2015 so far has been an interesting year in nerdy media. We’ve had amazing entries that were expected such as Avengers 2 and Metal Gear Solid V, as well as surprises such as Splatoon and Mad Max: Fury Road. These second two proved that diversity can push a franchise. Inclusion and proper treatment of women and girls can really boost a work into the public eye and enrich its quality. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that nerd culture has a ways to go in terms of racial diversity. There have been controversies about the lack of color in Mad Max, Splatoon, and the Witcher 3, among other titles. Lack of inclusion, while getting better, is nothing new; it’s a relatively simple concept that needs to be fixed, but it isn’t the one I want to discuss today. No, I want to highlight a more nebulous problem. I want to discuss the cavalier treatment of Black identity and culture.
Because I am nothing if not chock full of ideas, I have decided to start a new series of posts (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten my cosplay series—that’ll be updated soon too.) Anyway, the title of this series comes from this xkcd comic:
The impulse to make fun of people who don’t know everything about everything is particularly and depressingly strong in geekdom. You’re made fun of at an anime convention if you don’t get someone’s Portal reference, even though they’re unrelated fandoms. You are appalled when someone you considered a friend doesn’t get your Monty Python joke. Most nerds have probably found themselves on both sides of this problem at one time or another.
I’ve spent most of my life as an out-and-proud geek secretly terrified of being called out for not knowing something about a show, movie, or book that ‘everyone’ is supposed to have seen, and as a result have acquired a staggering amount of suface-level information about dozens of fan-things so that I can cover my tail and look appropriately knowledgable no matter the subject. I can, for example, list off a probably impressive amount of Batfamily backstory for someone who’s never read a Batman comic; laugh at Game of Thrones comics and macros online having never read a Song of Ice and Fire book, etc. etc.
But recently I’ve realized that that’s no way to go through life. It’s pretentious to assume every human being who claims nerd-dom knows what a Sepiroth or a Jayne is, and people who are that way push away other nerd hopefuls by saying ‘you’re not good enough, you don’t have geek cred if you haven’t seen X’. So now I’m not ashamed to say my nerd education is far from complete, and, as I investigate new and different things that I’m supposed to have known about already, I’d like to share my thoughts about them with you.
No one has enough time to know everything about everything. Most of the shows, books, movies, etc. that I plan to discuss in this series have been famous for ages—I just hadn’t, for whatever reason, watched them yet. Maybe you haven’t either. And in that case, I look forward to making you one of that day’s lucky 10,000.
Unfortunately you will have to click the link above because the video refused to be fetched, but believe me it will be worth it. MovieBob not only takes on the obscure and seemingly random parts of nerd and geek fandom. He also talks about important issues that face these communities at large. In this video MovieBob takes on nerd sexism, and why its “not okay.”
From the Escapist: “Bob”MovieBob” Chipman is The Escapist‘s movie critic and resident expert on all things geek. Each week he dishes on the topics that matter most, giving you The Big Picture. Tuesdays at The Escapist.”
This is edited very slightly (temporal descriptors and whatnot) from a rant I posted at my livejournal and on facebook about a year ago. As much fun as I have both talking about cosplay and actually doing it, and as much as dressing up as your favorite characters has become slightly more mainstream as a result of huge events like Comic Con, it’s still something that “normal” people (and even a lot of nerds) just don’t do or understand, and is therefore apparently as problematic when job-seeking as having pictures of yourself with your dildo collection on facebook. This list was the result of my personal backlash to this idea
I have felt pressure as I become more “grown up” to stop cosplaying. It’s a childish thing, apparently. It is definitely not a “normal” thing to do, and what if potential employers happen on a profile picture of me dressed up as some guy from some anime about giant robots and think I’m too “out there” to hire? My employers at my internship last summer were shocked when they found out I cosplayed, because I apparently seem awfully normal.
Because as a college student I obviously have lots of time on my hands, I’ve compiled this list of reasons why being a cosplayer makes me an even more valuable potential employee.