Feminism and Fear of Being Called a ‘Fake Nerd’

I am a feminist. As such, I believe that men and women should be treated equally. Common issues in the world of feminist can be black and white, or exist in a funny grey area. For example, it goes without saying that a woman should not be forced into a marriage. I can’t think of a grey area right now, but I’m sure those issues exist.

Nerdy Girl

I follow a handful of feminist blogs on tumblr like I One Had a Guy Tell Me... and Fandoms and Feminism. These are my favorites, but there are many I follow. Sometimes, feminist issues get intertwined with my nerdy interest and I’ve decided I have to stop reading these posts.

I’ve read about women who were objectified and harassed at conventions. I’ve read stories about how women are confronted and called “fake geeks” because they don’t know everything there is to know about a fandom. The worst story I heard on Tumblr was about a female comic artist. She had a booth at a convention. A man walked by and said “I bet you don’t even read comics.” She was sitting at her booth, selling her comics and art.

To be completely honest, reading these stories freaks me out. Will someone tell me I’m not a real fan of manga if I haven’t read Naruto, or that I’m not a real anime fan if I haven’t seen every episode of Gundam Wing? Can I call myself a fan of the X-men because I loved X-Men Evolution and all the movies? How much is required of me in order to be respected as a real fan?

It’s important to keep in mind that I have never experienced any negative comments about my fandoms. The worst that has ever happened as a day I was wearing a T-Shirt with the Transformers logo on it. Someone said something to be about the tesseract and it tripped me up for a second. I’m bad with names, even names of things. I obviously know what that square of unlimited energy that the Transformers fight over is. However, in this unfortunate moment, the name of that object escaped me and I wasn’t 100% sure what he meant. I was told I should not wear that shirt again until I knew more about Transformers.

Now, this may have been slightly justified depending on how you define a fan. See, I like transformers and I really enjoy the movies. Outside of the movies, I can’t say I’ve seen or read much in the Transformer universe. Am I not allowed to say I am a fan of Transformers if I am only a fan of the movies? Is that a thing?

Whatever. The reason I don’t know a whole lot about Transformers is because they are pretty low on my long list of fandoms.

I know, at the end of the day, there is little for me to be afraid of. The people I talk to, both men and women, tend to agree that I am a fan of the things I say I’m a fan of. No one has called me a fake anything. Even if it does happen to me someday, so what. I’m bound to run into ass holes throughout my life. If reading about women who are called fake at conventions unsettles me, then I will avoid those stories for now. (I’m hoping that my own convention experience later this year will erase those irrational fears)

At the end of the day, I get to make my own identity. If I identify as a nerdy writer with deep interests in social issues and human rights, then that’s who I am. No one can tell me otherwise.

Photo Copyright: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo


221 thoughts on “Feminism and Fear of Being Called a ‘Fake Nerd’”

    1. Happy to have a new follower! I think many in the nerd community want to separate themselves from the causal fans. Someone who plays Candy Crush a ton is not the same as a person who dresses up and goes to conventions. At the same time, if you dress as something from Candy Crush, obsess over it, dedicate huge amounts of time to it and take it seriously, that’s very similar to how many nerds treat their fandoms. We have the freedom too define ourselves. I think that’s what we should do. You’re a gamer/nerd/geek/etc. if you say you are.

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