What is a geek? Discovering the right meaning

What is a geek? Discovering the right meaning

In the past, geeks were seen as eccentric outsiders and nerds, today the term can be heard almost everywhere.

Thanks to series like Big Bang Theory, which spread geek and nerd cliches on the one hand, but also celebrate on the other hand, Geekiness is chic as never before. But a comic reference on the t-shirt alone does not make you a geek yet.

Comics’ boom

Reading comics is a practice well before the 2000s: it goes back to at least the 60s, despite the criticisms that it had faced. Comics and anime sometimes found a way together and fans chose to even show it choosing clothes like a dragon ball z hoodie.

However, it can be recognized that comics exist as culture for since the 2000s, for three reasons.

The first is that it was not until the 80s in the United States for the new generation of comics, darker and more mature, to seduce an adult audience.

Indeed, they gain at this moment a depth exceeding an interest then limited to the youth entertainment and the visual innovation, they have already some strong political messages related to the symbolism of the superheroes (in particular the X- Men, Black Panther or Wonder Woman), as well as a taste for the dynamism of the image that marked artist Roy Lichtenstein.

The second reason is that film and video game production exploded from the 2000s, to then extend to the series, which allowed to diversify the forms taken by the adventures of the superheroes in a transatlantic way.

Finally, it is this mass distribution that has allowed the boom worldwide, a fan base through Internet encyclopedias.

The most striking example is that of Batman, who made Tim Burton’s films available in the form of cartoons, video games, series and quality films, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU.

With the 90’a the “geeks of third generation” evolved as a Pokemon, often misrepresented as “the generation Z”, unfortunately without real scientific work of definition of what it could mean, or the “millennials”, marketing term often referring to a succession of cliches and stereotypes mainly for advertising targeting.

It would be wiser for now to talk about a “digital generation”, in that it was marked by the web culture with which it grew.

What is women’s role in geek culture nowadays?

This typology, which covers the whole of the geek culture, therefore treats both men and women without distinction. However, where male geeks represent 66% of the sociological base of geeks, it is clear that male geeks occupy a place apart, especially as there is a strong disparity in the representation of women.

Thus, women are underrepresented in the fields of science fiction and computer science (90% of men in information schools, disparity tends to widen), probably because of the differentiated education that tends to discriminate against girls in the scientific field by soliciting less interest, but also social representations, making geek culture an exclusively masculine world.

On the contrary, they are very active on the literary scene, mainly fantasy, in the world of underground or otaku culture, which also explains that we find some female gamers, especially at Nintendo.

That being said, large sections of the culture geek remain still impermeable: the players are mostly men, as well as moviegoers, as well as strategy game players or management (wargames, board games, video games) or reading graphic-narrative literature, comics or the graphic novel (with the notable exception of manga).

As in the rest of the cultural industry, women are still little valued in the creative field, dominated by men, despite the presence of video game writers like Marianne Krawczyk for God of War or Rhianna Pratchett, the daughter of famous English fantasy author, for Tomb Raider.

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