Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #539 - Geek Shaming

Me with Sleestak bobble and Mego Aquaman - 1612.21
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #539 - Geek Shaming

Hi Mom,

So I got a new T-shirt for Christmas. I had to order it. The classic New Teen Titans cover from 1980, back when comics were 50 cents. Wow.

I am wearing my T-shirt in response to a post from Facebook. I am holding two toys from my desk to show the things I love and about which I am passionate.

So, this post is dedicated to my good friend, He Who Is Walt Curley, whose inspiring post I have included below.

I hesitate to call what Walt is describing "geek shaming" because it borrows too much from "slut shaming," the term of origin I believe and makes light of something far more serious. And yet, what else am I gonna call it?

Apparently, I am not alone in use of the term "geek shaming." This term is in use on the Internet.

But first, read Walt's post.

I took a new photo, seen above, that does not
make me look like a beached whale, oh wait,
is that fat shaming? Damn.

Okay, so Walt wrote that post, and I decided to speak out on the cause.

Why so many haters?

I don't see much of this kind of activity on my Facebook. But apparently, Walt sees it happening, and I have to wonder why.

Isn't it cool to be a geek these days?

Unlike when I was a kid, I do not feel the need to hide my geekiness. I am happy to let me geek flag fly.

Here's some relevant links on how I have explored this subject before.

The Daily Bowie #58 - "Rebel Rebel"

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #277 - Sexists, Humans, and Anita Sarkeesian

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #268 - Geek Closet

This last link I plan to reprint to this entry because I think the timing is right to share it again.

But why is my friend Walt seeing haters hate on people on Facebook?

Didn't geek shaming die out yet?

Apparently, not. People always have been and always will be afraid of the different. Diversity is a buzz word in many work places and on college campuses, but it is not yet a comfortable concept for people.

I knew I was different from a very young age. In fourth grade, I was actually popular, until I was shunned for some reason I have never understood. There after, I was bullied a lot. Though I was not beaten up ever, I was physically bullied many times. Children can be cruel. So, I did two things: I sought out like-minded outcast types -- like my boyhood friends John Stap, Tom Travis, Jeb Jacobs, and Jeff Waldeck -- and I started to hide the things I loved from the kids at school.

But I was not good at hiding what I loved. In middle school, I did a report on detective techniques that I had learned from reading the Hardy Boys. In another project, another geeky friend and I created a diorama of a famous World War Two battle with miniature soldiers, landscaping, and even some explosions. I started a magazine that I edited with a friend and published with the school mimeograph machine. I started to perform magic.

In high school, not only did I get into Dungeons and Dragons, I started a club and created a recorded advertisement for the club complete with music to play during the morning announcements in school. No other club had a recording (at first at least). Obviously, I wasn't hiding, and I worked on my D&D game in school during down time in classes. Other like-minded geeks joined the club. We were soon a small army.

And yet there was still ridicule though the physical bullying stopped once I escaped physical education class for being a library assistant, IE. reading and occasionally shelving some books.

When I went to college, again, I tried to fit in and kept my interests hidden, but again this hiding did not last long. I found the D&D players. I found people who read comic books. I discovered that others liked science fiction and fantasy books, too. Even girls liked that stuff.

And yet, I still felt like my geek was in the closet. I did not openly display the geek all the time. I did not let my geek flag fully fly in all situations and at all times.

But then, I started to care less and less about sharing my passions. After all, my entire T-shirt blog is really a testament to how confidently I let my geek flag fly now.

And since Big Bang Theory came out, since the San Diego Comic Con became one of the biggest entertainment events of the year, since Star Wars and The Avengers and all that geek stuff became more mainstreamed and BIG box office business, I figured that the shame of being a geek caused by the ridicule of those who fear difference because they are insecure themselves would have evaporated.

And yet, not, as my friend Walt Curley's post demonstrates. He lists many things I am not into, like nail art and knitting, but that I appreciate those things, and I could be into each if I wanted to be.

Haters hate. They're insecure as I already mentioned. And/or they are very afraid of their own inner geek. There's something that they love but are afraid to share about OR that they are afraid to love because they fear being ridiculed. Many were ridiculed as children. Many were ridiculed by people who are supposed to love and support them, like their parents.

It's a lot like homophobia. Though it may not be a proven fact, at least anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that those who are vicious and vocal homophobes are actually latently attracted to the same sex and so far in denial about this fact that the self-loathing they feel comes out as hate.

Same thing with slut shaming, fat shaming, any word we can pair with the "shaming," like geek shaming.

It's sad really.

Here's some other good stuff if you want to read further.

There's a lot of links, so I am limiting to a few choice ones. A quick Google search of "geek shaming" turns up these items as results:

Geek Shaming - Screen Rant

Stop Geek Shaming - Mashable

Social Media Geek Shaming - VstheUniverse

Slut Shaming and Concern trolling in geek Culture - i09

Geek Shaming - GeekyCastillo

Geek Bullying/Shaming - Nerdy at Home Dad

I am may glean more content from these links for future posts. I may have more to say on this subject.

And now, for the reprint.

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #268 - Geek Closet


Hi Mom, Today's subject is being a geek, and how that's so much more okay socially than it was when I was a kid.

Lately, (and by lately, I mean in the last seven years), I have found myself saying "I gotta let my geek flag fly" often and to many different people in response to comments about my wardrobe or evident interests.

Some time, in the years since I was a kid, being a geek became cool. Seeing women embrace geekdom, especially, has changed everything.

I know I am making a bad comparison here. "Being in the closet" is an idiom most often for non-heterosexual people who feel that they need to hide their identity from the world. That's a serious thing. Sexual identity, gender identity, or just identity period in terms of such a fundamental idea as the way we display ourselves to the world is a serious thing, and I would never make light of it.

But this idea of the "closet" as a place to hide one's real identity from the world applies to being a geek as well. Many of us geeks had the same issues. We had to hide our true selves, our interests, our passions from the world as a simple safety issue. Like so many geeks, I was beaten up and bullied for liking comic books, stamp collecting, role playing games, magic, theatre, science fiction, and a wide range of geeky things. And so I had to hide and deflect. Sharing these passions with someone became an issue of trust. I was never one to totally hide. I worked on role playing materials openly in my college classes. I made recorded announcements for our gaming group that were played weekly on the morning announcements broadcast throughout the school. So, I wasn't fully in the closet, and this is why the comparison lacks a bit. And yet, I often tried to "pass" as a non-geek in certain situations, especially in my pursuit of women. In fact, it seemed to me that my very geeky nature was what blocked my access to women. (I know it sounds awful to describe dating as "access" and yet it seems apt that there's a wall in the way formed by my own geek-driven interests.)

I started thinking about this subject when I was writing the T-shirt blog -- 365 T-shirts -- which is actually and officially subtitled "a journal of my life in geek." I never made a geek, geeky, geekdom, geekerrific, or any other geek-related category for the blog because the whole thing was about liking geeky things and being geeky.

But I do have a "geeky" category for this blog. I originally addressed this issue back in Hey Mom #159, which was mostly just a T-shirt reprint of some cool stuff, including a comic from THE OATMEAL about TESLA.

But then I decided to pursue this subject again after seeing this article about Pia Wurtzbach:

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach = geek.

Pia Wurtzbach was involved in a bit of controversy when Miss Universe 2015 host Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner as Ariadna GutiĆ©rrez, who was then crowned and wore the crown for approximately three minutes before the mistake was rectified and the crown taken away from GutiĆ©rrez and given to Wurtzbach, the rightful winner according to the judges.

Videos from the pageant went viral. The wiki for Miss Universe 2015 is quite extensive on this point. I remember my wife and kids watching the videos because it was quite a spectacle in shame and in how to conduct one's self in public as one contestant was crowned and uncrowned as she watches someone else crowned. Hey, this stuff is important to some people (not really to me).

Pia Wurtzbach hit my radar when I was reading about comic books and this article was featured on one of the sites, and so here's the actual title of the article with link (my previous was my abbreviation): The Miss Universe Had the Nerdiest Reaction When Invited to Final Fantasy XV Event.

Final Fantasy is even pretty seriously geeky for me. Not that I would judge anyone for their geek passion, but some people look down on Final Fantasy even now that geeky stuff is cooler. The article is worth looking at because apparently REDDIT exploded as all kinds of closet Final Fantasy fans geeked out over the fact that someone like Pia Wurtzbach was so thrilled to be asked about her love for Final Fantasy.

It's inspiring to see interactions like this. The Internet has truly changed everything.

I am not the only one who feels free to let his (or her) geek flag fly.

So I googled the name of today's entry -- "Geek Closet" -- to see what I would get for results.

Apparently, there's a clothes stores named Geek Closet, which doesn't really surprise me. There's this woman (left) who works as an actress and created a Gamestop account that is now disabled and inactive, but through which she was selling herself as a sexy geek in the closet and has made some You Tube videos. I really like this picture and the raised eye brow, so I had to include it along with the college composition at the bottom of today's entry.

Then there's some other stuff. Some guys with a .net site. A woman with her blog and a column at comic book daily (because geekdom is associated with comic books and gaming for the most part).

A deeper search does not yield much in the way of good results though maybe now this blog will appear.


CLOSET GEEK - disabled Gamestop profile

The Closet Geek (.net)



Since I married Liesel, I have been more comfortable with letting my geek flag fly because I have found the love of my life and being who I am will not prohibit finding her anymore. Not that I was ever terribly conformist. I have always been good about being who I am, I was just less open about it in years past. I am much more free with who I am now, and I like myself. I have not always been able to say that. A long time ago a woman broke up with me by telling me that she couldn't respect me because I didn't respect myself. Well, point taken, and that is no longer the case.

I am a geek.

I like what I like.

And I am proud of it.

If nothing else, this is what you taught me to be, Mom. So thank you.

This seems like a good time to share a comic book cover gallery... :-)

Letting my geek flag fly!


Descriptive entries with artist information can be found on Pencil Ink Blog.

Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 270 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1603.31 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this
only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 541 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1612.27 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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