made to feel like you don’t belong (I think most geeks have felt that at some point), so why would these fellows do it to others? For the small minority that have been tempted, or done it in the past, please think about how it feels and why you’re doing it. What you protecting. Don’t be that dude.

    How about, instead of shutting people out who show an interest these self set geekeepers welcome them in. Or, if they’re so intent on keeping their precious to themselves, sit in the corner quietly. =)

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