7.24.2012

Geekiness Going Mainstream?


I'm still not buying that this is anywhere near the norm today,
but maybe it is the future thanks to Hollywood's
rehabilitation of comic books? 

I was chatting with my very good friend Stephen Heiner on the phone the other day, as he was on his way into see the new Spider Man film (after watching all three of the Christopher Nolan Batman films in one night) and he commented that there are a goodly number of attractive young women attending the cinema for such films lately. We opined that perhaps the glut of superhero movies at the cinema over the last decade has given comic books, and perhaps geekiness in general, a new veneer of respectability.

As further evidence for this hypothesis, I was reminded of an exchange I had recently on a message board dedicated to discussion of Warhammer 40,000. Specifically, I was sharing my thoughts on the new Warhammer 40,000 rulebook that was released at the end of June. I wrote:

I did think it was a bit cheesy that in the first few pages of the rule book, in the introduction section, they show a young lady and young man playing a game of 40K at a GW store with the caption "Games Workshop Hobby Centres are great places to challenge new opponents". Come on, who are they trying to fool? You don't just walk into a GW and find a pretty young lady like that hanging around waiting for a game ... it seemed a bit like they're trying too hard to make the game look a bit more "respectable". I say, embrace the geekiness!

One of the responses I received was:

There are a few pretty ladies at GW these days... not as rare as you might think Happy
Maybe there is something to it. I take the greater presence of young ladies in such a hobby as an indication of "going mainstream" because, it seems to me, that they (especially the prettier ones) are more susceptible to societal pressures about what's "acceptable" than boys in general. Especially the boys who aren't great at sports and therefore have nothing to lose.

I've always been one who was not as concerned with "fitting in" as some others might be, but I do think it would be a good thing if people interested in things other than professional sports and getting drunk every weekend are treated less like lepers. But on the other hand I hope it doesn't get so respectable that geekiness disappears and you find a bunch of conformists across the table at a Warhammer tournament rather than the colourful, enjoyable, and completely human characters one meets nowadays!

And I have to say also, as great as it would be if my wife were a geek also, there is something to be said for a man having a hobby that is completely "his" and vice-versa. I'm not so sure I'd want my wife "intruding" on my domain, and when my sons come of age it will definitely have more of a "father-son/guy thing" to it when it is just the y-chromo types descending to the basement to paint toy soldiers and drive tanks and ranks of knights across a 4'x6' table at each other.

2 comments:

trent13 said...

hm, so reading your last paragraph, do you draw a correlation between geekiness and manliness? I perceive that on some level you do, but I've always thought of geekiness and geeky interests as being one of the few arenas that are, or can be, open to interest from either sex.

In general, I would say the geeky stuff is not of interest to white women (now Asian women on the other hand...but maybe geekiness jives so well with Asians because of their heritage? I've always suspected so being from an Asian background), mainly because they are raised in a conformist culture which places a greater emphasis on sports, etc. as being the norm, like you mentioned.

As to male v. female activities, I think that would make a great radio show topic. The good, the bad, where is/should there be an overlap? Even amongst trads I know there would be massive disagreement - and hey, controversy is always good for publicity! ;)

Nicholas D.C. Wansbutter said...

No, I don't think that there is really a correlation between geekiness and manliness. I was referring more to specifically my interest in Warhammer Fantasy/Warhammer 40,000 which, being wargames, seem to be more the domain of men. But that's because of the wargame aspect, not the geek aspect.

Interesting idea for a Restoration Radio episode!

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