I grew up in a small school, where you knew the same people for thirteen years and your business was everyone’s business. This could occasionally make it very hard to be different. And boy was I different.
From a young age this was apparent, wandering the halls with my nose in a book three sizes bigger than the pamphlets the other kids were reading. Most of my friends were the boys I played sports with on the playground. A friend and I were so fanatical about Lord of the Rings that we memorized the runes used in the books and used them for writing notes in band.
It only got worse in high school, when my art teacher introduced me to comic books. After that, I was a lost cause. Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, plus the amazing new movie Batman Begins, got me hooked on Batman. Sports with the boys became lan parties, getting beaten thoroughly in Halo but enjoying every minute of it. Well, not every minute. As I said, being different could be… difficult in a small town. But I didn’t change, and boy am I glad I didn’t.
Geeks and nerds everywhere are on the rise.
Just look at the box office for a start. According to boxofficemojo.com, The Dark Knight holds the most records of any movie in all time- 23. That includes opening weekend, fastest grossing and opening week just to name a few. That’s double Avatar and nearly TRIPLE Eclipse. You’ll also find Star Wars, Transformers, Spiderman, The Matrix, Watchmen and X-Men on the list.
Star Wars in itself is a legacy, still insanely popular over 30 years later with six (okay seven…bah) movies, a TV show, and enough toys to keep George Lucas using money for toilet paper for the rest of his life. THIRTY YEARS. Call the Star Wars fans nerdy all you want, but you name one franchise that has managed to survive as successfully past three movies, much less SIX. It’s a very small club.
Then there’s the rise of comic book culture – I could go on about this for ages. As Hollywood churns out a half dozen super hero movies a year, people everywhere are rediscovering the awesomeness that is the comic book, from the classics to the gritty 80s reboots, to newer comics like Kick-Ass that are ushering in a whole new age. And we’re not restricting super heroes to graphic novels and movies- 2006’s Heroes recently ended this past February, and this January we will be treated to a new comic inspired television show, The Cape. Television, movies, books, and we can’t forget video games like last year’s Batman: Arkham Asylum.
It’s everywhere, and it’s COOL.
Speaking of cool, did someone say video games?
This year was HUGE for the industry. Bungie said a last farewell to its Halo series in a dark, triumphant last game, Halo: Reach. The Call of Duty juggernaut did it again with Call of Duty: Black Ops, Ubisoft blew my mind with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and that’s just the ones I could afford to buy or steal (I mean borrow) from friends. There were also new titles like Red Dead Redemption that won an instant fan base, and successful series like Fable and Final Fantasy just kept on keepin’ on. On top of all that, new technology has made casual gaming immensely popular with systems like the Xbox Kinect, Sony Move, and Nintendo Wii.
Just one example is the Frag Dolls gaming team (above). Sponsored by Ubisoft, they travel the country spreading the word about female gaming, sometimes by speaking at panels at gaming expos, and other times by kicking some serious ass at tournaments nationwide.
Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano on the television serious Star Wars: The Clone Wars, has an entire site dedicated to making cool Star Wars gear for girls to share their geeky pride everywhere.
Marvel, aiming to attract more female readers, has begun a series of graphic novels based on classic literature like Pride and Prejudice and Wizard of Oz.
Female characters in comic books and video games have also become stronger in recent years, relying less on skimpy fabric and large er…assets and more on smarts and skill. Halo: Reach featured a Spartan character named Kat, who didn’t even have long hair. They also gave you the option of choosing whether your character, Noble Six, was a girl or a guy. It’s a small detail, but as a girl gamer it was a nice small detail to have my character sound like a woman. And not that squeaky cheerleader crap you get in games like Soul Caliber, just a normal female voice. Even the new Lara Croft reboot is supposed to feature a Lara less buxom and more brainy.
These are just a few of many examples, the point being- being a geeky girl has become awesome. It’s not “dorky,” or “weird.” It’s completely acceptable. Guys don’t find it a stigma anymore- heck, the other day I talked to a cute guy for over 20 minutes and got his number, all because he noticed my Batman wallet. Sure, you might deal with some small minded people during your school years, it’s part of growing up.
As Frank in Little Miss Sunshine said, “…high school? High school-those are your prime suffering years. You don’t get better suffering than that.” But you’ll come out of it independent and not caring what anyone thinks, and that makes you awesome. After all, as everyone knows, what doesn’t kill you only makes you…stranger.
And these days, society says strange is good. Let’s face it- the alternative is Snookie. So I’m here to tell you – I’m a geeky girl, and I’m proud of it, and you should be too.