Is Geek the New Mainstream?
Geek: Noun — an unfashionable or socially inept person.
That’s what the dictionary tell us a geek is. Ask people to describe a geek and they might think of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, or the cast of The Big Bang Theory. Men using games, comics and television to hide from reality. Men who are socially inept, a bit weird and obsessive and who can’t talk to women.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. 45% of women in the United States play video games. 2017’s highest grossing movies included three superhero movies, one Star Wars movie, an animated movie and a Transformers sequel. 2018’s most popular shows so far include shows like Supernatural, Star Trek:Discovery, Black Mirror and Riverdale; all either science-fiction, fantasty or based on comic books. With this kind of popularity can we really still think of geeks as men outside the mainstream?
What’s on our screens is certainly suggesting that geek could be chic after all. Marvel, DC and Star Wars continue to dominate the movie world with their incredibly valuable franchises, and television adaptions of comics aren’t slowing down either. The rest of 2018 has comic book adaptions The Walking Dead, Iron Fist, Arrow, Supergirl, Riverdale and Runaways all returning to our screens.
In the gaming world, mobile games are making gaming more accessible to more people than ever. Whether you think playing Pokemon Go makes you a ‘real’ gamer or not, people tapping away at games like Candy Crush or Farmville isn’t going away. Women especially are more likely to play on their phone than they are on a console or a PC.
Fashion is showing the influence of geek too. Primark’s many licensed products fly off the shelves. Their Harry Potter homeware often sells out, reappearing for enormous mark-ups on eBay. Peruse the clothing, and you’ll find that Star Wars and superheroes have finally escaped from the mens’ section, and now has a sizeable presence in clothing for women.
But what about the socially inept stereotype? I could argue that thousands of people attend comic con in the USA and the UK, which is pretty sociable, but actually I think we geeks are just finding new ways to communicate. Hundreds of geek themed podcasts, websites, YouTube channels and Twitter accounts have popped up, and we’re using them to share.
Forget the stereotypes. We’re all the weirdos now. The geek have inherited the Earth.