Myth Monday: Geek Myths

Geeks are not socially inept, unclean, unfashionable, or slothful human beings.  These ideas are myths, propagated by mainstream media.  The primary example of this stereotype is comic book guy from The Simpsons.

Myth 1: Geeks are socially inept.

Not all geeks are socially inept., and those who are, are not to be confused with behaviors that relate to misogyny and racism.  Those behaviors are being made separate from this post’s viewpoint.  The social ineptitude that I am addressing is the idea that geeks are socially and sexually immature.  Some geeks, myself included, are socially inept due to anxiety.  In my case, for example, it is a mental disorder.  For others however, it may be related to personal experiences.  This does not mean that I, or other geeks who may experience anxiety are virginal and incapable of basic human interaction.

Comic book shops and conventions are frequented by singles, couples, and families worldwide. This diversity shows that culture or the general society of people who are a part of that culture are unable to carry out relationships or to raise children.  I am no discounting virginity completely, but more often than not, someone’s sexual status is based on choice and not their social identity.

Myth 2: Geeks are unclean/have bad hygeine.

Most of humanity is aware of cleanliness and good hygiene. If anything, geeks and nerds are much more aware of this. In my opinion, this is due to the stigma that we tend to care less about our personal hygiene.  I’ve frequented many comic book shops and conventions, and have rarely encountered anyone who was in severe need of a shower.  I’m not saying bad hygiene does not exist within this subculture, just that it isn’t “the norm” for us.

Between 2003 ans 2011 I attended Convergence, DragonCon, and the MCBA’s Spring-Con and Fall-Con. At these conventions, as with any event where a large group of people are congregating, there were moments where my olfactory system was assaulted by bad hygiene. However, those moments were very few and very far between.

Myth 3: Geeks have no fashion sense.

“Geek fashion” is something of an oxymoron in mainstream media.  The slang term Poindexter, and the wardrobe from movies such as Revenge of the Nerds and television shows like The Big Bang Theory, tend to represent geeks and nerds as unkempt, with ill fitting attire and over-sized (often damaged) eye glasses.  Admittedly I wear glasses, and many geeks and nerds also need vision correction. However, I can count two times in the 24 years I have worn glasses, that I had to wear damaged eye wear. Glasses, especially in the last decade, have become extremely fashionable and the wearers rarely sport damaged lens wear.

Geek fashion as attire often includes fandoms, but thanks to sellers such as Think Geek and Her Universe, that fashion “meant for” geeks is extremely well made and very popular .  In reflecting on my own self, and my friends who identify as geek/nerd, our clothing is well fitted to our varying body types and runs between casual (jeans and t-shirt) to formal attire (gowns and suits/tuxes).

Myth 4: Geeks are slothful.

The slothful geek, how I loathe this idea.  Fat-shaming is digusting.  For that matter, skinny-shaming is disgusting.  Stop worrying about everyone else, and concentrate on yourself.  Regardless of social demographics, people come in all shapes and sizes. However, the idea of an overweight geek is prevalent in mainstream media. Alternately, there seems to be a prevalence for sickly thin geeks as well.  According to mainstream media, geeks are either constantly stuffing their face with junk, or are too entranced by their interest that they forget to eat so often that they “waste away”.

Personally, I try and get to the gym as often as I can, and when I cannot, I do Yoga at work.  Many of the self identified geeks and nerds that I know are into power lifting, running, belly dance, Zumba, and Yoga. There are many groups that exist that are geared toward fitness and being a geek, feel free to find one near you!